Forty is the new seven

Sometimes in this crazy mixed up life, you find a friend that becomes such a good friend, they actually become family. And that is a beautiful gift, truly.

And then sometimes you have a blood relative who, over time, becomes one of your very best friends.

I’m referring to a cousin on my mom’s side of the family. We met when I was seven and I think he was ten. We were simpatico from the start, sharing a similar outlook on the world.

Back then without the benefit of the internet, we were steadfast pen pals, writing pages and pages to each other about our thoughts, our dreams and of course our drama.

Over time, we graduated to email. Buckets and buckets of bits flying back and forth over the internet, keeping us connected, providing laughs, and that invaluable sort of knowledge that someone out there in the world understands.

He was there at my wedding. A year later, I was there when he staged the musical he’d written (both book and music) and produced.

We’d both helped each other get to our own day of celebration, and it was unthinkable to not be there for the other.

Anyhow, it’s a very cool friendship. Over the weekend, we got to spend some time as my cousin is paying a visit to the Bay Area.

We took off on Friday headed for the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

My mom was raised in Oregon, so once a year or so, she’d take us to visit family in Oregon, and that always included a trip to the Oregon coast.

My cousin and I bonded over years of trips to the beach, so going to the aquarium seemed utterly natural.

One of my favorite exhibits at the aquarium is the otters. I adore the otters and could stand at their tank for *hours*.

What I love is that around my cousin I can be totally ridiculous and immature. In fact, I can even revert to childhood.

So as we stood there watching an otter zip around the tank, every time the rambunctious otter swam right in front of the glass, just inches away from me, I’d utter a childlike “hi!”

Round and round. “Hi!” and “hi!”

And my cousin laughed every time.

I didn’t even feel self-conscious.

Then we got to the huge tank in the Outer Bay exhibit. When I dropped to the floor on my knees (like all the other little kids) to watch the show, he plunked down next to me with a “wooooow” (it really is a spectacular sight).

We giggled at seahorses, we petted bat rays in the touching tank (the bat rays loved my cousin), and we wooowed at the giant jellies.

Man it was a great day!

Ah to be a kid again. There are only a few people in the world who can make that feel safe for me (The Good Man is one of them).

And that just might be the meaning of life.

(loved the seahorses!)

Seductive Power of Film

Over the weekend, The Good Man and I caught a double feature of The Asphalt Jungle and Niagara, both from the early 1950’s.

This was part of the Noir City Film Festival in San Francisco.

I love old movies, so a double header of Marilyn Monroe at the old Castro Theater was my kind of Sunday afternoon.

Ooh, the danger, the intrigue, the double crosses and bad outcomes!


But it was all the highball glasses of bourbon and endless chain-smoking on screen that left a lasting impression on me.

I mean, every character was lightin’ up for the course of both movies. And oh do they look like they are enjoying every single inhale.

And then they’d pour two fingers of whiskey and slug that back and the shoulders come down and a nice relaxed state falls into place. The booze and the smokes were like a separate character in the film!

Man. Did those actors make it look good.

No, I’m serious. Chalk it up to an addictive personality or someone who just enjoys really seductive things, but I’m not kidding. I wanted to leave the theater and go buy a pack of unfiltered Pall Malls so I could inhale and calm down and be as cool as a tall drink of water like Marilyn or Sterling Hayden.

And if I was gonna take a long drag off a cool smoke, well of course I’d need some single barrel whiskey in my hand to wash it all down while I plotted my revenge, or jewel heist, or how to off the bad guy.

Oh I’m so suggestible!

This must be why those advocacy groups get their chones in a bunch about all the smoking in films, huh?

Because everyone looks great in the films, and you don’t see the stained skin, the smokers hack or, eventually, the oxygen assisted breathing.

I mean, for a girl who lost many a family member to the perils of smoking, you’d think I’d be turned off by all of that.

But I wasn’t. I craved. I’m not even a former smoker, but oh, how I craved to leave a ruby red lipstick stain on a cigarette butt while some charming man lit a new one for me. All while I swayed across the screen with trouble on my mind.

Ah well, never fear, I didn’t engage in the smokes.

However, they were pouring small slugs of decent bourbon in the lobby between shows.

Sunday afternoon I had popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Vines and bourbon.

Whatta great day!!

Ho Ho Ho-ly Crap!

Fer Chrissake! It’s Christmas Eve!

Well I’ll be darned.

It’s a bright, beautiful, sunny day outside and I’m ready to face the day.

After confessing my depression yesterday, it seemed to lift and now I’m back to my old rasty self.

Lookout Santa! I’m comin’ after ya!

Very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Even though I got no snow, I thought this was cute anyway….

On Dasher!

Image source.

Makin’ new (and old) traditions

One of my favorite foods for Christmas has always been, bar none, tamales.

Oh sweet masa and meat and a bit of heat!


I never realized just how lucky I was over the years to have wonderful neighbors, friends and coworkers who gifted me with handmade tamales every year.


All the way out here in California, I don’t have wonderful tamale making friends and I miss them.

So this year, my mom-in-law, a wonderful cook and a lady filled with holiday cheer, suggested we make up a batch of our own tamales.

Oh yeah, baby!

We have both pork and green chile with cheese.

Gonna be a New Mexico Christmas in my house! My kitchen smells fabulous!

And making them with my new family might just have to be a new tradition!

Feast your little eyes!

Wrapped up and ready to be steamed!

Apply the heat.

Steamy goodness!

Yeah, many of these little guys didn’t make it very long out of the steaming pot. Poor delicious tamales! Hope they make it to Christmas!

Such a Suggestible Girl

Sometimes it really worries me that the things I can most easily remember, can get to most quickly in the old brain bucket, are commercials.

Especially those commercials from the formative years.

I can whip out a jingle or a tagline from commercials dating way back, and repeat ’em like Rainman in a phone booth (yikes, no more phone booths!).

What makes these commercials so sticky in the brain? I don’t know, but obviously this is the intended effect, eh?

So here in this Christmas season, I’ve been thinking about all of those old Ronco commercials. No, not the new Ron Popeil ads. Those are lame.

The old Ronco ads. Let’s talk 1970’s.

Remember when Ronco ads used to repeat, ad nauseum, at every commercial break?

Here’s a few I was able to find on the web:

Smokeless Ashtray

Boogie Nights Record Album (Click to play)

Ice Cream Machine(Click to play)

Look at this!! The early Bedazzler!!

Rhinestone and stud setter(Click to play)

Oh yes. Good times.

There are a few of my faves I wasn’t able to find. For example, the Egg Scrambler. A funny little machine that with a pinprick to the egg and the revs of a small motor would scramble it up inside the shell.

Or the Record Vacuum. I found a couple of those ads, but not the one I remember. In the one I recall, they ran the vinyl through the vacuum then tossed a handful of confetti at it (to prove the static was gone, I think?).

Ah yes.

But then, there will always be the gold standard of Ronco commercials.

Found on the web and brought to you.

“Hey good looking! I’ll be back to pick you up later!”


Mr. Microphone! (Click to play)