Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Birthday Eve

Roxie and I walked this morning...and, since we have doubled our route she seems to think we need to do it at double speed! 1.2 miles in just 20 minutes! Holy moly, Lady Poops-a-Lot, let me try to keep up!

Actually, it's a beautiful morning and I have done the basic, daily chores (fill the fountains, p/up random Roxie droppings, emptied the dishwasher, two loads of laundry, pulled some more-than-dead plants from the sizzled-out garden, hauled the trash containers to the curb....oh, and made the bed)...and now, the breeze is sailing through the big pine outside...cool and delicious!!!

I was going to go down into the studio this morning...but got side-tracked by some packages that came in the mail.  You see, tomorrow is my 62nd birthday. My family, close friends, and  (former) co-workers  will tell you that I prefer to be out of the lime-light when it comes to my birthday. It's not that I don't enjoy a celebration....it's just...well, you know....sometimes a bit awkward. So when the packages started to arrive (I do love snail mail, btw!)...I decided not to wait...and opened them up.

First up, a book on 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems from my sister, Candy and her family. Truly, a fun collection of household helping trivia!!! Who knew that soaking a baking dish with stuck-on grease can be easily remedied simply by sprinkling with water and a bit of table salt??? This will be a handy, go to book for sure!!!

Then, a well-traveled box arrived with a familiar stamp on the corner ('reuse me')...and I knew immediately that this was from my long time friend and partner-in-crime-during-our-teenage-years, Tisa. (She had reused the box I had sent her birthday gift in!).

What a great blast-from-the-past! Tisa and I had discovered and fallen in love with the works of Rod McKuen during those formative, teenage years. We discovered his poetry and his LPs: The Sea.....The Earth....The Sky. His narratives put to inspirational music. Well loved....well worn...played often! And, still play with just a bit of scattered skips and pops. I will certainly enjoy reading his work again!!!

A third package arrived (sounds almost like Christmas, doesn't it?).   Look what I found inside!!!

Susan Branch's brand new, hot-off-the-press book, A Fine Romance ~ Falling in love with the English Countryside!  Susan and the friends at the studio (Kellee, Sherri, Alfredo and Bonnie) popped it into the mail the day the eleven pallets of books were delivered!!! It even has a little ribbon bookmark!!!
As the facilitator of the Friends of Susan Branch Facebook page (the gals at the studio call me the 'President'), we (the Susan Branch fans all over the world and I) have been anxiously waiting to see this journal of her 2012 trip to England. A labor of love to be sure and a year in the making...it is so exciting to finally see it up close and personal!

A card from Dad was in the mail, too, with a wonderful birthday check! This will be earmarked for either additional art tools and supplies or shopping when we are in Yosemite or the central coast this fall.

Dad and me.  He's been a parent for 62 years!
So, birthday #62 is under way...quietly...with the gentle breeze in the trees outside and surprises in the mailbox from friends and loved ones. Perfect. 
...btw....this 62-thing is just that....who feels 62?!!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Fountain of Pearls


I grew up in South Pasadena.  Back in the day, the 4th of July was really boring because fireworks were not permitted. One year, just a couple of days before the 4th, my friend, Tisa and I hopped on our bicycles and rode to Alhambra where the Unimart/Disco Fair/Two Guys, a membership department store, was (I’m not sure which one it was at the time!). We headed for the fireworks stand that was on the end of the store parking lot.  After much window shopping, we selected a packet of snake pellets and a Fountain of Pearls.

On the 4th of July, my grandparents had come over to our house to play cards and have barbecue.  After dinner, the bridge game resumed so I went outside to meet Tisa. She had her overnight tote, ready for another sleep-over.  After depositing her stuff upstairs in my bedroom, I grabbed the bag of fireworks and we went out to the front yard.

While we waited for the sun to set, we lit the snake pellets and watched as they expanded into a trail of ash. It seemed like it was taking forever for it to get dark. Just before the sun began to sink below the horizon, we came up with a scathingly brilliant idea. We thought it would be funny to paint a ‘stop line’ on the street across from my house.  We ran to my garage and found a can of white spray paint. Back on the street, we carefully painted a line from the curb to the center of the street.  We painted the word “STOP” beneath the line. It almost looked official!
Finally, it was dark and time for the Fountain of Pearls!  We set the cone-shaped firework in the middle of the street and Tisa lit it. We quickly sat down on the curb and watched.  It began to spit and sputter and then.....nothing!  We stared in disbelief! We were sure we had been gypped!

After a long, anxious pause the sparks began to shoot up. A few short, scattered sparks sputtered first...then, the display shot into the night sky nearly two stories high!  The cone exploded with sparks rocketing straight up, illuminating the entire street!  We started laughing hysterically! The roar of the firework shower continued for what seemed to be forever! We began to wonder if it was ever going to stop!

Hearing the commotion and seeing the bright ‘something’ in the street, my parents and grandparents jumped up, dashed out the front door and stood on the front porch, watching in disbelief.  This made it even funnier!  My dad, however, was not amused. A few selective words were exchanged between my parents before the adults retreated into the house.  Tisa and I began to laugh again.   

We sat there on the curb, hysterical with laughter, retelling the story and laughing into the night.  At one point, a car came down the street and suddenly slammed on its breaks right in front of us, stopping at our faux ‘stop line’! Another round of laughter ensued!
Finally, when we had caught our breath and had settled down, we knew it was time to call it a night. When we were sure we were all laughed-out, we returned to my house....via the back door!  As we climbed up the stairs, the sound of our muffled giggles indicated to my parents that we were safely inside for the night.
Tisa and me