Chewing the Fat

Chewing the Fat

Let’s chew the fat, shall we? If you ask me, that’s all I’ve been doing lately. And by this I actually mean trying to get rid of the saggy bits on my body, if you know what I mean.

It all started with my friend, Clare.

No, wait.

It all really all started with my doctor who at a recent checkup said, that a certain you-know-who should think about losing a few, well, we don’t have to go into details here, do we? You can figure it out.

So, where was I? Continue reading

Singing the Bad Luck Blues–Again!

Singing the Bad Luck Blues–Again!

Here we go again. Yep, I’m singing the bad luck blues. But not for me. Sure, there are days when everything goes wrong and all I want to say is, why me? But not this time. Nope. This time, I’m saying,

Why Clare? Continue reading

Heading Back to the Emerald City–

View from the Pike Place Market, which is always on my must-do list when visiting Seattle.

–Or, I have a feeling I’m not in So-Cal anymore!

Recently, I decided to throw caution to the wind, and throw the shoestring budget I’ve been on out the door, so that I could head back to the place I called home for nearly a decade: Seattle.

The Emerald City. The Pacific Northwest and all that.  Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but for me, mine will always be firmly entrenched in the city nestled on a gazillion bodies of water, between the Cascade and Olympic mountains. Lush and green, and a far cry from my current dessert-like home, where the weather may be gorgeous all year round, but limited rainfall makes it a largely brown and arid region.

For those who have read my Road Taken saga, you’ll know that I moved to Seattle to be with my ex, who wasn’t an ex back then, but rather, a boyfriend, and then a husband. The “ex” part came long after we left Seattle. Which does make me wonder, what if we’d never left Seattle at all?  Hmm….

Seattle is green in so many ways. What struck me is how many people grow their own vegetables and the like, right along the sidewalk. So resourceful!

Anyway, I still have friends there. Good friends, who I don’t see often but when I do, it’s just like old times. Friends like Pam, who was the subject of three entire Road Taken installments.  There’s also Pat, my highly-organized, pays attention to every detail, kindred spirit. She loves to write and watch soaps—we were both hooked on Dallas and Knots Landing for years—and Tom, my quiet friend who prefers to call me by my alter name, “Della Wolfe,” and who drives me to drink with his flair for making tantalizingly addictive, Galliano Sours.

And, then there’s Clare.

Clare is a published author, whose latest book, Soccer Dreams, was inspired by a project we once worked on together. She also is a performer and songwriter (when in Seattle, you have to catch The Righteous Mothers in concert, and you’ll see Clare singing and on the piano). She’s been helping me tremendously, with my half-baked attempts to write my memoir. She’s like my coach and she’s very critical. When others keep telling me they like my stuff, Clare sees right through my charade and shenanigans, and tells me, I could do better. She pushes and pushes until I’m up against the wall and ready to cry, “Uncle!”

Mother’s Day proved to be a beautiful day for a three-mile walk around Greenlake.

But, in the end I have found, Clare knows best, and she’s really a lifesaver, helping me put together something that is cogent and actually tells a story.

It was Clare that suggested I come up to Seattle and take a Life Story seminar, with her mentor, Brenda Peterson, author of a memoir titled, I Want to be Left Behind, about life with her Southern Baptist family as they eagerly prepared for the Rapture.  I’d never taken a class on memoir writing before and I learned all sorts of interesting tidbits in this one, which I’ll be sure to share in a future post. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos, taken during my visit to the Seattle of my heart.

This photo of one of Pam’s daughters exemplifies how green Seattle is, and also at peace I feel when there. It is like a green cathedral.

This dog doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. He’s going places but has no idea where. I wanted to get his owner in the picture as well, but they were going too fast!

This is one of Clare’s favorite spots for contemplating and zoning out: The Japanese Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum. Too beautiful for words!

If I moved back to Seattle, I’d want to live in this spectacular building. A work of art, if you ask me!

Pam’s Yorkshire Terriers. Aren’t they adorable? I wanted to scoop them up and bring them home.

View from Fremont neighborhood. Look closely and you can see Mt. Rainier in the background. Breathtaking!

The Bad Luck Blues

Ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go right?  Well my friend, Clare, has been having such a day, except her day’s lasted about a year. Yep, if you ask me, Clare has been having a prolonged case of the bad luck blues. Which is probably why I keep asking myself, Why do bad things happen to good people?

Clare deserves to win the lottery, or a round of Go Fish, to help shake away her bad luck blues.

Here’s where her bad luck streak started:  Last fall, after a night of partying and drinking with her buddies, Clare, feeling a little tipsy, decided to take a cab home.  Turns out the cab driver had friends in low places. As soon as the driver pulled up on Clare’s street, the cab was surrounded by miscreants with ammo.  It proved to be a rather harrowing moment for Clare, who cleverly escaped by jumping out of the car and making a mad dash for her apartment, whereupon she hid under the dining table.

Clare remained under the table while the gunfire ricocheted around her neighborhood. She even managed to call the police, that is, once she was able to pry apart her fingers, which had been tightly wrapped around her cell phone. When the police finally arrived, that’s where they found her–tucked underneath the table in a fetal position.  Way to go, Clare!

This episode was followed by a less terrifying one, when a lady with blue-haired dreadlocks, who clearly was not paying attention, drove her car smack into the door of Clare’s car, just as she was disembarking from the driver’s side. This knocked Clare for a loop and the car door to the ground.  As providence would have it, the dreadlock lady was not insured. Adding insult to injury, the entire door had to be replaced.

About two months after that, sometime in the middle of the night, a quiet, unassuming fellow ran into the other side of Clare’s car. Fortunately, he left a note. Unfortunately, the other side of the car had to be replaced, but fortunately, he was insured (Take that, dreadlock lady!).  Good news for Clare!

Several weeks later, on a dark and stormy night, Clare’s apartment was broken into and, among the things stolen were Clare’s jewelry, perfume, one of her stereo speakers, and all her craft supplies, right down to her knitting needles. Oh, and all of her makeup and electric toothbrush, too. Talk about a bizarro robbery! Was this the work of a 20-something woman, about to move out on her own? She must have been thinking,

“Why shop at Bed Bath & Beyond, when you can do one-stop shopping at Clare’s?”

Super-sleuth Clare later discovered a speaker, exactly like hers, for sale on Craig’s List. “Jackpot!” she cried, as she made contact with the seller to catch them at their own game. The police even helped set up a sting operation to get her goods back, but this turned out to be a false alarm, and Clare wasn’t able to recover any of her stuff. Disappointing? Yes, though I’m not really sure Clare wanted her toothbrush back.

Turns out, the robbers weren’t finished with Clare. Unbeknownst to her, they had one more thing of hers—a set of car keys.  Clare had not noticed the keys missing, so was caught unawares a few nights later when (you guessed it), they came back for the car.

Bad luck is supposed to come in three’s, but in Clare’s case, it’s coming in about three dozen’s, give or take a few. Many a friend has tried to tell Clare that it’s time to read the writing on the wall, and get the hell out of dodge. Either that, or pack up the rest of her belongings and leave them on the curb, so that the burglars can collect what they missed the first couple of times.

But Clare loves her neighborhood and its bohemian atmosphere, so she has no plans to budge. Through all of these frightful incidents, she’s remained good-natured and sweet as sugar snap peas in July.  She thinks this string of unfortunate incidents is a passing fancy, but I have two words for her: 

Neighborhood Watch!  (You can read about mine–its successes and failures, here).

So what do you think? Any advice for Clare? Can you top her run-in with the bad luck blues?