Monday, March 9, 2015

Old pics resurrected

Some pics from a year or two ago. Young Bugsy.

I call these two "Nat-Cat." Here they are in Pa's truck.
This pic was grossly underdeveloped--all black. This is what hid in the dark.
Young Teddy, lookin' handsome
TigerAnn, lookin' mysterious

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Jan and colleagues at IVC, c. 1989

     A photo of some of my colleagues—including the Janster!—at Irvine Valley College, c. late 80s(?)
     Back row: I do believe that's Maddy Benson, an ESL instructor. She was pretty noisy and gregarious as I recall. Eventually married one of many transient administrators. She's been retired for years.
     Yes, next to Maddy is our own JAN RAINBIRD, who taught English and even film at the college for many years. I met him there c. 1986-7. We were both teaching in the old B100 building. He was teaching film at the time. Peter Morrison gave him the gig.
     Next to him is Margie Luesebrink, who's been with the college from nearly the beginning (c. 1980). She retired years ago but still teaches part-time. Was once married to a Judge Luesebrink.
     Next to Margie is Richard Prystowsky, my best friend for many years. We came to the college together in 1986. Had a falling out in the late 90s. He's off somewhere "deaning."
     I don't know the woman at bottom left. The woman at bottom right is none other than Kate Clark, who retired years ago but occasionally visits. She got herself into all sorts of leadership positions, including President of the "state senate" for several years. Dated Peter Morrison way back when.
     I'm pretty sure this photo was taken inside the original A Quad at IVC. I'm going to guess that it was taken about 1989.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The weekend

     Teddy went to the door and yammered. He wanted to go outside, to check things out, doing his hunting and sniffing thing. He loves it.

     It was a Saturday morning, and green grass dominated the canyons; the weather was spectacular, albeit a bit breezy. I put on some shoes and we went outside.
     Teddy cruised around a bit and ended up in the gravel zone just past the patio, much of which was bathed in sunlight. I sat on a chair on the edge of the patio while Teddy moved gradually to the furthest edge of the gravel zone, on the outside of the quasi-shed around the propane tank. Lots of deeply green grass was growing there, and Teddy generally seems to think it is an area worth investigating.
     I watched him. Recently, a coyote was spotted stalking Annie's cat, TigerAnn. He had been spotted several days running. So I knew I had to be especially careful to watch over my Buddy Boy.
     Suddenly, his actions became rapid and precise. He pounced. Then he hopped away from the grass and toward me.
     He had something in his mouth. A mouse.
     One must handle these situations carefully. I knew Teddy was likely only holding the mouse in his mouth and that it was thus far uninjured. That's de rigueur among cats.
     He walked toward me in no hurry. I moved toward him. Halfway across the gravel, he stopped and dropped the little mouse. Mr. Mouse seemed to be OK but perhaps dazed. It just stood there as though nothing was wrong, as though he were visiting relatives. (On the other hand, these field mice always seem wired and worried. It’s just their way.)
     Teddy acted as though everything was under control, like he was hanging with friends. Cats do that. He had brought the mouse to me, I know, as a kind of gift. "Look what I got us!" he seemed to say.
     The mouse looked so innocent and bewildered. It was in a daze, I suppose. It just stood there, next to the relatively enormous Teddy, unaware of the danger he was in. The scene was very poignant. I needed to do something.
     I distracted Teddy and then picked him up, taking the mouse out of danger, at least temporarily. I spoke with Teddy, thanking him for the mouse. "Boy, that's one great mouse you found for us," I said. Meanwhile, the mouse just stood there, looking up at me.
     Good grief.
     I kept talking with Teddy while urging the mouse, via foot movements, to move back to his hole over by the shed. The mouse was at first unresponsive, but, eventually, he did head in the right direction. I tried to keep track of him as he headed toward safety.
     Meanwhile, Teddy was complaining. Hadn’t something wonderful just happened? Hadn’t he just hunted and caught a critter and brought it for us to play with and eat? Hey! What's going on here?!
     Well, yes. I thanked him. But the mouse was, by then, just standing over the mouse holes over by the shed. “C’mon, dude,” I yelled. “Get in your goddamn hole!” Mr. Mouse just stood there, uncomprehending.
     I let Teddy drop down. He started sniffing around, sensing that something was amiss, unfinished.
     I distracted him. “C’mon, Buddy Boy, let’s go over here.” I headed in the other direction. With some reservations, Teddy followed. 

     After lunch, I was alone, more or less, with Ma, though Annie and Teddy were playing together in the living room. I raised the issue of Ma's diet. Several weeks ago, she was told that her cholesterol had suddenly climbed to dangerous levels. She needed to take anti-cholesterol drugs, change her diet.
     At the time, I had suggested that she develop five or so low-cholesterol meals and cook them for lunch. (Lunch is pretty much the only real meal Ma ever cooks these days.) Annie and I occasionally come by for lunch. I said, “A low-cholesterol diet would be good for all of us. So just cook these special meals, OK?”
     But, by now, it was clear that nothing was changing in Ma’s cooking. At today’s meal, she drew attention to some corn-on-the-cob she had made. This time, the corn was not dripping with butter. “See?” she said. "No butter!"
     But she had also cooked up a rice and shrimp dish, and it seemed to be swimming in butter. I said nothing.
     Somehow, the subject of grocery shopping came up. Ma was frustrated with Pa. Once a week, on Thursday mornings, the two head to Costco to buy groceries. Pa, says Ma, always insists on buying things that Ma doesn’t want to cook, and he objects to things that she wants.
     This is typical of these two. They've got a problem, but they won't deal with it directly. They won't let it be solved. It's like some kind of prime directive: do nothing to solve this problem that drives you nuts. Complain about it, slowly die from it, but never DO anything about it.

     “Why don’t you take control of the shopping?" I said. "You’re in charge of the kitchen; you’re in charge of cooking. Just tell him that you insist on completing the picture and controlling grocery shopping!”
     “I can’t do that,” she said.
     After a few minutes, it became clear that she simply wouldn’t be doing anything about these weekly shopping excursions that she dislikes so much. That was that. There was nothing that I could say or suggest.
     “But you’ve got to start cooking for your new condition,” I said. “And that means that you’ve got to start shopping for it, too. And that means you’ve gotta stop buying all this processed food that you’re always buying at Costco.”
     No. That wasn’t going to happen. It just wasn’t possible to do that, she said. She's got to cook for the (grand)kids. She's got to let Pa do what he does.
     “Yes, but you’ve got to address your cholesterol problem,” I said. "It's serious!"
     “I don’t have a cholesterol problem,” she answered.
     A took a pause. It was clear that the conversation would be a difficult one.
     I said: “I thought that you were told by your doctor that the blood tests showed that your cholesterol was very high!”
     Ma had an answer: “It was the first time ever that my cholesterol was high,” she responded.
     Again, I paused. Then:
     “OK, you haven’t had a cholesterol issue in the past, but you’ve got one now, right?”
     “No, I don’t,” she said. “It was the first time I’ve ever had high cholesterol.”
     At this point, Ma simply could not be reasoned with.
     I’ll cut to the chase. As often happens, Ma commenced expressing the perverse view that I was attacking her and "making trouble" by pressing her on her cholesterol problem. “Stop making trouble!” was her message to me expressed in a victim's lamentation.
     I had a suggestion. I said: “you’ll get another blood test soon. If your cholesterol is back down, I’ll drop the diet issue. But if it isn’t, I’ll be back on it.”
     She didn’t like that. But I suggested that we could just stop talking about this whole business if she’d agree to my compromise.
     She then said OK. Then she commenced complaining about my attacking her. I pointed out that, if she wanted to stop all this “trouble,” then she should let the matter drop.
     She did.
     I left.

     Days earlier, I had suggested that we go out to Ma’s favorite restaurant in San Juan Capistrano: the El Adobe. “How about Sunday?” I said.
     Ma commenced responding, as she often does these days, almost as though I were making trouble for her. She really didn’t know what to say, she said. It was all so very complicated, so difficult.
     But it wasn't. She's become quite the neurotic. Sometimes I'm afraid to tell her anything, 'cause she always finds a way to spin and fret.
     “Look,” I said. “I know you want to go out and that you love the El Adobe, so all you’ve got to do is see if there’s any reason Pa can’t go on Sunday. If he can’t, that’s fine. We’ll do it some other time.”
     She seemed to like that.
     So, by Saturday, it was on. Sunday. We'd leave at 1:00 p.m. OK, then.
     On Sunday, we headed south, the four of us, to SJC. We took the long way, through Rancho Santa Margarita, enjoying the lovely green hills. It was a beautiful day.
     We got to the restaurant, just catching the end of their lunchtime, after-church rush. Still, we didn't have to wait; they immediately showed us to a table in Ma's favorite section of the restaurant. I was pleased to find entertainment: a musician, singing and playing his classical guitar only ten feet away.
     He was good.
     The lunch went well. We had a good time, despite the deafness of two of us and the wackiness of all of us.
     The last time I took them to SJC, afterward, I brought them to the Wholesome Choice market over in Irvine. They seemed to like that. Exotica, delicatessena. So, this Sunday, after lunch at El Adobe, I took them up to that big Whole Foods Market in Tustin, near that big old blimp hanger. I chose a route taking us right through the San Joaquin range (the San Joaquin Toll Road), something I once vowed never to take for reasons environmental. I thought Ma and Pa would like it. I know they’d never been on that road, which affords a wonderful view, even of the ocean.
     But they didn’t seem to notice anything. I had to interrupt their trivial pursuits--my God these people can gossip hideously--so that they’d notice the view. Sheesh.
     Eventually, we got to the Whole Foods Market. I’m sure that neither Ma nor Pa have ever been to The District, the newish retail development on the site of the old Marine helicopter station (which closed in the 90s). I figured they’d like it there.
     They seemed to behave, however, as though Annie and I were forcing them to march through hell on the way to their execution.
     As we walked from the car to the market, Ma and Pa slowed down to a crawl, shuffling absurdly. When we got in the store, I pointed out the restrooms over to the right. They looked in that direction, but they didn’t seem to need to stop there.

     About 30 seconds (and fifteen steps) later, Ma turned to me and said that she needed to go to the restroom.
     “But I just showed you where that is,” I said.
     “That was a long time ago!” she insisted.
     Annie took them. They shuffled off.
     When they came back, still shuffling like centenarians, Annie suggested to me that Ma and Pa didn't want to be at this market. “Pa was snapping at me,” she said. "They seem in pain."
     Well, that seemed right. So I said, “Well, we’ve seen the store, let’s go.” We hadn’t seen anything yet, of course.

     We soon got out of there, shuffling all the way. 
     Pa was moving and talking as though he were on the edge of death. Once he got in the car, however, he explained to me that he was driving down to Ortega Highway tomorrow (Monday) to drop off a load of oak branches that he had cut yesterday.
     “Great,” I said.

     So why was he seemingly near death today? WTF? What's it all mean?

     This morning, Lisa and I got a chance to talk. I briefly described my adventures over the weekend. She has similar tales, of course, concerning Andrew's father, who seemed suddenly to sink into incompetence after his wife died.
     Lisa listened. She told me that she had just read Roz Chast's book about her family and parents. They were wacky, grew old, died. They were nutty immigrants. Her stories were wonderful
     "You've got to read it," she said.

From Roz Chast's book, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
     My folks think of themselves as a very special unit together, huddled together deep inside a cocoon. It is a unit that excludes other family members. Often, when conflicts erupt, I think, "It's them against the world," but the world outside the cocoon is often right.
     As they've grown older, they're retreated more frequently into their weird secret cloister, a world that is so private that they never think to explain it or refer to it, even to their children. Like Chast's elderly parents, my parents have lost even the skill to socialize, for they live really only with each other and their many eccentricities are unknown to them. "What's so odd about that?" Ma will say, as she cooks enough pasta for twenty people (she did that this morning), not for the three or four of us. "We can save what we don't eat! It's no problem!"
     I would say that, through much of their lives, on the surface, my dad was obviously the domineering one, though I do think that one really ought to probe below the surface. If my mom gets angry enough with my dad, she has her ways to get what she wants and to leave him decidedly on the defensive. I don't think I've ever seen these things go the other way. My mom can be fierce and terrible, an unmovable mountain of will. Yes, my dad makes daily endless unpleasant noises, but, in the end, when Ma has made like the rock of G, he's as silent as a lamb, all accomodation.
     Clearly, we're a family of lunatics.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Friendly friends

It was a day of "friendly friends," as Nelson used to say, way back when.
First, Kathie came over to visit The Boy.
Then Annie showed up.
Then we all rendezvous'd with Jan at "Rootin' Tootin's" in Orange

Annie and I noticed the back of this old building. 
Took a snap. Very cool.

Annie and Kathie, catchin' up, visiting the Boy

Now plastic smiles for me, boy.

Late lunch at Rutabegorz, Orange

We stayed pretty long. Darkness fell.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Been scribblin'*

Where you been, boy?
     The phone rings and provides only foolishness.
     Yes, the doctor, or his sweet nurse, called at 8:30 a.m. Where you been, boy? You need to come in! Good Lord!
     Lookin’ at the fine Teddy, thinking about love and betrayal, here on the still, big bed. Sad to think—is it betrayal to make him wait this long to go outside and play in the bright morning sun? Surely it comes close.
     Finally, almost in tears over the deep wonderfulness of the faithful Boy, I get up. Can feel the onions of last night’s stir fry, can feel the breeze of today’s mild Santa Anas. It’s a beautiful morning, and there is only the sound of wind and bugs and a distant jet.
     I grab this Mac and open the door. Teddy rushes out, an me, I’m listening to Clem Snide doing Journey. He finds beauty, that singer, where others find only parties and cheese. I swoon.
     Teddy once again needs direction and encouragement, and I’m glad to give it. Let’s examine this delicate grass, shall we? And this hill, and this hole in the ground. He looks up to me, he does. That Teddy boy, he does. "Dad? What do we do next?"
     Now he’s stalking around and sniffing the air, and I’m over here typing.

     And on and on, on and on.

Strangers waiting
Streetlight people
Some were born to sing the blues
In the night
Hold on to the feeling

*Went to Aaron Bros. Got a fine pen and some paper.
Drew shitloads last night. Didn't have a scanner and so I photographed some of these drawings. Then Photoshopped the crap out of 'em. Not good, but it's a start.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A gossamer Michelle Pfeiffer "connection"

     On this day [April 29] in 1958, future actress Michelle Pfeiffer was born in Santa Ana. The family later moved to Midway City and eventually Fountain Valley. Today's photo shows her swinging at a birthday pinata in the backyard of Felix and Vita Garcia, 8302 Peters St, Midway City, circa 1967. Thanks to Tim Castroreale for making this image available. —From OC History Roundup

     A close friend of mine during my UCI undergraduate days—and later—was Kathy Leonard (later, Kathy Pike, then Kathy Blanchard). Shockingly (I suppose), she was "dating" Prof. Nelson Pike even during her undergraduate years (which coincided with mine, more or less). Later, she was very much around during Kathie (Jenni) and my graduate student years, when she was with Nelson. She briefly tried Law School—she hated that—and eventually attended veterinary school (UC Davis), which she seemed to like. She practices veterinary medicine today in the Inland Empire. (And think she's now a grandma.)
     Back in the day, I spent some time at Kathy's mother's place—I think it was in Fountain Valley. Kathy's sister, Kris, was the best friend of none other than Michelle Pfeiffer. Evidently, Pfeiffer attended many of the parties that I attended, but I have no clear memory of her. Maybe Kathie does.
     At the time of these parties, Kathy's mom was divorced, and she lived with Kris and Kathy, when Kathy wasn't somewhere else. The parties were pretty wild, I guess, by my standards, but not by many others'. I recall Gerry Santas getting me seriously drunk one night on Ouzo. I woke up in some room at Kathy's place. Had a hangover literally for days. Kathy thought it was pretty dang funny. (I was known, I'm sure, for being very straight-laced. Also, they say I'm very funny when I've got a bad hangover. But I essentially stopped drinking years ago. Now I'm always as serious as a crutch, and just as funny.)
     There was some skinny-dipping, too. I recall that Jill Burroker (sp?) was involved in some of that. With Nelson, no doubt. Don't know who else. Pretty tame, I guess, by contemporary standards.
     Kathy and I "dated," I guess once or twice. I recall we saw Up in Smoke at a theater in El Toro (we snuck in some beers). I changed the oil on her car, a Honda Civic, once. At the time, I had no idea how she was connected with Nelson, who later became a mentor of mine.

Kathy (Leonard) and I, goofing around, on the the top floor of
Humanities Office Building, UCI, c. 1979
     Whatever, dude. It all passed right by my consciousness. (Wake up, Roy. At long last, wake up.)
     I seem to recall hearing that Kris's friend—Pfeiffer—was on a TV show during those days. I'm pretty sure that the TV show was Delta House, based on the film Animal House, which ran in 1979. I never saw it. Another failed comedy spewed forth by the Hollywood garbage factory. And things were pretty bad in those days. Not like now.
     Here's what Wikipedia has on Michelle Pfeiffer's early life:
Pfeiffer was born in Santa Ana, California, the second of four children of Richard Pfeiffer, a heating and air-conditioning contractor, and Donna (née Taverna), a housewife. She has one elder brother, Rick (born 1955), and two younger sisters, Dedee Pfeiffer, a television and film actress, and Lori Pfeiffer (born 1965). Her parents were both originally from North Dakota. Her father was of German, Dutch, and Irish descent, and her mother was of Swiss-German and Swedish ancestry. The family moved to Midway City, where Pfeiffer spent her childhood. She attended Fountain Valley High School, graduating in 1975. She worked as a check-out girl at Vons supermarket, and attended Golden West College. After a short stint training to be a court stenographer, she decided upon an acting career. She won the Miss Orange County beauty pageant in 1978, and participated in Miss California the same year, finishing in sixth position. Following her participation in these pageants, she acquired an acting agent and began to audition for television and films.
The Bauers—Edith: bottom left; Manny: top right—at Nelson's place in Laguna Beach, c. 1984. Nelson's mug is in the middle. Kathy's face is between Kathie Jenni's and Edith's, at bottom. Annie must've taken the pic. Also pictured: George and Karen Draper, Linda and Rod Jenks (and Annie's friend Alan).

P.S.: Yet another gossamer connection to a Hollywood star: I graduated high school with Kevin Costner. (See.) He was an asshole.
Another: I went to UCI at about the same time that Jon Lovitz did. I think I remember him. UCI was smallish in those days (early to mid seventies)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Bauers' Canyon: topo & fault maps

This map combines old topo and earthquake data with contemporary roads and
structures, some of which appeared after (sometimes long after) the topo maps were made.
The central shape here, defined by Santiago Canyon Rd. (at left) and Live Oak Canyn. Rd.
(middle and right) resembles the tip of a finger. Cook's Corner (biker bar) is the red triangle
at left; Bauers' Cyn. is the red blotch at right. I noted the local ridges in green.
As you can see, Bauers' Canyon is at about 1400 ft. elevation and is near some fault
Click on graphic to enlarge it.

     Yesterday, Manny noted that he had a cache of old maps that he seems to have acquired during his time with the water district. I asked to locate them and then I briefly examined them. Though the maps are part of a 1973 state report, much of the data they present is from much older data-gathering efforts, some going back to the 20s, some from the 60s.

This old map shows the same area as above plus the area to the west. The map is designed to show "slide" areas--which, typically, are not suited for construction. As you can see, there are no slide areas indicated on our side of the ridge, where Bauers' Cyn. is located, but there is a great deal of slide activity on the west side and the hills beyond further to the west. Naturally, there's been construction, sometimes massive construction, in those zones. It's amazing what years of legal effort by developers can do.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

1963 maps of our area in the Santa Anas

     As I indicated recently, I got ahold of my dad's 1963 Thomas Guide for Orange County. We've still got its front and back covers, though they have torn off of the wire binding. Aside from that, the guide is in good condition.
     I sought the maps depicting our area in Lambrose/Trabuco Canyon:

Click on graphics to enlarge
     I've indicated the approximate location of Bauers' Canyon with a blue dot at right. The location of Ron & Susan's place (today) is at left (just southwest of Jeffrey's northern terminus). (See "Ron & Susan" map below.)

     Here's the (1963) map to the east of the one above (note: there's overlap). Again, the X marks the approximate location of Bauers' Canyon. Observe that neither Hamilton Trail nor Hunky Dory are indicated on this map.
     Here's a contemporary map showing Ron & Susan's place:

Ron & Susan map

     At the risk of being accused of morbidness, I offer this unpleasant but interesting image that relates to these locations. It depicts the takeoff/flight path of the large Marine jet that crashed into Loma Ridge in 1965, an event that does figure into Bauer family lore.
     Just west of this area, in 1965, some famous UFO photos were taken. (See.)

The Newport Freeway, part II

     In yesterday's post, I suggested that the construction of the Newport Freeway (later called the "Costa Mesa" Freeway) could be viewed as marking the beginning of the end for old, rural Orange County. The opening of its first segment (from the Riverside Freeway [91] to Chapman Ave.) in January of 1962 occurred just a year or so after we moved into the area (our home was on the border between Orange and Villa Park, just west of Santiago Blvd.). The segment that continued to Costa Mesa was completed by 1967.
     Today, I got ahold of Pa's old Thomas Guide from 1963, and it answers some questions I had about what existed before the construction of the Newport Freeway. In those old maps, both the old Route 55 and the projected (or nearly completed?) extention of the Freeway to Interstate 5 (101, also the "Santa Ana Freeway") are indicated, which confuses me a bit. See below.
The green dot marks the spot of our
Orange home (1961-1976). See blue arrow.
     I was amazed to discover that the Newport Avenue of Tustin and Orange (which, as it travels northward, eventually runs into E. Santiago (near Irvine Park and the old Catholic cemetery) is the very same Newport Blvd. of the (unfortunately named) City of Costa Mesa! Or so my dad assured me. The freeway project is what finally separated that road into seemingly unrelated segments.
     As you can see above, the old (pre-freeway) Route 55 followed Tustin Ave. until it met with Newport Ave. in south Tustin, near the Marine Corps blimp/helicopter station with its famous hangers.
     From there, it was a straight shot, I guess, to Costa Mesa.
     Actually, here, the map begins indicating, not Newport Boulevard, but the "proposed" Newport Freeway, and so I'm not sure just where the pre-freeway Newport Boulevard was:

     My dad remembers driving through vast "bean fields" when he took this route back in the day.