Thursday, December 29, 2005

A bEaRy Merry Christmas....

If you are one of my friends who does NOT understand my abject adoration of all aspects Deadwood, you won't appreciate this throw/blanket. I got it for Christmas... neener neener! bEaR, another Christmas present, is guarding it from all wanna be robbers, and it's a good thing!

My niece found it on e-bay. I love e-bay. I haven't sold anything yet, I'm too lazy, but I keep hoping I will 'wet my feet" (or is that whistle?... hmmm I can whistle.... or is it break my cher...nooo... NTTO!)

AnywayS, Christmas was delightful for the most part. My sister's house is always warm and welcoming for Christmas. She has a two story opening over the living room, so for years they had a hand made 'sheet' that was put up so the children couldn't see what Santa brought until it was TIME. Time being very important with Christmas. The sheet is gone, but the enclosed area underneath remains stocked with couches, coffee, pastries, presents and people. On the rare occasion that I have NOT been interested in Christmas, I have found it there, waiting for me on Christmas morning.. inevitable... welcoming...

and this year there was this Deadwood throw! They GET me... they really GET me... (grin).

Saturday, December 24, 2005

But it's December the 24th...

My sister and I... and the REAL Santa. A very long time ago... I think it was 1951. I'm the older sister. I look like I'm having a good time (grin).

For those of you who don't know the 'lead in' to White Christmas, it goes like this...

The sun is shining, the grass is green
The orange and palm trees sway
There's never been such a day
In Beverly Hills L. A.
But it's December the twenty fourth
And I'm longing to be up North...

and that's how I feel tonight. For many reasons, only some of which are known to me, I want to be somewhere else this Christmas. Somewhere preferably COLD. I'm sick of an 80 degree Christmas. If I get really lucky tomorrow, it will be foggy... If not, it might only be 70 at the coast. Whooee... I'm... so ... excited ..... ... sigh.

For those of you who think I'm whining, you're right. For those of you who are snowbound or cold or frost bitten .. I don't care. I want some WEATHER for Christmas. Just once.


I'm dreaming of a White Christmas...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Molly and Polly...

This time of year I am reminded of our best friends, the Buhlers. When I say 'our', I mean my entire family. In this picture, from left to right; my mother, my father, my sister Sheila, me (in the chair with the crutch), Allison, behind me, Eddie, my brother, seated beside me, Virginia (the babe in the hat) and Leslie. Chris, their youngest, is not in the picture.

I don't remember how our families met, but we meshed from the first. Leslie and I were a year apart in age, and Sheila, my sister, and Allison were almost the same age. They often dressed alike in clothes made by either my Mother or Virginia. We called them Molly and Polly. The fly in the ointment was the difference in age between my brother and Chris. My brother was the oldest (he was 12) and Chris was the youngest. My mother and Virginia were best friends, and Virginia was my 'Ginny Mom' forever.

We did everything with the Buhlers. This picture is taken in Yosemite National Park. Notice the bubble trailer and the age of the vehicle to the right... We used to go up and camp. We used to go down to Balboa Island as we got older and rent a place for a couple of weeks. It was an interesting study, looking back at it. Don Buhler was the "Let's go camping head out in the woods ocean swim sail surf " whatever kind of guy. He was larger than life and had a laugh and smile to match. I have a picture of him and my mother and Buddy Ebsen in a sailing contest. My father was not allowed to be as active, and, being the more conservative, hard working person that he was, often went home during the week and showed up on the weekends. He probably loved the break from us all, I know that now. We kids thought Don was 'cool' and his kids envied the stability we had. Interesting...

The Buhlers own the ranch I often visit in Oregon. We all went up to see them in 1957.. my father driving that long distance with a station wagon full of bored kids and friends. Poor dad! It was a great trip, tho' and the farthest we ever went from home on vacation as a family.

Oh.. the crutch. Two days into the trip I jumped over a small bridge in a smaller stream and cut open the bottom of my foot. It was such a deep cut that it wouldn't stop bleeding. The closest place to go was a logging camp, and they did what they could do, but I couldn't put any weight on it. A nearby camper, a doctor, I believe, made the crutch for me by splitting a supple branch and putting in a crossbar and 'handle'. I still have the crutch, and can still read where he signed it.

Leslie and I are still very good friends. My sister doesn't see Allison very often. Eddie and Chris haven't seen each other in ... well... a very long time.

but every year, about this time, I think of them... all of them.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Surf City... here we come!

There is, apparently, a storm out of Hawaii that is making some huge surf out here. Everyone was down 'to the coast' today at some time to watch it, if they could possibly make it. It was the kind of surf you can't surf at all.. too big and too erratic, I suppose. The air was thick with water vapor, making the coast smell like one huge saline nasal inhalant... hmm.. maybe that's a bad analogy. It sure smelled like the ocean!

The brown stuff is a combination of smog, as it's very warm here, and the wind is off shore, which brings the smog to the ocean. The rest of the color is because they had to burn 70 sticks of dynamite this morning. It was so old it was deemed too old to move, so they burned it... seems a contradiction, but dynamite isn't as dangerous burned as it is blown up. go figure! So that added to the smog. Add it all to the water vapor in the air, and it looks not so pretty beyond the waves. Compare that to the October 16th "By the sea, By the Sea" blog and you'll see what I mean.

I can still hear the waves pounding the shore tonight, and I even think that, every once in a while, I can FEEL that pounding...

I love the ocean when she's pissed...

a Charlie Brown Christmas....

This is a picture from our 1944 Christmas. It may have been 1943. I was either a month old, or a year old. The sign on the board reads Merry Christmas Eddie... Santa Claus. The red car is for my brother. I don't know if it was commercially made, or if my father built it. He was talented enough, but busy... very very busy.

I've been looking for this picture for a while. I moved a bunch of stuff around earlier this year, and have been in a quandary ever since. I thought it was gone for good...

It's the tree. It's all the trees we had when I was a child. It's the original Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, skinny and a bit pathetic, covered with enough garland and tinsel to make it beautiful. Or at least presentable. It's interesting how Christmas trees have evolved. We are no longer content with the less than perfect tree, and buy them shaped and manicured and processed and planned. sigh...

For a few years at least, Santa brought the tree. It appeared (at least this is my memory) at Christmas, and was left up for a much longer time than the trees of my friends. I'm not certain when the practice stopped, but it must have been hard on my parents to keep it all from us!

I buy my trees all bundled up now. It's easier to get them up the very steep stairs at my house. I never know what is going to be under all that string, but it's certainly not going to be as charming as this tree...

but I still use lots of tinsel and garland...

just in case...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

(humming).. In the Mall for Christmas...

Back in the Galleria, the first place I was able to use WiFi... I feel like an old hand at it now. Hell, I feel like an old hand at just about everything now...

One of my favorite things to do at Christmas is to go and sit in the mall, cup of coffee in hand, and watch all the people who HAVEN'T finished their shopping go nuts...

I know...

but does it make me a BAD person?

I always attack Christmas early. I found, much to painfully, that to ignore Christmas is akin to ignoring that train coming at you while you're on the tracks doing your nails and wondering why everyone else is yelling. It catches up with you no matter what, and if you wait too long, the outcome is not good.

Christmas is such a part of most of our lives (or any other major holiday you might celebrate), that it cannot be just 'done away with'. You're kidding yourself if you think it works for you. There are too many memories, too many shiny eyed jump up and down clap your hands drink hot chocolate fall asleep under the tree cry from exhaustion moments stuck in your tiny psyche to just IGNORE Christmas.

You can avoid it.. take a cruise, go out to the woods, pick this time to run for public office (which, I would think, would wipe out any happy memory you might ever have), but you can't ignore it. soooo...

Because I've been alone for most of my Christmases (after Childhood) I attack it head on. (and let me add here that I DO have family with whom I spend Christmas... I'm talking about the whole lead in, the "Christmas Season" here). My cards are out by the first. My presents are wrapped and awaiting transfer to my sister's house, usually sometime in November, if I've had a good trip to do my shopping (like across the country). My tree is up and LOADED with lights, mirrors and tinsel. Music is on my radio in the car...

I'm THERE...

I'm DOWN with Christmas, so to speak..

We're BUDS...

and I love it from beginning to end...


Monday, December 19, 2005

Birds of a Feather... separate!

I love this picture. I took it 'up north' somewhere on the coast. The separation actually went on for a lot longer fence than you see here, with only a very rare empty spot. NEVER were there two seagulls in the same section of fence. Do you suppose they know this? Is this a conscious choice, made by a species that has a difficult time sharing, or is it pure happenstance-a lucky coinky dink... I like to think that each bird carefully picked his or her spot, choosing one that they utilize on a regular basis. THEIR place. A spot to contemplate, to ruminate, to rejuvenate... or simply wait for food to make an appearance. They make me think of that wonderful depiction of seagulls in Nemo... all shouting "mine mine mine mine mine"... whenever food appeared.

I'm hoping these gulls were smarter.

I didn't feed them for fear of disturbing the arrangement...

and the mood...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The White Cliffs of ... Santa Monica

When I used to get a break during the day from my Mother, I would go to this place. It's the cliffs at Santa Monica. You've seen it in just about every movie ever made about Los Angeles, as it's a truly pretty place. I would take my book and some stuff for the squirrels and sit and smoke, something I took up again after my Mother's first stroke... go figure. It took a bit to stop again, but since I couldn't sneak out of the house very often, it was accomplished with not too much mess.

There was something peaceful about these cliffs. They keep falling into the ocean, and the people who foolishly built homes on the edge of them pay the ultimate price. They somehow figured that, because THEY built that house, the cliffs would wait... stay their inevitable decay for THEM. (shaking my head)... it is a very Brentwood/Malibu/Pacific Palisades kind of attitude, and one of the things that makes living there such a bitch...


certainly they are beautiful...

the cliffs, I mean....

Friday, December 16, 2005

Sunrise, Sunset....

Sometimes the view from my Mother's window was out the back. This is a sunset. A glorious, transcendent sunset. It's obviously late Fall or early Winter, as the trees get trimmed in October. This was the most wonderful silhouette.

My Mother's house is in a canyon. It's near O.J. country (no, not the juice, although that was his nickname). Every time the helicopters hovered horrendously, my mother knew something else had happened. She'd call and say, "Turn on the T.V."! We had lots of people looking for THE house in those days. The entire neighborhood was embarrassed at all the attention. It's not that kind of neighborhood. Several people sold their long cherished homes on that then infamous street. Mom lived just far enough away that all we got was the occasionally lost tourist.

I was never kind.

Some of them are probably still up in those hills somewhere.

So, my Mother's house is in a canyon. (geeze... if I could only stay on topic, just THINK what I could be when I grow up!). When we moved up there in 1956, we were the last house before the school, which was the last structure before ... well... the outback. You could still have a permit to shoot cougars. Wildlife abounded. Sometimes all over our lawn... There must have been a large 'estate' about where my mother's house is now, long before it became 'cool' to live in that area, as there is a stand of HUGE trees that form an L shaped line starting just south of Mom's and cutting to the right about a long block away. They must have been a barrier? a defense? was it windier back then? did they ward off robber barons? I'll never know. In addition to the huge trees, the canyon is littered with Sycamores, which must be trimmed or they will drop leaves the size of your butt all over the yard for months. and branches... and occasionally squirrels.

but they make for wondrous sunsets...


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sunrise, Sunrise....

Sometimes the sunrises were just ordinary. This was 'just a sunrise', and yet... what beauty. There was something about THIS WINDOW. If I went outside in front of the house, the sunrise wasn't nearly as spectacular... it lost something in the vast outdoors. Confined in that window, as I was confined in that house, it seemed to blossom... to bloom... to sing.

As you can see, I took picture after picture.

I didn't sleep in my Mother's house. ... Well, I slept, but never well. After we came home from the first stroke, I slept in another room until I realized that she was so compromised that I needed to be able to be closer to her. For quite a while I slept on my Father's side of the bed, listening for her to wake up and need attention. She learned to pat me to get me to wake up, if I was asleep. A difficult thing to do as she tended to snore. Somehow, as she got 'better' the snoring got worse... for a while I thought I would truly have to smother her with a pillow (grin)...

Somewhere along the way I set up the middle bedroom and moved in there, with a listening device, which allowed me to listen to, but not be INVOLVED in, her snoring. Since her abilities were limited, she would still, eternally, pat my side of the bed if she needed to get up, so I had to be awake enough at all times to hear the pat pat pat. We got a bell... it helped... When I finally moved back into my house it took me months to quit listening for that stoopid bell. Months. It took me months before I was able to stay up past 8 at night. I'm still in rebellion, occasionally staying up very late although I get up at 6 every morning.

I sometimes stop, even now, and think,"I'm not in my Mother's house anymore". Such freedom. I cannot begin to tell you what freedom, but I still wait every night to hear that bell... only now it's a telephone call...

and I miss the view from my Mother's window...

Monday, December 12, 2005

A View From My Mother's Window...

This is the window in the bathroom in my Mother's house. One morning, when I chanced to look out as I got up very early, I noticed the sunrise. Noticing the view from my Mother's window became a daily joy. Occasionally I would drag Mom in to look, if she was already up and mobile... Not often, because the views were MINE. She never quite enjoyed them as i did, but it was something we could share.

I was going to write the GAN.. (Great American Novel) called "The View From My Mother's Window" about the time I spent caring for her after her strokes. I may still, but for now this little blog will have to do.

The view from my Mother's window changed daily. I will include some of the more spectacular sunrises after I finish this epistle. The view was something that I used every morning to gear me up for the very long day. It was my little happy happy joy joy moment. There was some great solace gained if the sunrise was particularly beautiful, and some further peace if it was glorious. It got me out of bed.

Caring for my mother was a life altering time. It was consuming, both physically and emotionally. For the longest time I only had a few hours to my self a week, and not enough time to do anything other than go to a movie, or sit in the park ALONE and frantically read a book. I also ate, as one of the things my Mother COULD do, as always, was watch and comment on what I consumed.

Then, Deadwood came to HBO. In my curiosity as to why Pete Dexter had not been included in the credits ( as I saw so much of his book (by the same name) in the first episode) I wandered on to the Deadwood posting boards. And started to meet some people...

and oh, my friends and ah, my foes, they gave such a wondrous light...

There, locked in my mother's house after putting her to bed, I had delicious, scant hours to talk to people. Adult people (well, SOME of them were.. ). and they kept me sane. and whole.

It is to those friends that I owe this blog. It is to those friends that I owe my last trip. It is to those friends that I am going to go as soon as I am able. It is to those friends that I owe so much I will never be able to ever tell them just how much.

Well, this was going to be a blog about caring for Mom, but it took another direction. It seems I have to remember how much I owe to this little on line community..

and to the views from my Mother's window...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

It's a Jolly Deadwood Christmas...

This is for those of you who have not seen it on the website...

T'was the night before Christmas in seventy six
and Deadwood was quiet, no one turning tricks
The old socks were hung on the barstools in hope
That someone would put there a huge ball of dope

The Gem it was silent with all gone to bed
With visions of gold dust alive in each head
Jane wrapped in Bill's robe and Doc in his cap
All had settled down for a short drunken nap

When out on the deck there arose such a clatter
All sprang to their feet to see what was the matter
A look at the thoroughfare showed them the cause
A sleigh! Oh look, reindeer.. and old Santa Claus!

On closer inspection the truth would be known
Not Claus there but WU, with a plan all his own
Since shouting AMERICA! that fateful night
Wu knew what he must do to make things aright

A bag full of gifts he had flung cross his back
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack
As all came so joyous to see what he wrought
He started to pass out the gifts that he brought

For Al a new kidney, to help him to piss
For E.B. some drugs for his hyperhidrosis
A smile for Seth to show off his teeth
And special for Richardson-an antler wreath

For Alma and Ellsworth a book about sex
And Sol got a whole bunch of muscles to flex
For Trixie a new kind of fancy machine
To count all her numbers, you know what I mean?

For Doc all the next men who 'die in their sleep'
And Charlie and Joanie a promise to keep
For our Dan a new fangled purty guitar
For Jewel a pup to sleep under the bar

For Silas and Johnny, A.W. and Tom
A peach can for each handed out with aplomb
A rosebush for Martha to plant by the house
And NOTHING for Cy, because he's such a louse!

A bathtub for Jane, so she needn't share
A doll for Sofia, with glass eyes, and hair!
When Wu's work was done, he sprang to his sleigh
And giving a Heng Dai, he sprinted away

But they heard him exclaim, while he drove out of sight
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all, and to all a good night!


I'm going to start blogging again. I'll leave Sophie here forever, or as long as the internet lasts, but I want to start talking about other things...

and i will

really soon..



Monday, December 05, 2005

Sweet Sophie...

Rachal (on the left) and Vanessa at the Knitting Factory. Sweet Sophie having a great time.

I don't know what to say other than we will all miss you... I keep going back and editing this in hopes of saying something profound and meaningful, but there is nothing profound and meaningful about Sophhie's death. It sucks. So I'll leave it at that. Sophie, you were a wonderfully funny, biting, sharp, warm voice in our little community. You leave a hole...