In a Pickle

Somebody got his tall, lanky body stuck in a tree attempting to readjust the Jacob’s ladder to the right height for his clone; tall, lanky five-year-old T-man.

“Well, I certainly got myself in a pickle”, he said.

“DADDY’S IN A PICKLE DADDY’S IN A PICKLE DADDY’S IN A PICKLE!”

Eventually, Daddy managed to very carefully extricate himself from the plum tree.

Well done, Angel Boy!

Black and Blue

Sunday afternoon in SoCal was warm, sunny, and windy. I was intent on my project, hanging outdoor lights from the deck all the way to the grape arbor.

Picture me standing on the highest rung of a medium-sized step ladder. As I reached my arm as far as possible to secure a line of bright lights, I felt one of the ladder feet sink deeper into the soil than the others, creating an uneven support system.

In a split second that seemed to last an eon in slow motion, I knew before it happened that I was going to fall, that there would be no way to recover, nothing to hold to break the inevitable tumble.

And so I fell.

Arm still outstretched, I became airborne as I crashed to the ground, step ladder tangled in my legs.

I thought for sure I broke something (I’m no stranger to broken bones) but I suffered only bruising, no more damage than black and blue discoloration to remind me to be MORE careful in the future. My luck might not hold out if I tempted fate again.

If anyone had been filming me, I’m sure it would become a viral vid on YouTube or TikTok with the hashtag #stupidity, but alas, I was alone with my bunnies and butterflies and the lizards that got scared and ran off to hide under a rock.

There are more planets than Mercury in retrograde; maybe this was a message from one of them? I dunno, but I can verify that the lights look festive and perfect for late nights in the garden, just the effect I was looking for, well worth the pain.

(So I walked into the men’s restroom)

Let’s back up a bit.

I had to drive to the big city which meant I had to go to a place where they had a parking structure.

Immediately, those are two things that cause me a great deal of anxiety and panic–traffic and bad distracted drivers, along with the terror of driving into and maneuvering my car in a tiny space inside a gigantic parking garage with a low ceiling.

I hate them.

That’s always been a stress trigger for me. How will I remember where I parked? (I’ve gotten lost before.) How do I get to where I need to go from the parking garage? What if there’s an earthquake? What if I forget how to back up? What if all the horrible things I’m afraid of happen all at the same time?

There’s a word to describe the fear of parking garages: Tingchechekuphobia. It’s a neurotic phobia, I know, but I suffer from it. I don’t know who created that word and I don’t even know how to pronounce it, but it is what it is.

At this point, since I had to drive around and around and around to find a bunch of open parking spaces, I was pretty much completely dizzy, disoriented, and confused, because that’s what happens to me in tall buildings and parking structures.

Luckily for me, there was a very kind man who had parked a couple cars away and when I asked for his help because I didn’t know where to go, he must have felt my fear and walked with me to the right building. Like Blanche DuBois, I have always been able to depend upon the kindness of strangers, referring to A Streetcar Named Desire, of course.

I also hate elevators but couldn’t find the stairs so I took the elevator and when I found my destination, I needed to go to the restroom and the secretary pointed into the hallway.

Without thinking, I entered the first door.

OOOPS.

I hadn’t paid enough attention to the little graphic on the door because I had entered the MEN’S ROOM (!!!) although I wasn’t immediately sure because for a split second I thought perhaps I had been away from the world for so long that there were now all genders restrooms and this was the way it was in 2021.

However, seeing the man standing at the urinal convinced me I was in the WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME. (Teehee)

I did what I normally do in life and turned it into a self-deprecating joke…”Well, I seem to have made a mistake. My bad!”

I turned around, walked out, located the PROPER restroom with the girlinatriangledress graphic, used the facilities while I laughed to myself, and re-entered my destination.

Most people would probably not use that embarrassing situation as the icebreaker in a conversation, but I’m not most people…

“I just walked into the men’s room by mistake. I guess that’s why I don’t come into the big city very often.”

We all laughed and totally diffused what could have been a forever humiliating experience and THANK GOODNESS I didn’t see the man who had been at the urinal, but that wasn’t my first time in a men’s room.

Nope. Not my first rodeo, as they say.

When I was twelve-years-old in Detroit, I spent the summer going to the JCC almost every day because there was some sort of pre-teen activities program a lot of my friends attended. On one certain day there was obviously not enough adult supervision because a few of the guys dared me to go into the boy’s bathroom.

I took that dare and entered the boy’s bathroom. Apparently it was bad timing because the program director happened to be in there and I was subsequently asked not to return to the JCC for the rest of the summer.

When I told my parents why I was persona non grata, they simply looked at me and said, “Oh, Rosebud. We’re disappointed in you.” And when I explained it wasn’t my fault; it was a dare, I got that tired old cliche…”If someone dared you to jump off a bridge, would you do that, too?”

However, I believe I detected a glimmer of a repressed chuckle behind their serious demeanor.

Although today’s excitement wasn’t due to a dare, I was able to successfully navigate my way back to my car and drive around and around and around to finally find the exit and return to sky and daylight where I could finally take a breath, but the stress had taken its toll, and there’s only one remedy that always works for me: retail therapy!

I haven’t been to our mall in more than a year, so I decided to see what it was like now as the pandemic is easing up a bit; what stores were open, masked of course. I had a thoroughly pleasant time. It was just what the doctor ordered to soothe my fraught nerves as I leisurely strolled from shop to shop.

I treated myself to a few bits of frothy intimate apparel at Victoria’s Secret. Here’s the bag, but you can’t see what’s inside. Instead, you’ll have to use your imagination.

Have you ever found yourself in a similarly mortifying situation? How did you handle it?

My Neighborhood

Yesterday started out sunny and peaceful and then we had a bit of excitement.

I was digging and digging in the front yard, trying to arrange sixteen pavers in the most perfect aesthetically pleasing design to create a stepping stone effect. I tried three times because nothing gave off the right vibe that I was searching for.

First I placed them in a straight row but that looked too cold and harsh and militant, especially as it was bordering a rocky dry river bed that had natural organic lines. The second time I mimicked that meandering shape. Nope, that looked too busy and didn’t seem right. The THIRD time I created a gently curving line like a rainbow that seems to work OK but I’m going to leave it for a day or two and see how that feels. That’s the beauty of it…I can simply dig them up and move them wherever I choose. I call it the Goldilocks effect or it’s just my OCD, either one.

Side note: Each paver weighs about twenty pounds. 16 x 20 lbs =320 lbs. No wonder my arms are sore!

While I was digging and pondering, I heard a commotion down the street. My next door neighbors heard it too so we both investigated.

We observed a stray dog walking up our street and another dog was barking at it. That’s a big deal around here because we don’t have many unaccompanied dogs in our ‘hood. Cars were stopping; everyone was asking each other if anyone knew who he belonged to.

He was a nice looking boy, well cared for, a mid-sized brown German Shepherd. He walked up to our houses, walked around, even in the garage, sniffing everything.

I gave him a bowl of water but he wasn’t really interested and continued to walk slowly and deliberately up the street. He had a collar but no tags and no one could remember seeing him before. Just as we were deciding who should collect him in their backyard, he walked away. Another neighbor came by, said she would get a leash and bring him to her home until the owner could (hopefully) be located, so we all returned to our outdoor projects.

Minutes later, a truck and SUV drove up. It was the owners and their children! They had accidentally left the garage door open and their sweet old boy had walked out.

The dad said his boy was a retired police dog, very nice, but still had the police dog training, so they REALLY needed to bring him home. I called my friend who planned to host him at her house but she said she hadn’t been able to find the fugitive but they were still searching. He seemed to have disappeared in a matter of minutes.

My neighbor and I got in my car and set off to help the search. Others in my ‘hood did the same. We all drove up and down and around and couldn’t find him. What a mystery!

Thirty minutes later, we circled back and stopped at the owners house for an update.

He told us that another neighbor had been outside bringing groceries in, their car door was open, and their dog jumped in and sat down in the car. She was still outside wondering what to do when she spied the family calling for their doggy, and he was returned to a happy and grateful family. Yay!

We went home and I continued with my day; staring at a pathway that didn’t really go anywhere.

While there’s a lot to bemoan about this hectic world we inhabit, it’s positive and uplifting when an entire neighborhood comes together to help a family find their beloved dog.

What a wonderful world!

Update: I dug up the pavers yet again to move them four inches back which seems to render the right kind of feng shui. Now I think I’m happy. We’ll see. I’ll post a pic when the project is complete.

A Light Bulb Moment

Literally.

Photo by Luca Nardone on Pexels.com

I don’t know how long it’s been since I needed to buy light bulbs; maybe five or six years, something like that.

I can’t remember exactly, but I had so many of them go out at the same time that I was compelled to navigate the light bulb aisle at a local home and hardware store.

I must have looked sufficiently confused because an employee walked over to me and said, “I’d ask you if you need help, but I can tell you do!”

I DID need help!

Apparently, I’ve been on another planet because the entire light bulb industry has changed while I’ve been gone.

Weird shaped bulbs, lumens, CFL, LED, halogen, incandescent, wattage, energy saving, HID, voice-enabled, smartphone technology–pretty soon even the light bulbs will be listening to our conversations like Alexa and Siri. It’s a whole new world.

I paid no attention to the lesson he gave me (sorry, nice man) but I told him what I wanted or what I used to have in the good old days, and let him choose the appropriate replacements.

They’re also way more expensive than they used to be, also a shock, but when I got home and restored illumination to previously darkened rooms, I was grateful for his kind assistance.

Have you ever gone on a pub crawl?

Confession: I never have, but I did something SIMILAR…a garden nursery crawl!

SO MUCH FUN.

The get-together was originally planned for last week but I came down with a mysterious and debilitating migraine and we postponed the outing for a week.

I was picked up in a snazzy (does anyone even use that word nowadays?) metallic blue Tesla, and we were off.

Our itinerary included places I had never previously visited–hidden gems in SoCal– and I wasn’t disappointed. An added plus is that it felt as if things were almost back to pre-Covid times.

We weren’t offered a menu of wine and cocktails at every stop on our crawl; instead I found Marzano tomatoes (best for homemade sauces) and orange mint and perpetually producing spinach; more strawberries, Yerba Buena, wasabi mustard greens, and an exotic hot pepper, plants not usually found at corporate garden shops.

We saw adorable and friendly goats and followed secret garden pathways that revealed exotic and delicious edible veggies, fruits, and herbs.

If I wasn’t under constant assault from aggressive squirrels and bunnies, I would have brought every single one of them home with me, but first I have to figure out new ways to outsmart those little critters.

When we returned home, we sat in the shade and enjoyed fresh herbal water festooned with nasturtium flowers and chatted about the next day when we’d plunge our hands in the soil to put these babies in the ground and watch them flourish.

A pub crawl would be fun too, but we woke up with clear heads and zero hangovers, so it’s probably a much healthier activity than to to go from one bar to the next and get progressively more drunk.

PS I’ll post a recipe for the herbal water tomorrow. It was amazing!

Well, this was an adventure…

I think by now I can safely assume that y’all figured out that I’m a tiny person with very curly hair who lives in a Southern California beach town.

You know that I love seashells and rocks and being outdoors. I have an amazing son and brilliant DIL who combined their DNA to create two of the most adorable humans to ever exist.

Moreover, I’m a passionate animal protector and defender.

My dad was an attorney and my mom was a SAHM — an RN who went back to nursing when I was in junior high. With certainty, I admit to living a less than edgy life. More like ballet or the symphony and learning to bake my mom’s best ever apple pie than drunken brawls and broken windows on Saturday nights. My memories are of a slightly quieter and more genteel childhood. You get the picture, right?

Maybe that’s the reason why, every so often, I crave a bit of excitement or an adventure or maybe the truth is that I’m too naive (or stupid) to know what it really means when I put myself in potentially dangerous situations.

So this happened.

Would you be at all surprised if I told you that I watched a burglary in progress and then I offered to chase after the guy with the store manager (yes I really did and FYI he declined my offer.)

Definition: Burglary (entering a building with the intent to commit a crime inside) and larceny (theft) are two different crimes, although burglaries are often committed for the purpose of theft. Shoplifting is typically defined as the unauthorized removal of merchandise from a store without paying for it. In certain cases, the intent to steal, along with an act in furtherance of that intent, can also result in criminal charges for shoplifting (or retail fraud). 

Here’s the whole story:

Monday is my pandemic grocery shopping day; I try to do it all early while there are fewer people out and about to reduce the amount of viral aerosol drops. Traders and Sprouts are my go-to stores for my vegan food; stuff like tofu and hummus and veggies and lentils and beans, along with pea protein powder, coffee and tea. Not very exciting food, I guess, but I stock up for a couple of weeks, because you never know when stores will close again, either for the pandemic or because we’re in an insane civil war.

After that, I went to ATT because I was having a potential issue with the charging port on my phone which decided NOT to exhibit the malfunction while I was there so it was a wasted trip.

After that waste of time, I drove to one of my favorite retail stores because I need a new black zippered hoodie. I love to bleach pretty much everything, but made the mistake of wearing my black hoodie to bleach the kitchen tile and I ruined it.

Since the recent alarming surge in Coronavirus cases, retail stores again limit the number of people that can shop at the same time, so there was a very short socially distanced line. We were all masked. The masked employee was counting people in and out. From my vantage point, I could see a man walking very fast on the sidewalk toward us. For some reason, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. He was dressed all in black with a black hoodie pulled down low over his forehead, black sunglasses, and a black backpack. He had a black mask that wasn’t on correctly. He flew past the employee at the front door. Uh oh, I thought. What a jerk.

“Sir, there’s a line. Sir, Sir, Sir, there’s a line.” He completely ignored her. We looked at each other and said, “What the hell was THAT?”

Hmmm. That’s when I got the gut feeling that I normally ignore and this time was no different. I had a totally random thought that he gave off REALLY dangerous vibes and I bet he had a gun in his backpack. I thought to myself that SOMETHING might happen and it would probably be a really good and prudent idea to simply avoid it all by walking back to my car. I mean, I could fulfill my desire for a new hoodie on another day; it’s not important. Not at all.

But I didn’t do that.

It was my turn to go in the store and I thought I’d be like Nancy Drew, Junior Detective, and keep my eyes and ears open and be aware of my surroundings. I searched for the guy and saw him walking up and down the aisles really fast, pullings items off the racks and piling them in his arms. He never looked up. When he walked toward the handbags, I went up to an employee who was stocking the area and said,

“Do you see that guy over there? (I pointed.) He’s going to run out of here with a lot of things.”

She said, “Yes, I’m watching him, he’s taking the expensive purses with the security tags.”

At that exact moment, he flew by us and bolted out the door, just like I predicted. The stolen handbags with the security tags set off the store alarms. The employee who was outside tried to stop him, but he kept running.

The manager came to where I was standing with the employee and I said to him, “Let’s go after him, I’m a witness. COME ON! We can catch him.”

“Thank you, but I can’t do that. He could have a weapon.”

The manager told me the video cameras at the front captured a picture of him as soon as the alarm was tripped.

I then told him I would wait there while he called the police.

Now here’s the crazy thing. He said he wasn’t going to call the police because that wasn’t “corporate policy”.

Have you ever experienced anything like that?

I was shocked by what he said, and when I went out to my car, I called the nonemergency police number who told me they couldn’t do anything unless the store called and it’s apparently their choice whether to do that or not. She agreed with me that it was not a great decision but law enforcement’s hands are tied. Unless the store calls, they can’t do their job.

I told dispatch I wanted to run after him but the store manager didn’t and she started laughing at the thought but warned me to NEVER do that. Even thought my intentions were noble, there’s always the chance that I’d be harmed. I’m no hero, but sheesh! Right is right, right?

I still can’t believe this thief got away with armfuls of stolen items with zero consequences.

WTF.

It was a sort of adventure, slightly thrilling with a touch of danger, but nothing really happened except that I watched a guy run into a store, brazenly steal a bunch of stuff, and get away. It was like a movie and I was an extra or a bit player. Like most of my acting career, my scene will probably be cut from the final edit.

What would you do?

What’s Your Inspo?

Friday thoughts…

(inspo = something or someone that serves as inspiration or motivation.)

deviantart.com/ignisfatuusii/art/In-the-Magic-Forest-3311904

I’m a forever child, never to grow up, still talking like the perpetual thirteen-year-old that I was/am, and sometimes a fairy princess in an enchanted forest with flowers in my hair surrounded by gentle creatures.

It used to irk my son when I’d repeat key phrases from South Park or Beavis and Butthead that were sooo INAPPROPRIATE, but now he laughs with me. A snarky chuckle, but a laugh nonetheless.

One day when he was in graduate school, we were eating lunch with a few of his friends and he put me on the spot and made me imitate Towlie from South Park. “Wanna get high?” in that Towlie voice. Good sports, we all laughed. I knew they were laughing AT me, but it wasn’t in a mean way. I laughed at myself, too. The jokes on them though, ‘cos whatever I did as a mom inspired my son to become a professor. HAHAHA.

Here’s Towlie in case you didn’t have a teenage son in the 90s…

NEVER GROW UP, that’s my mantra. (A girly Peter Pan without leaving all the narcissistic destruction in my wake.)

Just now at the ATT store I noticed that I was the ONLY one who was enthralled with two little starlings who walked all around me in a circle, not a care in the world with regard to humans and cars, and then I looked up and saw a gigantic White Egret. There was a UPS man parked right next to me and he followed my gaze as I was looking up, so I said, “Look at the beautiful white egret!” Nothing. “It’s a BIRD.” Nothing. “It’s really special!” Nothing. He continued with his stressed and frenzied pace to get those packages delivered and delivered and delivered. He looked at me like I was slightly off center but I wanted to tell him that he’d have a better day if he stopped just for a minute to BREATHE and LOOK UP.

There are miracles all around to be seen and heard. The simple things are the greatest bringers of joy and gratitude. It’s also true a Chanel handbag can bring its own kind of joy, as much as a seashell. Same.

Back to inspo

What’s MY inspo? Now it’s mostly Theo and Charlotte, and always my original Angel Boy, that’s a given.

I’m putting the finishing touches on Theo’s half birthday gift, another one of my personalized books with photos and beginner words that I write just for him.

Yes, we celebrate half birthdays around here. It’s a tradition started by my mom, the original Charlotte. Hee hee. Not only did I get presents on my dad’s birthday, I received gifts and HALF a cake on my half birthday in November. The same was done for AB and now his kids. I think it’s an awesome tradition.

When my son turned twenty-one, I embarrassed him (yet again) in front of his friends with my speech about my love for every breath he’s ever taken and then gave him a gift of a star that I named for him because he was and will always be my entire universe. Check it out: International Star Registry, Scutum RA18h 47m 46d D-12′ 24′

Do you celebrate half birthdays?

What’s your inspo?

Aquafaba. Not Awkwafina and definitely not Paso Fino

NOT Awkwafina, one of my fave actors and comedians from one of my all-time fave films, Crazy Rich Asians.Awkwafina has a scene-stealing role as Constance Wu's old college roommate in "Crazy Rich Asians."

And not a beautiful Paso Fino, either. I had never heard of that breed as I’m not a very horsey person but I met one while hiking at the Daley Ranch and fell totally in love. He was the most gorgeous creature I’ve ever seen and I couldn’t stop petting him. He was all dressed up in a shiny silver bridle. I’m mostly afraid of horses because they’re so big but this guy was gentle and affectionate.(This isn’t the horse I met; this pic is from Wiki.)

Puerto rican-Paso-Fino-Horse-chestnut.jpg

No, what I’m talking about is AQUAFABA. I don’t know how it is that I’ve never heard of it, but that’s the truth. It slipped right by me, like the noxious slime that it is.

Up until now, I thought that the viscous liquid in cans of garbanzo beans was vile and slippery and I drain them IMMEDIATELY before making hummus or veggie burgers.

Who knew that some brilliant person must have thought to herself, “Hmm, what if I whip this shit up into a frothy mass and use it as a vegan replacement for egg wihites?”

And who came up with the NAME??? Aquafaba

I(t reminds me of that stuff I put on my lips ‘cos it’s so dry in SoCal: Aquaphor…)

I would really like to have a chitchat with that person because my unimaginative brain does NOT work that way.

My brain is more like “EWW, gross.”

I promise to try it in a recipe and post the results. I’d like to see how it compares to egg whites in a lemon meringue pie or a chocolate mousse or marshmallows. Apparently, it’s virtually calorie-free, so that’s a plus.

Try this site for some great recipe ideas: https://www.vegansociety.com/news/blog/20-amazing-things-you-can-do-aquafaba

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever worked with aquafaba.