Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pecans In the Gutter

Yesterday I was walking in the woods and I heard a whistle, just a short quick one, and I looked around. It was early, and though frequently I see other people on the trail, this morning it was just me. I thought maybe someone down the hill was looking for a dog so I kept walking. The whistle came again and I ignored it, but then it came again. It had to have been meant for me! I stopped and looked around, maybe a friend was hiding behind a tree and trying to trick me, but I couldn’t see anyone. I started walking and then the whistle came again. Godammit. I looked up and there in the tree was a huge black crow, looking right at me. I swear he nodded his head. We stared at each other.

I recognized him immediately. It was my stepfather, Bub, that old rascal. Ever since he died a few years ago, my kids and I have always believed he turned into a crow that follows us around. He used to hang around the telephone pole outside our house, and sometimes we’d see him at the parking lot at Starbucks. Mostly we saw him outside the school. And he was always cawing at us. Harry saw him once with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Who else could it be?

I continued on my walk, smiling to myself. The whistling had stopped. I remembered something I had read about how smart crows are, how they can recognize humans, how they have a complicated language. But as I walked further, I also remembered how a group of them is called a murder, how the appearance of one in a story is usually foreboding, and I started to walk slower and slower.

Oh my God.

It was a sign. I may has well have just gotten a kiss from a mafiosa. This was not good. When I got home I looked it up on the internet: Black Crow symbol. It was all there on Ask Yahoo. One person wrote in “If you see a black crow it is usually a sign that you or someone you love is about to die. But don’t worry it is just an old wives tale. J” Another person wrote “if you see a crow outside your window he probably just wants to get some pecans out of the gutter”. And we all know what that means.

Once the computer was off and my mind began to quiet, I wondered how long it takes the average person to turn something comforting into something stressful.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Things I Never Expected to Like, See or Do, or Have in My Refrigerator

Comic Books

Teen Heart-throbs

Use the word Heart-throb

Drink juice made from kale, sweet potatoes and broccoli (and other things)

See a Parent beep their horn and give the finger in a school parking-lot more than 5 times

Live in California

See Spiderman, SpongeBob and Marilyn Monroe hang out on the sidewalk smoking cigarettes

Soak nude in a mugworts tea bath with three naked people I’ve never seen before in my life

See a possum in a cage in Paris Hilton’s living room

Watch and love The Simpsons

Hang out at a playground with a playboy bunny

Tae Kwon Do



Sunday, February 13, 2011


 I'm reposting an oldie and I'm sorry if you read it before. I promise next week I will have all new all the time. But this one has the added bonus of a joke. Tell it to all your friends (if you can find any that haven't heard it) and you'll be the hit of the party.

I am not afraid of insects. I can scoop up a spider and calmly walk outside while everyone else is screaming. I can sweep up a pulsing mound (I said pulsing mound) of termites or ants. But if I see a mouse, I am the first one up a table crying. Yes crying. The fur/scittering/bulging eyes/naked tail combo is too much for me. Once a long time ago I lived in an apartment on top of a pub and we'd get armies of mice in our kitchen. I was not afraid then, mainly because I never saw them, I only saw the "clues" they left behind. I could hear them squeaking at night and tip-toeing around the counter tops, though. When we used the broiler, the whole place would smell like warm toasting mouse turds.
At first I bought "have a heart" traps which were tiny rectangular boxes with an open door, and when the little guy went in for the cheese, the trap would tilt like a see-saw causing the door to gently close behind him.
I went through a half pound of cheese, enough to feed a hundred extended families of mice, before realizing that they had figured the thing out after the first night. And then really what would I have done if he had been trapped in there? I would have put him outside and it would have only been a matter of hours before he navigated his way back through the pub and up through the ceiling, across the floor and back to the kitchen.
By the time we agreed to get the snapping traps, my boyfriend and I were so fed up with the turds and the smell and the midnight squeaking that it didn't feel bad crushing their tiny skulls beneath a metal bar night after night after night.
I was reminded of all this when I saw the above photo and read the joke below. I hope I can be forgiven.
Three mice are sitting at the bar arguing over who is the toughest. The first mouse orders a shot of Scotch, drinks it and says, “I’m so tough I trip mouse traps with my foot then do 20 bench presses with the trap bar and eat the cheese.” The second mouse orders 2 shots of bourbon, drinks them and says, “When I see rat poison I grind up as much as I can carry and mix it in my coffee.” The third mouse says, “I don’t have time for this, I have to go home and bang the cat.”

Friday, February 11, 2011


I'm not going to pretend that I've been closely following everything going on in Egypt, but I've had an ear towards some of it, and here at my house we have been talking about making some changes and how nearly impossible it feels to accomplish that. So it made me feel really happy and hopeful to hear about the resignation, because maybe if they can make it happen, I can too. I love this photo because he's both joyous and holding a big stick. (click here to see it larger)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stalking the Big Budget

Because I live in a neighborhood with Victorian houses, the kind that are three stories high with wrap-around-porches, chimneys and enormous doorways, the kind that look haunted, or enchanted, or like they are from New England, someone is always shooting a movie here. Or a TV show, or a commercial. You get used to it. But it is always slightly annoying: you have to park a couple blocks away, aggressive young guys carrying walkie-talkies hold their hands up to shush you when you walk your dogs down the street, or make the hand signals for “Rolling” and “Stop right there. Thank you”. Even during the time of day they are not shooting, you can hear the rumble of the generators, and smell the fumes wafting in your windows.

But it’s fun too, the “rental” cops wearing fake jodhpurs and black boots sit on their big motorcycles on the corner, staring at their fingernails. I like to chit-chat with these guys, and the teamsters, and the security guys who guard the equipment trucks as well. They know what’s going on, and though at first they pretend to be tough, “Stand back little lady, we’re doing serious work here”, they love to gossip. They are the roustabouts of the circus, the narrators of the story, and often more entertaining than some of the actors. They have privileged information and they like to give it out, one morsel at a time, but they can never be completely trusted. I remember one guy named Dennis I met on a set in NY a long time ago. We talked about the lead actor of an action movie.

Oh yeah, one of his ex’s was here last night.

Who was it?

Can’t tell ya

What? Come on.

She had a bush like a blacksmith’s apron though.


Yeah she did.

Jesus Dennis …how do you know this?

Me an Cheney was watching the ah, the ah (he holds his hand up to me because someone’s talking on the walkie, they are about to roll so he whispers the rest) we was watchin some of her old videos (he raises his eyebrows at me. Twice.)

I shake my head at him before saying, well, it’s a very poetic description.

He shrugs at me like yeah, that’s what they all say.

This week, there are guards and police and teamsters, but they are not messing around, they are not chit chatty or ready to gossip about anyone’s privates. They are more like the secret service. My friend Jim, who owns two of the most beautiful houses on the street, has allowed them to film in one (something he never does despite being asked on a weekly basis), and there have been crews here since last week, fluffing the house, trimming the hedges, making sure each blade of grass is the exact same length, all with the efficiency of a beehive. Lights and cranes, cherry pickers and rain machines are parked on the side streets along with a block of Winnebagos. This is what it looks like when Clint is the director and Leo is the star.

Over the weekend, they brought in the Model Ts and draped shrubbery over the stop signs at both ends of the street. Everyone seemed polite and friendly, helpful and busy, but in a way that seemed as though they were being watched on a satellite tv and could be taken out at any second. (“Brown hair at 2 oclock, talking to the lady with the dogs” and suddenly he’d grab his neck and fall to the ground). Leo’s purple trailer, the size of a two-story house, was parked right on the street, not around the block with all the extras and the catering trucks. Clint wouldn’t even be showing up until everything was in place and ready to roll, so he didn’t need a resting spot.

By Monday the street was perfect and ready. In the afternoon the catering truck smelled like a French restaurant: sage, basil, garlic. Everyone was busy and quiet. The extras, less than 10, were dressed in clothes from the early 1900s. They were going to be driving by the house while they were filming inside, probably never even to be seen, except maybe in the shadow of Leo’s eye as he looked out the window. I realized then that I couldn’t go through with my plan. I thought I’d go down to “the set” and introduce myself to both of them, Hey Clint, Hey Leo, but when I got to the corner, I knew it would never happen. I got shy and overwhelmed. The budget was just too huge for me. Where was old Dennis? Where was old Cheney?

I don’t know why, but I felt ashamed and sneaky, a stalker in my own neighborhood.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Born This Way

This picture makes me so happy. I love how "Hello Everybody!" he is and I love his customized shorts. I just found this blog from a story on the radio called Born This Way.

Morning Walk: Below and Above

The Fix

Thank you coffee guy.

Mulling and Carmina Burana

I’ve been mulling. It’s been impossible for me to post anything else this week because the mulling has been a full time job. First I had the experience that led to the mull, and it actually wasn’t one event on one day but a series of events that led to it. Second, I had the all-consuming (and when I say all-consuming, I don’t mean paralyzing: I was still able to walk the dogs, have laugh-filled phone conversations, drive a car) desire to kill the person who instigated my upset. I know; that sounds extreme, but it’s part of my process and I eventually got through it. Until that point though, the torture and carnage that go through my mind was relentless: chains, electric probes, monster trucks, screaming, loud dramatic music, etc.

I never have these thoughts towards someone I care about or know well (there is a different process for that), only to the lateral characters:

A. The person I was dumped for

B. The person who hurt a friend or family member

C. The person who misunderstands something I have said or done and assumes something false about me.

There are probably others but those are the top three.

The third part of the mull had to do with me: why did I feel this way, or why did I need to have this experience? This is usually the most difficult part, especially with “C” because I have such a desperate need to be understood, such a desperate need to be liked, that I think oh, all I have to do is get them to understand and then everything will be great. But sometimes there is nothing I can do to make that happen and I just have to let it go. Sometimes the C is just going to continue assuming certain things about me and these things rarely have anything to do with the problem at hand anyway.

Still, it does take a long time to get to that point, and until then I can calm myself by getting out my chainsaw and listening to this.