Friday, July 09, 2010


Now that school is out and the 4th of July has passed it feels like summertime. I know that's not really all one word, but this particular spelling reminds me of those days between one grade and the next when all I had to do was loll through my days and play with friends until the street lights came on.

Since I've been laid off that feeling has come over me again. Not because I am lolling around, but because the job market sucks and the economy sucks and it seems like a lot of people are kind of in this groove of staying home and spending time not spending money.

It's a good thing.

My childhood summer days were spent during a much simpler decade when there were no computers and very few channels to watch on TV. When I write things like that I cringe because it's so, "back in my day" old lady speak. Still the reality is we did spend our days a lot differently than kids do now for those very reasons.

In the pre-teen years the days were spent at the beach, or playing in the street - literally. We would put on plays and recitals that we forced our parents to attend. We made refreshments and donned chenille bedspreads and played Heat and Soul on the piano. We passed the time hanging out in the kitchen playing Kings in the Corner and drinking sweet iced tea with Kami's mom or hung out in the bowling alley on league day, or we went to the Plaza theater with snacks that were purchased at Plaza liquor next door, to see Disney films.

When we were not yet 16 but older than 12 hours passed while floating in the pool listening to Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne and smoking cigarettes we snuck out of Laura's mom's purse. We'd hitch hike down PCH to the beach and spend the bus fair our mother's gave us on Abba Zabbas and Big Hunks. The same guys in an orange van with shag carpeting on the walls and ceiling picked us up and brought us home every day so it never felt dangerous, and we'd listen to Houses of Holy on the 8-track player as loud as the volume would go. The Ocean was my favorite song. At night we went to play raquet ball at this guy Rick's house - his dad had converted the garage into a regulation court. Or sometimes we'd pool our money so there was enough to buy three tickets into the drive in and squish three more into the trunk with the lawn chairs which we'd take out and set in a row between two speakers. On the nights that there were parties located only the coordinates of the streets - Monlaco and Studebaker - we would pimp beer outside of El Dorado Liquor. A six-pack of Bud Talls would get two people nicely buzzed and if there was a keg that was even better. When there were no parties we would usually hang out at Laura's house because her parents never bothered us and we would play records and read magazines and smoke and talk. The summer was my favorite time to read. I would go to the library and check out stacks of books and actually have time to read them.

The summer seemed to last forever and it's been a long time since I've felt that relaxed. I'm open to getting a great new job, but if it doesn't happen until school starts I'll be okay with that.

I'm going to the library to check out a stack of books and it will be bliss to have the time to read them.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

FIREWORKS on the 4th

I was up in Santa Ynez for the 4th with Peggy and Ron and the rest of the family. It's hard to believe that a year ago Ron and I were recovering from surgery. This year we all went down to the Mission in Solvang to watch the fireworks show.

I love small town 4th of July celebrations, the parades, the kids, the vintage cars and marching bands. Because Solvang is in the middle of a verdant and fertile valley there was also farm equiptment and the 4H club! I think that next year they should have the wine growers represented with free tasting booths at every corner.

There's also a large military population in Lompoc and there were a lot of families from the base at the mission grounds where they'd had a carnival and BBQ directly after the parade and before the show. As I watched the rockets strafing into the sky with the loud whistles and trails of smoke, something that I could see through the camera lens, it made me think about all the people living under skies where the explosions are real.

I've never been a fan of fireworks because they're loud and they kind of scare me. In years past I have huddled with the dogs in the house. This year, maybe because I was trying to take pictures of them, which was way more challenging than I thought it would be (it's all about the timing), they didn't bother me as much, but the whole time I couldn't help thinking how grateful I am that they are a form of entertainment and not the real thing.
And I said a prayer that those people in the military all over the world will stay safe from the real fireworks.