Thursday, April 25, 2013

Transferring Allegiances and More Wrong Judgements

Each month sees me transferring sources and habits to Sonoma County, like doctors, banks, newspapers, art outlets, porn stores and coffee shops. (I just threw in the porn stores to see if you were reading). Its not as easy as it sounds, for I am a creature of habit as well as lazy.  
So when my three year old Malibu edged toward 25,000 miles I decided with some trepidation to take the plunge and try the local Chevrolet dealer.
They were delighted to receive my business and like the San Leandro dealer offered free shuttle to and from one's home while they preformed their computer magic.  As the woman shuttle driver was returning me to the dealer in the afternoon for the husky payment of services a call came in to pick up another customer who would be sitting on the bench in front of Target.
When we arrived there the only occupant of the bench was a young woman, perhaps 22, demurely sunning herself. Her peroxide assisted blonde hair hung thick and straight to her waist, a kind of contraction to her modest makeup and bland clothing. She appeared about a size two. "A manicurist or a drug store clerk" thought I. The loose fitting grey tee she wore hung in soft folds. On second glance I noted it said "Keep Drifting Fun".
She perched sedately on the back seat of the van letting out not a peep for several blocks. Finally I could not stand it. "What does your tee shirt mean?"  I turned and inquired. It was then she came to life.
"I'm a race car driver and this is my club" she said enthusiastically. Both the driver (a middle aged housewife type) and I did a double take. She went on to describe her activity.
"On Wednesday nights out at the track I race cars." She reported that she was very good at it and that, in fact, most of the women were better than the men and that they competed right along side them. "Its so much fun." "You must come out and see me", she said. She went on to say she was looking for a sponsor because tires cost so much. Apparently she wears out one or two sets every week. I was blown away. it was only as she was leaving the van that I noticed her left arm. There was a tattoo of leaves and flowers extending from her shoulder to her wrist only like the rest of her (except her hair)
the etching was so subtle and minute one had to focus to see it. I could not even imagine painting in water color that delicately. So once again my judgements of people by appearances are all wrong. Will I ever learn?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Words from Princess Mildred

The last three days my adorable black button nose has been in a bit of a snit as my Mom (Molly), and Dad (Brian) hosted a house guest named Bonnie from Santa Rosa. So even though she slept in the downstairs suite, their focus was distracted. Now that she is gone I can resume my normal schedule; object of unconditional love and attention, which is only appropriate for any adorable courtesan Bichon Frise, especially me, as I am a French princess (from Canada). I am also a fine sailor and chicken killer, but that's another story. Sometimes its exhausting just keeping them in line.
Normally their schedule revolves around my needs, and that is only as it should be. Especially right now when I have a sore right rear leg. Sometimes it hurts to put the full weight on my foot so I navigate on three legs. Other times, not. Dad thinks I am malingering because I so enjoy being carried up and down the stairs and lifted up and down from  the couch, an important activity at least fifty times a day.
Mom and Dad have taken me twice to the doggie acupuncturist, a treatment that costs much more than their own acupuncturist. That, too, is appropriate for such a regal creature as myself.
Wednesday when the driveway gate was left open for a few minutes I scooted out, running like the wind on all four. No one saw me, but I heard the strained calling: "Mildred, Mildred,". When a search of the house and grounds produced nothing, Dad took off in his bicycle. It took him only a few minutes to find me and tote me home. Don't I look majestic and adorable?
If Bonnie comes again I hope she has the good sense to bring gifts for the princess. 

Friday, April 12, 2013


When I get to the Sunday morning symposiums up here, which is most every Sunday at 10:30, I usually come away with my head bulging, my psyche spinning, and my vocabulary inventory blushing because of the new things/words I learn. Though I somehow completed two masters and a doctorate, I never got an education in the classics. Sad. Not that the poor old brick walls of Queen Anne High School in Seattle are to blame (curiously the school is now a yuppy condominium complex); I've had plenty of time to fill in the blanks, but never did. Now finally, in my 80's, I'm tickled to be learning a bit. Last Sunday I sat fascinated to learn that Steinbeck's characters and how they evolved were based on a concept of societal phalanxes, a concept he learned from his biologist friend studying the interdependence of species in tide pools in the Monterey bay. I came away mulling about phalanxes (any closely knit group)  and which ones I belonged to. Clearly I'm not yet a part of the Oakmont phalanx; still quivering on the edges a bit. And though I've registered to vote, I'm still a stranger to Santa Rosa, relying on OnStar to lead me to anything but the nearest Safeway. On the other hand  I think I'm half way accepted into the lesbian group here, Rainbow Women. I achieved that accidentally but getting recruited to the Steering Committee.
In my six months here I've taken several  painting classes on the premises but failed to connect deeply with other artists. I've attended the meetings of two different art associations and joined neither. I've done everything except make persimmon cookies. Next Monday I motor down to the Bay Area to attend a workshop for two days with my old painting group, Watercolor Connection. Now this brings up another problem. I AM a part of that phalanx, ten women closely bound by their passion for painting and by the life experiences they have shared together, artistic and otherwise. Clearly we love one another. Can one ever leave such a phalanx? Should they?
One of my friends in Watercolor Connection was born in N. Korea and with her mother and sister escaped as a young child, leaving her home, her father, and everything they loved and possessed. On Meet the Press last Sunday and the news every night this week I look at the photos of the N. Korean military ranks marching in lock step, a giant terrifying phalanx. Clearly it was right for my friend's mother to take this drastic step. I'm just not sure what is right for me. I'm still hooked in so many ways to my life as I knew it before. Does this keep me from assimilating here?
Egads, I'm even having my teeth cleaned down there next week. Tch.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Thumbs Up!

What woke me at 2:57 this morning was a loud rap-rap. It sounded like wood on wood. Kinda loud. I sat upright, all systems alert. Bemoaning I no longer had a dog. "Who's there?" came out of my mouth. No answer...  So I got up and tensely looked out every window, turning on the outside lights.  No rain, no wind, no explanation. I can't go back to sleep so I play computer games till 5 when I decide to go back to bed for an hour  before I have to rise and get ready for pilates class at 7:15. It was during one of our difficult stretches on the balance ball when I suddenly got an insight. "Ah, I thought, its an early rising pilliated woodpecker." I felt calmer almost immediately. It could be I'm right, or it could be that holding the posture was just so taxing I could think of nothing else.

Are you a movie buff? I hardly qualify for the designation for I probably have seen only four or five movies a year throughout my 82 years, but when I see or hear a good reviewer rave about a film I usually summon my assets and take the plunge. In years of elections I even cock my ear to the testimony of presidential candidates as to their favorite movies. (Then I promptly forget them.)

When asked what movies in 2012 he would see again Obama cited Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, and Argo. The latter is coming up soon as a free Sunday movie here in my retirement community, a Sunday ritual.

When I was little there was a different ritual about movies. We didn't always have a car but when we did and when my mother happened to be around she would drive my sis and I to the Palomar theater in downtown Seattle on Friday nights where a vaudeville show preceded the movie. At that time the Palomar was located in borderline skid row. I wonder if it still exists? We would sit in the loge balcony so she could smoke. She would bring butterfinger candy bars for us all and sometimes blankets. She would make kind of a nest there, first row, as if we were camping or at the beach. She'd always wanted to be an actress and so she was right in her element. My sis and I would fall asleep, as it was always a double feature and the films boring to us. I particularly remember giving up trying to understand The Grapes Of Wrath.

 Roger Ebert, who died Thursday, has long fascinated me for his candor, crispness, and courage. Since his real voice was stilled due to throat and jaw cancer he has continued to enthrall us through electronic voice. Not a complainer or wimp was he. I'm moved by one of his recent observations:

"We must try to contribute joy to the world," said Roger Ebert. "That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out."