That Ridiculous List

I hate New Year’s resolutions, so here are some of mine to hopefully make you laugh, because as we all know nobody lives up to this ridiculous list.

  1. Flush the guilt down the toilet. What has it done for you this year?
  2. Only spend time with people who add richness to your life. Flush the others, along with the guilt, down the toilet.
  3. Do more writing. Get that book written. painting19
  4. Consider walking an extra mile every evening. Only one a day isn’t doing it.
  5. Speak up more. Slap down those boundaries.
  6. Forget being nice. Where has it gotten you?
  7. Try authentic on for size. You might like it better.
  8. Remember some people use words as weapons. Don’t show up for the fight.
  9. Let me know how #8 works for you. Share your bulletproof vest.
  10. Fear rules most of us. Turn it on its head. Revel in being alive today.
  11. Don’t buy that puppy to keep you warm on so many levels. A good chocolate souffle will do the same without the vet bills.
  12. Invite more people into your home. It’s where to know them better.
  13. Listen more. Look for the extraordinary in them.
  14. Affirm others. They’re starving for it. One trait, that’s all it takes.
  15. Yank those weeds from the garden. I mean your heart.

Calvin says, “A chocolate souffle, eh? Well then, I’ll find another home where my warm body and doggie breath will be adored.”  beagle

 

 

Tickled in Pink

Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo is an experience in gaudy wonderfulness. Something I’d never want to live in, not even for an overnight stay. But if you need to be transported to another era, actually several eras, this is a one-stop wonder. Better than Universal Studios.

As soon as you step inside, you’re enveloped in pink. Look down at your feet and pink roses stare back up from the carpet. Pink upholstery on the seats. The always popular pink champagne cakes sit very pink in the cabinets. The tablecloths and napkins in the steak house are pink too. Bubblegum pink with your medium rare rib-eye? Those are competing colors. Apparently it’s been working for 60 years. The doors leading to the kitchens have stained glass windows. The one in the steak house has a red rose. Now that’s more like it.

“I feel I’m inside a flock of flamingos, “Alf said. IMG_4214

Why pink, I asked myself. Turns out Alex Madonna liked the red upholstery in fancy restaurants of the day and he wanted the same look without copying it. So pink it was.

I’ve never liked the color pink. In my opinion it’s a faded red, a poor excuse for crimson, a blush of berry.

To decorate an entire restaurant with it is madness. But 60 years ago it was the destination for everyone driving to and from LA. Except truck drivers wouldn’t get caught dead in there.

It became a destination hot spot.

Shows you that taste isn’t everything.

Calvin says, “Slow down the judgment dearie, you’ve got some funky colors going on in our house.” beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Search and Rescue

“How could you have lost a plunger?” the clerk at the hardware store said 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 check-out stands 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 dash after a hare. I called him, but he was deaf. Unlike sheep who obey the shepherd’s voice, Calvin ignored me as if he didn’t belong to anybody. He was his own master, and that scared me to death.  IMG_0130

So much for the love and care I had given him over the years. So much for the training that didn’t stick. So much for the intense distress this was putting me through. He plainly didn’t care.

And then there was my son. This was his dog. He left him in my care while he went to college. “Son, I lost your dog. He’s probably dead. I’m sorry.”

Calvin was camouflaged in a thicket of bushes. I called louder. Nothing. I couldn’t climb the fence without tearing my body in pieces. I kept calling louder until I was hoarse. A park ranger heard me and opened a gate in the fence and let me in. I walked for miles calling Calvin’s name. Birds flew overhead. Squirrels rushed by me. Calvin was nowhere to be seen.

I never thought I’d do it, but after an hour I gave up.  I turned back and walked to the car weeping.

As I got closer, I saw a silhouette of an animal by the driver’s side of the car.

It was Calvin, sitting there, waiting for me, with a smirk on his face.

Two emotions came flooding in. The first was relief that I wouldn’t have to tell my son his dog was dead. The second, I wanted to kill his dog.

Calvin says, “My body may have escaped, but my heart was always yours.”

beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Am I Really Me?

The latest craze is DNA testing to know where you came from. There are a slew of online companies happy to do it for a swab of spit and a fee. Several of my colleagues at work have done it.

Some have been delighted with the results, others not so much. For them their family tree didn’t match who they thought they were. Image result for dna tests

“I think I’m adopted,” one of them said to me this week. He’s now making inquiries with relatives to see if they had lied to him to all his life. This is a family disruption on the grandest scale.

My question is, are the results accurate? I can just imagine the warehouses of desks, testing equipment and computers for workers making minimum wage who have been entrusted with your spit. I think your relatives are more trustworthy, that is if they can be counted on to speak the truth.

I haven’t succumbed yet. I’m happy to stay oblivious and believe I am who I am. Besides, what if I found out I’ve been living a fake identity? That I have more Inuit blood in me than I could ever imagine and that my love of Indian food is because…you guessed it.

Calvin says, “Who cares? It’s another form of entertainment to get you off course from your real purpose in life.”

beagle

 

Bring Out the Tamales

IMG_9279What is it about holiday parties that they always seem the same? I’ve hosted hundreds of them, attended even more, and every one of them is a replica of years past. The dinner whether served buffet style or delivered to the table, is usually the same fare – the requisite ham, turkey, and green bean casserole. I know some of you love all this tradition, but I don’t. I want to bring out the chicken smothered in mole sauce with a garnish of pomegranate seeds. Or a steaming hot bowl of pho with hard boiled egg, thin slices beef and mint leaves. I know. The kids would go “Eeu!” and grandma would roll her eyes and keel over. Mention Christmas and your taste buds come scrambling into your mouth, all jostling for position to be first in line for tradition.

Did you know that smell is the strongest sense we have? We can lose our eyesight, our taste buds can go south, touch is no longer accurate, and sound, well, don’t get me started. Smell, on the other hand, can take you back to your childhood when you came running into your mother’s kitchen to snatch a slice of freshly baked bread slathered with rich butter. Or it can remind you of your first glass of pink champagne when you breathed in the bubbles and they raced up your nose and made you sneeze like crazy, or when you got a whiff of a gardenia bush on a hot summer night letting off it’s sweet, sultry fragrance.

I’d like to start some new traditions that include not only exotic culinary delights, but aromas that would provide us with a new library of memories that would lead us into the future. Like smoked, crushed chiles, Spanish saffron, spicy chocolate, and star anise.

Calvin says, “Yep, smell is my obsession. I’m intoxicated by fox droppings.” beagle

 

Pop! Goes the Bubble

On my subway ride into work this morning, two techies sat behind me. It turned out they were friends from a former company and they began to catch-up.

The talker worked in sales. The other must have been a programmer. He was quieter.

The talker recounted his recent trip to Vegas with his boss. They played and drank and crashed a club with a bachelorette party they met at an expensive restaurant. The talker flirted with the women, but nothing came of it.

Then the topic switched to money and salaries and wives and children. Wives? What’s this talker doing in Vegas playing with girls at a club? From the conversation, both men were frustrated by their wives. The quieter one didn’t appreciate his wife’s online spending habits.

“Every day a new package shows up at the front door,” he said.

“Tell your wife to get a job,” the talker said.

“I do, but she doesn’t do anything about it,” the programmer said. “She sleeps until noon, then gets online and spends money.”

“I wouldn’t let her do that. She needs to find a real job and bring in some money,” the talker said.

Then they talked about the price of housing and how important it is to live where it’s cheap and not compete with the younger set living in the city.

“They pay $4,000 a month!” the talker said.

“For a two-bedroom condo?” the programmer asked.  Bursting bubble

“Yes! It’s crazy!”

“They must be making crazy salaries,” the programmer said.

“No, they live four to a condo, that’s how it’s done,” the talker said.

“Do you think the housing bubble will last this time?”

“Sure it will. This is Silicon Valley.”

These guys must have stepped off another planet. Or were too young to experience the housing meltdown of the early 2007’s.

And we trust these guys with our social media? Yikes!

Calvin says, “My bubble bursts all the time. Like last night when you didn’t toss me some of your steak.”  beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heights Are for the Birds

My Los Angeles sister had a birthday this week and she wanted to take a balloon ride, so her husband organized one over Temecula. It seems that region now sprouts vineyards and beautiful landscapes. So they got up at the crack of dawn to be in the basket by 6:30. They were there with several other crazy people armed with bottles of champagne and off they went like Mary Poppins. She loved it.

I would have turned green and hung my head over the side and thrown up the entire time. I do that on boats, too. Balloon

I remember years ago taking a chairlift ride over a theme park with Alf and my children. My legs dangled from the seat and there was only a minuscule handlebar keeping me in.

There was too much sky and space around me.

I couldn’t look down.

I couldn’t look up.

Either direction made my stomach flip.

I had to keep looking straight ahead and pretend this was a bad dream that I’d soon wake up from.

Then it the middle of the ride, the chair stopped. The cable made loud, crunching noises. There I was suspended between earth and sky.

I began to perspire.

My hands locked onto the handlebar.

One of my flip-flops came off and sailed into the giraffe area.  While my children squealed with delight, I was having a panic attack.

The ride resumed with a jolt and continued on forever.

I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs that I wanted off! Nobody warned me this would be hazardous to my health. So I did the next best thing – I closed my eyes, took deep breaths, and visualized strangling the owners of the park. There should be warning signs in large letters before a person gets on one of these things. How do skiers do it? I know. They’re packed into parkas and boots for protection. Me? I was in shorts and sunglasses. More in keeping with a Margarita on the ground.

Calvin says, “I love heights. I can drool and fart to my heart’s content.” beagle