pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: June 2016

30 June 2016

When my garden was green

Vegetable garden
24 May 2006

This is depressing. Even more so because I grew it on the bare minimum of water and then was asked to cut more while the wasters continue to waste.

(Shall I open a few more cans of worms while I'm at it?)

Tech stuff: Taken with a Cannon PowerShot S110. No, really. I have a whole list of stuff I could take on.
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24 June 2016

Last dance

Corona del Mar, California
12 March 2013

Yesterday, the daughter was at work and I was outdoors fiddling with things.

"We got into San Antonio!" she texted me.

Then "MAAAAAAAAAAM!" when I didn't respond fast enough.

I got the text a bit later and sent back "YAAAAAASSS!"

It'll be the last public screening of her short. Last rodeo. Festival trail started and finished in Texas.

We took it other places, but neither of us went to Newport Beach. We agreed that it's become too hard to watch it.

But we'll watch it one last time in San Antonio at the end of July. With D.

I wrote the story just about 2 years ago. Periodically, I find bits of it, scrawled on random sheets of paper, in notebooks, in the notes app of my phone. A ghost story to help us make sense of the ghost who was about to enter our lives.

My own brushes with mortality earlier this year have given me a will to make sense of what's become of my own life. I'm floundering a bit right now, but there are things I know.

The daughter and I like collaborating. So that's good.

I can still write on demand. That's good.

I have stuff to say and stuff to do and maybe stuff to contribute. That's interesting.

It's Friday night and I'm tired. Things weigh me down--Brexit and the election here in November. My credit card was stolen, and there's the exasperation and documentation of that. My backup drive kicked the bucket and while I do redundant back ups, I did lose one document. It's probably just as well it was lost, but there is a part of me that feels like I still need to remember what was written there, though most of it is written on my soul.

So there is all that. And there is more. But there always is.

I have my new passport. I have to make plans to fly to San Antonio.


Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.
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20 June 2016


Los Angeles, California
14 August 2015

The world is burning.

I was out filling the fountain this afternoon--I can't fail the birds; they depend upon that water source--and it was burst-into-flames hot outside. Of course, smoke wound up into the sky from the fires in the San Gabriel Mountains. I listened to my 18-year-old air conditioner chug, and prayed it would hold on just long enough for me to get a replacement installed. I know; I swore I wouldn't be nursing it along again this summer, but all I can say in my defense is 4 months in and out of doctors' offices and 4 hours on the freeway on Saturday to do the necessary for a woman who can't remember how the sentence she is uttering began.

My world is burning.


I've long run my own film camp over the summer. When the kids got out of school, I'd find all kinds of movies that the spouse and I considered "must see," and we'd curl up on the couch several times a week and watch. I'm not much for television--it implies a commitment that I'm rarely willing to make--but I'm a fool for movies. Take me somewhere else for 2 hours? I'm all over it. I know a lot of people who will not go to see a movie by themselves, but for years, solo Saturday afternoon matinees were one of my guiltiest of pleasures.

In later years, when the daughter was in high school, she was released at lunchtime on Fridays and it became our habit to watch something on those lazy, precious afternoons.

The unintended consequence of all this, of course, is that when one of her film professors asks if the class has seen a certain film, she almost invariably has.

Interestingly, she's developed a real interest in film noir and the tables have been turned as she's convinced me to watch films I've largely avoided. So we've watched The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Dark Passage, and The Big Sleep.

There is stuff I refer to as "cough medicine," which has become the family code term for things you know you should watch, but don't because you don't like the taste. That's sort of my take on the classic 40s and 50s noir cinema for reasons both personal and professional, reasons for which I have grounds, and also don't. The death of one of my grandfathers was connected to a fraud case in 1930s L.A. that could have come straight from the typewriter of Raymond Chandler.

But there was one film, truly neo-noir, that I wanted the daughter to see, and that was William Friedkin's To Live and Die in L.A. Weirdly, given the violence and amorality rife in the story, it is one of my favorite films. I saw it alone on a Saturday afternoon in 1985 and felt like I was watching a piece of my life.

(Coincidentally, that church in the movie? I lived right down the street.)

1985 was a weird year. It was my first year as a fully-fledged adult who was navigating her own life at last, even if I was cobbling together survival strategies as I went. Stranger in a stranger land. In Los Angeles, it was the year of fire, flood, freeway shooter and the Night Stalker. By day, I ran the front desk of a college library (that's a story in itself) while in the evening, my friends and I tore up and down the freeways in search of the next concert or club (yes, even back then) while locking the doors and windows every night through a sweltering summer against the serial killer in the backyard. And because I didn't have a car, a lot of my time was spent waiting at bus stops while the prostitutes of Pasadena peddled their wares ten steps away. A knife fight broke out behind me on one of those buses. Afterward, I armed myself with a pipe wrench hidden in the bottom of my bag.

Shoulder pads and pencil skirts. Ronald Reagan and Star Wars (SDI, not the movie). AIDS and holding the hands of friends, heart in throat, as they called for their test results. Mass murder at home and in faraway places.

To live and die and L.A.

I remember emerging from that movie theater exhausted but enthralled, disturbed but energized. I bought the movie soundtrack and blasted it on my Walkman as I ran the streets of Pasadena, South Pas and Alhambra, and rode the bus daily through downtown. I watched out the windows as the sun rose and set on the place I called home that was not my home, actor and bystander at the same time.

The daughter and I finally watched the movie today. And it resonated for all the same reasons, 30 years later. Horrible elections and horrible politicians. Global insanity. Mass murder beyond comprehension. Dirty deeds done dirt cheap by dirty people ad nauseam.

These last weeks I have been throttled by the horror of all of it. Silenced, choking on the daily detritus of a world gone mad. The more I try to put it behind me, the more it finds me, on the freeway, in the papers, in my daily dealings, in the night as it steals my sleep.

I don't want to be silenced. I want to scream.

Which I suppose is what I am doing here as the world burns.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. Sometimes there is just no way to write about all the stuff that has taken place of late in a sensible and reasoned manner. It's too overwhelming, and being overwhelmed in that way just stops me in my tracks.
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03 June 2016

Taking a drink

Dumbarton Oaks Museum
Washington, D.C.
22 May 2016

It wasn't until I got home that I realized it looks as though the head is a getting a drink from the fountain.

For what it's worth, the fountain is outdoors and the head is not.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. There is a light. I may be finally getting over this crud.
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01 June 2016

Open windows

Potomac River and Virginia
From a Georgetown rooftop
Washington, DC
19 May 2016

It is summer-ish, so I have the windows open. I am dedicated to the proposition of not running the air-conditioning, at least until it is replaced. Or it's 95F out. And because the windows are open, I can hear the drunken neighbors to the rear screaming at each other. This has been going on for 10 or 12 years, however long they've lived back there. Occasionally, they seem to be throwing major appliances at each other, and I've called the sheriff a couple of times when it seemed that the screaming was going to escalate to real violence. It hasn't been that bad for awhile, though.

[remainder of post redacted]

Ah, summer. And the joy of open windows.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. Don't get me wrong; I am not styling myself the perfect neighbor. And I'm sure that the people renting next door were cursing me at 4 this morning when I was coughing up both lungs, even though I had the windows closed.
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