Friday, October 31, 2008

Slow down, you’re moving too fast…

Okay, so this is not the first thing the San Diego City Police officer said to me when he pulled me over last Thursday:

“What did the cow get when he drove across the road? A moo-ving violation.”

But I kind-of wish it were. Because that’s what I got. And because it’s funny (in a four-year-old-popsicle-stick-joke kind of way).

But, no. No. Instead he bent down and said, “What’s the hurry?”

His question left me speechless. First off, I always travel this way -- they just don’t pack enough hours into the week, it’s basically the speed at which I live my life. Secondly, was I even going that fast?

It turns out I was, 47 in a 30, but in my own defense, it was a lame-ass speed trap, two cops pulling over car after car on a street you’d never think would be a 30 MPH zone.

After I got over being indignant and annoyed at the fact that I was caught in such a sneaky manner, which took more than a few minutes, I decided there were two ways to go with this: (1) to keep on driving my usual way, which I admit, is heavy on the gas and late on the breaks, or (2) to slow down.

I won’t deny that the prospect of getting a second ticket before the 18-month time clock for this ticket expires from my driving record was a factor in my choice, but I’ve opted for number 2, to slow down.

I’ve decided to embrace it. I’m trying to make it my habit to drive more slowly and with more intention. It’s not been easy so far. But I have had some positive reinforcement. The very same day of the ticket I pulled up behind an RV with a bumper sticker that read, “Just go around me, I’m retired.”

Hey, I like that, I wish I were retired. And where am I rushing to anyway? My grave?

Secondly, I feel kind-of like Ellie and Mistah, who are only semi-retired, but who know how to take their time nonetheless.

And thirdly, I keep hearing these old groovy lyrics in my head:

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy.
Ba da, Ba da, Ba da, Ba da...Feelin' Groovy.
Hello lamp-post,What cha knowin'?
I've come to watch your flowers growin'.
Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in' doo-doo,Feelin' groovy.
I've got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, I love you, All is groovy.
My life gets overly frenetic at times, so I figure if I can commit to driving slower, at least those moments of my life will be more focused, and who knows, maybe this will spill out into other areas of my life.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m trying hard (struggling at times) to look at my speeding ticket as a blessing in disguise, as an expensive reminder to slow down and make the morning last.

Because let’s face it, if they need reminders on Caye Caulker, Belize to go slow, we all do.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Wayward Wind

I did not win the $500.

The World Series is one of the many things blowing through my brain this week like The Wayward Wind across the West Texas Desert.

Oh, it's windy.

I have no choice but to tackle these disparate items, one by one, in an entirely disordered and haphazard manner.

No, Tony S. won the World Series dough, and he wasn’t even there to collect it. So I didn’t even get a free beer off the bastard. And now baseball season is over. Until pitchers and catchers report to training camp in March.

Have a good off-season, boys!
I’ve spent the last week or two weatherproofing the deck railing in anticipation of the season that comes after Fall and before Spring. We treated the deck itself in May, but left the railing until now.

This is a “before” photo. See the difference between the deck and the railing? If you can take your eyes off that handsome Schleckah, that is.

This is a “before” photo too, which only shows a tiny part of the railing – the handrail, right there, in the bottom right. But I included this photo because it’s warm and sunny and the beginning of the Summer, way before those wee potted tomato plants became 3- and 4-feet tall.

I don’t have any “after” photos of the deck railing because Bill takes the camera to work every day, and he’s already gone, I did not think ahead.

On Monday I finished the back deck and staircase . . .

Another “before” photo, with no comparative “after” shot.
. . . just in time for Tuesday’s drenching rain. And in deference to the rainy and then the cold weather this week, I’m having myself my own International Film Festival, on my bed, with my laptop.

On Tuesday I saw “The Sea Inside”.
Starring that hot potato Javier Bardem.

Although my mom is still scared of him because of his hair in No Country for Old Men . . .

. . . with good reason.

Released in Spain as “Mar Adentro”, “The Sea Inside” is the story of Ramón Sampedro, who fought an almost 30-year battle to euthanize himself after becoming a quadriplegic at 19 or 20.

This movie was good.

On Wednesday I watched “La Vie En Rose”.

From France, it’s the story of Edith Piaf, the Little Sparrow, who was plucked from singing on the streets to become the toast of Paris.

Marion Cotillard was absolutely adorable when she won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2007.

And if *I* were a member of the Academy, I would have voted for her a million times: she was brilliant.

What else is going on? Ah yes. The Election.

I’m terribly nervous, but hugely cautiously optimistic.

This is the best thing I’ve seen during this campaign, sent to us from our friend Elizabeth, from out Far West Texas Way:
Click here:
. ..

And finally, Halloween. Be careful out there tomorrow night, kids.
Don’t overdo it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


If you are a child psychologist or work for Child Protective Services, let's just say that the following is a hypothetical description of Halloween decorating gone wrong, and that names and identities have been changed to protect the demented innocent.

Ever since we turned the calendar page to October, my kids have been obsessed with decorating for Halloween. I'd like to think that we generally fall somewhere between holly-hobby-wholesome and full blown psychosis. Neighborhood children need not be afraid to traverse our driveway, but they'd be well advised to keep their guards up.

This year's decorations started out innocently enough,
with lots of tissue ghosts and stretchy spiderwebs.

We pulled a few scary things out of the garage, like this guy

who eyeballs me through the kitchen window -
as if I needed another reason to avoid that room altogether.

And yes, the quart of fake blood was also soon summoned

and one day after we waited for over an hour in the pediatrician's exam room,
several inflated latex-free gloves were recruited

Then one day the sewing kit came out for some other reason,
and the decorations took a marked turn for the macabre

This is clearly the work of a zombie clown

who pulled an innocent cheerleader over to the dark side

Something tells me we will not be giving out a lot of candy this Halloween.

Would you let your innocent child enter this den of iniquity?

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Small joys

My boyfriend and I attended the World Music Festival on Catalina Island this past weekend. It was the first annual, so we didn’t expect it to be big, but hey, we didn’t expect what we got, either.

Let’s call it intimate. Very intimate.

You get a good idea of how big the event was by the size of its pumpkin patch.


I loved it.

Who needs crowds of drunk college kids ribbing you to get to the stage? I don’t.

Instead we had a group of lovely and talented adult hula hoopers.

I was almost feeling slighted by Jacquie’s new best friend. You know, that woman in the red dress with her triceps tatts and high heels driving the scooter (motor bike, pfft) that she went on and on about on Friday?

But now I have a new mental best friend too.

These photos so do not capture her hula-hooping-while-dancing skills and viewing them quickly is not nearly as effective as Ellie's blanket shaking sequence in her Oregon post, so if you’ve got an extra minute and want to see my new best friend do her thing you can view her on video. (Scroll to 15:37.) I promise it's worth it.

She was hooping to Johnny Cruzial and the Renouz, the featured reggae band.

Later on in the day, my boyfriend and I gave the hula hoops a try during the somewhat disappointing Italian-Russian-Balkan gypsy jazz band. (Thankfully there are no photos of these attempts, and yes, he is a better hula hooper than me.)

Later still, my boyfriend proclaimed his love for me on video during Gtonic, the Afro-Latin funk band whose lead singer looks like Denzel Washington.

Isn't it cute how the stage's back drop is a drape over the goal posts?

Still later, we took a few minutes to put down our Angel City Brewing microbrews and stumble down the hill to get some needed dinner.

We missed the Irish band, but ended up with steaks and a view.

After scarfing down everything in front of us dining, we headed back up the hill. We just couldn't get enough of the festival. It turns out the last band, Delta Nove -- a Brazilian rock reggae band we thought we'd like -- was completely unrewarding. But being given free beer because we had been such good customers all day was rewarding.

All in all? A terrific time. I plan to go back if there's a Second Annual Catalina World Music Fesitval. I'll probably know half of the attendees, plus how can any music festival on the beautiful island of Catalina not be worth it?

Especially when the trip over starts on this
with bartenders on board who are glad to give you extra green beans
And ends with the boat ride back that includes beers and snacks?

Okay, so we're easily amused, and can find fun in most places. I bet most of you can too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Leaf Lookin'

I love summer and I hate winter. And frankly, I’m pretty ambivalent about spring and fall. Sure, I love to see the new growth popping up, and I love flowers blooming everywhere, but I would gladly give it all up to hide my head in the sand in the Florida Keys until about June. Change of seasons? Pffftt. Give me hazy hot and humid, any time.

That said, it’s been a spectacular October in Connecticut. On Sunday we had a long ride back from our friend Bruce’s Octoberfest party (you actually can drive 2-½ hours and still be in Connecticut) and the trees are absolutely ablaze with color.

So, although I still wish I were packing up for a winter in Big Pine Key, here is the obligatory Fabulous Fall Festival of Foliage, Connecticut-style. With all credit going, as per, to Mistah, nature photographer extraordinaire and all around swell guy.

Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme

New London
New London






Who's that in the tree?
Oh, hello Madame Dragonfly.

Froggie likes Amston, too.

New London


Waterford. Or perhaps a movie set trying to look like Connecticut.


Okay, okay. Connecticut in the Fall is beautiful. And next it will be summer again, right?