Sunday, December 27, 2009

Follow The Bouncing Ball

Last week of the year. My yearly jaunt to the Santa Monica Pier should be coming up soon. Maybe Saturday, if I can make it happen.

Pepe and Pembleton’s human pets have left again, and my quads are screaming in pain at resuming the Running Of The Dalmatians routine, though it’s only for a few more days.

Pepe has a ball and loves to play Ball. Pembleton is older, crankier, and may not really understand what’s going on a lot of the time, but Pepe has a ball and wants to play Ball. A lot. For the rest of your life, if you’d let him.

How Pepe plays Ball is that he waits at the top of the stairs. After you’re finished watering the ten thousand plants on the first tier of the steep hillside (so steep the pathway is cut switchbackstyle) and you’re huffing and puffing it up the stairs, you will suddenly hear it.

Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.

And a mottled gray tennis ball that used to be yellow until somedoggie chewed off all of its fluzz will come bouncing down the stairs to you.

Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.

You catch it. You throw it. Pepe bounds after it, and you start the second tier of watering. Until you hear it again.

Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.

And you turn around. You catch it. You throw it. Pepe goes after it. Repeat about ten thousand times until you’re done watering or have had enough. Pepe will never get enough.

It’s kinda cute. It’s kinda endearing to watch Pepe push the ball with his nose. The first time.

Today I’m watching the ball bouncing towards me. Like that red ball in the Duran Duran video “Is There Something I Should Know.”

It could be the future. But I don’t know what it is yet. I’d like to think something big is coming. I’d like to think something, ANYTHING is coming. But I don’t know yet.

I hope there’s something more meaningful than a Dalmatian behind it, though.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My New Christmas Tradition

I was sitting with a group of people last week and the question was posed: “What is your favorite Christmas tradition.”

Most everyone else at the table had an answer, whether it was opening presents on Christmas Eve, or decorating the tree, or cooking stuff, or something.

I passed on the question. My tradition used to be Ihop breakfast with my former roomies Heckle and Jekyll. But I don’t think there’s ever been one over-reaching tradition that has stayed with me from little girl to semi-grown up. My new place isn’t big enough to host a tree, and if I really wanted to go look at one, I’d go down to the Grove, or the Americana, because you know they’re gonna have massively huge decorated trees that you don’t have to help tear down after the holidays.

But this week I decided that I was gonna start a new tradition, and I’m ignoring the fact that you can still call it a “tradition” even if it’s the first time out.

So my new tradition is that I’m going to give blood the Sunday before Christmas from now on until the end of time. Because I like the idea of giving that kind of gift. I didn’t have to spend money, I didn’t have to sign up for the Amazon Prime trial membership in order to get free shipping to make sure Agatha, Mr, Agatha and Bug’s presents get to Orlando in time (and then I’ll be canceling that trial membership next week, ho ho ho.) I don’t need to know who it’s going to, but I do know that it will be greatly appreciated by whoever gets it.

For someone who badgers her church relentlessly to host blood drives, this was not my best year in terms of giving blood myself. If I count today’s adventure, I’ve given twice this year. You can give a maximum of six times a year. So I’ve got some ground to cover in 2010.

But today’s blood drive was over at The Laugh Factory on Sunset Blvd. How can you NOT go, right? Though I was really hoping for warm up comics to entertain us either in person or on a TV screen, there was no such thing, just Jingle, my nurse. Yep. Her name is honestly Jingle, and she had a beautiful smile, and an unexpected sense of humor: after doing the pinprick stick on my finger for the initial sample, she kept squeezing and wiping, squeezing and wiping, and then saying, “Oops, we gotta do it again. Just kidding!”

And though my heart seized up for two seconds when the first round with the Red Hemoglobin Machine O Death apparently didn’t go well, to the point where Jingle wouldn’t tell me what the reading was, we did it again, and it came back a 13.1. Yep, my blood pressure is low, my pulse rate is low, I’m two degrees below normal in body temperature, and this was my lowest passing score yet on the Red Hemoglobin Machine O Death but I can STILL beat it. And I’m not dead. I have to say that for the benefit of my Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much, because she will look at the above paragraph and only see the words “death” , “low” , “lowest” , “below normal” and assume that I am a walking corpse.

So as I’m filling up the bag (takes me 6 minutes and 38 seconds, not my fastest time, but oh well) I chatted with Jingle the nurse, giving her ideas about what to get her nephews for Christmas, I say hello to Kyra the nurse, who remembered me from my blood drive in September, possibly because I’m the only one taking pictures with the camera, I chat with the organizers about when my church is going to hold their blood drive for 2010...


I get my coupon for my free Coldstone Creamery ice cream. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that was the FIRST thing I zeroed in on when the Red Cross sent me the pleading email to donate before the holidays. Sure, I spun it to the idea of This Is My New Christmas Tradition, and isn’t it cool and nifty and great. But chiefly, I wanted my free Coldstone Creamery ice cream. I wanted it more than the two free Laugh Factory tickets to a future show (though I got those anyway.)

The plan was to stop by the one on my way home, pick up cake batter ice cream, or maybe that new chocolate Jell-o pudding flavored ice cream, with an add in of chopped up Twix bars, take it home and eat it while watching the documentary Every Little Step, which I have on Netflix DVD.

I was so excited, I was so happy, I started my new tradition, I helped people who I will never meet, I met a nurse with the cutest name I’ve ever heard of, I was going to get my free Coldstone Ice Cream!

But apparently, the one Coldstone Creamery store closest to my house is not honoring the Red Cross coupon DESPITE THE FACT IT SAYS ON THE BACK THAT IT’S VALID AT ALL SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LOCATIONS.

It doesn’t say “valid at all participating Southern California locations.” It says ALL.

So don’t anyone ever visit the Coldstone Creamery location on 5455 Hollywood Blvd., LA CA 90027, because despite what their corporate parents say, it is my opinion that they don’t want to reward folks who give blood, and that makes them not very nice people.

I will be getting my Coldstone eventually, once I can locate a convenient location. But I’m sticking with my new tradition, regardless of what free stuff I get in the future.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Then Maui Happened

So yeah, I was in Maui last week. It’s a little embarrassing to admit it, as this makes the third vacation this year. I was feeling kinda guilty about going, until my friends pointed out that the other two trips this year were with family members, which doesn’t quite make them vacations. The last true vacation I had without family was my birthday in 2007 , and then a trip to New Orleans in 1999 with my then boyfriend who got mugged in the Quarter when he stupidly decided to go out by himself after dark because I fell asleep.

Nothing like that happened here, though. Just five days of sun, sunsets, snorkeling, ziplining, mai tais galore, and sleeping with the screen door open to the sound of the ocean crashing on the waves. It was glorious.

It was so glorious, that I immediately fell into a deep depression once I got off the plane and entered the Los Angeles rainstorm. It’s enough to make me never want to go on vacation again, I got the blues so bad.

My Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much and my Dad The Great Stoic Wonder don’t know what ziplining is. Let’s attempt to freak them out:

Ziplining is where it’s you attached to a harness and you ride (i.e. “zip”) your way across a very thin cable to the other side of a valley, like this. (Except that’s not me. That’s Xavier. Yes, he came with me. No, I will not answer questions about him. What, you wanna scare him off? That aint cool.)

This is me. I quickly developed a signature style of zipping, a cross between Peter Pan and a superhero coming in for a landing, “Here I am to save the daaaaaaaaaay!” The guides thought it was especially graceful: “It’s the shoes!” they joked (I’m the only one of our group wearing black tennis shoes, I had read about the red dust ahead of time.)

I had forgotten how much I like being up in the air. I think it might be part of the reason I stuck with gymnastics as a kid for so long despite the fact that I had zero flexibility. I had no fear, and gaily launched myself over the vault, around the bars, off the beam, anything to put me in the air. In college, I took a circus class (hey, they offered it) and learned a Spanish web routine where I was spun around and around high up in the air, and it was awesome (I have video of that somewhere around here.)

We also went snorkeling, and didn’t take an underwater camera with us, but this is what it looked like from above before we jumped in. We were on the outside of the Molokini crater, where not a lot of boats go, and fish were everywhere. They gave me one of those snorkel shirts because I knew I’d be a wimp about the water. An unexpected bonus of the shirt was that it kept me afloat in the water. While Xavier dived down and swam with the fishies, I floated up top and watched him (and swam with the fishies that came my way. They were seriously not afraid of people. It was awesome.) This may not sound like a lot of fun except for the fact that I don’t float on my own in water. Never have. I sink like a rock and it’s always annoyed me. So I spread out my arms and floated in the water amongst the fishies and the bubbles from the scuba divers way down below, and felt like I was flying again.

I had planned on dreaming big on this vacation. I had big things to think about, big plans to concoct about how I was going to spend 2010, what I was going to write, what I was going to write first, logical steps to achieve my goals.

And I did none of that. I did no thinking on this trip. No plotting, no planning. No writing on the plane (we watched Wall-E on the computer. Much more endearing of a movie than I expected.) All that potential time wasted. I wrote on both of the cruises this year. I wrote during the 2007 birthday trip. I did nothing here.

I suppose it’s not that big of a deal. It wasn’t like I was bored. I was always engaged in doing something. Just not writing, plotting or planning.

I am rudderless, sprawled out in the ocean, floating in the yellow snorkel shirt, watching Xavier and the fishies swim beneath me.

I am senseless, watching a sun set over a table full of Mai Tais, and not being inspired to do anything other than watch the sunset.

I am flying, floating over a Hawaiian valley, looking out at the ocean and not concerned at all that my life is attached to a harness and a thin cable line.

There will be time to write, think, plan and plot later. The New Year is coming up, and my annual trip down to the Santa Monica Pier to have margaritas is supposed to be where I do all of that anyway.

It was a vacation. And now I’m back, and desperately trying to get re-energized again.

Soon. Hopefully soon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Blog Is Still Late

Because I've been in Maui for the past couple of days. Which is its own entry in itself.

There's a lot to catch up on, and I promise you I will get back to a regular routine of posting (attempting to going back to posting on Sundays.)

I just wanted to apologize for my absence, and to thank you regular readers who've been wondering where I've been.

A picture for everyone: Clementine the hat in Maui, getting blasting on Mai Tais during Happy Hour.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Post, She Is Late

I've been working on this totally awesome post: A Guide To Your Minor Prophets (Possibly In Flow Chart Format!) and had planned on getting it finished yesterday, but finishing up a grant for my theater company came first, and well, Zechariah is Zechariah.

Have you guys tried to make it through Zechariah? It's all about prophesy and lampstands and women in pots with lead covers, and white, black and dappled horses running through the earth, and THE RED HORSE! WHAT HAPPENED TO THE RED HORSE!?!

So. Hopefully I'll have something ready later tonight. Hopefully.