A Fork in the Road

Literally.

On my walk home from the beach, near the train tracks, I looked down and saw this fork in the road.

A single fork with nothing else around it; not a flimsy plastic utensil from takeaway, but a silver fork with a blue handle, part of set, I’m sure.

Thank goodness it was pointing in the same direction I was heading, because if not, that would have definitely caused me to stop and ponder my next step.

I’m not sure what, if any symbolism I’m supposed to glean from this random fork in the road, but I’m relieved to have quite possibly been given a heavenly sign that I was on the right path.

Regardless, it was the route that would eventually bring me home — and for me, like Dorothy, there’s no place like home.

I left it there to help guide others on their own journey, but I did bring home a silky black raven’s feather to add to my collection.

Bobcat Sanctuary

I wonder if this gorgeous bobcat knew how much I miss Bandit, my kitty daughter, and decided to take a before dawn stroll through the upper gardens at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

I have a new wildlife camera; one that has audio as well as video, but no sounds emanated from my nocturnal visitor.

It’s been a long, long while since my coyotes stopped by but I’m hopeful they’ll pass through very soon.

I placed my older camera in the lawn area and I’ve been enlightened as to what goes on while I sleep. There are a lot of RATS seemingly coming out of nowhere, more than I had suspected. I placed white mesh bags around every grape cluster on the vines and that seems to be working to protect them from being totally destroyed by those rodents. I’ll try the bags next year when the apple tree bears fruit again. At this point, I’ll try almost anything.

I can’t tell if this is a male or female, so I’ll need to find a name that works for either gender. Any suggestions?

Remembering Bandit

I love these photos of Bandit because as sweet as she looks, this girl took absolutely no shit from anyone.

One minute she would allow herself to be stroked and loved and her long silky fur brushed, and seemingly for no reason at all, except maybe to herself in her weird kitty brain, she’d lash out and inflict serious damage with her teeth or claws.

Late in life, Bandit was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and chronic renal failure. With the help of a great vet, we did all we could to extend her quality of life as long as possible, but on July 26, 2010, at the age of thirteen, there was no denying that her journey as my spiritual kitty daughter had come to an end. The doc came over and assisted her transition over the Rainbow Bridge.

Bandit is the one I still dream about; freaky lucid dreams as if she’s still here with me.

Rest in peace, my furry little soulmate.

The Enigma That Is Johnny Depp | What Is The Depp Effect?

Whether you followed his recent trial or not, whether you agreed with the verdict or not (although with all the credible evidence provided along with a stellar legal team, how could you NOT), I can speculate with almost 100% certainty that you’ve heard of Johnny Depp.

Whilst I was recovering from the after effects of my second Covid booster (body aches, headache, fever) I was playing around with the channels on my new TV and discovered a million episodes of 21 Jump Street.

Warning: this might become a rambling, incoherent series of unrelated thoughts. I intend to blame it on the way my body reacts to vaccinations.

I remember the show and vaguely recall the character Depp portrayed, but was in the middle of my mom years so I didn’t really have time for anything except being a 24/7 mom. However, no matter what the storyline or who the other actors were, for me it was only and all about Johnny Depp.

If he had been a crappy actor, it honestly wouldn’t have mattered one single bit, but he wasn’t just another pretty face, more expressively beautiful than most — and even in that formulaic sitcom, his acting was nuanced and he had a finely tuned sense of humor. (And that hair.)

He might now own the title of one of the world’s biggest stars, but there seems to be something surprisingly authentic, genuine, and REAL about him — down to earth in spite of or maybe because of any eccentricity. I say “seems to be” because we’ve never met, so I can’t say for sure.

“You can close your eyes to the things you don’t want to see, but you can’t close your heart to the things you don’t want to feel.” —Johnny Depp

In my feverish state, I decided to try and unravel the magical mystery of Johnny Depp’s timeless attraction from his twenties to now at the age of fifty-nine.

Why did we all rally to support him during the trial? Why do we feel as if we are, as he says, his relatives?

Dedicated Depp fans travelled from all over the country to support him in court, standing in line for hours.

They’re buying and selling out his Dior Sauvage Elixir cologne.

They’re loud and proud on every social media platform; they’re at his concerts, they’re rewatching all of his films.

What is it? What is it about Johnny Depp?

I need to figure this out, at least before my fever breaks or the Benadryl kicks in and I fall asleep.

I believe his appeal goes far beyond looks and charisma.

There’s just something about him that defies explanation and maybe that’s the answer. His magical allure defies explanation.

I’m not fangirling here, I swear. I never had a true celebrity crush, not even on Brad Pitt who is pretty cute and a good actor.

Wait a minute. To be completely candid, back (way back) when I was in high school, it was Jim Morrison who touched my teenaged heart (I’ve written about that before) and even though I acted in a few films, no one ever ignited my fantasy-state until Johnny Depp came along, and not in a must-have-his-autograph or a hug or throw-my-bra-on-the-stage kind of way, more like I’d be content to pour us a glass of wine (or a mega-pint) and have a conversation with him, an exchange of thoughts and ideas, but it’d be REALLY hard not to also rudely stare at him. I wonder if he feels his face has been a burden.

I would like to ask him how he feels about the genetically random exterior arrangement of his facial features that causes women and men to feel like this Twitter poster: “that chiseled face or the eyes you can melt in”.

I’m mystified and I’m trying to suss it out. His eyes, lips, nose, cheekbones, eyebrows, voice; these things we all possess, but in Johnny Depp’s case, they crystalize into a human package that conjures up intensely personal devotion and loyalty, and a lot of screaming fans at his concerts.

After Nightmare on Elm Street and Platoon and Cry-baby (and especially that kissing scene), I was hooked, even though I’m aware that it was a John Waters parody spoofing Elvis movies and the juvenile delinquency scare films of the fifties,

He epitomizes the vulnerable, misunderstood bad boy with a heart.

Johnny Depp possesses a certain charming childlike, naive, and innocent quality — not childISH, but a childLIKE wonderment. I’ve also been accused of being childlike because I find neverending joy in things like butterflies and seashells and animals so I can relate.

I’m not wearing rose-colored glasses and I don’t ignore reports of his admitted drug use and alcohol consumption and other behaviors that I don’t share, but he exudes natural charm and charisma and intelligence and humor. Those are indisputable facts.

Could anything be more perfect than the Benny & Joon scene with JD’s homage interpretation of the Chaplin dinner roll dance? I think not.

How about What’s Eating Gilbert Grape with Leonardo diCaprio and the steamy scenes with Mary Steenburgen? Here’s a quote from Steenburgen: “And, oh my God, I loved doing What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Who wouldn’t love kissing Johnny Depp all day?”

Maybe the director said it best…Lasse Hallström picked Depp to play Gilbert Grape because of the way he could express so much emotion through his face and eyes. As an aside, I was happy to see Kevin Tighe from Emergency! as the husband.

Here’s a few of my other favorite Depp films: Edward Scissorhands, Don Juan deMarco, Chocolat, Blow, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, The Secret Window, and The Tourist. I enjoyed his accurate portrayals in Donnie Brasco and Public Enemies, but I’m not fond of violence so I usually fastforward during those scenes. The next one I’ll watch is Minamata.

It’s funny, I’ve only watched clips of his Pirates franchise, but I’ll most likely queue them up too. He makes all of his characters spring to life and they become him and he becomes them, in every film, even the early ones.

As for his personal life, I was only vaguely aware that he lived in France, had a couple of children, played guitar, was friendly with Marlon Brando, and owned an island. I sort of remember hearing that he had a nightclub in LA and was in a band called the Hollywood Vampires, but I was too busy with my own life to focus on his.

I didn’t know he had gotten married until I heard that his now ex-wife had accused him of abuse in 2016, but I never really believed it — after all, it seemed out of character as he had never been accused of anything like that during or after his previous relationships.

It wasn’t until her op-ed in 2018 that I started to foment thoughts that he was being targeted and falsely accused because at the time, everyone was jumping on the #MeToo bandwagon. I had experienced my own #MeToo moment in the past with a casting director so I was sympathetic to the cause.

And then there was the trial. I’ve written about that here and here.

Like millions of others, I was mesmerized by Johnny’s testimony, impressed by how he could talk about that incredibly painful childhood with dignity, grace, authenticity, and candor. And humor.

After that, attorney Camille Vasquez guided him through excruciatingly personal details about the physical abuse he suffered by his ex wife and that made me respect him even more. It couldn’t have been easy for any man to be so publicly vulnerable and admit he was a victim of intimate partner violence.

At the end of the trial, Johnny Depp won. With the verdict on June 1, the jury overwhelmingly sent a message that he had been defamed with malicious intent.

More random commentary: “He is yummy on a visceral level – wild, those cheekbones, his penetrating gaze from those soulful eyes.”

“His dark features and his phenomenal bone structure: his cheekbones, his jaw , his eyes and his hair. Oh and his nose ! He just beautiful!!! He s crazy handsome.”

He continues to win as he tours Europe with the legendary musician Jeff Beck.

Interestingly, I discovered that as far back as 2016, there was research into the “Depp Effect.”

Trying to figure out what makes a person attractive has been a hot topic in the scientific community: Do pheromones draw us to others, or face shape, or certain mannerisms? Researchers from several institutions continue the quest with their most recent question — are male faces with feminine features considered attractive? Scientists from the University of Otago, Warwick Business School, and the University of California, San Diego set out to examine the “Johnny Depp Effect,”which involves women tending to prefer men with feminine faces. Their researchrevealed that this effect holds water in some situations, but not all.https://www.medicaldaily.com/johnny-depp-feminine-androgynous-375978

I disagree with their premise that Johnny Depp has feminine or even androgynous features. He is simply a one-of-a-kind rarity that absolutely defies being placed in a category.

Did I unravel the enigma? Nope. Did I solve the mystery? Also nope. At the end of the day, I think I have to admit that there isn’t a way to rationally explain Johnny Depp. He’s a combination of many enigmatic factors, but the bottom line is how much his essence resonates with all of us.

He is who he is, and I wish him every happiness.

Finally, this from Dakota Johnson, “Working with Johnny Depp was the most gratifying and inspiring thing I’ve ever done. The atmosphere on set was pretty dark, but Johnny was….he is a unicorn”

P.S. I just wish he’d stop smoking!

From Fandango, a complete list of Johnny Depp films: https://www.fandango.com/people/johnny-depp-170087/film-credits

Filmography

YEARTITLEROLE
2021Minamata (2022)W. Eugene Smith
2018Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldGellert Grindelwald
2018City of LiesRussell Poole
2018Sherlock GnomesSherlock Gnomes
2018The Professor (2019)Richard
2017Murder on the Orient Express (2017)Ratchett
2017Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesCapt. Jack Sparrow
2016Yoga HosersGuy Lapointe
2016Alice Through the Looking GlassMad Hatter
2015Black MassWhitey Bulger
2015MortdecaiCharles Mortdecai
2014Into the WoodsThe Wolf
2014TuskGuy Lapointe
2014TranscendenceDr. Will Caster
2013Lucky Them
2013The Lone RangerTonto
2012Dark ShadowsBarnabas Collins
2011Hugo
2011The Rum DiaryPaul Kemp
2011Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 3DCaptain Jack Sparrow
2011Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides An IMAX 3D ExperienceCaptain Jack Sparrow
2011Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesCaptain Jack Sparrow
2011RangoRango
2011RangoLars
2010The TouristFrank Tupelo
2010Alice in Wonderland (2010)The Mad Hatter
2009When You’re Strange: A Film About The DoorsNarrator
2009The Imaginarium of Doctor ParnassusImaginarium Tony #1
2009Public EnemiesJohn Dillinger
2007Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. ThompsonNarrator
2007Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetSweeney Todd
2007Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s EndJack Sparrow
2007Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: Running Down a Dream
2006Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten
2006Gypsy Caravan
2006Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s ChestJack Sparrow
2006Deep Sea 3DNarrator
2005Tim Burton’s Corpse BrideVictor Van Dort
2005Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)Willy Wonka
2004The LibertineJohn Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester
2004Finding NeverlandJames Barrie
2004Secret WindowMort Rainey
2003Once Upon a Time in MexicoAgent Sands
2003Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)Jack Sparrow
2001From HellInspector Frederick George Abberline
2000The Man Who CriedCesar
2000Chocolat (2001)Roux
2000Before Night FallsBon Bon
2000Before Night FallsLieutenant Victor
1999Sleepy HollowIchabod Crane
1999The Astronaut’s WifeSpencer Armacost
1999The Ninth GateDean Corso
1998Fear and Loathing in Las VegasRaoul Duke
1997Donnie BrascoDonnie Brasco/Joe Pistone
1995Dead ManWilliam Blake
1995Don Juan DeMarcoDon Juan DeMarco
1994Ed WoodEd Wood
1993What’s Eating Gilbert GrapeGilbert Grape
1993Benny & JoonSam
1993Arizona DreamAxel Blackmar
1991Freddy’s Dead: The Final NightmareTeen on TV
1990Edward ScissorhandsEdward Scissorhands
1990Cry-BabyWade “Cry-Baby” Walker
198721 Jump Street (1987)Officer Tom Hanson
1986PlatoonLerner
1984A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)Glen Lantz

The Kindness of Strangers

I had to go down to the airport which is about forty miles away, not because I was going anywhere or picking anybody up, but to take care of some business.

We have horrible public transportation here in Southern California but I heard there was a new free airport shuttle, so I thought I’d be an adventurer and try it out. It would save gas and save the hassle of finding a place to park.

The first step would be to take the Coaster from Carlsbad to another station where the airport shuttle would be. The problem with that is so few times on the Coaster schedule meant the entire process would take approximately six hours or more.

I decided to drive down to the Sorrento Valley train station. After I drove around for about ten minutes until I located the parking lot, I called the shuttle and asked where it stopped. I was informed that I was at the wrong station (my bad) and would either have to wait forever for the Coaster, or drive down to the Old Town station, which I did.

Upon arriving at the Old Town station, I couldn’t figure out WHERE THE EFFING parking lot was. There were no signs, no arrows, nothing that directed me to anywhere to park my car to take the free airport shuttle.

Since I was now ALMOST at the effing airport, actually only two exits away on the freeway, I got back on the road, drove to the airport, and found a place to park my car. They’ve totally torn apart Terminal One so it was a good thing I needed to be at Terminal Two or I would have ended up turning back around and heading home without accomplishing my mission.

In the parking lot, I asked a gentleman how to get to the terminal because THERE WERE NO SIGNS. He started to point in a direction, thought better of it, and kindly walked me to an unmarked spot where I could cross the street and head up a flight of UNMARKED stairs to a skybridge that eventually connected with the terminal.

It wasn’t a very busy day and there weren’t too many people, which was great because I tend to get disoriented in crowds.

After all that driving I had to use the restroom and while I was washing my hands, a nice airport employee told me I looked like I needed some help and I started laughing because I didn’t know anyone could see into my mind. I told her where I was going and she said I was in the wrong place and if I walked about ten miles and up another flight of stairs, I might locate my destination. I followed her directions and ended up walking from one end of the terminal to the next with no luck.

I was close to admitting defeat and trying to find my way back to my car when I spotted an information booth. When I asked the VERY KIND LADY how to get to where I was going, she said she’d take me so I didn’t get lost again and escorted me in an entirely different direction UP another flight of steps until we arrived at the Clear kiosk, where she handed me over to another patient and delightful person who helped me finish the eye scan and fingerprint process so that all my future travels would be expedited.

Whew! I was certainly relieved to be done with THAT, but now I had to figure out how to get back to my car. I accepted the very real possibility that I’d be wandering around the airport all day. I was all twisted around and didn’t know what level of the terminal I was on or what door I needed to exit.

I remembered that I saw a sign for the USO near where I parked so I located yet another airport employee and asked for directions to the USO where I hoped I’d find something familiar. When he showed me the proper crosswalk, all the pieces fell into place. I retraced my steps back where I had spoken to the original helpful stranger, and lo and behold, there was my car!

After driving around and around in the parking lot because I couldn’t find the POORLY marked exit, I paid $6 for the privilege of feeling incredibly dumb in my attempts to navigate the big city.

Like Blanche DuBois, “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

Everyone was lovely and courteous. Thank you all, and I’m even happier and more grateful to be home.

Now I need to plan some travels to make this travesty of a day worthwhile.

What I learned is that public transportation here is even more horrible than I remembered and there’s a lot of room for improvement, especially with signage.

I’m a Mutant

I may have confessed this before but I can’t remember when or even if I actually did, so apologies if you heard this story before…

The subject of body odor came up recently when my son was looking through my medicine cabinets because he forgot his deodorant and was hunting for mine. (We’re all about sharing is caring around here.)

I reminded him that I have NEVER used deodorant because I don’t need it; never did, and all that proves is that he NEVER listens to me because I know I’ve shared that with him a million times. (The absent-minded professor cliche and all that entails is a real thing.)

I have zero body odor.

I mean, I smell GOOD thanks to Chanel, but even if I’ve been working out at the gym or at the end of an all day hike, I never small bad. Most of the time I don’t even sweat, but if I do, I still don’t smell bad. It’s true.

I remember back when all the grown up changes were happening to my body and my mom gave me THE TALK and we went shopping for THE THINGS. She told me it was also time to use deodorant and we picked out a really cool one (mother-daughter fun times) along with presents for reaching a milestone (and you can see where I acquired my love for shopping!)

I dutifully added deodorant to my daily self care routine but I slowly realized that I didn’t need it. It made no difference to my body’s odors. I just didn’t have one, nor did I perspire. When I told my mom and had her SMELL me at random times, she was surprised but agreed, and as a nurse, her professional response to me was that I was a medical miracle.

I never purchased nor used another deodorant, not even when I was pregnant and my body was going through a million hormonal surges.

Since there was no Google, there was nowhere to research this unusual phenomenon. I wish my mom was here now so I could tell her what I’ve learned about the genetic factors that cause someone NOT to emanate an unpleasant body odor.

In fact, the gene wasn’t even discovered until the 2000s. It also has something to do with having dry as opposed to wet ear wax but that’s too gross for me to think about.

You were right, Mom! I really am a medical miracle!

The ABCC11 protein is important in transporting small molecules across membranes in secretory cells. Mutations in this gene will lead to dryer earwax and decreased body odor. Mutations in the ABCC11 gene may also lead to a decreased risk of breast cancer.

Two percent of people carry an unusual form of a specific gene (ABCC11) that means their armpits never smell.

What I find really interesting is that East Asian and Native American people were already known to have a form of the ABCC11 gene compared with other ethnicities, and as far as I know, I am neither of those. I haven’t done any genetic testing on myself to be sure, but I kinda doubt it.

My DNA is pretty much 100% Jewish princess.

I also know that I didn’t pass that genetic anomaly to my son because he definitely NEEDS deodorant. Most definitely, which is why he was searching in my bathroom. (Sorry, Angel Boy!)

The finding came from research involving 6,495 women who were enrolled in the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol, England and was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

In the study, 117 (2%) of the subjects were lucky enough to carry this gene that allowed them to never have to worry about using deodorant. 

People with the ABCC11 non-functioning gene variant have dry earwax and little or no body odor. People with a functioning ABCC11 gene usually have wet earwax and body odor. I didn’t know there was a connection, did you?

ABCC11 is required for the transport of lipophilic substances, bile acids, conjugated steroids, and – most importantly – the component found in apocrine sweat and earwax, which results in odor and wet earwax. Again, gross…

The transporter doesn’t work for people who have loss-of-function genetic variants and thus doesn’t transfer the odor-causing lipids into their armpits. 

One day I might do my DNA profile to try and figure out how I acquired this genetic deviation, but for now, I will just be happy to be an enchanted mutant princess who smells really, really good, like a rose!

The Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade

What an absolutely horrible headline. I fear dark days ahead.

Our rights, including reproductive rights, are being rapidly eroded. Soon, contraception will be regulated, and possibly marriage.

It’s simple. Stay out of my uterus. You do you. If you don’t want to have an abortion, then DON’T do it, but no one has the right to police my body. Or any woman’s body.

I know it sounds crazy, but I believe this is the direction our stupid country is headed.

It’s all so depressing and disgusting, I can’t even think about it without getting too upset.

Final thoughts…

Land Rape in Carlsbad

I can see this area called Marja Acres from my backyard and it’s several blocks away, but even so, I watch and hear this land rape on a daily basis, and it makes me feel sad and angry.

It’s one of the very last pieces of land around here that hadn’t yet been violated by earth movers and concrete and plundered by developers who don’t care about anything except making money for themselves. They tore down a couple of nurseries, a little old fashioned store, and a couple of other businesses that had been here for decades, coexisting peacefully amongst the native flora and fauna.

Here’s what the plan is, to build a strip mall and way too many homes without any consideration for the existing community so negatively impacted by yet another ugly and unnecessary development.

We fought against it, of course; to no avail, as usual.

Even more sadly for me, there was no thought nor consideration for the creatures that lived here: coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, possums, birds of prey, AND RATS. They’ve all been displaced and this is where our RAT infestation emanates from.

I swear, this city continually never fails to disgust me.

Time and Tide

“Time and tide wait for no man”

We can’t stop the passage of time nor the movement of the tides, no matter how much we might want to halt the inexorable inevitability.

This proverb appeared about 1395 in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Prologue to the Clerk’s Tale but I also found a source that said it was recorded as early as 1225 and is reputedly a quote from Saint Mahrer. However, it’s also believed that the expression time and tide wait for no man might be older than that.

My son sent me this photo while he was at Golden Gardens Park in Ballard, Washington on beautiful Shilshole Bay.

It depicts the lowest tide in decades, four feet lower than average.

We have the same exact phone but he takes better pictures than I do, and of course he likes to send them to me to show me what I’m missing.

It’s so true–time and tide wait for no one.

Glad-iolus to See YOU!

This hot spell is a catalyst for all of my blooming bulbs. Here are the first two gladioli who decided to flower together in shades of pink.

All pink, ALWAYS.