Thursday, May 29, 2008

Um, Hello. I'll Just Make Myself Scarce for Awhile

I spent the night at my daughter's and just got home a few minutes ago. Her hubs is out o' town in Prague on a film shoot and she'd bought tickets a while back for The Police/Elvis Costello concert at The Hollywood Bowl. And while I know your amphitheaters are great, I'm telling you, this one is probably at least as good or better. It's hard to beat the location. So this afternoon when I got home, I watched the hummingbirds do their pissed off dance around my fountain and knew it was time to top up the water level. I was wearing my shoewear of choice this year...Croc's flipflops (you can run in these). Two years ago, when I had a similar sighting (as the one below), I was wearing Havaiana flipflops (not so easy to run). If these discoveries continue, I'm just going to wear my sturdy, red walking shoes at all times.

Wait, oh shit, don't move, let me go get my camera

Study of snake and broken wind chime pipe
Snake and hose.

I'm not really sure what to do when I see a snake, besides run away flapping my hands and screaming, "ohmygod, ohmygod." This time I wanted to take pictures first, then doing the flapping bit and then call the fire department. Part of me hates doing that but the other part, the grandmother part, knows you have to do it in case the snake is nesting or living in one's 'garden.' And the reason I hate doing that? Because this is what they do...or what they did...a year ago. Today's snake was a lot bigger than last years, though.

Below are copied and pasted bits from the previous snakeie posting.

Can you see it...look carefully, on the right. A rattler. And I almost stepped on it. Shit. It had obviously just crawled out from some chilly undergrowth and was searching for some warmth. Luckily, it was still a slow mover. I took the other stairs back up to the house and got Himself who was on the phone with his sister in Wales. I mouthed, "IT'S IMPORTANT! IT'S A RATTLER!" We both ran back down so I could show him what had almost killed me and we both determined that it should be moved, back up into the canyon, away from homes and humans and we did try to get him in big plastic rubbish bin but he rattled furiously and slithered away. Freaky fast and then he was under a rock. Himself kept an eye on him while I dialed 911. They put me on to the local Topanga Fire Department and they dispatched a pair of firefighters to, I presumed, move this rattler, perhaps to Topanga State Park.

But no, they didn't come to move it, they came to kill it. And I felt like shit because they killed a creature that has more claim to this land than I. Sure, I rationalize it. Little kids play here. Rattlers are beyond dangerous. But I still don't feel good about today.
Tomorrow we're going to buy this grabbing device that will allow us to capture, contain and move any future snakes that choose to visit.

And guess what...we still haven't bought the grabbing device thing.

Update: We think it was a Gopher Snake...which may be why it didn't rattle at me.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

How Do You Say Brunch in French?

I suspect the French don't eat brunch, but today my French class (and spouses or boyfriends) are coming here for brunch. It's a joint affair, everyone wanted to bring something and while I like that idea, I can't remember what they said they'd bring. I know I'm making the eggy dishes and I did write it all down, somewhere between Que préferéez-vous, la cuisine francaise tradionelle ou la nouvelle cuisine and de quelle partie des Etats-Unis etes-vous a l'origine but can I flippin' find it? And the gal who was promising a fruit salad...did she change her mind and say she'd bring ginger scones and, if so, is she doing both?

Update: She brought both! And they were incroyably fabulous.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Olbermann To Bush: "This War Is Not About You...Shut The Hell Up!"

Keith Olbermann, yet again, says it so very well.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Back from Portland

Man, when I take a break, I'm serious about it. April 28 was my last post and while I have thought countless times per day, "That would be a fun/sad/miserable/
fucking awful thing to write about," apparently nothing really made its way to my fingertips. Still, I am giving myself points for bloggity thoughts.

We had a substitute teacher today in my water aerobics class. Her name is Gina and she is kept buoyant by dint of the large and floatiness of her fake tits. She's nice enough, albeit a little on the dull side but I was doing well enough with all her crazy ways of keeping us busy, deeply sighing so only I could hear and wearing an unnaturally sunny half-smile. Gina is always bouncing around the club, happily drawing attention to her 22" waist and 40" perky globes and I rarely think anything aside from "oh there's Gina...she looks happy." Seriously. I see that many enhanced women when I wander into the Calabasas Gelson's every day that I rarely think "oh for chrissakes" anymore. As a matter of fact, the day we moved to Topanga (almost six years ago) I had to head down the hill for milk and stuff and I went into Gelson's since I knew where it was. Driving back home I was pretty astounded that I'd seen half the porn movie industry doing their grocery shopping at the same time. Amazing, I thought and drove faster so I could get up the hill and tell Roger about the excitement of it all. I had seen Boogie Nights and knew that the Valley was porn central, but I didn't realize it was located quite this far west. But I'd read it all wrong. These weren't the actors or the extras, these were just Calabasas moms doing their grocery shopping, pants slung precariously low with Juicy emblazoned across the ass and necklines way south of cleavage to enhance the allure of their jutting mammaries. Funny how you get used to things.

But yesterday we flew home from our four days in Portland which I do believe is the complete and total antithesis of Los Angeles and Gina, therefore, was almost a little shocking. We went there to help our friend, Lee, celebrate his 60th and to hang with Betsy who had just had her first chemotherapy a couple of days before we arrived and it was wonderful to be with them both in their new digs. Still, Portland is so very different from L.A.

Things I noticed in Portland:

  • Tits that are low-slung, not blouses. So not only does the average gal in Portland seem to shun implants, she also shuns the humble bra.
  • Socks on grown-ups when it's hot outside. Socks with skirts. Socks with shorts. Socks with sandals. Socks.
  • Frizzy hair. It's a lot more humid up there.
  • People who aren't that good looking but very hip in a resale shop/retro kinda way. You get used to the beauty in Los Angeles and it's almost shocking when you see normal looking people in such abundance.
  • Lots of hip wine bars filled with lots of women. Even women with babies having a glass of wine with the baby nestled comfily in a sling. I particularly liked that approach to babies and life and nursing.
  • Smiles. These people seriously smile a lot. And nice? I've never been around such overtly nice people. It made me a little uncomfortable at times but I was gradually getting used to it.
  • People apologizing for know, stuff like this woman not holding the bathroom door open for me when she went in a good 10' in front of me and didn't notice me until the door was closing when she hauled it open and said, seriously, 'ohmygodi'msorryididn'tsee you.' That kind of thing. I hate to sound all city-hard, but for a minute I thought maybe she was crazy. She wasn't. Just nice.
  • A woman taking her cat, Salami, for a run down a busy street...without a leash. Salami knew how to hang tight with her owner (who was nice and had frizzy hair, wasn't wearing a bra and was wearing socks with her sort of dressy sandals).
  • Fantastic restaurants all over the place. The choice was staggering. This is a seriously food and wine-driven town and the choices are pretty exciting. We had dinner on Thursday night at Le Pigeon (no french accent please) and aside from their throwing foie gras into stuff for what I believe to be the shock value (a peanut butter mini cookie laced with foie gras was hideous, in my opinion), the food was superb. Seriously good stuff.
  • Ten minutes. That's how long it takes you to get anywhere in Portland. At least it seemed that way. Amazing.
  • Rhododendrons and azaleas and roses and dogwood abundance. So beautiful. And moss. They say it doesn't rain that much, but there's a lot of moss around which makes me believe that even if it doesn't rain all the time, it has to be damp and cloudy (a lot).
  • Slow drivers. It's a good thing, I'm sure, but it sort of felt uncomfortable, like everyone was just a little weirded out by this newfangled four-wheeled invention. They are that used to good public transportation, walking and biking.
  • Pedestrian's rights. A car will cheerfully stop for you and wait until you're safely on the other side of the road before proceeding even when you're not in a crosswalk. I tried not to make eye contact with drivers whenever I thought about crossing the street. I felt badly that they would screech to a stop just because I wanted to cross.
  • Betsy and Lee. They could be anywhere and we'd go, but I'm sure glad they chose a city as cool as Portland.
If we hadn't lived in Newcastle-upon-Tyne for several years, Portland may have tempted me a bit more as a place where I'd consider living. But all that moss...for now I was happy to come home to the brilliant sunshine and insane temperatures (early heat wave), the heavenly scent of sage, lavender and rosemary that permeates the hillsides around my house and most of the things that make Southern California our home for now. The scene at Gelson's? That not so much.