Thursday, February 18, 2010

Theme Thursday: Bells

This photo, taken in 2008, is the closest I can come to today's theme. Bells were ringing as the picture was snapped. Beyond that, I know nothing of the building. I will be thinking of Barry at 2 PM my time as he completes his chemotherapy. Having had a mother who died of cancer before she could complete scheduled chemotherapy, I can understand the import of this milestone and wish Barry the best.

Until Next Time...

Happy Theme Thursday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A View From One Window...

Living in the land of concrete, I am constantly surrounded by sound. From law enforcement to ambulance and fire brigade, to aircraft overhead, and the neighbor's verbal disagreements or the echoes of heels at a brisk pace hitting the pavement en route to a car, the vagaries of existence here rarely escape notice when one is home.

These flats, built in the early seventies,have largely retained their drafty, single-paned windows, allowing not only cold and heat, but too much noise inside.

Initially enveloped in thickets and tall trees which have long since disappeared with the rise in population, this collection is now right off a multi-laned roadway, shielded only by a thin line of trees and a fence.

There are four flats per building in what is commonly referred to here as a walk up. This means that I am also privy to comings and goings on the outside stairs and the street beyond my front door.

Imagine my surprise then when I hear two male voices, late afternoon:

"You must be daft..." (Daft not being an American expression, my ears perk up)

"We can't take this..."

I glance out the front window to see if someone is moving either in or out and then notice a neighbor watching, cell in hand. No U-Haul or company van, no truck and no apparent car...

Just two youngish-looking caucasian men who notice they've been seen and rapidly exit the north entrance.

Sadly, this isn't the first time intruders have come here. I'm just glad someone was watching...

Makes me a bit glad I've not yet put in new windows, too.

Until Next Time...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day...

Although not a big occasion for me, and something I find cloyingly commercialised in this country, Valentine's Day nonetheless brings back thoughts of flowers, puzzles, cards and other small gifts my mother and I would share when I was growing up. She gave me a Valentine remembrance of some kind until passing away eleven years ago. My favourite is a vegetarian cookbook, which she signed and dated, despite her rather constant disapproval of that choice.

To say that we mixed rather like oil and water during much of my adulthood is no exaggeration; Sadly, that is a situation in which many women find themselves. Still, I can chuckle at the memory of her face as she unwrapped two heart-shaped packages, finding first the right then the left foot of a pair of slippers stuffed and decorated as giant Hershey's Kisses, a gift she eventually wore the batting out of.
They were the only slippers like that that I've seen and I cannot recall where I found them.

Wishing all of you a Happy Valentine's Day.

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Theme Thursday: Mirrors

How often has she consulted the mirror,

To sort out her hair, visage or clothing, smoothing skin, eyes or fabric with practised hands, a ritual so ingrained it no longer bears consideration.

Free of the mask donned for others, the face she meets today leaves her searching for signs of dreams traded or reluctantly forgotten, love tamped down by complications, then lost amid banalities.

Reflections of a life no longer hers to claim.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stuck...(Sorry, Lettuce!)

Several bloggers have, of late, mentioned feeling "stuck"... for new ideas, something exciting to share or a shift in perspective. I have been feeling that way myself for quite some time, not solely in the realm of blogging, but the rest of my life.

In fact, were I completely truthful, I would have to concede anger born of frustration, change in mobility and lack of clear direction for the future as well as constantly contending with misperceptions regarding wheelchair users.

It seems the wider world views me, despite my education, well-roundedness and skills, as "less than" an able-bodied peer of the same age and background. I was sitting outside the other day enjoying a rare moment of rain-free skies when a stranger drove alongside and threw coins in my lap.

Never a beggar or busker, I thought this odd, and in attempting to return the currency, met with the most vicious stare I've ever encountered as the woman drove away...

On another occasion, I was eating lunch outdoors when a man approached my table and asked to join me. When I wondered aloud if we had met previously, he answered no, that he simply did not want to eat alone, and hoped I would not mind a bit of company?

The question hung in the air between us until I gently gestured for him to take the opposite chair, and asked whether he often dined with strangers. His reply of, "There are no strangers, only those who have not met," I found cliched but let pass, while assessing the time it would take me to finish my lunch.

He ordered, and our conversation turned from polite chatter about the weather to our respective backgrounds. Upon hearing that I was a writer as well as a librarian, he actually scratched his head as if confused and said,"How do you do that from a chair?"

My reply along the lines of librarianship being multi-faceted and that there were many jobs one could perform as a chair user, drew inordinately loud laughter. At this point, appetite distinctly on the wane, I asked for my check, paid the waiter and rolled away, supremely disappointed to have spent any time in his company...

I might feel sorry for him were it not for the fact that potential employers also evidently share his level of ignorance. They don't laugh out loud because they can be sued...

Bizarre la vie, ce ...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Finale: California 2010

One of my frequent commentors requested more information on my California trip.
Having shown you some of the Mojave and a shot or two from a beautiful mountaintop restaurant in Orange County known as Las Brisas, the rest may seem a bit anti-climactic by comparison.

The same friends who treated me to a fabulous breakfast at Las Brisas also took in an exhibition of Latin American artists at the Bowers Museum, a gem of a place I've visited several times. Check out for further information.

While at the museum, we spotted an equally intriguing exhibit of photographs of masks and tribal life in New Guinea. Though I could not photograph the exhibits, I did purchase a book for one, and take some pictures of the museum's outer Asian garden and hall.

The garden, at the museum entrance, contains a variety of sculpture, trees, manicured areas and fountains. The mural, just inside, depicts elements of all of the current exhibitions. The totum pole was snapped for the fun of it.

The weekend capped off with a small, very belated birthday gathering at stepsister's for me. Several friends came, and the menu featured fish tacos and a decadent chocolate trifle.

Though I was disappointed at the unavailability of tickets for South Coast Repertory's Ordinary Days, I did see two films, Blind Side, with Sandra Bullock, and Young Victoria, with Emily Blunt. Of the two, I would recommend Young Victoria to those who like well acted, lavishly costumed period pieces. If you think politics are bad now, they were no less so in Victoria's lifetime.

The heart-warming true story of a boy rescued from poverty and a probable life of crime is a great catch when it comes out on DVD.

Other than the cinema, I also spent time sightseeing and visiting Aliso beach, albeit briefly.

Monday found me enjoying a picnic at Orange County Regional Park before returning to pack for the flight back. The horses and ponies pictured here are available for hire.