Thursday, August 28, 2008

summer's end

The Child has been disgruntled. Apparently Every Other Child On Earth has gone on a magnificent luxury vacation this summer. (The Child's Best Friend has gone on four such vacations, I hear.) We went to a local Shopping Mecca's "game room" where The Child could shoot at his frustrations.

I'm not much of a shopper, especially as an unemployed single mother with no child support payments, but this sign made my day at the Shopping Mecca. Ever since childhood, I have been panda-crazy. This ad outside of a Chinese restaurant thrilled me.

In all fairness, Shopping Mecca does go out of its way to placate even the hardest-to-please like me. This frog actually went out of his way to wave at me.

Then he went back to work.

But I can't resist inserting my opinion on Shopping Mecca, nonetheless. This is a "town square" in the center of Shopping Mecca. You see, Shopping Mecca was built to look like a town, a neighborhood. This causes my blood to boil. Why in tarnation couldn't they have built an ACTUAL neighborhood, where PEOPLE actually LIVE????????

Correct me if I'm wrong, and I hope beyond all hope that I am wrong, but is this Pottery Barn supposed to resemble an Art Deco movie theater? I'm sorry, but this turns my stomach. Heaven forbid that there should be a real movie theater in a real neighborhood anywhere in this God-forsaken city that I live in!!! Across the main street where we live, there is an old movie theater which has not shown a movie in decades. Why? Because the huge mega plexes have taken over. Get in your car and drive to the multi mega to see any movie at any time. This Shopping Mecca has, of course, one of these mega movies complexes, located inside an enormous enclosed mall, well-protected from the "neighborhood".

The Child does not understand why I am upset about this. Why? He has never lived in a real neighborhood!!!!!!!!

Doesn't it almost look as if this Cheesecake Factory restaurant is located in a neighborhood? Well, it's not. It's just off the "town square" in Shopping Mecca.

Still, we ate there after reading Loving Annie's tantalizing review. I had to try the Chipotle chicken pasta after reading her description of it. The only problem was, I was too full to try any cheesecake, after eating only half of my pasta. (Annie did warn her readers that the portions were generous.)

It seems that in my life lately a lot of chapters have been closed. These friends of mine moved to New York City this week. I will miss T's bubbly personality, ever-ready wit and extreme intelligence. I wish them well in the most exciting city I can imagine. They have found a REAL NEIGHBORHOOD there to live in!!!! HALLELUIA!!!!!!!!

This isn't exactly what The Child had in mind when he said he wanted to go on a vacation, but hey, it was a 20-minute drive and offered sights we just don't see every day.

This is a "Where's Waldo" Zoo Edition. It's not just a pile of rocks. There's a grizzly hiding in there somewhere.

But this is always my favorite part of any trip to the zoo- the soothing boat ride through the Indonesian exhibit. I would love to stay on the boat for an endless journey, but it costs $1 for each time around. It ended way too soon.

Every boat ride has its hazzards, though. Just when you start to let go of life's burdens, a snake appears out of the grass.

Back at home, the rose garden offers its sights any time we're interested, right outside our front door, with summer still going strong, probably well into October. Who needs that luxury vacation that all the other kids had?!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Water Cycle

As you see, the view from my patio chair has been marred. It all started with a leaky faucet. In retrospect, I wish I had just shut up and let it go. So it leaked. Big deal. I try to be earth-conscious, but really. The water recycles itself no matter what we do, no? It leaks out of my bathtub faucet, it pools in the tub, it evaporates, it rains back down onto the earth. It's the water cycle. I could have just shut up and let that happen. But noooooooo........

This is the aftermath of my fateful decision to call a plumber. Good heavens, I'm unemployed. You'd think I could find better ways to use my time than calling plumbers. Most unemployed folks would surely have the good sense to ignore a leaky bathtub faucet. But there's a part of Whirlingbetty which calls itself Missgoodytwoshoes, wanting to do the right thing all the time. A good homeowner dutifully calls the plumber when the faucet leaks, even if she's unemployed.

This is what it looked like after the plumber left. How did I not realize that demolition was part of the deal? I mean, would you expect your tub to end up like this due to a leaky faucet?

Note the holes in the wall way above the faucet- the plumber cut those holes after I said that as long as things were torn up, I'd like to have a shower installed. (It used to be just a bathtub, and I was thinking of resale. How long can I hold onto this house without a job? And wouldn't prospective buyers want a shower?)

Silly me- I thought the plumber was actually going to complete the job! The plumber left it as you see above. Stunned, I called my realtor, who put me in touch with a contractor who is now reconstructing my bathroom.

I was called upon to make a major decision about the tiles. The original yellow tiles are irreplaceable, it turns out. So the contractor had to integrate some other tile color into the yellow theme. I chose the above tan/gray which matched the wallpaper and sort of went with the yellow. Hopefully the finished product will look OK, and the bill won't send me into cardiac arrest.

This guy, whom I encountered in the park outside of my house early this morning, personifies my mood right about now.

Actually, he's just eating, not snarling as the front view implied. Or maybe he's smoking a turtle-sized cigar....

This photo was also taken this morning just outside of my house. It's a senior recreation center owned by the city, built in the late 50's, I'm guessing. It's rather unsightly, isn't it? Well, it's soon to be demolished. That brown and white sign is front of the building was removed minutes after I took the photo. Hopefully the absence of this eyesore will raise the value of my house, which faces this property.

This photo shows my house (on the right, hidden in the trees) in relationship to the soon-to-be-eliminated senior center. The city, ever creative, will turn the site into a parking lot.

This is the view out of one of the floor-to-ceiling windows in the senior center. Soon it will be the view from the city's new parking lot. Sometimes I wish I'd been a city planner....but where would I begin?
And this photo takes the prize, so far anyway, in this summer's whirlingbetty hummerpic competition. Too bad the hummer is a female. This was taken by The Child, who snatched my camera unbeknownst to me and got lucky.

Friday, August 08, 2008

the Muffin Mouse approach

Back in the days before The Child could read, this was one of his favorite books, and I read it to him frequently. I always thought it offered the best approach to life that I could imagine. Muffin Mouse awakens each morning and greets her alarm clock, then her toothbrush right off the bat. "Good morning, alarm clock. Hello, toothbrush." Turn the page, and Muffin Mouse says,"Good morning, clothes. Hello, yummy breakfast." Muffin Mouse is glad to be alive, and greets the mundane with undying enthusiasm.

I can imagine the heyday Muffin Mouse would have with this scene. This is where I sit most mornings, reading and feeding the wildlife.
Muffin Mouse peeks out her window to a sight not unlike mine. When I am in a state of awareness, sometimes I greet The Child when he awakens with reminders of what Muffin Mouse would say. "Hello, world. Good morning, birds. And good day to you, Mr. Mailman."

Wouldn't Muffin Mouse be enthralled to see my chipmunk friend who visits me each morning!

And the hummingbirds fit right into Muffin Mouses's perfect world of harmony, bliss and wonder.

Each day presents an unusual activity of some sort. Muffin Mouse is all about finding joy in life, and constantly expressing her appreciation.

And the world answers back.