I was overweight. Me and my luggage. The agent behind the airline counter said I should remove something otherwise it would cost me $200 in fees. “Do you do liposuction?” He had no sense of humor. I lugged the bag over to a scale and hoisted it on with all my might. I was only 7 pounds over the permissible 50. “Cut me some slack,” I thought with my heart pounding. I was facing a 14-hour flight. What was a measly 7 pounds? I looked over at him. He pointed to a sign that said, “50 lb. limit.” I pulled out my make-up bag. That did the trick. But now my purse was so heavy it threatened to pull my shoulder out of its socket.
Even with TSA pre-check and an escort from CLEAR, my purse was pulled off the conveyor belt for inspection. No kidding. It overflowed. The agents were looking for a sharp object. They decided it was the camera lens I was carrying for a friend. I knew it was my nail file and dagger attitude.
When I got to the gate, or tried to, there was another security check with pat downs, checking of bags and screening for chemicals on my clothes. I went through that twice. I ran upstairs to buy another purse to divide my overload in two places. Both times I had to go through security. That’s the price you pay to fly to Israel.
It made me ask why we don’t do this in all our airports. Why only on flights to Israel? It’s because Israel demands it. So why don’t we? We’re too lenient and too trusting. TSA isn’t going to catch every bad guy in the first run through. We need two screenings, especially one just before boarding. That way we can x-ray your therapy dog and your neck pillow.
Calvin says, “That would mean I’d get x-rayed again, and that slab of bacon I stole from the fridge would be discovered.”
“How could you have lost a plunger?” the clerk at the hardware store asked on the phone. “What did you do with it?”
Clearly this was a repeat customer. Her tone of voice gave her away.
Was he asking for a replacement or help in finding it? I didn’t stick around to find out, but it did make me curious.
How could you lose a plunger? How could you lose any plumbing tool for that matter? They’re large enough to trip over.
I’ve lost rings down bathroom drains, wallets at the check-out stand in supermarkets. I even lost Calvin once on a walk. He gave me signs that he was sufficiently trained to obey me, so I let him off leash. I blinked and he was gone. The next thing I heard him baying like a coyote in heat. He found a hole in the fence and wiggled through to run after a hare. I called him, but he was deaf. He was camouflaged in a thicket of bushes. I called louder. Nothing. I couldn’t climb the fence without tearing my body into pieces. I kept calling louder, but I was getting nowhere. By then I was hoarse. Finally I found a gate, unlocked it and ran through it. I spent an hour running all over the park calling for him. A park ranger drove by and stopped. I told him I was looking for my beagle. Had he seen him? The ranger laughed. I wanted to swat him. He said he’d keep an eye out. Did I want a lift back to my car? Yes, please. I was exhausted and ready to sob. How was I going to tell my son that I lost his dog?
When we pulled up to my car, the ranger laughed again. There was Calvin sitting on his haunches waiting for me.
Calvin says, “I remember that episode. And you thought I was the idiot.”
Yesterday evening I took a walk around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights on houses, Santas in front yards, and wreaths on front doors. Except there weren’t any. I asked myself if I had the right month. I checked my phone. Yep, I did. What happened to my neighbors? Then it hit me. Most of the neighbors that traditionally went wild with their lights and front lawn decorations have fled the area for warmer pastures. I miss them. They had a spirit of Christmas I didn’t so I lived on their enthusiasm. They brightened up the neighborhood and made us smile. We were proud people who basked in their twinkling lights. We could count on them every year. Now they were gone and took the spirit of Christmas with them. Santa’s sleigh and reindeer are now flying high over sand dunes. And no, I’m not going to take over the tradition. You’re lucky if I have a bow on my front door. Inside the house is another matter. I enjoy displaying several trees in the living room, lights over the mantelpiece, and Christmas cards on a table.
So I gave up on Christmas decorations, and settled for the natural growth around the neighborhood. Here are some pictures.
Calvin says, “Yeah, I miss those midnight walks. I tingled with excitement.”
This is what I saw on my way to the office this morning. A beautifully decorated tree on the street, curbside. No lights. Was it waiting for a taxi, I mean Uber? Maybe since it was standing there in front of the building where Uber has its offices. If it was a gimmick, it worked on me. I asked a security guard and he said, “It was leaking so they brought it out.” Wait till the dog walkers and their pups notice this. A Christmas tree just for them!
The things one sees during the holidays.
I had coffee last weekend with a friend. I ran into a woman and her beagle at the entrance of the shop and bolted inside before she captured me. She will talk to anyone for ages about her dog and how much it’s costing her to keep him alive. Something in the vicinity of $20,000. He pooch has two bionic knees otherwise he wouldn’t have made it. He’s now on expensive drugs for skin allergies. And the list goes on. Every time I’m at the coffee shop she’s there, so I suspect she goes every weekend in search of an audience. The man in the picture? That’s her husband. Notice the delighted expression on his face.
I thought this planter decoration was great. Different. Colorful. Something to use all winter long. It was lobby decor in a building that used to be home to the local post office. Now we have to hunt for where it moved to. No forwarding address.
Calvin says, “I’m signing a DNR. Do not reconstruct. Me.”
The pumpkins are out. All kinds, shapes and colors. They make me smile. I can’t explain why except maybe it’s the color and the texture that draws me in. Something so ordinary has so many interesting features, like a black and white photograph of an old man with the wrinkles of time carved into his face.
It takes 85-125 days, about 4 months, to grow a normal size pumpkin. The mini variety can be grown on a trellis or fence. So even high-rise techie dwellers with a balcony can get into the harvest mood. Who knew?
I love to line up the minis down the middle of my dining room table, and they’re pretty on a mantelpiece in a row. But the place for most impact is in a large basket on the living room coffee table next to your blue coffee mug. It must be the color of the sky if your basket is filled with orange pumpkins. Blue and orange are complementary colors and make a good pairing.
If you have the time, paint one black and white. That’s always a stunner. In fact black and white patterns elevate any space. Try it.
I think I’ll paint my pumpkins this season in polka-dots and stripes and line them up on my driveway. They’ll act as landing lights into my garage when I get home.
Calvin says, “What’s that funny looking squash with bones painted on it doing in my food bowl?”
We’ve had two weeks of President Trump and the country is upside down in turmoil, or so the media tells us. Now the speculation is whether Melania will be joining her husband in the White House or keeping to her high-rise luxurious surroundings in New York. Either place she can’t go very far anymore without a Secret Service detail following her every step. Where’s the fun in that? She might as well immigrate to the White House where the action is. I hope she emerges as one of the best First Ladies we’ve had in years because she’s certainly going to turn heads wherever she goes.
Now there’s talk of California wanting to secede and become its own country. Sort of what England has done with the EU. Except are we ready for Hollywood to run the place? You don’t think they’ll keep Sacramento as the state capitol do you, when they have studio lots galore where they can set up a throne for the president? And who would be president? Arnold Schwarzenegger? At least he had a real run at politics as governor. Martin Sheen? I suppose he could refer back to his fake experience as president in the West Wing. I know. Tony Robbins. He’s so popular and has helped so many lost souls regain their emotional equilibrium that he’d win by a landslide. Besides, how long can Tony keep walking over live coals and bellowing, “You can do it!” He needs a new gig.
Calvin says, “I like the sound of citizen of California. I’d get a beagle green card and better food.”
This is the time of year for majestic sunrises and sunsets.
I see them because I’m on the subway at those hours.
While I’m busy clicking away, my traveling companions have their earbuds and electronic devises on.
They’re watching their shows, but missing a better one outside.
This phenomena even happens on a walk in the country.
The trees are in full blossom, the creek is gurgling, the ravens are cawing in the trees, the squirrels are zooming across meadows full of wildflowers, and the hikers? They’re plugged into their music with heads down watching their feet.
Thank you technology.
You’ve made us blind. We now prefer our inner landscape where there’s nothing to see because it’s dark in there.
If we can’t enjoy nature anymore, what makes us believe we can enjoy each other?
Calvin says, “That’s why you need a dog to watch so he doesn’t roll in that wonderful, foul smelling cow manure.”