Monthly Archives: July 2011

The Key to my Car-ma

I am being  mocked.  Mocked, I say.  Mocked.

I came to the palisades yesterday for three weeks of bliss by the sea.  I got here in record time despite all the carmageddon worries.  Fastest return up the 5 from OC ever!   Getting to the Palisades from Weho was equally dreamy.  The 405 opened 18 hours early.  I was tempted to drive it since it would be basically traffic free, but I was equally eager to unload the car, get the cats settled, and hop in the pool.

While unloading things in the kitchen I heard the garage door open and found the lady who was checking in on the cats here.  She didn’t know I was coming early.  Somewhere in the time she showed up and left I lost track of my keys.  I remember thinking oh I should put them near the door or on the kitchen table.  Then I forgot about the keys after my car was unpacked and I went in the pool.

Either my car automatically locks after a certain period of time (I hope not!) or I managed to lock the car with the remote which would mean the keys are somewhere in the house.  It’s a big house and I have looked everywhere, including the recycling I took out and the fridge (it’s happened before) and every empty top drawer in every room. I dumped out my purse about three times, computer bag twice, and looked through all my trader joes bags of supplies i brought with me.

This is all pay back I see for making fun of a facebook freind earlier today who announced she had lost her keys.  “Did you leave them in the door?”  I commented, snidely.  I’ve done that, I admit.  My comment sparked an entire slew of comments from friends saying they thought that was something she would do.  I felt smug and glad it wasnt me. Apparently I smirked to myself too soon.

At nearly ten pm  the AAA guy came and opened my car door, with thirty seconds of alarm going off,
but i could not turn off the alarm without the key.  And my spare is all the way in weho.  I really hope you can’t set the alrm without the remote.  But some alarms set after a certain period of time regardless of whether you pushed the button or not.  Oh dear.  If those keys are in the trunk I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow.

I just knew such breezy traffic during carmageddon was too good to be true. Now I have to – gasp – take the bus all the way to WeHo!  The bus!

‎3:12 pm key update 7/19/11

Bad news: The keys weren’t in the trunk of my car and I still can’t find them.

Good news: I didn’t have to take the bus to get the spare set, thanks to another lucky friend’s generosity who also lives in weho and is housesitting in the palisades.

Bad news: Though I thouroughly checked the trash I took out they may have been in the trash that was collected this morning.  Yikes!

Good news: I thouroughly checked the recycling in lieu of it going out today. It will go out next week.

Bad news:  I still cannot find these keys.

Good news:  At least I have keys and can lock my car tonight.

3:32 pm Tuesday 7/19/11
I FOUND MY KEYS!  They were on the lawn – must have dropped them when chasing after Puppet the tricky little black kitten before she ran into the street.  They smell like lawn, but the car key still works and Puppet is still alive so all is well with the world.  PHEW!


Quilt Guilt

by Claire Partin on Monday, September 27, 2010 from facebook

I have a confession to make. I beat my mom.  I have been doing it for years.  I do feel a little guilty about it, but figure it’s okay because she used to beat me.  Now before you go calling the authorities I should clarify.  I beat my mom at scrabble, dominoes, and now online with words with friends.   She was the master but now she is getting older and having sight issues and let’s face it meanwhile I have gotten better knowing the weird quirky words like “io” and “qat.”  I learned them from her. These are words my mom spent years learning playing the sunday crossword puzzle.  She does it in INK!  Such a smart cookie.  But now the tables are turning and she rarely beats me anymore.

When I pathetically bragged about this on facebook my sister Melissa made me promise not to beat my mom on her birthday. Thankfully I had already beat her the day before and we had started another game.

I went to take my mom for a belated birthday lunch yesterday and we played dominoes and yes, I won.  I told her,  “I don’t like beating you, I just really like winning.”  I think she still battles her motherly instinct to let her child win.  But she now resists her impulse to help me and has become a little more of a ruthless strategist.  And its fun to play with her.  A great way to be together without getting into any sort of deep conversation.  If we want a real conversation we need to stop playing and go sit on the couch, which we will occasionally do, maybe twice a year.  It works for us.  It’s the Partin Way.

At the beginning of the year I was taking a meditation class and learning how to ask for what I really want, and I wanted a red and purple quilt, a bigger version of one my mom had made and was giving to a friend.  The back story on this is this particular friend also got some chairs I really wanted from my childhood and also got some of my mom’s best quilts.  I was never very good at asking my mom for things, and when i would i wouldn’t get them.  So asking for this quilt was kind of a big deal for me.  My mom said the fabrics were no longer available and gave me a guilt trip that i did in fact have some of her best quilts.  My feeling is my sister with the kid (Melissa) is the one always getting a new quilt from my mom.  So I asked for what I wanted.

Melissa (maybe from her own guilt?) offered to help my mom find the fabrics online after I told her the story.  She validated me saying I should get that.  The meditation classes were working!  I was learning to express my desires not only to my mom but to my sister and was being heard!  My mom made the quilt!

BUT she loved it so much she wanted to keep it for herself.  Damn!  And not only that she told me this on MY birthday and then went on to say I need to lose weight because it shows up in my face!  Jeez!  Can’t I ever get what I want?  And why can’t I be complimented at least on my birthday!? This was turning into a guilt quilt and I didn’t like it, not one bit.

I think I may have complained, yet again, to another sister and here is the solution to all this.  My mom made another version of the quilt for herself.  But I still don’t have it because she needs it for an example.  She’s dangling it front of me like  a carrot!  No, it’s sweet really.  I’m not sure what the real lesson is here.  Maybe I will know once I actually have that quilt in my hot little hands.  It really is beautiful!

My mother, though losing her sight from macular degeneration, is like Monet in his later years doing her best work ever, and it all comes from love.  I know she really loves making them.  She loves fabric and color and design and working with her hands. She also expressed to me she loves that people have her quilts to wrap around themselves.   It is like she is hugging each and everyone of us when we use them. She has also made many baby quilts and loves that she is part of their young lives.  Lucky kids!  Lucky us!

Relationships are like quilts, with many fabrics and patterns and textures.  If you’re lucky they turn out beautifully designed like my mom’s quilts.  I love my mom and feel like our relationship is still developing, perhaps waiting for the border or backing, but a creation in progress like a quilt or painting.  I still won’t let her win at scrabble, but she will always be the master designer and artist.  I can only wish to be like her and get better and better at what I choose to create.

And if I am lucky enough someday when I am 79 some younger lady will be beating me at scrabble or dominoes, and not feeling guilty about it.

Mid-century Modern; Addiction or Psychological Affliction?

by Claire Partin on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 from facebook

They say that some of us get stuck somewhere in our childhood, that this is where we go emotionally when things get tough. I don’t know if I am emotionally a five year old, but this is definitely where my design aesthetic is stuck. Back when my parents were still together, back before I knew about pain or separation or what it meant to be an outsider, my parents bought a super cool 60’s house in the Eichler Tract of Orange, CA when my father, Robert, (everyone called him Bob) got a job teaching art at Cal State Fullerton. He was a hip young artist, his large canvases informed by his years in New York at Columbia when artists such as Rothko, Frank Stella, Jasper Johns and Warhol were emerging prominently on the scene. My mother, Martha, was a stylish Vassar educated woman who graduated at the top of her class at Parsons School of Design in New York City. And though my parents were probably both in New York at the same time they did not meet until my mother moved to Los Angeles to be a young designer for Lanz. Rumor has it my dad was first attracted to my aunt Molly at the party set up for young adults associated with the University of Kentucky; That’s where my Grandpa Ted (Martha’s dad) ran the Art Department and my dad had taught for one summer. But since my dad was shy, my mother was definitiely more his speed than charismatic aunt Molly. When my parents met they were two adorably shy, gorgeous, thin and stylish young adults in California. (When My Grandpa Ted and my Grandma Doris met they were two gorgeous stylish young adults at the Art Institute in Chicago – I see a pattern forming.)

On their first date my dad took my mom to Zuma Beach to see the Pacific Ocean. Imagine her joy at coming over the hill to see the long stretch of beach and the impressive blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean! She said she had never seen it, though she had, but certainly not like this. They collected pebbles on the beach. They were in love. They got married. From what I can tell from the photos it was a very sweet wedding except that my dad insisted she have blue roses and the dye got all over Martha’s hands. Still Martha was gorgeous in the fifties gown she designed, and daddy was devilishly handsome in his white tux. I think it was white.

My parents moved to North Carolina where my father got a position teaching art at North Carolina Greensboro, and one after another all three of my sisters and me were born in Moses Cone Hospital. Then my dad got a better position at Cal State Fullerton and off we went. California was so very dramatic in those first few years. I was only 3 1/2 when we first got there. I got very sick and was hospitalized before we left, and my younger sister Melissa was with a high fever when we moved out. What with sisters in and out of the hospital getting tonsils out, getting stitches for hitting our heads (usually me), not to mention floods and fires and Santa Ana winds, it was very dramatic being here in Southern California. Not only that as I recently learned the people who brought my father to the art department at Fullerton had a falling out with the department and he was left without a political foothold in the department.

And then there was a big earthquake, literally, a really big one. My bed slid across the room. Daddy said he was in the kitchen and felt like he was surfing. I have never been too much afraid after that of earthquakes; nothing has been that bad since in my experience, not even the Northridge one. So if you are ever freaking out during an earthquake just know that maybe I am the one who will be cool enough to check the gas line.

Ironically not long after that quake my parents separated and eventually divorced. The day my mother sat us down at the table to tell us they were getting divorced is a story for another day, and it’s pretty interesting in terms of mine and my sister’s reactions and how we all turned out. I used to perform a monologue I wrote about that day called “Divorce.” It is so very common now, but it wasn’t so much back then.

But before all that turmoil my parents were supposedly happy together, and we kids loved playing tiger with daddy (daddy on all fours, one kid on each leg, one on his back, one hanging from his stomach) in the hip orange rug living room of our modern house with the gorgeous tall windows and white painted fireplace. After you got out of the station wagon parked in the cool carport you opened the turquoise front door with the exaggerated large knob to an atrium where I bounced around on my blue hippity-hop. Sliding glass doors opened to a pebble walkway that looked like a river bed. We even had burlap covered closet doors. Outside, lining the front of the house, fun banana leaf and bird of paradise plants to run behind and a fairy ring of pink geraniums. Inside, beamed wooden ceilings and sleek Danish Modern sideboards and living room tables and chairs and lots of light. Daddy would come home from his studio in the Orange Circle off Chapman in his paint bespeckled coveralls and kiss our mommy. We were happy. Is it no wonder this is where my design aesthetic is stuck?

And don’t think this was the stuffy heavy Hollywood Regency coolness like you see on Mad Men with all the fake gold and big heavy ceramic ashtrays for smoking. Sure they smoked but they quit when I was seven and everyone grew two inches. My parents were hip and colorful and streamlined; think Marrimekko. They both had fair skin and dark brown hair. They made a beautiful couple. My dad wore these soft velour striped sweatshirts in blue and green and drove a light blue VW bug. He had a soft elegance about him, a quiet American earnestness. My mom made these bright bold patterned sleeveless dresses she called jumpers, and had her thick brown hair piled in a big bun on her head, and when my parents had dinner parties she would laugh and laugh through her bright red lipstick. I thought my mom was the coolest woman to walk the earth. She wore pantyhose. She was slim from her days as a dancer. My dad was handsome and funny. I learned later he was shy and reserved around strangers. And sometimes he would get mad. But to me he was silly and warm and fun, especially when we played tigers or went to the park to play on the swings.

I once asked my mom if she missed fashion design once she got married. She said she didn’t have time to think raising four girls. Besides which she was very creative making all our clothes and matching clothes for our dolls. Apparently my dad told her when they got married there would only be one artist in the family. “How could you let him say that to you?” I asked. Martha shrugged and said, “It was the fifties.” Wow.

But the time I am idolizing in my brain was when my parents were still together and I thought it would be like that forever. And it’s no wonder I find the 70’s aesthetic to be a little sleazy and uncomfortable. Oh sure now I can appreciate the kitschiness of a smoky plastic dining room set or a hang ten tee shirt or a hooked rug you hang on the wall or a torn boot clay planter, not to mention macrame. But at the time I cringed at the brown plaid couch we had in our rented townhouse that my mom got while she was selling our gorgeous wood paneled, high ceilinged, beautiful Eichler Tract home. I hated our Avocado fridge even though the Brady Bunch had one kind of like it. It took me a long time to wear brown and I still shy away from earth tones.

Case in point my current couch is a sectional in bright pink. Super kicky and bright. Maybe this is a combination of 60’s and 80’s. The eighties were when I came into my own as a young adult. I bought clothes at thrift stores and developed my own style. I wore stretch black denim skinny jeans (back in style!) with a long, cut-out neckline bright pink sweatshirt, and scarves; lots of scarves. I stopped being the girl from Orange County (who I never really was anyway) and embraced the midwest.

I have been back in California for many years. I love it here. But I don’t think I could ever live in Orange County again, despite the nice wide streets and ample parking they have there. No, I like LA and all it’s ethnic diversity. But it doesn’t mean I will ever give up my love for 60’s mod and mid century modern. No way. I guess to me it represents the new happy. It signifies a new life, the sense of possibility California presented to me and my family when we first moved here. And there is nothing wrong in staying stuck in that design bubble, so long as I mix it up with something new and keep it fresh, so long as I am aware of what I like and am not just drawn to it out of comfort. I have learned a lot about mid century design since then. Who knew the Eichler tract would turn out to be so revolutionary and famous? I didn’t. As a child it wasn’t design, it was home. Nothing wrong with going back home.

Don’t Poke Me

When my niece Ellie was only three or four years old she had to go in for some tests at the hospital.  I don’t remember the circumstances but they needed to draw blood and the first time they didn’t get what they needed so they came back for more.  Ellie was very traumatized.  They had to hold her down.  “Don’t poke me!”  She cried. Poor little Ellie.

This is exactly how I feel after being poked on facebook by an ex lover who I recently found out via facebook had a baby.  It’s weird enough to find out via a facebook update that he had a baby.  Where were the updates leading up to this?  Why is this the first I am hearing of this? I had no idea.  You move to east Texas and this is what happens.

But why are you poking me?  Are you trying to impregnate me too via the intertubes? He even commented on his page about all the people he poked. Why is he poking people?

I always think of poking as sort of flirty. It’s just weird to me when friends who are married poke me, let alone friends who just mysteriously had babies out of the blue.  I can’t think of any time a girl poking me.  Aren’t pokes all about flirting?  Am I wrong?

He has been constantly posting updates on the baby and even set up a facebook page for the baby, which is where I found out who the mother of said baby is.  But my ex lover did not make any remarks on his own page about her.  I have no idea why his acknowledgement is so lax for the mom. “Was she just another seed sack for you?”  I want to ask him.  I am curious but dare not ask just what is going on or what their relationship is.  I know what happened.  They did it ten months ago ’cause the baby is now a month old.

I guess he and I have been out of touch.  But is he now trying to flirt with me even though he has a little itty baby?

Don’t poke me!  It’s WEIRD.

take me to your leader or take me off your list

People are mean and stupid. I just got yet another email from someone who has repeatedly sent me invites via emailing a list he has not bcc’d. It is the same person who has the audacity to hide the invite list on an evite. Doesn’t he know that I need to know who is coming on your evite because we were part of a theatre company where I dated and broke up with some of those people? And the not bcc-ing the list on a regular email invites all sorts of replies i get caught up in for an event i wasn’t going to go to in the first place because a) i don’t want to run into any ex-boyfriends without knowing if they are bringing a guest and b) I am pissed that the list was sent out not bcc’d, inviting all sorts of spamola.

Learn your invite etiquette, people.

And while we are at it, who thought it would be a good idea to see other friend’s events prominently placed in the right hand margin on my facebook page? Way to go to make me feel left out!

I hate technology. I am never leaving my house or going to another party ever again. Meanwhile I am waging war on the non bcc-ers.  And changing all my passwords, email addresses and names. Go ahead, call me petty and paranoid.  Just don’t invite me without giving me the semblance of control over how I handle your invite. The fact is we’re NOT all friends.

Sorry to be the bitter one, but there you have it.

UPDATE! The person has now made their extensive email list bcc.  Thanks.  NOt sure if he read this but if he did its all proof to the effectiveness of blogging your fury!

default theme song for when someone plants a song in your brain

Damn I wish I had a good default song. You know how it goes, someone inadvertently ruins your day by saying something selfish and stupid along the lines of “I can’t get this horrible Milli Vanilli song out of my head!”  Then you spend the rest of the day trying to get said Milli Vanilli song out of YOUR head. Okay I don’t know any Milli Vanilli songs. But you get the idea.

The key to having a default song is it has to be something you don’t mind playing over and over in your head. Like anything Rolling Stones, Blondie, or Dylan.

I advise against Abba songs.

I love Abba and they are my favorite band to clean my house to, but any one of their songs OVER AND OVER can be trying. I dare you to find an Abba song that over and over wouldn’t be horrible. I know Muriel (in Muriel’s Wedding) listens to “Dancing Queen” over and over, but she was disturbed and came from a broken home, besides being Australian at the time. To wit she rejected the super hot olympic swimmer she had married. What, was she insane? Nah. He was maybe gay. And maybe she was too. She ended up with her super hot roommate played by Rachel Griffiths. Were they more than friends? Who knows.  We never got a sequel.

But I diverse.

I take back Dylan too. “Tangled up in Blue” could be very annoying to hear over and over in your head, especially if you get the totally weirded out unrecognizable version from the late 90’s.  I went to a concert of his on a triple bill with Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison at Anaheim Stadium in 1998.  Great concert! But my date got me stoned and the whole stadium was pulsating.  Please note getting stoned is not my usual drug of choice (more like wine and/or tv) so I was put off guard.  I did love Dylan’s look in the white suit, but trying to remember lyrics to that or any Dylan song will forever be tangled up for me.

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,”  though a great tune to crank out if they ever ask you at an audition last minute to sing, is a very bad choice for a default song.

I think the next time someone plants a song in my brain (like Alex has done to me via her  facebook status with the Beck lyrics “Two turntables and a microphone”) I will stick with my faithful standby of “Call Me” by Blondie. It makes me think of the movie American Gigolo and how cute Richard Gere was then. It also reminds me of senior year in high school and ditching school to go to the beach. Yes, I am older than you think.  Wish I could remember more than “Call me!  On the line, call me, call me any any time.  Call me!  I love (something something) …. when you’re ready we can share the wine.  Call me.”

I am going to my high school reunion next week and am more than a little freaked out. I can and cannot think back that far.   I hope they play some Blondie.  That will help bring me back.  Blondie, The Go Go’s, Stones, David Bowie, Bruce and Oingo Boingo.

I bet any of them has some good default songs.

What’s YOUR default song?  Mind if I steal it? I am sick of “Call me” already.

Feline Furryous

Babaloo and Gremlin

The guilty ones

For those of you who know me you know I love a good bargain almost as much as I love mid-century modern design.  So imagine my utter glee at finding a five-piece mid-century modern sofa in beautiful cream upholstery right off the truck at my local Salvation Army store.  The only flaws were a little discoloration to the upholstery which I easily cleaned up with carpet cleaner.  I imagine it was covered in plastic at one point by some very stylish and careful, bossy even 1950’s housewife who sent it to the garage and covered it in plastic when it went out of style, and the markings are simply from the move in the truck.  People used to take better care of their furniture, and it was made better too.  Good fortune and a life long swap meet shoppers intuition brought this gorgeous sectional to me just when I really needed it even though I didn’t need it, really.  Whatever.  I wanted it badly and there it was.  I can’t believe my luck sometimes.

The cost was 300, a good price for such a lovely quintet of two triangle upholstered side tables topped with wood style formica and a couch that consists of two love seat sectionals and an armless chair.  Yet I was contemplating the price along with the size and how to move it and what to do with my current sofa sectional of pink vinyl when another savvy shopper pointed out to me that today everything was half off.  150!  OMG!  I had to have it!

I currently have the two side triangles together as a corner table with the remaining three pieces forming one bad ass super long couch, but I imagine this arrangement will transform many times over the years.  This couch was just the solution to go with my orange mid-century mod still life painting that was clashing with my pink vinyl fifties sectional. I love a good sectional and have relegated the pink one to the other side of the room where it no longer clashes with the orange painting and resides under my black velvet matador painting and a pink guitar. Beauty and flexibility!  Ahhh, bliss!

I think the five-piece sectional is actually worth a lot more than 300 in resale.  I bet I could get double that, or even 800 which a vintage furniture store would then again resell for maybe as much as 1200.  To think I got it for 150!  That comes to only 30 dollars per piece!  AMAZING. Not only that I moved it for free in two trips in my convertible Beetle and my neighbor helped me drag the pieces upstairs.  Oh the joy, the rapture, the ecstasy of brilliant find combined with great deal!

But guess what?  Babaloo and Gremlin love it too, and have been expressing their ecstasy over and over in using the side arms as scratching posts.  They must have a lot of built up tension having never had sex being two neutered rescue cats.  So much for owning an 800 dollar sofa.  It’s now worth more like 150.

Nothing to be done, and I am not getting rid of either the cats or the couch.  We will all just have to live together, flaws and all.

That is what Feline Furryous is all about.

Meltdown Town

My laptop is having problems.  I keep getting the swirly beach ball.  My time machine won’t back up and hasn’t since Nov 17.  I take my laptop, a macbook pro purchased less than two years ago, to the so- called genius bar at the apple store.  I call the genius bar the kiss and cry area of the store.  You go there and either they press a button and run a quick test and declare your computer is perfect now, or you go and after much conferencing with several crew members mumbling mumbo jumbo you cannot interpret they say, “Oh, yeah, your hard drive isn’t even starting with our handy gadget here (or something more important sounding.) You have a problem.”  In the case of my macbook pro after running several tests my genius guy gave me this validating news. “The good news is you’re not crazy.  There definitely is something wrong with your computer.”  Oh happy day.  Could you pass this info on to all my ex-boyfriends, the part where you mention I’m not crazy?

“What does this mean?” I stupidly ask.  My genius looks at me like, “Duh.  It means there is something wrong with your computer, and even though I am called a genius here at the apple store i am not smart enough to figure this out but I am not going to give you the pleasure of hearing my internal thoughts on my self esteem issues.”

Instead my genius guy says “I suggest an erase and reinstall.”

Gasp. ERASE AND REINSTALL!  It’s soooo…. drastic.

“But can’t we reinstall the software and have you do it this time.  Like you said, I may have messed it up.”  I beg, adding hopefully, “Maybe it has to do with my new three in one printer since it kept crashing when I was trying to use the scanner. How about you show me how to unistall that?”  And, desperate now,  “Can I buy one of your half tera drives and back it up right here and have you fix it today?”

My genius guy, somewhat testy now and you can tell because he is smiling, “Look that’s gonna take at least an hour and a half. The truth is we could try fifty different things, but an erase and reinstall would solve the issues.  All you have to do is back it up, and bring it back.”  “To this location?” “Try and do it within the week.  I’ve already ordered the parts.”

I was so depressed I didn’t even want to buy shoes with my Macy’s coupon. I didn’t even want to buy shoes.

This was over two weeks ago.

The problem is my time machine isn’t working and I couldn’t get the external hard drive I bought at target to work either. I cannot back up, and I cannot move forward until I back up. I have reached a proverbial brick wall. I know, I know, I should just call apple care, but those people make me feel stupid.  They keep me on the phone forever and have me redo things I already did.  As much as I love my new android phone I don’t love it enough to be on it all day with apple care.

I can’t help thinking that the time machine not working relates to my upcoming high school reunion. With the help of my failing electronics I have reverted back to a time before laptops and androids and cell phones and even answering machines to a land that time forgot; the 1980’s.

In addition to my scanner issues, the time machine and the swirly beach ball, my iPad has totally died on me. Maybe it’s just as well.  I’ll get a new one.  This will be a relief since everytime someone sees my iPad they ask me “Is it the new one?”  Every time.  I am tired of defending it. “Really I only got it seven months ago.” So embarrassing.

My first generation iPad is like an old boyfriend now and I am bored with him.   I want the new one where you can edit your iMovies on it and it has an app for the track dimmers.   The new iPad is slimmer and more cool and comes in different colors and drives a baby blue camero.

It’s a holiday weekend and none of this will be dealt with until next week.  Let’s hope my android holds up, because it may be my only link to 2011 for now.