Monday, November 30, 2009

Treasure of the Golden Loo

Well, the holiday season has arrived and completely thrown me off my schedule. Sorry I've been MIA here but at least my house is getting clean and ready for Christmas. I thought I'd share with you a story I recently wrote for my Low-Fat Fiction workshop. The seed for the piece was: It wasn't our idea.

“Treasure of the Golden Loo”

“But it wasn’t our idea,” we said later. It really hadn’t been our idea but we jumped on board with the rest of our friends when Billy Crump, a wild light dancing in his eyes, suggested it. My twin brother, Jem, and I were doubled over laughing, our backs to the black and white when it arrived.

“Why don’t you tell me the joke so we can all have a good laugh?”

We turned in unison. That’s when we discovered our so-called friends had evaporated.

Jem glanced at me, shrugged slightly, then turned and offered up his most charming smile, “Knock, knock.”

Turns out Officer Horntree didn’t have much of a sense of humor. But to be fair, maybe only kids think tipping port-o-potties is funny. Our folks, when they showed up later at the station where we were taken, seemed to share Horntree’s view of the situation. We listened as the officer described the scene of the crime before he laid out for our parents the options now available to us. We simultaneously noticed the muscle in Dad’s jaw moving rapidly in and out as a murderous glare appeared in his eyes. Mom’s face turned pale and her eyes became red and watery. A few months in Juvy were starting to sound like a trip to Disneyland compared to what we’d face if we had to return home today.

“Lucky for you this is your first offense,” Horntree said with a stern frown in our direction. Ha! Lucky indeed, we both thought. “Next time you won’t get off so easy.” Maybe this guy did have a sense of humor after all. “If you can get through the next year without my having to hear your names then I’ll agree to drop this incident from your records.” He gave Jem and then me his formidable cop stare but he didn’t look nearly as scary as our dad. “Otherwise it’s off to Juvenile Hall for the both of you. Understand?” We both nodded. “Your parents have agreed to pay one hundred dollars to cover the cost of clean up.” Jem and I exchanged glances. A hundred dollars? Crap! We couldn’t do the math in our heads fast enough to calculate how many allowances that would be at a dollar each a week.

“What do you say to Officer Horntree?” Mom asked.

Not what we were thinking, that’s for sure. “Thank you,” we both managed to mumble, more or less at the same time. Thanks for nothing. Thanks for the ticket to Hell, more like.

Back at school we milked our fifteen minutes of celebrity but before long we were old news. Home was another story. There we were front page for the next two months. Then Christmas came and our parents lightened up on us with the arrival of tinsel and holiday cheer. Not coincidently, that was the year our folks began volunteering us to help out at the old folks home in town. We pretended to hate it but actually we made some pretty cool friends over checkers and Go Fish.

Years later, long after both Jem and I had married and had kids of our own, the folks let it slip that they’d always referred to “The Incident” as the “Treasure of the Golden Loo”. Apparently a hundred bucks was a good trade for all the free work they got out of us. In retrospect, and with the buffer of time, Jem and I agreed it all worked out for the best but still, it wasn’t our idea.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pink Glove Dance on YouTube

A friend sent me this video on breast cancer awareness.

The video was shot at Providence St. Vincent Hospital in Portland. When the video gets 1 million hits, Medline (maker of the Pink gloves) will be making a huge contribution to the hospital, as well as offering free mammograms for the community. Please check it out. It's an easy and great way to donate to a wonderful cause, and who hasn't been touched by breast cancer?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wild Women Weekend

Yesterday my good friend Cynthia and I set off for a weekend with our other good friend Susan, who lives in Palo Alto, California. I have been best friends (at my age this seems an odd term but calling her my oldest friend seems borderline rude) with Susan since high school. We have gathered, ostensibly, to celebrate my birthday (which happened last month). We always call these weekend gatherings our Wild Women Weekends, which, to be truthful, is more wishful thinking than anything else.

Cynthia brought some pretty tasty cakes from Michelle Marie's Patisserie.

We took a long walk yesterday afternoon to the Elizabeth Gamble Gardens where I used my iPhone to photograph these porcelain berries. I've heard they become even more colorful with cold weather. Suburban legend?

Along the way I photographed this garden angel,

...and this lovely blue nautilus bench.

This morning we walked to the Farmer's Market and I couldn't resist photographing this beautiful vine colored building across the street from the market.

Now we are back at Susan's house, drinking more wine and surfing the Net. I've been playing around with Photoshop filters on my photos which is why they don't look quite normal—my little nod to being wild. We decided to pass on the movie because you can't talk at movies and let's face it, wild women are all about the talking.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Visiting the Ferrari-Carano Winery Gardens

My husband and I recently made a visit to the wonderful Ferrari-Carano Winery along Dry Creek Road outside of Healdsburg, California. The location is spectacular and the wines quite tasty but I fell in love with the gardens. The gardens were created by Rhonda Carano. There is no charge to wander through them and apparently in the early spring 10,000 tulips are in bloom. We were told that each year they are planted in a different color scheme. You can bet I'll be headed back there then!

Beautiful spots in the gardens.

One interesting thing I learned about was the cork oak tree. If you click on the photo of the sign it should become large enough for you to read.

I rubbed the snout of the wild boar sculpture for luck—it is my firm belief that you can never have too much good luck!

Views from the veranda off of the tasting room.