Give Me Space

Alf and I made plans to spend the day in Carmel the weekend after Christmas.

Instead of taking the sane way, we chose the back roads that took us through the center of Gilroy and up and around and down the mountains that paralleled highway 101. That turned out to be a 30-minute detour that left Alf fuming and me hyperventilating. The day was already ruined.

What were we thinking? We envisioned a casual stroll down cobbled stone streets, lazily peering into store windows for the Christmas decor, enjoying a leisurely lunch at a French restaurant expertly prepared by the chef of many years with a fine reputation.

Instead we jostled our way down the streets side-stepping the tourists with their pedigree dogs, which didn’t want strangers petting them with gooey fingers from their over-priced pastries. Why don’t people leave their dogs at home? When did it turn trendy to wear them shopping? I can sort of understand a purse dog, if you can call that thing a dog, but a Burmese Mountain dog? There’s no avoiding him, he’s a defense tackler blocking the street.

I saw more dogs than children. Probably the kids stayed home with the grandparents and the dogs went to town. There’s something wrong here. IMG_9666

Lines were out the door at every decent restaurant. Casual wear in the stores was priced at $300 and up. And that was the sale price. Really? I can get that same sweatshirt online for $15.95.

It was cold gorgeous – sharp blue skies, piercing sunlight – boot and jacket weather. Boots were popular. Everybody was wearing them, except me. I checked the price of an elegant leather pair that caught my eye – $475. With a few more dollars, I’ll go to Europe.

The art galleries disappointed me. Mostly touristy seascapes in glaring colors, the kind you see in every beach town from Maui to La Jolla to Acapulco. I think the same painters make a circuit. Jose takes Acapulco, Sven’s is Carmel, Max paints in a bar in Maui, and Teresa is the barracuda in La Jolla. They’re all related. These were Teresa’s last three husbands.

Calvin says, “Next time leave Alf home and take me. My nose needs an outing and I love gooey.” beagle

I Picked Up a Little Something Yesterday

I left the office yesterday to stretch my legs. There’s something inhuman about sitting in a desk chair all day long. The experts tell us that sitting for that length of time everyday is what makes us fat. So I shoved myself out the door and took a walk.

As soon as I came out of the building I saw a woman carrying a white, fluffy dog. She was across the street, and from where I stood the dog looked like a stuffed animal because he didn’t move. She carried him like a baby. I walked down the hill and she crossed the street and we met at the corner, where an exercise class at the Cardiobarre was happening. She stopped and showed him the class through the window. The dog, a Bichon Frise, sporting red shoes and matching coat, seemed quite happy being held and shown bodies bending in ballet routines at the bar.

“May I take your picture?” I asked as I approached her.

She stared me down a second and said, “No.”

That was a first. People on the whole are narcissists and usually say yes.

“I’ll let you hold the dog and I’ll take your picture,” she said.  Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 2.53.41 PM

“That’s even better,” I said.

She placed the pooch in my arms, I gave her my phone and she clicked.

“Thank you,” I said handing back the warm and compliant beast.

“He’s a service dog, you know. He has 78 matching outfits for work,” she said.

Calvin says, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in a get-up like that. I’d be the laughing stock of all the rabbits out there.” beagle

A Blaze of Glory

I spent the week in Oregon gawking at the trees wearing their fall fashion colors.

One was more beautiful than the other.

The palette went from reds, pinks and beige to oranges, yellows and sage greens.  photo (78)

I enjoy walking under the trees and looking up. The experience is so beautiful it hurts. I’m enveloped in color, but it’s more than that. It’s as if the tree itself is apprehending me and all my senses are being acted upon, whispering its message.

I call it a porthole to heaven, a sample of what’s to come. And it creates a longing for more.

The experience lasts and gains strength, even as I reflect back on it later on. I am gripped by it. It wrenches me away from myself. It forces me to pay attention to the clues all around me that point to another place, just beyond my reach.

Calvin says, “Oh brother, you’re waxing too philosophical for me. Those trees are there for peeing, for telling the world I was there.”beagle

 

Give Mom a Kick-Butting Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner.

That horrid one day of the year when families take mom out for brunch and fuss over her with eggs Benedict and Mimosas. Then she’s returned to the daily grind and all is forgotten.

I’m sure the restaurant industry contrived the holiday to beef up their bottom line in May.

What if mom doesn’t like eggs with a last name and orange juice spiked with bubbles? Maybe she prefers her steak grilled with a heaping plateful of shoestring potatoes and a large pitcher of sangria?

And please don’t give her a cheesy card with a sappy greeting that a computer spit out last century that you found in the greeting card aisle at the supermarket next to the artificial smelling air fresheners for the house. Definitely don’t buy one of those either.

Instead, head out to the mall and buy her an all expense paid shopping spree to her favorite shoe store. Or put her on a plane to a beach somewhere. Or give her a lifetime of body massages at the Holistic Health Clinic where Mai, the masseuse will be happy to walk all over her back.

Then install the dog in the pet hotel so she doesn’t have to walk him for a month.

Hire a private chef for the rest of the year and give her a break in the kitchen.

Oh wait. The kitchen. It needs a desperate overhaul before Wolfgang can cook there.

Maybe mom has a dream she’d like to focus on for a change. Provide her with the tools she needs. Lipstick, make-up, haircut and color, liposuction, a new wardrobe.

Singing lessons? Maybe she’s always wanted to develop her voice beyond yelling at the kids.

Calvin says, “My mom never got to develop herself. I know she had a secret nobody else knew. She always wanted to be an owner.”

Conversations on the Run2

“A kitchen is the room you walk through on the way to the restaurant,” one wealthy woman said to another in an interior design shop.

“I decided to cook at my mother’s country house and the odor was horrible. I discovered I had baked a mouse in the oven. We had pizza that night. Meatless,” my friend said at the cafe.

“Store all your valuables within easy reach of your pistol,” said the police officer to his partner.

“First rule of marriage: husband always guilty, wife always innocent,” one Asian woman to another in the subway.

“I love your outfit,” one woman said to another. “That’s because I’m from Chicago,” said the other.

Calvin says, “I store all my valuables under your pillow.”