Monday, February 28, 2005

The Long-awaited Return of Impatient, Let's-get-the-show-on-the-road Tim

Tim & Pat are ready to head to points south. They're showered, shaved, and as pretty as always. Roger is also leaving for a few days. He is going to lead them out of Topanga, down a circuitous, but very beautiful route. They will need guidance to get to Pacific Coast Hwy due to all the road closings around here. He has to get to LAX for a noon flight. He reckons he has to head out the door by 9:30 AM. This works for them even though their car is packed and Tim, in particular, is ready to go NOW. At 9:31, Tim starts getting antsy. Pat says to me, "You know, we're just going to head off now." Inside I think, YOU'RE NUTS, YOU'LL GET LOST FOR SURE and then be even later. IN real life I say, "YOU'RE NUTS! YOu'LL GET LOST for sure..." Pat agrees and Tim then agrees to hang on. I run in to Roger and say Tim wants to leave now. Roger says he'd also like to leave now but he won't be ready for another few minutes. I report back to Tim. He is having a hard time NOT screaming, "BUT HE SAID HE'D BE READY AT 9:30!" I can tell this is happening...but just natter calmly on to Pat. Then, suddenly, everyone is moving, everyone is ready to go somewhere, everyone is kissing me good-bye and saying see you soon and off they go, thumping down our fast deteriorating, steep driveway. "Byeeeeeee," I wave. I'll miss you all [so much]. I never meant anything more.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Relaxed Tim

Relaxed, reasonable, I've-got-all-the-time-in-the-world-to-spare Tim came to visit us. Not impatient, let's-get-the-show-on-the-road Tim. He even seems to be enjoying my coffee although I did make sure we had instant on hand...just in case.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

It's Official (drum roll please). We have had 64.7" of rain in my corner of Topanga Canyon (to date)

I believe the 'rainfall year' runs from June to June. If it's July to July or August to August it still won't make a blind bit of difference since our first rains didn't come until October (and that was a good month ahead of schedule). Today, though, it looks like this...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Jesus & the Virgin Mary

It happens all the time...Jesus and Mary taking star turns in the most unlikely of places. The Virgin Mary appeared on a grilled cheese sandwich in England and then that seven-year old sandwich sold on Ebay for some ridiculous amount of money... thousands of dollars. More impressive than this exceedingly glamorous, Hollywoodie Mary on the bread is the fact that this woman kept it for seven whole years. Where do you keep something like that? I want details. Now there's a damp patch on somebody's ceiling in Galveston, TX and the faithful are flocking from miles around. Apparently it's Jesus Christ. He's in this woman's bedroom and she's inviting the faithful to just walk on in and say hey to Jesus.

Now if you want to read about some really good miracles like a weeping Madonna made out of fiberglass, a Road-Stain Jesus or even a stigmata man, you have to read Carl Hiassen. This man knows Florida and he knows there are some great holy appearances down there. There are no such miracles to be had in Malibu or Greenwich. It's just a have to travel for a good miracle.

I have some good friends who now live in Apalachicola, FL. They used to be really religious. No, I mean REALLY religious, not just go-to-church on Sunday religious. He was a Trappist Monk and she was a NUN, and not just one of those half-nuns that you see today wearing what look like cheap, K-mart suits. No, she wore a whole habit (think Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music) and after she and her husband married they chose to have a quite different relationship with God. They opted to not baptize their kids and on one of their visits to my friend's elderly mother, their younger child really showed just how little he knew about it all. He was lying in bed and his grandmother was reading him a bedtime story. Little Ben then looked up at the wall behind the bed and said to his grandmother, "Who IS that guy?" It was Jesus, on the cross. A pleasant bit of sweet dreams art for any young child to look at...just before going to sleep. C'mon, what is that all about?

Since I'm on a Jesus theme, when my granddaughter started her pre-school she sort of learned about praying before lunch. They routinely sing the spiritual, "Amen" before eating. It's an easy one since it goes something like this..."Aaaaamen, Aaaaaamen, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAmen, Amen, Amen." Lottie would reverently fold her hands and then rock them forward and back while she sang at the top of her Starbucks, at home, at our place...anywhere food or drink was served. She no longer feels compelled to sing the Amen song, but it was fun while it lasted.

'president' Declares L.A. a Disaster Area

About Damned Time is all I have to say about that. I will desist from making any of my normal negative comments about the 'president' and his this time.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Sunlight Threatens

Dallas Raines, my absolutely favorite weather guru, has assured us all (as he boldly showed the five-day forecast) that as of tomorrow afternoon, there will be sunshine in our lives. This is a great relief because of Tim & Pat's upcoming visit. They are looking for sun and warmth and while I can assure them that it will be warmer here than it will be in Wisconsin for quite some time, I can't promise the sun...but DALLAS CAN. He's not promising a full-blown, brilliant sun unobscured by even the slightest whisper of a cloud, but periods of sunshine. I ask for no more than that.

We do get a lot of attention when it rains, this much, and we just got off the phone with dear friends, Elissa and Tim. Roger is headed to Milwaukee on biz and one of the highlights of his trip will be getting together with them and eating Elissa's phenomenally fabulous food. Oh man, can that woman cook. She cooks SO well that when she's in Italy (at least a few months of every year), she teaches with this wonderful cooking school, Tutti a Tavola in Tuscany. Based on Elissa's gift in the kitchen and a special dinner presented by the five Tuscan lady chefs, I can recommend this school to anyone who bothers to read this posting.

Today, due to careful monitoring of T-CEP, Topanga Canyon for Emergency Preparedness, I was able to yell out further road closures to my husband...not that we were going anywhere, but this is news...big news. Rock slides on PCH (Pacific Coast Hwy), but just north of Topanga Canyon Blvd. YIPPEE!!! That means that as long as we travel down to the ocean, between 6 & 9 AM and 3 & 9 PM only, we can turn left and get to Santa Monica. The road closure only affects us if we want to go into Malibu. Malibu Canyon closed due to mudslides. Tuna Canyon, rock-strewn and treacherous. All exciting stuff, unless you're one of those poor people whose home has slid down a hillside, filled with memories and love.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Rain, get the hell outta California cos PAT & TIM are gonna be here soon and Tim has NO PATIENCE for bad weather on his vacation

It's been a wet weekend. The rain started on Thursday afternoon when Lottie and I were crafting it up at the kid's art center at LACMA and, aside from a few breaks, socially and cloud-wise, we have focused on it almost non-stop. Friday and Saturday nights, we very much enjoyed the company of our neighbors, Aldo & Greg, and Aldo's Aunt Maryanne and dad, Aldo, Sr. who was visiting from the South of France. The warmth of good food and good company are enjoyed even more when the weather is wild. Outside, the rain gauge bucket is full. It's not under a tree or eaves or anywhere that the total may be compromised, so it's sort of accurate. Not as accurate as my neighbor's rain gauge. Louise & Doug have lived in this canyon for over 40 years and know absolutely everything so when I want to know accurate rainfall totals, I pick up the phone and give them a call. I sent an email to Louise on Thursday evening asking for rainfall totals when this latest mess is finished.

I'm praying that all this rain means that it will be completely and totally finished in one week's time when our good friends, Pat & Tim, arrive from Milwaukee because they hold us completely and totally accountable for any weather. If it's good, we get the credit and, correspondingly, when it's not sunny and warm...well, when it's not perfect, it's bad. During their visit last year, it rained...quite a bit. We tried to point out the beauty of the wild lupine with silvery beads of water delicately bubbling its silvery green foliage. Tim was unimpressed. Tim doesn't go on vacation to sit and look out the window, lingering over a PERFECT cup of coffee that I've just made. No, he assures me that instant is fine and let's get the damn show on the road. He's pulling on boots and rain slicker, all the time urging Pat to hurry up cos time's a'wasting. I love her calm responses. She assures him that she'll be ready shortly but she moves at her own pace and finishes what she feels needs finishing. She APPRECIATES my coffee. So, they're coming this weekend and I am regretting my lack of any real relationship with whoever controls the weather. I want to get my local weather guru, Dallas Raines , to assure me that it will NOT rain during Pat & Tim's visit, but I know he's a realist and will tell me that if they're worried about rain then they should make their California trips between April and November when it pretty much NEVER rains. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the seven-day forecast that I've just looked at is accurate because if it isn't, I'm thinking of taking a trip myself!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I Want a Bikini (Relax, my granddaughter, not ME)

Dressed for Shopping Posted by Hello

Today the plan was to spend a few hours with my granddaughter while my daughter did some freelance PR work. I arrived in Hollywood at 10:15 AM and found Lottie in full dress-up mode. Courtesy of her Uncle Colin, she was dressed in a pink, multi-layered tulle dress, blue beads 'round her neck and a bracelet that quickly became misplaced. Lottie asked if she might go out with me dressed as she was and maintained that she would be plenty warm, and would take a cardigan. Jane thankfully nixed that plan and got her dressed while Miss L and I tried to figure out just what we'd be doing.

"I really want a bikini, Nana and a pair of pink clogs. They sell them at Nordstrom's." Okay, that's a plan, I thought. We'll head off to The Grove, a truly Southern Californian Disneyesque take on an outdoor pedestrian mall. Built adjoining the old The Farmers' Marketgoing to The Grove for a lot of Hollywood kids, is like going to Central Park for Manhattan kids. There's the huge dancing fountain, the double-decker trolley car that runs up and down announcing Pottery Barn Kids and every other shop with equal doses of solemnity and enthusiasm that The Louvre or the Tour d'Eiffel would be announced while on a tour of Paris. Lottie and I sat up top in the front seat. We had to move pretty sprightly but managed to beat a grandmother and her grandson to this primo seat due to his minor meltdown because his Spiderman backpack strap snagged this elderly man's walking stick. We rode up and down with my granddaughter pointing out the most interesting sights. We hopped off at the top end (by the valet LA) and headed over to Nordstrom's to check out their bikinis and clogs. I'm not really the kind of grown-up who likes big girl clothes on little girls, but I figured if I can find something that isn't too bikiniesque, this could be okay. Lottie led me over to the kids' shoe department first. I gravitated towards the Stride Rites which are hardly what I'd call serious, anymore. It's not like they're all leather-soled and rigid lethal weapons like they were when my kids were small. I picked up a hot pink (HOT PINK STRIDE RITES???) pair of shoes and showed them to Lottie. She solemnly shook her head to the negative and picked up a hotter pink pair of clogs. Clogs...what a stupid shoe for a kid. They're like baby high heels. Still, the very patient saleslady measured Lottie's feet (almost a 9) and brought out the Barbie pink clogs. Slipping them on Miss L's feet, she suggested that she take a wander. Charlotte refused. I explained there's no way we could possibly buy a pair of shoes that she won't even walk in. The wee lassie then said, "Maybe a smaller pair, Nana." The saleslady brought a size 8 and, here's where I really think there has to be a God, told us they didn't have any in pink, just blue. I smiled with relief. Lottie walked around the shoe department in the size eights. Her feet looked so tiny...almost too small to support her little body and she couldn't take her eyes off those shoes... those beautiful shoes. But, sadly, none in pink. YIPPIE!

And so we nipped over to the swim suits, found a bikini that really is more a tankini AND in varying shades of pink, and then headed over to LACMA for some artier activities. It was a great, girlie kind of day.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Lost but Not Found

Yesterday my daughter lost her keys. That's BS. She didn't lose her keys but someone did take her keys. The problem is that the someone who most likely took her keys is only about three feet tall and three years old. It went like this. Yesterday she was the volunteer Mom at the pre-school's Valemtime's Party. It involved a lot of your basic loss of brain power because you're in the orbit of 25 little kids who are all jacked up on sugar. Anyone who has spent any time around these munchkins knows that in a very short while your grip just keeps slipping away until you put your keys down on the table, turn around to help a little kid do his shoe up, turn back to the table to grab your keys and, guess what...they're flippin' gone. Yep, gone. The keys were probably taken by your basic little J.D. You know, juvenile delinquent. This is a three-year old who is close to getting kicked out of pre-school and just keeps compounding his reputation by various acts of vandalism and cruelty...poor little sod. Fancy being three years old and pegged as the bad seed. You know it's bad when the director of the school [I don't think they call them principals] said to my daughter, "Well, you may want to call ______________________'s mother and she could check his pockets and lunchbox and backpack and, oh, you should probably call the other 23 mothers in the class, too (unsaid was we don't want to look like we're targeting one kid)." Anyway, here it is, two days later, and Jane STILL doesn't have her keys. The one key loss that is really annoying is the very expensive car key. Duplicates have been made of all the others and lessons learned, but still...what a drag. Better than losing your wallet, but still no fun.

It would be no big deal if I lost my house key because I have only one key to a house that has, truly, 12 doors. Not 12 inner doors...but 12 doors to the great outdoors, and that's not because it's enormous. I guess that's not that odd here in California, but it struck me as pretty amazing when I first counted them. When we moved to this house, we naively thought that since it cost us about a kazillion times more than our first house, it would come with house keys. Sometimes we are SO dumb and our expectations are SO high. When we mentioned this to the seller the wife glibly said, "Oh, we never really locked the doors. Guess what I think...yep, I think they're full of it and I think they lost them and then they were too flippin'lazy to have new ones cut because, well, they were moving and didn't care any more. These people didn't disclose a whole raft of issues (like the kitchen floor being under water when it rains), but that's for another rant, another post. So, we had to have the locks changed on a half dozen of the doors (the other six remain without keys but can be firmly locked from the inside)and because we didn't want a jangle of keys on our keyring, we had the locksmith make them all the same. Roger's keyring remains very simple: one house key, one car key; mine is complicated by the three keys necessary to get into Jane's home and one key to get me into the pre-school without being buzzed through by staff.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Valemtime's Day Eve

"Nana, Nana, did you know that Valemtime's Day is tomorrow?" I did, but I didn't know that Lottie knew. She came bearing roses and the most beautiful HUGE card covered in hearts and her absolute favorite beautifier...glitter. We gave her a card that had a little kitty on the front with red chocolate happy lips and inside it said, "You're PURRRRRFECT!" Also a heart-shaped cookie with red icing that said "I Love You" and a Peter Rabbit fine English bone china mug that she could use for her cups of tea. She says she loves cups of tea. Really, she just likes the idea and I can understand that. I don't think I drank a cup of coffee [that I enjoyed] until I was 30, but I posed with many a cup. I posed with cups of BLACK coffee when I was only 16 and that's nothing but crazy. Now I've entered that phase of my life when I actually ration the amount of coffee that I drink per day. For the record, I rarely drink more than two cups, more frequently one, but sometimes three. For me, the absolute, very best toy coffee drink can be had at the It is the Mocha Ice Blended and the most wonderful thing is that you can now get one that has no sugar and no fat and hardly any calories. Some days I feel that if I only had a bowl of porridge for breakfast, two mocha ice blended for lunch and a light dinner I could truly lose weight. That's when living in Topanga is a little bit of a drag. To get a mocha iced blended I'd have to drive 15 minutes and much as I love them, they're not worth a 1/2 hour round trip.

My daughter and I went for a lovely muddy walk and marveled at the wildflowers in full glorious bloom and it's FEBRUARY and there are FLOWERS...that's one of the reasons I love living here. Wild lupines and black-eyed susans and wild correopsis, all blooming in a riot of color on Yorkshire green hillsides that in just a few months will be tinder dry. Then I will find a different kind of beauty in these hillsides. Right now, though, it is lush and blowsy full of living beauty...and it's going to rain again later this week. Before you say, "Big deal, rain." You have to understand that between April and December, it really doesn't rain at all. Not once...ever. That's why Southern Californians stand at the window and watch the rain, or fall into the L.A. River or drive through rain-swollen creeks and get stuck or washed away. They just don't know any better.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

England Swings like a Pendalum Do

Ellie visited us in London in 1969. She'd just finished her sophomore year of college and with a girlfriend was touring Europe. My newish husband and I, along with our brand new (and I mean Brand New) baby, Jane, were living in West Hampstead on the third floor of a Victorian walk-up. West Hampstead was nothing like Hampstead, but it was close enough that I could walk to my doctor appointments in the real Hampstead. Ellen had written to me earlier in the spring saying she and her friend were going to be in London the first week in June and could they stay with us. I was overjoyed that one of my closest friends from home was coming for a visit. My husband, the Voice of Reason, said don't you think you're taking on too much. I mean we're going to have a baby. I wrote her back and said we'd LOVE to have you stay with us. We can't wait. Ellen and Gail arrived when my baby was 12 days old. When my baby was 14 days old, we had a party. Yes, that's right...a party.

There are photographs of that party evening. Everyone looks so young and hip. I look young, hip and exhausted. Ellie looks beautiful and happy...carefree and quite sane.

Friday, February 11, 2005

My Old Friends, Susie & Ellie

My mother recently asked me if I'd heard from old childhood friends of mine, Susie & Ellie. Each beautiful and smart and very important and constant friends until we all left in different directions for college. My life took a different direction to theirs and we just grew apart. Our parents moved, we moved and we just got busy with the minutae of lives. And the answer to my mother's question was no, I hadn't heard from either of them in years. I'd thought of them often, though, and hoped Susan was doing well and feared that Ellen probably wasn't.

So, acting on my mother's question, I sent a Christmas card to Susan at the last address I had for her. It was returned, unopened, with a "no longer at this address" message. I did a search online and found what I hoped was her office address, and I wrote to her. And then, a couple of days ago, she sent me an email.

Susan was well and her children and husband were doing well. Ellen, though, had died this past September. She had been institutionalized for over 30 years in San Jose, CA. I didn't know this. I strongly suspected it, but I never knew it for sure. This beautiful, beautiful young woman had grown older, just as we all had, but had never enjoyed the journey. She had never known the particularly sweet joy of motherhood or the enduring love of one man. She lived a half-life for more than half of her life. I knew Ellie was sick the last time I saw her...over 30 years ago. I suspected that she would never properly heal.

I mourn for all that she never could be. Good night, sweet girl.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Flower Power

Posted by Hello
Photo by her Pa, Matthew Stuecken

Oh the power of beauty...just look at her. I love being in this little girl's orbit. She is only three years old, but she gets it. She understands so much. Yesterday a friend at Lottie's preschool told her she was going to Avril's house for a playdate. Not missing a beat, my brilliant granddaughter said, "So...Anna Mai is sleeping over at my house tonight." Not even remotely true, but sometimes a girl has to resort to untruths just to feel good about herself. I mean who needs someone playing at one-upping the very second you get to school. I like the fact that she can think so quickly.

Before lunching with Jane and Lottie, my friend, Betsy and I went on a fabric hunt on La Brea Avenue. Diamond Foam and Fabric, if it's not there you probably won't find it anywhere. What a great place it is. Take a sack, they provide the scissors. Then you just wander around and take snippets of fabrics that appeal. Fabulous. You feel like a cross between a common vandal and a thief. La Brea is one of those great L.A. streets. Need antique hardware for your pre-1930 house or a Moroccan lantern and you'll find it on that stretch of La Brea between Wilshire and Beverly. Towards the northern end of the street you'll find Charlie Chaplin's studio. I haven't been on their studio tour, but I'll bet it's kinda fun. I loved Robert Downey, Jr. in that movie. I don't think I've ever not liked him in a role. I pray that he can stay straight.

I love spending this kind of time with Betsy. She has such curiosity and enthusiasm for life. Plus, she thinks it's a kick to spend time with Lottie. So do her girls, LouLou & Mercedes. Hey, so does her husband, Lee. What a cool family.

Uh oh, it's raining. I'm gonna go watch it out the window. This is LA.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

ROCK ON, Topanga!

Okay, if this big ole rock doesn't impress you, nothing will. Read it as you want, but the most exciting thing to happen here in Topanga Canyon in this New Year was the big rock. Newspaper clippings, emails and phone calls from abroad made us feel pretty damned important. Pretty damned important until just about every flippin' byeline with the big rock pic credited MALIBU and not TOPANGA as the rock's final destination. I know we're close to Malibu and get our very expensive and no doubt designer-blessed water from them, but c'mon...this rock fell in Topanga Canyon and it impacts me, not Goldie & Kurt. I'm almost as excited that I could actually post this picture as the fact that the thing actually fell on my own personal access route to the Pacific.

I love this picture. It looks nothing like Southern California. Neither does the water that is still seeping down the mountain behind our house and pooling alongside our house. A channel has been dug along the house and I regularly go out there with my Restoration Hardware
pale yellow flower market display can to decant this 'moisture' into the drain. Our kitchen floor tile is starting to be affected by the water under the isn't that a big surprise.

ROCK ON Topanga! Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Blinkers Bonkers

When I was leaving my daughter's place the other Friday night, a young Jewish man looking like an extra from that forgettable flick, Yentl, stepped between two parked cars and right in front of my car. It was 8 PM and dark. I slammed on my brakes and he never even looked up. That annoyed me more than anything. Naturally I had to say something... I caught his attention when I yelled, "That satin coat does NOT have special powers. It is NOT like a Batman cape." Oh yeah, I'm good, sheesh. I drove off into the night, talking to myself. I do that more and more. This is turning into a driving rant. I think L.A. freeway drivers are actually pretty good. I think L.A. City drivers are actually pretty good. I think most suburban drivers in the Valley suck. When I first moved here I would hold up my hands in disbelief when blinkers weren't used. Nobody understood what I was reacting to so now I just point to the front wheel of their car and scream, "YOUR TIRE LOOKS FLAT!" That usually gets a reaction. There's no point in saying BLINKERS...ever heard of them? Try using them. Why? It's polite...really, no other reason, it's just polite. And why the fuck wouldn't you want to be a polite driver? Why? I'll tell you why. It's because you don't truly fucking care about any other person other than yourself. I'm sure I'll come back to the blinker rant at some point. It really bugs me, can you tell?

I am so over getting upset over 12 items in a 10 item line. It's blinkers that are now my passion.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Day 2 and still wondering if I've got it right

Well, after typing all sorts of crap about how I couldn't format my text, I discovered how to do it so now the first posting closely resembles the rantings of a complete moron since I immediately effected the changes I couldn't do last night. I like the fact that it can only get better and that any of the four folks in the ether who are interested in anything a crazy grandmother would tapperwhack probably won't notice such inconsistencies...right?

Today was another one of those Southern Californian February days. Sunny, sort of warm and to a woman who lost her ovaries due to an unfortunate series of events (to be discussed later when I feel like it), almost hot flashie in feel. I am learning not to dress according to the month, something I'd like to teach a lot of Angelenos. It looks nothing but silly and sixth graderish to wear Ugg boots and a muffler when it's 80 degrees outside. Note to sixth graders: It does NOT look silly on you, only on your mothers. When I first moved to this canyon from the Midwest, not quite three years ago, every time I went to the Calabasas Ralph's or Gelson's or Whole Foods I was convinced I was seeing most of the porn movie industry actors out doing their grocery shopping. I was charmed that they did their own cooking and felt comfortable enough in their own skin (duhhhhh) not to change out of their work clothes before they went shopping. It has taken me three years, but I now realise that these are not porn stars...they are suburban mothers.

Last night I babysat for Miss Lottie. She used a lot of words that impressed me. She didn't really care if she was using them in the right place...she only cared about using them. I like that in her. She offered me a french fry and when I maturely declined it she said, "That's amazing, Nana." I liked the fact that she was demonstrably impressed with my ability to "just say no." Later, when we were playing a kind of dominos that involved Disney characters, she was equally amazed when she lost. She said calmly, "I'm amazed." Quite frankly, I was too. I was trying to let her win and screwed up.

Tomorrow I'll tell you how I almost ran over a Jewish chap who stepped between two parked cars in Hollywood. He was wearing lots of black. Right now we (my man and I) are off to see "The Aviator."

Friday, February 04, 2005

how hard can it be?

How hard can it be? This blogging thing. Does my descent into the nether depths of age make it all that much tougher? Is that the problem? I've got all sorts of rants, all sorts of reasonable and unreasonable reactions to life. Hell, I can't even figure out how to change the font, much less its size. And what is HTML anyway? Damn. I think I jumped into this too quickly. I thought I'd called myself DottyNana and now I find that DottyNana is just a posting.

Like right this minute, I'd like to start a new paragraph, but can I? Apparently not. This afternoon I happily drove down my canyon to the Pacific. My canyon recently had a 25-foot high boulder land smack in the middle of it. Road closures, international press coverage, phone calls and emails from points east. Hell, said boulder even made the NY Times, and God knows they just don't print anything...anymore that is. I was happy to drive down the canyon to the Pacific this afternoon. On Monday, for the first time in almost a month, the road was open, both directions, from 3:30 to 7 PM. I felt liberated. Goodbye Tuna Canyon, hello Topanga. And so, I eventually joined half of Los Angeles on the 10 freeway headed east. Rush hour doesn't bother me when I'm headed off to the primary object of my affection granddaughter, Lottie.