Saturday, January 29, 2011

Uganda marathoner, Kenya Peace Corps, Trader Joe's and a scuba shop

This morning,  in line to check out at Trader Joe's in Hastings Ranch, Pasadena, I had a hard time not staring at a stunning intense-black woman whose poise, posture, trim legs in shorts,  spoke "athlete," "native African" and whose brilliant smile spoke silent volumes.  She and the clerk chatted about Kenya, and their respective children. The clerk, name-tagged "Scuba" (a nickname from the 14 years he owned a SCUBA gear shop) willingly shared details about the departing woman.  She was from Uganda, an Olympic track medalist, astonishingly 57 years old, now living in Pasadena.  I would love to know more. I don't know her name, so can't check the Olympic medal attribution. She certainly looks the part.

I also learned that the clerk had been in the Peace Corps, spends time in Kenya frequently, speaks Swahili, and is married to a Kenyan.
All this while paying for two-buck chuck, crackers, cookies, protein bars, Charlie Bears - filling two heavy bags full of impulse buys - the usual overdoing at TJ's.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cursive writing - down with the pencil - off with the grammatical head

A few weeks ago I blogged about the way handwriting evolves to become individual enough for experts to identify.  This morning I heard a news bite which makes my curiosity both pertinent, and obsolete.

Apparently the state of Georgia has decided to remove cursive writing from school curriculums (or is it curricula?) - replacing it with instruction on computer skills.  And so it goes.  From scratching on cave walls, wax tablets with styli, slates and chalk, moveable type, Number Two pencils, pink rubber erasers and paper, and a big leap to tweeting and texting -

As for spelling, and using correct grammar (what at one time was considered a sign of a good education) -
nothing but a downhill road.

I started making a note every time I heard someone on television or the radio saying "him and me went"
"Her and I dined" "me and my mom are ..." - and I soon had a tablet filled with these stumblers.

I will have to find something more earth-shattering to fuss about.

What do these have in common?

Entire loaf of whole wheat bread and wrapper, bar of glycerin soap, plastic comb, bottle of blood pressure medicine, slice of eggplant, pumpkin cheesecake slab, cube of butter, crabmeat crepe, slice of poundcake, rubber stamp, lead pencil, tube of dog toothpaste, numerous sandwich top slices,
rat poison cube, pot holder, velcro hair curler, slice of ham surrounded by the broken bowl it was snatched from, entire seven inch long chicken and liver dog treat sausage roll - three inches wide,  carcass of a baby bird, dead rat. wing-flapping hummingbird ...

Somewhat gruesome list - maybe some of it is a 'giveaway.'

Over an eight year span - consumed in whole or in part, or captured,  by the doodles - Darby and MaeRose

Monday, January 17, 2011

Saturday morning in Sierra Madre

What a delightful Saturday morning walk in Sierra Madre.  My friend Michelle,
my labradoodles Darby and MaeRose,  and I,  in just the span of four blocks met a couple who live on the grounds of the Huntington Library - and who, among other dogs, own two young Australian labradoodles; a flirtatious Italian-expatriate local property owner, and a cyclist who is the CFO of a neighboring community and former college water polo player.

From the doodles owners, outdoor breakfasting at one of Sierra Madre's landmarks,  we learned about a local breeder of the authentic Australian labradoodle,  and received an open invitation to visit the Huntington and to join them at the next doodle romp.

From the flirty Italian we received an invitation to ride on his exotic two-front-wheel Vespa.

From the former water poloist we learned that the best way to float in water with no fear of drowning is to 'play dead' - leaning forward like a floating body.

Michelle works seriously toward becoming an accomplished swimmer.  I work seriously at overcoming fear of sinking in deep water.

We both love the Huntington.

I love my dogs.  I have never ridden on a motor scooter.