Hot enough for ya? Knit something!

We are experiencing a heat wave in southern California, and I sort of think that a lot of us can’t handle it; actually, we tend to go right off the rails when it comes to any type of weather that is outside of the range of 68-74 degrees.  I include myself in this focus group – I was born and grew up in California, and if the weather goes above 80 degrees, I whine; same if the weather goes below 60, although I prefer warmer weather to cold.

It’s not just the crabbiness, though; Californians have never been patient drivers, and when the heat gets to us, we get even worse.  I watched cars speed around other cars in the parking structure at Bella Terra this afternoon (the temperature was 91 at around 3:30) to rush to get a place to park.  We do the same thing when it’s raining – we behave with entitled arrogance here, as if no one else exists, much less matters.  Even though the sheen is officially off the Golden State, we still behave as if we live in the land of eternal sunshine and riches, in which we are all the stars of our own reality shows, rather than in a broke and broken state in which manners and courtesy don’t seem to be evident, having been replaced by the celebration of street level stupidity.

Maybe the heat is getting to me, too.

*****

I had a nice afternoon, in spite of the wicked weather. I went to Happy Nails at Bella Terra for a lovely pedicure done by Kayla, and my toes are remarkably cheered up, and so pretty! I also started working on a hat for Knots of Love, a charity that creates and donates knitted and crocheted hats to chemotherapy patients.  I’m grateful to do something with my knitting for a good cause, and also remember my father and sister-in-law, both of whom were lost to cancer. If you are interested in finding out more about Knots of Love, visit http://www.knotsoflove.org for information.

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One-day Olympics clearance sale – everything must go!

Pick up one of these little goodies for yourself, but hurry, they’re going fast!

I loved the Olympic opening ceremonies.  I thought they were dark and strange  – and really cool:

The nurses and the poppies reminded me of the movie “Tommy,” and some of it reminded me of a Pink Floyd show, before the fans started crawling around on the floor and up the stairs during the concert (a story for another time).  And a segment on health care in an Olympics ceremony? Danny Boyle must be daft! God save the Queen! And speaking of the Sex Pistols, I noticed that during the music medley, NBC chose to cut away when “Pretty Vacant” started playing (excerpt below is from the  website http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/us-news-blog):

Punk goes pop

The Sex Pistols have long passed away from being subversive and instead become quintessentially British. But perhaps not as far as NBCwas concerned. Their song Pretty Vacant only made snatches of the broadcast either side of a break and was largely cut.

NBC did have to cut away for commercials; I just find their timing to be very interesting. I wonder if John Lydon had to give permission for the song to be used, or if he even owns the song any more, or if he even cares about it at all:

John Lydon – the man always has an opinion, even if it’s that he doesn’t give a rip.  Good thing he’s calmed down and become more dignified:

*****

I decided to stop worrying 24/7 a couple of days ago, and it’s going pretty well. I am a gold-medal worrier; I will worry about stuff that hasn’t happened yet, stuff that is going to happen, and if you ask me, I will worry for stuff that is happening or is going to happen to you, for no charge!  A couple of days ago, I surprised myself with a couple of non-worrisome hours (not in a row; baby steps!), and I felt great in a way that I hadn’t felt for years; being able to admit that I worry ALL the time actually makes me cry; it’s exhausting, and I finally figured out that I don’t want to do it anymore.  One of the side effects of not worrying is that my concentration has returned, so I’m not all over the place, and I am able to focus on what I’m doing, without wondering if I should be doing something else. For me, practicing not worrying involves a little self-talk and relaxation, as well as my understanding what needs to be worried about, and what doesn’t; it’s going to take some conscious effort, but I’m already feeling better, and I’m encouraged that in a few weeks, I will feel even better.

*****

This is kind of a neat little list, and I’m lucky in that I have all three:

Happiness is not a word that I throw around lightly – I like that this list makes happiness into something real and recognizable, for me, anyway.  Happiness doesn’t always wear a name tag, does it?  But this song might help you pick it out of the crowd of emotions in your day (sang it in sixth grade Glee Club, and never forgot it):

Summer’s knitting, inside and out

Here’s what I’ve been doing recently instead of writing:

These are all in various states of completion (two are actually finished); at last, a clear illustration of either my tenacity or my OCD – it’s a tough call.  They do look kinda cool all lined up like this, though…I’m knitting like a fiend, hoping to have these ready for the Christmas season.  I might have to throw some hats in there as well, dunno –

I can add the Turtles, and Micky Dolenz to my concert list – went to see the Happy Together tour at the Pacific Ampitheatre last night, and it was wonderful.  The Turtles, the Grass Roots (saw them at Magic Mountain when I was 13!), Micky Dolenz,and the Buckinghams; and when the Turtles launched into the beginning of “Peaches En Regalia,” which I determined was their way of saying “Hi, Frank (Zappa),”  I thought I was going to pass out from joy. Being surprised in life is….well, surprising, and I love when it happens. Well done, guys, well done.

I’m going to see “Savages” this afternoon; Oliver Stone is always over-the-top, so looking forward to some scenery-chewing, lurid, gory good times. “Moonrise Kingdom” was one of the two movies that I liked this summer; “The Avengers” was the other one.  We’ll see if I can add “Savages” to the short list – off to the movies I go!

Bytes and pieces

So it’s the day after, and I’m still here, as is everyone I know – and no reports of anyone missing. If I remember correctly, if and when the rapture occurs, we won’t be getting an Evite….therefore, onward with the decline of civilization!

I’ve been having Internet connection issues this week, and since Jamal is in Chicago, I thought that I would try to correct it myself by calling tech support. After an hour of “Unplug this wire, type in this code” from a man with a very heavy accent and a bad phone connection (irony calling!), I was nearly in tears, and past caring if I ever had Internet service again.  When it didn’t work again the next evening, I called back to make an appointment with a technician.  Long story short, the company is sending a new modem and a technician on Monday morning – in another little touch of irony, every time I hung up with tech support, my  connection was restored for a short time. For now, it’s working, so I’m typing as fast as I can…

“Bridesmaids” – intelligent, profane and funny.  I found myself trying to stop laughing so that I wouldn’t miss the next line.  If you can handle smart women characters doing many silly things, go see it.

Memorial Day weekend is coming up, and to kickstart the summer, there’s this: LACMA is having a Tim Burton exhibit beginning May 28th, and going through October. I’m going to the book signing next Saturday (getting a group together to see the exhibit later in the summer), then to the screening of “Vertigo” at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Tim Burton in the morning, Hitchcock in the evening…good beginnings; see you at the cemetery next Saturday?

!

Steve

It’s ten years this month that my brother has been gone, and looking at this photograph floods my heart with memories…

It was the summer of 1983;  My parents thought it would be a good idea to have some photographs taken, so they hired a photographer to come to the house.  This particular one was taken by my mother, and I like it more than the photos that were taken by the guy we hired. I never did like the blouse I was wearing, but my brother was fond of the vest, and wore it out a lot.  He was 26 here, and I was 22. I remember being so unhappy during this time, and as I look at this photo, I remember that hanging out with my brother made things better, because even if he couldn’t help me with my life, he was good at offering distractions – telling me about a movie that he knew I would like,  or a concert that he thought we should go see, or making me laugh at the stupidity that was all around us.

So much has happened in the last ten years that would have thrilled my brother – iPods, blogs, TiVo…Steve loved gadgets, and any gadgets that were movie- and music-related would have been amazing to him.  He would have started a science fiction blog, and owned a Kindle, but wouldn’t have given up the hundreds of books that he owned, because they were precious to him.  He stopped loaning books to me (a very wise move), because I used to bend the covers and the pages.  This was one of the few things that would make him mad, and I understood; the more I love a book, the more I beat it up.  Steve was a collector, so beat-up books weren’t really what he was looking for to add to his collection.

Steve was enthusiastic about life, funny, sarcastic, and (most of the time) too smart for everyone in the room,which could be entertaining or infuriating, depending on the day; to me, he was never dull, even though there were days where we would say that we needed a big jar of “Never-Dull,” which sent us over the edge (you had to be there, but yes, it was really funny). I miss Steve’s friendship, and I miss having a brother.  There is no replacement for that relationship, and no replacement for Steve. This post feels inadequate; if you knew my brother, I don’t have to describe him to you.  And if you never met him, trying to describe him just sounds lame coming from me. So…I have a favor to ask.  If you knew Steve, write a memory of him for me, and for the people who didn’t know him. That would be a nice way to remember him on this ten-year anniversary.

To finish this, I’ll just say – to absent friends…

Parental advisory

I don’t know if it’s the heat, or that my dog Paco just got out of the hospital this morning and I’m worried about him, but I can’t seem to get involved in anything specific today.  Just a tip – do not let your dog eat anything with xylitol, or he could die.  Paco got into sugarless gum yesterday morning, and I had to rush him to the hospital.  Fortunately, all of his tests came back normal, and we were able to bring him home this morning. I said this once today, but it’s amazing how such a little dog can take up so much space in the house, and the heart.

The work on the roof is going to start tomorrow; I took the day off from work, so I can see how Paco reacts to the noise and people.  It’s probably good that I did, since I’m going to worry about him anyway.  I might take Tuesday as well, just to be sure – it’s a good thing I didn’t have children, or I would have smothered them, I know it now. I admire my friends who are parents; I was not courageous enough to have children, along with not ever meeting anyone who wanted to have children with me (kind of an important part of the equation) and now…now I don’t think I regret it, but once in a while I think about it, and what it might have been like.  I had a good friend say to me once, when I was talking about making choices other than the ones I’ve made that didn’t turn out the way that I thought, “What if those choices had turned out badly, or worse?”

I had never considered the idea that if given a second chance, I might have felt even more regret that I didn’t stick with my first choice.  I don’t have a lot of regret, though; I believe that everything that I’ve done or not done in my life has brought me to the present, and made me this person who is potentially boring the socks off of you while the world melts outside.  I love my  friends’ kids, and I am in awe of how they are able to do what they do as parents.  Being the eccentric family friend who always has gum (not for the dog) will do – toodles for now;  I’m off to shop for a Halloween costume.  With this heat, I may wind up with something like this:

Bonus points if you can guess which movie this is from (no glory in Googling!).  Stay cool, babies.

P.S. photos and more photos

In bed, watching Law and Order and listening to the neighbors banging around, getting ready to go out to the club. I’m not envious; I chose to come here alone, and I am finally, finally, feeling relaxed after many laps in the pool tonight and a hot shower. I had the pool all to myself, as most everyone else was drinking and socializing, and not swimming.  The shower here is phenomenal; the shower head is enormous, attached to the ceiling, and rains down on my head – there is also no shower door, just a pane of glass that goes halfway across. And the bed is exactly what I want – platform, about three inches off the ground, and king size. Believe me, I’m taking notes…and pictures! (Some of these may be repeats; please to enjoy once more!)

Yesterday and today:

Outside my room; I’m on the first floor, to the left of the staircase on the right, just past the fireplace.

I drove down to Rancho Mirage this afternoon for lunch and a look around:

This is the River at Rancho Mirage; it’s a beautiful little area, with a few shops, restaurants, and a movie theatre. I had barbeque at Babe’s, and then went for a long walk on Palm Canyon Drive.  Here are shots of the Hyatt on Palm Canyon Drive:

Minimalist, sleek, quiet, formal….the exact opposite of the Ace. I’m glad I stayed where I did, and next time, maybe dinner here?  So pretty!

*****

Going home today with less money, but with more of myself back in place. I did what I came here to do – and home sounds really good right now. Happy Labor Day! See you back in Long Beach —