Friday, January 12, 2018

A Visit from my Two Best Girlfriends

My two favorite girlfriends came with their mom and dad to visit for New Years. 
Granddaughters (I'm a dog and they're human, so they're not my granddaughters), Alana and Delilah, aka Dead Bride and Creepy Doll (see FB post Oct. 31) paid us a visit.
Sadly, we didn't have any snow for them to slide down our driveway with me this time (is more of the fun white stuff ever going to come again this winter?) but they brought fun and lots of laughs to my boring life. 

You can see how much they love me and how sweet and gentle I am with them. And you know what? I'm a Pit Bull. Yep, one of those mean, scary dogs that not-so-nice humans say bad things about. I admit, I do bark at people when they come to our door. But, as soon as I know they won't hurt me or my family, I just want to be their best friend. In the olden days, I was called the Nanny Dog cuz I took such good care of kids. How could you not love that face with my old puppy toy that my friend Kataya stuck on my head a long time ago.

Of course they left me at home with the two geeky fuzz balls I live with, to go out to fun places. They went to places in town they've never been to before, like the Georgia O'Keefe Museum, where Alana brought her sketch pad and Miss D shows the cutest braces ever.

My dad took my girls with their Mom Anita and Dad Ryan, to the Loretto Chapel that has the coolest, most magical staircase.

They walked up Canyon Road and saw lots of great art in the galleries. 
 Alana spent a moment with a friend who's like her favorite animal (except for dogs, of course) - the wonderful pig.
At least I got to run all over our big yard with my girls while they explored, blew bubbles, and saw a beautiful sunset.

They all went up to Museum Hill so they could walk the Mystery Maze (who knows why your voice echoes the closer you get to the center of it?)
and go to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Everybody who visits has to have their picture taken in front of Apache Warrior - sigh.
Delilah wanted a picture of her mom by the beautiful Indian lady because she thinks that she looks like her (her mom is prettier).
And finally, they all went to see The Glow at the Botanical Gardens, froze, and warmed up with hot chocolate and a fun lady who sang really cool songs.

So, after lots of shopping, and of course Return of the Jedi, my girlfriends left me to go home to California and their dog Bear. I was sad and looked for them all over the house. But they hid a bunch of pictures and notes in Mom's studio for us to find - I think that Mark guy is some toy of Alana's that my mom liked. And there's even a picture of yours truly.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

29 Casseroles

Scalloped potatoes partnered with salmon loaf in the matching Pyrex dishes.
Opaque, gelatinous tomato aspic sat beside the crusted silent mound of macaroni and cheese.

Every entrée had it corresponding side-dish. Exotic and foreign Italian Delight shared a plate with Iceberg lettuce and Italian dressing.

Sunday's magnificent roast took center state at the card table in front of Walter Conkite's The 20th Century.

The white glass cookie jar with generic floral design was never without its chocolate chip, oatmeal, or icebox kn fresh from the oven. 

Flaky Crisco crusts embraced apples, coconut, chocolate, and banana cream, pumpkin, and the detested rhubarb.

Avocados and enchiladas were introduced on the patio to endless Midwestern friends and relatives making the sojourn to Disneyland.

Soups made from humble legumes, summer and winter vegetables, were Saturday lunch, accompanied by their obligatory saltines and Wheat Thins topped by the odd duo of cheddar cheese and kippered herring.

Tuesday’s hash took up the slack of roast, potatoes and gravy.
Highbrow, 16-ingredient Chicken Gertrude made its appearance at the Ladies Lunch.

How many recipes made the cut into Hits of the Mrs. P.T.A. Cookbook and The Woman’s Club Our Treasured Recipes? 
The Women's Club of Burbank

A Lindholm Christmas Dinner 1954
Christmas Dinner at the Lindholms - kiddies in the kitchen
Ed's Manhattens with a maraschino cherry for the adults
Probably a maraschino cherry for the kiddies
Lime and Cranberry Salad
Prime Rib roast
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Some sort of green vegetable
Dinner rolls 
Pecan pie
Pamela and Cynthia Lindholm share Christmas dinner with friends

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Santa Fe Opera

The Diva Herself

10:00 PM Opera

It starts in the evening, but sometimes when we return during the day, the evidence is still there. Red rags strewn about, and sometimes a hand towel or sock thrown into the mix. When I get up in the morning, I pick up at least three of the treasured red cloths on my way to the kitchen.

My husband and I live with three adopted animals: our dog, Pittie Reggie, Desi, our special needs cat, and Lucy, our last addition who got a bit of an attitude when we found out that this shelter kitty is pure Turkish Angora.

Although all three are hugely entertaining, Lucy has demonstrated a very unique talent. Somehow, this 9 lb. wonder can “sing” at the top of her lungs while running through the house with one of the red rags in her mouth. She’ll then drop the cloth and continue the yowling opera for another minute. Never anticipating the moment of this performance, naturally I don’t have my phone video ready. Not that this act could compete with the video cat climbing straight up a bedroom wall, playing taps on the piano, or walking across the room on only its front legs. But, we’re not big YouTube providers anyway. This just comes under the category of “you have to see this to believe it” for our friends and family.
Red Rag
Having read plenty of literature on cat behavior, and doing a bit of sleuthing on-line, I’ve found no explanation for this strange routine of Lucy’s. Is she creating a nest? The Vet did say that she had obviously had a teen-age pregnancy. Are these gifts to be presented to my husband or me, like the half-dead mouse if she’d been outdoors? Or is she reaching back to her ancient feline wildness – a version of some primal prehistoric roots?

I decided, after all of my investigation, that it isn’t necessary to understand why our pets do what they do. In spite of the wonderful “understanding your pet” shows on PBS, animals are still a mystery to us. I don’t need to create an allegory for my own life out of Lucy’s showmanship; I don’t need to see it as a microcosm of the universe’s balance, or another spiritual voice giving me guidance.
A Sock
I just need to enjoy Lucy’s uniqueness. We have a counter full of framed pictures of cats and dogs who have passed through our lives. Each one has brought his or her personality to the wonderful mix of love and play into our house. The crowd that now shares our space is as interesting in their interplay as any group we’ve had before. Reggie is cowed by Desi’s fearlessness, and completely besotted with Lucy. Desi is the smartest and most curious cat we’ve had. Only he could figure out how to remove the cover over the mechanics of a whirlpool tub just to see what’s in there. The morning and evening shenanigans of Lucy and Desi together, along with Reggie’s demand for chase-the-squeaky-green-alien play is the best stress-reliever ever.

Poems have been written about our pets, our own human attributes have been assigned to them, and metaphors have been created to make a good read. But really, our beloved critters deserve more than that. Let’s just give them the simple acknowledgement of their important role on our planet. They give far more to us (even the independents like Desi) than we give to them and, like all creatures, they’re a window into the amazing world beyond us humans. So I just sit back and enjoy the show for exactly what it is: Lucy doing her thing with great delight, and giving me a free ticket to see it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Me Too

All too familiar touch
Most women (and probably more than a few men) have stories of sexual harassment in the workplace. What is most amazing is that, since 1975 when the term "sexual harassment" was first used by Cornell University activists, "zero tolerance" has been preached by countless HR directors, but nothing has changed in 42 years.

Although I had high school and college jobs, my first consciousness of inappropriate behavior was during my first positions out of college. Not sure what to do next with my B.A. in Anthropology, I took office jobs while I figured out my next move. Of course, in 1972, those offices were dominated by men in managerial positions while the women were secretaries. It was still the Mad Men era, and the "girls" sat at their typewriters while the men made important decisions.
The Typing Pool
Within two weeks of starting my first job, my married boss announced that he thought we should have an affair. At my second job at a Chamber of Commerce, I was regularly grabbed from behind and "hugged" by the various men who were Chamber officers. One night I dropped off my boss at his car after one of the Chamber's Friday night get-acquainted-cocktail-parties, where he proceeded to give me details of his favorite porn movies.
This kind of behavior was the norm at most of my jobs and, as a young woman in my early 20's, I thought that I was doing something to cause it. So, naturally I went to a therapist to find out what I could do to change my behavior, because it must be my fault, right? I had no money, so I went to a clinic and saw a nice young therapist for several sessions. I don't remember how he addressed the issue while I saw him, but he and his wife soon moved away to Oregon. I received a letter from him shortly after, in which he told me that he was glad that he moved because he was having a hard time providing counseling to me because he just wanted to go to bed with me. That was his solution to my "work behavioral problems."
The best thing that happened to me in the 1970's was the Women's Movement. Although some of the groups that I joined were strictly about men-bashing, I found a new and powerful voice. There still was no such term as "sexual harassment", but we "women's libbers" not only rejoiced in our own physicality, we also learned that we didn't have to accept second-class status in our personal lives or in our professional lives.
As I matured I felt more powerful, and I chose to go into the art world where I experienced less sexual harassment...lots of bad, sleazy, design-stealing behavior, but less sexual harassment. The last time someone made inappropriate comments to me in the workplace, I was in my 40's, and my response was, "really? seriously? you can't be that stupid."

Of course, (and here's a big caveat) my job was not threatened.

In the four decades that have passed since the 1970's, we've witnessed "Tailhook", Anita Hill vs Clarence Thomas, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, Senator Bob Packwood, and the Catholic Archdiocese.

Now we have Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Uber, Amazon, and numerous other well-known cases. However, women and men have been silent victims of harassment, or worse, in every area of society for countless generations. It seems that the one thing that finally draws attention, in spite of the tacit complicity of so many who knew of these monsters' behavior, is 
Thankfully, freedom of the press allows our newspapers to investigate and bring to light this crime that has menaced the workplace since women joined the workforce more than 100 years ago. The question continues to be: since this has been well-known behavior for decades, will this finally change today? Will social media give more victims the courage to come forward? And will our society stop tolerating such egregious conduct? 

Or is the bar so low now in American civilization since Nov. 2016, that it's all just accepted as "normal" and, in the case of male aberrant behavior, just "boys being boys" and "locker room talk"?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Tale of Two Cities

Bob's, Toluca Lake

Burbank, CA in the 1950's and 60's was a great place for a blond, blue-eyed kid to grow up; a safe town of tidy houses with green lawns,

524 Cambridge Dr.

where a kid could ride a bike all over the neighborhood safely, or roller-skate up and down near-by streets when not gliding over the polished wood of Harry's Roller Rink.
Clamp-on Skates

Harry's Roller Rink, Glendale, CA
Girl Scout, Boy Scout, YMCA, and Campfire Girl groups abounded, and every school had it's after-school clubs. There were no "play dates": neighbor kids just knocked on the door and asked if one could "come out and play." "Out" being the operative word, as all those stay-at-home moms wanted their kids out of the way as much as possible. In Southern California that meant the beach 
Santa Monica Beach, 1950's
and local pools all summer,
Pickwick Pool
drive-in theaters with a playground for little ones and back seats for bigger kids.
Pickwick Drive-In
Bowling alleys, 
Mar-Lin-Do Bowling Alley
along with the short craze of public trampolines,
walk-in theaters,

The Cornell on Glenoaks
and "the soda fountain"
Curries Ice Cream on Glenoaks
were usually walkable or an easy drive for mom to drop off the kids without worry. Life was good with a dad who had a good job and a mom who kept the household running in peak, efficient order all year round. Life was good without a programmed summer of back-to-back camps, play-dates, and helicopter parenting. Life was good with the stability of good schools, plenty of social activities, and a predictable social order.

Of course, what no one talked about in those halcyon days was the fact that Burbank was a Sundown or Sunset Town in which it was unwritten (as opposed to Glendale's written law) that African Americans, called Negroes or Coloreds, had to be out by sunset. Those who toiled in Burbank's industries had to get out of town before dark, returning the next morning to create the machines that would win a war, help to build a thriving middle class, and strengthen a nation's economy.
Lockheed, 1943 
What wasn't talked about was how many of those kids' parents or grandparents had survived the Holocaust,
American Japanese concentration camps,
or had immigrated to America only to have their children separated into "groups" and called names like "greaser", "beaner", "rag-heads", "chinks", or "Japs".

What wasn't talked about was the dysfunction of most American families: of parents who were emotionally wounded from the worst depression in modern history, and from the worst war in modern history.
The Ideal
What was only whispered about were the adults or kids who were "different": who couldn't live freely in their own sexual orientation or gender confusion, or who just didn't "fit in" with the 1950's and 60"s definition of "normal".
Father Knows Best

What WAS obvious were those kids who were left behind in the classroom while little Christian kids left a public school in the middle of the day to attend Bible classes. 
What WAS obvious were the American history textbooks and lessons that left out the very dark parts of this country's origins: the genocide of Native Americans and the unspeakable institution of slavery. No mention was made of the contributions of Latinos, Asians, and all other non-white ethnic groups who helped to build this country.
Northern Plains 

A Slave Named Jack
After surviving The Cold War,
Drop Drill

and all of the other upheaval and movements of the 60's and 70's,


A Woman's March

many, many of Burbank's Baby Boomers grew into open, embracing grown-ups who see the world as more than their own little spot; who care about their earth and all who inhabit it. They evolved from naive, sometimes ignorant and bigoted, sometimes misogynistic and racist, to fully-formed adults who love their country and love their planet. Happily, many produced children and grandchildren who continue this enlightened attitude; who are the hope for the future of every town and village in America.

“Unlock the tree”, said the Dove

Oh you comforting soft place to land.
You who shared your sweet, metallic earth showers
that quenched your own thirst
in the long parched days of summer.

You who provided a carpet on which to
watch the clouds and create secret dreams,
away from the chaos from which they sprang.

You were the stage for immortal plays
that took them far away from harsh realities.
You were privy to the squeals of laughter
that relieved the tears shed behind cloistered walls.

Oh, you gleeful deceiver of wooden mallets!
With your downy pasture you invited;
only to betray the innocent intruder with your hidden hills and valleys.

And yet, in your quest to foil, you protected
hidden treasures under your canopy, and
into your moist, rich, tierra femenino.
Wasn’t this the secret world of so many tales ?                                                                                                                                
How some wished to join those minute creatures,
who seemed so snug and safe beneath your rooftop.
Did you not care for them as a beloved mother nurtures her own?

Lo, but this was not the fairyland of the sprite.
This wasn’t the dell of Eeyore and friends.
This teeming jungle is where the spidery ghouls resided!
Here lived the creatures who invaded sweet dreams!

Here winged pixies played their cruel games of mischief!
This was the land of tricksters.
This was like the world they had left behind.

Better to run back to your floor of velvet!
Back to your bracing summer showers.
Back to your theater of fantasy.
Back to your field of dreams.

Back to your dewy blanket
upon which little toes danced
to a long afternoon of summer bliss.

Cynthia L. Cavanaugh 07/09