When It Rains…



Mister and I have been battling Marvin. Marvin is the name of our pool sweeper, and we love that little motorized rover because he generally does a great job of keeping the bottom of the pool clean.


But not lately. Something’s causing the little guy to be sluggish, when he moves at all. The recent devil winds only complicated the situation by throwing copious amounts of debris into the water. And then there’s the cold.


We are spoiled here in Los Angeles and we know it. My friend Nicole put it best when she said she’d recently talked to family in Chicago who’d told her it was 55 degrees there – a heatwave! And then Nicole told her family it was 55 degrees here – and we were freezing! That is rather typical of our winter weather and our response. But know this: It was 32 degrees here when Mister woke yesterday morning. That is friggin’ cold, friends. Now ordinarily, the cold would just be something to comment about and use as an excuse to build a fire for visual warmth (while the good people at So-Cal Gas provide fuel for the house heater – the one that does the real work of keeping us cozy). But when it’s freezing outside and you have to reach into the pool to try and figure out what the hell is going on with Marvin, well, you start trying to remember your childhood training of how to deal with frostbite. You also find yourself thinking thoughts of gratitude for your pool man, and wondering just when that dude will be back from his holiday break.


So though that’s been on our minds, we’ve been enjoying home and each other’s company. No real drama, no real issues. But you know how it goes. When it rains, it pours. So yesterday morning when I walked into the kitchen and spotted a small puddle beneath a cabinet, my first worry was that it might be a plumbing leak from the wall (a bathroom shower is behind that wall). But I checked the puddle and it was isolated and not near the wall at all. It seemed to be coming from the cabinet itself, so I had a gander and found the culprit: a leaky container of peanut oil.


Y’all – peanut oil had gotten into roasting pans and serving platters, and just about everywhere else it could run inside that cabinet. And though it took me way too long to clean up the mess, I was grateful the majority of the oil had been contained by the platters. Otherwise, that mess could have been much worse. (You’ll notice I’m not talking about the loss of perfectly good peanut oil. It hurts too much to even think about it.)


And then… I blame myself. Why? Because I had the thought: 2 things have gone awry, will there be a 3rd? The answer was yes. After I’d cleaned up the peanut oil, I rounded the corner to check on some laundry and I stepped in water. The washer had leaked. It’s happened before, due to a too-large load of towels. I guess I’d pushed the upper limits again with the same dirty laundry. So that was the 3rd home craziness. I didn’t lose it or anything, I’d like you to know. Why would I? At some point, you just clean up the next danged mess and move on. I mean – that’s life sometimes, isn’t it? Sure, I could get in a funk about everything, but that blue mood would linger longer than the messes themselves. And I’ve been down that road. It doesn’t lead anywhere I want to go.


For now, Marvin’s problems will have to wait for the pool man, as Mister and I have done all we know to address that problem. And the peanut oil incident of 20-15 is merely a memory. I’m testing the washing machine to see if we had a one-time leak or are facing a bigger problem. I’m also looking for clear skies. At least where our house is concerned. 3 may be a magic number and all, but it is also plenty when it comes to challenges, thank-you-very-much.

Why, Indeed?



Winter is a word we throw about here in L.A. as we might throw about the words grits or firefly. We know these things exist, but they’re not relative to our Los Angeles experience and we’re not likely to encounter the real deal in our day-to-day lives. All the same, we pretend we know what we’re talking about and we even pretend we’re in the midst of an actual winter. (I keep gloves in my purse, just in case my hands get cold.) We wear sweaters (and flip-flops). We order “grits” at trendy restaurants (usually polenta with bacon fat). There are no fireflies here, so anyone claiming to see them in the dark of night should be questioned thoroughly and not allowed to drive.


As for me, one of my winter rituals is the drinking of tea in the evenings. I simply do not do this any other time of year, and for the life of me, I don’t know why. But there you go. Anyhoo, the other night I was at painting class and, as is my wont, I made myself a cup of tea. I always take a moment to read the tea bag tag as I love little quotes. On a good night, they give me something to think about and a smile. This was definitely a good night…



I shared my little tea bag tag with other artists at the studio and we all got big smiles. Why, indeed?

Until We Meet Again



Another Olympics Games, closed. I relished these winter sports, as I do every 4 years. Not only do I admire watching the athletes display their skills (skills they’ve honed for-practically-ever), I also love-love-love the sportsmanship. For though examples of bad sports may be found, those tend to be the exceptions rather than the rule. And that just makes me bubble! I love the way teammates cheer each other on. I love the way medalists congratulate one another, no matter which countries are represented. I love the stories. I love the heart. I love Bob “Pink-Eye” Costas.


The Olympics remind me just how small the world can be. And just how large. They remind me to appreciate the talents of others. And they remind me to work toward my own.


I’m sad the Olympics are over, but also ready to get back to bid-ness. Maybe the charge I feel from the Games will stick with me a while. And if it doesn’t, I’m not worried. The 2014 Paralympics Games open on March 7th. Bring on the inspiration!

Bees! The Incredible Shrinking Hive



The bee dude tried to tell me, but I still had doubts. He said winter would lead to shrinking of the hive. What winter? We haven’t had one, so how could the hive possibly shrink?


I went to check on the bees recently and sure enough – the hive is shrinking. It’s crazy! And beautiful. And nature. On this one, I am merely an observer. I do believe there’s a whole lot of philosophy to be found in that hive, but I won’t bore you with my processing of that.


The bee dude also told me the hive will replenish itself as spring rolls into summer. We’ll see.

Bees! – Update



Mister brought home this photo of the bees we’ve been monitoring. It turns out they are experiencing a winter thinning of the hive, just like the farmers market bee keeper said they would.


He also told me those bees are magnificent engineers and that their hive would probably outlast me. But y’all, I gotta tell ya, that thing looks like it’s barely hanging on by a safety pin. If it does fall, I hope it doesn’t happen on a day when I’ve ventured out to check on them. Something tells me I would not wear a gazillion bee stings very well.


Now, honey – I can wear honey. But that’s another post entirely.

Bad Things Come In Threes



So. Sunday.


I woke to learn that Punxsutawney Phil had indeed seen his little rodent shadow, and that means – for “Phil-ievers” at least – six more weeks of winter. As I live in sunny southern California, you may be surprised to learn how bummed I was by this news. It’s all about connections, friends. All that bad weather being tolerated by other parts of America means no rain for L.A. This is supposed to be our rainy time of year, but the gal-danged jet stream (or something or other) has bypassed us completely. So our rain has become everyone else’s bitter cold. (This is a gross oversimplification, I know. Don’t judge.) I empathize with those of you in the bitterest winter regions. And I hope your recovery will be warm and swift. Unfortunately, this year is highly unlikely to provide any recovery for us. Drought conditions are already intense, and the forecast is for much more damaging dryness. Before you say we deserve it, for having had such a mild winter, let me remind you that a great deal of the food we all eat comes from California. Farmers are already being warned about coming water shortages, and I’ve yet to hear of any solutions. All of this to say: Punxsutawney Phil really let me down.


I then learned of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s overdose. I didn’t know the man or anything, but I loved his work. He was the kind of actor who could get me to buy a movie ticket simply because he was in the danged film. He was my age. And now he’s gone. He left behind 3 kids and his partner of 15 years. They will probably never understand their loss. Any thoughts I may have about his heroin overdose are moot, unimportant. Besides, I don’t know a damn thing anyway. I only know an actor I respected is dead.


And then there was the matter of that football game. Y’all, had the Broncos competed on a level anywhere near that of the Seahawks, it would have been an entirely different experience. Would I have still felt the disappointment of defeat? Of course! Would it be as soul-crushing as it was? Is? Probably not. I mean, I can’t know for sure, but I think I would feel a bit better about the loss if my team had actually shown the hell up. I know, I know: you live by your team and you die by your team. Well, I died after the very first play of the whole danged thang, and I’m still barely resuscitated.


So Sunday wasn’t what I’d hoped. Thems the breaks. And you know what? I’ll deal. I’ll cut back on my water usage. If necessary, I’ll let my lawn die. It’s only grass, and I’m super glad to have that viewpoint as water restrictions will soon be enforced and dead grass may very well be the outcome. But again, it’s only grass. As for Philip Seymour Hoffman, he left behind a beautiful body of work. And if I ever want to see one of his films, I can. He also completed a few films that have yet to be released. I look forward to his final works.


As for the Broncos, well, anyone who’s a sports fan knows what I’m feeling right now. You understand I’ll be okay. Eventually. You understand that I’ll have all summer to get over Sunday’s Superbowl beating. And then, Lord help me, I’ll start anew all over again. Here’s hoping the next go-round is a live by your team kind of season.

There’s More to This Day Than Football…



As most of America (and the world) may know, there’s a big-ass football game going down today. (I’ll be wearing blue and orange, by the way.) But there’s more to this day than football, y’all.


It’s Groundhog Day! And I learned more than I bargained for when I read this post over at The Pioneer Woman’s site. You’re welcome, by the way.


But seriously, no matter how you may be spending this first Sunday in February, I wish you well. And I wish you chicken wings. And dip. And libations.


And an early Spring. You deserve it. For reals.

Snuggle Weather



Here in California, we’re not hurting on the weather front. I know some folks are going through unimaginable cold these days, and I don’t know how to respond to that. I’ve experienced ugly-cold before, but only in short bursts. This sustained freeze you’re enduring is nuts. Honestly, I don’t know how you’re all doing it.


The only thing I know for sure is this has got to be the very definition of Snuggle Weather. I’m fortunate: I’ve got Mister. And that guy is a little heater. I also have a cozy, comfortable bed. I know that’s a blessing, too. And I appreciate it. Tremendously. There’s something about climbing into a made bed with smooth sheets that causes me to smile. The promise of comfort, of rest, is beautiful.


I do hope you have someone to snuggle with during these cold, winter nights. It makes all the difference in the world. It certainly does for me.




I feel for all of you who are under the heavy thumb of ugly winter weather. And I send you prayers.


I also hate to tell you how fantastic our weather is, here in Los Angeles. I’ve got the doors open to let in the warmth and it is bee-you-tee-full! It is just one of our So-Cal blessings.


What are some of your blessings, where you live? Come on, now, we all have blessings!

Cold Snap



I know a lot of the country is dealing with ugly cold right now. I know it’s not only inconvenient, it is also deadly. I know all this, so don’t hold my little post about an L.A. cold snap against me.


No, my neighbors’ blankets spread over all their citrus trees in no way compares to others being without heat or electricity. My hardware store guy wearing a parka and gloves inside the store in no way compares to frozen water pipes. My need for an electric blanket (to combat low 40′s outside temps at night) in no way compares to being snowed-in.


But it’s all relative, isn’t it? For L.A., this is odd. I know it’s odd for a lot of you in your neck of the woods, too. And I’m hoping you’ll be okay. We have no choice, really. We all have to ride out the season.


Cold fingers crossed. For all of us.