Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Second Time Around

It was August and I was 22.  My husband John and I met a lovely couple who were visiting San Francisco and they invited us to visit them in British Columbia, Victoria, to be exact.

We were looking forward to our road trip, despite having a year old baby with us.  It would have never occurred to me to leave my son with anyone.  He was the most important person in my life from the moment of his birth.

We drove from San Francisco to Portland where we spent the night with a relative of my husband's.  The next morning we drove on up to Washington State and drove on to a ferry headed to Victoria, British Columbia.  The baby gurgled and smiled at us as we all admired the scenery and the ocean waves.

We arrived mid-day and called our friends who gave us directions to their home.  We were very happy to see them and looking forward to a really fun week.  Jim and Edna were an "older couple", meaning that they may have been 50.  (When I was 22, anyone older than 30 seemed like a grandparent.)  They showed us to our room and everything was charming and comfortable.  Jim and Edna said they had a surprise for us.

After we got settled, and the baby was left sleeping on our bed, we joined them in the living room where they had prepared cocktails for us all!  They said they were going to make us very happy and looked at each other and sort of giggled.  "Oh come on!  Tell us!" I begged.

"Well," said Jim, "We realized that having a baby with you would be an inconvenience and keep you from being able to relax and have fun.  So we have paid for a Children's Hotel for the baby for the week!"  I was struck dumb (as in speechless, not stupid) and must have had a very peculiar look on my face.  My husband said "Oh my God!  What a great idea!  How can we ever thank you enough!" and pretended not to notice that I was looking at all of them with daggers in my eyes.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I did hire the occasional babysitter for my son.  I did leave him for an hour or two occasionally when I couldn't avoid it.  But I'm in frigging Canada where two people I've only barely met are talking about sticking my baby in a kennel for a week.  And my so-called husband is "fine" with it.

I stormed out of the room and went to the bedroom where my baby was sleeping.  I must of slammed the door because my son awoke and started crying.  I picked him up and tried to calm him down, although I may have needed calming down more than he did.  My husband came in the room and said "What is wrong with you?  These people have done something really nice for us, and you are acting like an ass!"  I joined my son in crying at that point and told my husband I would never forgive him if he didn't take us out of there right that minute.  I just wanted to go back home.  John put his arm around me and said "Oh let's just try it for a day.  Then if you still feel upset, we'll go get the baby and either stay in a hotel or go back home."  I was trying very hard to be reasonable so I agreed.

When we came back out to join our hosts, Edna assured me that the children's hotel was run by two very nice British nurses and that the place was very highly regarded.  I tried to smile and act reasonable over the whole thing, but I really wasn't going for any of it.  I wished that Edna, Jim, and my husband would also somehow magically drop dead.  But alas, they didn't.  In fact, I was told that "It's all arranged.  We'll drop the baby off at 4:00 PM and then go out for a bite."  I cannot describe the horror I felt as I clutched my first born son even tighter in my arms with tears running down my face.

The three of them seemed a bit amused by my rage, but we went on to the "children's hotel" at the appointed time and dropped off my son with people I didn't know from Adam.  I hated their British accents.  I hated seeing the place out in the country where the two British nurses would be attending to my baby.  I was not allowed to tour the facility but everyone assured me it was quite nice and I wondered what they did with the kids dropped there.  I had seen kennels.  I would have never left my dog at a kennel.  Was this place the same principle?   Oh who the hell knows.

The entire week was a living nightmare for me.  We went salmon fishing.  We went to the beautiful Empress Hotel for lunch.  I saw the magnificent Canadian Mounties mounted.  We went to pubs and restaurants. If I had not been so horribly distraught, I would have loved the place.

I went from teary to bitchy with every waking hour.  I'm sure I wore on everybody's patience.  Being a complete pain in the ass to everyone all the time is exhausting.  When we finally picked up my son at the end of the week, he had a runny nose.  I was enraged.  Two British nurses couldn't keep my son from catching a cold?

So I'm going to Victoria, British Columbia again in a couple of days.  This time will be better.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

La Vida Loca

I went to prom with a Chinese guy when I was 17.  He wasn't really my boyfriend, but he was a good guy and cute too.

I had a boyfriend who was African American when I was 19, (right before, and okay, right after  I got married to my first husband). I also dated a Japanese man.

I had an Arab boyfriend from the Kingdom of Saudi, and an Israeli boyfriend who gave me a ring. 

I've dated, lived with, and married a few men. 

I've dated, lived with, or married doctors, lawyers, cops, criminals, firemen, scientists, rich men, poor men, business men, arms dealers, bankers, bikers, truckers,  sailors, soldiers, pilots, drunkards,  professional athletes, and the occasional silversmith.  I have enjoyed every version and color of the rainbow of men.

But now, I've been married for 25 years come September to my Navajo husband..

Do I ever miss the variety factor?  Well, of course.  But the truth is, I'm content most of the time.

I am serving on a Jury.  I think I'm lucky that I actually  feel no hesitation to say that I really think people are pretty much the same regardless of race, station in life, economic status, and so on.

I was surprised when I was selected for this jury.  But when I thought about it, who better?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Bullfight


In 1974, I was in Mazatlan, Mexico for a short honeymoon with a short-term husband.

I saw the posters for the bullfight posted all around the Plaza, and decided that it was a spectacle that I really wanted to see at least once.  My blue-eyed blond husband wasn't particularly enthusiastic about the venture, but I finally wore him down and he got us event tickets for the next day.

The seats we got were in the shaded area of the stadium and we were not exposed to the blazing Mexican sun.  The first ten minutes were full of pageantry   I was enjoying the marvelous colors and the ritual of the opening ceremony, and enjoying myself until I became aware of the first sighting of blood on the bull.  I expressed dismay, but my husband insisted that he had "shelled out good money" and said we were staying for the entire bullfight, like it or not.

I stopped watching the travesty in the ring, and began watching the other attendees.  Most of the local Mexicans had the cheaper seats in the sunny area of the arena.  They were keeping hydrated with copious amounts of tequila, swallowed directly from the bottles they were pulling from pockets and backpacks.

Since it looked pretty unlikely that the bull would gore the matador, I excused myself for a restroom break.  I did take a moment to touch up my lipstick and then headed for the bar.  I ordered a margarita and was soon approached by a handsome young Mexican guy.  We chatted in both Spanish (mine is halting) and English (his was abysmal), and spent about 15 relaxing minutes getting acquainted.  I saw my husband walking in the crowd looking for his bride with a touch of fury in his eyes.  I bid Angel (pronounced Ahn Hell) adios and hurried over to meet my spouse.

I explained my delay by saying that the brutality of the sport really had upset me and I was just trying to compose myself before I returned.  (Actually, I had considered running off with Angel, but I doubted that he had serious intentions toward me beyond an hour or so of entertainment.)

My husband was angry.  We left the arena and the bullfight.  I got my wish..  Even better, I got a divorce.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Little Luxuries

Sometimes it really is the little things.

The last few weeks, I've been going through 'a rough patch'.  This sort of thing is not really anything new.  Heath issues pop up; emotional issues start taking up your time and your energy;minor personal problems become paramount.

For a rather nominal amount, I have arranged to have my florist Shirley surprise me with a bouquet for my kitchen every Friday.  Shirley is a talented florist and a lovely woman.  I return all over her vases to keep her prices (and charges to me) reasonably low.

There is something about having a lovely fresh  floral arrangement that pleases me.

I also have manicures and pedicures at least once a month.  This is no longer a luxury to me, but a necessity.  I just don't feel "finished" unless my talons are done!

I sometimes feel guilty for spending money on me.  And then I think, "Whoa!  I'm not taking money from anyone else and if these things make me feel good, why not?"  Yes, I could donate every extra dime I have to charity, but if I'm not happy, I don't feel very charitable either. 

I think it's a win/win situatoin!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Important Bed Advice!

We spend a lot of time in our bed.  Beds should be wonderful places to be.

I've slept on couches, on carpeted floors, and in the back seat of cars.on bathroom floors, on a towel at the beach in the sand, and in movie theater chairs.

Believe me, none of those places is comfortable compared to a bed.  Many years ago, I realized that buying the best quality bed linens I could possibly afford made sleep (and lolliy-gagging)in bed much more enjoyable.  I love very soft cotton for my linens.  Sheets and pillowcases should feel like they have been washed a hundred times even when they are brand new.

Years ago, I stayed at a hotel that claimed to have "the heavenly bed" and it was very attractive.  There were pillows of all shapes and sizes and it looked very inviting.  Unfortunately, the comfort level was just nowhere near "heavenly".  The bed was okay, but I really wanted "heavenly" (having nothing to do with religion, if you get my drift).

One thing that I have been very remiss about for years is pillows.  It's damned hard to find the "perfect" pillow.  They are either too hard to too soft.  And, to my surprise, even the higher priced pillows are not always any more comfortable than the cheaper pillows.  When I found pillows that were at least tolerable, I tended to keep them for a long time.

When I was changing our sheets I noticed that the pillows I had were old, worn and even stained.  Now that is disgusting!  I decided I would go on a mission to find some "great" new pillows.  I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and found a couple of strangely shaped pillows for side sleepers.  They were expensive, but I thought it was worth a shot.

I brought home two pillows and neither my husband nor I could stand them.  They were hard and there was no way one could sleep on them.  (The sales person had told me they were wonderful, but you had to use them the right way.  She didn't explain what the right way was, unfortunately.)  They only way these pillows could be used is as a place for our pet canaries to perch and we don't have canaries.

Yesterday, I found the perfect pillow.  It was $49 (expensive), but oh so worth it.  The pillow is filled with white duck down.  Now what difference white duck down makes, I have no idea.  I wonder if brown duck down would be as perfect but somehow I doubt it.  This pillow makes my head, neck and shoulders feel like I"m floating on a cloud.  I hate to even get out of bed and leave this magical and marvelous pillow.  I let my husband sample it for an hour this morning and he agreed.  Alex thought a $20 pillow would be just fine, so that's what he got.  After sampling my pillow, he had to get a "white duck down" filled, $49 dolla,r pillow for himself too so we went back to the store.

My advice to you is to go get some white ducks and gather their down for a while, or just go spring for the expensive pillows.  You will thank me.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Secrets!

Today, I was referred to as "my secret lady friend".  Damn!  I love that.  My gentleman friend went on to say, "For obvious reasons, I will show no photos."

I love intrigue!  I love romance and a hint of danger and misbehavior. 

It's no secret that my husband travels all the damn time.  He's away this week, and I decided to invite a neighbor man (Phil) to dinner.  Phil is really a great looking, smart, and fun single man.

On Monday night, I decided to serve dinner in the kitchen rather than the dining room.  It was cozy and intimate.  I prepared cold artichokes and a spicy mustard dip, New York cuts, and Israeli couscous with sauteed mushrooms and onions topped with fresh parsley and tomatoes from the garden.  It was a delightful dinner.  Because we are having extreme heat, sparkling water was our beverage of choice.  Phil went home at a respectable hour but we had decided to have lunch the next day.

We went to a restaurant that Alex and I frequent, and our busboy asked where my husband was.  Phil answered for me saying "Alex is out of town this week and Linda gets lonely".  The busboy looked somewhat chagrined but I just smiled at him and nodded in agreement.

The owner of the restaurant dropped by, and kissed me on the cheek.  I introduced him to Phil, and he showed no reaction at all except a slight quiver in his pupil.  He made a few minutes of small talk with us about our meal and then excused himself.

When we got back home, Phil walked me up to the house and gave me a hug and kiss on the front porch.  Two of my neighbors were watching intently from their windows.

Is it bad that I don't mind having a bad reputation?

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Good, The Better, The Best!

I've been trying to concentrate on the positive and ignore the negative in the last week or so.  I think it's working!

Last week started off rather ho hum.  Alex was sent up to Beale Air Force Base to solve some technical problems.  I was a bit bummed about being alone, again.  Now, I know I've bitched and moaned for years about how much Alex travels.  I hate being left to my own devices.  Okay, I don't trust me with my own devices.  I've been known to do some reckless, foolish and occasionally dangerous things when I get bored.  Inviting the Kirby vacuum cleaner guy in for tea might be an example of one of my stupid moves, but on occasion it has been worse.  Much worse.  I won't elaborate on that.

Yes, I could go on and describe depravity, insanity, and that one trip to the City Jail (not being in custody though), but I won't.  Sometimes I can be discreet.

Anyway, the positive started when Alex called on Wednesday late afternoon and said he was coming home early.  Happy Happy Joy Joy!  I pulled some lamb chops out of the freezer to defrost, changed the sheets, and bought some flowers!  I also ran to the market for some fresh organic vegetables!  I bathed and primped until I looked like a sparkly eyed minx, or an overly made up hussy. (Alex likes me either way.)

When Alex got home I opened a bottle of "Prisoner", (a wonderful Zin), and spent about an hour listening to him emote about the challenges of his trip.  I shook my head and clicked my tongue at appropriate intervals while I prepared dinner.  Finally, Alex started talking about something that interested me more than his technical issues.  He mentioned the Kentucky Derby!

I have long been a fan (sometimes way too fanatically) of horse-racing.  I try to watch the Derby most years because of the color, the scenery,the hats, and the magnificent horses.  Alex was telling me about a Yuba City horse named "California Chrome" who was going to be running in the Kentucky Derby this year.   (Yuba City is adjacent to Beale Air Force Base and apparently California Chrome had been talked about constantly while he was on site in the area.)

The horse is something of a mongrel.  His sire was not of royal lineage, nor was his mare.  Chrome was the equivalent of getting a "mixed breed" from the shelter up against all the horses with royal pedigrees.  None the less, California Chrome was looking like the favorite to win the Derby.

We have a local cafe where the owner, an Irish woman named Noreen, is an avid fan of horse racing.  Noreen actually owns a couple of horses and races them.  She and Alex were discussing the Derby when we were having lunch at her cafe.  Noreen was sending her husband to the race track the next day to place her bet for the Kentucky Derby.  Alex asked Noreen if she would mind having her husband place a bet for him as well and she said "sure".

Alex gave Noreen $100 and asked for it to be placed on California Chrome to win.  She took his money and said she would take care of it.  (I was somewhat surprised because we really have never bet on horses in the 25 years we've been married - and $100 to win is a fairly serious 'bet" to my way of thinking.) 

We were invited to a "Kentucky Derby" party at Pican Restaurant in Oakland on Saturday.  Pican is a gorgeous restaurant with a truly Southern feel, and dressing up worthy of the Kentucky Derby to sip mint juleps and watch the race sounded pretty fun to us both.  We spent a couple of hours sipping fine bourbons and nibbling on Southern delicacies waiting for that heart pounding two minutes of the race. 

By the time the race was 2/3rds over, it was obvious that California Chrome was indeed the winner!  Wow!  Our horse came in!  That in itself made it a great day.  But wait!  The odds had been 2-1 on Friday when we placed the bet.  I figured that we would get back our $100 and get $50 on top of that.  Okay, I'm thrilled with getting $25 (community property, you know), and we came home happy.

On Sunday, Alex went by Noreen's cafe and she had his "pay off".  She counted out $350.00 and handed it to him.  Alex was shocked!  When he came home and gave me "my" half of the winnings, my mouth flew open in surprise!  We both did the "money dance" for about two hours!

Why it's so much more fun to win money than to earn it, I have no idea!  But it is!!!