Showing posts from May, 2010

Partying with the Dogs Rev 1

The mist was heavy that day, causing her hair to go limp and dampening her clothes as she rushed from vendor to vendor picking up last minute items she needed for the party. She had stayed up really late the night before baking the treats and forgot herself in an entire bottle of wine, incentive and reward for her furious tasks. Driving out through the hills overlooking the Valley, she grabbed a moment of silence to prepare herself for the ordeal ahead “It’ll be perfect” she thought. I know what I’m doing. I’ve worked parties and events for years. Then she remembered the episode of Kitchen Nightmares about a caterer who started a restaurant and everything went down the tubes. Maybe I don’t have enough knowledge and experience she whispered fretfully to herself, biting her lower lip. I am an idiot for taking this job! She made a left turn and headed up the steep driveway. A loud yelp rang out almost immediately scaring her to death as she quickly stomped on the brakes. She ran ar

Walking with Dogs Rev 1

Slow Down I’ve been walking dogs for the last decade, after a 20 year pet-phobic anti-commitment crisis. Returning to the herd with a passion, I‘ve found that my life is bookmarked by incidents involving dogs, my own and friends, total strangers and these days, an online community. All of the dogs that I have owned are rescued, and each has had their own unique personality. And, as every dog owner eventually finds out, a proclivity to different medical conditions. I think that my body is permanently twisted trying to hold onto the leash while my dogs pull me down the street, across the park, into the “dog store”, or anywhere that has to do with riding in the car or going off property. My youngest one, nicknamed Punkita, is just thrilled to go outside, but the old guy Joey (like a baby kangaroo) needs the walk to loosen his bowels. I’ve paid for and attended dog training sessions, which are really called something else, but right now the correct title eludes me. Oh yeah, obedi

Fixing the Garage Door

My garage door decided to be difficult. I just returned home after taking the dogs to the dog park, so they could get their ya ya's out and sleep when we get home to give me a bit of peace. It opened fine, I stopped the car part way in the garage, to unload the dogs, then saw my neighbor and their darling bulldog, so we walked down the garage alley to let the dogs say hi.  Returning to the car, I took the plants out of the back and put them on the patio.  I made sure the dogs were inside, and went back out to the car to run to Costco to fill up my tank.  I hit the remote, and ..........nothing. I checked the sensors, they were fine.  I pulled on the cord and was able to open and close it manually, but when i hit the remote or the button on the wall, all I hear is the engine idling.   Then i try pulling it down from outside.  I close it all the way, then can't get it open.  I try my "keypad"- a brilliant idea for anyone who has to walk a dog and doesn't want to

Water Conservation Rev 4

Up10 minutes before the alarm, she picks up the remote from a bedside table and turns on the TV; the newscasters drone the accompaniment to her morning routine. The air is still; punctuated only by the rise in the volume that comes with every advertisement, or a few seconds of music signaling the beginning of the next ad in the break. Next move, into the kitchen to flip on the coffee maker; the filter in place ready to go from the night before. Cracking open the patio door for the dog, she heads under an arched doorway into the master bathroom covered floor to ceiling in tile from Tecate, a Mexican town on California's southern border. Years of polish, and sand, and bare feet have softened the uneven surface and deepened the color. She reaches into the shower. Not too cold, she thinks, grabbing a fresh towel from the cabinet and tossing it onto the vintage vanity where that cool red sink, found at a swap meet, is perfectly centered. Pulling off her sleeping tee, she starts to g

Yamaha Dreams & the ER Rev 4

Walking up the stairs from the parking lot started her blood pumping, and helped bring the day ahead into focus as the doors slid open. A large poster attached to th door encouraged passersby to donate blood TODAY. Just inside the threshold was a freestanding hand sanitizer like the ones you see everywhere since the bird flu hit the news. Dr. Kennedy approached her from the opposite end of the hall as he headed off shift. “Hi Nancy how are you?” He asked with a smile. “If I told you, you’d be shocked’ . She responded with a flirtatious shrug, reached up and touched her hair, smiled knowingly and continued down the winding hallway. Those landscapes are calming, she thought, as she headed towards the ER. I wonder who painted them? Punching the handicapped plate with a closed fist, the staff at the desk all glanced up simultaneously as she hurried into the room. “Number Two is prepped and ready to go” Danny said, as she stowed her bag in the bottom locker. “Anything I should know a

Sitting on my Feet Rev 1

It had been raining on and off all day. The dirt on the granite pathways grows darker in hue when it rains. I head towards the yoga building, passing the barren wintering grape vines. I sit down on a low pine bench, with compartments underneath for shoes, and pull off my running shoes and tuck my socks inside. In my case, we should call them “walking on flat ground” shoes. I put my room key inside my sweatshirt along with my water bottle, making sure the spout on top is closed so I won’t come back to a wet sweat. I walk into the room, windows on three sides, and the interior wall covered floor to ceiling with mirrors. A dense wool carpet covers the floor, and the distinctive stench of an entire day of wet feet and hair on the wool permeates the class from the moment I arrive. Great. I grab a heavy Mexican blanket, and a couple of blocks, a strap, a yoga mat, and a neck pillow. I make my way across the room to my favorite corner, way in the back row. Soft Middle Eastern music is

Water Spots and Aging Rev 1

My mother's kitchen. Pulling a pie plate from the shelf, I stopped once again, disgusted at the water spots on the Pyrex. What is wrong with mom, I thought. Getting older. I never really noticed that all the pots and pans were immaculate, and the glasses never had water spots, as a kid. I suppose that’s because it was more important to her that everything was perfect when she was younger. I guess for me, it was now easier to obsess about those things because she still had the energy to do something about it, even if her mind and body aren’t cooperating like they should. I’m home for a quick overnight visit with my folks. I notice other signs of forgetfulness or intentional laxness in housekeeping habits. There is a wet dishrag in the bathroom sink, not hung neatly over the shower rod. Her brush is sitting on top of the counter, instead of put away neatly in the drawer. Books are piled up in the living room, not just in the den where they “belong”. Sometimes my dad does the

Captain Nudie's Rev 2

His name was Tomas and he was so handsome . I had moved back to Los Angeles to finish up my bachelors’ degree after a 10 year break. I met him one weekend when I drove down to Encinitas to visit friends, and we went out dancing. He had a German shepherd named Buck and the two of them were inseparable.

Stubby carrots Rev 1

He screeches into the driveway, the smell of the brakes perfuming the humid air. He spots her sitting under a tree in the corner of the yard preparing the soil for the winter garden. Rusty tools are scattered around her in every direction. Bags of soil and fertilizer trail from her pickup to the entry gate each dropped as the weight overwhelmed her small frame…close enough. She glanced up as he moved toward her, squinting in the mid day sunlight, with smudges of dirt caked on her cheeks where she’d wiped the sweat from her brow. A small plastic footstool underneath her helped her survey the coming harvest and visualize the vegetables breaking through the earth towards the sun- every day a little taller, a little more colorful, a little more flavorful. Amnesia blanketed her smile- it was obvious that she did not remember the failure of the garden to thrive in the past few years and the barren infertile earth the chemical plant had left behind as a souvenir. Joy and hope lit u

Drifting Rev 2

Hummmmmmmmm Hongggggggggggggggggggggggggggg In the misty night air the sound of the horn was haunting and melancholy. That sounds like a container ship! Andy and I had been drifting with the tide, back and forth, up and down, side to side, for hours now. No wind, no power, no lights. So close to home we can almost see our apartment building, but helpless. No radio, no moon, no cell. We’d drank at least a bottle of wine between the two of us, just on the way home from our weekend at the Isthmus and hadn’t had much to eat. Although we finished the last of our stash hours ago I was feeling dull witted and was hovering on the edge of hysteria as I heard the deep ship’s horn blasting through the darkness. I remembered a story I’d heard over and over at my sailing club about yachts being sliced in half by container ships, even in broad daylight. Not a smart idea to play chicken with a container ship. Every muscle in my body was tensed. The sound of the waves slapping against the bow

Flight Cancelled Rev 1

They won’t hold the job for me. They told me I had to be there on Monday morning at 8am sharp, and the last flight out just got cancelled. I should never have gone out last night. Coming in late threw off my whole schedule. I would have been on the earlier flight, I should have been on the earlier flight. Oh shit, I left my passport and my purse in the shuttle. This bloody laptop threw me off, and my cell is in my purse too, along with my ID and my ticket. I stand outside the terminal looking desperately for the return of my stuff. I was sitting in the front seat and my purse is on the floor between the seats. Surely he’s noticed something out of place by now. The homeland security guard strolls outside from the doors at the center of the building. Excuse me, I say as I start running towards him. He looks directly at me and then his eyes skid from right to left surveying all of the people and objects between us nervously. He’s not very old; it could be his first week on the j

The Economy & Creativity Rev 1

Pulling the faded photo album from the bookcase, I sat in the overstuffed chair near the window and began leafing through photographs of a 30 year old me on my first European journey. Spotting an 8x10 black and white enlargement I’d done in a borrowed darkroom after the trip, I paused to recapture the memory of that particular moment when I was one of 20 passengers in the uppermost car of an enormous Ferris wheel in Vienna during the summer of 1981. We had found it by accident sitting on the bus, getting on and off whenever something caught our eye. The print captured images of tiny people on the ground , and faces peering out of the other cars on the wheel that were closer to the ground, each filled with at least 20 people. Wow how many cars are there on this thing? There must have been over 100 people riding at one time. That was a long time ago, when I didn’t really worry that much about spending every penny in my accounts because I had a job to return to, and I was young and

Dickhead Rev 1

My tongue feels swollen, my sinuses are dry and my eyes itch. The heater rotates on and off on and off as the wind blows through the cracks in the walls. How can I get out of here? The smell of the outhouse is almost overwhelming. The sounds of the party in the clearing ring out festively but the salty tears just won’t stop. I’m sure I look like a raccoon now with mascara running down my cheeks. That bastard set me up! And a wave of nausea broke through and caused horrible dry heaving hacking cough to erupt from my soul. How can I get out of here? The thought would not quiet itself, would not leave me in peace, would not allow me to get up and walk down the pathway to my car without giving a damn if anyone saw me. The bastard set me up! How will I ever get out of here? My limbs appeared to have frozen and the strength ran out of me and spilled over the threshold of the doorway. It’s too hot in here. ©2010 Sharon J Corrigan

Cesar Chavez Blvd Rev 3

Electric wheel humming I cup my hands around the wet clay and focus on the form of the pot I am creating. All of my spare time is spent in the ceramics room, before and after classes and in between. It is fall 1968 and this is my first semester at a community college. I am majoring in art with a minor in sociology. The buildings on campus look like the projects that surround it in East LA. One story, bland, undistinguished. Sorry to be so politically incorrect, but to be authentic, I am recounting the way it was, in my world, at that time. I was brought up in a middle class neighborhood that was pretty white. In 8th Grade they bussed in Japanese kids from a neighboring town, and there was one, yes one, African American in my high school, which was about half and half White and Hispanic. East LA JC was my first experience as a minority- it was 75% Chicano, 11% black, 9% oriental, and I was one of the others. The art department and the art students were my world. We spent our days

Beating the Odds: Reality

It was my third visit this year alone. In May, it was cancer but we got it all. In August, at the end of my quarterly checkup, Dr. Nico said quietly there’s a funny area we need to take a look at-do a biopsy. In September the biopsy was done and two weeks later we still had no result. I left several messages for and he finally returned my call. This is year 3 since my initial diagnosis but it keeps coming back. The first two years I had several clean quarterly checkups and only had to have surgery once a year, so I was confident that if I keep on top of it we can continue to catch it early, and I can sleep at night. After the first surgery I was really nauseous and felt like I was going to die for several days. By year two, I had discussed it with my doctor and the anesthesiologist and they now gave me anti nausea meds with made all the difference in the world during the days following the surgery. Each time I prepared for an uncomfortable week in bed so I try to schedule mid we

Boat Boy Rev 2

Waking from a dreamless sleep, consciousness thrust its way into her body, rudely interrupting her plan to sleep in. It’s 3am and the house is mostly dark, except for ghostly shapes rising from appliances and night lights, and the reflections of a street lamp on the skylights. “I’m here he said, and although there was no sound, it was if he was sitting on the bed next to her. I know, I replied, not surprised really- I wonder why. Am I dreaming? No, there was no sense of a body in the room only the scent and a slight prickling sensation that confirmed that on some level, he was here with her. It was almost like a ceiling fan was turned on, a breeze from some long forgotten wind. It wasn’t logical but it was real. She knew his body was at least 50 miles from where she slept- on Chuck’s boat. A moment later he was gone. We’re going out on a boat from Marina Del Rey on Saturday, wanna come? Cindy chattered on about the plans she had made and encouraged me to tag along. Great crowd,

The Perfect Job Rev 1

Un-frigging-believable. Somehow I have manifested that perfect job- dreamed of decades ago. They were going to pay me to do research on their client’s interests and I am to escort same clients on their voyages around the world, and almost the best part my dogs are invited too! I would be staying at five star hotels, and even in the middle of the most remote places on earth, I will be safe, well fed, and well dressed with interesting companions and playthings, fascinating conversations, and a lot of masculine adulation, but not from the clients I am escorting, they are all much older women who love to travel, have the time and the money, but are too scared to go on their own,. They wake up late, and go to bed early. They treat me with respect, and give me unlimited spending money. They pay for the freight to ship my unique treasure home. They love hearing stories about my adventures after dark, and are especially appreciative when I arrive back at the hotel, or the villa, or th

Persimmons in Sapporo Rev 1

The bellman opened the door to the room in the ryokan and carried her bag into a closet hidden behind the paneled walls, and silently left the room. In the corner a little octagonal area surrounded by windows beckoned her into the cushions peeking out of the low wooden table with a tea setting perfectly centered on the round top. She poured herself a cup of tea and gazed out the window to the snow covered persimmon trees that lined the property beyond the hot springs where the steam from the water headed towards the heavens through the dense growth- mirroring the steam from the pot in front of her. She heard the door click behind her as a maid slipped silently out- her presence unnoticed by a woman who was lost in her thoughts and the spectacular view from her room. She saw that the maid had somehow managed to pull out her futon mattress and prepared it for a nap before diner. The air was very still and there was a faint scent of the persimmon tress and incense perfuming the r

Pussy Willow Rev 3

It ’s the first thing I see when I walk into the house,as far back as I can remember, from the moment I was tall enough to see the top of our dining room table. Maple. Matching buffet. Oval. Every night we would drop the leaves, and tuck it against the wall after dinner, to clear a path to the kitchen. My mother loved to garden.All year long, she would pick a bloom or branch that was in season Hydrangeias, Camelias, Roses. Behind the garage, along the fence behind the trash cans, we had pussy willow plants. Whe they were starting to show signs of blooming, she would place a few stems in a tall rectangular vase, bases impaled on a metal floral frog, neatly in place, with an Asian aura. The blooms on pussy willows are little white furry ovals spaced along a graceful brown stem. They start out as bumps , gradually grow more prominent, and then pop open revealing the furry bud hidden inside. I remember popping the buds off the stem by grabbing it between a thumb and forefinger an

Sexy is Ageless Rev 1

Thelma was excited, but she had to keep it to herself. It was the week before her 60th wedding anniversary and all the kids and their grown families were in town. It was difficult to slip out of the house without one of them wanting to tag along. Her staff was used to these odd journeys, and had learned long ago to keep their thoughts to themselves, and to never discuss what they saw in Thelma’s rooms with anyone, let alone each other. Thelma’s husband had passed six months ago after an extended illness. During the past ten years she had taken comfort in the arms of strangers met at the bridge club, when she meets friends at lunch by the harbor, and even once or twice in a hotel bar in a neighboring town when she was able to slip out of the house unnoticed. She worried sometimes that she would be discovered and her errand this day revolved around a man she was seeing who she had met through Craig’s list. Thelma had always been the good wife, quiet and charming and this new beau, B

Fast Food Rev 2

I was so excited. I had met Scott last weekend at a friend’s party and he was so cute. And he called. I’m not sure what we were going to do except grab a bite but a least I knew we weren’t just heading for the local watering hole to spend hours drinking and breathing second hand smoke, or maybe its 3rd hand smoke since the law requires them to step outside- and the smell is from their clothing. God and to think I smoked for 30 years. The doorbell rang and as I ran to answer it I stopped for a moment to look in the mirror and smile at myself to see what he will see. I’d had a glass of champagne an hour ago to try to settle down and it seemed to make it worse. I opened the door and there he was. He is so gorgeous. All of us had been trying to get his attention at the party and I won the prize. At least I was sober enough to just give him my number and not just hop into bed with him. See mom was right. Guys want only what they can’t have. I grabbed my jacket and we headed down