My friend and I joined a gym today, which kind of shocked me as I'm not really the gym joining type. But I've been taking a P.E. course this semester, circuit training, which I really enjoy. In fact it's my most favorite class (of all time!) and an easy A to boot. I've really gotten into the various exercise and weight lifting machines, especially the Ellipitical. I like watching its little computer tell me how many steps I've taken and how many calories I've burned. A woman in my class told me about a budget priced gym not too far from where I live and I decided to check it out as the price seemed right to this Miser. The gym is part of a church called the Dream Center, and it's actually named The Lord's Gym. I really think that it should be called "God's Gym" instead, as I like the alliteration, but oh well. You don't have to be a member of the flock to join, thankfully. It's clean and everything, but a bit on the funky side as some of the machines are out of order. I guess the lord is more concerned with saving souls than with helping people get into shape. But like I said, the price is right so we signed ourselves up. We are going to try to go twice a week, and are looking forward to working out at the Lord's Gym. Amen.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Last night, Sparky and I saw one of the worst movies ever made with one of the best titles ever: Hot Tub Time Machine. Maybe it's because I had such a hellish week, but when Sparky told me he rented Hot Tub Time Machine, I knew that I would watch it in its entirety no matter how dreadful it was. I needed escapism! I needed to watch a movie about time travel that took place in a hot tub! And even though it was a sadly bad movie, I made Sparky watch the whole thing with me. The title is so awesome! The movie does not live up to its name. Sparky thought it was going to be straight up slapstick, but it turned out to more of a post modern type comedy with not a lot of yucks but rather some mildly amusing bits here and there. There is time travel, however. That takes place in a hot tub. At least Nicolas Cage was not in it, because that would have been a deal breaker. (Krispin Glover has a small part in it, and I do like that him even though he is a bit of a wing nut.)
While we were watching this movie, Sparky could not help comparing it to other comedies, and he started getting all nostalgic for W.C. Fields. Sleeford loved W.C. Fields, and had all of his old movies on DVD, which he loaned to Sparky. They both admired his drunken curmudgeon character, and how he always worked to great effect with children and animals, two of the most notoriously difficult creatures to work with in film. Sparky wished that Hot Tub Time Machine was more like a W.C. Fields movie. Or like the Stooges. I remember when Bee was about seven weeks old there was a Three Stooges Movie Marathon showing on some local station during Memorial Day Weekend. Bee was still in that little newborn stage of waking up every four hours or so for a diaper change, formula, diaper change, and then back to sleep again for another four hours or so. And Sparky and I were both in that sleep depraved stage you get in with infants where your days and night become the same. So we took care of our little Bee and watched the Three Stooges. All weekend long. And we laughed our asses off. I remember we finally took a break to go to the grocery store for some much needed sustenance, and while we there all we did was talk about the Three Stooges (while Bee slept in her little car seat on top of the cart.) We must have been really tired. But to this day, Curly, Larry, Moe, Shemp, babies, and not enough sleep - they seem to all go hand in hand for me.
Anyway, when it is all said and done, I am glad that I finally saw Hot Tub Time Machine. Our friend Buddy predicted that it would do really well when it was first released (strictly because of the title) but it did not and I can see why. But still, if I ever went back in time in a hot tub, I would surely watch Hot Tub Time Machine once again.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Today is a great day. The sun is shining once again, the birds are singing, and this morning my pinkie fingernail finally fell off. A few weeks ago, my little finger accidentally got pinched in our new gate as Sparky was closing it. It hurt like hell, I cried in fact, the finger turned different colors. I had a feeling that I would lose the little fingernail that eventually turned an unnatural shade of grayish blue. But that little nail was tenacious, and it held on to dear life for weeks. The nail itself became detached from the nail bed, but the cuticle would not give it up. So I had a dead, plastic looking fingernail that flapped around, getting caught on things as it went about its business. Sometimes I put a bandage on it to hide it from the world, especially when I was in public, but it always felt much better when I let it air out, free from its cover. Sparky and especially Bee were totally grossed out by it, and whenever I asked if they wanted to see it they would yell "No!" and run from the room. I continuously wiggled that nail around, much like a first grader does with a loose tooth, willing it to fall off. And this morning I managed to peel it away from the cuticle, and it's free at last! I was kind of sad to see it go as it was my favorite fingernail, but I'm hoping that a new and improved one grows in its place. I decided to keep the nail for prosperity (I had to hide it from Bee and Sparky), but I won't include a picture of it or my nail-less finger as it is kind of yucky looking. It is such a relief to finally get rid of that thing that I feel almost reborn in my new, lack-of-little-fingernail-state, ready to take on whatever may come my way. All is right in Peanutland once again.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Every week, because I've usually got the time, I bake a couple of loaves of bread, make a big pot of brown rice, dog food for Glenn, maybe some pinto beans, maybe some vegetable stock for soups and stuff, and always a jar of Savory Sauce from The Spot. I heart this Savory Sauce. I guess you could say that I'm addicted to it. I put it over/on top/in everything, including Mac and Cheese, which Bee loves. I thought that I would share it as it's too good to keep to myself. It's from the "world famous" vegetarian restaurant in Hermosa Beach called The Spot, which has been around forever. This sauce, as you probably have guessed, is very savory and tastes great over brown rice, steamed vegetables, tofu, you name it.
3/4 cup almond or safflower oil
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1/8 cup brewer's yeast (flakes or powder)
1/2 tsp kelp powder
1/2 tsp Spike seasoning
1/2 tsp basil
1/8 tsp granulated garlic
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice (I add more because I always have a ton of lemons)
1 1/2 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1 package firm tofu (16 oz)
Put it all in a blender and mix until creamy. You could easily halve this recipe or freeze it. Make some today and you won't be sorry.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Most people were very alarmed and concerned when they heard about the drama of our car crash disaster, wanting to know details and calling for updates. But not Sparky's mom. She didn't seem too fazed by it, and in fact was rather lackadaisical about the whole affair. But it turns out that she had problems of her own. They kind of trump ours, really. Her troubles concern a hit and run situation where a bicyclist was hit and severely injured. And the hit and run driver was her! She hit him as she was making a left-hand turn, knocking him off of his bike. She then proceeded to run right over him, and kept on driving. She did not see him, and at the time thought she had run over a curb or something. (At 84 she is not the world's best driver, and according to Sparky, she was never very good even when she was younger. But she likes being independent, and she still has good health.)
She read about the hit and run accident in her local paper, the Rushville Republican a couple of days after the incident. She got to thinking after reading the description of the car (small and blue), the description of the occupant (a single female driver) and the time and place of the accident (shortly before 9:00 a.m. on Third and Arthur Street) that she could have been the hit and run driver. She went out to look at her car, and sure enough, there was a huge dent in the front of it that hadn't been there before. So she decided that it must have been her, and she turned herself in. Luckily, she was commended for coming forward, and no charges were made against her. I'm not sure how she didn't notice that she hit and ran over the bicyclist, but she is pretty short, and she is old, and like I said, she is not the world's best driver. Her insurance will cover everything, and hopefully that will be the end of it.
I don't know how the bicyclist is faring these days, but he is out of the hospital and recovering at home. The nutty part of this story is actually his situation. He is a 62 year old divorced man who is living with his ex-wife and two other men who were also once married to this ex-wife. Three ex-husbands and one ex-wife all living together in a little house outside of town with no car, no phone, and one mangled bike...
Anyway, Joyce has been rather embarrassed by all of this, but is thankful that things were not worse. And an update on our situation: today, after almost 6 weeks, I have my car back. Finally! They washed it and detailed it, it's all sparkly and clean and looks like a brand new car again, only without that new car smell. Now we just need the stairs repaired. Or we could just install a rope, ladder, and slide. Bee would like that, but not so much Glenn the Dog. Or me, for that matter. I'm guessing that in another six weeks, we'll have it fixed, too.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Almost four weeks ago, some crazy lady crashed her car into our gate, taking out my car and the staircase to our house in the process. Bee and I were not home at the time of the crash, but Sparky was. He said it made a terrific noise. He went out the front door to see what happened, and saw her SUV smashed up against the bumper of my car, the metal gate twisted up between the vehicles with broken glass everywhere. The passenger jumped out and said "Don't worry, she'll pay for everything. Don't worry!" A shocked Sparky attempted to walk down the still intact stairs, and the second he stepped on them they fell out beneath his feet. As he plunged down twenty feet, he grabbed the railing but this too gave out and he was dangling like Indiana Jones until he was able to break his fall by swinging away from the debris and letting go. As Sparky stood up among the rubble of the stairs, the passenger kept assuring him that everything would be taken care of.
Apparently the driver, who was picking up the passenger from our next door neighbors, thought that her car was in drive and she tromped the gas pedal in order to go up the hill. But her car was really in reverse, so instead of going uphill she went downhill right into our property instead. Just minutes after this dramatic event occurred, Bee and I returned home. I was very surprised to see a SUV in our yard, and I thought for a second that I must be seeing things. But no, there it was. The driver was still in the car, and I went over to ask her what the hell happened. Sparky and the Passenger were next door at this point, so I wasn't sure what was going on. The driver, Amber was her name, seemed completely out of it, and I asked if she was drunk. No, she said she wasn't. Amber said she was sorry, and that her insurance would pay for everything. At that point, Sparky and the Passenger returned, and the Passenger told me that Amber had a "medical" condition. Amber was definitely on something, I mean how to you confuse reverse with drive (unless you're a Republican)? It seemed so nutty.
Anyway, the police and fire department arrived, reports were taken, insurance information exchanged, the SUV was towed away, and to our amazement Amber wasn't arrested for driving while incoherent. Her mother came to pick her up, and away they all went. Sparky, Bee and I were left with a useless gate, broken stairs, and smashed car. It will be four weeks tomorrow since this happened. We now have a brand new gate that is like a penny, shiny and new. However, I still do not have a car. They are having a problem getting a new bumper for it. Also, no stairs! We've grown used to only using the downstairs as our only means of egress, but after it first happened, I kept trying to go out the front door, only to be confronted by a pile of rubble. Some day, hopefully soon, this too will be remedied. But it's funny what you get used to.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I remember when I was young we had a patch of mint growing on the side of our house. It started off as just a little bit, but quickly grew into a big expanse. We had a neighbor at the time who was Vietnamese - she married an American service man during the Vietnam war and they settled in Bellevue when his tour of duty was over. One day she must have discovered the mint plant, because she rang our doorbell and asked if she could have some. My mother told her to take as much as she wanted. I don't think my parents ever knew what to do with the mint, maybe they put a pinch in iced tea or something, but it was hardly ever used it. I'm not even sure why they planted it, but our neighbors loved it and pretty soon her relatives and friends started ringing the doorbell to see if they could have some too. My parents finally told them all that they were welcome to our mint whenever they wanted, no need to ask first. These people were very nice, and they were also excellent cooks. I know this because they would come by from time to time to offer us some Vietnamese delicacy that they had just made with our fresh mint. I remember especially liking their fragile spring rolls that were bursting with fresh vegetables and that lovely mint. These foods seemed so exotic to me and my bland American palate, and opened up a peek into the vast, gastronomical world that I knew must exist somewhere outside of our very ordinary neighborhood. I'm not sure what happened to the couple next door, I think they may have gotten divorced or something and then they moved away. I remember that her family and friends still came over for that mint, until one day when they didn't. I later used it as a breath mint to mask the smell of cigarettes and liquor. I always did like that plant.
Today, that mint plant is no longer on the side of my parents house. I think they finally dug it up as they had no real use for it. But Sparky and I have mint growing outside with the other spices. A few weeks ago, I was picking some basil when I discovered a pot that contained a bunch of dried twigs with a sad leaf or two of mint still attached. It must have gotten moved around the yard and then lost in the shuffle, and it wasn't watered for a while. I knew that if it was properly watered again that it would come back - these are some hardy ass plants. My parents always said that it was impossible to kill a mint plant, even if you had the blackest thumb around. So Sparky watered that little guy and gave it some love, and lo and behold, we have abundant mint again. I use it all the time now. I just used some last night in a corn dish that I make. I really like this plant and I cannot say it enough: I love fresh mint!
Monday, August 16, 2010
Today, for the very first time, I made dog food for Glenn. I've been meaning to do this for ages, ever since we visited our friends down in Ramona. They make their own dog food and always give some to Glenn, who is absolutely crazy for it. It's so simple to prepare - I can't believe I haven't done it sooner. I bought some hamburger on sale, browned it in a little bit of olive oil, then added broccoli, brown rice, and some leftover lentils. Next time I'm going to try chicken, rice, carrots and peas. You could also use ground turkey, grated cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, potatoes or oatmeal. The key is to mix together a meat, some vegetables, and a starch. I made a big enough batch to last him for about a week. The benefits are two fold: it's healthier and less expensive than canned dog food. It's fun cooking for your dog, and I highly recommend that anyone who has one give it a try. Your pup will love you for it.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Everyone knows that Misers hate paying for parking, and try to avoid doing so at all costs. Misers also intensely dislike paying shipping and handling fees, and often can be enticed into buying stuff over the interweb simply because of FREE shipping. Misers are DIYers, and thus never spend money on pedicures, gift wrapping, or dry cleaning. Misers love libraries, parks, and sunset walks on the beach. Misers are cheap, but dream of a future of rolling in money.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
When I was little, my favorite thing to eat for lunch was a lettuce and mayonnaise sandwich. Everyday in first and second grades, my mother would ask me what kind of sandwich I wanted to take to school, and I would say "lettuce and mayonnaise." She would ask me, "How about peanut butter and jam? Or bologna and cheese?" And I would answer, "No, I want lettuce and mayonnaise." Iceberg lettuce, lots of mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip) slathered between two slices of white bread. To me it was the perfect sandwich, and my mom made them better than anyone else. I tried to make it myself once, but I accidently used cabbage instead of lettuce and it was the worst thing ever. I finally outgrew my obsession with this sandwich, and these days it seems that tomatoes have taken the place for me. Tomatoes fresh from the garden, a little bit of light mayonnaise, and a sprinkling of sea salt, layered between two slices of homemade whole wheat bread. Yummy.
Our tomatoes are starting to ripen - finally. It seems pretty late in the season but its been a little bit cold and cloudy in Los Angeles this summer. It is especially chilly at night, which is very odd for August in L.A. (Hello, climate change.) So as a consequence our vegetable garden is nothing to write home about. But I was pretty excited to eat that first tomato sandwich the other day - it took me back to my old lettuce and mayonnaise days. I'm planning on canning our vegetables this year (which we'll hopefully have enough of), and was stoked to see an article in the Los Angeles Times food section today regarding this very subject. It seems that it has become pretty trendy to can vegetables, fruits, pickles, jellies and jams in these economically challenging times, just like Grandma used to do. Now that's a trend I can get behind. The DIYers are experiencing a Renaissance right now, and I am quite happy about it. The article was helpful because it explained that you didn't have to make huge batches of stuff, which I obviously won't be able to do. I'm not an expert on canning; I remember my sister and I helped my mother can fruits in the summers, but I didn't much enjoy it as it seemed like just another annoying chore. I have a whole different attitude now, but I'll need to read up on it before I start canning away. Tomatoes, chillies, zucchini, maybe something with lemons. And I may buy some fruit or something at the farmers market and make some preserves. Yummy.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Things have been pretty tight at the Miser household lately, but I'm trying really hard not to freak out or whine about it. Instead, we have been attempting to have some fun on next to no money. And we talk about what we'll do, where we'll go, what we'll buy, etc. when we finally have money once again. In our minds that magical day will occur on the First of Octember, the holiday that Dr. Suess invented where all kinds of crazy good stuff happens to you. The problem is that we're not really sure when the First of Octember is, but we do know that's when all of our Miserly problems will be solved! We'll be able to take that trip to France, eat at that fancy new restaurant down the street, buy some shiny new clothes for us all. On the First of Octember we'll eat whatever we want, drink whatever we want, go where ever we want, and stay up all night long. Until that magical day arrives, we will do our very best to hang in there and to be thankful for what we've got, because it turns out it really is enough.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
The Deukmejian Wilderness Park in Glendale finally reopened last month after being closed for almost a year, due to the ravages of the Station fire. It was one of The Misers favorite places to picnic. We went there just the other day, sandwiches in hand, and discovered that we were the only ones there. We had the whole park to ourselves! It was a beautiful day, and after eating, Bee and Sparky threw a beach ball around while I perused a cookbook. It seemed so odd that no one else was around - we felt like we were in the Prisoner's village only without the crazy bright clothing and striped accessories. Where was everybody? It was all very relaxing and we Misers felt very lucky indeed.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
How can you tell if you live in a ghetto? If the super market down the street from you keeps their liquor and baby formula locked up. And how can you tell if your neighborhood is improving? When this very same market starts to leave the liquor unlocked. That's when you know that things are looking up!
Friday, July 23, 2010
Sparky and I were saddened a couple of days ago when we heard that Mr. Walking and Reading had died. We did not know this man personally, but have seen him out and about Silverlake for years and years. We first espied him way back in the day when we were both employed at the Recycler Classifieds. He would walk briskly down the street in just a pair of shorts and tennis shoes while reading a newspaper. We saw him almost on a daily basis, and had no idea who he was so we called him "Mr. Walking And Reading." On cold winter days, Mr. Walking And Reading might wear a windbreaker. But on most days he was shirtless, and thus was deeply tanned. We saw him everywhere, and whenever we saw him we would say to one another, "Hey, there's Mr. Walking And Reading". Later, after we were both no longer working at the Recycler, we found out from a friend that Mr. Walking And Reading was a physician, and was well known around town. Apparently others had noticed him, too, and documentaries and murals had been made about him. We probably should have started calling him "Dr. Walking And Reading" but we never did; old habits are hard to break. R.I.P., Mr. Walking And Reading, you were a truly unique individual and we will miss seeing you walk rapidly thru the neighborhood while reading a newspaper and wearing nothing but shorts and sneakers.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I awoke last night to a violent and perverse scuffling in the alley. It was after 2 A.M. For a few moments I was totally lost and thought a home invasion was in the works. The swearing was loud and drunken but no bottles were smashing or windows breaking. WTF?! I crept to the bathroom window, upstairs above the only streetlight in the alley. I refocused my eyes. I could tell from the swearing I was dealing with a couple of youngish white guys who were mad as hell, but this was not what I had expected. The taller one with hipster beard and glasses was wielding a sling blade, his shorter, bald pal with long baggy checkerboard shorts and big combat boots was attacking with a sword. Seriously, a sword. The blade was at least four feet long and had to weigh half as much as he did. They both hollered, grunted, and chopped with vicious abandon at every defenseless weed in the alley. Sample dialogue: "Fuck you motherfucker weed fucking with my fucking car one more fucking time...", etc. They chopped, swore and whacked their way up and down the alley. I bore silent witness to their mayhem as they branched out, slicing and dicing Mr. Piano Man's avocado tree into submission.
As I watched them move out of sight and into the labyrinth of barking dogs down the alley, it hit me that there was an entire segment of society that was feeling screwed over by the New Depession that I hadn't thought of before: guys in their late 20's-early 30's, making good bank in the industry, or at hip media jobs, where there is no sense of loyalty or job stability on either side. These guys used to go to work everyday with the attitude of 'take this job and shove it' because I can, and will, get something better that pays more in like, two days, man. And now those guys hadn't worked in a year, and their unemployment was a dry teat. Student loans the size of a normal mortgage were also raining despair down into their young souls, and they suffered the anger of the helpless. Fuck those motherfucking weeds!
And then they came back up the alley working the other side. They were still swearing like fucking mud wrestlers, but were seriously winded. Suddenly they stopped right below me, looking at my truck. "What the fuck is this?" Huff and puff. "A fucking Highlander?" "No, it's," huff, huff, huff. "A hybrid. Escape hybrid." The smaller, bald villain rested his weapon on his shoulder. "They're good people," the big fellow slurred. "Good people. They keep their shit trimmed." And they walked off. "As do I," said the sword whacker as he chopped a single foot long piece of bamboo from next to our gate. (Well, that filthy weed was getting a bit out of hand...) And as they walked on, I saw the unmistakable outline of the alley's only Great Dane, Mitzi. "Come on, Mitzi. Back in, back in." And the weed whacking neighbors returned home. And as weird as it was, it's always good to know that your neighbors think highly of you.
Monday, July 19, 2010
I'm feeling very lazy these days. Don't feel much like doing anything except for sitting on the beach looking at the ocean. Which is exactly what we did today. It's swell being able to go to the beach on a weekday - one of the few perks of being an under employed Miser. These little pleasures in life have become so important to us lately, and make us feel richer than kings and queens and even Oprah.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Summer is definitely here. Maybe its been here all along, and I'm just finally noticing. Which makes sense really, because I've been barely here in Los Angeles ever since school got out. But I'm back, ready and raring to enjoy every one's favorite season. I have that slightly giddy, anything is possible feeling in my stomach. If I were to have a soundtrack for my summer, it would have to include "Dancing Days", "Doin' Time", "Margaritaville" (as sung by Sparky), and anything and everything by U-Roy.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Bee and I were happy to find out that our knitted selves made it safe and sound to Stitch London's headquarters. The show is tomorrow at London's Science Museum, and we wish that are real selves could be there as well. If you happen to find yourself in London tomorrow night, stop in and say howdy to lil' Peanut and lil' Bee.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Tomorrow, the Misers are camping in the Mojave Desert! However, we're not going to the usual spot (our caves in the Granite Mountains) instead we're going to Joshua Tree. A trip to a National campground with a three year old just seems easier. Our caves are all about primitive camping: we have to haul our gear (including heavy ice chests) over rough terrain for a half mile. I know that Bee would find that a forced death march as opposed to a vacation... So we are going to Joshua Tree instead, and I cannot wait! I've been looking forward to this trip for weeks now; it is what helped sustain me through my finals at LACC. Every time I felt overwhelmed by the amount of studying to be done, as well as papers to be written, I just closed my eyes and thought of the desert. It helped to keep me calm and focused. Sparky and I have always had a love affair with the desert and we hope to pass it on to little Bee. It's the place we always went to when the city became too much, too impersonal, too smelly. The Mojave is where we got back in touch with nature, back in touch with our inner Hippie selves. We are considering this trip a sort of practice run for our Bee as we will only be spending one night there. But we plan on making the most of it, and hopefully she will grow to appreciate the Mojave as much as we do. Plus an added bonus: at night, we'll be able to see tons of stars - and a full moon!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
We went to a barbecue last week in Waldron, Indiana - a teeny, bump in the road of a town. Sparky's niece Hopestar lives there, and she throws a barbecue for us every year. We love it out there in the country because it feels as though you've finally gotten away from the big city, or the sprawling metropolis known as L.A. It was a very hot and humid day, and we were surrounded by fields of grass and giant oak trees - very peaceful. Sparky and his pals played baseball while Bee and I chatted with the other guests. One of them, Lori, asked me if we saw many stars in Los Angeles.
"Not really," I told her. "It's so bright there because of all the streetlights, and then with the clouds rolling in from the ocean at night, it makes the stars seem quite dim. But out in the desert, you can really see them. It's fantastic out there!"
"No, I meant movie stars," she said. "Do you see many movie stars?"
I had to laugh. I don't see many movie stars in L.A. either. We don't exactly hang out with the monied of Hollywood these days. But I would rather see real stars instead of movie stars any day.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
We got back from Indiana just the other day. It was a great trip - it's so verdant there right now. We saw family, friends, lightening bugs, thunderstorms, ginormous grassy lawns, and lots and lots of corn growing everywhere. Sparky's dear old friend Michael drove us to and from the airport, which is more than an hour away from tiny Rushville. (Which was my only complaint: everything is so far away, you have to drive and drive and drive to get anywhere. It seems like a lot of Hoosiers have humongous commutes.) When Michael picked us up at the Indianapolis Airport, he spoke about the good old days of air travel, before 911 ruined it for everyone. It made me quite nostalgic. Remember when you stepped off the plane and saw a friendly face waiting for you right inside the terminal? That's what Sparky misses the most. Michael misses driving someone to the airport and hanging out with them until they got on the plane. He says that he used to stand there and watch the plane take off before he would leave. The thing that I miss most is the free stuff, like meals and checked baggage. I'm a Miser, so naturally I hate paying for these things. Thankfully, Bee has her own carry-on with little wheels, so she pulls her own luggage these days. But I hate having to pack miniature bottles of things, and not being able to bring my own water. Also, I dread going through security, especially with Bee. We always seem to have way too much stuff that we are trying to negotiate onto the conveyor belt, and it's awkward having take off our shoes. I always try to be upbeat, and even cheerful, when enduring this ordeal in order to make it go by more smoothly. And this seems to actually help. But I really miss those days when you could just show up fifteen minutes before your flight and still make it onto the plane in time. Back in olden times when flying was actually fun.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tonight, the Misers are taking the red eye to the Hoosier state to visit Sparky's family and friends. Bee is excited, Sparky is excited, and I'm just hoping that Bee sleeps on the plane. That will make me happy. The thing that I'm looking forward to the most is seeing the flat, wide-open landscape and maybe spying a lightening bug or two. I especially like the weather in Indiana this time of year - I hope it's nice and hot and humid. Also, it will be great to see everyone again. This trip should be fun, and best of all: school is out for summer!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I've joined a club called Stitch London. It's not really a club per se, more like a community. But still, it is kind of clubbish. And I'm not a really big fan of clubs. It's only the second one that I've been a member of in my adulthood. Well, I was also sort of a member of a book club for awhile, but wasn't able to attend any of the meetings due to work. And then I heard from one of the members that it was kind of over anyway. Apparently, one of the people in the club who actually read the book got pissed at the other members who hadn't read the book, and so she proceeded to hurl the heavy tome at them from across the room. She may or may not have hit one of them in the head. I think that was pretty much the end of the club. Anyway, Stitch London is doing a show with London's Science Museum for the re-opening of the Who Am I? gallery. And I've entered a knitted version of myself and Bee. I'm not sure if these knitted figures really look like us, but they sort of feel like us. Anyone and everyone who makes a little version of themselves will be in the show, and it may travel around the world. Pretty cool. I mailed us off today, and it only cost four bucks and some change. Not bad for a flight to London. Bee was sad to see us go, but I figure that it's the only way that The Misers can afford to go to Europe this summer.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Our neighbor's derelict garage is constantly being assaulted by our favorite gang bangers, The Mayberry Street Crazys. Sparky and I are always saying what a blight the thing is, especially when covered with their graffiti. But we've been hesitant to complain to the city to get it torn down as it would leave us with an uninterrupted view of our neighbors house, which is an unfortunate shade of bright turquoise. We've decided that this pathetic garage is the lesser of the two eyesores. Anyway, it has been covered with the Crazys graffiti for months now, and Sparky has called the Graffiti Abatement Unit at least a dozen times to get them to paint over it. We would have done it ourselves except we are out of house paint, and can't afford to buy a new can. (Paint is expensive, and we are Misers, after all.) In the meantime, somebody got sick of the Crazys monikers and painted two smiley faces over them. Today, finally, the Graffiti Abatement Unit showed up (after Sparky called them again for the millionth time) to paint over it. They painted everything out except for the smiley faces. (Why did the leave them? Did they think it was art? That it was part of the garage's charm?) So now we have to look at the mindless grinning blue faces for god knows how long. Oh well, I guess it's better than what was there before. By the way, thanks a lot, Sparky.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I haven't written in a very long time as I've been super busy with school. I've always hated it when people have used this as an excuse for not doing something "I've been super busy..." It seems so lame. But nonetheless, that is exactly what I am at this moment in time. Super busy. (And lame.) But maybe I should just say that I've been on a hiatus from my blog, which will end as soon as school is over. Soon. One more month to go.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Do you believe in luck? I'm not sure if I do. Sparky does. He is superstitious like a baseball player. He says that The Misers have none. But very good things have happened to us in the past, for instance our darling daughter Bee. We feel very lucky and fortunate to have adopted her; she is the child that we were meant to have and to raise. But bad things have happen to us as well, such as being terminally employment challenged. Sleeford would say that there is no such thing as good or bad luck, that things just randomly occur in the universe and it's our big human egos that think things happen to us for a reason.
My grandmother was very superstitious, but in a much different way than Sparky. Hers was steeped in religiosity; she made the sign of the cross if anything out of the ordinary happened, like a painting falling off the wall. She claimed such things to be the work of the Devil. And she would have everyone else in the room make the sign of the cross, too. I remember being scared to death of this Devil when I was little, you never knew what He would do next.
Grandma also believed in The Evil Eye, that someone could put a curse on you just by intently staring/glaring at you, which was also scary as hell. And she thought that you could predict the sex of an unborn baby by tying a ring on a string and suspending it above the mother-to-be's stomach. If the ring swings back and forth, you're having a boy. If it is more of a circular motion, then it's a girl. And of course she believed in ghosts, but I kinda agree with her on that one. If you lived in her house, I'm sure you would believe in ghosts too. You see, there was a double murder/suicide in that house!
The people who lived there prior to my grandparents were having extreme marital difficulties. The wife was having an affair and the husband suspected as much. One day he came home early and caught his wife in the act with the other man. He shot them both dead, and then turned the gun on himself. Needless to say, it was a bloody mess. Shortly after this horrendous act, my grandparents bought the house. They got a very good deal on it.
They did not tell any of their children about this violent history. Instead, they gave my mother her own bedroom for the first time in her life. The very same bedroom in which this abhorrent crime occurred! But my mother never knew about it, in fact she didn't find out about it until years later, long after she was out of the house.
I loved that house because I loved the people in it, and I spent a lot of time there in my youth, but nonetheless it gave all of us kids the Heebeegeebees. I swear it was haunted. More than one relative has reported seeing ghosts in that house. But I digress.
Are The Misers unlucky? Is there such a thing? Sparky would say an emphatic YES. I admit that some things have happened recently that make me think that he is right, that we have absolutely no luck at all, and lately Cream has been playing in my head: "Born under a bad sign, I've been down since I began to crawl, and if it wasn't for really bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all." Goddamn it, it's an awful thing to think you're unlucky - it feels like you have no control over your life.
Which makes me inclined to agree with Sleeford. Random things happen, bad and good, and sometime you have control over it and sometimes not. But just in case Sparky is right, I'm going to start wearing a good luck talisman. Because maybe sometimes you really do get lucky. Maybe sometimes you just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Instead of the wrong place at the wrong time, which has lately been the story of my life. Yes, maybe a lucky amulet would help. After all, we could really use all the help we can get right now.
Friday, February 19, 2010
One of the classes that I'm taking at college right now is an algebra class. Math has never my favorite subject, nor does it come easy for me. I admit that in the past I didn't really care how well I did in math; I never took the time to try to really understand it and I certainly don't remember ever studying. I must have just winged it. I must have just closed my eyes while taking a test and hoped for the best. It's a wonder that I know any math at all. But I somehow must have retained enough to be able to test into a regular college algebra class. Not a beginning one, not an advanced one, but one right smack dab in the middle. An average regular old algebra class. Which is actually pretty damn good for me.
I'm working very hard in this algebra class. I'm reading and re-reading the text book, doing my homework in a timely fashion, participating in class, and studying my ass off. I'm finally understanding it all - which is quite amazing to me. I'm enjoying math for the first time in my life! I'm finding a certain beauty in the orderliness of mathematical equations. In the past I always thought, why learn something I'm never going to use? But now I'm seeing practical, bone fide uses for algebra. Like if I ever want to build a trapezoid out of wood I know I'll have to use this formula to figure out how much lumber to purchase: A=lw+1/2(a+b). It's that simple. I'm sure I'll figure out other uses for math down the road. In the mean time I'm just going to try my best to grasp as much as I can. Learning math is fun!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
On Tuesday, the Misers headed to Denny's for a FREE Grand Slam breakfast. It seems like this free Grand Slam thing is becoming an annual event with Denny's - last February the Misers also took advantage of their marketing gimmick. This time tho' we went in the afternoon after my classes were out - breakfast for lunch! I gobbled down my scrambled eggs and fluffy pancakes, and Bee ate all of our sausages, dipped in syrup natch. It was pouring down rain when we got there and consequently there was a very short line - we must have waited for a total of ten minutes. Not bad. Especially when you are talking about FREE. The Misers fully intend to take advantage of every free offer that comes our way as we have become even more Miserly these days. It has become a way of life. Go, Misers! (Sometimes we need to give ourselves a little pep talk...)
Monday, February 8, 2010
My school started today. That's right, I'm going back to college to learn how to do something useful that will allow me to make some money for a change. A meaningful career that will help me become an integral part of society, also for a change. I'm nervous about this school thing because I'm taking a full load and my classes are hard! I hope I'm smart enough. Also, I'm an OLDER student which is kind of a strange feeling. I'm as old as the instructors, as old as the hills, or maybe even older. Plus, my textbooks weigh a ton. I'm lugging 25 pounds of books around the campus which is not exactly pleasant. That is only four pounds less than what Bee weighs. Bee is way more fun to carry around - at least she is cuddly and snuggly as opposed to my books which are cold and hard. And I can always put her down as she walks perfectly fine on her own (when she's not tired and crabby, that is.) I'm rolling this small library around with me in a carry-on piece of luggage with wheels. I feel a bit silly wheeling this thing around as I kind of keep banging into people with it (or maybe they're just banging into me), but it sure beats lugging it on my back. I'm going to need all of the stick-to-it-ness that I can muster for this higher education thing as it is going to take me awhile (years) to accomplish my goals. Overall, I have to admit, I am very excited about this new challenge. But I'm probably a little bit crazy for doing this...
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Have you ever had to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on somebody? I've had to. Twice now. And fortunately I know how to do it. The first time I ever did it was years ago on the dog we had before Glenn The Dog, Gus The Dog. Gus was eating something meaty, and he must have been gulping it down instead of taking the time to thoroughly chew it, and it got lodged in his throat. He was lucky that I happened to walk by him right at the moment when he started choking. He looked frantic and had a wild look in his eyes and he wasn't making ANY NOISE. That was the clue for me that we was choking so I got behind him, put my arms around him below his rib cage and did the old Heimlich Maneuver. A wad of meat came flying out of his mouth and lo and behold - he could breathe again! Being a dog he then proceeded to eat the piece of meat that he just spat up, but this time he properly chewed it and all was good again in his little dog world. Prior to that I didn't realize you could do the Heimlich on an animal, I just sort of did it without thinking. And I found out that yes, it even works on animals.
The second time I performed this maneuver was Monday night while we were eating our good dinner and the worst thing that could happen happened; little Bee started choking on a piece of steak. I was in the process of sitting down next to her at the time, and I looked at Sparky who was facing her, and asked if she was really choking. She was waving her hands around and wasn't breathing and like Gus before her she wasn't making ANY NOISE. (For some reason I needed Sparky to confirm the worse for me.) "Yes," he said, "It's go time!" I picked her up, wrapped my arms around her and pushed up with my fist underneath her rib cage. It took a couple of thrusts for the meat to come shooting out, and when it hit the floor Glenn The Dog, being a dog, ate it. The whole thing only lasted about ten seconds but it felt like minutes. When I picked her up I had tunnel vision - I could literally only see her, everything else in the room lost its focus. My heart was hammering furiously in my chest and I remember thinking of what I would try next if the Heimlich Maneuver didn't work. (Turn her upside down and thump her on her back; stick my fingers down her throat to try to fish the offending piece of meat out; call 911!) Luckily it worked like it was supposed to work, and I don't think I've ever been happier in my life. Sparky and I were both in shock and feeling kind of giddy, and I held Bee on my lap through out the rest of dinner. We decided from here on out that Bee should only eat soft foods. Liquid food, food you don't have to chew! But that is highly unlikely, so the next best thing is cut everything up for her into even smaller pieces, and to always remind her to chew, chew, chew. Thank god for Henry Heimlich and his maneuver!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
The Misers are fortunate to have not one, but two, library branches nearby - so nearby in fact that we could walk to them if we wanted. I don't know why we now have two branches in our neck of the woods, it wasn't always like that. When we first moved here we had to travel a few miles to get to the nearest library. But about five or six years ago they built the Edendale branch, and then just a few months ago the Silverlake branch opened. Neither of these libraries are very large, and the book collections in both are somewhat lacking, but nonetheless we have been enjoying them. I have always loved libraries as I come from a reading and a library going family. And since we can't take Bee to the park everyday now that we are officially in the middle of L.A.'s rainy season, we've been taking advantage of our local libraries. They are great for checking out DVDs for Bee, knitting books for me, novels, and CDs that we can download into our iPod. The Misers love free stuff, and we don't mind borrowing stuff instead of owning it. In fact, its better for the environment, right?
Anyway, Bee loves Dora the Explorer so those are the DVDs that we've been checking out at a furious pace. She especially loves Diego, Dora's cousin. She has told me that she loves him because he is so nice to animals and he can talk to them! He is kind of like an Hispanic Doctor Doolittle. (I guess he is her first crush, even though he is just a cartoon character.) I don't mind her watching Dora DVDs because they are educational for the most part. And since Dora is bilingual, Bee's been speaking a little bit of Spanish recently. She likes to count to ten in Spanish, and she also like to Mumba. (Hands on your hips and then wiggle your hips, wiggle your hips. Circle your hands, circle your hands. And march in place, march in place.) It seems like Dora the Explorer is quite popular these days with the preschool set. On the plane home from Seattle after Christmas, Bee wore her Dora pajamas because it was a late flight. We encountered a couple of young hipsters who were very nice to Bee, and to my surprise both of them knew who Dora was. One sang the backpack song to Bee, while the other kept saying "Swiper, no swiping. Swiper, no swiping!" Apparently they'd spent some time watching some Dora TV with their nieces at Christmas.
And even though I would rather that Bee was outside getting fresh air and sunshine, on the few days that it rains here in L.A, we don't mind her watching a DVD of Dora the Explorer, especially when it is free. The Misers love their local libraries!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
The Miser's favorite television show right now is a little gem from Canada called "Trailer Park Boys". It is effing hilarious and strangely comforting all at once. I mean, if worse comes to worse and we lose everything we own The Misers could always move into a trailer park. It doesn't look that bad. Well, actually it kind of does but at least we'll be surrounded by colorful characters who's main goals in life are obtaining liquor and smokes. And maybe some weed. And trying to stay out of jail. I mean, how hard can that be? It's just all about embracing your inner White Trash self.
Check it out: Trailer Park Boys
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Today as I was perusing the job ads on craigslist I came across this:
Do you love your pet? Do you live in the Greater LA area? Do you want to look like your pet? We are casting men and women of all ages to be on our reality TV show, "We'll Make You Look Like Your Pet." Please send us a video telling us why we should choose YOU to be made-over to look like your pet. Please include your name, phone number, the type of pet, and why we should select you. Send videos to: blablabla. Thanks! We look forward to hearing from you!
I'm almost tempted to apply. Exactly what kind of crazy is this?
Friday, January 15, 2010
Bee has a plastic yellow heart shaped ring that says "Love" on it. Sparky got it for her out of a gumball machine for 25 cents. She loves this ring. She insists on wearing it everyday, and as it is way to big she usually wears it on her thumb. Or maybe her index finger. Now the crazy thing is that because it is too big it is constantly falling off of her, and I am constantly searching on the floor or ground for it. "My ring! My ring!" She exclaims as it falls off her thumb yet again and tumbles into the apple bin at Trader Joe's. "I want my love ring!" Hang with the Bee for any length of time, and you'll find yourself repeatedly making sure that damn ring is safely on her person. That plastic ring is my little Hippie Child's most favorite possession at this very moment, and rather than finding it a little annoying, Sparky and I choose to find it sweet and endearing.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The Hungry Tiger was one of my most favorite food blogs a few years ago. I loved the name of the site (taken from the Oz books by L. Frank Baum) and the vegetarian recipes. But for some reason the blog suddenly and without warning disappeared to a "members only" site and I was sad. There was no way I was going to pay money to join this site, so no more Hungry Tiger for me. (I guess I must have been a sort of Miser even back then before the New Depression hit.) And then just today I was thinking about cauliflower and how The Hungry Tiger had a great recipe for preparing it, so I sat down at the keyboard and typed in the name. And lo and behold, it's back again in the Wonderful World of Free Blogs! It seems like the New Year is starting off on the right foot for a change. Happy days are finally here. Yipee skipee. All is right in the world. Anyway, check it out: The Hungry Tiger
Monday, January 11, 2010
Last week, I picked up my most recent pieces from the kilns at Barnsdall Art Park. These tiles I made to hang on the outside of the house, sort of like jewelry for the house. I like making tiles because they are fast and easy, you can experiment with different textures, and they make good glaze testers.
I also made four matching leaf bowls. I'm getting better at throwing sets that are more or less the same size. Still, throwing is not exactly my strength at this point. It's all about practice, practice, and more practice.
These are a trio of bud vases hand built from very thin porcelain slabs. They were very fast to make and I really like the organic quality of them. But because the porcelain is so thin you have to be extra careful when handling them. I forgot how delicate they are and pierced a hole in the green one with tongs as I was glazing it.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I've decided not to throw away all of my old stuff. Instead, I sorted through it, kept some and tossed the rest. Some of the junk I tossed included old letters that weren't even addressed to me, but to Lew Wasserman. I'm not even sure why I kept them. Perhaps in order to line my little rat's nest. Or maybe because the letters were so damn nutty. You see, back in 1988 right before Martin Scorsese's film, "The Last Temptation of Christ" was released, I was hired by a friend of friend of a friend (who was a private detective) to sort through the bundles and bags and bags and bundles of mail that Wasserman was receiving. As chairman of MCA, Inc., the parent company of Universal Studios, which produced the film, he was the target they wanted to hit. Christians by the droves were sending him hate mail due to the fact that they assumed this movie would portray their much beloved Jesus in a bad light. The bizarre thing was that the movie hadn't even been released, so they had no idea what they were even hating on. (As we've seen with all Christian protests though, logic is rarely welcome.) These poor saps were told by their holy television and AM radio mullahs to send Wasserman letters to stop this blasphemous madness before it could begin. And did they try their damnedest!
Anyway, my job was to find any letters that contained actual death threats. But there were only a few letters that were violent crazy; most of them were just plain crazy. Some people even sent money, which made the job all that much sweeter. (I was confused by their "contributions" to halt the film's release, but Sparky thought they were conditioned to "tithe" money by their favorite televangelist. For them, stuffing small bills in letters had become a reflex.) Some sent bibles, rosaries, prayer cards, etc. And now, looking through the few letters that I've kept all these years I've found a common theme: "DON'T release this film and DO accept the Lord Jesus as your Savior and then you WON'T burn in hell for all eternity."
I didn't see the movie when it was first released, probably because after reading all of the hate mail I was already so over it. But I did finally see it a few years back and I remember thinking how weird Barbara Hershey's lips looked due to the fact that they were pumped chock full of collagen; and how wow, Jesus has a thing for Mary Magdalene. That's all I really remember. It did not strike me as a particularly blasphemous movie, just one showing the Christ Man as a human being, and not a god while he was alive on planet earth. What was the big deal?
Still, it was a great little part time gig while it lasted: I could do it from the comfort of my own home, make my own hours, and it paid $15 an hour (plus the occasional "tip" from the believers.) And any Miser has got to love that! (I am sooo going to hell...)
Friday, January 8, 2010
I'm afraid that I might be a Pack Rat. Today Bee and I spent a couple of hours going through some trunks and boxes that are stored under the house. Scary. I found letters and cards from old friends and family, and a stack of love/hate letters from an old boyfriend. I actually found a One Year Diary from 1977 with a single entry in it that says: "Saturday, January 1st. Hi Diary. Today is the very first day of 1977, and so far it has been a shitty day. I think Di and Tree are mad at me and school starts on Monday. Yuck! My New Year's resolution is to write in you every day, no matter how busy I am. Gotta go. Bye. P.S. 'Brian's Song' is on tonite." That is all that is in this diary, yet I somehow felt compelled to keep it for 33 years? What the hell? I've kept letters from people I'm not even friends with anymore, letters that I wrote yet never mailed, old birthday cards, postcards, notes, fanzines, notebooks, sketchbooks, journals, manila envelopes crammed with odds and ends, etc., etc., etc. I guess I kept all of this stuff over the years for sentimental reasons, but it's not like I ever look at any of it or even think about any of it. So why bother keeping it? I'm really torn because I just want to throw it all away, but since I've kept it for so long maybe I should just keep it for another 30 years. Yuck! Then I'll just be a little old lady with a bunch of crap from my past. I really should just throw the whole lot away. Except for the One Year Diary. I'm definitely keeping that.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Bee and I got into Los Angeles last night, and we are very happy to be home again. Although fun was had, I'm really glad the holidays are behind us. It was rainy and grey for the most part up in the PNW, so the golden sunshine here is very welcoming! We both missed it. The best part of our trip was the train ride itself - it was so relaxing, and I highly recommend to everyone to GO BY TRAIN.