Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day 2017: Or Possibly, Probably, the Penultimate Purple Post

This past week was a bit of a challenge.  James was in Alabama - on business - and I was alone tending to dogs and domicile.  My Ex used to travel about one third of the year, so by comparison, the occasional trip James makes is "no big deal".  But, it kind of is.

First there is the missing of the conversations that we have all the time.  I even miss our moment of disagreements.  I really enjoy the former and often have learned or re-learned a lesson or two from the latter.  Sometimes.

Then there are all little chores that take place around the house.  When he is not here I need to make time to take two walks with dogs rather than one.  Same goes when it comes to the hand watering of the garden and the whole getting and fixing food.  No big whine; just a change, just time lost from other projects.

On Friday, as James was flying back from a week in Huntsville, I attended a conference entitled "Historical Fiction/Fictional Histories" at the Huntington Library.  It was a deep dive into the Scholorland Pool.  I think the most intriguing phrase I heard was dubious facticity.   Yup, let that roll around your head for awhile.  Now think about the phrase bouncing around with other ideas - is an historical fiction automatically counterfactual...counter plausible..power fashions the name...your name becomes your identity...historical instability of names.  And all of this before lunch.

After lunch it was time to get my hair dyed.  Then home to greet my honey before he took a nap.

That evening  I went with my dear friend Laura to see "The Sweetheart Deal".  Why not my honey? Well, although I was thrilled that James had returned, I knew he would be snoring by 7.  The play began at 8.  Besides it is always great to spend time with Laura.  It is a play that is filled with the doubts and joys and questions that accompany political activism.   Won't write more; don't want to spoil the plot.

Saturday morning I was back at the "history conference".  How do we measure the truth in they history we know?  How far can one be from an event and have the greatest degree of accuracy?  A measure set by the Scots was 60 years; for the most part this is beyond adult living memory of those who were alive when the memory was made.

Yesterday afternoon we went way out to San Juan Capistrano.  Our friends' son graduated from USC. Gathering was at The Reata Park and Event Center.  Lots of California native plants and lots of open space.  James took these pictures.  We'll need to figure out their names and see if they will grow inland.

When we got home and I looked at Facebook it turned out that a lot of my friends were wondering what my hair looked like.  I shared that wearing a purple top made me feel like  I was an escapee from Marvel Comics and that I hadn't figured out what my superpower might be.

It occurred to me this Mother's Day morning that my superpower may the same as a lot of other women. We may be Moms or Nanas or Aunts or Sisters or Mentors.  

With or without our paisley capes we are inclined to give big hugs or encouraging words.   
Happy Mother's Day

The Sweetheart Deal

Reata Park

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Shed of My Own

I remember reading Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" when I was in high school.   I don't remember what drew me to read it.  Perhaps it was the cover - sort of an aqua blue with black line drawing - or it could have been mentioned by my far more worldly friend, Roberta Ikemi.  Or it could have been referred to when I was reading something else.  Or, or, or.

Whatever the reason, reading it reinforced some ideas that were developing for me.  The idea that writing had merit, the idea that men and women were often treated differently because of their sex, and the idea that creative expression was something I could do.

It was exciting to read the book because Woolf questioned the status quo.  That was most appealing to a child of the 60s.

Zoom forward about a half century and I find myself fortunate to have a space that is my own.

It is a way from the responsibilities of the house and home.  It is a sort of writing refuge. 

This space is 6' X 8', acknowledges the four directions, and furnished with small bargains;

or items found around the house.  

That impulse purchase that was made at Ikea 8 years ago that never found a place in the house but was too cool to toss or to go to Goodwill.

In this space I can write; energized by early morning bird songs.  

I can watch aurora play with ceanothus shadow leaves.  

It's a place where time can be taken to find the right words to tell the tale; whatever that tale might be.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Gracias, Tierra Madre and Juliet Gordon Lowe

The sun has just risen over the urban treeline.  I sit in the shed and enjoy the shifting lights and shadows.  Not new and novel at a moment. The morning breeze shifts in pace and temperature.  The shadows of the ceanothus and nopal shift, too.   What had been a wall of solid color is now a plane of form and texture that remind me of the old silent pictures; zoetrope in muted colors of grey and coral instead of greyscale.

I like this place.  Looking forward to spending more time here.

The past couple of weeks since the wedding have been filled with good things mostly.  James and I went to Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens.  Spring was in the midst of being sprung.

We also walked through an exhibit on the work of Marcus Jones.  Ten points for you if you know who that is.  I had no idea.  He was a fellow who, like a lot of folks at the turn of the 20th century, came to the west and explored the botanical and cultural flora and fauna.  He kept detailed records that have proven useful to this day.  He wondered and wandered about the earth; celebrating her gifts.

I've also been to the Santa Monica History Museum and walked through the exhibit on Girl Scouts.  Fun thing about that exhibit is that it was curated by two Scouts who were completing their Silver Award.  I recognized several of the historical uniforms.  They were not thought of as historical when I wore them.

It was enlightening to read about the well-known women who had been Scouts.

Last year when I turned 64 I asked friend for suggestions of things that I might do this year.  Went with my friend and did one of those things - sort of.  On a Monday morning we rose up fairly early, picked up coffee, and then headed out the Angeles Crest to look for Big Horn Sheep.  They rose up earlier than we did.  There were none in sight when we arrived.

But there was this really gneiss rock and what a vista.

Last week James and I went to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.  
We were ready to be blown away by a different vista.  

Blown away was the phrase;  it was so windy all the poppies were closed.  It was beautiful to see them ripple in the wind, when I wasn't focused on keeping my hat on my head.

Today the plan is stay at home.   There will still be lots to see.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Chuy Prius (2005-2017)

Last Friday we donated our 2005 Prius to KPCC.  He was 12 years old and had 172, 172 miles when he quit working.  James and I miss him already; for all the memories we were able to make while we drove him.  

Poem for a Prius: or I’ve Never Owned a Car Without a Name
Brunhilde was first. 
Round, red Beetle, respite for poets and singers
Lars was the Volvo who followed;
Square of back and old of brake
Balloo was blue and big
Enough to carry babyseats and Girl Scouts
PT, the Red sporty Cruiser
Would have made my dad smile
And then came Chuy Prius
An inside joke in honor of a musician

He held a lot
Full voiced singing between here and Portland, OR
A howl that still reverberates on the plains of Wyoming
Snores galore when he acted as our sleep room
And so many memories

Driving through Dunsmuir

The Source; a means to spend time with our Northern Familia

The Mileage Enhancer; San Diego slid to the road trip column

Long trips, where he was our Morning Greeter

Secure Site, when bisons were among us

 Surprisingly volumatic when need - to help friends to trick out their homes

Travel times with James, when and I could talk for miles 
About the near, the dear, and the silly;
Things that keep our love vibrant.

Thanks for the memories, Chuy.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The writing is in the shed

Who knows where an idea starts?  Is it seeing a cool Tiny House in Portland?  A gorgeous mobile home in Carlsbad?  The playhouse at my Nina's home in Highland Park? 
Whatever the source, in January I found myself seriously looking into a shed that would become a writing shed.

We ended up at SoCal Sheds because they had a lot of models visible from the freeway.  Sometimes the reason is location, location, location.  And so began the trail that sent us back to Menifee and the models by the freeway.

The up side - so many choices.  The down side - so many choices.  I felt a bit like Goldilocks.  

Too elaborate 

Too tall 

Too expensive  

And then, the right size and the right fit.

And then and then.  
A shed was built in our backyard.

Six feet by eight feet of space with doubled paned windows and a roof.

A shed with a view.

The primer is on.  

Let the writing begin.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Indoor Stylin'

Over the past few months James and I have been scurrying around the house.  I think the wedding led us to some hardcore nesting at the house.

January was spent looking at old videos of Casa Martinez and then cataloguing more than 150 episodes.  I was proud of the work that our team produced.  Many of the topics were still timely.  It is a kick to see yourself on camera as a woman who is 20 years younger than the one you see in the morning as you brush your teeth.

It was also in January that James and I started to look at renovating our kitchen.  I'd been doing dribs and drabs of changes, but now we were on to taking cabinet doors down and painting them.  Our kitchen became one color  - Analytical Gray - with trim, rather than three colors with trim.

One night while we were at Ikea, James asked about the work they do with countertops.  Long story short; they were too exacting for us to go ahead with them, but the seed had been planted.  Before we knew it we were zooming around looking for countertop stores, tiles, and tilers.

In the course of the search we found the following places helpful:
Tap and Tile, Duarte Tile and Stone, CV Tile and Stone, Colores de Mexico, Patricio Tile, B&W Tile, and Gon'z Decorations, Inc.

Cabinet City in San Gabriel was our choice for countertop.  The workers that came to remove our old counter and to set its replacement reminded me what it's like to work with folks with whom you don't share a common language.  James was in the lead on that effort and I think I poured him a scotch shortly thereafter.

Thanks to input from artist and friend Liz Espinoza we decided to go with 3" tile.

Do you know that that is unusual?  I learned it is.  Which is why the list of tile places is so long.

Miguel, of Colores de Mexico, highly recommended Marco the Tile Man.  After a couple of false starts he came to the house to start the work.  He shook his head when he saw that we had 3" tiles.  The mathematical work needed was going to be too great.  Then I showed him a mock-up that James had done.

That changed everything.  We were ready to zip down Tile Road.

This was the only picture I was able to get of Marco.  He gathers no moss.  

And we enjoy the benefit of that fact.