Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
We were at a stop light, sitting in the sweltering Southern California summer heat, to which we hadn’t become accustomed in our first three weeks of living here.
“Help!” The haggard young woman screamed in desperation through the tiny crack in her car window, with a baby in her lap. Our heads turned to the car next to us, startled by the scene. A grim-faced man with jaw set and eyes riveted ahead sat in front of the frightened woman. Claire rolled down the window, making the cries louder and more gripping.
“Please! You’ve got to do something! He tried to run me over!”
“Jason, we’ve got to do something!” Claire asserted, as the light turned green and the beat up hatchback jolted forward and began turning right. “Follow them!”
“What? Follow them? I’m not sure that would be a good idea.” I stammered. The thought terrified me.
Claire wasn’t accepting that for an answer. “We’ve got to help her!”
I had already passed through the intersection, somewhat waveringly.
“Turn around and help her!” she persisted.
Very uneasy, I turned the car around and then made a left turn through the yellow light, in hot but reluctant pursuit. We followed the car into the parking lot of Camping World. The man jumped out of the car and rushed to the payphone. We pulled up, and Claire jumped out of the car, spilling a huge pile of important papers that I was taking home from work. I panicked as they went with the wind, scrambling to recover them while Claire opened the door of the other car and helped the woman and baby out, squeezing them into the back seat with Hilary and Amelia.
“Oh, thank you, thank you, oh, he tried to kill me!”
As we rushed away, I just knew gunshots were going to follow us. But glancing in the mirror, the man continued his phone conversation. I sped down the street to our new apartment, and to Claire’s urging, parked next to a different building, and rushed our kids over to our building and through our door, slamming and locking it. Trembling and heart racing, I called the police.
Meanwhile, Claire was trying to persuade the woman, who she determined was named Sharon, to follow her into our apartment. However, out of fear and panic, Sharon disappeared behind another building. Claire chased her calling, “Sharon! Sharon! It’s okay! We’ll help you! We’re calling the police! Sharon!” But she was gone.
Telling my story to the police, they said they would send a squad car to our complex, stating that there had been reports a few minutes previous that someone had seen a man trying to run over a woman and her baby.
Claire was still searching when the officers arrived. They looked around for a few minutes as well, but soon gave up the search and returned and asked us to give a statement. They asked us if we would be willing to make an identification or testify at a later date, to which we agreed.
A few weeks later we were subpoenaed to testify in this domestic abuse case, so we took the day off and went to court. After waiting for what seemed like forever, a frustrated attorney came out of the courtroom and informed us that the plaintiff had never shown up, which meant she was dropping charges and the case was dismissed.
In spite of this unnerving event, we loved living here and we didn't let it shake our determination to survive in hot, expensive, sometimes frightening Southern California. That is, until six months later when we were pounded by the Northridge earthquake. But that's a whole 'nother Welcome to Sunny Southern California blog post!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
"I want everybody to hear loud and clear that I'm going to be the president of everybody."
"The suicide bombings have increased. There's too many of them."
"It's negative to think about blowing each other up. That's not a positive thought. That's a Cold War thought. That's a thought when people were enemies with each other."
"For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the greatest enduring alliances of all time."
"We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease."
"The thing that's important for me to remember is what's the most important thing."
These cracked me up.
(Sorry--I forgot who said that one!)
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I spoke with and met several individuals, getting glimpses into their lives, often leaving me wanting to know more about them, my curiousity piqued. But the two individuals that I really wanted to share with you were these:
He was a totally nice guy, and I would have bought the car from him except that it had more miles on it than I really wanted. He was so nice, in fact, that he let Diego use his potty twice, once for #1, then later for #2! While Giancarlo was helping Diego in the bathroom, Barry gave me a bottle of water and then motioned for me to come and look through a doorway that was just off the kitchen. He pointed at a woman sleeping in a poofy white bed, dead to the world, and laughed at her saying how she's been working very hard and was completely knocked out. I felt that I was looking at something very inappropriate! I mean, I know that if my significant other brought some stranger who was shopping for economy cars to the doorway of my bedroom while I was sleeping and laughed at me, I would be furious! Sleeping is very private! Secondly, how did she not wake up? Not only were we gazing into the room while Barry laughingly spoke of her exhaustion, but Diego was talking in his normal unabashed voice about going pee-pee!
Next I met a young construction worker in the hills of Glendale named Austin who was selling a Kia Spectra that he bought from the police impound yard. He was wearing a tank top, and he was pretty good looking, except that he had the bushiest armpits in America. These weren't just hairy, they were out. Of. Control. I kid you not! The hair poofed out like sprays of seaweed waving in the water, calling all attention away from his chiseled cheek bones, perfect nose, and piercing eyes. I was struggling not to stare, thinking vaguely about the manscaping that needed to be done. While we were looking at the car, his mother came out to the street, dragging heavily on a cigarette, and reminded him to buy water and lettuce when he was done with me. I'm certain she was one of the Barbi twins.
As she commented on what a great car the Kia was, Austin took the cigarette out of his mother's mouth, put it to his, and pulled smoke deep into this lungs. Once again, I felt like I was witnessing something that I shouldn't, as if sharing a cigarette with your Barbi twin mother was somehow bordering on the incestuous. In any case, I didn't feel comfortable with the car and I moved on.
We ended up buying a Daewoo station wagon from a rental place in Downey. Yes, Downey, home of the late, great Karen Carpenter. Perhaps it was because this was the best deal. Perhaps it was due to the low miles on the car. Maybe it was due to the practicality of the car. Or, maybe it was because this was a place of business, something I am accustomed to, and there was no chance I would be shown things that maybe I shouldn't be shown.
My big news of the year is the surprise wedding of our oldest daughter, Hilary, to Nathan! On May 29th, the little rascals ran off to city hall without telling anyone and tied the knot....good old fashioned eloping, is what they call it, I do believe.
They're the perfect couple--so alike in so many ways! Nathan--our son-in-law-- is a very nice, mellow guy, and it is a pleasure having him around.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
And apparently, some people don't even have belly buttons, like this guy:
And, apparently, Patricia Heaton:
There are many various and sundry things people can do with their belly buttons, like piercing,
and using it to hang things, like champagne bottles and stuff.
Then, of course, tattoos are very popular. Making your belly button look like a monkey's anus can be fun.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
This one is undoubtedly the most provocative photograph of the Blast From the Past series. Instead of giving you the story behind this photo, why don't we have a little contest? Can anybody come up with a catchy, even provocative caption for this one? Post a comment and share your ideas! Come on! Don't be shy! Don't just lurk like some sick voyeur, share your creative genius with all!
And......this was taken at one of my dad's weddings.....he's been married three times and I wasn't invited to any of them....not even the first one, to my own mother! A few months after Mom died, he announced he was going to marry Linda. For many reasons, this wasn't a successful relationship, and it ended in tragedy. Dad and Linda were in a horrible, freak car accident. They were parked on the side of the highway having an argument and a distracted mother veered off the road and plowed into them, flipping their car over. Linda received severe head trauma, has been in the hospital or a nursing home ever since, and she doesn't really recognize anyone.
As yappy as they are, they're beautiful and I love them!
This photo was taken in Seattle about five years ago at during the Christmas holidays. Claire had just had serious kidney surgery, so her two ex husbands came to take care of her! Aren't we sweet? Dennis and I really bonded during this trip. At least I think we did.
Amelia was very fond of dressing up.
--Kindergarten baby, sittin' in the gravy
--Amelia, the carnivore
--My very short dad married a very tall woman
--The revealing bathroom instrusion
Don't miss it!