Wednesday, September 17, 2014
2. Does anyone else agree with me that those selfie pole thingies that you can attach to your phone are ridiculous. I've seen too many pictures recently of people with poles in them. This is absurd. Why can't you just ask someone to take a picture of you? Or do what the rest of us do and just hold your arm out. Or stop taking pictures of yourself. I tell you this as a friend, you look a little dumb holding that pole.
3. My seminary class is an hour long hot flash. I teach on the stage in the gym and there's no AC vent up there. It is, to say the least, a muggy mess. During most of the year it's no big deal but when we're experiencing apocalyptic temperatures around here it becomes a problem. That problem being how to effectively teach as a puddle of sweat. The kids seem immune to it. But also, I think kids are weird, temperature-wise. The other day I was stopped at a red light and a kid crossed the street in front of me wearing a hoodie and it was 106 outside! Maybe I'm just a really athletic teacher and I can stop worrying about going to the gym. I am eternally grateful to Amanda who convinced me to get a fan the last time she was out here. I really thought I would only use it to choreograph dramatic Latin dances but now I think it will come in handy for when I swoon from the heat and the kids have to revive me.
4. I call dibs on Hot Flash as my superhero name in about 5 years.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
As you know, I forget most books a few days after I finish. So if a book leaves a big enough impression on me to be not just remembered but also regularly thought of, referenced, and recommended then that's a big deal. All of these books, on first reading, made me feel like I had come across something entirely new.
And now, the list:
1. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Stay golden, Ponyboy.
2. The Trixie Belden series. Girl sleuth solving mysteries and getting in and out of scrapes with her friends. Also, they had matching jackets. Where do I sign up?
3. Anne of Green Gables and The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. When in doubt, ask what would Anne Shirley do?
4. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. It was the first of hers that I read. And thus it began.
5. Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. This is a perfectly written book.
6. East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Of course.
8. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.
9. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. This book haunts me. I side-eye it every time I pass my bookshelf because it won't leave my brain.
10. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. This is the book that turned me right off Dickens and then 20 years later, turned him into my literary boyfriend.
11. These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner.
12. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.
13. Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. I snort-laughed my way through this
14. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
15. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
16. The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel
17. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.
18. The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman. Out of all the books I've loaned and lost, this is the one I miss the most.
19. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.
20. On Writing by Stephen King. His novels are way too scary for this delicate flower. But his thoughts on writing have been invaluable.
21. The Wednesday Wars and Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt
There. Let's read books!
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Speaking of which, don't you think it's funny that US Representatives set up info booths at the fair? Do people really stop and talk shop? I don't know about you but I'm too busy looking at useless kitchen gadgets and finding the weirdest fried foods to talk politics with people who volunteer for a congressman. I mean, sure, if Ed had been there I may have chatted before taking the fan. But at that moment I think I was on the hunt for one of those cooling towels you get wet and then snap a few times and it stays cool for 4 hours. Found and purchased, by the way.
The fair of today is not the same as the fair of my youth. Mostly there are just way fewer animals, which is a huge shame. I love looking at the animals. How often does anyone in LA get to be up close and personal with a cow's runny nose? In fact, several years ago, that was their marketing ploy. Come to the fair, city slickers, and see real live animals! I have so many memories of rows and rows of exotic chickens and long-haired bunnies and pens full of pigs. Not anymore. Now there are just a handful of cows, sheep, and goats. And notably, there are no more horses. Anywhere. The Clydesdales are gone. The horses for the western shows and fancy buggy competitions are gone. And there are no more horse races. This was a blow. The horse races have always been my favorite part of the fair. They turned the horse arena into a garden. I suppose that gardens are fine, but anyone can have a garden. What we really want are stables full of horses. Sunrise, sunset, right?
But the furnace like heat and the lack of animals did not stop us from have a great time. We did look at a lot of useless kitchen gadgets. And we didn't pass a single food sample without trying. And we watched a blacksmith demo that made me want to take a blacksmith class. Have you seen my forearms? I think I could be really good at it. Laura and I went down the giant slide. And we saw the Handicapable Foot Stompers Square Dance Club. And if that wasn't the most joyful thing I've seen in ages, I don't know what is.
And to top it off, I got 2nd place in the quilt square competition. Which isn't saying much because we live in a time when everyone gets a ribbon. So I shared it with several other people. But I don't care because now I have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbon from the fair and all of my dreams have come true. Up next, Best in Show.
Friday, September 5, 2014
I had such a call today. It started a little rough but then turned into something so wonderful that I wanted it to go on forever. It was an older gentleman who even though he was raised in Burbank and has lived in La Puente (he pronounced it poo-enty. It's pwentay.) for 35 years "in a custom home, thank you very much" he still has a drawl that tells you for sure he wears suspenders and has breakfast at a diner every morning with several other gentleman of a certain age. His name was Bo.
He was very concerned for two reasons. First, he was concerned that when he called one of our buildings that the message was only in Spanish. "I don't even speak Spanish!" I explained to him that that particular building only has Spanish congregations attending. That calmed him down. Second he heard a rumor that we don't honor the American flag. I told him that we were politically neutral but that we do have flag poles in front of every building and that the 4th of July pancake breakfasts are legendary. So that's that.
And then things took a funny turn. Bo started rambling. He went on for about 10 minutes. Here are some snippets:
"I was going to ask my friend Merle about the American flag. He's a Mormon. Not a high priest, but the one just below a high priest but he doesn't want to be a high priest because he says he'll fall asleep." (Note: High priest is a office of the priesthood, usually made up of older men who have a reputation of being dull. Many jokes are made about high priests, mostly by elders, the group just before high priest, the one that Merle belongs to.)
"I married a hot red-head. She's a Cath-o-lic and I'm a Methodist but I don't go to church, I just pray. My goal every morning is to not get into a fight with her but I've already messed it up today."
"My mom always tried to be respectful to her 4th husband."
"Back in the 70s I permed my hair (Note: this is when I LOST it.) and when I went to visit my dad he said, 'Hey there, Bo!' And I said, 'What do you mean?' and he said, 'Bozo the Clown!' and it just stuck."
"I have this room that's my library slash museum slash entertainment center. I'm going to get me one of those Samsung curved TVs to hang next to my cuckoo clocks."
He told me all about his time in Vietnam as a corporal, 3rd recon (I don't know what this means but he said it at least 3 times). He told me about his knucklehead kids and his first wife (not the hot red-head). He got choked up when he talked about his dad and said he was his best friend and the greatest example he could have had. He identified the race of every single person he mentioned if they did not happen to be white (which my grandpa did and I find to be kind of racist but also endearing in that old man sort of way.) I learned all about his antique clocks and how often he has to wind them. He ended by asking me to say a silent prayer tonight for the service men AND women overseas.
Generous of you to include the ladies, Bo. Tell Merle I said hi when you have breakfast with him tomorrow and compare suspender straps.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
|Yes, we're far away. The Bowl is mostly for the experience rather than the nearness.|
This year they showed clips of the Olympics while the orchestra played one of the anthems he wrote and it made me want to recommit myself to becoming an Olympian. I think I have a shot at canoeing. That's easy, right?
Thanks to freakishly light traffic (35 minutes from Pomona to Hollywood on a Friday afternoon. This should blow every one's mind!) the sisters and I got there super early. Early enough to get good (for the Bowl) parking. Early enough to eat our dinner in leisure and in the light. And, early enough to make friends with the future president of the United States. Spencer, age 9, was sitting in front of us and turned around and started one of the most entertaining conversations I've ever had. He plays the violin and is on a basketball team. He wants to perform at the Hollywood Bowl. His goal for the 4th grade is to make as many friends as he can. And he wants to be the school president but has to wait until he's in the 5th grade. He told us all about his family's vacation to Zion and Bryce Canyon with a stop over in Las Vegas where they toured a chocolate factory. He read a book on the process of making the chocolate. Before the show he sat down next to me and asked, "I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name." At intermission he asked, "How are you enjoying the show?" and then offered us slices of cake.
How do you get kids like this? I realize that precociousness is born but is there some sort of magic potion I can take that would get me a kid who puts on his fancy argyle socks because he feels like regular athletic socks would be slumming it at an outdoor summer concert? His mom seemed totally cool, she didn't hover or coddle. She just let him hang out with us and said that he does this sort of thing all the time. They slipped out before the encores started so we didn't get to say goodbye. And all of us are kind of in mourning that we won't get to see Spencer again. Until he becomes president. I'm telling you, the kid is on track.
In other news, in case you were wondering how the Universe made it up to us for the amazing traffic out, it took us nearly 2 hours to get home thanks to several accidents that shut the freeways down. We were dead stopped, engine turned off, for 30 minutes. Camille and Lindsay sang the whole opening number of Newsies, with parts, and then we watched about 20 minutes of Spice World on Lindsay's phone until a cop started motioning for us all to turn around and drive back to the nearest exit which then deposited us into East LA - Land of a Thousand Taco Trucks. If you're looking for a taco at 1 a.m., go to East LA.
Friday, August 29, 2014
Monday, August 25, 2014
And so another summer comes to an end. The Institute kids came back yesterday and seminary starts tomorrow and I have to start going to bed at 3 pm because that's just what 80 year old women do. But I'm ready for it. Mostly because this summer has just been so relaxing. Truly, I feel very rested, like I've spent a month in a sanitarium taking the waters.
Last summer was a blur of crazy activities. This summer was a lot of taking naps after work or watching movies. And generally when I get to the end of a summer like this, a quiet summer, I feel out of sorts, like I should have done more. In fact, in the middle of this summer I thought about how it's been so low-key and that maybe I should ramp things up because I didn't want to feel like I had frittered away all this leisure time. But then I realized that I was having the summer that I wanted. I wanted to be in my stretchy pants 100% of the time. I wanted to spend a whole evening reading. I didn't really want to go anywhere. I mean, I did do things, but not a lot. And many of those activities were solo ones. This was the Summer of the Lone Wolf.
And now I find myself wanting to plan activities with friends. September is historically a packed month for me and this one is no different. I have several trips to the Hollywood Bowl planned and the fair is coming up in a few weeks. I'm ending my book club's summer hiatus. I got a haircut that actually has to be done, meaning, it can barely be put back in a pony tale. This morning I needed to be up by 6:15 and I actually got out of bed at 5:45 because I felt like it. This, literally, never happens. I am the worst at getting out of bed. But I spent the summer hibernating and now I'm waking up. Who wants to do something fun? As long as we're done by 3 pm, I'm game.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
First of all, it's massive.
Friday, August 15, 2014
It is majestic. I could watch her and her Gentleman Friend Victor prance through the fields with the horses for hours. I think she may be wearing one of those tops that you find at truck stops along the I-15. The kind that are just a ball of squished up fabric that magically stretches to fit any size. And you know that Victor woke up that morning and thought, "Yep. Today's the day! These pants are going to kill it!"
I really hope she only speaks in rhyme all the time. Like she calls up her girlfriend Sheila (I am absolutely certain she has a friend named Sheila who supplies her with all her chunky jewelry) and says, "I just went to Target to pick up some Clorox and walked out with Titanic, toothbrushes, and pink socks."
Naturally, I have come up with an elaborate tale of how Joanna met Victor. It starts with them sitting across the aisle from each other on the senior citizen bus to a local casino and ends with Joanna calling up Victor to see if he'd like to go line dancing with her since Sheila's lumbago was acting up. "Hey, Victor, how are you? Do you know Slappin' Leather? Sheila's back has gone south on account of the weather." The rest is history.
Have a great weekend! Remember to get yourself a Slurpee (or a slushy equivalent) and let me know about it. Let's make this the best Get Yourself a Slurpee Day ever!
Tuesday, August 12, 2014