Saturday, September 29, 2007


Coming apart...that's the rumor we hear about the Santa Cruz Flea Market operating since 1971. We hear the land has been sold and the plug's been pulled and the party's about to end. I'll keep you posted as the story unravels....

Saint Sharon

Sharon is our dog sitter. She's been watching Annie when we go out of town ever since Annie was 7 weeks old. She owns K9 Cruzer in Santa Cruz and sometimes has 10 or more dogs in her house!
Here she is having a quiet moment with Annie, while holding a little puppy she's rescued from the SPCA. She feeds the pup from a baby bottle every 2 hours so she's very short on sleep. But not on heart. I see her someday with 20 rescued dogs on a big farm somewhere...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Miscreant Meditators

My Buddhist friend, Sally, (see blog post 7-4-07) and I were camping at Pima Osling a Tibetan Retreat Center in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We were on a 4 day silent retreat and we spent our days in silent walking and sitting meditation, our nights alone in single tents.

One early morning with the mist still rising off the mountain there was a "tap tap tap" on my tent flap. It was Sally. "Come on", she whispered. She led me out into the huge field where we were camped. We spent our morning giggling and whispering through a yoga workout. "Sally," I whispered. "We're not supposed to be talking!" "The Buddha won't tell," Sally said. And for me in that moment with the rising sun shinning off her wise face she was the Buddha.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vacuuming the water buffalo

There's a guy in the Mojave Desert named Bob who is a big game hunter. He travels the world shooting animals, having them stuffed and scattering his house with them like it's some kind of preserve. Everyday he vacuums his tigers and cheetahs and water buffalo. He can often be overheard at the T-Bird while polishing off his draft: "Welp, guess I better get home and vacuum the water buffalo".

Making life harder...

In November 3 state-owned airplanes will spray a synthetic scent of female moths across Santa Cruz in an effort to eradicate the brown apple moth.

Apparently "the spray doesn't hurt the moth. It just confuses the male moths to the point where they don't know where to fly or how to find the real female moths."

This article ran in the SC Sentinel this morning directly opposite the "Personals": Men seeking Women.

As if there isn't enough confusion. Sounds to me like the men and the moths better stay indoors in November...

Setting it straight

A little blurb in the Santa Cruz Sentinel this morning: "A bird pictured in a photo on Page A11 on Sunday was incorrectly identified. The bird is a marbled godwit." (seen above). Don't know what kind of bird actually appeared on Page A11 but it's nice to be introduced to the marbled godwit!

Monday, September 24, 2007


The day is over and I've forgotten to post a blog!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mixettes and other miracles

While Mom was busy with her Mixette we were in the living room with broken thermometers rolling the little beads of mercury around on the table top and watching how the drops divided and came back together again into perfect gleaming balls.

Or we were out by the side of our road chewing great wads of tar left over from a construction crew and marveling at how long the black goo held its shape in our mouths.

How have we as a people lasted this long?


My favorite time of year...

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Around our house we're not on diets exactly, we're just trying not to eat sugar and tortillas and fried stuff. Today in the rain I felt restless and in need of comfort food. At our local health food store I bought "homemade" tomato soup and french bread. And in one complusive moment a single slice of German chocolate cake for as much as my father used to earn in a week.
I tried to have it eaten by the time I got home but all the lights were green, the rain let up and I found myself sitting in front of my house with the "evidence".
Now I don't know what to do except maybe creep out occasionally for a stolen bite. Ah, we've reached the dangerous years...

Courage my love..

Go brave!


It's raining this morning. A beautiful, delicious sluicing through trees and down windows. Some years ago we were at a party at the end of a six year drought. We left to go downtown to a concert when it started to rain. We wound our way through neighborhoods and everywhere we drove people were out in the streets, dancing and laughing and getting wet. For some 5 year olds this was the very first time they'd ever seen rain. The whole town was celebrating.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Early risers

Especially if you get up at 4:30 AM...

Mystery of the Missing Drummer

In the late 90s a few of us gathered at our house every two weeks to drum our hearts out. One of our group, Grey Pard, seen here on the far left lived in Seaside and told us a horrendous tale of her roommate receiving death threats from a former boyfriend. She told us about break-ins and stalkings and 2 AM phone ringings
with only a heavy breather on the other side.
One Sunday, Grey Pard failed to show up. Even though we'd known her for a couple of years we never knew her last name. We didn't have her phone number. We didn't have her address. We worried about her. She was though an independant woman, a writer with a life full of drama.
Even now we wonder about Grey Pard. Did she just disappear from us? From the world? What happened to Grey Pard? Except for this photo we'd question if she wasn't just a figment of our drama filled imaginations. (others in this photo: Irene, me and our drumming guru, Mary.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blue Highways

Sometimes I think it would be so cool to live out in the middle of nowhere in a little trailer and sell old stuff to people who have read "Blue Highways" by William Least Heat-Moon and who are trying their best to live his dream.

9/20/40 - 8/1/2004

Happy Birthday to my "big" brother, Vaughn. He's standing here on the far right in bare feet next to a contraption right out of "Our Gang". Vaughn and I were comrades in arms. A little country of two, navigating family divorce and displacement. In the early years the only constant in each other's lives...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Before you scold me, Mom..."

You have to admit, the 1950s were strange times....

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cooper's Writing Studio

Eight years ago today after my son, Sol built me a writing room from part of the garage I held a writing room blessing party. In honor of the occasion, friend and award winning poet, Sandia Belgrade wrote the following poem.

We do it in the woods
and by pristine ponds
so blue the words
so green, our words drip algae
we do it with trees as witness
we are the bloodof sap made word

When we do it inside
each board, each brick
becomes a letter
the natural elements: trees and water
wood and stone and god as change
create stories
they choose the story tellers-
their poetry takes the raw materials,
the uncooked sense of our being
and polishes us into a diamond stylus
an alkahest able to mark a page with signs
that become primal matter
sounds we speak to one another
characters who run out of our mouths
and into the heart of any listener
who sits with us by a fire.

Sandia, 9-18-99

Monday, September 17, 2007

Change of pace

In 1972 I moved from here...

Clifton's Cafeteria

When I was a kid going back and forth from my mother's house to my father's the exchange took place at Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown LA. My father and I shared many breakfasts here sitting in little cave-like rooms munching our toast. We were surrounded by waterfalls and the sounds of macaws and I never got over the thrill of it. Sitting there in the dim, (dark) rooms it felt like we were in cahoots in some grand adventure.

Years later in an attempt to leave my hippy days behind I sat at these very same tables drinking black coffee, circling the classified job section and reading George Orwell's "Down and Out in London and Paris". Now, though I could hear the shrill waitresses, the clack of dishes and through the dim lighting I could see the nozzle at the top of the waterfall and the macaw's cry had been replaced by musak.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Planning ahead

Overheard at the flea market:
Customer: "How much do you want for this camera?" (with his toe he nudges an old Sony digital, the kind that took big floppy disks).
Vendor: "$10.00" .
Customer: "I used to have one of these but I gave it to one of my girlfriends when she left me. I give every woman who leaves me a consolation prize. I wonder what I'm going to give Harriet?"

Saturday, September 15, 2007


This week we went to the Santa Cruz County Fair. Like we do every year.
We first went into the building with the tomatoes and apples and celery, all withered because they'd been lying on little paper plates for over a week. Every year we say, "we should have entered our tomato".
Next are the little gardens people build with potted plants and sod grass.
We talk to the Democrats in their little booth.
Every year we see the pigs and watch the 4H kids hammer away at the bellies of these beasts with pieces of PVC pipe to get them to go in a certain direction. We watch the roping of steers and the miniature railroad.
We look at the black and white photos and the sculptures. Every year we say, "we could have done that".
And every year we eat baked potatoes, vegie burgers, (me), chicken tacos, (Irene), corn on the cob, root beer floats and two helpings of fried artichoke hearts.
Every more, no less.

Friday, September 14, 2007

In the fields

Anyone driving on Hwy 101 around Salinas and Monterey in California has probably seen the work of artist John Cerney. For more than 20 years he's been documenting the life of farm works in the field.

He lives simply in a corner of his workshop in a corregated metal warehouse in Salinas where he works 12 hours a day crafting these larger than life figures. He doesn't believe in galleries. His work is scattered along the farm country roadways.

I've never seen this one before. Looks a little like he's put his mom out to pasture...


I don't know... you know?


Maybe this is the answer.....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Maxine and me

On my morning walk I met a man who travels in his RV from San Diego to the Washington State border and back again. His companion is a Long's Drug Store "Maxine" doll he bought for a song and who rides shotgun. He offered to drag her out of her comfortable seat for a little photo op. Strange people these RVers!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9/12/47 - 11/22/00

My sister was born on this day 60 years ago. A gentle soul, always in my heart. I miss you, Beki...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Worms or something more sinister?

In the mid 70's both of my sons went to work at the local worm farm. They spent their time sifting their young hands through bins of soil, retrieving worms of varying length and boxing them up for use as bait.

After working all week payday finally arrived but their boss could only promise them money "tomorrow".

The desert was infamous at the time as a place scoundrels went on the lam and hid out. All of us sitting around at the T-Bird nursing Joyce's watered down drafts were immediately suspicious, finally concluding the worm farm was a front for the mafia.

My sons didn't go back and not long after, the "worm farm" packed up its inventory and left town. To this day there are some who still believe the old mafia story, though in retrospect one might wonder why the mafia would go to a town of 200 in the middle of the Mojave to raise worms...

Beware of heights

What does it say about a society when everytime they build something tall they have to include a suicide barrier?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

All who wander are not lost..

Well, we're off to a lake for a few days of kayaking.
This retirement stuff is exhausting! I'll be back in
the blog-saddle on the 10th...

I'd rather be writing my novel...

You do what you do until you just can't do it anymore...

Once is not enough...more from the playa

All aboard!
The bone tree..
Night time at the pavillion
Full moon over playa
Mysterious lighted painting

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

More from the Playa

Woman in "formal" and fur waits for subway train...
Irene rides towards another tower
Lovers doing their thing, early morning playa
Making playa dust angels
Just me and the desert

Back from the Burn!

Mosaic Man
Detail from "Crude Awakening"
Smoke ring and rising sun over tents
Near the end of a four hour sand storm with white-out conditions
The "Man" seen beneath "Truth"
Burning Man can't really be explained. It's a conscious opening, mind expanding frolic in harsh conditions and miles of multi-story art installations and hippies and naked people and men in bermuda shorts and smoke rings rising into the dawn and neon lights and fire balls gulping the night sky....(oh, why do I even try?)