These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

 

A Few of My Favorite Things - Christmas in Hollywood

 

I have never understood why “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music is considered a holiday song. The mere mention of snowflakes hardly seems reason enough to qualify, but the song is about to be all over the danged place, now that it’s December, so I am obviously wrong in my thinking.

 

Anyhoo – I thought I’d share a few of my own favorite things to kick off the last month of the year. Bear in mind that if you ask me next week, my list will probably change. But this is today. And these are some of the things I’m digging on…

 

A Few of My Favorite Things - Squares

 

Squares. I’ve been crocheting all kinds of 9-inch squares to be made into blankets for women undergoing serious treatments at a local hospital. I don’t know how to knit, so I crochet. I don’t really know how to properly crochet either, so the squares turn out a little janky sometimes. That’s okay. It’s all done with good intentions and love, and I like to think those sentiments outweigh my lack of skill. I will likely never meet any of the recipients of the assembled blankets, and that’s okay, too. Doing something for others without accolades is ridiculously fulfilling. I highly recommend it.

 

A Few of My Favorite Things - Pearls

 

Pearls. I don’t own real pearls, but I do have a few strands of fake beauties. I wear them all the time and someone always comments about how they wish they’d thought to wear their own pearls. The large plastic baubles seen here are especially dear to me. I got them when I was 15 years old. I was at a thrift store in Griffin, GA, and when I spotted these, I knew they were destined to be mine. I can’t remember the price, but they were either fifteen or thirty-five cents. Either way, it was a bargain and I’m still smitten.

 

A Few of My Favorite Things - Sunsets

 

Sunsets. We’ve been having some real doozies lately and I’m loving them. I take as many photos as I can, for painting references. The thing about sunsets is they’re so spectacular, if I were to paint them, no one would believe it. They’re beyond anything I could come up with on a canvas, and yet I desperately wish I could capture some of what I see in the sky. I try, anyway. And I fail. And then I try again.

 

Mister! Mister!

 

Mister. He pretty much makes the list, no matter when. But it’s still nice to actually like the guy. And for some strange reason, he continues to come home every day. To me. I’m no picnic, y’all, and I know that he could change his mind about this whole till-death-do-us-part business and decide to mosey elsewhere in life. (It could happen.) So I appreciate whatever time I get with the fella. It counts. A lot.

 

A Few of My Favorite Things - First Christmas Card of the Season

 

The first Christmas Card of the Year. I always marvel that we continue to receive cards each December! Some of that awe comes from the fact that we occasionally don’t send squat, and reciprocity would dictate not receiving anything in return. But come December, that first card arrives and I start grinning. This year’s first-of-the-season greeting was from our mail carrier. She wanted to let us know that she was retiring.  I’ve liked that gal and she’ll be missed. But life keeps going (if we’re lucky and a cheet-o in a slumpy suit doesn’t get us all killed). So I wish our now former mail carrier the best as she embarks on the next part of her journey.

 

Happy Birthday, Gwendlyn!

 

Friends. The Social Season is in full-swing and I’m already tired. Grateful, but tired. Maybe it’s age, but I am in the throes of deep appreciation for my friends. I, like a lot of folks, know scads of people. But friends, well, that’s another matter. Having friends in one’s life – people we can call on in emergencies or times of need – is a blessing. I don’t get to see these friends nearly enough. But when I do, I catch myself smiling more than usual. I’d say that’s a pretty good sign of how much I care for them there folk. What a gift.

 

A Few of My Favorite Things - Christmas CDs

 

Christmas Music. Even though I don’t get the song referenced in this post’s title being a Christmas song, I still really like when all that great music rolls around. Mister and I have drawers full of Christmas CDs, and will likely add another to the mix this year. It takes a near Herculean effort just to get through them during the month of December. And that is why, Mister, we’ll start listening to them today. I really can’t believe I have to explain my reasons for this year after year, but since you seem to forget from one December to the next, Mister, consider this a written explanation. But I digress… Some songs are loved more than others, naturally, and I’m pretty excited to hear them. Yeah, sure – I may still be wearing flip-flops throughout the month, but a gal can dream. And my dreams are currently taking place in a winter wonderland. Where the soundtrack rules.

 

We’ve got 31 days left in this year, friends. Let’s make it count. I intend to live those days with some of my favorite things keeping me company. So if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put on my fake pearls, load the car with a few good Christmas CDs, drop off some crocheting to be donated, visit with friends and pick up a Christmas tree with Mister and get home before sunset to start decorating the tree and stringing up the holiday card display. I may throw some Barb’s Boozy Eggnog into the mix. Why not? I’ve got to shake a tail feather though, as those flip-flops don’t do much in the way of keeping my feet warm after the sun goes down.

 

Lucky, Lucky, Lucky

 

 

For years now, Mister has been telling me each time he eats a hard-cooked egg with double yolks. He eats only the whites, but they’re part of his breakfast most every day, so he’s going through a lot of eggs. And each time he tells me, I remind him that I’ve never – not once – even seen a double-yolk egg. And I’m always a little jealous. True.

 

Several weeks ago, we were visiting dear friends and sweet Susan offered to make breakfast. We were standing around, talking, and Susan cracked the first egg into a bowl. It was a double yolk! And I was there to see it! Sweet Susan cracked the next egg, and the next, and the next… A whole dozen eggs were floating in that bowl and each one had two yolks. It was a Christmas miracle! In July! Beautiful, I tell ya.

 

Today I have a bit of surgery on the schedule. I don’t want to go into it, but it’s for the best and if all goes as planned, my health will be top-notch after today (and subsequent recovery). I’m thinking of this bowl of lucky eggs in hopes of smooth proceedings. I’ll take all the luck I can get. Good thoughts are appreciated, too.

Happy Bricks

 

 

I had heard it before. But I had never really listened.

 

It was March 1980. Kim Cox was having a birthday party at the Holiday Inn in Griffin, GA. Her step-daddy, Lee, was the manager of the hotel (or was it a motel?) and so Kim got to have her party in one of the conference rooms. It wasn’t a large space and it wasn’t a large gathering. But for poor kids like me, it was a big deal. The Griffin Holiday Inn was the nicest hotel/motel for miles, and I had been invited to a popular girl’s party! There were several varieties of co-colas and several snacks. And there was music. Rock music of the day. Good music, too. In particular, I remember hearing Joe Jackson’s “Is She Really Going Out With Him” and loving it. Kids that we were, there wasn’t much dancing going on. The girls mostly hugged one wall while the boys mostly hugged another. It was innocent. And it was fun.

 

And then it wasn’t fun. Apparently, in a nearby conference room, there was a meeting of men from a local Baptist church. A Southern Baptist church, to boot. (A church that I and most others at the party did not belong to, by the way.) Southern Baptists don’t take kindly to dancing. And the more pompous among them don’t care much for secular music. I guess some asshole from that meeting heard our music from behind a closed door, so he walked right in and went over to the hi-fi and Turned. It. Off. He then threw a brief hissy fit and lectured us kids on how we were sinners and should be ashamed of ourselves for being there in the middle of such corruption. He looked pretty full of himself and was about to head out when Kim’s mama burst into the room.

 

To say Judy was a petite woman is ambitious generosity on my part. She was always impeccably dressed and her hair and make-up were just so. She was lovely, strong and I liked her a lot. Whenever I saw her with her kids, she seemed like a real good mother. She was also a firecracker and woe be unto him who thought he could stand up to that little gal. When Judy came in to find some yahoo trying to shut down her daughter’s birthday party, I actually felt sorry for the guy. She marched over to the stereo, seething, “Turn that music back on!” She then smiled at all us kids, told us to get back to the party and have a good time, and dragged that Southern Baptist S-O-B into the hall. Even over the strains of the music, we could hear Judy yelling from the other side of the door. She told that church guy, in no uncertain terms, that he had crossed a line and that he had better cut out before she really gave him what for. That her daughter’s party was none of his business. I don’t think she swore, as Judy wasn’t like that. And I don’t remember that jerk saying a single word in response. I’m guessing he knew he was in trouble and had best get the hell out of there before Judy switched from verbal to physical attack mode. That guy had upset her daughter and Judy was pissed. After giving a much-deserved lashing in the hall, Judy came back in to make sure the party had again picked up. She was all smiles and if you hadn’t heard her tearing the stuffing out of that church jerk, you’d never have known she’d been riled at all. She was in control and she was grand.

 

But I digress. This post isn’t about the memory of that long-ago party. It’s about the song that was playing when the disruption took place: Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in The Wall (Part 2)”. When I hear that song now, I am immediately transported to the Griffin, GA Holiday Inn’s conference room – the place where the song’s lyrics first penetrated my brain and took hold. After that night, I couldn’t escape the song. Didn’t want to. I wanted more. I needed to know what was going on in those lyrics and what they meant. At some point, I saved enough lunch money to get the whole record. On cassette. I started studying the compositions, each song, and trying to decipher depth and meaning. I didn’t get far, truth be told, but I also didn’t let go. There was something there, just out of reach.

 

A couple of years later, I was given some clarity when “Pink Floyd – The Wall” was released in theaters. The movie was a freak show and it was fabulous. By the time of its release, I was a pretty messed-up kid. Sucky home life and depression were bearing down. Decent adults weren’t able to help, and there were very few of them in my life anyway. The ones that did reach out (Mrs. Woods at Pike County High School, thank you), well, their good intentions were lost on me. I had been failed by my parents and didn’t trust adults. More than once, so-called grown-ups had proven themselves dangerous and harmful. So when a good person tried to give me a hand, I lumped them in with the others and backed away. I didn’t have the tools to discern decency. And I didn’t have faith in those older than me and my peers.

 

But I did trust music and art. So when the opportunity to go to Atlanta and see “Pink Floyd – The Wall” at the old Fox Theatre presented itself, I took advantage. My small group of friends – all of us searching for something – went to the big city and settled in. The movie was amazing. (Still is.) The music became even more real for me and the accompanying visuals brought new meaning to the lyrics I’d been holding on to since that Holiday Inn party. As much as I wanted to “tear down the wall,” I decided instead that, at that time, I’d be better served by building a wall. And so I began.

 

The bricks I used were ugly. There were lies and deception, greed and manipulation. And those materials were supplied only by my parents. Time brought more darkness and more bricks. By the time I was a young woman, I had mastered a false smile and a fake aura of happiness. Having been depressed since, well, all my life, I had gotten really good at hiding it. Whenever I felt let-down by anyone – even by myself – I added that brick to my wall. I really didn’t know how else to live.

 

But there was more to me than that. Deep inside, I held out hope. Hope that “happy” was real. Hope that joyful people weren’t faking it, that some people in the world really did love their lives and, at least on occasion, felt good. I never talked about it. I never told anyone how distraught I was, or how long I’d been in that lowly state. I didn’t know how to talk about it. But it was getting worse. I was getting worse. I was somewhere in my late twenties and each day weighed a bit more than the last. Something had to give.

 

It was my brain. I had a bit of a nervous breakdown. I can still see the room and the light coming in the window. I remember the phone ringing. And for some reason I answered. I had to crawl to the phone, because I didn’t have the strength to get there otherwise. Thank god I did, as that phone call from a distant friend served as a helping hand. And for the first time in almost thirty years, I trusted the grown-up on the other side of that conversation. I began to tear down the wall.

 

I sought therapy. I worked hard. Some parts of me that weren’t quite right had to be broken down before they could be rebuilt. Others had to be constructed from scratch. So many basic behaviors were unknown to me. I had never been taught how to deal with confrontation or disagreement. (I had been taught, by my parents, that I wasn’t allowed to confront them or to even be angry with them. Swear to god.) There was a lot to learn. A lot to do. And every time I gained the slightest understanding, another brick was removed. Over time, I tore down my wall. I not only gained a greater view and relationship with the world, I also gained a relationship with myself. And I was pretty damned pleased to meet me. Flawed, happy me.

 

So that’s how I moved through life for the last couple of decades. There have been amazing ups and terrifying downs. Through it all, my goal has been to remain honest with myself first, so that I could be honest with those in my little world. And it’s worked. Or at least it did. Right up until this past November, when I fell into a not-unfamiliar dark hole.

 

Before my country was suckered into supporting hate, I hadn’t been depressed for decades. (There’s a difference, for me, between being down and being full-on depressed.) I thought I was just down. I thought I was stronger than my blues. I thought I could ride it out. But sometimes we don’t see ourselves clearly. Maybe we don’t want to. Maybe we’re wearing blinders and don’t know it. Whatever the reason, I didn’t see that I had become clinically depressed. Again. I didn’t see that I was in real trouble and needed outside help.

 

This time, the hand of kindness came in the form of a lovely woman, Robin. Even though we’ve only known each other a short while, she listened to me when I opened up and told her what I was going through. She looked in my eyes, and actually heard me. I told her I had worked so hard to tear down my wall and now I was too exposed, too vulnerable. That’s when Robin gazed into my soul and said that maybe I should rebuild my wall, only this time perhaps I should use Happy Bricks.

 

I don’t know how those words affect you. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t care. I only know that when Robin suggested I use Happy Bricks to build a self-preserving, self-caring wall, I was thunderstruck. Yes! Of course! Happy Bricks! Why hadn’t I thought of that?

 

Walls aren’t the enemy. Some are certainly downright hurtful and harmful, but that’s no reason to cast all walls in a sour light. Walls hold up my roof. Walls provide privacy and sanctuary in my backyard. Walls hold art and windows, views to life and the world. Walls keep me safe. Good walls always have.

 

And so I find myself mixing mortar, gathering Happy Bricks to build a new wall. 35 people participated in the Womens March in Zebulon, GA (my hometown) – that’s a Happy Brick. A complete stranger saw me crocheting squares for blankets to be donated to local chemo patients and she asked how she could knit to help – that’s a Happy Brick. The Netherlands stepped up to provide healthcare for women around the globe after our government chose to withdraw women’s healthcare support as punishment  for having dared to march en masse – that’s a Happy Brick. It’s true – I’ve lost a lot these past few months. People I once respected are choosing willful ignorance. Relationships have ended or have been damaged. The injury to my country, though only just begun, deepens each day. It’s sad, heartbreaking, and for some, it will no doubt prove deadly. But I can’t give all my energy to those truths. Some of my strength has to go toward pulling myself up from the muck, toward taking those beautiful hands that reach down to lift me skyward. Toward adding another Happy Brick to my wall.

 

Working through this new depression won’t be easy. Working for decency and good won’t be easy, either. But that work will still be right, and must be done. I’m up for it. I’ve pulled myself toward happiness once before. I’ve witnesseed Kim Cox’s mama, Judy, standing up to a bully nearly twice her size and I’ve never forgotten seeing that. I’m no Judy. But I’m a mighty fine version of Mikki. And self-righteous yahoos would be wise to steer clear. I’ve got mortar, a sharp trowel and a load of Happy Bricks on my back. And I damn sure know how to use them.

Friday Pick-Me-Up

 

 

I’m writing this post for me, as I sorely need it.

 

The petite gal shown in the photo above is Margene. She lives with my friend Betro. Margene and her sister (Roxy) are hilarious. And kind. And loving. And about a jillion other things pets are known for. When I visit Margene, she gets all excited and playful and her enthusiasm really perks me up. It would be easy to take her joy as something personal, but she doesn’t remember me from visit to visit. I know this. But Margene still manages to make me feel welcome and, I daresay, loved.

 

I’m sometimes jealous of my friends with pets. They receive unconditional love and devotion each and every day, no matter what’s going on in their lives or in the world. Pets don’t care about our screw-ups. They just care about us. When I think about that, I often wish I had it in my own home.

 

And then there are the other times. The times when I don’t have to arrange a pet-sitter, or when I don’t have to spend several thousand dollars to preserve a beloved pet’s health. Those times leave me feeling pretty free and easy. And I like that. A lot.

 

Six of one, half a dozen of another, I guess. When our yard gets fenced in (I’m praying to the garden gods), we may very well get a dog. We may very well not. I’m not sure. Either way, I get to visit Margene once in a while. I’ll take it.

The Dear Friend Alliance

 

 

When did it happen that just because two people were friendly – once – they became bound together as friends for all eternity? I mean – if I meet someone through a friend, let’s say because said friend is dating that person, and that person and I become pals, well, that’s great. But what if said friend is a real asshole to that person and they break up. Why on earth would that person be forever obligated to be my pal, even though I’m still tight with said friend? If that person was wronged (severely, I might add), what sort of pompous ass would I have to be to think that person owed me any sort of friendship? And why is this paragraph making my head hurt?

 

It used to be that if people ended relationships because of assholery, those of us orbiting in their atmosphere were well within our rights to shun the asshole in the equation. Logical, right? Sane even. And certainly decent. If someone cheats on a dear friend in an ugly way, cutting that cheater out of my world is simply a part of my side of the dear friend alliance. No ifs, ands or buts. And to be perfectly clear here, I’m not referring to folks whose relationship ran its course. Some things end. That’s life. And sometimes those endings aren’t filled with rage or pyrotechnics. Sometimes two people quietly pack their belongings, mumble their goodbyes and walk away. Even if there are deep issues (aren’t there always), we don’t deem those friends as being god-awful or undeserving of love. Not everything lasts. I wish there was a better explanation, but sometimes there just isn’t.

 

But I digress. Yes – that’s the way it used to be. You were an asshole to my friend? Then you are dead to me. But that’s not the way I see most people behaving now. These days, it seems that when two people break up, they must somehow remain friends. And so must everyone around them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard friends say, “Oh, we broke up, but we’re still friends!” Some have regular phone conversations or dinner arrangements with exes. And I’m not even talking about people with kids involved. Some exes just, well, keep in touch.

 

And this is where I have a problem, people. If you wronged my sweet friend, if you verbally abused her, if you stole from her, if you you played grab-ass with her friends – all while expecting her to support you spiritually, financially and physically – you are an asshole. And no matter how friendly we were during your relationship with my sweet friend, you and I are now done, motherfucker. My sweet friend can be as nice as an angel. She can choose to treat you with as much respect as she wants. I am not as good a person as my sweet friend, however. So if you walk into a room and see me standing there, don’t pretend the pressures of social norms will lead me to greet you kindly. For they will not. And when I look into your face and tell you that you and I are not friends and I do not want to speak with you, believe me the first time I say it. I shouldn’t have to repeat myself again and again. You are dead to me, asshole. End of story.

 

I’m really not as good a person as my sweet friend. Them’s the breaks. Deal with it.

Thursday Memories

 

 

 

The other day I was out walking and crossed the L.A. River. Now I’ve crossed that section of drainage time and time again, and never noticed the giant pipe spanning the area. When I did see it, it immediately took me back to being a small child in Barnesville, GA. And once my mind started down that path, I began digging on the interwebs. Y’all – I learned plenty.

 

When I was in the first grade in Barnesville, my best friend lived two houses down and her name was Lisa Haire. Lisa was a year or two older than me and worldly. She was the youngest of four kids and that meant she was exposed to much more life than I. Not only that, but her mother was C-O-O-L. Miss Haire was this happening lady. She looked cool. She was laid-back cool. Even her food was cool. She introduced me to anchovies on pizza, for cry-eye. That was, for this small-town Georgia girl, revolutionary! It also caused quite a stir at my house when I spoke of the matter. I was told, “We do not eat anchovies on pizza in this house.”

 

Anyhoo – behind our houses was a beautiful, wild creek. Lisa and I used to hang out there and play. We’d swim in the deepest part (waist-high) and search for critters. The crawfish were fascinating and fun. We had to put our heads underwater to watch them beneath an overhang. The old albino catfish, the one we named “Gepetto,” was beautiful and in time he allowed us to rub his belly. The occasional snake was none-too-welcome by me, but they never seemed to bother Lisa. And when we’d sit on tree roots that extended out from the bank, high above the creek below, we’d look for fairies in the grass and weeds. Remember – I was all of six years old.

 

A ways down from both our houses, a giant pipe extended across the creek to the other side. Now – unlike the pipe I saw the other day in L.A., the old Georgia pipe did not have a flat part running across its top. It was just round, and it was about fifteen feet above the creek below. Lisa and I would cross that thing whenever we wandered down that far. We were careful, and I don’t remember either of us ever falling. I do remember some mean boys from the other side of the creek coming after us one day. Lisa and I had crossed the pipe and were wandering around the other side. That area was mostly backyards and woods, and I guess those boys claimed that territory as their own. When Lisa and I were spotted on the wrong side of the creek, the boys decided to run us off. As we huffed and puffed toward that pipe, I remember one of the boys saying something about how they had us. But they didn’t know we were brave. They didn’t know we trusted that pipe and ourselves. With Lisa leading and me a few steps behind, we got across as quickly as we could and left the mean boys on the other side of the creek. They were too afraid to cross over.

 

After remembering and thinking about all this and be-bopping on my laptop, I happened upon an obituary for Miss Haire. She passed away earlier this year. Reading through that obituary, I was reminded of having known Miss Haire and her family. I also learned a few things about Miss Haire herself, things I never knew. Like how she had been active in the US Air Force and had been stationed in occupied Japan. And how she had worked at the Warner Robins Air Force base until she retired at the age of 80. I certainly never knew she’d graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tift College, with a degree in English and Journalism. As it turns out, I really knew nothing about Miss Haire. To me, she was my friend’s mama. And she was nice. I suppose for a six-year-old child, that was enough.

 

Now that I’ve taken notice of the big pipe spanning the L.A. River, I’ll be sure to look at it every time I pass. I’m guessing I’ll also remember – each and every time – my friend Lisa, and her sweet mother, Miss Haire.

Get Out of Your Mind

 

 

The other night I was painting at the studio and chatting with my buddy, Nicole. One of the topics covered was the importance of liking our nearest and dearest. And we weren’t merely talking about our romantic partners, either. Liking friends is pretty danged important, too.

 

When we fall in love with someone, we tend to be temporarily blinded to faults and less-than-perfect behavior. He pops his knuckles? That’s so cute! She wears socks to bed? How darling! Some of the things we don’t see at the beginning of a relationship can really drag a person down, five years in. But this is how we’re designed. Our biological imperative is to mate and to insure the survival of our species. That in-the-beginning blindness is our DNA’s way of trying to get knocked up.

 

It isn’t that different when friendships are formed. We become smitten with someone and think they’re the bee’s knees. We overlook the amount of energy required to simply carry on a conversation with a dude. Or we think her petty comments about our hair aren’t petty at all, and maybe she’s on to something and a style change is called for. Only after time has worn away the new relationship fog do we begin to truly see. And once we’ve seen how much effort it takes to entertain that dude, or how that chick’s comments are really veiled insults, only then do we begin to understand how unsuitable that person may be for a lasting friendship.

 

So yes. Liking someone is important. And it’s a two-way street. But I digress.

 

Back to the other night… As the conversation with my buddy progressed, both of us spoke of the value of time apart from our loved ones, no matter how much we like them. She said something about how lovely it is to miss a person. And how important it is to be able to feel that for someone. I agreed. As a gal in a long-friggin’-term marriage, I know what a gift it is to get someone out of our minds once in a while. When I said as much, another thought occurred to me: it is just as important to get away from oneself every now and then.

 

That really got me thinking. I mean – how do I get away from myself, and give me some space? Meditation is one answer. And if you’re a practitioner, you surely know the grace granted from that discipline. Personally, I’ve never been very good at solitary meditation. I tend to benefit more from a class, or from a guided situation. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced meditative bliss. Painting is meditative. So is gardening. Any practice that engages my mind to the point of absorption and single-minded focus is meditative for me. And it is during those moments that I am able to get out of my own mind and, as a result, get a break from myself.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I love me. I do. And most of the time I actually like myself! In fact, I’m quite partial to my own company and truly enjoy my Mikki time. (If you’re lucky, you feel the same way about time with yourself.) It’s beautiful to appreciate one’s company. Beautiful and fabulous. And yet – I occasionally need a break from me. Meditative practices give me those breaks and allow me to miss me.

 

When I realized all this, after talking with my buddy, I knew I had figured out a small part of my relationship with myself. And it made me happy. Not only that, it made me appreciate me even more. As my own best friend and most trusted advocate, that appreciation is a blessing.

 

We’re about to enter that phase of the year when the parties and family get-togethers seem endless. Some of the faces we’ll see will have been missed dearly. Some – not so much. But see them we shall. So let’s try and administer a bit of self-care during these last few months of the year. Let’s engage our minds in meditative activities as often as possible. Let’s give ourselves some love and some space. After all – all those social commitments are temporary. Those relationships, be they family or friend, will never be as intimate as the one we practice with ourselves.

 

Love yourself. Please. You deserve it. I swear to beans.

Nicole and Her Tiny Painting

 

 

My painting buddy Nicole has been working on a little series. And when I say “little,” I mean little. Just look at the photo above. Trust me when I tell you Nicole has perfectly lovely, ordinary-sized hands. And yet you can hardly spot the tiny canvas she’s holding! I admire the heck out of her, but I have no idea how she does it. The woman must have the patience of the Dalai Lama. I just look over at her while she’s working on those little paintings, and my head starts to ache.

 

Still – she’s inspiring. And while I certainly can’t pull off what she does, I may have to work on some small canvases my own self. I’ll keep you posted.

Dear City of L.A. Housing

 

 

Dear City of L.A. Housing–

 

It has come to my attention that someone is using your good name in jest. I realized this when I saw a sign (shown above) touting “3 out of 4 LA rental units are rent-controlled.” The sign was prominently posted in a subway station in downtown Los Angeles. It wasn’t hidden and was quite accessible and well-lit.

 

The reason I’m writing is to let you know that some comedian has clearly used your name without your permission. 3 out of 4 rentals is rent-controlled? That’s hilarious (and I do give props to the comic who came up with this). We all know this number is ridiculous, given that developers are tearing down reasonably-priced rentals at an alarming rate, and good people – all over the city – are being evicted because of this. Actually, now that I think about it, this sign isn’t so funny after all. I know people who are being or have been evicted. They’re not having much luck finding housing, let alone rent-controlled housing. And I’m talking about people who work hard to pay their bills. People we rely on for various services in this sprawling town. I’m guessing that not one of them would find the work of this anonymous comic to be funny. This sign, for them, probably serves only to rub salt in their wounds.

 

At any rate, you may want to locate this sign and remove it. After all, your agency is being credited with something you clearly have not achieved. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be perceived as anything more than you are. Helpful, effective – those words shouldn’t be applied to your “work” without your consent or applicable actions. And as far as I or my many displaced friends can tell, your agency in no way deserves the implied credit of this fake sign.

 

Good luck with that.

 

Your pal–

Mikki B.

New Paint Brush, Anyone?

 

 

My painting buddy Nicole showed me her janky paint brush and I about split a seam, I was laughing so hard.

 

You can’t tell in the photo above, but that poor brush’s bristles were nearly down to the nub and splayed every which way. It was a sight, I tell you.

 

Fortunately, Nicole got herself a few new brushes and she’s back in business. But I’m glad I got a pic of that janky brush. It still makes me giggle.