Posted in Around Town, Cool Stuff

Obon Festival

An item for the Community Bulletin Board a la Jill:

The Pasadena Buddhist Church is close to my house, close enough that I can smell the teriyaki chicken on the bbq right now.

This weekend is the Obon Festival.

Saturday – July 14
5:30 – 6:30 pm Judo Demonstration
7:00 Bon Odori (dancing!) led by Julie Toyama and Sandy Watson.
7:45 Kishin Daiko Performance

Sunday, July 15
4:45 – 5:45 Tea Ceremony in the Tea House
5:45 – 6:15 Naginata Demonstration
6:15 – 6:45 Kendo Demonstration
7:00 Bon Odori led by Julie Toyama and Sandy Watson.
7:45 Matsuri Taiko performance

Pasadena Buddhist Church, 1993 Glen Ave., Pasadena, CA.

Posted in Cool Stuff

Unintended Consequences

1. Have you seen SiCKO yet? Frankly, it makes you want to move to another country. Well, that’s what it did for me, and for Rhea, and for Andrea who owns this salon.

Part way through the film, I was all set on Canada, and then Michael Moore goes to France. Liberté, égalité, fraternité. The people are happy and the doctors make house calls.

Frankly, I’d take just about any country where, should I ever (God forbid) have a major medical problem, I wouldn’t end up with a bust-the-bank bill.

2. I have another unintended consequence courtesy of Al Gore’s Live Earth concert. Did you watch any of it? I didn’t like the coverage on NBC (celebrities spewing earth-saving tips? Feh.). But the 7 hours of CNBC coverage was pretty good. While I didn’t learn anything new, I did recommit to my canvas shopping bag.

But did Al mean for me to become a consumer? Of music, I mean? I was surprised to find that I liked a lot of stuff I didn’t think I’d like. I like Linkin Park? Jeez! Who knew? Toni Collette has a band? Her voice is awesome. I like Razorlight?!?!?!

You can watch the concerts here. Great accompaniment for housework. Don’t miss Lenny Kravitz in Brazil.

Posted in Around Town, Cool Stuff, Writing

LA Angst

LA Angst is “… a monthly reading series hosted by Leah Peterson in the greater Los Angeles area. We gather together to read our most embarrassing, humiliating, angst ridden and otherwise absolutely wonderful writing from our youth. Every month, selected readers comb through their middle school and high school writing and pick something that represents how completely impossible it is to grow up without looking back in shame.”

I shoulda woulda coulda posted something earlier, but I was so focused on getting people to CHAP’s screening of SiCKO (which was very successful, btw). But shoulda woulda coulda because…

…We had a laugh-til-you-cry time this past Wednesday at Tangier Lounge, featuring:

Leah from Leahpeah
Kelly from Mocha Mama
Erin from Queen of Spain
Lara from Katronika
Ruth from Redleather
Heather from Heathervescent

…and moi, reading from my Boots Diary, circa 1973. Oh, the melodrama of it all! Lots about boys (I hope that one likes me, I hope that one doesn’t), food (Momma’s chicken, Bugles) and sex (the ships on the wallpaper were soooooo beautiful!). See? You had to be there.

Leah posted pics on Flickr. Thanks for organizing, Leah! Your get-up-and-goitivness (the precursor to stick-toitivness) is inspirational!

Stop the presses! There is no photo of the lovely Leah reading!?!? Who’s got one?

WHEW! MochaMomma to the rescue.

Thanks to those who came out (that’s Neil, here’s Jay) to support the readers too!

Posted in TV

Why Morning TV Sucks: A Tale of Two Women with Doctorate Degrees

No wonder people don’t watch TV much anymore. Network TV treats us like we’re dummies. We must have fast cutting clips to keep us interested. Rather than focusing on content with depth, they offer up talking heads who say one or two things quickly–then cut to commercial. I was watching The Today Show, and got disguested when “the experts” start talking about relationships. The Three-Year Itch is the new Seven-Year Itch blah blah blah.

The piece started out with an interesting bit of research by sociologist Kelly Musick at USC. “Relationships start to deteriorate over a short period of time.” If The Today Show had stuck with Prof. Musick and let her talk more about her research, it would have been very interesting. She studied couples who have been together 1-3 years vs couples who have been together 4-6 years. “There’s something that is getting in between what people want and fantasize about in a marriage, and what they actually do.” That’s something I’d like to hear about.

But no. Rather than go deep, The Today Show goes wide. A talking-head marriage and family therapist says people are used to being bombarded with stimulation, so if they’re not feeling excited 24/7, they get bored (isn’t that called ADHD?). Then the in-studio wonks spout their wisdom, which is high-school-hallway caliber. ‘Keep the interaction positive.’ ‘Remember what you liked about the other person in the first place.’

One of the in-studio wonks was Dr. Dale V. Atkins, author of Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life. She recommended “caring for the other person, even more than we care for ourselves.” Later in the interview, she said it again, “You have to care for that person really more than you care for yourself.”

Hold up there, chief. We women know better. We’ve gone the way of self-sacrifice, of “my job is to meet his needs, and if I’m not doing that correctly, it’s my fault.” We’re waaaaaay past that now. We see how that set up gives him all the emotional power in the relationship. We value our sanity (and if he’s smart, he will too).

So we have two women with Ph.D.’s, two experts. Dr. Musick has done the research, and we get to hear two sentences from her. Dr. Atkins has made a career out of lecturing and media appearances, and she feeds us the crap that we’ve been trying to recover from for years.

Lord knows why I was watching TV for relationship advice when Johnny Lingo was waiting for me over on YouTube. Just what is my worth in cows? Thanks to Leahpeah who linked to 3 segments here, here and here.

Posted in Writing


Bill tagged me a while ago. He says he tagged me because he wants to learn something about me, which is clearly very sweet. But for some reason, I did not have a positive response to this. I became all snitty. I thought, “Games like this are just another way the Internet lets us hide our true selves. Yeah, I can dig out eight random, meaningless facts which have nothing to do with who I am really. But what purpose does that serve?”

This may be the sign of a collision between real me vs the Grrlie Blather character that writes this blog. I’m not sure there’s a huge difference between the two, but obviously I select things to write about and leave out other stuff.

Here are the rules:

* We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.

* Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves. Okay, it says eight random facts/habits…so maybe it is okay to keep this fun and light. My inner Debbie Downer needs to lighten up.

* People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. I’m not so sure I want to do this part. If I don’t tag anyone, will bad luck befall me in the next 15 minutes? Will I be in a car accident later today?

* Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog. People are busy. Their lives are full. How can I possibly add one more thing to an already busy person’s life?

Here I go–Grrlie Blather’s Eight Random Facts/Habits:

1. The Scout and I once flew under the Brooklyn Bridge in a helicopter (pre 9/11 of course). The Scout was working on a Sony commercial, and we spent an entire afternoon flying over lower Manhattan. I get motion sick easily, so I sat in the back and snacked on Vanilla Wafers while enjoying the view. I like the island Manhattan…

2. I have lived in the same house for almost 25 years. This is in contrast to (or direct relationship with?) moving every two years (at least) up to the age of 12.

3. When I was 12, I found a four-leaf clover. Soon after that, my dad got a job on an American Air Force base in England; he had been trying to get a job in “that green and pleasant land” for some time. That the universe sent me an Irish sign about moving to England is proof that there is a divine sense of humor. It’s also proof that signs are more likely to be signs in hindsight.

4. I had my two children at home, and I’ve never been a patient in a hospital for more than 4 hours (one minor outpatient surgery). So I’m very thankful to be healthy. Wait, my left knee has started to hurt for no reason…make that ‘healthy and aging.’

5. I am named after Ava Gardner. No, my real name is not Ava. When my dad was a young GI in England, he saw the movie Mogambo. Clark Gable (as Victor Marswell) called Ava Gardener “Kelly” — her full name was “Honey Bear Kelly.” My dad was so wowed by Ava that he vowed he would name his daughter Kelly. Thanks, Pop, for leaving out the Honey Bear part.

6. Before I had kids, I leaned toward the behaviorist side of things. I think this is common for someone who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s–it was very fashionable. Once I had kids, I realized that genes play a gigantic role. They come out like they come out. As a parent, you simply work with the material you have. And I do mean work. Here’s the debate.

7. When I play Scrabble, I just want to make the most interesting words…I don’t really care about the score. It bugs me if I have to put a short boring word like “six” just so I can get a triple word score. I don’t play much Scrabble.

8. I’m a tennis fan (Roger Federer) and a baseball fan (Dodgers). I love it when the Dodgers win at home and they play Randy Newman’s I Love LA. Never say that Angelenos can’t stand irony. We know what we have (a lot), and what we don’t have (a whole lot). Scroll down for the song.

There. That wasn’t so bad. I’m still reticent to tag others, though I would like to tag KP but KP isn’t blogging (yet). Send me a comment if you want to be tagged. In the meantime, you can check out Rhea’s answers at The Boomer Chronicles. She didn’t tag anyone else either.

UPDATE: Now tagging Aaron who has been on a writing tear since hitting the STL.

Posted in Around Town, Books, Let's Get Visual

4th of July

To celebrate the 4th, The Scout and I escaped the San Gabriel Valley heat and went to see a friend in Redondo Beach. I called her before we left. “There’s no sun!” she wails over the phone, “I want sun!” “We want overcast!” I tell her. The miracle of southern California is not that you can go skiing in the morning and spend the afternoon at the beach. The real miracle is that you can drive outta sunny 90 degree weather straight into 72 and overcast.

The Scout - Biking at Redondo

We biked north to The Strand, where gajillion people were gathered in the gloom to show off their tattoos and drink potent potables out of their Solo cups. The patios of the houses were packed (the photo above is not a good example) and the path was packed with cyclists, pedestrians, and skateboarders. “On your left, on your left,” became a constant refrain. As we biked along, I thought to myself, “I can’t believe I live here.” As in, ‘I don’t live at the beach but I can drive to it and it’s all part of the greater LA area, and look at this action.’ The Scout called it zoology.

Patriotic Muscle Man

On the way back, we were diverted off the bike path. One of the revellers had fallen from the patio-roof of a house onto the pavement. The ambulance was gone, and we could see soap residue from the clean up. “He might die,” a young, wide-eyed blonde guy told me.

I thought of Lucy in A Room With A View (link to the film because I saw it before reading the book). Lucy is travelling in Florence (quotes from the book):

‘Nothing ever happens to me,’ she reflected, as she entered the Piazza Signoria…It was the hour of unreality — the hour, that is, when unfamiliar things are real… Then something did happen. Two Italians by the Loggia had been bickering about a debt. ‘Cinque lire,’ they had cried, ‘cinque lire!’ They sparred at each other, and one of them was hit lightly upon the chest. He frowned; he bent towards Lucy with a look of interest, as if he had an important message for her. He opened his lips to deliver it, and a stream of red came out between them and trickled down his unshaven chin.

The 4th of July moment that had been about celebrating and wacky personal expression had been replaced by the specter of death…which of course is always with us. Days like the 4th are when we pretend hardest that isn’t so. Then some guy falls off the roof to remind us.

I can’t find anything on the Internet about what might have happened to the guy. I guess we would have heard if he died on the local news.

Then Miss Lavish darted under the archway of the white bullocks, and she stopped, and she cried: ‘A smell! A true Florentine smell! Every city, let me teach you, has its own smell.’

‘Is it a very nice smell?’ said Lucy, who had inherited from her mother a distaste to dirt.

‘One doesn’t come to Italy for niceness,’ was the retort; ‘one comes for life.’

The Scout Biking 2