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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Army Protects Los Feliz

I love all things off beat of the avenue. Those out of the ordinary things that make you stop mid-step to take notice. Those things that ignite a smile with “Hey, I wish I thought of that!”

In the past I’ve been excited by ruby red shoes hanging across telephone lines in the middle of the street.  The first time I saw them I was at a traffic light and they were dangling high above my car. I took out my camera for a photo and was so enthralled with the mystery of why they were there that I forgot to drive when the light turned green.  The impatient car behind me didn’t appreciate my enthusiasm for ruby red shoes. 

The ruby reds have been replaced recently by hanging Teddy Bears.  They dangle above the traffic like pinatas for birds. I giggle every time I see them. 

Today while roaming Hillhurst Avenue in Los Feliz I noticed a small army figure poised on top of a parking meter.  I was immediately flooded with memories. This was the same army figure I had in my toy chest as a child.  I wanted to touch it, to reposition it, to aim it towards the enemy lines.  I wanted to be that soldier and be all that I can be.


I looked further down the street and saw other army figures on top of other parking meters.  They were all there protecting us from whatever it is we need protection from in Los Feliz… aliens? meter maids? actors? 


Was it Uncle Sam saying I Want You?  I really don’t know but I did have a surge of patriotic pride. 

Will the Los Angeles Times run the headline “Army Protects Los Feliz” in tomorrow’s edition? 

Other people were walking along the street and not noticing the army men standing guard.  They were too busy texting, chatting on their phones, and picking their noses to even notice what was happening around them.  


Who is the person who put their army men at risk for the protection of Los Feliz folk? 

Is that person my neighbor or someone I’ve worked with or even a friend?   

Was that person at that moment watching me from afar? 

Was I being video taped for some reality show? 

I wanted to snatch one of the army men. I really did but I didn’t.  What would I do with it once I got it home?  I’d probably display it on my desk beside my computer and autographed photos of Donald Trump, Milli Vanilli, and Monica Lewinsky.  I’d probably play with it whenever I got bored with writing.

But kidnapping the army is a crime, and I’m no criminal. 

I took a few photos and continued on my way. 

And as I walked away I hummed Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy… of Company B. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Celebration of Life Party

Have you ever wondered what your friends and loved ones would say about you at your funeral? 

I never gave it much thought until recently. As age increases there’s always the fear that you might be closer to the end than you think. When asked I always say I’m somewhere between 35 and death, hopefully closer to 35 than death, but hey… the clock only ticks forward and never backwards. 

A friend of a friend of a friend’s mother is facing the end and instead of waiting to die for a celebration of her life she decided to have a “Celebration of Life” party honoring herself.  It was a barbecue.  She made her famous potato salad, grilled lots of meat, and let the sangria flow freely.  Guests arrived with jello salad, chips and salsa, Trader Joe’s cookies, macaroni salad, and deviled eggs.


I heard it was quite the party.  Sure there were genuine tears of sadness, but in the end everyone had a terrific time and shared their memories and thoughts about the woman to her face. How sweet. How honest. How wonderful. 

This got me thinking of all the celebration of life possibilities for the near dead.  There could be themed celebrations such as black tie, super heroes, togas, nudist, Renaissance Faire, or even zombies. 

I’m certain Tiffany or Debbie Gibson or Aha or Vanilla Ice or even The Captain and Tennille would provide affordable entertainment. Maybe even Lady Gaga.  

If I were to do my Celebration of Life party I would do a Bowling Celebration of Life with musical entertainment by Kim Carnes. Everyone would be required to wear a vintage bowling shirt and to bring their balls. We would all bowl together sharing balls celebrating strikes, spares, and gutter balls too.  

There’d be lots of laughter, libations, and liver pate.  The multitude of people attending would recall glorious memories and tell heartwarming hysterical stories about me. They would shed tears like Niagara Falls when the party ended. And as they left I would present each one with my favorite flower, a sunflower.


Aah but I’m not quite ready to kick the bucket nor tidy up my bucket list. I anticipate another decade or two before I reserve the Bowladrome and send out the invitations. 

If money becomes an issue and I can’t afford a Celebration of Life party then I’d like to die quickly.  I’d like to have an intense fart followed by a sharp pain through the chest then belching “yabba dabba do so long folks!” and collapsing… and boarding the express train to heaven.  

My preferred way to die is to have the bowling party and then die of old age.  The actual moment would come during an afternoon nap.  When I close my eyes I’d see a tour bus like the ones those country stars travel in, and with Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers serenading me with “Islands In The Stream” I’d willingly board that bus… Destination Heaven. 

My death is something to look forward to, but not yet (I hope). 

In the meantime, as a precaution, I refrain from gassy foods and afternoon naps. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Wadda Wadda Wadda Lady

On Saturday I went to the neighborhood Coffee Bean to meet a friend for java and conversation.  I arrived early and found a table in the far corner of the patio with plenty of shade and no direct sunlight to induce squinting.

Seated at the table beside me was an attractive older woman in her early 70s. She was seated by herself.  When I sat down we smiled at each other.

I proceeded to unwrap my Lemon Currant Scone and sip my coffee while she proceeded to dial her phone.

Then I heard her speak, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She seemed to be saying “Wadda Wadda Wadda” not once or twice but repeatedly.  It was very rhythmic with melodic highs and lows and a few breaks to catch her breath and start all over again.

Was I hearing correctly? 

Wadda wadda wadda wadda wadda… wadda wadda… wadda…

Was she a fellow Bostonian with a heavy Bostonian accent?  Was she telling the person on the phone to be sure to have plenty of “water” on hand for the hot, hot day? 

After hearing her say it over and over again I decided she wasn’t a Bostonian because a Bostonian would only have to say it once, and the person listening would know exactly what was being said.

Then I thought she was speaking a foreign language I never heard before.  But that didn’t make sense. I know a lot of people and have experienced a lot of foreign tongue and nothing I’ve experienced ever resembled what she was saying.

She hung up the phone and looked at me and smiled broadly. I returned the smile. In her eyes I saw something I’ve never seen before. It was a far away look, though friendly, but definitely far away, maybe from a far away galaxy.

She dialed her phone again and began the same phrase but with a different, more staccato rhythm.

Wadda wadda… wadda… wadda wadda… wadda wadda… wadda…

Then I remembered actress Anne Heche telling Barbara Walters she had a split personality with its own language. Was this woman on the phone with Anne Heche?  She seemed to be enthralled by her conversation.

When the conversation ended she turned her attention to me and began talking.

Wadda… wadda wadda.. wadda wadda wadda!

I didn’t know how to respond. I wondered if I should wadda wadda wadda along with her or talk to her in English or French or Pig Latin?  Before I could decide she stood up and gathered her things.  She smiled a huge smile as if she was the happiest woman in the world. At that moment I believed she was and her happiness was infectious.  I was suddenly giddy.

The wadda wadda wadda Lady waved good bye.

I too waved good bye.

And that was my Saturday morning adventure at The Coffee Bean.