Monthly Archives: April 2014

Public Servants/Service

Another little concrete corner in the little city.

Another little concrete corner in the little city.

I live in small city America. Where there are many problems including a serious herd mentality.

MURDER: It took at least FIVE cops to murder a homeless guy a few weeks ago. As far as I know NONE of them have been arrested yet but the victim is most surely dead. Shot by several of them. But now the cops are in Federally mandated training to be more effective, less out-of-control aggressive enforcers of law and order. Like a few sympathetic training sessions are going to work with people already in love with guns and power. They obviously need to be fired. Never happen. Too many law suits, too much political bullshit.

RESCUE: Today, at work, one small person with a disability showed symptoms of seizure activity. It is our responsibility to call 911 immediately. Within a relatively short period of time, help arrived in the form of THREE vehicles (one ambulance, one paramedic vehicle and one fire truck) along with a total of SEVEN rescuers. Wow, that’s a lot of help…so much help in fact that people were getting in each other’s way. I choose to think it was a training opportunity for new recruits, otherwise surely we would have witnessed a smaller more efficient operation. Or is everyone involved with public service moving in packs these days.

I feel cranky and sad about all of this. We need a better breed of police officers and a wiser use of resources all the way around.

CITY BUSES: May as well keep complaining. What is it about city transportation that means those enormous traditional buses serve all city bus routes. They are rarely if ever full, usually they are nearly empty and too often completely empty. Why wouldn’t there be smaller vehicles in service on all routes except the most heavily used? The city fathers have been waiting for that day when we all give up the freedom of our personal vehicles for a ride on the bus. This is the wild west people and that is NEVER going to happen. Get smaller vehicles Mayor whomever.

There, my citizen rant for the day. Probably get pulled over by the cops on the way home, seven or eight of them. We little old ladies are dangerous. Just so they don’t shoot me.

Your tax dollars at work.  One frail person needed to go to the emergency room.

Your tax dollars at work. One frail person needed to go to the emergency room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All the Symptoms are Back…damn those itchy feet

TIME AND PLACE

A globe from Susanna, a tepee from Kristine, and beach person from Jonathan Khumbulani Nkala. All good omens for travelers. A globe from Susanna, a tepee from Kristine, and beach person from Jonathan Khumbulani Nkala. All good omens for travelers.

A real travel writer is able to describe trip preparations as engagingly as the journey itself. Let me try that.

The Big Trip is a five-week fall adventure with different family members around for each stage of the journey. To reiterate: It begins in LA, on to Dubai, then Addis Ababa and Kigali for the first leg with grandchildren Teresa and Steven. Then sons Scott and Steven join us for two weeks in South Africa, both Johannesburg and Cape Town AND including almost a week in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Finally, just Steven the Younger and I spend a week traversing the Arab Gulf states!

Five weeks of discovery and family fun (especially when we are not bickering or seriously tired of each other—conditions which are fairly rare fortunately). We could…

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Friends with Books

WORDS

I already love it. I already love it.

I begin work for my UCLA Creative Nonfiction writing class today. And my friend Stephen’s new book arrived in the mail. It is a good omen I know. There’s a modest but growing pile of books on the corner of my writing desk—books written by friends and relatives, by people I know, which makes them very special. As always I must mention that my master’s thesis, all bound and official is among them; if all of us did this once or, in some cases more than once, then there is no reason, with nose to the computer-grindstone, we/I cannot do it again.

I am excited about my new book here beside me on the couch waiting to be born to the bedroom to enhance a sleep-troubled night.  Life in Jersey/NYC/London, the dance world, the glamour of it all, the excitement, joy, and, I’m guessing, some sorrow…

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Enough Fargo…

Sorry I posted that whole bit about Fargo earlier. It is awful. You should not mention the name of a town unless you at least bother to show one real image–just where in the hell, I mean heck, is Paul Bunyan. Doesn’t look even a little bit like Bemidji or Duluth. And the people are totally unlikable, unattractive, unpleasant, un-everything. Wondered why I had never watched anything on FX. Now I know.

FARGO (Really Bemidji and Duluth)


I am excited. Fargo premiers tonight. A take-off of the infamous Coen Brothers film. It takes place in Bemidji and Duluth…HOME. Actually filmed in Canada but hopefully there will be a shot of Paul Bunyan and Lake Superior in there somewhere just to make me all nostalgic and sentimental then. Minnesotan tack ‘then’ on the end of a lot of sentences. Just because. According to the promo characters will say Jeez and Ya betcha a lot also. You can see why I am SO excited. Snow and murder.

Olden times in Winter Minnesota.

Where I lived until I was 18. An addition to the house and big spruce trees were part of the scene. Now the house is falling down and the trees are dying.

Where I lived until I was 18. An addition to the house and big spruce trees were part of the scene. Now the house is falling down and the trees are dying.

 

Out the kitchen window.

Out the kitchen window.

Pal or Shep. All of our dogs were named Pal or Shep.

Pal or Shep. All of our dogs were named Pal or Shep.

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Go Bruins!

I am now officially a UCLA student. Finally out of the state college league, into the big time. Although it might not count quite as much if it’s an UCLA Extension Online class I suppose. But I paid money and will get a letter grade so it all feels really real!

Intermediate Creative Non-fiction. I am excited. I do write when a teacher says write. Did I never really get beyond Sixth Grade English?

It has been a long cough-y day. I have no further words for tonight. I’m saving them for my first assignment.

An Almost, Very Nearly Perfect Sunday

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My cold does linger but otherwise…Lots of time with morning papers, Journal takes twelve minutes, NYT the other three-four hours. That’s okay; it’s still very comforting to be surrounded by all that paper, all those words.

Afternoon windy and gray (my favorite day color).

I baked and cooked. Felt all warm and productive and generous. Banana breads for my neighbors next door, for Steven when he meets me for lunch tomorrow,  and for Susanna and me for a morning snack. It is exactly like banana bread is supposed to be: moist and steaky with some random chunks of banana that didn’t get totally mashed, full of buttermilk (created from vinegar and milk) and oil. Excellent if I do say so myself.

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Then the extremely simple, relatively healthful and most tasteful pasta and sautéed kale. Butter, olive oil, browning the garlic, then in with lots of chopped baby kale. sautée, add the just-cooked spaghetti, sprinkle with a little crushed red pepper and parmesan. All in my new IKEA pan (thanks Scott).I’m feeling much the gourmet cook at the moment.

Shower, evening of mature girly TV: Doc Martin, Call the Midwife, The Good Wife, then throw in the bad boy of food and travel for a bit of variety. Life is good.

MOOCs Again

WORDS

Of course I'm interested in Scandinavia. Here's NESET in Norway. Of course I’m interested in Scandinavia. Here’s NESET in Norway.

Just finished Scandinavian Film and Television from the University of Copenhagen via Coursera. It has taken awhile to adjust to the idea that MOOCs weren’t created to entertain me; they exist to educate. What a concept! That does mean the instructors are not necessarily charismatic but they do seem to be scholars of the first order. Who are, after all, the people best equipped to educate us. I like the word ‘educate.’ In some societies and times people who educate are honored and even well-compensated for sharing their knowledge. The U.S in the 21st century unfortunately is not one of those societies. The truth is that Coursera would not be offering me this wonderful learning opportunity if it did not see profit in its future.

For now though I am most appreciative of this opportunity. So what did I…

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Friday Evening Musings

 

A devilish dude gracing a wall somewhere in San Francisco a long time ago. Just seemed like a devil worked for this post.

A devilish dude gracing a wall somewhere in San Francisco a long time ago. Just seemed like a devil worked for this post.

We are barring the UN Delegate from Iran on the basis he had something to do at some time with the Revolutionaries/Freedom Fighters/Terrorists that overthrew the Shah. Wow. That is so stupid. We have supported, funded and welcomed numerous monsters to our shores and yet we’re playing that game of ‘you can do anything you want however bloody to others, just don’t ever think about doing anything to a sacred American.’

About Albuquerque. And our only recent claims to fame. Meth labs as popular entertainment and killer cops. Can’t say much about BB. Have never watched it; I refuse to celebrate the idea that teaching is a less-interesting, less-successful, less-glamorous  profession than drug dealing. We all recognize it’s less lucrative and shame on us that that is so. When my California grandchildren mention their Albuquerque family absolutely the only thing anyone knows about this place is Breaking Bad.

I guess I won’t try to talk about the cops. I have never liked nor trusted cops in spite of my almost-zero history with them. Better to think and write more thoughtfully when I can focus, now I’m watching New Mexico in Focus and then I’ll go to bed and finish reading my device/book about cops and psychos and shrinks and murderers.

And maybe this is hell. Or a lava flow on the Big Island.

And maybe this is hell. Or a lava flow on the Big Island.

END of a TRIP

IN NEW MEXICO

Those last road photos. The visual diary of the road home, complete with my usual dead bug enhancement.

Still early in the drive. Met the dust storm in Arizona. Still early in the drive. Met the dust storm in Arizona.

Hit the 100,000 mark just south of Flagstaff. Hit the 100,000 mark just south of Flagstaff.

If I weren't so close to home I would follow the sign. If I weren’t so close to home I would follow the sign.

FINALLY. FINALLY.

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