pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: June 2013

22 June 2013

Might as well jump

Mile Square Regional Park
Fountain Valley, California
6 April 2013

Sometimes the thing that terrifies me me.

I talk too much. Weird, I know, coming from the person who with tremendous intent and determination actually runs from conversations. No, I mean runs. Away. While people are still talking to me.

(Dude. Really, I'm sorry. The memory of that moment still torments me. It will always torment me.)

I've laughed--sort of--about it before. Sometimes I am possessed. I call it speaking ex cathedra. Because, JESUS, I will not shut up. And I sound infallible.

(Catholic joke. Never mind.)

Tonight, for example.

I was in a meeting. The person in charge started talking about a proposal. As he talked, ideas started taking shape in my mind. And the words poured forth. I sounded like I knew what I was talking about. Even I started to believe me.

I've worked in places and positions where we'd meet and perform a certain sort of brainstorming. Any idea, no matter how offbeat, could be put on the table and examined for usefulness. And to some degree, that was happening in my head tonight. Then, it was escaping via my mouth.

I started hearing a lot of "hey, that's a good idea."

Now, most people, at that point, will pat themselves on the back, and feel like they might have accomplished  something. MY immediate reaction is to say, "Wait a minute. Don't listen to me." I think fast, talk faster, but sometimes I don't think about what I'm talking about. That's what causes me to pull up short.

Later, I got home, and mulled over some of the stuff I'd suggested. A lot of it felt right. But it also feels huge. Ambitious. But not necessarily improbable or impossible. I tried to tell myself that if people didn't think big we wouldn't have great artists and musicians and scientists. So, why not? And my basic inability to get out of my own way.

Not to mention the really frightening possibility that I knew exactly what I was talking about and I have the resources to help make it happen.


Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. Might as well go the lake.

20 June 2013

Cat and butterfly

20 June 2013

A large buddleia sits outside this window. It's presently in full bloom, and the butterflies are ecstatic.  In the late afternoon and early evening, they swirl, drunk with nectar and the warmth of the sun, around the garden. Their shadows play on the blinds, and the cat is captivated. Sometimes he forgets his dignity and attacks them, his claws shrieking uselessly against the glass.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

14 June 2013

A rose by any other name (and all that)

Iceberg rose
14 June 2013

Let's face it, in some ways I have a one-track mind.

(Alright, let's be honest. In many ways, I have a one-track mind.)

My horoscope pops up on my browser. Most days, I don't even read it, but the last few days I was starting to catch ominous (or hopeful, depending on your point of view) words as it went sailing by. Eventually, I read something along the lines of "if you feel like you've been ignored, don't worry! That's about to change."

No one wants to be ignored, of course. And recently, some things have happened that have left me perplexed if nothing else (well, and slightly annoyed. And maybe feeling a little ignored. But mostly confused. Actually, confused to the point if I wondered if I'd somehow offended someone, though I couldn't even figure out how I might have done that.)


Change. It happened.

It just wasn't the change that I wanted.

More like Do Not Want.

(I could think of many other changes I'd have preferred. Or one. Remember, one-track mind.)

Anyway, it's done.

(But, she asks hopefully, can I choose the next one?)


The daughter triumphantly finished her sophomore year yesterday, and I have sort of regained control of my own life (except, of course, for see above. And except for everything else. But I'm half the way there, I tell myself. I'm not lying.)

And I have a headache.

By any other name...

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4 with Hipstamatic Tinto 1884 lens and C-Type Plate film. Yeah, I'm feeling a bit silly. Also feeling a bit like "no" would have been a good word. And really, I hoped for a better change.

11 June 2013

You've seen that look before

I remember the room. The lamp. The chair. The dress I am wearing: the bow was brown velveteen. The lighting makes me look older than I am. I was still too young to be allowed to go to kindergarten.

A few months ago, one of my cousins succumbed to ALS. All of my cousins from my father's side of the family are older than I am, some decades older, and Cousin B., well into his 60's, had inherited all of his parents' photographs when they passed on. His younger brother, with whom I am close, was at B's home recently, and yesterday, he sent me this photo.

"There are more," P. wrote. "So many more of all of you when you were little."

My father was the youngest child in his family; B & P's mother was my father's oldest sister. So I can only imagine that this photo was included in a card or letter to her. Undoubtedly my father took it, didn't use a flash.

My mother's face, my brother's face, my younger sister's face are all clearly visible in this photo. Only I am shrouded in shadow. While I don't believe that was intentional, the end result tells a story and foresees a future.

The watermark slightly obscures my expression, but I am smiling, faintly, and watching.

Tech stuff: I've no idea what camera was used for this photo. It was a really interesting find, though.

07 June 2013

A vintage kind of day

Santa Ana, California
6 June 2013

My heart skipped a beat this morning when I saw the breaking news item, and in a moment, I was back in my sweltering apartment in the San Gabriel Valley, summer of 1985.

I still check doors and windows every night with a compulsion verging on obsession.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4 through various Hipstamatic settings. The L.A. Times' Patt Morrison more than adequately captures the sense of that summer here.

06 June 2013

Your mileage may vary

Santa Ana, California
6 June 2013

Obviously, I spend a lot of time here.

Even with the drive to and from the daughter's school, though, I don't put that much mileage on my car every year. According to my insurance company, the average person drives his/her car about 12,000 miles per year. I put about half that on my car, in California nonetheless. This probably has to do with my adherence to walking or bicycling when possible over the years. I use service providers in the area, rather than, say, driving to a doctor in Newport Beach (no, really. I know people who do that). I also group my errands so that if I have to do a bunch of things in one particular area, I do them all at the same time. To me, this is a no-brainer but I found out that for some, it was a revelation.


Yes, it's California and it "only" takes an hour to get from point A to point B. Really. People say that. And if that's how you want to utilize your time and your fuel, hey, your choice.

Anyway, I get a little survey from my insurance company periodically because they're sure that I'm driving rampantly all over creation. This is California. But no. My car is 16 years old. It has about 54,000 miles on it.

I really did ride my bike home from work in the good old days; I really did make my kids walk to school for 10 years. If I only have to get a few things at the store, I walk.

We knew when the daughter decided she wanted this school that it would be a commuting situation. We knew what we were signing up for. Which doesn't mean we like it, but we do it. She's committed to the school, so we're committed to our cars. But we're grateful the year is almost over. Four more days of the palm trees and jacarandas and people running wildly in the streets. Then it's summer.

And then,we'll be half the way there. Two years down, two years to go.

But who's counting?

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. The title is a turn of phrase I use frequently, mostly to distinguish my own opinion about something while recognizing that others may see things differently. For some reason, my family finds it hilarious when I say it.

04 June 2013

The view from the inside

La Cañada, California
22 September 2012

Yes, it's a pretty sunset, and for the life of me, I can't remember why we were up in La Cañada on a Saturday night in September. Not that we don't have cause to visit with some frequency; family lives up there, and we used to live up there, in the hills, just off Angeles Crest highway.

And I wonder why I dream of driving treacherous roads.

But there it was, September, and here we are at June. By late September, the son had just gotten through his first month of university, and now he is a sophomore. The daughter's school year is finally winding down. One more awards dinner, then finals, and then she is grade 11.

March over months of the year.

This afternoon, waiting for the daughter to arrive at the car, a wave of terrible sadness washed over me. It seemed unreasonable, this sadness, but it was as palpable as it was inexplicable. Lately, I've been troubled by uneasy dreams and during my waking hours, everything is conspiring to be difficult. Not unusual for me, nor, I am sure, is it unusual for anyone else. The stresses--big and little--have a way of eroding one's patience, good will and resolve. But it's been nothing particularly out of the ordinary.

So, I sat in my car, waiting, and it was hot, and I was deeply sad, and unsure why. Because it was hot, I had the driver and passenger side windows down, and I could hear the woman who'd parked behind me ask a man across the street if he had change for the parking meter. He didn't.

In my rear view mirror, I could see the woman digging around in her bags and in her car, presumably looking for change. At that moment, the daughter appeared, and through the passenger window, I handed her two quarters and asked her to give them to the woman behind us. The daughter rarely questions this sort of request, and she simply said, "OK," took quarters and walked over to the woman. The woman handed the daughter a dollar bill and the daughter came back and asked if I had any more change. I gave her another two quarters, which she took over to the woman. Then the daughter got in the car, and I pulled away from the curb and set off for home.

I remember the actual moment when I was a child that I became aware of my self (as opposed to myself), aware of the consciousness that looked out from these eyes. I was supposed to be taking a nap, something I never did as a child, and I was staring at my bedroom door, alternately willing my imprisonment to be over and playing number games in my head. It was startling, that moment when I noticed the limits to my vision imposed by the bone comprising my skull, and powerful. I suddenly understood my corporeal person and conscious self to be two distinct entities, and I recognized the limits of the first and limitlessness of the second. And as a very young child, I was gleeful in the realization that my mother could trap my body but not my mind.

And perhaps it is the sense of being trapped from which today's sadness sprang. Locked in a hot car, locked in this body, locked into managing the crazy around me. For now at least, my brain remains unlimited, and my ability to imagine, to make an impact, to see is still limitless.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. Yup, I know. It's been awhile since I've actually written.

03 June 2013

Amsterdam awakening

24 July 2012

I like to watch the sun rise, and to see the light sweep up and across the world as it goes. This photo was taken about 6 am, and already little boats were out and about as people were starting their day.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPad.