Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where's Auntie: Jet-Lagged Edition

My first day in California.

My brother took me to the Griffith Observatory to get an overview of Los Angeles. I thought the building was really pretty, so I took this detail shot.

The southeast view from the observatory (so my brother tells me; I am directionally challenged).

The view to the north, with the San Gabriel mountains in the background.

We left the observatory and drove down to Hollywood. I think that in my mind I had it confused with Beverly Hills because I was surprised at how tacky Hollywood was. I mean that in a good way.

I enjoyed seeing Mann's Chinese Theater, where apparently they had a big opening last night for a scary movie starring Anthony Hopkins that I guarantee I will never see.

This is a random elephant on top of a building. I have no explanation for it, but I felt duty bound to share its coolness with you, gentle readers. You're welcome.

Speaking of cool, look whose star I found!

Also speaking of cool, my brother tells me that this very spot, on the corner of Silver Lake and Sunset, is the hipster center of the universe. I could feel myself becoming cooler by the moment while we were there, but alas, the effects are already wearing off.

In the afternoon, we went to a Mexican marketplace that had a plaza nearby where Mexican musicians and native dancers were performing. A guy was singing a song that appeared to be a cautionary tale about getting involved with a "hot woman" while his friends in native regalia filmed it to post on YouTube. I could not make this stuff up if I tried.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Words of Wisdom: Joseph Campbell

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track, which has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why Not Working Is Awesome

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rock On

In my continuing quest to share with you the awesomeness that is The Madonna Inn, I'm going to show you a selection of the extremely popular "rock rooms." This one is called "Caveman." It's one of the solid rock rooms with a waterfall shower. The bathroom also features a caveman stained-glass window, which makes me happy beyond all reason.

Too bad I can't sing. I'll bet that bathroom has some fun acoustics.

I love how the leather furniture in the Caveman room is dyed to look like pelts. Obviously, no effort was spared in creating as authentic a cave home as possible. I never realized our cave-dwelling ancestors had it so good.

This one is called "Yosemite Rock." It features a sort of Wild West theme and a huge rock fireplace.

I just realized that all these rooms, regardless of color scheme or decoration, have bright yellow bath towels in them. I can think of no explanation for that.

This room, called "Rock Bottom," looks like it's the home of the Phantom of The Opera in the basement of the Paris Opera House. That fact alone makes it easily my favorite of the rock rooms. I hope they have a dry ice machine in there someplace.

All Images:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Think Pink

The Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo, CA

I have been in love with The Madonna Inn ever since my friend Annie first sent me the link to their site.

I do feel that for a place called The Madonna Inn, it's short on images of the Blessed Mother. The "Portugal" room doesn't even have one, and that makes no sense whatsoever. Other than that, the inn is truly awesome. The question is not if I want to go there some day (because obviously I do), but which of the 110 uniquely decorated rooms I want to stay in. Decisions, decisions.

Fortunately, I'm a big fan of pink, because apparently the owner's wife is too. This is the Madonna Suite, which she decorated. The "pink rose" carpet is custom designed. Personally, I find those giant blooms a little unnerving.

This room is called "Love Nest," and it features a spiral staircase to a private viewing tower. It also features a plush purple curved sofa and weird chairs that can't seem to decide if they belong in Versailles or a spaceship.

Now we're talking! Check out the pink, sparkly walls and the chandelier right over the bed. This room (called "Carin") has the same bedspread as the previous room but the sparkly walls make it look so much more fancy, don't you think?

"Krazy Dazy" is an elegant homage to 1960s pop art, with a pink shag carpet and giant daisies on the walls. I think this is my favorite of the pink rooms. Enormous daisies don't scare me the way gigantic roses do. I have no explanation for that.

Feeling hungry? I blogged about the Madonna Inn's restaurants here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Maiden Aunt Explores The Great White North

Yesterday, the Army Dude and I decided to go snowshoeing in Greene, Rhode Island. We suited up and then the Army Dude began blazing the trail, as army dudes do; I took five steps and tripped over a wire. I had not yet adjusted to my new foot size. The Army Dude said, "You're not very athletic, are you?" I replied, "Shut up and take my picture."

Where I grew up, nobody had ever heard of Title IX and very few girls participated in organized sports. I danced instead -- and I don't recall Anna Pavlova getting rave reviews for doing her Dying Swan performance while wearing 25-inch flaps on her feet. But ha, ha, Army Dude! Just look at my skiing skills!

And now for some Extreme Snowshoeing! Note the level of danger and difficulty, my friends. I could plunge at least two feet off that precipice. Not athletic, my ass.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Old Maid Avoids Injury Through Ballet Training

I was taking out the trash this morning in snowy and icy conditions. When I stepped back into my apartment to get the recycling while wearing snowy boots, my leading foot planted firmly on the hardwood floor. My back foot slid. This would not have been a problem had I not already been reaching for the bag of cat food tins and soda water bottles.

Did I fall and hurt myself? No, my friends, I did not. I quickly shifted my weight so it was over the toes of my leading foot and I kept the other foot off the floor. My ballet teacher, Mr. P., has been drilling us in quickly changing our weight distribution, and apparently, it's beginning to sink in.

And my father always said ballet would never be useful to me in the real world. Ha. Shows what he knew.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Report From Old Maid HQ

The view from my desk.

It's about ten o'clock on a Tuesday, and I'm sitting at my desk looking out the window at the snow on the ground. Rumor has it that there is a lot more to come. A little while ago, a flock of wild geese flew by. Birds come to the feeder -- little chickadee-type birds, I don't know exactly what kind -- and my cat is sitting in the window making chirping noises at them.

I'm drinking tea and thinking about doing yoga. Later, I think I'll run a couple of errands and then maybe read a book. I might do some cleaning. I might not.

Gentle readers, enjoy your workday. I'm busy holding down the Fort of Doing Nothing In Particular And Enjoying It. Just thought you might like to know.

And Rob, if you read this later today, I hope you enjoyed that cold ocean water. Thinking about it is making me feel chilled. Good thing I'm sitting in the sun.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Take The Long Way Home

Image: Mechanix Illustrated 1973

When we were about ten years old, my next-door neighbor, Cathy, and I decided that the year we graduated from high school we were going to spend the summer traveling across the country in a Winnebago. Undoubtedly, the idea was prompted by hip ads such as the one above, where people are clearly having a lot of 1970s fun in their swimsuits, eating puffed Cheetos and drinking Coca-Cola out of glass bottles. That kind of glamour would turn any little girl's head.

Of course, it was a pipe dream. Cathy and I had no idea how much a Winnebago cost. We hadn't yet figured out that we were ill-suited to be neighbors and friends, let alone traveling companions for an entire summer. Eventually, we drifted apart and I don't think I ever gave the dream a second thought -- until today, when I started pricing flights to California in preparation for the drive back to the east coast with my friend Monica.

It's funny how, when I think about myself at the age of 22, I don't even know that person. But when I remember myself at age 10, I can see that girl in me. I know her. It's like I got lost somewhere around early adulthood and since then I've been trying to figure out what the hell happened.

I guess it doesn't really matter what happened. It doesn't matter that I got lost for a while. What does matter is that I am unearthing a dream I've had since I was 10 years old. And that's pretty cool.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Crazy Talk

One of the benefits having time on my hands is that I get to do a lot of thinking. That is also one of the drawbacks. Lately what I've been thinking about is how people are different, and wondering why certain people get to decide what is and is not normal or desirable.

I've found myself quite often over the past few years surrounded by people who are different from me. Not better, not worse, just different. At least that was my opinion. The other people seemed to think something was wrong with me because I was different from them. One person in particular even stated more than once that what made me different made me mentally ill. Those weren't fun conversations.

Unfortunately, this particular person was in a postion to set a standard for the group and thus I became known as a problem. Some of my problem behavior included kindness to others and a belief that I should be able to use the restroom at will. That is some craziness right there, isn't it? Imagine, thinking that kindness is a positive trait when clearly it gets in the way of progress. Or thinking that a middle-aged woman should be able to handle the scheduling of her own bathroom functions. Madness!

Here's another crazy thing about me. I have a simple rule that helps with decision-making in almost all situations. It goes like this: People first, principles second, money or material things third. Yes, I know. Mental institutions are undoubtedly filled with people who keep that same bizarre rule in mind. No wonder the group I was connected with despaired of me.

And so I find myself, quietly sitting in my home, happy to be the madwoman in the attic. Because as everyone knows, the madwomen in Victorian novels were rarely actually crazy. Generally they were victims of the society of which they were a part.

Seriously. Have you ever, in the history of literature, come across a more self-centered jerk than Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre? The dude took up with an innocent young girl while he kept his wife locked in the attic, but only after accusing the young girl of being a witch because he fell off a horse and sprained his ankle. I'd agree to the "madwoman" label to get away from a guy like that. Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Words of Wisdom: Lolcats


Monday, January 03, 2011

Words of Wisdom: Henry David Thoreau


The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything it is very likely to be my good behavior.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

Happy New Year to all my gentle readers. I hope 2011 brings you plenty of fun, happiness, and joy.

I'm starting 2011 unemployed, so you'd think I'd be feeling serious and philosophical right now. Oddly enough, I'm not. I've got a Route 66 road trip to plan with Monica of 5 Cats Shy, I've got creative projects that have been sitting on the back burner for ages, and I've even got another exciting possibility or two for the foreseeable future. None of which falls under the category of Serious Endeavors or Efforts To Find A Job.

So far, I'm okay with that. I paid my dues for a really long time. Right now, I'm not turning down anything that sounds fun unless I absolutely have to.