Archive for December, 2009

Dad the Hobo

December 29, 2009

IMG_7322, originally uploaded by jujuwiz.

Pops standing next to his Christmas present, a freshly painted mailbox with hobo marks on it, telling all the train hoppers out there that they’re liable to get a good handout here. And maybe a beer.


December 28, 2009

Normally Not Always Right has freaking hilarious bits of customer idiocy. It’s a pleasant little read, when you’re feeling particularly frustrated or catty. But this just raised the bar.

Personally, I think that customer was right. That was some powerful bad-assery there. I don’t care if it was a show of dominance or not (though I think that’s the only way to cope in a kid’s gym class), anyone that takes an elbow in the face and then thanks them is a king of men.

On a side note, the urban dictionary apparently has a definition for “This is Sparta.” Totally fits in this case, I think.

My own personal bad-ass showed in a kick-ass pie crust I made this week. That thing took no prisoners. Also, on a side trip through California Valley, I totally told a condor what’s up. In a completely humane endangered-species way. Meaning he was sitting on a fence pole and flew away when I got close. But he knew who was the boss.

Albany Bulb

December 20, 2009

I’ve been too busy recently to catch up on my procrastination. So while the end result is the same (novel remains unedited), I feel slightly more virtuous.

Like today. Woke up early, made bourbon balls, took the dog to the beach, went shopping at Goodwill, Target, jewelry store, and Comic Relief, wielded hot-glue gun to finish a birthday present, delivered said present at b-day party for a wonderful almost-cougar, came home to celebrate christmas with sisters, then capped off the day working on an almost-due report to a foundation for work. All done without losing a drop of holiday cheer.

All that has no bearing on what I wanted to share. I just wanted to brag.

At the beach this morning, Boonie and I decided to make the Big Loop, and circle around the lagoon at the end of the Bulb. Halfway there, while I was slipping on barnacled half-submerged rocks, she took off like a shot after a pair of these:

They let out a shrill scream the likes of which I’ve never heard, and, thankfully, Boonie listened to me when I told her to leave it. I’d never seen these guys before, and on my way out, I stopped at the bird watching station where a pair of finely aged women were peeking through cameras with gigantic lenses. They were delighted to help, and showed me the page in their well-worn guidebook that identified Boonie’s prey as Black Oyster Catchers.

Those birds aren’t endangered, but they’re not exactly thick on the ground either, and the little old ladies were super excited for me, that I got to see them. They were just disappointed they couldn’t make the hike out to the lagoon themselves, but they felt sure that their next stop for the day, a pier a little further down the shoreline, would also the the next stop of the Oyster Catchers. These ladies must have been 82 if if they were a day, and they had a full day of accessible bird-viewing planned out.

I kinda loved them. Even though I was interrupting their viewing with a silly, “Hey, you like birds? I just saw a bird!” question, they had huge grins on their faces the whole time we were talking, and seemed absolutely thrilled to be able to help me pinpoint the answer. I’m not sure why I felt comfortable walking up to them with my stupid question. Sometimes you can just tell kindred spirits, I guess.

A lonely tree on Ivy Hill

December 19, 2009

ChristmasTree, originally uploaded by jujuwiz.

Normally a Christmas tree on the side of the road doesn’t merit a second glance. But a fully decorated one, a full week before Christmas? That’s just sad.

But isn’t the towaway zone festive? It’s an urban Christmas.

Pinned to the mantle

December 16, 2009

My Yarnagogo sister came to me looking for my childhood “There’s no Santa?” moment while she was writing her post over at Book Club Girl, and it kinda threw me for a bit. I gave her a short answer, but after reading hers and wiping a few tears away, I had to strain my pathetic memory a bit more.

The moment itself wasn’t truly noteworthy. I remember an evil little girl broke the news to me at the tender age of six or seven, with a mean laugh at my naivete. We were living on an island, and there wasn’t much choice when it came to best friends. She was the one other ex-pat kid my own age, so even though she was far wiser in the ways of the world, she was it. I remember playing with the Chamorran kids on the island, wild games of adventure on the high seas (from the safety of a fallen tree), and feeling far more at ease than I ever felt with her, but she and I, we shared a common background. A language of She-ra and My Little Pony and Chicken McNuggets, back before our little island had any of those things.

I knew she was right. It broke my heart, but it just made too much sense. Otherwise why would all three of the Herron girls have gotten American Knitters (the local sweatshop) sweaters from Santa that year? He flew, right? Couldn’t he have just as easily picked up that Castle Grayskull set?

Oddly enough, I was still totally sure that the twiddlebugs I fed every night really had decided they needed to tearfully leave my care, moving away to bring joy to another little girl.

(Sidebar on the awesomeness of my sisters: For months, they created, supported, and enabled a thriving twiddlebug community in our front garden, from the postage-stamp pictures on the wall to the match-stick fences. Every night before I went to bed, I left their little button plates full of grass, and cleaned and straightened their little milk-carton home. Every morning, the grass was gone, the house untidy, and a sweet, teeny-tiny thank you note was left addressed to me. This was quite possibly one of bestest things a big sis has ever done for her little brat of a kid sister.)

For those that don’t know what twiddlebugs are:

Anyway, Santa. Like Rach, I kept my little secret to myself for FOREVER, terrified that if I said anything, that my perfect Christmas morning routine would be ruined. Like many other families, there was a blackout period on Christmas morning. No jumping on the parents’ bed until the sun was actually and fully up. This was painful for me, but the pain was easily dealt with thanks to the fact that I could sneak out, grab my stocking, then jump relatively quietly onto my sister’s bed (and onto my grumbling sister) and compare loot. We’d be good and sugared up by the time the parents actually got up, thanks to the ever-present chocolate coins.

By the time I was 13, the sisters were 20ish and getting very annoyed at my persistent excitement and bed-jumping. I didn’t care. It was still my favorite thing about Christmas, and like it or not, they had to wake up with me at 6:30 so they could admire my new fluffy socks with embroidered witches on them, and trade me a jelly belly box for a licorice allsorts bag.

That year, while I was helping her pull the Opus with reindeer antlers out of the closet along with the various other Christmas decorations, Mom paused and looked thoughtful, her hand on the stockings. “I’ve been so busy, I don’t have a thing for the stockings yet.” Almost instantly, a stricken look came over her face, and she looked at me. We’d never had ‘the talk.’

I kinda nervously giggled. “It’s okay, I know.”

“Oh, well, of course you do.” She paused again, and looked a little sad. “I suppose that means we don’t need them this year.”

“No!” I nearly peed my pants. “I mean, is it okay if we just, you know, pretend?”

Maybe it’s my own slanted view, but I swear she was happy about that. So stockings continued on, and continue on to this day. We helped share the Santa duty after mom got sick, and when she passed away, we only stepped up our game. Last year the stockings were so full they kind of blooped out onto the mantle and the piano. Several were too heavy to hang.

So what’s my moral here? It has nothing to do with writing, that’s for sure. Where Rachael channeled her disappointed imagination into fiction, I channeled mine into a willful denial of my maturity. To this day, I insist that I’m not too old for footy pajamas, city-wide treasure hunts, and creating imaginary worlds and homes for tiny little muppets. I do believe in Santa Claus, I do, I do, I do! And I will until I’m 90, because I strongly prefer to live in that magic world where just about anything is possible.

I’m off to fly to the zoo, folks. Don’t wait up.

In a crumbling castle, high atop a lonely mountain…

December 6, 2009

The gauntlet has been thrown.

And though I know the battle is already lost, because my favorite video is… well, just really bad, I still have to answer the call. So here you  go:

I know, it’s silly. But it has everything!

1. Ghouls and monsters in a decrepit castle

2. Cute boys in fabulous outfits

3. The never-tiresome “My tour bus broke down at night in Transylvania” plot device

4. Sets that I want to live in

5. Lyrics containing the phrase “Backstreet’s back, all right!” on what, I believe, was their first album. That’s some impressive confidence there. It takes balls to humbly present an encore before you’ve even taken the stage.

6. Completely ridiculous hip-hop dance sequence with dancers wearing renaissance garb.

That last item is totally the reason I own “A Knight’s Tale” too. It has nothing to do with Heath Ledger, Rufus Sewell, or Paul Bettany.

Actually, it’s part of my collection of teen movies that feature a completely random “spontaneous” choreographed dance scene in them. The one in “She’s All That” is a personal favorite, though there’s no dearth of options. Somewhere along the line, someone decided that’s what the kids dig. Who am I to argue?

Flat on my belly in the mud

December 4, 2009

I am bluuuuuue. And yes, you can say that with a lyrical LeAnn Rimes yodel in your voice. It’s appropriate.

This is arguably the worst day I’ve had, in the worst week I’ve had, in the worst month I’ve had, in what hasn’t been too hot a year. An overdue mailing gave me a papercut on my tongue, a niggling fear for my job won’t go away, I just came home to find my angry roommate half-packed to leave, I still have no roommate applicants so next month might be seriously tight, I’m overdrawn, exhausted, and I just got a ticket for the light that I knocked out backing into someone’s stupid invisible truck.

Grr. A good 50% of these problems can firmly be laid at my dog, Boonie’s, door. If she wasn’t such a brat, I wouldn’t have lost my roommate, I wouldn’t have such a problem finding a new one, if I didn’t have her I could even be living in my own apartment in San Francisco right now, even if it was in the middle of the Tenderloin.

And yet what am I doing right now? Rubbing her tummy, tossing squeaky squirrels in a log for her, and laughing uncontrollably.

Boonie chasing squirrels

Thank god for pets. They keep me sane, even if they do make my life merry hell.


December 2, 2009

According to Google Voice, what I said to my sister:

“I know, it’s that to me, just calling to see if you wanted to do drugs before I head off to work. I’m going to right. Give me a call if you’re around in the book hi.”

What I actually said was much less interesting. Something about dogs I believe. But that is awesome. A little drugs before work, please? Got to get right!