Friday, December 30, 2011


Bailey is my sister's dog, a Welsh Pembroke Corgi. His predecessor was named "Huggy" and we quickly realized that Bailey should have been named "Lovey." He just adores pets and scritches.

Here he is playing with a toy I got him:

Shhh... The baby is sleeping....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

That's What I Like about the South

My trip home was ... filled with doctors and trips to transfusion centers and emergency rooms. And not just for my sister. I came down with the worst sore throat ever and, fearing I would make my sister even sicker, I went to the doc myself.

While I'm still processing so much of this trip mentally - how do you force a good time? How do you make a memory on command? One of the best parts of the trip was the joyful yet melancholy differences between the land that was my home and the one that is. I thought I would share a few.

  • Iced Tea - you never have to walk into a restaurant in the South and wonder if their tea is good. It's no question at all... it simply is. Here, even Southern fried chicken chain Popeye's has some of the nastiest tea on earth. And Panera Bread - an East coast chain - has the best. But in the South, every mom and pop to national chain has great iced tea. 
  • Warm weather - While Louisiana can have brutal winters, there always seem to be a sprinkling of mild or even warm days. Back here on our big old mountain, I'm warm for about 20 minutes around one o'clock.  Being cold seems to make my head cold miserable. 
  • Dogs - This is actually a similarity. Like my mountain community, I could always find a dog to love on. My nephew Bailey is such an intense little dude. He would stand with his heavy paws on my thigh and stare deep into my eyes for minutes on end. I felt like he could see my very soul.  He brought much comfort on my trip. There will be a post or two about him in the future.
  • Ghost Stories - I heard a few amazing ones on my trip home. California may be the land of the nutcases but people don't offer up their ghost stories here like they do back home. Or maybe the air is so thick back there that the setting is just ripe for them. 
  • Excellent Seafood - For excellent seafood here, you need a second mortgage. As always, I partook of some of the best fish and crustacean dishes in the world for no more than I would expect to pay for a regular dinner. Sadly, my favorite seafood restaurant burned down the morning of my arrival and another old favorite went out of business when the owners retired. But I found some new favorites.
  • My Mom - as much as I know we irritate each other, it's only because we are so much alike. I was pleasantly surprised to open her fridge and find a heart shaped potato. Could  she be the reason I collect heart shaped stuff on all my hikes?? Is my inner child really that different from hers?

Thursday, December 08, 2011


The last time Bessie the Jeep got a new tranny, she was gone for seven days and Mabel kissed her bumper when she came home. Mabel has been so distraught over Bessie's absence for these last 13 days that I offered to walk her to the "hospital" to visit the car!

Mabel as a big factor in choosing to repair the car... that and I simply couldn't afford the payments on a newer one. One windy afternoon recently when my hiking buddy had taken me for groceries, she asked if she should take Hank and Sue to the creek in such high winds. I advised against it. We started discussing bread...we were at the store too early in the day for the lovely loaves of soft French bread. I commented on how I hated it all hard and crusty. To which my hiking buddy replied... "Mmmmm just the way Hank likes it!"

"Are you buying crusty day old bread for your DOG???"

Defensive, she replied, "Yeah. What of it??"

"You don't have to get defensive with me! I'm repairing a 13 year old vehicle because my dog loves it! Hello Pot! My name is Kettle!"

We had a good chuckle over the things we do for our dogs...

Hope you enjoy the pics of Mabel and her reunion with her beloved ride! Did you notice the blurry tail???

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Occupy the Couch!

Mabel Lou here. I'm here to share with you a horrible atrocity going on in the dog world! I am in shock I tell you and I'm certain you will be too!

Mr. Pip has had his comfy couch taken away and moved to the basement! He's requesting all his K9 friends "occupy the couch" in protest until he gets his beloved couch back!
So here I am, doing my part. But you know me... I just HAVE to take it to the next level.  I'm urging everyone not to simply occupy the couch. No, you have to take control of the remote! My own mom is so upset over this, she's going to let Mr. Pip's pawrents know how important it is for him to get a couch immediately.

Now, THAT'S the power of the paw!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

If It's Not One Thing's 87 others! I'm wide awake at one a.m. - not that I don't want to sleep. We're having one of those infamous California wind storms.

I'm  cowering in my house listening to my inner fence (the tall one that makes me feel so safe) come apart banging against the outer fence  and wondering if I will have a roof (house?) coming daylight.

These winds are so violent. At 85 m.p.h, they are reminiscent of a Louisiana hurricane without the rain. I miss the drowns out the other sounds of a wind storm! I can hear dirt and debris sand blasting my windows. The limbs of my date palm are crashing to the ground with great thuds. What looks like a bed sheet is caught in the power lines up on the corner and snapping. My padlocked garage door lifts up an inch or so and thunks back. Mabel, stress breathing in the hallway, is happy to have an extra set of walls between her and the storm. Every plastic bucket in my yard is blowing...somewhere. And the ever present wood on concrete banging of my fences.

I wonder how on earth I will feel secure leaving my pup at home alone with much shorter fences in a mere two weeks?

Right now, it just feels like the problems keep banging up against my head like the wind in my fences. It's been a really stressful  five days.

::A fun trip the bestie and I planned the day after Thanksgiving went to you-know-where in a hand-basket when someone need to hang at her house until they could arrange a ride. My bestie, being the kind, generous soul she is, changed our long planned trip. I took the casserole I had made for the trip over to stash in her extra fridge... and barely made the 3/4 mile trip home!

::My beloved jeep - 13 years old would not shift out of first gear all the way up the hill home. I just kept going, running stop signs, further up the mountain to my mechanic. As suspected, the transmission is out.

::Since I had prayed and put out into the universe all year that both the bestie and I needed newer cars, (and the bestie just got one!), maybe it was time... I spent days on the phone, wheeling and dealing. I'm not a car person. My needs are simple: electric windows (in case Mabel sees a cat), air conditioning (middle aged femalehood is bear on fire!), and a plug for my ipod (I hate commercials!). And it should run... that's it! After days of negotiating, even consulting a professional broker, I just couldn't deal with the added debt. I'm dumbstruck that I could buy a new car (with very little interest) for about the same price as an used one! That's just wrong!

::I'm still in shock that a new tranny is coming just as Los Angeles' exorbitant property taxes are due. I just love how these damn things are due in early December, pretty much guaranteeing I never have a good Christmas. At least I can put the car on a credit card and deal with it in a few months... guaranteeing I won't have a good birthday either!

::There goes another palm limb! I heard a woman was actually hit by a falling tree walking to get groceries tonight!

::Who WALKS to get groceries in an 80 mph wind storm? Housebound carless people, that's who! It's so hard to live in LA without a car! I'm amazed at the things I normally have plenty of that have run out this week!
  • I'm down to 7 rolls of toilet paper. I usually have a case. The logical side of me knows that's 3 1/2 weeks. The not so logical side is freaked!
  • Every fire alarm in my house started beeping and I only had one 9 volt battery in the house!
  • I managed to run out of my favorite acid reducer during the most stressful week in ages.
  • OJ, bread... 
  • And the creek... I've managed to swing a ride here and there but Mabel has seemed grateful for neighborhood walkies.
::The last time Bessie the Jeep got a new tranny, she was away from home for seven days! It will be more this time thanks to the days lost trying to get a new Bessie. When I brought her home last time - 51,000 miles ago, Mabel raced into the drive way and kissed the bumper repeatedly! Since Mabel has spent the last several days wandering into the drive and loudly crying her displeasure, I wonder if Bessie will get a similar greeting???

::In the end, some part of me fears I will never make real money again...that it will always be a hard row to hoe. But, I am somewhat happy about keeping my old beast. It's Mabel's car. She loves that Jeep! They don't make them where the back seat flips up and creates a Mabel Lou seat any more. So many of the vehicles I have looked at have hard plastic and are slanted... my girl would slide all over and not be happy at all. Mabel and the Jeep were made for each other. I just get to visit in their world. It's much nicer there!