Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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The Face of Confidence


On my morning exploratory walk, I came across this giant mural. Mural painters amaze me. To create such a huge, public display of art takes an immense amount of confidence on the part of the artist. There is no room for fear of mistakes. The entire neighborhood will see that mistake in the process of being made, not to mention the humiliation of correcting it in front of the world. And heaven forbid if the mistake is not corrected and it stays on view for decades until someone mercifully paints over it. Hats off to public artists.

Teddy Roosevelt said this: “Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.”

I dunno, Teddy, I dunno.

 

Ljg.

I don’t know who painted this; otherwise I would’ve given her/him credit.


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All I Wanted Was A Cup of Coffee But Ended Up on a Guilt-Trip

I went on my first early morning walk today since moving back to the neighborhood where I grew up.   I had two goals in mind:  first I need exercise!  Enough said there.

Second, it has been my writing practice for many years to take a weekend morning to sit in a coffee house with my journal and a cup and write observations.  Public places are a great place to get ideas for character sketches.   However, life circumstances has kept me from doing this for a couple of years.   Now that I am free again to do this, I have encountered a problem:  there are no coffee establishments within walking distance of my home that meet my criteria:  to be open early on a weekend, to not be too expensive, have indoor seating, and to be within two or three blocks from my home.   My neighborhood is a waste-land in that regard.  The closest “Big Green Mermaid” franchise is a mile walk on a rather desolate stretch of street which I would rather avoid.  The independent places close by did not meet the aforementioned criteria.   So until that changes, I will most likely have walk and then drink coffee at home.

But the walk was not without results.   Within just three blocks from my home, I noted a number of quirky establishments.  For example, there is a Krav Maga martial arts studio right across the street from a Capoeira martial arts studio.  I hope Israel and Brazil never have any conflict because that would make for one ugly mix-up in the middle of the Boulevard.

There are some long-time area food establishments: a classic Tex-Mex taco joint next door to a vintage Cantonese diner complete with red upholstered booths.  Then there are the new places:  a bakery which was featured in a Cup-Cake Wars episode, a Thai bistro, a New Zealand-themed fish market and “Raw Bar”, a former KFC that now serves BOTH poke and frozen yogurt, an old English pub-type place, and the strangest– a cafe specializing in Swedish and Turkish beer and appetizers.  It is as if a Swede and a Turk got married and gave birth to a tapas bar.

For years there have been two vacant lots on the corner of the major intersection near me.   This morning I saw a sign that it was the future home of a “public market food hall”.   I had to google that when I got home.   It turns out that this development will be on the same level as the great downtown “Central Market”.   I got excited over that prospect.  A place like that would certainly have coffee.

Then it hit me.  My old neighborhood that was once a blue-collar, working-class,  ethnically diverse neighborhood is gentrifying into hipster-ville.

Property values and rents are sky-rocketing.  Aging single family homes are being replaced by luxurious multi-unit apartment buildings.  A trailer park housing low-income retirees is now a four-story 30 unit dwelling.  About six blocks from another of these large buildings is a low-income public housing complex.   “The Project” used to be one of the most notorious gang-hangouts in the area.  The gangs are not the problem they used to be, I am pleased to say, but the Project is still home a large number of poor, mostly immigrant, families.    With the price of property going up as it is, I predict that it is only a matter of time before greedy developers find a reason to displace all these families who would never be able to afford what these developers will build.   As a recently displaced person myself, I empathize.   I was lucky; I landed on my feet.  These folks?  I don’t know what they would do if that should happen.

Some might say that I should not feel guilty about this.  I didn’t cause this demographic shift.   Things turned out okay for me and I should count my blessings.  However, with abundant blessings come great responsibility.  What can I do to help others being displaced?

I suppose making the observation and writing about it is a start.  This is another step in the evolutionary process of my social conscience.

It just doesn’t seem enough, though.

 

ljg 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Old Spark Plugs, a Hot Minister, and a Healing Miracle



On the spur of the moment this morning I decided to take my car in for servicing. I chose to wait for the work to be done even though I was warned that it could take up to two hours. I was not in any particular hurry today.  I had a cup of hot coffee and my e-reader.  So, I was set.  Besides, I really don’t mind waiting in public areas if I have the time. Such places offer loads of ideas for stories, poems, art pieces, and sometimes just food for thought offered up by every person who passes by. Today was no different.

A number of customers had come and gone while I waited. The last one, though, was the best. This fifty-something bleached blond in a tight tee-shirt and leggings and a pony-tail poking through a baseball cap pulled up in a sleek black Lexus. She got out and sauntered up to the counter. She flashed a smile at the manager and proceeded to tell him about a brake issue with her car: “It’s pedal to the metal, all the way.” I was wondering if she was really talking about her car.

While she waited for the manager to write up a quote for the repair, she turned to me and said, “It is COLD this morning, isn’t it”   Indeed it was– it was 38 degrees this morning.  I agreed and commented about how many people I knew who were getting sick from colds and flu this winter– you know, the usual conversation you have with strangers.  Then she said, “Yes!  That’s so true.  My daughter is recovering from Legionnaires’ Disease.”

I must have conveyed a skeptical look because she added “I know! It’s so rare.  But I’m a nurse so I know all about this type of stuff.” The woman prattled on for several minutes about her daughter’s condition and then said. “She got it from the bacteria in her car’s AC.”

With that, the manager looked up from his paperwork and arched an eyebrow.

“But do you want to know what the really weird part was?”

“There’s more?” I asked.

“Yeah, there’s this guy who lives across the street from us and he comes over one day when my daughter was really sick. I don’t know how he knew she was sick, but he did. He just talked to her for about five minutes, I don’t know what about, but after he left she started feeling better. And now she’s almost well. He healed her! He really did. I swear it. He is some sort of priest or minister or somebody like that. He always has people coming to his house. Isn’t that the most amazing thing?”

“It sure is,” I said as I took a sip from my coffee cup

“But here’s the best part: this priest is so hot!”

I coughed as my coffee went down the wrong way.   I glanced at the manager.  He had a faint smile on his face and I could see his shoulders shaking just a little as he held back a chuckle.

The woman gushed, “I could just look at him all day long— tall, dark hair with just a little bit a gray on the sides… Oh, I could just run my fingers through it. But if he’s a priest, then I guess he’s not available. I am so going to hell for this.”

I stared at her. How do you respond to a comment like that?

“Um, Ms. Chambers, here’s your estimate for the brake job” The woman turned her attention to the manager.

I continued to watch the woman. She was a walking cliché, yet she had a joie de vivre that I found most endearing. No, I wouldn’t recommend a woman putting cougar moves on a man of the cloth. That just seems fraught with disastrous possibilities. Yet, I wish that I had a little bit more of her boldness and transparency.  She didn’t care what anyone thought.   I could learn a thing or two from a person like her.

”Ma’am, your spark plugs need replacing.”

I turned my attention to the young mechanic who just walked off the garage floor.

“ I beg your pardon?”

”Your spark plugs.   They’re  way overdue for replacing. You better take care of that or you’re gonna have a problem soon.”

You got that right, kid.

 

Ljgloyd 2019


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Some Would Say It’s Not Art, But That’s Not the Point

In this coming new year, one of my goals had been to do some sort of sketching each day.  I have been hesitating in making a commitment to this goal because of the self-doubt that comes whenever I try to create in a medium in which I am not particularly adept.  I know that this lack of confidence would become too burdensome and I would quickly drop the practice.

Then it occurred to me to try “zentangle” drawing because of an article I recently stumbled upon in Psychology Today on the psychological benefits of this type of doodling.  Some might say that such drawings are not really “art,” but the final product is not the point of the activity.   The point in creating these pen and paper doodles is to relax and de-stress. This is really the whole reason of my making this an evening after-work exercise. It has been a stressful 2018 and I don’t foresee 2019 being any different.   So today, I have been exploring the basic techniques. Below is a video on what I want to someday achieve and after that is a basic tutorial I watched this morning.

Zentangle Time Lapse (about 2 minutes):

And a tutorial in case you are interested too (about 30 minutes):


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More Reasons to Write Every Day

I came across this TedX video about the benefits of a daily writing practice.  Since life recently threw me a curve ball, I have fallen out the of that practice.  This video has motivated me to pick it up again and make it a part of my daily spiritual routine– just like prayer, meditation and yoga.   If you are a writer — or even if you are not– I encourage you to take a few minutes and listen to this writer’s entire presentation.  She really provides some practical advice for developing a daily writing routine.

 


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Living Mindfully in an Old House


It is Christmas Day, and I am now in a new home.  The house is old and has a lot of quirks, and I have had to learn how to approach those activities which I formerly performed in a mindless manner with new care and consideration. For example, I have to remember not to operate more than one appliance at a time in the kitchen or I will blow a fuse. Not flip a circuit breaker– but blow a fuse– which I don’t know how to fix. Everything I do in this old house I must approach with slowness and gentleness.

On this Christmas, I find myself approaching all areas of my life with a little more slowness, mindfulness, and gentleness.   I find myself meditating more, praying more, being more grateful for the simple things in life — like a roof over my head even when I wonder if it will leak when it rains.

I think it has something to do with the season when Grace came into this world in the form of a Child.  This time of the year always makes me reflective in this way.   Now the trick is carrying this mindful practice beyond the holiday and into the new year.   Can I do it?   I aim to try.

HMerry Christmas, everyone.  Blessings to you all.


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I Got Evicted and Why This is a Good Thing

First load heading out of Bourgeois-ville.

Ten days ago I got an eviction notice.  I must vacate the home that I have lived in for 26 years to accommodate a relative of the landlords.  There was no offer in the letter to help me move, pay expenses or provide a reference attesting to all the years of me being a model tenant; no, simply the statement “we are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.”   I was less than comforted.  This is not an “inconvenience”. This is a life-altering  major disruption to my emotional equilibrium and sense of personal security,  and the lack of compassion shown in this letter is truly staggering.   What they’ve done is all perfectly legal, so there’s not much I can do about it, except bitch and complain.   But I won’t spend one more word about this here or anywhere else.  I won’t because being evicted is the best thing that could possibly have happened to me

Within 20 minutes of my reading the letter and after making an important phone call, I had a new place secured.  I will be moving into an small old house in a great neighborhood with no possibility of ever being evicted again.  It needs a lot of work, but for me the house is a mansion.

I totally see the hand of God in this matter.    If this house were not available to me, it is quite likely I would be out on the street.  People like me, with limited means, can’t afford to live in an area of greed-propelled skyrocketing rents.

And this brings me to this:  the greatest blessing in being evicted in this manner is not the fact that I can now live in a house of my own.  It is the fact that overnight I developed a better awareness of the plight of the poor and homeless. I know it is a cliché but I can’t help saying “there but by the grace of God go I.”   That fact alone places a big responsibility on my shoulders that I cannot ignore anymore.  If circumstances had been different, I could be part of a growing demographic.

I don’t know yet what I will do    Maybe all I will ever do is hand couple of bucks to the guy shivering under a blanket in front of my local Starbucks.  This event definitely will inform how I am going to vote on issues like this in the future. Heck, who knows? I may end up being some sort of activist for renters rights.

But first things first, I need to get packing.

2018

 

 

 


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On Coping

I felt the need of some uber-comfort food after hearing of mass shootings and devastating wild fires, the heart-stopping news of the injury of a key SCOTUS member, the aftermath of a nailbiting election and a demagogue leader throwing a temper tantrum.

And most of that was Wednesday.

So I am making home-made chicken soup from scratch —including the broth.   Into a slow cooker I tossed the carcass of a leftover rotisserie chicken, some sad-looking celery and carrots, the standard aromatics, Himalayan salt, peppercorns, parsley and marjoram, and covered all with distilled water.  Tonight I willl strain the broth and add the noodles and chicken.   From the dismal contents of my refrigerator and pantry shall emerge a soul-lifting pot of goodness and comfort.

Okay, I admit that I may have a bit of a problem with using food as a coping mechanism.  We do what we need to do.

Stock

Making chicken stock at 5 AM.