I’ve always wanted a dinosaur

Not a real one because it would probably eat Stella. Just a super cool, kind of scary, fairly large replica for the yard. Though this skeleton version is pretty neat (and only $100,000), I prefer the kind with everything.

(for sale on the Design Toscano website)

Dino on left: What the–dammit! Who left this here?
Dino on right: What are you talking about Mildred?
Left: This huge wad of gum. I’ll never get this–and now it’s between my toes. Great. I can’t even reach my toes.
Right: You don’t have to be so dramatic. Rub an ice cube on it.
Left: Is that what you’re going to do?
Right: I don’t–ahhh, motherfucker. If I see those little Evans midgets, they ass is mine.

A lawnosaurus isn’t really in the budget, but if it were we would count ourselves lucky we don’t live in Carmel. A couple planted a 12-foot tall dino in their front yard and ended up having to remove it due to neighbor complaints and hardcore city regulations. Boo.

There was a house in the Heights in the ’70s that had a couple/few dinosaurs in the yard. I’d see them on bike rides with my parents, and I loved them. My dim recollection is that they were more cartoonish than scary–I see a purple brontosaurus in my memory. But that could be childhood embellishment. Anyway, that’s when the seed was planted, and I haven’t shaken the idea since.

I wish I had a picture of those dinosaurs.


psychedelic Sunday

We had a big day of hiking yesterday so decided to take it easy today and just bring some sandwiches to the beach. We found a bench not far from Point Pinos Lighthouse, which is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast. We were not trailblazers, eating on this bench, as the wildlife soon informed us.

I don’t mean to bother you
but if you could be so kind as to perhaps
share a bite of that tuna sandwich I’d be ever so–
not so fast, vermin, this is my corner
I’m going to get that bitch

Neither squirrel nor gull got an intentional bite out of us. I did drop a small piece of lettuce right next to my shoe, and the squirrel was there in a flash to eat it, then stood up on its back legs clapping its little paws together asking for more. That was…odd.

After we were done eating and were crawling around on the rocks, I saw another squirrel. Same squirrel? Who knows. I started clucking at it, like you do to a horse or dog, and that little fucker ran right up to me. Stared at me long enough to realize I didn’t have anything to feed it, then it ran off. So I can cross, “Get a squirrel to come to you like a dog” off my bucket list.

Saw what looked like a fin way out. Zoomed my camera as far as it would go and snapped away, unable to see what it was until I uploaded the shots to my computer.

huh, that’s a flipper
oh – is that a dead flipper?

A quick google suggests I might have gotten a shot of a sea lion (or maybe a seal) that is “sailing,” which means it’s either sleeping or regulating its body temperature. Not dead. We’ll go with that.

Finally, we saw some really beautiful–and slightly psychedelic–tide pools.



tide pool

that’ll leave a mark

It’s not Martha’s fault. Not really. I mean, her recipe specified a “medium” saucepan for the boiling water to which I was to add a steady stream of cornmeal. Maybe one person’s medium is the next felon’s large. I’ve been cooking for a long time, so I should be capable of determining what size pan to use for polenta. And no, I wasn’t drinking (it was a school night), so it’s not the booze that did it.

Ultimately, the angry red scar residing on the inside of my wrist is my own damn fault. It’s still healing, so there’s a chance that what is currently quarter-sized will shrink to nothing. I’m putting vitamin E oil on it to help things along. We’ll see.

If the mark remains in some form, that’s okay too. Someday it’ll remind me of a meal I cooked in that weird old house in Houston years ago, when a burp of transitioning cornmeal tried to hitch a ride on my wrist, causing me to cuss and fling my arm but not stop cooking until it was done. And those thoughts will inevitably lead to others, completely unrelated to boiling cornmeal and different definitions of what makes a saucepan “medium.”

I already have a scar on the other wrist, a little U-shaped white line that looks like I toyed with the idea of ending it all but didn’t really commit, using the plastic sword from the garnish on a bloody mary instead of something more deadly. That scar is a physical reminder of my last night as a bartender. I ended my decade-long bartending career on a cool December night in 2001 at a place called Catbirds. I was bringing in an arm-load of dirty glasses from the patio after last call when I tripped on the doorway, dropped the glasses and then landed on hands and knees…in broken glass…in front of a group of my friends who’d come to see me off. A typically graceful exit.

Thinking about Catbirds takes me to Tropical Storm Allison (I was bartending that night), and the still surreal memory of 18-wheelers floating down I-10 on their sides like bath toys. The scar on my upper thigh reminds me of working at Chili’s when I was 19 and getting too close to the chip drawer while wearing a blue jean mini-skirt (thus learning a lesson early in my service career to never wear anything but pants to work). The scar on my bottom lip from Salty, the dog, is a reminder not to mess with dogs (or people, for that matter) when they’re eating. The scar on my right knee from when I was learning to ride a bike equals my childhood home in the Heights and the big tree in the front yard that I used for a brake.

Each scar is its own little wormhole to another place and time. Maybe I don’t mind if this one sticks around.