Along for the ride:

Monday, September 12, 2016

I wouldn't piss on him if he were on fire!

Few people push me to the point of no return. An excecreble human who betrayed us and did us harm has died at a relatively young age. When his name has come up in the past, I have answered one of two ways. "When I have nothing good to say, I was taught to say nothing", followed by a telling silence, or "I would'nt piss on him if he were on fire".
The news just trickled through that he has died unexpectedly of a possible stroke. My husband is shocked that I cannot be a hypocrite in this situation. I wish he had been struck down many years ago. As it is, I will be thankful that I will not ever have to make a choice to waste perfectly good urine.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Reports of His Death Were Greatly Exaggerated

The Artistic One came with baggage, and I don'tmean the kind with wheels! However, it seemed that the drama was left behind so many years ago that it was not even a shadow on the rear view mirror of our lives.
Last Saturday, as we were working hard to meet a client deadline, TAO had what might be called a near death experience. One of his sons called on my cell phone, asking if his Dad was all right. I passed the phone to TAO, who was next to me and he headed to a quieter part of our building to take the call. He came back chuckling and telling us we should celebrate his return from the dead.
His ex-wife had called her son to tell him that his Father had died. He was very upset, as one would imagine. Several minutes into the conversation, the Ex mentioned she wasn't 100% sure of her facts. Multiple anguished phone calls between siblings ensued, followed by calls from France to the US. 
My understanding of the facts leads me to the following interpretation. The first is a given; someone is batshit crazy (more than before) and needs to be watched closely from now on. Second; the alchoholic cousin who left a message on her answering machine that started the ball rolling was interested in selling a painting TAO had given him long ago. He'd counted the decades on his fingers and made a self-serving leap to the conclusion that TAO must be long gone and, as such, the painting must be more valuable.
French Farce anyone?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Smelly Cat...

The good news is that Slinkie does not have a mystery disease, or cancer, as I had feared. The vet said she'd put on weight and was disinclined to torture herself with the Kitty-Yoga poses necessary to keep herself clean.
The diagnosis was made from a distance, as my, usually sociable, cat hissed and growled from her solidly anchored position on the table top scales. 14.8 lbs is just over a pound more than she weighed three months ago, when she came in for her yearly shots. The vet had suggested that I start feeding her some dry kibble to keep her teeth clean. It also kept her from waking us up in the pre-dawn hours, begging for breakfast. That's been lovely, but no more. Kitty diet is on.
I bought cat shampoo to go and once home with my grumpy feline, donned an apron as I filled a plastic bowl with tepid water. The kitchen sink has a movable shower head attachment which is great.
Lifting Slinky into the waiting bath, holding strategically to the scruff of her neck with one hand, pointing the rearing, clawing side of the cat away from me, I was able to give her a good soaking, despite her vertical position and charming commentaries. Next was time to add shampoo to the mix. I flipped the cap, inverted the bottle and squeezed...nothing.
Technical hitch being the interior plastic seal that was unbroken. Wet cat at arm's length in one hand, shampoo bottle gripped under same arm, I managed to unscrew the cap, find a knife and perforate to allow free flowing shampoo. After several applications and rinses, Stinky cat has been reborn as soft and silky cat. Once she finished drying herself off and was served her carefully apportioned dinner, she seemed much happier.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Thumbs up!

 Having Facebook World Headquarters just down the road from our business premises has a certain novelty value. The ebb and flow of the Big White Buses sweeping along twice a day to transport the workforce hither and yon, although monochromatic, has lent a dimensional aspect, previously lacking in our commute.
It often takes more than thirty minutes now to go less than a mile; to escape from the grid of Feeder Roads;
( here I include University Avenue, which was previously better known as the Feeder Road, in the opposite direction, to Stanford University) and reach the bridge that will carry us across The Bay to less crowded freeways and lower property values.
It's entertaining, as we idle in the tired Conga Line waiting-out the traffic light at Hacker Way, to see inexplicable, multinational hoards, with selfie sticks, waiting their turn to complete the pilgrimage and return to Earth with digital proof of their presence before the big hand (and thumb) of Destiny.
Our plain industrial warehouse building, which used to stand out among a crowd of rickety structures that had seen better days, is now outshone by mixed retail and luxury apartments that are stretching steadily skyward just across the street with not even a nod to their blue collar foundations. The attractive banners with renderings of what is to come promise a Fitness Center, Doggy Day Spa, Custom Bicycle Emporium and more. The multilevel garage has already been completed and windows and doors fill the openings in the walls of the project.
Did I forget to mention the coming transformation of our space into a well protected berth for exotic cars and a home for collector wines? All to be tastefully arranged so that the new tenant can also entertain parties and conferences in such intriguing surroundings. I do think it's a smart business plan to be paid to store and because you store such things. He already has one such Event Space. He knows what he's doing.
As a local Police Officer said the other day, during a visit to write tickets for illegally parked motor homes that have been an ongoing blight on the neighborhood "Just wait until those additional cars start streaming in and out to further snarl traffic and also the place will be a magnet for property crimes"
Well, the good news and the bad news are that we won't be here to see it or experience it. Today we signed a lease on a new work space further south. The move is on. Our commute will be but a memory. We are reclaiming a couple of hours of our living time every day. I may even have time to get a dog of my own again.

Saturday, March 5, 2016


Dark rain clouds momentarily split this morning to transform a simple white orchid into an alabaster sculpture struck by a bolt of sunlight.

I can't take credit for the white orchid. It's a recent purchase. However the one below, that's grown large and wide and is just beginning to bloom, I've had for many years.

I'm going to have to learn about splitting and repotting this one before it takes over the patio completely.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Sea Otters

We drove out to the coast this morning, under bright sunny skies. There was frost to scrape off my car window before we left and the breeze was chilly but we found ourselves in a seaside heaven, at a restaurant with a glassed in patio, on pilons over the water.

Lunch of freshest grilled sand dabs, lightly painted with a ginger teriaki glaze, watching pelicans diving and hearing the bark of seals.

The sea otters were so big, I thought they were seals but their playful spinning and waggling feet-flippers made me question that assumption. I left my meal to hang over the railing and watch them dive and come up with mussels, which they cracked and ate, using their fat tummies as tables.
There was a brief territorial dispute when two otters surfaced a few inches from one another. Those who were done feasting swam up the mouth of the river and let themselves be swooshed back down into the ocean estuary.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Artistic Boundaries & War without Bloodshed

I'm glad I didn't take a "before" picture of The Artistic One's encroachment into our dining room. The stacked piles of art supplies, books and drawings began spreading like a formless lava flow a few weeks ago and have grown messier each time he sits there to work on another sketch or watercolor.
TAO's official studio space is where normal folks would have a living room and one guest bedroom is his office. There's a large separate building on the property that is stuffed with paintings, books, magazines and every phone, computer, fax machine and printer that has ever ceased working whilst in our care. I call that space "The Hoard". I have been known to mumble about us needing a good, cleansing fire.
The week leading up to Thanksgiving was very stressful at work and we had been bickering with one another about clients and completion dates etc. When you carpool with your spouse and disagree about work, the drive home seems even longer than the hour or so it usually takes.
Problem solving is what I do best. Once I saw that my best big salad bowl was being used as an overflow receptacle; containing crumpled, rejected drawings, a hammer and screw driver and my wooden dresser had a big scratch across it, from the metal clips under TAO's briefcase, I had to come up with a plan.
Dumping everything on the floor, in the middle of "His Space" is something I might have considered when we both were younger. My old Artist can't bend down to pick anything up and probably wouldn't have, even if he could. That would have been a call to battle and we've had a few of those in our power struggle of a marriage.

Call it Diplomacy or Deviousness, I hatched a plan. We have a folding table that's about 8ft long. It has been leaning against the wall of the covered patio since I lent it to my neighbors for a party they were hosting. I know they wiped it down and they were very good about bringing it back right away. It's been on my radar as something that needed a scrub. Residual black marks from the loaner party and then accumulated dust from the weekly mow and blow gardener who pushes as much debris and dirt onto the patio as off, with his nasty leaf blower.
I was awake early on Thanksgiving Day. We've been having a run of bright sunshine, blue skies and chilly temps that have actually skirted freezing point. It's been exciting to have an excuse to wear a real sweater, with long sleeves. I started by topping up the humming bird feeder with a warm water and sugar mixture and added extra sunflower seed mix to the songbird buffet. The squirrels gather the dropped grains and collect the acorns that are all over the driveway.
I scrubbed the table with bleach and left it on its side to dry in the slanted sunbeams then went inside to make room in the studio. I hauled the heavy double-decker glass shelving unit into the middle of the room and pushed the armchair closer to the door, leaving just enough space for the table to be placed right in front of the floor to ceiling windows, with a view out into the garden. I had found a plaid table cloth to make it look warm and homey, as well as disguising the inevitable and predictable stains. Next I transported each individual pile from my dining room table to a similar placement on the new studio table.
My poor naked dining table had accumulated some dark ink-spots. I had a little dark furniture oil left and spread that around to even out the finish. I also used it to hide the scratches on the dresser. Shabby Chic, with an emphasis on shabby.
One more thing to add to the list of complaints about the afforementioned state of encroachment was seeing our poor kitty struggle to find a spot to lie down on the dining table. The dining table is underneath a heater vent, catches the morning sun and has a perfect view of the bird feeders.It's cat heaven. I gave up on preventing the cat from being on the table when I started fostering dogs. Fair's fair. Slinkie deserves a safe zone.
I've never owned, or used a table runner before but the whole picture came together in my head when I saw this one. The orchids won't make water marks on my table and Slinkie will have an attractive mat to sit on. Win, Win!
TAO awoke to live the dream. If he believes I did all that for him, rather than for myself and the cat, so be it. He feels loved by the work I put in on his behalf and has revelled in his own sunbeams all weekend. I smile to myself at the perfect tranquility of my dining table and the sense of achievment it awards me.