August 15, 2007

Tales of a Reformed Klepto

The other day I was remembering what life used to be like in my neighborhood, before the freeways were constructed. There were orchards everywhere, and I used to walk through them to get to school (up hill both ways, of course). Rows and rows of produce went on forever and if I wanted to I could have played Children of the CornTomatoes. I recall boys being boys and trying to hit us with the big red fruits (and just why are tomatoes fruits anyway?) And I smoked my first cigarette walking through that field one day after junior high. Ahh, memories.

I was reminiscing about Anna’s Deli that used to be at the corner of Pearl Avenue and Branham Lane, and how good the bread was. And then I remembered the grocery store in the same shopping center and the friendly pharmacy next door, appropriately named Pearl Avenue Pharmacy, and the liquor store where my mom bought several hundred dollars’ worth of losing lottery tickets. The grocery store was named Alpha Beta, and I went there with my mom on numerous occasions, when I was around kindergarten-age. On one trip, I suddenly channeled a future Winona Ryder and stole some things.

They were stupid things, so completely not worth stealing.

I stole the flat numbers that slid into the rail in front of the shelf, showing the price of whatever item sat above them. I don’t know why I wanted them. I’ve never been big into math, or numbers of any sort, but I slid them out of their place, and pocketed them. MINE!

When we got home, my thievery was discovered, and I got busted for stealing.

But I hadn’t stolen PRODUCTS, just…things. That was OK, right?

No. It was very not OK.

My mom marched me (mom’s always march you when you’re in trouble) back to Alpha Beta and as soon as we got inside the store, asked to speak to the store manager, Mr. Bird. Oooh! Mr. Bird! Like Big Bird? Neat!

Sadly when Mr. Bird appeared, he had neither feathers nor beak. My mom made me confess to my crime to this man and hand back the pilfered items. I don’t recall if I cried or not. But I did say I was sorry. And I remembered that Pinocchio’s nose grew when he lied, so I told the truth.

And then the funniest thing happened. Mr. Bird said he’d be right back. He had something for me. I’m sure I thought he’d return with handcuffs, a fingerprint kit, or a cop or something, but instead, he brought a box chock-full of shiny things. It was the lost and found box. And he said I could pick ANYTHING from it to take home with me, because I was a good little girl for telling the truth and returning the stolen items. Such a model citizen!

The stuff in that box was so much cooler than stupid little pieces of plastic with numbers on them. I quickly grabbed a “diamond” necklace and asked if it was OK if I took it. Mr. Bird nodded yes. My mom’s chin probably fell to the floor. This was most likely not what she had in mind as my punishment for committing a misdemeanor.

I still vividly remember the gaudy rhinestone and blue crystal necklace that I would wear to play dress up. And I was convinced the jewels were real and so happy to show them off and tell the story of how cool it is to steal stuff because then you get even better stuff when you bring back what you originally stole! Awesome!

Years later, when I’d drive past Alpha Beta, I would think of Mr. Bird and wonder if he still worked there , and if the earrings that matched my necklace were still there (and if so, could I have them please?). And when my college boyfriend got a job as a bagger at Alpha Beta, I wondered if any of his coworkers knew Mr. Bird. And when Alpha Beta turned into a Lucky, I was a little sad to lose that part of my childhood memories. Today there are houses where that Alpha Beta once stood, and the Alpha Beta chain cum Lucky is now Albertson’s. Except they’re not. Albertson’s are now Lucky again.

Why didn’t they just stick with Alpha Beta in the first place? Where little kids got presents when they stole from the store? Hey, do you think Winona Ryder knew Mr. Bird too? That would explain a lot.

August 13, 2007

So then, is eating just one cupcake still OK?

I had lunch with my friend Beth today. This is a rare occasion because 1) most of the year she works as a school counselor and doesn’t get a chance to leave campus for lunch and 2) I don’t often get out for a lunch break either, in my very busy, vitally important position at work*.

Beth’s birthday is one week earlier than mine so we exchanged presents over lunch. I got her this deliciously fragrant pomegranate. We discovered these on an extreme shopping spree at Takashimaya in New York City a couple of years ago. Just recently Beth had lamented that her NYC pomegranate was losing it’s oomph, and a light went on in my head. DING! I will find that pomegranate and get her a new one! And I did. And it arrived and sat in my closet for weeks and weeks, adding a lovely aroma to my walk-in. I was sad to see it go, but she was so thrilled to get it, and I was just as happy to give it to her.

About a week ago, the girls (also known as fiends…I must tell that story one day) got together for brunch on what would have been our friend Julie’s 42nd birthday. Our “ritual” is to visit the cemetery and spread out a blanket and share a bottle of her favorite wine, V. Sattui Johannisberg Riesling. We drink it with tiny little plastic naked men hanging off the edge of our cups. And the cups this year had Ariel the Little Mermaid on them, swimming under the sea. In honor of Julie’s favorite Disney character, we also wore Ariel tiaras, as we sat sipping, and laughing…in the cemetery. Irreverent or not, it’s what we do, and it makes us happy. We think Julie likes it too.

But I digress.

While we were sitting on the blanket, probably talking about food or cake or birthdays or something, I mentioned seeing a new cake pan that looked awesome.

Seriously, how cool is this cake?

It is made by using this pan, reminiscent of Madonna’s bra:

Beth gave me that very cake pan today, for my birthday, because Beth hears things. And she remembers things. And then she buys those things. Now I can’t decide what to do with it first…make a ginormous blueberry muffin? A big chocolate cupcake? What to do? What to do?

*I am as vitally important as condoms are in a monastery.

August 11, 2007

My plans for the day

First, to celebrate our first date two years ago today, Matte and I are going to see this:

Then, as a thank you from Shawn and Rachel for watching their house/dog/cats last weekend, they’re treating us to this:

How about you? What are you doing today?”

August 9, 2007

Life as a newlywed

This is how I greeted Matte tonight:

“Hi! My feet smell rancid. And I have bad gas too.”

My feet do smell horrendous. It’s the shoes I wore to work today. I swear. It isn’t the fault of my feet. The shoes have no ventilation whatsoever, so when I take them off, the aroma permeates the room. Matte used to sell shoes, once upon a time, and even he says they’re really stinky. Seriously. P.U.

You so wish you were in my living room right now, don’t you?

August 6, 2007

Happy Anniversary, my love

I canNOT believe I almost let this day go by without notice. How could I be so forgetful? Wow. I’m usually the one who remembers every significant day, every anniversary, birthday, “first-time-I-ever” whatevered. But today, I’ll admit. I forgot. And I am ashamed. Had I not read your sweet “Happy Anniversary” e-mail, this special day might have slipped by like any other.

It seems like we’ve been together forever, but I know that it has only been three (maybe four?) years. I can’t remember life before you. No. That’s a lie. I do remember it. It pretty much sucked. I was missing out on so much before you. You broadened my horizons and taught me to like so many new things that I would never have found without you. From the start, I could turn to when I was lonely, sad, and even when I was bored. Today, you are still, always there for me. Ever faithful and reliable.

I remember when we first met, we spent SO much time together. I loved how you greeted me when I walked through my door after a long day at wotk, the sound of your voice was so inviting and cheerful. We spent many a late night together too, and sometimes I would curse you when I awoke the next morning to go to work. It seemed I was addicted to you, and I know you were turned on too. You were always ready for me. Shoot. I don’t think I could even turn you off. Is that possible?

My sweet, adorable one. Thank you for reminding me (by automated e-mail…so what?) of the day you came into my life. To you I say, “kiss kiss sweet nothing mushy mushy, my little schmoopsie-kins.”

August 4, 2007


Meet Galileo:
We are cat/dog/house sitting for our friends this weekend. Galileo seems to like having his photo taken. At least, moreso than Siena, the pup does. She would rather bring one of her toys to me than pose for a picture. Moments before this shot, Galileo licked Siena on the nose, and in this photo, Galileo is eying Siena, plotting his next move.

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