Sunday, July 6, 2008

My Fourth of July Staycation

The end of the holiday weekend. I guess you could say I did a staycation. That word is going to wear thin soon. I keep hearing it on the news before they do a segment on people staying in town. Actually staying in L.A. isn’t without things to do.

When I was growing up we lived in a somewhat run down building. It had been built as a hotel for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. It only occurred to me later that was why all the rooms were the same size except our living room which was two rooms with a pocket door in between and must have been a suite.

Every summer I would fix up the back porch. Well, back porch was a generous term. It was more like a landing, so small there wasn’t even room for a chair. And so dark that the mother in laws tongue plant I put out there barely survived. Still, I would put my plant out and sweep the winter dirt away and sit on the steps and dream that someday I might have someplace a little bigger.

Now, I have a real backyard and even though it is many years later, every time I look at it, I think how lucky I am. There are orange trees and redwood trees and flowers and sun light and room for lots of chairs. So, the idea of staying home this weekend and spending it in my own backyard was nice.

It wasn’t totally a weekend off. I went into the city and signed HOOKED ON MURDER at a Barnes & Noble in a shopping area called The Grove. It looks like an idealized downtown of a small town. Last summer when I was in Iowa City, I realized it looked like The Grove, but it was real. The Grove has become the celebrity shopping area of choice.

I am still finishing creating the pattern for the filet crochet bookmark that will be in DEATH AND DOILIES along with a pattern for making a cuddle blanket. And there is the recipe. Putting the polish on the recipe is my family’s favorite part of my writing. They get to be the tasters. This time the recipe is for California Noodle Pudding, which I plan to make today. Even the cats and the dog are excited as they get to be tasters, too.

Instead of a barbecue, we went to a restaurant on the beach for dinner Saturday night. The drive to Malibu was a little eerie as there was a wildfire along the road the day before. We passed lots of blackened grass, but the fire was completely out. And all the smoke gone, which was a relief as it was blowing our way last night.

The beach is always refreshing and we had a view of the water from our table. Sometimes when we eat at this particular restaurant, dolphins swim by. None this time, but it was late. We got there just as the water and sky were melting together. The tide was coming in and a big waves crashed against the rocks right outside the window sending up a lot of something heavier than spray. Just a subtle reminder that in the past storms have sent the waves crashing through the restaurant.

I liked my Staycation. Did anyone else have one too?


Karen said...

I generally just stay put for holidays, but my father's birthday and my parents' anniversary falls on July 3, so we take our sons to visit on that particular event. Still, I like holidays I can spend at my house.

Oh, and I enjoyed "Hooked on Murder" immensely. I will now have to seriously explore crochet as a hobby. My maternal grandmother was an expert, and I have many things she made, including a gigantic tablecloth. I want my grandkids to have that experience too.

Betty Hechtman said...

Karen: I am so glad you enjoyed Hooked on Murder, and I think it's great that you are interested in taking up crochet. So nice that you have things from your grandmother. I admire your wanting to leave things for your grandkids. There is nothing like having something handmade to feel a connected to family.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I enjoyed this weekend as a Staycation, too, Betty. But since we live in L.A., we can make it as much of a vacation as we want. Sounds as if you took full advantage!

Betty Hechtman said...


Yes, that is the thing about L.A. -- you have a lot of choices. I like how you can go walking up in the Santa Monica mountains and feel like you are miles from anywhere, but in reality just be a short drive from your local Starbucks.