Saturday, October 11, 2008

Everyone's Anonymous but Mom and Dodger

I'm going to call her by her stripper name--you know, when you use your first pet's name as your given name and the name of the first street you lived on as your surname--but she's still kind of obviously related to me.

So Kitty West, it is.

Dodger adores her. He brings her name up every so often, like it's the best idea ever.

"Kitty!" he says, n the same tone he says, "ice cream!"

He was happy to sit on her knee in the camper as she sipped coffee imported from the Starbuck's in Fillmore.

So what's your stripper name? Mine's either Tootsie West or Fritzie West...not sure which one came first.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Front Fell Off

Our friends from Camarillo told us about this clip from an Aussie comedy duo. Too much fun!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Trains, Trailers and Automobiles

Mom's train was supposed to arrive at 8:15 this morning. But it didn't.

First there was an engine problem and they crawled into Albuquerque, NM. Then they had to wait in Kingman, AZ to replace the crew who had been working too long. Then they hit rail traffic as they approached Los Angeles. I learned all this from the nice lady in Amtrak customer service.

So Hydra came home early, and we packed up the trailer and he headed for the campground to meet up with our Songmaker friends. I followed a little way in the Echo and then peeled off to head for downtown L.A. and Union Station.

She's supposed to arrive at 4:04!

I love the seats at Union Station. I'm not so wild about the fact that now they say the Southwest Chief isn't going to arrive till 5p.m.

It was a warm day. Every so often a breeze blew up. There's a nice little public space around this gazebo at the end of Olvera Street.

There are a lot of homeless people downtown. I'd forgotten what that's like. You just have to think a bit about how you engage other, a lot less freely.

This woman was the only person dancing to music played by a flutist who accompanied a recording. It was kind of lovely to watch her spin and dip, her purse and a shopping bag near her feet.

Three friends have their photo taken.

Around this time Mom called to let me know the train wouldn't be arriving until 6 p.m.

Hydra's always thinking about another guitar.

Ooh, I could have had his name painted on one of these--in any color!

This particular specimen does, indeed, look superior. I walked to the far end of Chinatown. Went to the fabulous Wonder Food Bakery for a couple of egg custard tarts. Don't be fooled by their location amid trinket shops, they have wonderful baked goods.

I walked under the dragons on the way out of the district.

Just as I started to cross Alameda at 5:40 I heard something about the Southwest Chief arriving! I went inside and no one could tell me what track it had just arrived on.

We found each other after a few trips up and down the long corridor for me. It's just exciting to see people pouring into the station from all those entrances.

By 6:15 we were seated at a table at Phillippe's! It's only a couple of blocks from the train station. What a nice way to avoid the last of the heavy traffic draining out of downtown. We split a beef dip, a turkey dip and some potato salad.

What's even more amazing is that it only took an hour and fifteen minutes to get all the way to Fillmore. I almost missed the exit to the 126 from the 5, the traffic was moving so well. After traveling more than 48 hours on the train, Mom was gracious about being whisked off to a campground.

We ate the egg custard tarts in the car. Tender and delicately flavored, they flaked all over us.

Gotta say, it was much nicer for Mom to be stuck on a train than a plane, and it was much nicer for me to roam downtown rather than pace the baggage area at LAX.

We win!

Graywater in Action

So I'm home today, getting ready to go camping and waiting for the Southwest Chief to roll into Los Angeles Union Station (it's now predicted to be almost 8 hours late.) The house is clean. I'm just loading more CDs onto my iPod, doing laundry and checking the Amtrak site every hour or so.

I've been thinking about using more graywater, but my dish soap is kind of gunky when I'm done with it. But lookie here! This is where the water comes out of the washing machine and goes down the drain. I'd thought about putting a bucket there, but even though our front loader uses tens of gallons less water than a top loader, it's still potentially more than my 5 gallon bucket could handle.

But hey! I'm not in another room furiously pounding away on some writing project or reorganizing bookshelves or, ahem, watching television. When I heard the final rinse water start to gurgle out, it was really easy to just stick the watering can under the hose and capture it.

I turned the washer off and on and off again so there was no spillage. It filled up a lot faster than it does in the sink.

And viola! Only slightly gray water for the appreciative plants on the front porch. This is sooo cool!

More about the Southwest Chief. My mom's arriving on it today. It was supposed to come in at 8:15 a.m. After several postponements due to engine problems, having to replace the crew in Kingman, AZ and freight train induced railway congestion around Los Angeles, it's now looking more like 4:00 p.m.

I'm just glad she's on a train for this delay and not roasting somewhere on a runway.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Viral Election Graphics

I don't know who came up with these. The were forwarded to me by Weens, who got 'em from Scryblgrrl.

Pretty much says it all!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Coffee and Debates

Andrew's (fka Sitton's) was closed from 11:30 last night till 5:30 this morning, so I visited a Starbucks I hadn't been to before. This one at the corner of Magnolia and Lankershim actually makes you feel like you're in a big city. Which isn't always the case in the San Fernando Valley.

I think it was the bus stop right outside my window. And the parking lot is out of sight, so it seems like customers are actually walking up to the coffee house. I liked it.

The link between coffee and debates is a thin one here, I'll admit. They were separated by a nine-hour work day. But coffee and conversation have been linked since the beginning of the brew so...

I'm very pleased that everyone seems to be giving Barack Obama the win in the debate tonight. I agree, but then I know I am voting for Obama so it's nice when the official commentators think the same thing I do.

I am honestly getting tired of all the number-tossing regarding who voted how many times for what. I guess this is for people who are just now starting to pay attention and who don't know that a really good cause may go down because it's attached to a heineous bill. We really have to stop letting our legislators put riders on bills. It's cowardly in that they don't want to admit to having supported something. It's inefficient at best, and immobilizing at worst.

If you haven't been to The Last Noel lately, you have missed his wonderful comments on elitism in this election, and you may have missed these observations about Palin's inaccuracies by Rachel Maddox:

Monday, October 06, 2008

Carpe Cookies!

Yeah, sometimes being an adult really rocks.

Like tonight, when I whipped up something like a healthy chicken ala king and a big batch of chocolate chip cookies with pecans...and decided that really what I wanted for supper was cookies and milk.

The chicken will be there tomorrow. The cookies will never again be fresh and hot out of the oven.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Now Really....

Isn't this taking it a little far? It's like we have to have our bottles with us each and every second of the day!

Or is the cupholder on this shopping cart a direct result of the Starbucks kiosk that was installed in the grocery store last year? With all those blended drinks hovering around 400 calories a pop, is it any wonder everyone's struggling with weight?