November 29th, 2004


Palm Desert, Katrina Markoff John Galliano and Vosges Chocolate, Shangri-La, Kabbalah and the Marque

Tommy was sleeping in one of my yarn bags so I grabbed my camera.

Thanks as always everybody for all of your support, I so appreciate it! Mom is feeling better except for her foot which may be sprained or even broken. I am having a hard time persuading her to go to the doctor to get an x-ray and discuss her problems but I'll call him myself tomorrow and see if I can do anything to help.

Beau and I are still here at our vacation house in the desert. If you've been reading my journal for a while you'll know that we always have a hard time leaving and extend our stay by at least a day every time we come here. I just love the desert, the mountains, the starry night skies, the pool and the palm trees, and what a friend of a friend calls, "the ease of livability," here. Although it's been getting a little worse, or a lot worse, in the number of people who are coming here, especially for this Thanksgiving weekend. It used to be that you could cruise around the main highway without encountering any traffic and this was one of the many benefits of being here, the ability to move around freely and easily, to pull up to a store and find a parking spot easily. But now we have traffic and who likes traffic? The main drawback to life here used to be the summer heat, but now there are so many more people and with them come better stores, restaurants and services but sadly overcrowding as well.

The news channels are full of stories about the traffic returning home to Los Angeles today; the incredible congestion on the freeways and the fourteen accidents that happened on the way home. I'm just glad we decided to take an extra day and head home tomorrow, even if it means Beau will miss one day of school and my Mother has given me a stern lecture on how undisciplined I am and thoroughly shamed me, I'm glad we stayed.

I've been dying to get out and go shopping even though I don't have any money. It was minor torture watching all of the many day-after-Thanksgiving sale commercials knowing I wouldn't be going. I really wanted Snoop Dog to call and wake us up at six to go to Target but I didn't register for the call since I knew we really couldn't afford to go, and wouldn't really want to wake up that early anyway. Even my Mom's secretary Tina got up early and hit the super stores for some of their sales.

We really haven't done much since we got here, we mostly just stayed in. Beau played computer games and talked on his cell phone. I knitted and finished some scarves, worked on my holiday collage card, took pictures of Tom Kitten, hung out with Mom and watched TV.

I was happy when Scott got here. We tried to go see Kinsey at The River which is a fun, local, shopping, restaurant, and theatre complex that we like, but it was so crowded it was impossible to find a parking space. Even all of the valet parking services were overfull and waving people off. We had dinner instead at Roy's, which is a favorite Hawaiian restaurant of mine, where we always eat when we're in Maui, but this time we had a pretty miserable time. They were so crowded they couldn't keep up with the numbers of diners and everything kind of went haywire in the kitchen and with the servers. Our waitress barely made time for us and forgot pretty much everything we asked for, leaving us to wait a good forty minutes between the end of our salads and the final arrival of our extremely overpriced entrees. We missed the movie and the feeling of Aloha that exists in such abundance in Hawaii, while said several times to us here at this Roy's in the desert, was certainly not present. You just can't bottle the spirit of Hawaii and take it elsewhere, I don't think it works.

I made Tommy his own yarn balls and toys but like all kitties, and people in restaurants who covet their partner's food, he wants whatever I'm working on at the moment.

I went to see Kinsey by myself this evening while Beau stayed and played his games as usual. I liked it, I wish I'd liked it better, but I'm glad they made it. Liam Neeson and Laura Linney were wonderful and it was an honest effort. I hope Liam Neeson gets a nomination out of this, he deserves it. Interesting audience though, lots of elderly Palm Springs kind of people, walkers, canes, wheelchairs, as if people who age aren't or weren't ever sexual and wouldn't be interested. I guess because my Mother and Father have always been so incredibly uptight about their own sexuality I've kind of transferred this onto other people their age, mistakenly thinking everyone over seventy is frigid and closeted in some way.

Afterwards I went to Borders and looked for the magazine we are supposed to be in. I'll just have to call my friend, the editor, and ask her when it's coming out, and what the title is. I've been procrastinating about this as usual. I think it would be easier to call and ask than keep flipping through every home design magazine I see hoping to find our spread when we had been promised a cover. Maybe they put it off because it definitely wasn't dressed for Christmas, it's too bad too because then we really could have gone all out.

I wound up buying The Heart of the World by Ian Baker, a book about a man's quest to find and explore Tibet's fabled hidden valley, because I am fascinated by all things Tibetan, I love travel books, the lore of Shangri-La has always held a warm sweet place in my heart, and because it practically jumped off a shelf and flew into my hands. Then another unusual thing happened where I was heading for a chair to sit down with a pile of magazines to sort through for images for my holiday cards, but on the way I practically tripped over a book about Kabbalah, so I picked it up and bought it as well. I read some of it while waiting for our take out dinner and so far it's pretty light and friendly reading.

I'm craving chocolate, good chocolate though, not just your everyday 7-11, market-check-out-line, kind. We're talking Valrhona, Sharfenberrger, Lindt, or oh man Vosges, yum Vosges. A funny thing about Vosges, I don't think I mentioned this here before, but when we were there in New York this summer, there was a whole collection of chocolate that Katrina Markoff said she had spent countless nights in her kitchen trying to achieve -- chocolates that had been inspired by and dedicated to John Galliano, chocolates created on a bet. I noticed that he had also designed a leather jacket for her to sell in her stores. Chocolate brown of course with a purple Vosges stripe running down the sleeve.

It was a weird line of chocolate, challenging to embrace, but delicious nevertheless; chocolate truffles covered in sea salt, filled with olives and olive oil, cheese and aged balsamic vinegar no less. One of the chocolates was shaped like a mountain or perhaps a cock, or the fusion of a man and a woman, sexy and unusual in shape, whatever it was.

I recently received her winter catalogue and was surprised when I saw that distinctive shape, that towering, oddly masculine chocolate, but noticed that they were no longer called Galliano but Italiano instead. Then in small print at the bottom of the page I noticed a drawing of a rooster and saw the description, it went something like, "Oh the stories this chocolate could tell of late nights and bets. Inspired by a friend who turned out to be a rooster...but still my favorite collection nevertheless." Wow, they must have been lovers, it had never occurred to me, and then on the last page, buried in a list of reasons to give fine chocolates as gifts were these words, " wish someone a happy birthday...for a anniversary...because you've finally realized that he's finally realized that you've realized he is never going to get've moved's over...there are other fish in the sea." Wow the intrigue and drama of chocolate, chocolate and yoga and fashion, a passionate, powerful combination. You really should try these chocolates, they're wildly good.

I'm sitting here flipping channels as usual -- watching both Boston Legal, which I've never seen before but am finally watching because Scott's been raving about it, (I also caught one of the later episodes of The Practice last night, one with Sharon Stone, and it was so good I just have to have more of the same), and MTV's Boiling Points. Rene Aubourjonois is in this, (Boston Legal), I've had a crush on him ever since I first saw him a zillion years ago in The Eyes of Laura Mars. Anyone remember that one?

Beau is in the living room playing Diablo Two on line. We finally had the cable company (Time Warner) come over and install DSL wireless for us, or Roadrunner, so we can all get on line and Mom can have her phone free. I'm tired, I want to lay down, but I also want to push myself to do, do, do. I really wish I had some chocolate : )

Big loving hugs,

PS: While looking for any info I could find about Galliano and his collaboration with Katrina Markoff I came across this site about the life of The Marchesa Casati. Wow, what a fascinating person she was. I relate so much to wild artistic women like this, women who live life to excess surrounded by art and animals, sigh, and interestingly her gorgeous palazzo in Venice is the same one that Peggy Guggenheim later bought, lived in and then turned into a museum. It seems to me that she was inspired by the Marchesa just as I am inspired by her, fascinating.

Here's Tommy with my fire scarf. I'll put up pictures of the finished scarves soon because I'm going to sell them. I need the money for Christmas presents, ack.

Greyhound Slaughter

I am so sad and enraged I'm sick.

I just spent hours organizing, cleaning the house, and packing up the car. I hate packing so I always put it off as long as possible. I have to make deals with myself -- offer myself rewards to get motivated. I began by forcing myself get up. I had stayed up late as usual and am so tired. I had some breakfast, took all of my vitamins and medications and began reading my exciting new book about the hidden, lotus shaped land, deep in the Himalayan Mountains. It was such a delicious read, travel, exotic locale, adventure, ancient tales of a mystic land shrouded in mists, protected on all sides by dangerous snow covered mountains, at it's heart a fabled waterfall, a waterfall rumoured to be as big as Niagara that leads to a magic land, a land that may only exist in the mind's eye.

I began my day sweetly, reading, then packing, appreciating nature, admiring the tall palm trees in front of our house, the fruit covered trees, and the crisp air -- thinking that if I had enough time I might take some more photos for you. When I'd done more work than my back could withstand I woke up Beau and came back to my bedroom where I had promised myself I could enjoy adding the fringe to my scarf while watching a little television and then editing some photos and checking in on my journal.

When I turned on the TV it just happened to be on a sports channel where the host was describing the murder of thousands of greyhounds who are routinely slaughtered by the greyhound racing industry. The first thing I saw was a greyhound being murdered with a shot by a doctor; close-up on the dogs arm and the injection with the liquid being slowly shot into him, then the dogs head collapsing on the table. I can't handle these things, I really can't. I started screaming at the TV, "Fuck You, Fuck YOU!!!"

Then the next thing we see is a stupid fucking hick farmer asshole describing how he murdered over three thousand greyhounds for breeders who no longer wanted them for ten dollars a piece. "I dig a hole. I stand the dog next to it. I grab him by the collar, put the shotgun over my arm like this, then boom, shoot him in the head and he falls over in the hole." Then they showed photographs of the exhumed remains of these poor dogs.

Next up a secret video taken of a vet clinic. An animal truck pulls up; two evil men pull beautiful, healthy looking greyhounds out of the various compartments of this truck take them out back behind a building and within three minutes bring them back dead. One by one they carry their limp bodies back out to where we can see them and dump them on top of each other in a dumpster, and this is all perfectly legal. How is it that I am living in such cruel and barbaric times? And how is it that inevitably someone will tell me that the suffering of these animals is something I should ignore in favor of the greater suffering of humans in war torn, famine ravaged, disease ridden countries or here at home? Why do we have to differentiate between our species and another inevitably thinking our own is superior, our own suffering is greater? All I care about is whether they can feel, and animals can feel, bugs can feel, plants can feel. We have to be compassionate beings! We have to tread lovingly on this planet! We just have to!!

I find ignorance and cruelty on this scale repugnant. I find people like this repugnant and yet I know if I met them one on one without knowing what they do for a living I would find things to love about them. I hate them and I know I must forgive them, but I'd like to beat the shit out of them first, then see them traded for all of the people we have locked up in jails whose only crime was growing, selling, or smoking weed.

I am so pissed off and hurting right now. I feel so impotent and useless. I don't have room for another animal, especially not another dog. Even as it is people are so stupid and cruel they report me and put all of my animals at risk of being seized and murdered. I never know where the next threat will come from, or when it will come. I live in fear because I choose to rescue and love animals. How can it be that my tax dollars go to support legislators and organizations that think it is better to kill an animal, better to murder them, than allow people like me to spend almost all of their money and give all of their time to their care?