Monday, December 29, 2008

Barefoot in December?

Okay well today I was on my way to meet up with my old friend to exchange gifts and have a few Christmas Cheers with her. It was a beeeeeutiful December day in Pasadena, California. 75 degrees, sunny and warm. While I was at a stop light, I saw two teenagers walking across a busy, busy, main street -- and they were barefoot!!!

Both were barefoot in the most busiest intersections. I was wondering if something came over them and suddenly their feet were just too hot for their shoes. Do people still walk barefoot in the City??

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Talker's 8th Birthday 12/23/08

Tuesday we celebrated Talker's 8th Birthday. Talker is the first dog I've ever own. I remember when my husband and I first started talking about getting a dog. We were recently married (May 2001) and thought what better way to solidify our relationship than to make a lifelong commitment to a dog.

He had always owned dogs and was use to just having them around, but I had never owned one so the thought of getting one scared me but excited me. Around January 2002, I began doing my research on several breeds. Originally, I had wanted a Siberian Husky. I've always loved the black and white and blue eyes of a husky. But I knew since we were living in a condo and didn't have a backyard, that this breed would not be happy with its limited space. I attended several dog shows in search of a breed to my liking until one day my eyes were drawn to the beauty of the Basenji.

It was a nice size--not too small but just small enough for condo living. It's face was strong, steady, and intense. Those Basenji eyes have a way of studying you instead of the other way around. I talked to several breeders and attended many other shows thereafter and I was still drawn to the Basenji. Six months later we finally made the decision to get a Basenji.

I began calling Basenji breeders in the area only to find that puppies were born the previous years and none were left. I was refer to a breeder in Joshua Tree that had been breeding Basenjis for many years and was well known and respected. She told me that she did have a 6 month old male. My husband had his heart set on a puppy but the breeder was insistent that he was all puppy and that we would fall in love with him once we met.

So my husband and I took the 2 hour trip to Joshua Tree to meet this charming boy. When we got there she brought him out and he ran around and jumped up and down around us. He was so happy that he gave us a mighty yodel to express his happiness. That yodel found it's way to my husband's heart and he agreed that he was all the puppy that he needed. We took him home that day.

The breeder had given Talker his name because she said he was the most talkative and he was -- and still is. He greets you with his yodels and chortles and when we "chat" the sounds he makes are almost like the sound of cooing birds.

We had a tough two years with Talker but they were the best bonding years ever. No matter how much research I had done about the breed, I never expected it to be that difficult. He didn't like being by himself all day and he screamed like bloody murder in the condo. Basenjis don't bark -- which people are always amazed to hear -- but they do scream for hours when they are unhappy. Luckily, we found a doggy day care and for about 6 hours for four days a week we had to take him to doggy day care. He played for hours and after I would pick him up in the evening, he played with other dogs in an enclosed baseball field. When he came home he was happy, peaceful and tired.

Talker went everywhere with us and he attracted alot of attention which made him become such a people friendly dog. He was easy to be with and our bond grew and grew.

Talker has taught me the meaning of commitment. You would have thought that I learned the meaning of commitment when I got married but I think it still hadn't sunk in probably because I married late in life and had been on my own for many years. But somehow when I took on the responsibility of owning a dog the definition of commitment became more serious and meaningful. Because I chosed this dog I was now making a promise to him that I would care for him for the rest of our lives together. He, in return, would love me unconditionally. He would comfort me and warm my heart. He would give me so much laughter and tears. He would fill an unoccupied place in my heart for as many years as he could give me -- all of that he would give me just for the price of my love. What a deal I got when I met this beautiful Joy.

Sometimes it saddens me to see him another year older because I cannot help but think he's another year closer to the inevitable. But I also rejoice at him being here and for choosing me and our family.

Happy Birthday Talker.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” - Anatole France

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving - 2008

Thursday is Thanksgiving; a time to gather our families around a table to feast upon an unfortunate turkey. My husband loves Thanksgiving. Frankly, I don't get that much out of it. Perhaps it's because I'm always expecting more.

On Thanksgiving my husband gathers around my small family. My mom and I cook; baste and wait for the turkey to be done and then while the turkey "rests" we scramble to reheat side dishes, prepare gravy and watch over biscuits in the oven to make sure they are golden brown. Then we serve up; say a fast prayer; eat and finish our meal all within 30 minutes. My mom sits all of 5 minutes and then she's up back into the kitchen which means I'm up clearing off the table and packing things up in not enough tupperware.

That's it. That's the way it is every year and it will be that way again this year.

But in my mind's eye there are families enjoying love, laughter, funny stories and somewhere out there someone is laughing so hard at someone's repeated story that wine is gushing out of their nose--and a good memory is being created.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still thankful for another day that brings my family together and I'm forever thankful for my Mother for being there; even if she can't relax and leave the dishes for me to clean up.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone at every table with their family.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A basenji friend sent this to me. YouTube: The cell phone rang and a gang of basenjis answered the phone:

Adele - Right as Rain

I love this song. I had her music on my blog but it got all "jacked up". Hey, remember those words "all jacked up"?

Anyways, back to Adele and Right as Rain:

The Power of Music

I love music. Who doesn't? In fact I don't know anyone who doesn't love music. Although someone once told me that they dated a girl that would not sing in the car when the radio played. She didn't even hum. How that person even dated that girl is beyond me. But let me get back to my original statement. I love music.

Southern California has a radio station called The Sound - 100.3 FM. Not a very rock edgy name for a station that plays a variety of everything "rock", but still, that's what we got. Well they started this new thing on Wednesdays called Album Sides Wednesday -- all VINYL (again...not a very catchy name). They play the entire A or B side of an album. At first I thought they would be playing music that was too evolved for me and at a first listen I would immediately switch back to my XM radio (which by the way is on the blink. Seems like every October/November my XM radio wigs out and does not turn on -- but I digress). Anyway so on my way to work (stuck in traffic due to an accident) I checked out Album Sides Wednesday and what a major flashback I was having while driving the 210 freeway.

The power of music. When you can remember exactly where you were; who you were with; what you were doing; how you were feeling; what major teenage angst you were having the minute that needle touched down on that black vinyl record, then you have perserved an important memory in your history.

In the 70's I remember going to the library and "checking out" albums for three weeks and just playing them over and over. I remember listening to Carly Simon's first album which included the song, "That's the Way I've Always Heard it Should Be" and feeling like I was actually listening to an adult conversation between a man and a woman. When Anticipation came out I also got my copy from the library and played that album over and over. I use to sing those songs at school and no one...and I mean no one knew who the heck I was singing.

The power of music. I love it. If you allow it to it will penetrate deeply under your skin and trigger your senses and feelings and years later it will spring forth an exactness of time that will amaze you at first but once you get pass all that and you allow the music to envelope you in your memories -- wow that is such a wonderful feeling even when stuck in traffic. What always amazes me is the way the lyrics will suddenly spring forth from somewhere deep inside you and the next thing you know it you're singing those memories at the top of your lungs.

This morning I heard:

And on the way home I listen to Elton John's Tummbleweed Connection:

When I got home, I actually had a drive way moment where I just sat in my car listening to my radio and faded back into a memory that had been forgotten over time but quickly return at the very instant that needle touched down on that pure black vinyl memory.

Here's the young tender voice of Jackson Browne singing Love Needs a Heart:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No Time - 853-1212

There was a time when you could dial 853-1212 and you were told the time of day or night. But not anymore. Now if you're at a lost for time, you cannot easily pick up the phone and get the time you need. It's gone. This service is now obsolete.

Does anyone remember dialing that number and getting the time of day? Apparently, last October AT&T remove that service. I'm sure the operator who held that job back in the day was let go years before and replaced by an computer generated voice operator. Now, the computer voice operator has been replaced with Nothing. How sad.

I wonder if she was sad.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos)

Day of the Dead is an annual Mexican celebration for those who have passed on. It's a celebration of remembrance for families. The Mexican culture believe that the spirits return on November 1 and 2 to be reunited with their families. Families decorate their loved one's grave sites with the person's favorite items -- food, fruit, drinks and flowers. Candles are placed by the grave to guide them back safely to the other side.

At the Hollywood Forever cemetery this celebration occurs every year and is one of the largest in Los Angeles. Here are a few pictures of the altars that families created for remembrance of their loved ones.

Many people who attend the celebration often dress themselves up as skeletons or the walking dead.
Even the children participate. This little boy was in total character as the Grim Reaper. He didn't even crack a smile.

And these tiny tots were being pushed in their carriage by their mother.

This is their Mother. How would you like to have her watching over your children?

Even pets are remembered. This altar was dedicated to those pups who were put to sleep in Shelters. Dog collars are hung on the cross.

This celebration is not ghoulish or meant to be frightening. It's more of a celebration of the life that was lived by those who have passed on. It's really quite beautiful.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Rainbow

We had raindrops in Southern California this Halloween morning. It was the first rain of Autumn. I caught this rainbow when I stopped to pick up breakfast before getting to work. It actually was a double rainbow, but the other rainbow didn't show up in the picture.

I've been carrying my camera around with me and I told myself that I would be on the look out for beauty. I'm glad I had my camera with me this morning.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ode to Halloween

Oh Halloween! To be anything and everything you've ever dream. I love all it's wrappings and all that the unwrappings bring. I love going to haunted houses and just being scared out of my wits! Instant screams and jitters--what's there not to love? I think going thru a haunted house and having some dressed up unidentified blended to the wall character pop out just awakens that hidden sense -- FEAR!

Could it be real? It just might? Is it real? It might as well be the way you jump three feet in the air. The reality is that you're in a safe "haunted house" and you can test your fear level in a safe environment. How does it rate? How high did I jump? How loud did I scream? What does it tell us all?

That we are alive.

Take Your Dramamine Before Seeing This Movie

Last night my friend and I celebrated our friend's birthday. This is a major year for girlfriend as she has been anointed as one of the lucky ones who caught her breast cancer early and went thru treatment with flying colors. She felt unwell after her chemo and radiation, but just recently she has found herself feeling soooo much better. So Wednesday night we all went out to celebrate her birthday.

She wanted to see a movie, have dessert after and open presents. I chose the movie, "Rachel Getting Married", directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Anne Hathaway.

My beef: There was no warning sign on the poster stating that this film is filmed using that free form style of camera movement. Do the words, Blair Witch Project explain what I mean?? Talk about feeling sick and nauseated throughout the entire movie! I had to watch the entire movie with my head down and peek every once in awhile thru my fingers to get an idea what was happening. I guess Director Demme thought that the audience needed to feel as if we were a guest attending the wedding and be a part of everything. I was so into the wedding that I was beginning to feel bad for not getting the happy couple a wedding gift. The constant zooming around the entire room to catch every little scene going on during the preparation of the wedding, thru the extremely long rehearsal dinner and the extremely long reception was just over kill. OMD I thought the wedding was never going to end.

The minute the first credit appeared at the end of the movie, I got up from my seat and ran to the bathroom. I don't want to kill you with suspense, so I'll just tell you right now that I didn't get sick -- but I thought I was going to get sick. I was really close to losing my popcorn.

After we all got outside and I inhaled some fresh air, I felt somewhat better--better enough to have dessert and finish our birthday celebration for Patti!

So, if you get motion sickness skip this movie or make sure you've got your to get you thru it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where I Spend 10 Hours of My Day

I thought I would write about where I am during the day. Unfortunately I'm not enjoying fresh air and enjoying the scenery. I work at a government agency called SCAQMD - South Coast Air Quality Management District. We attempt to keep the air clean in Southern California. I work for the District Prosecutor's office.

What I enjoy most about my work is the staff in our division. I've been in my division since the division was created in 1989 and most of our staff has been here that long too. Thus, we've created a family type atmosphere throughout the years. We all say it's a family--a dysfunctional family--but a family none the less. I've had many good years and lots of fun and laughter. This year we went thru some major changes; thus, there are not as many laughs as there used to be, but we still manage to have some fun while we work.

This is my office where I spend most of my day. I really love my space. It's become a bit cluttered throughout the years. Sometimes people give you things and you just don't know what to do with them so I just leave them here in my office. I love my Michael Parkes prints on my walls. I have two of them and I love to stare at them and daydream. The name of this picture is called Tuesday's Child. The girl in the painting is walking on a rope in the sky. You can come up with many interpretations for this painting and I believe they will all be correct. Below, is the other Michael Parkes print. I really enjoy this painting. It's called "Still Life" and yet everything is moving. At times, I wish I were that cat at the window.

My office is decorated for Halloween. Everyone makes fun of me because they know I love Halloween so much. I even have a Witches hat hanging on the coat rack in my office. There's my skeleton jester and my tree in the background with Halloween ornaments. I keep my cut out rats and bats on the wall all year round. I have them also outside my office, taped onto my former boss' office, and to the other offices down the hall. No one really minds and they keep them up all year long too. We like to say it keeps "the others" away.

Well that's my den and where you'll find me 10 hours a day. Now I'm going to go back to daydreaming.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Getting into the Spirit of Halloween

I love Halloween! I also love when adults get into the spirit of Halloween and go out of their way to bring out the kid in them. I caught this picture in the parking lot of a grocery store. I wished I would have hung out until the person returned to their car, but grown up obligations got in my way.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

October Picnic at Lacy Park

October 25, 2008 - It was a hot day today. This is what they call Indian Summer. Hubby and I spent the day with the pups at Lacey Park in San Marino. This is my favorite park yet I haven't been here since 2001? Still peaceful and beautiful as ever. Non residents have to pay to get in. The price of admission $4.00. It use to be $1.00 but I guess the price of serenity and loveliness has gone up. The old man that sits in the admission booth is way beyond his years. He waves us in. Do we look like locals? It must be our dogs that got us in.

The park is just as I remembered it. Vast, green, huge shady trees and only a handful of people scattered amongst the trees.

We lunched on deli sandwiches and after we slept under the green trees while the pups dutifully watched for squirrel activity. It actually felt like a lazy summer day.

To get my husband to do something like this takes a lot of convincing. It's not like him to go someplace with the dogs and do nothing. But he actually enjoyed the peacefulness and he even took a mini nap. A few times I looked around the park and saw other couples lying in the grass or just sitting and observing a bunch of nothing and they looked like doing nothing was something they did often -- in a good way.

When we finally gathered our things we talked about doing nothing again. I hope we do.

How long can such beauty last when it is just  barely hanging from a vine?