Archive for December, 2008

Rose Parade 2009: The Prep Edition

31 December, 2008

Old, cynical Pasadenan that I am, every year I think to myself, “Oh, the parade. Ho hum.” Then it gets to be the 28th or 29th of December, and I feel the anticipation in the air.

I find myself on south Raymond Avenue, where a parking spot has miraculously opened up. In true Harriet the Spy fashion, within seconds I’m up close and personal observing parade floats under construction.

May I present to you a special Rose Parade…
rb-09-prep-sneak

(more…)

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A Death and A Birth

30 December, 2008

seascape
Photo by The Scout

My condolences to the family and friends of Neil Barry. Neil was a fellow parishioner at Church of the Angels. He had a 6 year struggle with pancreatic cancer. Neil was an avid 49ers fan, and after church we’d stand on the sunny patio and talk football. He wore these sunglasses:

49erssunglasses

Still, I managed to take Neil seriously. RIP, Neil. Your 49ers just beat my father’s Redskins, 27-24.

* * * * *

Welcome to Navah, daughter of Dave (Pa Kettle) and E, and sister of Ronen.

navahandronen

I was honored to be there just after Navah made her grand entrance. My role was to keep an eye on Ronen, who is one of the world’s smartest three year-olds. Ronen said, “I’m going to draw a beautiful picture for the baby. I’m going to draw a baseball diamond!” (Sadly, he will grow up a Mets fan, but some things can’t be helped.)

Happy Birthday, Navah!

After Christmas Sale on Birds

28 December, 2008

Dead ones, that is. My local Food 4 Less (at Lake Avenue and Washington Blvd in Pasadena) has both Zacky and “minimally processed” Butterball turkeys for $5.00 per bird. They’re about 12-14 pounds each.

I go into Food 4 Less once or twice a year.

You’re welcome.

In Which I Am Reduced to Tears

27 December, 2008

Oh YOU!  You nice, nice people!!!  YOU lovely, kind-hearted souls!  THANK YOU for the gift of in-home, his-and-hers massages for The Scout and me.

You didn’t see but I opened the envelope and burst into tears.  Heard of projectile vomiting?  I was projectile crying.  LC had to sprint for the box of tissues.  THANK YOU!

kiss_lips

In Which I Struggle With the Season

23 December, 2008

There are so many reasons to hate Christmas as it is celebrated in these United States. The buying-ness of it all gets to me. I don’t want buying to make me happy. I don’t want things to make me happy. I hate it that our whole economy is based on consumption.

But who am I kidding? Some things make me happy. Opening a wrapped gift makes me happy. Watching someone else open one makes me happy too. Afterwards, burning the wrapping paper in the fireplace satisfies my inner pyro.

I’m as guilty as the next guy—I buy at this time of year. I do nostalgic buying, as in: “Well, I have to get something from Canterbury Records because I always get something from Canterbury Records, and Lord knows I don’t want Canterbury Records to go out of business.”

canterbury-records

Photo credit: The Sky is Big in Pasadena

Canterbury Records offers up some wonderful things. My favorites for this time of year are:

bellsofdublin

The Chieftains: Bells of Dublin

Are you about to tear your hair out of your head because you can’t stand another scintilla of tired old holiday music? The Chieftains will save you, along with musical guests Jackson Browne (The Rebel Jesus) and Elvis Costello (The St. Stephen’s Day Murders). Sample lyrics from the latter (referring to “Uncle”):

While the lights from the Christmas tree blow up the telly,
His face closes in like an old cold pork chop

See? That bit irreverence truth makes you feel better, doesn’t it?

vince-guaraldi

Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love the melancholy Christmas Time is Here. I love Linus and Lucy, and I dance just like the kid in the orange shirt.

By the way, The Carol of the Bells is PURE TORTURE, wouldn’t you agree? Chaney approved it for use at Guantanamo, I’m sure.

* * * * *

I always miss England at Christmas. I would like to take the train to London and look at Selfridge’s windows.

hangingsanta1

Photo credit: Laura Porter

I would like to hop on a Number 15 bus starting at Marble Arch and travel through London and see the lights.

debenhams

Photo credit: Laura Porter

A few years ago, The Scout worked in London on a Marriott commercial. He had a birthday while we were there, and I bought him a flask at this very Debenhams. He likes to fill it with Patron Silver and take it to the movies. And the golf course. And the…oh, never mind.

hamleys

Photo credit: Laura Porter

Here we have the Hamley’s where I bought AP’s Tardis Piggy Bank.

* * * * *

Sigh. This post was actually therapeutic for me. The photos of London helped. If you’re of the Christmas persuasion, I wish you a Happy Christmas.

UPDATE:  My friend Adela is selling her muy sabroso tamales.  If you’re in the Pasadena/Altadena/So. Pas/Highland Park area, she’ll deliver them to your house!  You can reach her at 323-691-0073.

Offers

17 December, 2008

The economy is rotten. People are losing their jobs. The wars are getting worse. A few crooks are running off with our money. It’s ‘holiday time’ but it feels like anything but. It’s time to ante in.

tums

I got Tums. Whadda you got?

heating-pad

I got a heating pad. Whadda you got?

big-teddy-real

I got Big Teddy. Whadda you got?

vinnie

I got a fuzzy picture of Vin Scully, one of the greatest baseball announcers of all time. I took it myself during the playoffs. Whadda you got?

colin-pop

I got some family (representative sample pictured above). Whadda you got?

Fake Baby Birthin’ Church Lady

10 December, 2008

Show of hands: Do you think Sarah Palin is Trig’s mother? It’s been a while since I’ve visited Sarah’s Baby Storyland, but Godammit I’m Mad mentioned that Andrew Sullivan has a photo of Sarah, 3 weeks before Trig’s birth, here. Sullivan says:

I begged the McCain campaign by private email and in a private meeting to give me something – anything – to kill the story off. I promised to run any evidence that would blow this out of the water. That offer still stands. Please make me look like an idiot for asking these questions. But they didn’t offer a thing, asserting that even asking the question was an outrageous reputation-destroying offense.

Again, my issue with this whole thing is that I think people should tell the truth. That includes politicians. If Sarah is content to lie about Trig’s birth, I imagine she would be content to lie about other sorts of things as well. In this particular case, it was Sarah’s own fantastical statements and actions reported in the Anchorage Daily News that caused me to question her. Get on a plane while leaking amniotic fluid? Drive by the hospital in Anchorage that has a NICU and instead go to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center to deliver your high-risk baby? If these things are true, then Sarah needs her head examined.

I’ve been reluctant to hang this whole thing on photographic evidence. Between “the camera always lies” (as my brother Ken says) and photoshop, who knows what is true?

palin-and-obama-dancing

Photo and (title of this post) via Cajun Boy.

Still, the photo screenshot below screams “I have a pillow in my pants so it looks like I’m pregnant.

palin4-8-08

Screenshot from Jack Bog’s Blog.

A childbirth professional agrees with me here.

Stubborn Through This Season

2 December, 2008

Well, my mother’s mania continues. Last week, she accused me of stealing family photos.

Mom: Kelly, I think you may have accidentally taken the pictures of my children home with you.

Me: No Mom, I didn’t bring any pictures home with me.

Mom: Well, I can’t find them. I’ve had them since 1965, and I’d like them back. Are you sure you don’t have them?

Me: I’m sorry, I don’t have them.

Mom: Yes, you are sorry. Very sorry. Click.

Now, she won’t answer when I call. I’m not taking it personally, but it does feel a bit odd to leave soliloquies on her answering machine. “Happy Thanksgiving” and the like.

rancho-san-j-barn

Rancho San Julian, Buellton, CA

Today a ringing phone woke me up with Dr. H, my father’s urologist, on the other end. My dad has been dealing with bladder cancer for about a year-and-a-half. They basically “took care of it” via surgery to remove a tumor and BCG therapy.

I call my father “Pop”—a compromise between ‘Papa’ (what he wanted) and ‘Dad’ (what I wanted). A few weeks ago I say, “Pop, it’s time for you to get your bladder checked out.”

Pop: What do you mean? They said I’m cancer-free.

Me: The doctor said you have to get checked out every few months to make sure you’re still okay.

Pop: I don’t remember him saying that to me.*

Me: Call Doctor H and make an appointment to get checked.

rancho-san-j-window

Rancho San Julian, Buellton, CA

The upshot is that my dad went into the hospital yesterday. Dr. H poked around in his bladder and removed part of his prostate because it was blocking the flow of urine. Originally scheduled to go home after the procedure, my dad had to spend last night at the hospital which he loathes and detests. In fact, the doctor called to tell me to get him to an internist ASAP because his blood pressure is dangerously high. I’m sure that some of that is related to his present location.

My father is great insisting he’s perfectly healthy in the face of evidence to the contrary. Like the time he got drunk at DanTana’s and was hit by a car (we surmised—he doesn’t quite remember this) and ended up in Cedars-Sinai. I swear, his body was one giant purple bruise but after one night he checked himself out of the hospital despite the doctor’s recommendation to stay.

My dad had lined up a friend to pick him up yesterday, but he didn’t have a Plan B if they kept him overnight. Fortunately, I’m able to go collect him from St. Joseph’s and take him to his apartment in Hollywood.

*My dad freely admits that he is forgetful. It surprises me that he is forthright about it and not particularly defensive.

rancho-san-j-lone-tree

Rancho San Julian, Buellton, CA

Black Rook in Rainy Weather

On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

To set the sight on fire
In my eye, not seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.

Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can’t honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Lean incandescent

Out of the kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then —
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent

By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love. At any rate, I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); sceptical,
Yet politic; ignorant

Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait’s begun again,
The long wait for the angel.
For that rare, random descent.

-Sylvia Plath