Tuesday, October 29, 2013

While We (Humans, Cat, Dog) Were Away….

About mid-way through the morning of Saturday, October 12, I loaded the cat and the dog and their luggage into the car and drove them to our friend’s house, who had agreed to keep them for the 2 weeks we were going to be on our vacation. I had toyed (very briefly) with the idea of taking Molly Wolly Doodle with us, but discarded the idea, not the least reason being our little Toyota was simply going to be too small to carry her, the crate, the ice chest….

I did some more last minute stuff on the computer for work and spent nearly an hour trying to write about the significance of Sunday, October 13. We were leaving for Los Angeles on October 13, I started writing the blog on October 13, 2004 (9 years ago), and my mother died on October 13, 2009 (4 years ago). 9 + 4 = 13. October 13. I finally gave up trying to write anything coherent and resumed getting ready for the trip.

We drove… and drove… and drove… basically following the same route as the old Route 66 and arrived at my home town, at the edge of Los Angeles, a couple of days later, rather aching and sore, but without mishap, except for the fight we got into with our GPS device, which tried to route us through downtown Los Angeles instead of the way we usually go.

The weather was perfect, as only Southern California can be at the end of October.

Transplants from Hawaii bloom happily in the back yard...

spreading their lovely fragrance.

Lots of coming and going and lively conversation…

My sister took me to the beach.

Richard helped my sister’s husband work on the old truck he is restoring…

We went shopping with my older brother at the Japanese market and bought ingredients for a huge pot of sukiyaki, something our mother made frequently. I chopped lots of vegetables and cooked the food...
and we ate every last bit of it.

Richard met up with his high school friend from Seattle, and they went to the Santa Monica pier...
where the old Route 66 ends.

While they were doing that, I took my dad to the sidewalk park on a hill that overlooks the runways at Los Angeles International Airport...
and we spent an enjoyable couple of hours watching the planes land and take off.

Saturday there was a combined birthday party for my niece and myself. 
Our birthdays are 4 days apart.

  I had a lovely visit with my friend from high school. 
 A good time was had by all…

Sunday we cruised to the ocean in one of my brother-in-law’s restored cars and found ourselves at a kite-flying festival.
This brought back memories of the kite-flying contest sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department that my dad and I entered. We used the crosspieces from an old kite and tissue paper that I decorated with tempera colors and a sponge. Our little kite was rather simple one compared with the fancy ones on either side, but it shot up into the air like a rocket and we won the contest. The kites at this festival, some 50 years later, were quite amazing.

Monday we visited Richard's sister (she wouldn't let us take a picture though), had a little pot luck for dinner with my brother and his wife, and then a riotous game of Kings in the Corner erupted after dinner when my sister and her husband came to say goodbye.. 
We whooped and hollered and some of us tried to cheat, and it was wonderful.

Tuesday morning I gave my father, who will be 89 in about 2 weeks, a hug goodbye and we headed off to a convention in Las Vegas.

The weather in Las Vegas in late October is nearly perfect. It is possible to take a walk around the block and not feel like one is walking in a furnace. We had two wonderful meals at the Coco’s Restaurant, which was around the corner from the motel.

But we also spent a miserable hour or so trying to get into the Flamingo Casino to see the wildlife habitat and nearly got stuck going round and round in the Caesar’s Palace parking garage before we figured out how to get out of there….

We were happy to leave Las Vegas and spent the evening of my actual birthday in Gallup, New Mexico, listening to the familiar sound of rumbling trains passing in the night.

...The Rats Will Play

A little while after we arrived home Saturday afternoon we became aware that things were not quite all right.

I immediately noticed something was wrong when I sat down at my computer and saw that the beautiful Hercules beetle I had found dead on the walking pathway at the end of the summer in the park was missing.

Then I noticed that the jute twine that had I used to attach my scissors to a nail on the shelf next to my work space (to keep them from wondering off) had been cut and was gone. My scissors were no longer attached to anything.

Sunday afternoon while I was cooking dinner I suddenly realized that the Mexican pottery dish my Aunt Betty brought back from Mexico a very long time ago was empty.
When we left, it was full of dried red chili peppers. They were gone.

Richard found rat paw prints in the dust in his office.

We are not sure what else might be missing. Perhaps if we can locate its nest, we will find some of our missing items.

It was good to go away and it was very good to come home.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Tale of Two (pairs of) Shoes...

They were the best of shoes…. they were the worst of shoes.
And here I am being silly with one of the great opening lines in literature.  At any rate, I do have tale to tell about some shoes, and it is finally drawing to a close.

The story begins early last summer when the local department store had a “two-for-one” sale on athletic shoes. I hurried on down soon enough after the sale started that there was still a fairly decent selection of shoes to choose from.

I found two identical pairs of Reebok shoes in my size. They were comfortable and seemed well made, and I bought them both. They weren’t the most expensive shoes on sale, but they weren’t the cheapest, either
I started wearing the first pair, and they were great…. Except I noticed that almost immediately the heel on the left shoe was wearing down much quicker than the heel on the right shoe. Lots of people have an uneven gait – me included – and so I get it that the heels wear down at different rates, but this was a bit above and beyond what normally happens to the shoes I wear.

Finally, by winter, I decided I better start wearing the other pair of shoes, and so I put the removable ice cleats on the first pair so I could take the dog outside without risking life and limb in case there was an ice storm.

I began wearing the second pair of shoes, and almost immediately, the stitching on the top of the right shoe – where the leather parts are sown together – began to unravel. It didn’t really affect my ability to wear the shoes, it just looked awful. Several times I made attempts to sew it all back together. This was not very successful because it was at the toe of the shoe and I couldn’t get my hand in far enough inside the shoe to get hold of the needle.

The heel on the left shoe of this pair was just fine.

At this point a rocket scientist would have been quite useful, because the solution to this problem was obvious but it took a while for me to get there.

We're into May now, and the department store had another sale of athletic shoe, and seeing that there was no way I was going to be able to repair the shoes I was wearing, I came home with Sketchers; again, not the most expensive shoes in the store but not the cheapest, either. I did not wear them immediately though because being one of those "good to the last drop" sort of people, I decided I could get a  "a few more days" out of the older pair.

One day not too long after this, I was rummaging around in the storage area looking for something and I happened to pull out the first pair of Reeboks with the ice cleats (remember the ice cleats?), and the light bulb finally went on.

The left shoe of the pair I was currently wearing was perfectly fine.
The  right shoe of the pair with the ice cleats was perfectly fine.

Left…. Right… Yep!. So I got a “new” pair of shoes out of it, which I continued to wear until about a week ago.

“Oh,” said my aerobics instructor “You have new shoes!”

Yes, indeed I do…

So comes to an end the tale of two pairs of shoes that morphed into three pairs of shoes… leaving me to wonder why it sometimes takes so long to figure out easy solutions to problems.