I'm nursing a cold that my mom gave to me via her plane trip to Los Angeles. Has to be where she got it, as planes are airtight germ tubes. I sacked out at around 9:00 PM last night and woke at around 7:00 AM this morning. It's the first time I've actually awoke feeling rested and ready for the day. As I type, Atticus is trying to find a way onto my lap. Bullseye. He's on. Now he's jostling for the best position and flop, he's down and happy.
I hate colds. Hate them. I rarely get them but still. Hopefully I've seen the worst of this one. I hate the not being able to taste or smell, and the stuffiness. The fatigue before them and the watery eyes. I worked on Thursday and Friday and just sucked it up. Sure, my bed was whispering in my ear to stay and snuggle in its cocoon, but I got up anyway. After making a minimal effort to look human, I walked out to a way too bright and chilly morning.
So now that I can sleep in, I'm up. I plan to go back to bed as soon as I finish this post. What can I say? My bed has many alluring traits.
It was fun to have my mom and Jack here and tour around Los Angeles. They stayed in the Marriott hotel not far from me and that worked out just fine. The first night they were here, I went to see them after work and we had a great dinner down in the restaurant. It was fun to be back together like we'd done so many times in Baltimore. I was happy though, that we weren't in Baltimore.
We went to Christmas Eve service at a wonderful church in Beverly Hills. I knew about it when I started to go to church when I was first dealing with my downfall into depression several years ago. Though I've never been overly religious, I just felt that I needed it, and it was near by. It was a great antidote to my feelings of shrinking into obscurity and invisibility at the time, and had the perfect uplifting message that I needed. During the service, which was beautiful, my mom pointed out Hal Holbrook and his wife Dixie Carter, whom I immediately recognized once she said his name. I didn't recognize her at all. After the service, the night was windy and cold, offering an atmosphere unlike Los Angeles. The sky was ink black and crystal clear, and a full moon hung in the sky. The stars sparkled like diamonds.
On the way home, we saw a huge ad for The Wire on Sunset. The three of us got excited about that, and I pulled over. Closing in on 1AM, Christmas, all in church clothes, Jack (the only smart one in the group) stood watch while mom and I ran out in the middle of Sunset Blvd. where I took this shiteous picture. It was the best I could do under the circumstances with shaky hands and a digital camera which is in dire need of upgrading. The fact that it was Christmas was the only reason we were able to stand in the middle of the street and do this. As you see, traffic was light.
A week before, I'd emailed another picture of a bill board to David Simon that was on Sunset going the other way, and he wrote me back to thank me for it. So, I sent him this one as well saying that I was glad that the show was getting the prime advertising that it deserves. The show's opening episode premieres on HBO on January 6th, for those of you who are curious. I didn't work on this season, so I have no idea of the story except that it revolves around the Baltimore Sun. I'm very much looking forward to it.
For Christmas, since I didn't have a tree, I made one. Yeah, made one. I brought out my art supplies and put a collage tree together. It was an idea that came to me last minute, as I couldn't justify having Christmas without a tree of some sort. I already had large sheets of art stock paper, so I cut the shape of the tree out of a couple pieces. Turns out that Vons had the right color gradated green on their brochures, so I took about thirty of them and used them for the tree. For the ornaments, I cut out jewelry from magazine and pasted them on top. I used my painting easel to hold up the tree and placed the presents around it. Perfect. The project took a couple days, don't ask me where I got the energy, but was well worth it. I worked on it after my mom and Jack had gone back to the hotel for the evening. They loved it and were totally surprised. It's the first Christmas I've ever "hosted" and I think it went off well.
There are many reasons that I like Christmas. Sure, it's stressful, but it offers time for quiet and contemplation. Everything in the outside world, no matter where I've been, seems to take a break for a couple days. I had time to work on my tree, have a movie on and just be in the moment. There was no traffic outside when I finally made it to bed, and it was just perfect. It's as if everyone has taken some time to breathe, including the buildings, trees, roads and earth around us. It's almost a perfect moment of clarity, at least for me because that's exactly what I allow it to be. I had to get a little older to learn and appreciate that.
For Christmas dinner, we ate a fabulous "family style" dinner at The Peninsula Hotel. Not only that, scored street parking right in front of the place. I was afraid it would be stuffy, but it was anything but. Our waiter, a Bulgarian named Emil, was excellent and the bread pudding was to die for. The champagne was free flowing as were the deserts. Beside us, an odd couple sat and were mostly quiet. I'm guessing the woman was in her sixties and took two huge platefuls of deserts back to her table. She was white, her husband was Asian and they were mostly finished when we arrived, but not soon enough that both my mom and I had summed up that the woman was bulimic. Among several other telltale signs, she was rail thin, not in a natural way, and the skin on her face clung to her bones by sheer will. She disappeared for twenty minutes after dinner while her husband sat and waited as if he were used to the ritual. She came back, her eyes watery and a fresh layer of lipstick applied. Things that make you go "hmm."
Shannon met my mom and me for a coffee on the 26th. There was a funny caveat to that meeting, in that the last time I'd introduced Shannon to my mom was about fifteen years ago when I'd first arrived in Los Angeles. A bad habit that she has is not paying attention when I introduce her to people and she can come off aloof, even when that's so far from her personality. Well, fourteen years ago, Shannon was no exception and when I introduced her, she barely acknowledged him, something for which I've chided her for ever since. On the flip side, about ten years back I played a dirty message that Shannon left for me, mentioning a certain sexual act that he wanted to do with the both of us when my mom was visiting. Of course, the message was a joke, completely funny and was meant just for my ears, but it was just too good not to play to my mom. She laughed, and when I told Shannon I'd played it for her, he was completely horrified and told me that he could never meet my mom. Well, the both of them met on December 26th, 2007 and did just fine. We joked about both incidents and had many belly laughs. I was glad that my mom finally got to meet and talk with the Shannon, and likewise for Shannon. He brought a really cool Christmas gift for me which was called a "Liquid Lunch Martini Set for Two." Totally cool gift and I loved it. The inside contains recipes for different martinis. Cosmos are included.
But of course.