Saturday, October 31, 2009

One size too small

credit Elliott Swanson

These shoes could be mine but they're one size too small. Elliott Swanson is a brilliant guy whose specialty is lenticular images. Go ahead, look it up. Sometimes we collaborate.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A spooky house

We passed this deserted house on a hike the other day. I wonder how long it's been deserted.

Here's the outside of the spooky house:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When are you leaving?

There's a winter storm warning for the next two days. It was supposed to start tonight but it's already started. Once the dish gets covered with snow we'll have no internet. On top of that I think I may have gotten the flu during my travels so I'm getting back in bed with chills, headache, and nausea. Sound like it? We're planning on leaving Monday for L.A. "When are you leaving?" is one of those conversation openers that's a little insulting. OINK!

Midnight at Medford

The picture is this morning in Colorado. Since then there's been much more snow, and it's still falling. A miracle that the internet still works. Now back to our story:

It was almost midnight when I got to my mother's assisted living center. I took a Rapid Rover van instead of driving, and got dropped off in the parking lot. There's a glassed in walkway that wraps around the building with chairs all along it. As I walked towards the door I noticed there were hunched over people sitting in all the chairs. But it was so late, and so dark. Had the nurses forgotten them? What was going on here? CREEPY!

Once inside I saw they were Halloween decorations, figures without armatures, that's why they were all slumped over, with legs made of pantyhose stuffed with newspapers. I took some pictures with the cel phone while I was there. They kind of spooked me the whole time.

My mother broke her hip and had hip surgery. The anesthesia has warped her mind, just as it has every time she's had surgery the last six years. But now she's almost 95, so we're just hoping she'll come back to herself.

In the morning she'd start out okay. Then as the day would go on she'd get increasingly paranoid and talk incessantly. She was never a paranoid person, and I don't remember getting the full force of paranoia focussed on me before from anyone. I had to switch my water glass with my mother's and take a sip to prove I wasn't poisoning her.

Saturday morning at the breakfast table she was really on, making observations on everything and everyone around her. The big unknown was what she would say next: it could be funny, insulting, or just peculiar. And people were listening. Not many people are funny at age 94.

After doing a wrap up on all the unappealing food on her tray she looked across the room where a nurse with a white head scarf was hand feeding a patient. She said, "Why does that man have a parachute on his head?" Quick, change subject!

Somebody's granddaughter was leaving and said to me, "I love your shirt." My mother said, "Did she just say 'I love you' to you? People are so familiar these days."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Airports Observed

Paranoia was the theme during my visit to my mother, and it still echoed on the way home.

The name on my ticket was misspelled so I knew I had a good chance of running into trouble at the Philadelphia Airport on my way back. This port is known for its nasty employees; in fact they sent a Team Disney to the Philly airport to jollify them all- I read about that in the paper last year. Some of the employees did have big smiles this time, and my name was not a problem.

But then...

At the x ray machine I got pulled aside by a Czech looking luggage inspector who seemed really scared. I think he thought he'd found a live one.

When the inspector started looking through my suitcase he was practically shaking. He said, "DON'T TOUCH YOUR SUITCASE WHILE I'M LOOKING THROUGH IT!"

My nephew works at a chocolate factory and is the product manager for those fancy Lindt bars- high end chocolate for low end customers... the skinny bars that are grabbing shelf space in Walmart, Target, and probably your local supermarket. My brother had given me a lovely selection of the bars, plus EEK! a one pound can of cocoa, with the lid taped. The scotch tape give it that improv explosive look.

Slowly the cocoa can was pulled from my suitcase. He turned it on all sides, then put it in the encased rounded deploder, and set it on spin cycle. I don't know. It passes inspection. He puts it back in my luggage and sends it through the x ray machine again. And I'm on my way. It was kind of fun. I felt special.

On the airplane the flight attendant spilled a glass of water on the guy aisle seat in my row, and also on his silk shirt. Way to go girly. She mopped him and it up with paper napkins and he was amazingly gracious. Somewhere back this year I did a little cartoon on spills.

In Phoenix I had a greasy lunch outside a sports bar. The waiter called me "luv". After I left I sat a few gates down from the bar and read my creepy novel about life in Mandalay in the 1880s.
("The Lacquer Lady" by F. Jesse Tennyson.)

In Phoenix some of the airport cops ride bicycles, not Segways. There seemed to be a higher alert going on than the usual orange. Marigold? Blood Orange? I saw a group of obese TSA boys and gals walking in formation back and forth in our wing. Odd. By formation I mean all in a horizontal line holding their soda cups.

Then I noticed the bicycle cops had pulled MY waiter out of the sports bar and were questioning him for about 30 minutes, right until there was some other excitement. When I woke this morning I thought, if I were really paranoid or guilty, I'd think they were asking him what I ate.

Further excitement: an old black man wearing a beret and carrying a cane wandered through an exit door setting off big alarms, and causing a TSA agent to pull a gun on him. wooee! Who needs tv? Just go hang out at an airport!

I also listened to the pilots of the prop plane I flew out on explain to the flight attendant what he was supposed to do on the flight, apparently his first one. This was right before we boarded. At least it wasn't the flight attendant explainng to the pilots wht they were supposed to do!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sudden Travel

I'm flying out to Philadelphia tomorrow to see my mother, who's in bad mental shape after her recent surgery. Back Sunday night.

Morning, Birds

Love his white eyebrows!

The light was stranger than it appears in this picture. I have trouble getting sky shots to capture their full color.

Magpies are magnificent.

Today it's snowing. We're making plans to go back to L.A. at the start of November. My mother's back in assisted living, out of the hospital, but very confused about it all.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Camo the Chicken

Dinah sent me this picture today of her little chick named Camo, short for Camouflage, though I don't get the reference. This silky chick has an amazing head puff and is show quality. She has two other chicks. Who doesn't keep chickens at college? (and a horse, two goats and two guinea pigs.) I never had a pet when I was in college. deprived.

Yesterday we took a long hike up a mountain to around 12,000 feet. We passed through snow and pine forests, but it was a warm, pretty day. I finally saw a big horned sheep but unfortunately it was dead by the side of the trail.

When we got to the top we wandered around looking for that perfect lunch spot. We weren't at the top of the mountain, but at the end of the trail, and it was pretty level. There was supposed to be a great view which we never quite found. But we did find two nice stumps to sit on, enjoyed our lunch, and then discovered we'd gotten all turned around and really didn't know where we were. Our footprints in the snow were melting and losing direction.

It was scary, briefly. Have you ever been lost in the woods? It's not a good feeling. I had a compass but I'm still figuring out how it can be my friend. Anyway, we found our way back before too long. I checked in my hiking book back in the car to see what I'd done wrong. The author wrote, "when you reach the top, go around the corner." GO AROUND THE CORNER? That's no direction. Anyway, back in the house again. Heard a rifle go off a little while ago, but not too close.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sunset Strip

We get some beautiful sunsets up here. I discovered if I set the auto to ISO it catches the light better.

Speaking of sunsets, last night we watched "Richard Pryor Live on Sunset Strip." What a brilliant and funny guy. It was released in 1982, so it was interesting that they cut away to Jesse Jackson in the audience several times, also to Alan Alda.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dark Days

My mother fell and broke her hip two nights ago. She was going to have surgery today, but the cardiologist has some concerns and they're doing more tests. She's almost 95. When I spoke to her last night in her hospital room she was quite lucid about the surgery and not particularly bothered, but all agitated about the labor problems in the basement, convinced that she needed to take a stand on things. She doesn't take well to anesthesia.

My 17 year old niece is also in the hospital, in Chicago with a horrible disease. We are pretty stressed around here.

I drew this in my sketchbook a while back. Right now I'm playing with Flash a bit, and can't help noticing how much better the line quality is with an actual pen as compared to any kind of software.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Galloping Goose Again

We took another hike along the Galloping Goose trail bed, and had lunch by a stream with a waterfall. Molly took a swim in it.

As I walked past the old railroad ties I had this fantasy that I'd kick a rock, look down, and see an old gold watch underneath. I pick up the watch and hold it to my ear, to hear if it still ticks. I hear a distant voice that says, "Helloooo?"

And then?

Last night we went for dinner with some friends at their house. The guy's a really good cook. We were there for Thanksgiving a few years ago. When we got there last night his wife was on the phone, the football game was on the big tv, the kids were flying off a trampouline, and he was cooking.

As he mashed the potatoes we told him how great looking his cats were. He went to the freezer and pulled out a ziploc bag with a frozen dead pocket gopher in it. We admired it. We weren't worried about what was for dinner at all.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lunch at the Uranium Mine

Yesterday we went on a 4 1/2 hour hike on some up and down cliffside trails that ended at an abandoned uranium mine, where we had lunch. Aren't I just glowing? I need a geiger counter around here, just to know when things are really ticking.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Weird Neighbors

Too late to illustrate, but have to say...

Down the road our 40 year old single neighbor got busted early in the summer for driving 150 miles mph while chased by the devil. In the first telling the devil was in the back seat but now I know he was in a separate car. Now the neigh is living in a Christian community in Mountain Village. (Richistan). Who knows where the devil's gone. Just checked the closets.

Not just to make fun. People with bad mental conditions get meds that make them feel like their old selves except for the side effects. They think: "Who needs these stupid pills?" and then the devil is chasing them... and so are the cops.

Now mega rich guy who's part of the Haagen Daas family is renting our victim's house while his castle is being remodeled. The devils are fattening up on strange flavors. Unappreciated famous guy was one of the first stars of beach volley ball in the 50's in case you don't appreciate.

We had crock pot cooked pot roast tonight. Or was that crack pot kook rroswt? One of the recipes I read said add an envelope of Lipton's Onion Soup mix and a can of coke.

Talk about blase....

Just couldn't go there. Dinner was a yum. Especially lemon sponge custard (joy of cooking easy masterpiece) at the end.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Gray Jay

We went on a lovely hike today near Lizard Head. There was snow under all the pines but the trail was clear and we'd never hiked it before. No human prints on the trail, and no one passed us in either direction. It wasn't a huff and puff trail. There were so many hawks flying. They may have been golden eagles. Also we were stalked by a number of gray jays, like this cutey above.

That's Lizard Head behind me.

Molly gets really crazy when she encounters piles of snow but I didn't get any photos of her in the act.

Last night we put some spaghetti and garlic bread in the upstairs bird pan for the magpies and stellar jays. In the middle of the night Molly started barking frantically. It was serious enough for us to get up and find the big flashlight. Right outside the house a herd of maybe a dozen mule deer ran off in all directions. Mule deer don't usually move in herds.

Was the upstairs smell of garlic bread and spaghetti so enticing?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

A very good dog

Tonight I was making lasagna, and the recipe was on the the laptop, on the couch. I'd put one layer down and couldn't remember whether you put sauce next or cheese next. I left the square dish on the counter, on top of a dishtowel, and walked over to the computer.

CRASH! Our counter slants about 15 degrees and the pyrex dish took a slide and a fracture. On the floor were shattered glass fragments, red sauce and noodles. It looked like the scene of a crime. It was meat sauce on the floor. Now our old Chows would have been fighting with me to let them at it even though it was laced with glass, but Molly just watched from her bed. Our downstairs is an open floor plan so there aren't any doors you can close off.

I spent the next 45 minutes on cleanup, and got the remaining lasagna into a bread pan, which is enough for two peeps for dinner.

Here's the lake where she took a sudden swim last week

I bet that water was really cold!