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Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

It seems that a lot of people have been wondering what happened to The Bird. I count myself as one of them.

I have a stack of books for him to review, and without warning he went off on vacation and has not written one word since.

He just waltzed back in and informed me that he was no longer interested in reviewing books, he was training to be a stunt pilot.

He figures he will be a huge celebrity, as a one winged bird doing ariel tricks.

I am trying to talk him out of it, and we are reaching a compromise, I think.  If I can get a few more book reviews out of him, he can go ahead and pursue “Reality Show Crow” fame.

Sigh.  Everybody wants to be a star.

Kelly Mahan Jaramillo and Bobby D. the Crow deep in negotiations

Stunt Bird practicing

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Hello, my fellow Crows and assorted Others.  Today we are reviewing “Not By Accident: Reconstructing A Careless Life”. by author Samantha Dunn.

You can click the link below, or just pop over to the review page.  Enjoy!

Bobby’s Bi-weekly Book Review

I have to make dinner, the Humans are working late, so my apologies for rushing off.  You can see I have my hands full, below.

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Ahh, folks? Are we out of Garlic Salt? I am looking everywhere, dammit!

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I am one happy crow. My mother is finally starting to understand me when I speak.  Today is a great example – she noticed my drinking cup was a little bit low, and she threw the old water out, washed the cup, and put in nice fresh water.  For all of her flaws, and there are SO many, she is very good about making sure the Bird has plenty of fresh food and drink.

However, it has been awhile since she has taken me out onto my balcony, where my jacuzzi-bowl  is in my large black, Nouvelle French dressing room. She says it has been too cold, I keep saying I am a Bird, and we live in the cold.  Her counter argument is that I am now, after 8 years, an indoor bird, and I would catch a cold.

Puh-leeze.  I am a crow, we are invincible.

So, when she brought my little cup of fresh water, I dunked my head in it, loud.  It startled her enough to realize that I was willing to take a bath in a cup, I do not like being dirty, and I was feeling icky.

She caved.  I was taken outside to my beautiful big bowl, where I proceeded to take the longest, splashiest bath ever, and she had to keep coming out and filling the jacuzzi-bowl.  I love it when she is my slave-girl. I should make her wear the Princess Leia slave outfit. The Bird thinks that would be appropriate. I will bring it up at our next Homeowners Meeting.

So, now I am glossy and clean and gorgeous, and below I would like to share with you a few photos of my room, my three story condo, and my books.

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Leaping from the top floor to the main room

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Have I mentioned that my condo has been appraised at over $100,000? You heard right.

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Is this bulb out again? Grr, these antique lamps. Someone find the father.

Now that I am clean and relaxed, I am going to begin my next book review. Everybody over on the review page is asking what is next, but I refuse to give a teaser.  You will just have to wait until tomorrow.  The Bird is Busy, and can only do so much, you know.

Caw!

Bobby Out!

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Two days ago, maybe?

The only good thing about humidity is it makes your skin look absolutely fabulous.  All of that moisture.

Otherwise, it is a misery, but the beauty is, summer only lasts for two months around here.

The forest that is our lot is so old, the leaves are really too big to fully understand when written about, so here are a few photos to have something to compare.

It is just past a year since Bullet died, and it is coming up on two years since my cat Monkey died.  I have not been able to write about Monkey, and I just got word that my friend Tara Zucker lost her cat Blanche.

Tara writes much more eloquently than I, and her life with Blanche is a beautiful chronology of how we come to love the four-legged creatures that speak so well, if only we were smart enough to understand.

My shoe size? Six and a half.  Ahem

My shoe size? Six and a half. Ahem

Hand?  Not much bigger than foot.

Hand? Not much bigger than foot.

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There was a rabbit. He was running around in Koreatown, Los Angeles, where I was teaching English as as Second Language.

It was July 9th, ten months after my father, Bill Mahan, died.  July 9th happened to be Bill’s  birthday.

I saw all of the students, of every level, yelling in their native language and running around in circles in ninety degree heat.

It was lunchtime, so I did not want to be the bitch teacher screaming “English, people, English!” – but I was intensely curious and needed someone to have done enough of their homework  to clue me in.

(Granted, I had purchased every student a copy of Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” to show them that the English language did not always translate across every state).

They were chasing a rabbit.  I knew nothing of rabbits, and I was wearing the one good pair of pants I owned.

I waded in, and saw him under the ficus, loaded for bear.  He had big teeth and an attitude.

I grabbed him, and god help me, he went quiet.  The students and other teachers were in a circle, laughing.

“Now you own him!” or “You just caught dinner!”

I knew if I brought home another animal, Tomas’s patience would wear thin.

We all got through it.

Billy “The Bullet” Mahan lived with us for about 6 years. When we decided to get out of Los Angeles for good, we had a 5-week stopover in Ojai, California.   As my faithful readers know, Bobby the Crow, Billy “The Bullet” Mahan, Vito and Vinnie the cats, Tomas and myself relaxed and gathered our wits in Ojai, and began prepping for the trip one year ago this month.

The Bullet was old, and he did not make it past the first stop over in Ojai.  He enjoyed being there for a month, and had built up quite a little fan club when people would walk by and see him in his big round pen, relaxing under the trees outside, before we would bring him in for the evening.

Local Ojai folks liked to stop at the little wooden fence and talk to him.

At dusk one night, I went out to bring him in, and he was not feeling well.  He died very suddenly about an hour later, to my shock, disbelief, and tremendous sadness.

He is buried under two huge, beautiful oak trees on the land of Lisa and John Adair.  We miss him every day.

There will never be another Bullet.

Lady? I could arrest you for hitchhiking......

"Lady? I could arrest you for hitchhiking....." .photo: Kelly Mahan Jaramillo, The Bullet

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He was hopping around, when he saw this on my laptop.

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It takes a mighty storm to scare Robert.  I really have to stop with having certain politicians so easily accessible to my kids.  Hide them in the porn closet, I guess.

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When Bobby and the mom still lived under the Bush Administration

When Bobby and the mom still lived under the Bush Administration

The Bird is outraged.  We have a new home, a new administration, we go swimming on a new coast.  Tomas just got a new film, we are cutting a new trailer to last years film – – -it’s all good!

Until last night, after President Obama’s speech.  It left us with a strong sense of pride and ability and finally, an administration that seems to care about people who are or have been struggling. 

The the Up-And-Coming-Star of the GOP,  (no not Palin, try not to laugh) Bobby Jindal, gave the ‘Republican Response’ to President Obama.

Oh. My. God.

You can throw a rock and read about it, so I am not going to go into detail about how I felt that Opie was trying to tell me to trust him never to steal cupcakes again, all the while frosting is spilling out of his mouth – – no thank you, young Jindal.  Run along now.

However, I have a crow named Bobby, and he is making it quite clear that the name Bobby is no longer acceptable.

I can hardly blame him.  My crow would have had a much more interesting and forceful presence in HIS rebuttal, if he were giving one.  However, Bobby voted for President Obama, so his rebuttal would be towards Jindal, and believe me, Jindal would not know what had hit him.

 I know this, I hear it every day – over food, water, exercise, naps, whatever.

So, I agree with him, and heed his wishes.  Bobby D. the Crow will now be referred to as Robert, or Robaire if he is being particularly sexy.

And Robert and the Mom want to say, “Thanks a lot for the performance last night, Jindal. You made Sarah Palin look good, and she was almost gone.”

The Bird and the Mom and the Dad need a drink.

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But I have to yap in spite of it. Renee Tracy is my best friend, we have known each other for 24 years under very strange circumstances.  When I married my first husband, Scott Grusin, she and her fiancee Scott Warner and their infant daughter Rio came to the wedding.  I knew Scott Warner from my days as a film apprentice at Universal Studios in the trailer department. 

 

Fast forward about six years, my marriage long gone (If you are interested in some soap-opera-esque dirt, read the book, I’ll be shamelessly self promoting it soon enough) Scott Warner and Renee had long broken it off, sharing custody of six year old Rio, when I ran into Scott Warner, and we wound up in a year-and-a-half, on-and off relationship that ended badly.

Out of this bizarre paths crossing came the best longtime friendship I have ever had – Renee Tracy.

When Tomas, myself and our crew decided to come back East, Renee was engaged to be married – this is the ONE wedding I wanted to attend, and unfortunately, as you can tell from earlier posts, we were in a 26 foot Penske truck heading across country five weeks before the event.  There was  no way to stave off the trip – the timing was what it was. But here she is, with the now adult Rio, who walked her mother down the aisle, carefully scrutinizing her mothers makeup.

 

Rio supervises, and seems to approve.

Rio supervises, and seems to approve.

 

 

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In front the of their Historical Building, where they bought a condo In Long beach

In front the of their Historical Building, where they bought a condo In Long Beach

In the last 7 years, almost all of the people I had as friends just fell by the wayside, for one reason or another.  I have a handful of enduring ones, and Renee Tracy Springer is like the sister I do not have, and has been for years. Opinionated yet non-judgmental, smart as a whip, GORGEOUS, funny, curious, honest….I am really, really lucky.  We are both Irish, but she is one of those really weird calm ones.

 

Out of the blue, she found a cheap flight out here, hopped on a plane, and  stayed with us for almost five days.  She wanted to experience snow, and the weather complied.  Sadly, her new husband Rodney, who is so perfect for her he was worth the wait – we love him, could not come out.  Maybe in the spring….Rod and Renee love to wine-taste, and we have been doing our research and are starting the tempting campaign about the local wineries.

The three of us had so much fun, and the fact that she made the effort to come out and visit us touched me deeply – the are both always on the go, incredibly busy, but she carved out the time. I have done that for years with people I care about.  Not many people in my life have reciprocated.  I guess it raises the friendship bar a bit.

Below are a few photos of Renee, Tomas and myself, goofing off at home and downtown.

 

Renee and Kel peering into the lobby of the Heinz Hall, downtown

Renee and Kel peering into the lobby of the Heinz Hall, downtown

 

Renee on the outdoor pulpit of a historical Catholic Church, downtown

Renee on the outdoor pulpit of a historical Catholic Church, downtown

 

Next morning, back at the house, the snow starts to get serious

Next morning, back at the house, the snow starts to get serious

 

Tomas and Renee before the Volvo gets buried

Tomas and Renee before the Volvo gets buried

 

This is what we do while we wait for the coffee to heat up?!

This is what we do while we wait for the coffee to heat up?!

Pauline next door attacking the snow - it's fruitless.  Time for Coffee.

Pauline next door attacking the snow - it's fruitless. Time for Coffee.

 

What are those two old guys behind us thinking?

What are those two old guys behind us thinking?

 

 

 

Who has the Championship Steelers Terrible Towel hidden in layers?

Who has the Championship Steelers Terrible Towel hidden in layers?

 

What more to say?   I love her, I miss her, and I am ecstatic that she has finally found the happiness she has fought long and hard for, for so many years. Nobody I know deserves it more than she.

I love you, Renee Tracy Springer. And yes, you are the healthiest person I have ever met.

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Arriving just in time for dinner.  

dinnertime

 

 

Could someone hit the lights, please?  It's late.

Could someone hit the lights, please? It's late.

 

One would not think it was possible to transport two cats and a crow across country, but I have to say, The Bob behaved better than most peoples human children.  How many crows can say they stayed in seven motels and drove through ten states in the dead heat of Summer?

Although, every once in a while he would stick his beak out of his carrier and poke Tomas in the leg. Not being bad, just reminding us that he was down on the floor and getting bored.

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I started a post on my old friend and employer, Mrs. C, full name – Dr. Marjorie Carpenter, and managed to accidentally delete it. Twice.  I have a feeling I was being too maudlin, and her ghost would have none of that.

Where to start?  She was unique in her wrath and tenacity, long after it mattered.  She knew how to be a friend, yet never seemed comfortable with affection.

She was educated long before it was allowed.  By her mother, from what I gather.  Mrs. C. kept personal information close to her chest, unless she was on her third martini.  That, however,  did not guarantee information, generally, she simply waved a knife in he air and bellowed profanities at whomever was in her path.

She loved to lie about her age, generally rounding up, so I do not know if she was 95, 98, or 102 years old.  I believe I am in the ballpark there.

For those of us who worked for her and had a love/hate relationship with her, she mattered, so much.

Her best friend and confidante, JF, had a poem that was Mrs. C’s favorite. It involves daffodils.

A long time ago when I was broke, my mother, clueless, asked me if I had ever considered being a maid.  I laughed, hard and long.  I asked her if she had ever cleaned houses as her job.

I was met with my mothers classic brand of stumbling word salad that deftly manages to change the subject.

Mrs. C. treated me with more respect than any employer I have ever had.  And yes, I was a “maid” a “House Keeper” an employee.

I have been dreaming about the house on Bonvue Ave., it is a recurrent dream, and I wake up sweaty and sad. In the harsh morning, I am tired, I feel old.

ACK!  2008 there were so many people who are no more. We go on until it is our time, whenever that is.

Just because I am able to acknowledge it does not mean that I accept it with dignity, or even resignation.

Death makes me angry.  However, for those who are out of their failing bodies and minds, I imagine Death is a welcome friend.

I believe it was for Mrs. C., and for her to be free from the limitations of old age and being bedridden, I am happy for her.

For myself, JF, Rover, and a number of others, we will miss her terribly.

 

KMJ

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