How to Relax on Saturday

…in ten easy steps:

1) Cat and dog fight, cat hides for two hours. Spend an hour helping them kiss and make up.

2) Alcoholic tells me the shooting in Seattle the other day reminds her of when her son was shot as if I knew that, which I didn’t, and acted annoyed when I had to ask. She then tells me I don’t call the police enough when I see stuff happen at the bar. I tell her I use my own discretion. She doesn’t like that.

3) Head of local Bloods gang asks me out for a drink in front of drunk woman. She says, “Just lie and tell him you have a boyfriend.” Instead I say, “I don’t usually drink and I’m old enough to be your grandmother, young man.” Woman says, “Well you don’t have to lie to him!”

4) After he walks away she tells me I should at least go to coffee with him to stay on his good side, because he can offer me protection. I hug her for the loss of her son and walk away as fast as I am able.

5) Back inside, pour a bath, get in, building’s fire alarm goes off. Get out, toss on clothing while yelling, “There’d better be an actual fucking fire this time, instead of those fucking moron testers accidentally setting it off!”

6) Grab dog and leash, head to stairs, neighbor lets my dog out after I’ve asked him to wait a second before opening the door. Once sensing his freedom, dog runs up to nervous other dogs, who, miraculously, are too distracted from the commotion to cause a fight.

7) Other neighbors have cats, birds, rats, etc. in carriers. My cat is hiding again so I had to leave her behind. “I guess a fire would be bad, after all,” I say, so the neighbors think I’m a good mother.

8) Woman who’s bird I called pretty puts the thing on my shoulder and it starts to snag its beak in my hair. “I feel like I’m a talk show host and you’re a naturalist I’m interviewing, and you just handed me a tarantula and said, ‘It doesn’t usually bite,'” I say, to subtly let her know that birds freak me out. She takes the bird back. “What’s its name?” I ask, again, trying to seem normal. “Tippi, as in Tippi Hedren from The Birds,” she says. I say, “I like how you went right ahead and pulled the bad juju toward you with a rope instead of waiting for it.” We share a laugh.

9) Firemen arrive, check things out, come back out and tell us it was a false alarm… again. “Can we go back in?” I ask. “I suppose,” says one of them, shrugging his shoulders in a reassuring fashion.

10) Back inside, I get back in the tub. The alarm goes off several more times, cat hides, dog cries, sirens blare, I add more lightly scented bubbles to the water.

The End

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Weak Cup of the Week, Weeks Eight, Nine and Ten

Don’t judge the lengthy interim. A lot has gone on, and I’m sure you could find other important stuff to read and discuss in my absence. Many of you are clever like that.

These three weak cups of tea are brought to you by the art on my big brown art wall. I collect a variety of art forms, the only requirement being that each piece can’t cost more than $100. I hope some day their worth will be on par with lotto winnings, as ‘hope’ is my retirement plan.

On the left is a painting by a friend, Laurie Fox Pessemier, who lives in Paris and whose prices have risen a bit since this purchase. (A second painting by her broke my rule.) Her paintings are a delight, as are her artist husband Blair’s. This is of Notre Dame from the Pont Des Arts bridge and yes, I was there when I bought it.

The middle one is done by a clever Seattle gent, Bill Heberholz, and is made with metal scraps from toys and an old fuse storage box and four dominos, all nailed to a board for good measure. It was more like $135, which is also against my under $100 rule but I really dug its charm.

The one on the right is by an artist named Leland Leichman. I snagged it during one of Seattle’s monthly art walks. The artist was sitting cross-legged on a felt tarp, underpricing himself. He was handsomely gaunt; which, admittedly, was why I approached.

When I chose this painting he asked, “Are you sure?”

I’d chosen it because the use of space intrigued me, but hadn’t noticed the subject matter. I took in the nudity and bleeding and said I liked it all the more for its subliminal anti-domestic violence statement. He rolled his eyes, shrugged his shoulders and asked for $12. I gave him $15.

All artists mentioned are very google-able.

Photo by Herb Ritts

Quiz: Clint Eastwood Movie or Undergarment?

1. In the Line of Fire

2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

3. Lady Godiva of Coventry

4. The Enemy Below

5. Two Mules for Sister Sara

6. Dirty Harry

7. Magnum Force

8. Breezy

9. The Enforcer

10. The Gauntlet

11. Pale Rider

12. Every Which Way but Loose

13. Hang ‘Em High

Extra credit: TV Series or Undergarment?

14. Rawhide

The owner of the convenience store on my street was robbed by a man with an ox. She must’ve meant axe. Oxen are notoriously hard to conceal.

The store, as seen from my groovy luv shack.

The title of this post is actually one of my recent tweets on that there Twitter, over there (look to the right and down). Most of my tweets are based on true stories, though I change details for the sake of humor. Twitter isn’t the place to pour out emotions, because that usually takes up way more room than 140 characters, so I get into the real drama behind the tweets in my more serious writing. This blog isn’t my very most serious writing, either, but let’s move on.

Across the street is a small convenience store with no affiliation to a larger chain. There are several stores like it in my neighborhood, and they are reminiscent of bodegas in gritty cities like New York and L.A. This one happens to be owned by a woman from North Africa, and though she is very fluent in English, there are still misunderstandings. It took her saying “ox” three times before my brain was able to shift away from trying to find my debit card and onto that word. Was there some sort of weapon I didn’t know about? “Oh! You mean axe? Oh, holy shit!”

The hair on my arms stood on end so abruptly and forcibly she noticed and gave herself a hug and said, “My hair does the same when I speak of it! Holy shit is right!”

On July 4th, 2011–two days before I wrote this post–two young men entered her store. One of them showed her the axe under his coat while the other paced nervously back and forth. They made it clear why they were there through several gestures, but didn’t speak a single word. Right as she was trying to get ahold of herself and either open the register or scream, a friend of hers walked by and saw the look on her face. He entered, confronted the men and they left quickly.

She called 911, and the first thing she told them when they answered was that there are more small stores in the area similar to hers, and she was afraid the young men would go to one of those stores next. Her first thought was for someone else. I already liked her, but now I adore her. She said they caught the guy with the axe based on her description, but in our neighborhood guys like him seem to spring up out of the sidewalks as if born from it. They are everywhere.

The businesses immediately next to hers are suspiciously drug tolerant. She’s in a very bad location and is very vulnerable to attack because of it. Thankfully she hasn’t been coerced into service, but I’m genuinely worried she’ll be hit again. I let her know I’d send other neighbors in so she wasn’t sitting alone all the time. In fact, I’m checking on her as soon as I figure out why I can’t get the photo of her establishment aligned correctly so I can publish this post.