So much for global warming.
It’s been raining in Hawaii. The temperatures in the North West Coast are freezing, with so much snow people are inside for the duration of the winter.
Chicago is frozen, Lake Michigan has a layer of ice, and the famous Bean is wearing a blanket of frost.
As Thornton Wilder in his play, The Skin of Our Teeth said, “It’s so cold, the dogs are sticking to the sidewalk.”
Last I read, these types of deep weather fluctuations are normal for the planet. So why do we make such drama out of it? Is it because we don’t have the right wardrobe? Or the skiing ability? Maybe we don’t have the shovels for our driveways or we don’t know how to drive on icy roads?
We definitely don’t know how to drive, that’s for sure. Even with a bit of rain the traffic around here becomes paralyzed while drivers attempt going through the raindrops. California drivers aren’t used to rain or snow. They only know sunshine. Any other weather condition reduces them to frightened children behind the wheel.
The rain is my favorite kind of weather. Too many days of sun and clear skies depress me. There’s no drama. Give me dark skies, crackling lightning, a good thunderstorm that sounds like bowling balls crashing into each other, and pelting raindrops the size of figs. Now that’s real weather. It’s not for sissies.
Calvin says, “I’d never stick to the sidewalk. My nose maybe.”
“Welcome to Paradise,” said the girl behind the counter with an orchid pinned to her hair. A balmy breeze was ruffling my hair as I checked into the resort. It was early afternoon with the sun in full blaze in a cloudless sky. This was check-in Friday. There were so many people and kids coming and going they give you check-in days, like college.
She handed me a welcome packet about tours, restaurants, shopping and rainbow shaved ice treats. All at the resort. They don’t want you wandering off the property and spending money elsewhere. You want to grill your own meat? They have the latest grills, all ten bright and shiny ones, next to the lagoons. You want massages? Step this way. Brunhilde is waiting. How about hula lessons? Sign up for an all-exposure class on the lawn in front of the restaurant. You’re the entertainment while guests gobble fish tacos with pineapple salsa and garlic fries at double the price of anything on the mainline.
Alf and I noticed that most of the guests were our age with our same body shape. We felt right at home.
They sunbathed on chaise lounges by man-made lagoons, by periwinkle pools and under thatched trees made in Mexico. No one minded the artificial landscape except me. Why did it come to this? Was it a way to control and contain it? What was wrong with a more rugged look?
The koi in the pond were overweight by a few hundred kilos. It was because they had regular feeding hours like we did. Too many fish tacos.
The drinks tasted the same no matter where you were and what you ordered. They were all sugared up and splashed with ice and straws.
The big surprise for me was the pineapple. Never a big fan because of its tartness, the ones on the island turned me into an addict. They were sweet, juicy, crunchy and thirst quenching. I had to visit a plantation and see for myself how they were grown. This led us to the Dole plantation, which when we arrived was packed with visitors from around the world. It was more a souvenir shop with a few plants growing outside, but they were real. I also saw cocoa trees with pods. When I asked where the real plantations were, I was told, “Costa Rica.” I was buying and devouring Central American pineapples in Hawaii? I was in shock. What else were they not telling me?
Calvin says, “You don’t believe all beagle breeders come from England, do you? Remember, I was a Napa pup.”
Have you noticed the plethora of products being marketed to make you happy in the new year? Things that organize your life, journaling your mindfulness, grabbing for those goals that have eluded you all your life.
First of all, my life is a mess. No organizational planner, yours or mine, will clean me up. Only supernatural power can do that and the only person who is good at it is God. He proved it at the Red Sea. That’s what it would take to part with my clutter and disasters.
Second, since when is journaling a verb? It’s never been a verb, it’s always been a noun, as in keeping a journal or diary. Diary is the old fashion word, but it’s too close to dairy. Since people don’t read anymore, marketers made the switch and sent consumers into bookstores for theirs instead of dairy farms where the cows live chewing the cud.
Mindfulness. Now there’s a mouthful. To be mindful means to be observant, alert, cognizant. But now it’s been turned on its head and it’s a meditation technique with breathing exercises. Think mindless therapy.
And what makes us think we’ll nail those goals this year when we haven’t succeeded thus far? That’s crazy. Those ads and inspirational books and podcasts are meant to do one thing only – buy the course of course! Knowing full well you’ll fail. Like going to the gym. Two sweaty sessions and you’re out.
So what do we do? Try harder? Flog ourselves? Ignore the mounting evidence of sloth that has overtaken our homes and lives?
Being cognizant of the steep hill we must climb, we make a date to walk the dog, eat more fruits and green things, and enjoy the many times we fall off the wagon. That’s part of the fun.
What? You want perfect?
Calvin says, “I like walking the dog part. Stick with me. I’ll take you places that’ll expand you…I mean shrink you.”
I’m eating leftover deviled eggs and freezing. There’s a cold wind whipping the dead leaves into swirls today. The kind of weather that belongs on the east coast, not here. What’s happening to this side of the country? This is California, not Connecticut.
The deviled eggs, well I made too many this week and my guests didn’t eat them all. They left them for me to do that. Calvin, of course, is too eager to oblige, but I know better. He’ll rip one or two or three throughout the day that make me want to fumigate the house. He gets a bone instead.
Alf is buried in blankets, Calvin is under the bed comforter with only his tail showing, and I’m at the computer dashing this off. A rather inauspicious end of the year, I admit, but I’ve never been one for noisy cocktail parties with fireworks in the background. That’s better left for Hollywood, or New York City, or maybe Paris. And since I’m not there, I’m happy to huddle by the fire, even if it’s a spare-the-day day, reading my book, and saying cheers to all of you. Thank you for visiting my blog this year and being a gracious readership. Happy New Year to you!
Calvin says, “I read your blog, too. It’s time to give me a starring role. I want more lines. I need a make-up artist. My own chair with my name on it. And I certainly need better food. Including eggs.”
Alf and I had two major leaks today. One from a toilet, the other from the washer in the garage. I’m grateful they didn’t happen on Christmas day. It would have meant our guests using our neighbor’s bathroom. And they weren’t home.
It could be an omen for 2019.
Leaks. What do they represent? Not being in control, for one thing. All you can do is scream, grab towels and mop-up.
Then go to the store and buy a new toilet.
Another, the mechanism in the tank needs replacing. Could that mean we’ll need colonoscopies to check our plumbing?
A diversionary tactic is to buy a new toilet.
A third possibility, someone is leaking secret information about me and Calvin on our walks. Who would do such a thing? Those times are sacred.
Definitely buy a new toilet, preferably the kind that flushes itself.
So we went to the store. Who knew there were so many toilets to choose from? The selection was tush-numbing. We had to think about height, bowl shape, color, style, and flushing and water-saving technology. Really?
I have only one specification. I need a comfort-high toilet. I’m tired of sitting cross-legged at floor level.
Calvin says, “You need to practice using bushes outside the house. They like the extra watering, they don’t leak, and the leaves tickle your tush.”
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.
- Flush the guilt down the toilet. What has it done for you this year?
- Only spend time with people who add richness to your life. Flush the others, along with the guilt, down the toilet.
- Do more writing. Get that book written.
- Consider walking an extra mile every evening. Only one a day isn’t doing it.
- Speak up more. Slap down those boundaries.
- Forget being nice. Where has it gotten you?
- Try authentic on for size. You might like it better.
- Remember some people use words as weapons. Don’t show up for the fight.
- Let me know how #8 works for you. Share your bulletproof vest.
- Fear rules most of us. Turn it on its head. Revel in being alive today.
- 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.
- Invite more people into your home. It’s where to know them better.
- Listen more. Look for the extraordinary in them.
- Affirm others. They’re starving for it. One trait, that’s all it takes.
- 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.”
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.
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.”