Sunday, July 31, 2005

Pieces of Heaven

Stand by what you believe in.

Sometimes, easier said than done. But mostly, I think, forgotten along with whatever tricks-and-tips your 11th grade Algebra teacher tried to sneak into your mindly file-cabinets.

But if an 83-year-old little-bitty-lady can represent infront of Senators, wiry spectacles and all, then so can you.

Not saying you need to travel to D.C. to show support for your causes.

Just avoid compromising on that which would alter fundamental you. Besides, if we all did, then the fascinating fabulousness of convictions would disappear in plumes of smoke.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sweet Tail Spots

His cat carrier was flawless. As Pippi and I waited our turn, he found three stray Calico hairs and immediately flicked them to the ground.

Samantha, the black lab to my left, had a funky spot on her belly. And an older man in Wranglers and crazy-big buckle cradled a miniature mutt with unusual freckles on her nose.

Two hours and $152 later, Oskar greeted us at the door. "One-hundred-and-twenty-minutes sure seemed like a life-time," he seemed to whisper to his golden-haired beauty, who immediately gave his left front paw a friendly nudge.

For all the whirl-winded-ness of chaotic days, our four-legged buddies always seem to remember the joys of routine. Calm. Predictability. Super-appealing same-ness.

Next time you're tempted to go-go-go, consider the wisdom of those who clearly appreciate the value of Iams-inspired sleep: there's nothing wrong with indulging in that which makes you smile. And if given a chance, pamper your fabulous friends.

They, too, love you unconditionally. You just have to figure out if they prefer tennis balls or the indestructible Kong.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Je Ne Sais Quois

I could probably have lived without "Blink."

And so, the fact that I'm slightly mesmerized by "The Tipping Point" either means that I, too, succumb to gas-station-literature -- or this time, Gladwell makes a few noteworthy points.

Consider this:

"There is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible. All you have to do is find it."

Ponder that. As you pour coffee, flip the radio dial, chitter-chatter at work, shop for jeans and train your uncontrollable pooch.

I'm not going to call it brilliant just yet. But it certainly made me think.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Dear Ralphs

Aside from a beat-up Dodge Caravan and a non-descript pick-up, I was the only car in the parking lot. Rushing past the baskets and carts, I glanced at my pink-and-glittering watch: 11:45pm.

Fifteen minutes til closing.

Moments later, clutching my morning-must-have: 2% milk for splashing coffee and dousing Grape Nuts, I checked out.

Sleepy. Dreading the 5am wake-up call. But mostly, oblivious to anyone.

"Well aren't you just a bright spot of sunshine?" chirped Norma as she counted my change.

"You just brightened our day," she continued to beam.

I'm clearly never shopping anywhere else.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Magical Medicine

Forget Advil and Band-Aids. And while there's certainly a time for lotions and potions and glittery powders, that's still pretty run-of-the-mill.

On those trickster days when the moon temporarily forgets to dance with the sun, focus on that which changes blues to polka-dotted-pinks.
  • Running shoes
  • A really good book
  • Long-forgotten journals
  • Swedish flower saft
  • Cheese and raspberry jam
  • Girlfriends
  • Flip-flops & baseball caps
  • Lucky stones
  • Mellow melodies
  • Reaching for the sky & touching your toes
  • Circularity, not to be confused with clarity
  • Crayolas
  • Freckles

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


  1. Sometimes, what you think you want isn't necessarily what the stars have in mind for you.
  2. Sometimes, you have to remember that a couple actually translates to two.
  3. Sometimes, it's the little things that are the trickiest to forget.
  4. Sometimes, it makes sense to take a step back instead of jumping ahead.
  5. Sometimes, analyzing isn't the answer.
  6. Sometimes, focusing on happy makes you sleepily sad.
  7. Sometimes, it's OK to dream with your eyes open.
  8. Sometimes, choices are the opposite of simple.
  9. Sometimes, your best bet is to believe in the universe.
  10. And most of the time? Most of the time, try to remember to stay true to who you are. Even if that means letting go.

Monday, July 25, 2005

When You're Three

  • Little, plastic dinosaurs are more compelling than people.
  • The best way to eat pizza is to shove the entire crust into your mouth, then wait a couple of minutes before attempting to swallow.
  • Apple juice tastes way better from a juice box.
  • A chef's uniform complete with plastic pots and pans is your favorite present.
  • Wasps and bees are fascinating.
  • You know exactly which kitchen drawer is hiding the screwdriver.
  • You're really good at clutching a trapeze and not letting go.
  • The top of your head emanates solar energy.
  • You like to wave your hands and stomp your feet on your birthday.
  • You get a blue, big-boy bed and un-baby haircut.

Appealing, isn't it? Why are you still sitting there? You're late for your meeting.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Sneak Peeks

I've always admired their flowers. It's the corner house, right next to the school. Blues, pinks, yellows and reds, perfectly aligned, never a blade of grass out of place. But the window screens are torn. And the hallway is littered with bits of paper.

Sunny and her family have lived here for 18 years. Their German Shepherd is always outside, in the back driveway. Within three minutes she'd asked me 50 questions and relayed snippets about most everyone on the block.

Which led us to the young couple across the street. The neighborhood newbies. I rang the doorbell at a quarter to seven in the evening, but the house was already pitch-black. The girl who answered was wearing my glasses. Identical, Chanel frames and all.

I never knew suburbia could be so fascinating. It's like my own little city, only filled with small-town intrigue. And the morning has just begun...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Everything But Mis-Matched Stockings

The microchip was the first clue. As I sat on the bench, straining every muscle in my right ear, the vet placed the call. Fifteen seconds later -- or an eternity -- Linda beamed.

"They say they have no idea whose Golden Retriever it might be."

Surprisingly, Albertsons provided the second hint. There, next to the cotton balls and shower gel, hung a matching green-and-paw-print leash and collar. Two bucks? Clearly a must-have.

But mostly, it was my 45-minute dog-walk that proved to be brilliantly karma-esque. Three porch-sitting peeps practically exclaimed: "Wow, you have your hands full!"

Yes, I do, I thought. And I'm loving every second.

Pippi and Oskar. Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Driving by Postcards

Jetting down the refreshingly empty 210, I tried to lift my heart toward the sky, tuck in the tummy and grip the steering wheel with two hands -- allowing the lower back to straighten and muscles from finger-tips to pink-painted-toes to guide me home.


One class and I'm an addict.

Turning onto Second Avenue, I slowed down for a white-clad jogger darting early-evening sprinklers. A few blocks ahead, Mr. Dad was playing catch in the front yard with Little Miss and Jr. And rounding the corner to my tree-lined street, I waved to the obsessive-garage-sale-guy, no doubt contemplating what treasures to part with on Saturday morning.

Picture perfect? Perhaps. But definitely a magical slice of Americana, glittering in the 75-degree dusk.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Good Luck With That

Everyone mis-steps.

But when the California Supreme Court rules in super-broad strokes that can only prompt quizzical interpretations on an already sensitive topic -- well, then not sure that deserves anything more than an immediate 'oops' on the part of those with law-like powers.

And in case you're not up on the latest legislative efforts, then consider this simple analogy.

Next time you're a sip away from the insanely unhealthy Chiantico, or splurging on a carton of Half-Baked, make sure nobody's watching. Before you know it, you might get sued for inadvertently encouraging someone else to follow in your dietary-caution-to-the-wind whim.

Makes sense right? Clearly we can't assume that people should take responsibility for their own predicaments. That would be way too easy.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Observations at 4am

  1. Do-overs are clearly allowed.
  2. If it makes you smile, repeat.
  3. A little wine always helps the medicine go down.
  4. Sleep is not over-rated.
  5. But sometimes, giving up on snoozing is so worth it.
  6. Never cease communicating.
  7. Try to have music playing at all times.
  8. Share funny stories.
  9. Take an extra minute to hug your dog.
  10. Evidently, the ice-cream drumstick business is booming.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Now's definitely not the time to give up. But after Bush adroitly described what he's looking for in a potential Supreme Court nominee, it's slightly challenging to remain chill as a cucumber.

"....a fair-minded individual who represents the mainstream of American law and American values."

Um. Please define 'mainstream.'

In addition to promising to choose someone that we can be proud of, Mr. President also vowed:

"....will meet the highest standards of intellect, character and ability and will pledge to faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our country."

Yeah. 'Faithfully interpret' clearly being an operative phrase.

Time to start crossing fingers and holding thumbs.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Six Degrees of Blogs

Cat Stevens Yusuf Islam Andersson?


He did have a Swedish mother. And spent some time being idolized in the booming metropolis of Gavle.

But that's beside the point.

What's not, is the circular notion to all things.

A profound passion for the lyrical Harold & Maude drove an Element down Foothill, "Where Do The Children Play?" blasting from unsophisticated speakers, crackling, as the hand of a ONE-braceleted arm turned the volume knob east. A few whimsically-inspired digits later, there it was:

"It's not time to make a change,
Just relax,
take it easy.
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you
have to know.

Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.

I was once like you are
now, and I know that it's not easy,
To be calm when you've found something
going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything
you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. "

-- (Father and Son)

The '70s clearly ruled.

Will someone ever say that about the '00s?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Ancient Swedish Wisdom

They were *always* awake by the time my sisters and I rolled out of bed.

The house would be completely silent. Until you reached the living room. There, on two separate bath towels my grandparents would be doing their morning gymnastics. The every-day regimen differed slightly, but consisted basically of a variety of what today's gurus might loosely define as yoga. Interspersed with jumping jacks and a plethora of runner's stretches.

The TV was never on. I think the radio may have been, but it was barely audible at best.

And so it went. Every morning. Between 6 and 7.

I randomly remembered this last night, as I was engaged in various stretches on my patio. Waiting for my eggs to cool so I could peel them, paused on one leg, trying not to topple, I vowed to continue their magical moments of bodily peace.

Best part? The mug of honey water that always signalled the end of the routine & official start of the day. I'm thinking I may have to stick with coffee for now. But then again, I'm no sage 70-year-old.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Don't Walk and Chew Gum

Turns out people who feel compelled to chat on their phones while maneuvering in traffic, are more likely to find themselves tangled up in fender-benders.

Makes sense.

Super-trickster to make it through the day without multi-tasking. Conference calls & email. Folding laundry & brushing your teeth (yes, it's possible.) Jogging & dancing to iTunes (also quite do-able.)

So last night, when Oskar was just laying on the back steps of the patio, I was intrigued. Motionless for at least 30 minutes, he gazed out into the yard. His ears would pique ever-so-slightly to listen for cars and my neighbor's chitter-chatter -- but otherwise he didn't move a muscle.

An hour later, there we sat. My lovely lab and I. Taking it all in. Just sitting. Not reading, or whispering. Not over-analyzing or planning. We just were. Immobilized. And incredibly happy about nothing in particular.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Pippi Was On To Something

My 'hood springs to life on Trash Day.

Friendly -- albeit stinky -- garbage guys boisterously pick their way through discarded couches, lopsided cans and pounds and pounds of cut grass. Night-crawlers get a head start, ravaging whatever's left outside by midnight before the sun decides to wake. And anything with wings clearly considers Wednesday mornings to be reason alone to chirp extra brightly.

Then there's the guy with the savage-looking Boxer. Actually, I think the dog is harmless, it's the heavy metal collar with daggers that's a little off-putting.

I thought he was my neighbor at first. The fact that he gingerly traversed the lawn across the street, let his dog pee on a shrub and then casually rambled over to the trash was pretty much a dead-give-away. Wrong.

His house is a few blocks away. But every week, as his Boxer peruses appealing cracks in the sidewalk, he makes his way from house-to-house with an enormous plastic bag. By the time he's done, it's filled with cans. Coke. Sunkist. Coors Light. He's apparently not so picky.

Bizarre? Slightly. Appealing? Completely.

Quirky rules.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Two Point Five Minutes

Evidently, I shop speedily.
  • Dixie peach juice
  • Organic OJ
  • Two percent milk
  • Compressed rawhide dog bones

"Wow, that was fast," said the always-chipper TJ-clerk.

"Yeah, just trying to get home as quickly as possible," I replied, punching in my four secret digits.

"Nice. A woman with a plan. I like that."

Small-talk aside, that's quite a statement. Not sure the 20-year-old behind the register realized what he was saying. Call it an epiphany or just regurgitating the decidedly obvious: people like people who know what they are doing.

So what are you waiting for? Go.

Monday, July 11, 2005

"Ma'am, You Need To Sit Down"

Completely understand the need for policies, rules -- even regulations. Anyone who's skimmed a history book can recite examples of chaos and madness (not counting the Boston Tea Party; that was far too fabulous to discount) erupting under times of distress.

But seriously. This?

" ... a policy of attrition that would impose more enforcement pressure on the border and at the workplace and also demand proof of citizenship at all the checkpoints of modern life .... getting a driver's license, opening a bank account ... and obtaining government services of any kind."

Mark Krikorian, executive director for the super-conservative Center for Immigration Studies proposed the above.

Imagining a world where bureaucrats and paper-pushing admins behind dated desktops control the reigns of the basics of American life is not only insanely frightening, but also, sadly, testament to the working minds of too many factions who make our laws.

So much for democracy.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Compromise Creep

It's necessary. Not sure it makes the world go round, but it certainly takes the edge off.

But as with timing souffles and presenting the perfect poached egg -- nuances are key. And a little stoicism followed by a healthy dose of self acknowledgement never hurt anyone.

CNN quoted Katie Holmes' Scientological hanger-on, a Ms. Rodriguez, amicably filling in for America's adorable girl next door during an apparent loss of words:

"You adore him."

The rosy-cheeked brunette just couldn't find the words to describe her love. Which certainly is magical. But tossing out everything you've ever known -- and replacing it with someone else's convictions -- just seems plain wrong.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Lights, Camera

Think it, speak it, be it.

Bagging groceries, applying mascara or contemplating inventing the world's tiniest eraser -- doesn't really matter.

What does?
  • passion
  • positivity
  • pondering

And most of all, remembering the old truism: all the world's a stage.

I'm fairly certain you don't want to be left out of the curtain call through infinity. But if you do, then at least be convincingly compelling.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Life always seems to find a way to go on.

Amidst the chaos, confusion and chasms of terror, Londoners remained in motion. Blankets were shared. Bottled water, distributed. And little tins of mints were passed through a stationary subway car.

"I don't plan to change anything," promised one recently evacuated passenger.

And that's just it. Across the globe nations mobilized, airport security tripled and local politicians clamored for quotable snippets.

The Windy City's reps prevailed with their Midwestern no-nonsense logic, advising its peeps: "If you see something, say something."

Support that.

But pretty please, consider pausing a moment to think, before pointing a finger. For all the bravery and patience exhibited by the UK's populace, it's the scared silly blindness that is the most frightening:

"Yeah, mate, where I am everyone looks like an Al Qaeda terrorist!"

Let's not go there.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

House on Mango Street

It's suspended quite elaborately just to the right of the kitchen door, a few steps from the unusually green pool. About the size of a hard-cover bestseller, the white-painted shelf is impossible not to miss from the sidewalk.

The first time I spotted the add-on, the honorary plate in the center hosted a brilliantly-hued papaya. A few days later, a grapefruit. And this morning what appeared to be a collection of kumquats. The fruits vary, but the ornamental Shiva is always the same: a glossy enamel red creation covered in gold specks.

The power of projectivity. Hoping. Willing.

Something so centurious-ly old, must work.

Instead of convincing yourself that what you most desire is unusually attainable, try a simple day of believing it will happen. Or just open your eyes. And yes, I'm talking to you.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

49 Hot Dogs In 12 Minutes

Of all things American, it's the bizarro that appeal most. Offbeat, eccentric -- call it what you may -- but to fake-ey foreigners like me, it's what keeps us coming back. Clearly, others have similar convictions.

"Hallo, are you from America?" said the British, robust and Burger-King-scarfing brunette in 37J.

"Yes, I live in LA," I replied, declining her french fry dunked-in-honey-mustard offering.

"We're going to get our boobs done."

Brilliant. But not nearly as fabulous as 27-year-old Takeru Kobayashi of Coney Island, who in addition to weighing in at a slight 144 pounds, shoved copious amounts of beef into his mouth to take home the illustrious title for the fifth straight year.

It's so good to be home.