Thursday, January 31, 2008

East meets West

This morning we had coffee and conversation with our dear friend, Katie from New York. She used to live in Santa Cruz and was a good friend of my son, Aaron. We haven't seen Katie in 20 years and it was amazing to sit in Mr. Toot's in the village and "catch up".

She lives, what to us, is an exotic life full of adventure and daring. But what is most amazing to me, is how a person carries their essence, as indelible as the color of eyes, with them through life. No matter what changes occur, what roads they take, this core is as traceable as a vial of DNA. (Good to see you, Katie. We'd know you anywhere.) Check out Katie's blog At the Half Note.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lost in migration

I'll get going today if I can just get this bird off my nose.


I hate crowds. That's why I always miss sales. Why I always pay top dollar.


Staying connected is sometimes a struggle, but it's almost always worth it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Artist in residence

Joan Miro, Picasso, Jackson Pollack? It's hard to tell who Booji's major influences have been. Here's a sample of his wonderful work. (click on image for fine detail.)


Happy Birthday, Amadisto Amado Booji Sol McCarroll Gallegos! We're sending all our love from the West Coast and wishing you the very best of days with all your little friends at pre-school!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The one that got away

In 1985 Irene and I lived on Depot Hill in Capitola, seen here in the background where the trees are. We were renters in an 850 sq. ft. house, 2 bedrooms, one bath and small backyard. We were just up the cement steps from the village and beach, prime location. Our landlords really liked us so when they decided to sell they gave us first crack at it. They were asking $125,000. We couldn't come up with the down so we had to move.

Today the house is for sale again. We drove up for old times sake and walked through the house we called home for 3 years. The realtor at the Open House probably wasn't even born in 1985 but he listened politely to our little tale like he was dealing with a couple of cute old ladies. We thanked him and drove away. Asking price: $1,039,500.


I'm a little other-occupied these days. Look forward to some gaps in my daily blog.

Bone songs

I've spent the week singing over my bones. There's a whole kettle of new stories brewing.


We were supposed to be in the desert this weekend. This stopped us. What's up with this global warming, anyway?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Modern technology

Look! When you turn this dial the typewriter becomes just like a player piano, leaving you free to concentrate on ironing up your camp shirts while the stories write themselves!

More bones?

There's a rumor around town that the flea market may reopen temporarily in March. Just in time. I'm almost out of bones. (note "flicker" art).

All things are possible

Full moon in clouds above our house this morning. Clinton will be in Salinas today. Kucinich in Watsonville. Snow in our local mountains and I've got a new twist on a difficult story I'm working on. It's going to be a dazzling day. (click on image for "details")

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Missing bomb

So here's the deal: The Navy apparently has lost a bomb. It's somewhere off the coast of San Diego and it's reported that lifeguards in the area have stepped up patrols. The Navy has urged anyone who finds an unusual object should leave it alone and call them. What an adventure for the little vacationing family from Detroit or Gilroy or where ever.


One of the highlights of the week used to be lying in the living room on the chocolate shag rug with a glass of Ovaltine, a plate of cinnamon toast at our elbows and the Sunday funnies spread out, listening to some guy on the radio read while we followed along. Now, that was living!


When I was hiking across country with my father and brother in 1945 we came to a gas station in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. The old couple who ran the place got up in their robes, offered us ice cold coca cola and a bench to sleep on inside with the Penzoil. The next morning with ice lining the insides of the windows the woman woke up and before we left for the open road, she gently brushed and braided my hair. I could have stayed there forever.

Busy Sunday

The one and only thing I have to get done today is the laundry. Now, if I can just find the Fels-Naptha..

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Crime on the high seas

The other day Annie and I came across these dead bodies at the yacht harbor. Funny, but it didn't seem to be a big deal to anyone. I guess it was just one of those things.

RIP Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer 1943 - 2008 (see my post of 7-31-07)


This week a lot of people in Texas have seen a UFO. It's been on TV, on the internet, in the papers. When we lived in the desert UFOs were common. We'd spot their lights and head our dented hardy cars across the desert sometimes on roads, sometimes not, racing to watch them land. It was Saturday night sport. We were believers. We never thought to call a newspaper. It was a UFO. This was the desert. And that's just the way it was.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I almost got into a fist fight with our trashman this week. I was eating lunch on my front deck when the guy showed up next door. I smiled and said hi as he picked up the neighbor's trash. He pulled up to my house, emptied my "yard waste" bin into his truck and discovered someone had inadvertantly put a sack of trash into the "yard waste only". Without comment he threw the bags, (3) onto the street and drove away. I thought about it for a moment giving myself a chance to become completely incensed, then I piled into my truck and barreled after the trash truck, chasing him down our little dead-end street. I found him around the corner.
I got out and said, "You know, you have no right to just throw trash in the street!" He shrugged. "It wasn't yard waste," he said. I persisted.
"There's such a thing as common courtesy!" Another shrug. By now I've reached the rant stage. "I mean you saw me sitting there, you could have said something."
"It wasn't green," he repeated.
"Well, you have no right and I'm going to report you!" I said snapping pics of his truck. Again with the shrug. The next day I spent an hour on the phone trying to reach someone to report this jerk to. I've been lost in a call center abyss ever since and I'm now trying to remind myself what the issue is.
Some days it's not easy being a fierce amazonian 65 year old.

Politics as usual

I've peaked too early in my enthusiasm for this presential election year. I'm burned out, shut down, saturated and I can only hope I'm conscious when it's finally time to go to the polls.

Look, Ma. No hands

I've always wanted to be able to ride my bike with no hands. I've practiced in parking lots, at the yacht harbor, on dirt roads to no avail.
I think it has something to do with basic balance in my life.
I'll keep practicing. Some day I may have it all together.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Today I'm real antsy to get out on the road, sail by a few cacti, breathe that big air.

Keeping track

Some days just keeping track of myself is a full time job.

Pearls and Pumps

This is what I'm doing today, reclining in my pearls and pumps in my nice blue dress with a good book on my green runway. Maybe a scout will come by.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Stepping out

All dressed up and no where to go.

Finding art

"Found art" sculpture I made yesterday for a friend's 60th birthday on Saturday. (click on image to see detail.)


"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." Lau Tzu 600-300BC

That's the kind of trip I'm on right now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

"Terrific Girls"

We just finished watching a video of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert in the 1978 Wimbledon tennis final. It was the very first grand slam Martina ever won. And of course no one could have predicted she'd go on to win a record 9 Wimbledon's in her career. It was very sweet watching these two young women. The announcer kept referring to Martina as "the Czech girl" probably because no one at that point could pronounce her last name. As for "Miss Evert" we were pleased to know she "had nice little blue inserts" in the shoulders of her tennis dress. Both "girls did a terrific job" in what was to become one of, if not the greatest sports rivalries of all times. It's good to know though that now sports announcers focus more on the sport than the fashion.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Flower power

Sunflower Irene gave me the other day when I had a case of the previously mentioned "heebie jeebies". Guaranteed to soothe.

Heebie jeebies

A feeling of anxiety, apprehension or illness. Harkens back to earlier rhyming phrases like hocus-pocus and mumbo jumbo. Coined by William Morgan Billy de Beck, "You dumb ox - why don't you get that stupid look offa your pan - you gimme the heebie jeebies", in a 1923 cartoon of his.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Series #137

I just finished reading a novel about a woman who painted a series of 56 paintings all of the same house during different seasons with different people on the porch, etc. So here is my series, accidental but inevitable since we spend so much time right at this very spot.


Yesterday Annie Bones and I took a morning walk at the yacht harbor and we came across a cypress tree downed in Friday's huge wind and rain storm. Annie and I had to creep by the tree on a very narrow shelf 10 feet above the water. When we were finally on the beach I met a woman walking her very mannerly lab. She told me she'd just gotten a ticket for $210 for having her dog off leash as he frolicked in the surf. My question: why aren't these county workers clearing hazardous storm debris rather than raking in the revenue by handing out violations to old women and their even older dogs?


A couple of weeks ago I went into a local grocery store. I noticed a young man in a hooded sweatshirt on a bench outside the store. He watched me as I went into the store and when I came out with a shopping cart. As I walked to my truck I "felt" someone following me. I turned and there, in the almost empty lot, was the same hooded-shirt man 20 feet behind me. I gave him the evil eye. He stopped, then turned and walked in another direction.

Last week a 74 year old woman in the same place was robbed of her purse by a "young man in a hooded sweatshirt". Yesterday an 84 year old woman was robbed as she headed to her car a block away by, yep, "a young man in a hooded sweatshirt". I think it was the "evil eye" that saved me. I also think there is no such thing as too much paranoia.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Plan

So, we're standing around in our post-storm era, (see post of 7:50 AM today), thinking maybe we should live 24 hours a month without electricity. Get back to the basics, reconnect, live completely in this very moment, feel the grit in our unplugged lives.

Except for the refrigerator of course. And it can't be on a Saturday when my writing group meets here or on Friday when I'm gone all day at another writing group, or Thursday when we're at the movies taking advantage of the senior discounts.

Without electricity except for charging our phone batteries and our camera batteries and operating our solder gun. Pretty soon the exceptions outnumber the rule and we're thinking, maybe we can build up to it, maybe leave the bathroom nightlight off. See how it goes.

Queen of the Wharf

Gilda Stagnaro died 90 feet from her restaurant door in a driving wind and heavy rain yesterday. The 83 year old matriarch of the Santa Cruz Wharf ran Gilda's for the last 35 years.

My son Aaron worked for her while he was a student at UCSC. Gilda who never married and had no kids "adopted" Aaron and treated him like a son.

I remember driving him once to her "compound" not far from the wharf so he could pick up his paycheck. She invited him in while I waited in the car. I'm sure she offered him tea. That's the kind of person Aaron said she was. Very "mom-like". (comments, Aaron?)

Connections lost

We've just survived one of Santa Cruz County's famous "big" storms. Our power went out yesterday morning and was out for almost 24 hours. The winds gusted to 75, tree limbs were down, roads closed.

We're hunkered down at our flea market table with a fire in the fireplace, our Coleman lantern blazing and mariachi tunes leaking from our hand crank radio. We're playing board games and reading books and talking while the storm rages outside. The air is ripe with the smell of skunk and sodden earth. It reminds me of my early days in the desert without electricity, an earthy life powered by relationships and hardships and connection to the physical world.

Now in Santa Cruz the power suddenly comes on. The magic is gone. Roads will open. People will cut up downed trees, TVs will go on. We'll all go to our separate rooms.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Walking Meditation

Robert, the Umbrella Man walks up and down Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz every day. He wears pink and pearls and carries a tin foil umbrella. He is completely silent and takes tiny, very slow steps as though he is praticing walking meditation.

We're all used to him. It seems the only people who take particular notice and digital camera shots are out of towners.
A few years ago I attended a Natalie Goldberg writing workshop in Tiburon, CA north of San Francisco. Part of our weekend included all 160 of us parading through the upscale seaside town, following Goldberg like ducklings in a zen walking meditation. It took 2 hours to complete a two block "stroll".
There, everyone in town stood to watch us with their digitals and a few smirks.

In this case we were the out of towners and we might as well have been wearing pink and pearls.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hedwig Alber

Our former neighbor, Hedwig Alber died this week. She was 101 years old. She lived on 2.5 acres of land across the street from us, tending horses and gardening. She'd come over and sit in our driveway and drink beer. When she was leaving she always said, "Can I take one with me?" And she'd toddle toward home with a spare beer bottle in her hand. She told us stories about the "old country" which is to say Brooklyn, New York where she grew up after coming to this country from Germany. She suffered a lot of tragedy in her life including her husband hanging himself in their barn across the street. She never lost her spirit though. We got into many lively arguments about politics. She was outspoken and opinionated and seemed to "win" every time. Good show, Hedwig. May you rest in peace.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Housekeeping tips

When I was growing up my mom was more interested in her art projects and reading good books than in cleaning up after 4 kids. She was famous for putting on socks, spraying them with the 1950s equivalent to Endust and sliding through our tiny house like a madwoman. "There!" she'd say. "Clean as a whistle."

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 Divulgence #1

Watching parades makes me physically ill.

Happy New Year!

Last night we went to two parties. Annie was invited to the first one. Here she is being such a good little guest.
We actually went to another party where a man wore a lampshade. I thought that only happened in cartoons.
We felt so urbane, party hopping. Here we are in our finery.