Thursday, January 30, 2014

still-sound 200. Steve Day

I set out to make today Steve Day.  Since moving my mom to California six weeks ago I've devoted my days off to driving her to the Korean spa, Home Depot or anywhere else I felt would make her feel more connected to her new city.  Things came to a head yesterday when I took her to the gym.  She wanted to splash around in the hot tub while I ran the treadmill and worked on my biceps.  When I checked in with her a while later I did not see her in the tub but heard her in the distance, speaking in a panic.  She lost her glasses and her bathing suit after showering. She implored the woman cleaning the pool area to help her. How does someone lose a bathing suit in a locker room? 

"Go back and FIND them!'

I proceeded into the men's locker room, showered and changed.  As I styled my hair with Surf Hair, every young man of East Los Angeles with an interest in physical fitness had the occasion to experience my mother's anxious voice emanating from the locker room door.  "I lost my son!  Could you help me find him?" I walked out of the locker room wearing one sock and one flip flop.  "Mom!  I'm right here!  I'll be out in a minute!"

I was surprised by how quickly and completely I could feel 14 rather than 41.  My mother is, apparently a sorceress.

Today would be all about me.  Me, me, me. It started at Belvedere park with Rosie and mom's pink toy poodle Genny (pronounced Jinnie).  The sky was atypically gray.  I noticed the skatepark for the first time.  It looked lunar.

Next on the Steve Day itinerary was a trip to a Chinese supermarket with mom.  She needed vegetables for the dinner she was going to make tonight.  The year of the horse begins tomorrow and the supermarket and parking lot were packed to capacity in preparation.  While mom spent an hour looking at vegetables I purchased a bottle of Japanese plum wine and three packs of Manner Wafer cookies in different flavors: almond, coconut and hazelnut.

At 2:30 I fled the house and began Steve Day.  I drove to downtown LA and explored its hipsterification. The Ace Hotel on Broadway didn't disappoint in any measure.  I had a coffee and perused the various bars except the one on the rooftop.  The outside tables and chairs looked decidedly Parisian.

The slighty drizzly weather made downtown seem especially non-LA.  I walked into the Aesop skincare boutique and a woman demonstrated how to wash and moisturize my face using my hand as a face stand-in.

My car was parked near shops that sold either sewing machines or perfumes.  The parking meter had 10 minutes left so I looked at, but did not smell, hundreds of perfumes.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

still-sound 199. Pots & plants

Before my mom moved into the house in back of mine, I tried to make its exterior more welcoming.  She had never seen the house before the move - her expectations were based entirely on my verbal descriptions.  "It's small but really cute.  And brand new!" 

 It IS small and cute.  And brand new.  

But the outside was a little drab so I painted the front door a glossy persimmon color and bought several large pots in the attempt to create a small garden on concrete.  I imagined that olive trees would look particularly nice against the greyish beige of her house.  Or the Korean National Flower.  I know the Korean National Flower well because throughout my life, whenever I would pass one with her, she'd make a point to tell me "That's the Korean National Flower."

 The days leading up to my mom's move were unbelievably busy and stressful.  There seemed to be little time and so many things to do.  I drove to Home Depot and perused the nursery in the vain attempt to find olive trees or the Korean National Flower.  There wouldn't be any other occasion to shop for plants so I had to choose the best of Home Depot's offerings.  I chose camellias.  One of them started blooming this week.

My mom has been tending her garden diligently since her arrival.  The camellias, bay tree, gardenia and lavender (all of which except the camellia used to live on my balcony in Echo Park) seem to be thriving.  Yesterday, on my day off, I drove my mom to Hollywood and we visited Anawalt lumber and nursery on Highland.  I've passed it many times and noticed their nice selection of plants.  They had olive trees and the Korean National Flower.  My mom bought one of each in addition to a pack of seeds which will eventually grow to become turnips.  She will then make kimchee from the turnips (I'm assuming).

I planted the Korean National Flower in a big black pot next to her front door. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

still-sound 198. NYELA

Brennan suggested we check out the New Year's Eve festivities by City Hall.  It's the first time such an event was organized. This surprised me.  My initial reticence stemmed entirely from an anxiety over traffic, parking and drinking/driving.  The typical Angeleno concerns.  When he mentioned the possibility of walking over to the metro stop and taking public transportation, I was sold on the idea.

We filled a big plastic cup I acquired years ago from the San Diego Zoo with sparkling wine and creme de cassis.  The cup has a picture of a tiger on it.  We walked briskly and drained the cup by the time we reached the station.

I was impressed by the amount of people swarming the park by City Hall.  A seemingly successful turnout for the first ever NYELA celebration in downtown LA.  We acquired a map and walked a lap around the grounds.  We decided to wait in line at Starbucks.  We waited for 45 minutes.  I didn't mind though, I was getting cold and the hot coffee proved well worth the wait.

We found a spot by the beer garden and watched the psychedelic projections on the building.  As midnight approached, the time flashed briefly once a minute.  A 11:59 I expected a visual fanfare but was denied, until a countdown suddenly began from 10 seconds to midnight.  Understated and effective.  The excitement was palpable in the crowd.  We began walking to the metro station at 12:10 and returned to my house a short while later, the empty tiger cup still in hand.