15 March 2008


My dad's family on the paternal side moved to California from Indiana in the 1880's following a failed apple harvest. They decided they had had enough.

Along with four other families, they packed it up and headed west, eventually arriving in Los Olivos, which is still a tiny town, inland a bit from Santa Barbara and just over an hour from where I now live.

My dad grew up in this house, minus the Saab and Home Depot boxes:
Where Dad grew up
He had six brothers and sisters, so along with his aunts and uncles and cousins, they made up most of the population of the town. Dad's father ran the garage. His uncle ran one store and his aunt another. Another uncle owned the movie theater. It was like Mayberry, California style.

After coming back from the war (that would be WWII, Europe, where he was an Army Master Sergeant), he married my mom and they moved a couple blocks away to:Mom and Dad's first house
The famous tin-roofed house where they couldn't hear themselves talk when it was raining.

As I was looking for a place to have lunch, I saw a poster for a book signing for Images of Los Olivos, this little historical book, mostly photos, from the town's past.

I bought a couple copies and giggled as I ate my pizza, looking at photos of my dad's grandparents from 1912. It felt like someone had handed me the best present ever, like I had gotten back something I didn't even know I was missing.

14 March 2008

Country roads take me home

I'm driving back roads on my way up to my old town. I am sitting in a cafe in Los Olivos, a town my dad's family helped found in the 1800s. I love California in the springtime when it is all green. It doesn't last long, so we enjoy it while we can.

11 March 2008

Waterboard me, baby

Tonight I sniffed my very wet swimsuit to see if it was still chlorine-y from the disgusting pool at my gym. I got a nosefull of water (duh) and a moment of panic, and then I realized how terrifying waterboarding must be.

I'm not going to describe it but you can find plenty of stuff online.

I was an Amnesty International USA member and group leader for years.

I wrote hundreds of letters to try and get political prisoners released or granted their basic human rights. The success of my group was remarkable. Thanks to the help of our then-congressman, Leon Panetta, five of the cases we worked on were released from prison in short order. It helps to have the Chairman of the House Budget Committee working on your behalf.

I also wrote bales of letters to beg dictators to stop torturing people. I was always SO PROUD that I lived in the U.S., a country that did not believe in torture.

Therefore, I find it an especially bitter irony that my own government is torturing. Not coercively interrogating, as the Associated Press has been calling it lately. Torturing.

Torturing. For what? To stay safe? From who? Dictators and evil people...people who do evil things...like torture?

10 March 2008

Unholy Trinities

Of Personal Appearance
  • Allergies (Sinus Headache/Dark Eye Circles/Bloodshot Eyes)
  • Flat Hair from dry weather
  • PMS

Of Retail Experience
  • Returns Counter at Kohl's
  • Clerk who has to answer long, complex questions on the phone AND help everyone in line
  • Someone taking a long, smelly dump in the adjacent bathroom WITH the door open

Of Commuting
  • The dude who can see traffic can't go any faster but zooms up at 90 mph anyway and sits there 2 inches from the car in front of him
  • The morning sun beaming RIGHT at eye level
  • $3.45 a gallon gas

What's YOUR unholy trinity?

09 March 2008

Afternoon at the Getty

Three friends and I spent the afternoon at the Getty Museum, high atop a hill overlooking most of Los Angeles.

It was my first trip there, and it was a perfect day for it. Warm and lovely weather had couples making out on the lawn and beautiful people were strolling about in skimpy clothes.

We visited one photography exhibit, then went outside to enjoy the day.

The azalea labyrinth was in full bloom. Amazing. Crazy. Gorgeous. Perfect for Los Angeles.

We found some chairs under these crazy rebar trellises and sat in the shade, then went up to the plaza for coffee and a cookie. This is my idea of a rough day at the museum.

Afterward we went to Westwood for NY style pizza AND falafel (not at the same place LOL). Man, I love art.
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