Friday, July 22, 2011

Pet Peeves

That term seems to be an oxymoron to me…pet ~ meaning favorite…peeve ~ meaning dislike…? Well, ok…I don’t want to debate the meaning at this point…but rather, throw out some observations to some pet peeves I have….little annoyances that are like a splinter that nags at your finger…bug-a-boos that really seem to take on a life of their own because there is no control or way to fix/correct the problem!

Turn Signals ~ I’m guessing, due to budget cuts, this little action was eliminated from the driver training curriculum. Most drivers either don’t even know what that little gizmo does or don’t care. The non-use of it, however, is powerful in that it totally annoys the driver in the rear. Intentional or not, the lack of use is guaranteed to send the blood pressure up a notch or two.

Grocery Cart Operators ~ Am I the only one that gets a back ache just from watching those who push their grocery carts with their elbows? Grocery cart leaners... Not only does this slow the shopping traffic down, but the control of the cart is compromised.  While I’m at it, I need to mention the abandoned carts in the middle of the aisle while the cart owner disappears to another part of the store.

Cell Phones ~ Now, here’s a hot button category. A necessary evil, this little device has totally disrupted life as we once knew it. The routine has shifted: unlock vehicle, get in, sit down, seat belt on, keys in ignition, phone turned on, then, stuck between ear and shoulder, car started and on the road they go. At first, I thought people were dealing with some sort of malady…like their neck was cocked permanently. Once on the road, however, the hand stealthily slips up to take control of the phone, and then, the arm is positioned to suggest either the driver is bored or has a horrendous earache.

Residential Street Parking ~ I understand…I totally comprehend that the street is public…and parking in residential areas generally is open to all. What I don’t get is the random cars that appear after dark and are parked overnight up and down the street and in front of my home; strange vehicles that do not belong to my neighbors or their visitors.  Where do they come from? Who do they belong to? And why are they parked here? Oh, and here’s a good one…where is the overnight parking enforcement? There is an ordinance in place that restricts overnight parking without a permit.

Why does this bother me? It’s the disregard for the homeowners; the lack of respect for those of us who work hard to maintain our property, including the area in front of our homes. The fast food trash in the street, the casually discarded cigarette butts and the noise from the late comings and goings ~ all just annoying. The cocky attitude that gives an air that says the driver is above showing respect.

Several months ago, I was out in the front garden, tinkering away and dead-heading the roses. I looked up just as a car pulled up across the street next to the dirt strip that runs parallel to the sports field. The driver rolled down his window and threw a piece of trash out. Not satisfied where it landed, he got out of his vehicle, picked up the piece of trash, and threw it further into the brush. I could not believe my eyes! Really?!! As he took off, I noticed he had a child in the back. He sped up and as he passed, I shouted, “HEY!” The car stopped, and then backed up. He rolled down the passenger window and said, “Is there something wrong?”  To which I responded, “Do you want to go back and pick up your trash?!!!!” Not another word was spoken. He backed his car up, stopped, got out and picked up the trash, and the, drove off in another direction.

Pet peeves….everyone has them. Most of the time, I try to ignore the ongoing audacity. On occasion, however….well, you know…..

….and, this is where my mom would quietly sigh and urge, “Honey. Pick your battles.” Wise woman, my mom. Sure do miss her. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mai Tai time!

It's Thursday afternoon...I've been a bit distracted from the computer these last few days; hence the lack of updates on my blog!  It's rather nice outside (compared to earlier this week) ~ the gentle breeze has brought much-needed cooling...and, I'm digging it!

This is the time of week that I begin to think about >the weekend<! What will I/we be doing? I just looked out the dining room windows...and, oh, to get that stuff OFF of the driveway and either in the garage or over to Out of the Closet thrift shop. We found some great industrial shelving at Cost Co and let me tell you, the garage is looking great! What a difference! We actually can see where things are!

So, after we clean up that mess, Sunday brings Tiki Highway at Don the Beachcomber in Manhattan Beach. Another Tiki celebration, hosted by our friend, Holden Westland!

Holden is the owner of Tiki Farm, and creator of hundreds of different Tiki Mugs. Here's the link to Tiki Farm!

Yes, Tiki! That pop culture from the 50's!  You know, Hawaiian shirts, ukuleles, Mai Tais, pin-up girls,  the atomic music, the retro clothing...all that is Tiki is back bigger than ever! A true tropical genre that lends to an ongoing party atmosphere!

Even the Enchanted Tiki Room has undergone refurbishment, thanks to the Dole Company! This is the first audio animatronics attraction that Walt Disney created and introduced in Adventureland. A great technology that is found not only at all of the Disney theme parks, but venues world wide.

Shag, (Josh Agle), celebrates much of the Tiki world thru his paintings and drink ware. His work was commissioned for the 45th anniversary celebration of the Tiki Room and featured on everything from clothing, Tiki mugs, paintings and fun souvenirs.

There is even a convention celebrating all that is Tiki, called Tiki Oasis, that meets annually in August! Four days of music, drinks, swimming, drinks, burlesque entertainment, drinks, exclusive Tiki shopping, drinks, rum & chocolate seminars, drinks.....get the picture? This gig sells out every year!  Here is Charlie...Mai Tai in hand...from Tiki Oasis X last year.  

This is Crazy Al ~ a renowned Tiki carver and creator of amazing, one of a kind drink vessels! He often times can be found actually carving a stripped tree trunk into a life size Tiki at Tiki Oasis!

So, Sunday, we are off to another Tiki event...should be lots of fun....Mahalo!

Top illustration from Tiki Oasis; Tiki Room picture from Disneyland; Shag art illustration from Shag Mart. Photographs by the Scatterd Journalist.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


This is Pete. Our 13 1/2 year old lovable lab. He likes to think he is in charge here at the Outpost.  If he hears us coming his way, he will stealthily slip out of Charlie's chair just in the nick of time. As we come around the corner from the kitchen he has managed to curl up nonchalantly on the floor. Hearing us, he raises his head and looks at us with look that says, "What's up?" We will walk over to the chair and place a hand on the cushion. Hmmm...toasty warm. Nice try, Pete.

Pete has the uncanny sense to know when the pantry door has been left ajar. And he never lets us know that he knows. One evening, we went out for a quick bite to eat. Pete was asleep (or, so we thought).  When we returned, we discovered the pantry door wide open and Pete nowhere to be found. I gave the pantry a quick look and everything seemed to be ok. From behind I heard Pete come into the kitchen and without missing a beat, he charged out the back door, headed for his water bucket. Instinct told me that something was up so we followed. From the back step, Pete kept glancing over to the patio. But, he didn't move. Odd, I thought. I looked over to see what he was looking at, thinking maybe there was a mouse or something. When I scanned the yard, I saw that there was something in the garden. There, in the mud, was a slightly torn up bag of marshmallows; wet and dirty. He has never been very good at hiding dog buns, bread, you name it...we've always found it!

This morning, it was 4:10 a.m. and dark. I was pulled from dreamland at the sound of Pete's tags jingling merrily. I was deep in sleep, comfy in that perfect spot in the bed and cozy with just the right number of blankets to keep me warm and snug. Off somewhere in the distance was the jingle of the tags on his collar...but, in my dream, it was something else. Half asleep, I listened. Again, the tags jingled. I opened one eye to look at the clock. 4:15!? Really, Pete? There was an oh, so brief pause...enough to fool me into thinking I could drift back to sleep. Eyes are closed. Jingle! Ok. Now, I am awake and wondering what is up with that dog?!! Totally alert, I now hear the flapping of his ears AND the jingle. Ok. I get it. His ears are bugging him.

I reached for the flashlight and crawled out of bed. I sat on the floor next to Pete, turned on the flashlight and peeked into his ears. The left one seemed ok. I reached for the other and Pete immediately pushed toward my hand, indicating he wanted his ear rubbed. I looked inside and it was a bit pink, but trust me, I've seen worse! So I rubbed the ear a minute, trying to calm him down.

By this time, Charlie has come kosher (just before the alarm is to go off) and is wondering why I am sitting on the floor with Pete at 4:30 in the morning! After my explanation, he reluctantly agreed to clean Pete's ears before going to work. Unchecked, I knew Pete would be shaking his head all day...and I had visions of his eyes spinning like the teacups at Disneyland. A little ear wash was all it took. As I was leaving for work, I closed the front door and heard the jingle of the tags again...and then, the buh-dump-bump as Pete landed in Charlie's chair for his morning nap.

As the resident Court Jester, Pete continues to make us laugh and at the same time, pulls at our heartstrings. His back legs are tired. His breathing is challenged. He struggles with the stairs but refuses to give up. Where we are, he goes. Loving us unconditionally.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

the Garage

So, I'm wondering...when was the last time anyone parked a car IN the garage? I know we haven't since we've been here at the Outpost nearly 24 years now. The good news is that we are storing our 'stuff' here, rent free. But, it seems to me that sometime, during the wee hours of dark, that 'stuff' in the garage seems to morph. I mean, really...we have pulled that stuff out dozens of times...spent time organizing, reminiscing and repacking and schlepping it back into storage. Well, now we KNOW where things the moment, anyway. But it doesn't seem like we're making any headway.

Why is it we can't part with stuff we haven't used in years? What about the bins (yes, bins) of Hallmark ornaments that never seem to see a tree come Christmas time? If it weren't for Rubbermaid, we'd be in a world of hurt...and a plethora of old, dilapidated cardboard boxes with mysterious treasures.  I'm the first one to admit there are those items that I will never part my Nancy Drew books. Valuable? Nope...just look at eBay.....peppered with offerings! Sentimental? You bet! My girlfriend, Tisa, and I read one a week. Back in the day, a new mystery cost 99 cents! Saturdays found us on our bikes, riding down to Unimart (now known as Target) in Alhambra. We'd each scoop up a new book and ride madly back to my house and drop off our books. Then, off to El Rancho market for lunch fixin's. Saturday lunch consisted of a double box of O'Boy frozen cheese pizzas and Diet Rite cola. We'd pop a pizza into the oven and run upstairs to the little porch off of my bedroom and dive into our books. The timer would ring and back down the stairs we'd fly! Pizza and soda in hand...we returned to the porch for an afternoon of Nancy Drew.

I ran across that box of books the other day. I had written a sappy message on the outside, declaring that no one had better sell or give away the contents of that box. My son later added a comment...which still makes me laugh.

I'm sure there are other priceless treasures I've yet to deal with...but nobody better mess with my Nancy Drews!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday afternoon, July 11, 2011...3:06 p.m. PST.

Here I am on this incredible afternoon...sunny, breezy and quiet...I'm listening to the soundtrack from Dances with Wolves. I've been gathering and sorting my thoughts, ideas and stories in my mind for a long time now recently posting my musings on Facebook. Every now and then, someone comments "You should write a book". Maybe I should...maybe, I will. Maybe there will be a book called 'the Scattered Journalist'...I've had that title tucked away on my to-do list forever now. Until I get to that point, though...I thought I would give this blog-thing a try.

Who is the Scattered Journalist? Well, that would be me. In a nutshell, I love to write and am fascinated with photography. I have oodles of unfinished journals stacked in my studio. I'd start one and continue for a few days, a month or two, and then get side-tracked. I'd return to my writing table with a new blank book and continue on. Little sketches and doodles, short stories, viewpoints and questions I've jotted down to ponder later. The stash of photos continues to grow. My hard drive begins to quiver as I approach with my camera. Yep...more pictures! It's just a matter of time before my computer takes a stand and says, "Sorry, 'mam, you are out of room!" 

The truth of the matter is I've never had the confidence to put my work out where others can see it. Then, the other day I thought...well, nothing, here we go. Thank you for stopping in and taking a peek. I've absolutely no clue how this blog will evolve, but I think we are about to find out, together. Here's to the journey!