Saturday, May 29, 2010

Photo of the day: Coinage

There is something so cheerful about new pennies, isn't there?

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Good and the Bad
Today I came home from kitten duty in a raring good mood. Exhausted. Covered in kitten food. Starving. But so happy that I spend my day helping abandoned kittens get strong until they can find their forever homes.

I pull into the garage and grab the mail, and instantly my mood plummets. Not just drops about 50 points on the 1-100 scale. I got a jury duty summons, a car registration renewal, and a $3000 hospital bill. In the immortal words of Husband "oy and vey." Yes, oy and vey indeed.

It's amazing how quickly a few pieces of mail can change a day, isn't it? OK, the car registration is not so bad. But jury duty, which I realize is an obligation of citizenship, is a pain in the ass. And the $3000 bill came from out of the blue. I went into the ER in January with a 3-day migraine and they kept me in for 48-hours because I was dehydrated and that affected my heart rate. Thankfully we have health insurance, which took care of the majority of the exorbitant bill....but it was months ago and I hadn't heard anything from the hospital so I thought we were OK. No, we aren't. We owe $3300 -- a huge expenditure we weren't counting on. Sigh...

Mood are funny things. Sometimes you'll get the blues for no reason at all. Sometimes you'll wake up in a gorgeous mood and have no idea why. And then there are little things that turn around a mood. A random phone call from an old friend can take the worst day and make it spectacular. And I can be running around singing a favorite tune and then hear some bad news and suddenly that favorite tune goes out of the mind.

Of course when the random things don't happen, you can always take steps to turn your mood around. For me, it's music. Music is unbeatable when it comes to either enhancing or altering a mood. There are some songs that I find it impossible to be sad to. Put them on, crank them up, and I'm dancing -- regardless of whatever trouble it is that I'm trying to forget. A glass of wine. A hot bath. A long walk by the bay or up in the foothills. And old favorite movie, a bowl of popcorn, and me and Husband snuggling on the sofa. Indulging in some chocolate or ice cream. Putting in extra time with the cats.

So the remedy for the jury duty/registration/hospital bill triumvirate of gloom? Bread and cheese. Stephen Fry cracking me up with clips from his show QI on youtube. And just now, some shortbread cookies. Yes, I'm indulging in nutritional mood enhancers but, you know what, I don't care. I feel better now.
Photo of the day: Cooper

One of the cutest cats to come down the kitten pike in a long time. Little Cooper is a real sweetie and should have no trouble finding a good home.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Photo of the day: Footsteps

A totally accidental photo that, for some reason, appealed to me.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Things that make me smile
- Flannel jammies on a cold night
- When you see a good deed being passed on. Like letting someone merge into traffic in front of you and then they let someone in
- The serendipity that comes when you think of a favorite song and then you hear it on the radio
- San Francisco sourdough french any context
- The way Cipher (The World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if You Don't Agree tm) greets us when we come home
- Seeing old couples holding hands
- Finding I Love Lucy on at 3 am
- Getting actual mail from a friend, not just bills in the post
- The way the house smells when I'm baking cookies
- Finding a new author with lots of books and working your way through the canon because they're all so good
- Coming home to find a package on the front porch
- Knowing that no matter what happens during the day, it'll all be better when Husband comes home and we're back together
- Having listeners call during my show to say they're enjoying the music
- The way little kids can get away with staring at people in a manner than adults can't get away with
- Hearing someone laugh wholeheartedly
- Seeing a cop on the freeway when you're not speeding and you don't have that moment of panic that goes with noting a highway patrol car in your rearview mirror
- Not having to worry about what to make for dinner
- Knowing total strangers are reading this and thinking about what makes them smile
Photo of the day: Lamplight

New street lamps masquerading as old. California colleges have a bit of inferiority complex because they can't compete in terms of age with the Ivy League. So Stanford frequently tries to fool you...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Scenes from Silver Creek: The Fortuneteller

Sometimes I think the oddest thing about Minerva Gosgold was her name. I was never sure if she grew into the name or the name was what defined her. But I suppose if you’re saddled with a name like Minerva you have no choice but to grow up to be a fortuneteller.

A professional psychic was something of an anomaly in Sliver Creek. It was, and is, too prosaic a town for palm reading or crystal balls. It was considered a bit strange to read your horoscope. But Minerva somehow managed to make a living from her tiny shop on Ascot Street, sandwiched between a dry cleaners and a Chinese deli with chickens hanging in the window. When you walked down the street you got an interesting blend of starch, incense, and hot sauce.

Minerva was an interesting mix of contradictions. She had short hair and long legs. She had a big noise and small eyes. She was a psychic and also, most unexpectedly, a Catholic. Whenever Our Lady of Angels had a spaghetti dinner or bingo night, Minerva was first on the list of volunteers. She proclaimed this duality by always wearing both a crucifix and ankh pendant and she saw no strangeness in going to confession every week and then spending her afternoons reading other people’s auras.

Minerva’s family was riotously normal – the only unique thing in their lives being the name of their daughter. For a couple named Mary and Ralph, the name Minerva seemed so unexpected. I don’t believe anyone ever had the nerve to ask them why, and Minerva never said, so the origin of her name always remained something of a mystery. For a while during my childhood the Gosgolds lived directly behind our house. We shared a back fence and occasionally we’d find one of their cats lazing on our back lawn. I remember going into their house for some reason and being intrigued by the orange shag carpeting and autographed picture of Rudolph Valentino.

Nobody could ever understand how Minerva made a living as she never seemed to have customers and I don’t recall anyone ever going into her shop. But she made enough to stay in business and was even president of the Silver Creek Chamber of Commerce for a time.

Her shop looked the part with a purple bead curtain in the door that clacked in the breeze. And that curiously charming dichotomy of faith was illustrated by a giant neon eye in the window, with a poster of the Virgin of Guadalupe underneath. Truthfully that poster always freaked me out as the Virgin was surrounded by disembodied cherub heads with wings. No bodies, just heads with wings. To this day thinking of that poster gives me the creeps.

Minerva certainly looked ever inch a fortuneteller in flowing caftans and long crystal earrings. But then, on Sunday’s, she became a proper Catholic woman in a dark dress with a scarf and a garish set of bright green rosary beads that she held even when no rosary was being said. And in spite of having no musical talent whatsoever she was an enthusiastic alto in the congregation, usually singing just a few seconds ahead of everyone else and reducing those nearby to giggles.

Yet it was hard to make fun of her because for all her eccentricities she was a sweet and kind woman who always had a smile and frequently had hard butterscotch candies that she’d slip to the kids. She was also quite sincere in who she was. Being a psychic was just part of who she was, like being left-handed and tall. She never talked about it. Never said proclaimed that she believed she could tell the future and predict fortunes – she just was.

After her parents died she lived alone with two cats. A Persian and a Russian blue. Abdullah and Leopold the Great. Leopold was, of course, the Persian and Abdullah the Russian. She never dated, although she had many dear friends. But no man was ever seen to cross the threshold of her tidy house on Locust Avenue.

When she was in her 50s, Minerva went to the wedding of a distant cousin and came back with a fiancĂ©. He was a retired high school teacher named Herbert Hayes and he was obviously besotted with his exotic Minerva. Within the month they were married at Our Lady of Angels and they really did live happily ever after – Minerva telling fortunes and Herbert painting Napoleonic soldiers.

I remember a beaming Minerva at the wedding and overheard her saying to a friend that when it came to Herbert “she never could have predicted it.”
Photo of the day: Color of Music

From the palatial music office at KZSU.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Photo of the day: Kitten

Today in the kitten nursery.

Sorry I've been remiss...I'm better now.