Tuesday, January 13, 2009


This week’s PROMPTuesday asks that you post about your favorite — or “most awesome” things. What do you love? What can’t you live without? What do you like to watch on TV? What are your favorite websites? What do you use on your hair? (This last one is a requirement.)

It's not easy to think of something I can't live without. About the only thing I truly need to survive are my glasses, or contact lenses. I'm blinder than a bat without correction.

Living where I do, in a region that people call "fire prone" I am always made aware of the possibility of my home - and all my belonging - being destroyed in a fire. Last year at Thanksgiving, 55 homes in Malibu were destroyed before dawn.

I imagine that. I imagine being awakened from sleep to flee my home, without the chance to think, to choose; and knowing that when I return all will be ashes.

We're told to make lists of what to take with us, odd combinations of practical and sentimental things. Put the insurance documents in a fireproof box! And don't forget the baby pictures!

Every time the Santa Ana winds blow, as they are this week, we remind ourselves of the lists. Where's the box? Should I unplug the computer? Load the trunk? Point the car face-first out the driveway?

Every day some other piece, some other object gets added to the pile. Those cute shoes. The family silver Mom insisted I take. That book I was in the middle of. That clever little pin I found in that boutique.

Can you imagine them going, gone? The book's leaves lifting with the breath of the flames, charring, flaring, and crumbling? Would my bakelite bangle crack and shatter with the heat? In the bathroom, does the Pantene Extra Volume shampoo boil in its bottle before melting and then crisping into bubbled goo on the blackened shower tiles?

You can't think of that - it's too much. So you let go. You try to unmoor yourself from things. I can live without all this, you say. But the real question is - what will I mourn after it's lost?


Me said...

One wind storm at a time. Praying 2009 is fine!

Nihal said...

I see. What we believe in is that everything is coming from God and nothing coming from us. There's nothing better than hope and wish the best. Because we never know where are we headed and a year of great change..? Who knows? Nobody.
My answer for the question -what do you love? I love to LOVE:) To love, all I need is Peace. These two is my expectation in our noisy region:)

A very fine composition, Lady G:)

Hope to have you my guest for a bowl of Asure, I wait~

Anonymous said...

Glennis, you definitely have to stop and think, don't you? A house in our neighborhood had a fire last year, and it was so surreal standing on my front porch watching the flames and smelling the burn. They have since torn down the shell, and are beginning to rebuild. We pray this is a question we won't have to answer.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

well, um, Ithaca may be stinking cold, but we don't have the wildfires!

Kathy Rogers said...

It has been warm & crazy windy. And yet I had not been thinking of this as fire weather. I wonder why?

I still find little pockets of ash around the yard from the last ones.

JCK said...

Oh, so true and scary to think about. I am completely unprepared should anything like that happen.

San Diego Momma said...

FINALLY! I have read this post three times, and each read was interrupted by a barfing kid.

Anyway...you made this PROMPT so poetic. I love that. Plus, the way you wove the hair thing in? Genius,

Anonymous said...

Late night hello, G, I'm playing catch-up and have been reading about your past two weeks.

Your Echo Park trips and other wanderings make me miss L.A., even after 22 years. Having left my own TV & film career behind -- happily, I might add -- I still get little pangs when old friends are nominated for awards and kids who were once seat-fillers walk across the stage.

I miss the Farmers Market on Fairfax, the way it was long before The Grove took over, and I miss the view from my office on the 26th floor at 9000 Sunset. I miss the Van Nuys Drive In, and my favorite Mexican restaurant in Chatsworth that didn't even have a sign. I miss my house in North Hollywood, the one my husband grew up in and that we were still remodeling when he got transferred to small town California. I miss the singing waiters and 80-year-old piano player at Miceli's in Hollywood. I miss romantic picnics at the Hollywood Bowl, and riding the carousel in Griffith Park. Many of those things are long gone, but the memories keep them frozen in time.

My mother in law is still in Encino, just below Mulholland where it turns into a dirt road. Her husband died on Halloween, after 67 years of marriage. As they grew older, they discouraged the frequency of our visits and were no longer up to weekend guests. For the past few years we'd drive down, spend a few hours, and then drive back to Bakersfield. So we haven't seen much of L.A. recently, except when we come down for concerts or a trip to IKEA. It still feels like home, but we’ve been gone a long time.

Your posts make me wonder why we fly hundreds or thousands of miles to explore ethnic neighborhoods on vacation, when we can make the hundred mile drive to L.A. in an hour and a half. I have a serious case of Street Food Envy :o)

A friend of mine lost her home in the Malibu/Broad Beach fire in 1978. Another friend -- in her early 50s at the time – fled the 1982 Malibu fire with only her purse, a blanket, and what she could fit into a large cooler: ice, plastic glasses, and mixers, plus gin, vodka, and whiskey. The fire blocked them in, so she and her neighbors went to the western end of their gated street and climbed down the 4 or 5 flights of stairs to the beach. My friend served drinks on the beach while her home burned. She didn't think twice about the photos or the silver, and she still insists that offering her neighbors "a civilized drink" had far more value than anything she owned.

Threading looks painful to me. I had electrolysis on my Frito Bandito moustache close to 10 years ago. Now I have whiskers on my chin instead, and I do a routine search-and-destroy every morning. If anyone had warned me that pubic hair turns gray, I'd have had it lasered before it was too late :o) So much for what I use on my hair, huh?

Now that I'm all caught up, I'll tiptoe out the way I came in.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your note on my blog this morning ... I'm double-posting my reply to be certain you see it :o)

You're right, Glennis, I was in and out of L.A. before you arrived. Moved from the S.F. Bay Area to No. Hollywood in 76, lived in half a dozen places before getting married in 84, and moved to Bakersfield in 87. I did my graduate work in Los Angeles, spent part of a semester teaching high school English in the lockdown ward at Juvenile Hall near Hazard Park and the County Hospital/USC, then became an accountant in tv & film production.

You would have loved the pre-Olympics Los Angeles I knew as much as you love it's current diversity and treasures. And I would love to spend more time exploring many of the places you write about, but it's a Catch 22 for us: we can no longer stay at my MIL's house, and staying in an L.A. hotel feels false, somehow. It's not the same as jumping in the car for a run to the Santa Monica farmer's market, searching out a new Panaderia for fresh bolillos, and then puttering in the Reseda junk shops before going home to cook. The other alternative -- a 2 hour car trip on either end of the same day -- feels more like a field trip than a casual afternoon.

For now, I'm going to continue enjoying L.A. through your eyes, because you tell wonderful stories. I'm making a list of *your* places I'd like to visit sometime soon, and may combine sneak some in with a trip to purchase new countertops for my kitchen and dig through some architectural salvage places near downtown and in Pasadena. That seems worth a weekend trip :o)

I'm also planning to join you in PROMPTuesday starting next week. I'm no longer a part of my real-world writer's group, and I miss the Natalie Goldberg style writing practice.



I am a Tornado ~ proven fact! said...

I could not live without my pictures. I've been thinking of this recently and just puchased a fire box (weird - told you we are related somehow).

OH, and things I need for the hair - I am naturally curly - CONDITIONER. CONDITIONER. CONDITIONER. Any. But for curly hair do not rinse it out totally.

I am a Tornado ~ proven fact! said...

Praying for you.

Fingers and toes crossed.

Thoughts and good wishes sent your way.