Friday, April 3, 2015


I was a little out of touch this week, in the field for site inspections on a construction defect case. Doesn't that sound interesting? Ah, the magic of words. Basically, I got to walk around homes with my (and everyone else's) expert all day and wonder if the owners are as gross as I think they are or if I'm an even freakier neatnik than I admit to being. Probably somewhere in the middle, I'm guessing. At least there were no dead rats in pools this time out. Maybe because no one had a pool, but still, there I am, looking on the bright side.

I wish I'd been able to get a surreptitious picture of the 10-year-old practicing his cello as we walked through his very tiny living room. Actually, I wish I had an AV file, because then you would also have the same six notes stuck in your head for days. I'll take the ear worm hit, however, he was adorable.

Here are a few of the good things that got me through a week filled with the detritus of others:

Exhibit A:  Here's a lesson in never giving up your dreams. Frieda Lefeber recently turned 100. As if that wasn't enough to celebrate, she also had her first solo art show, where 65 of her landscape and portrait paintings were on display. But wait, there's more! This is also a lesson in how a 100-year-old lady kicks my ass (and likely yours) on a daily basis. Frieda lives on the third floor (WALK-UP) of her daughter's house, and on top of shopping, cooking dinner for the family and cleaning up every night, she exercises five morning a week, at Curves or with a trainer, drives, doesn't need glasses, and has been taking Hebrew lessons for eight years. All this on only an hour nap each day. And she's adorable to boot:

Exhibit B:  A friend (Ellabell) recently shared this poem and while I'm a complete maroon when it comes to poetry, the beauty of this piece hit me between the eyes. Enough so that I had to look it up, and the story behind it is actually quite sad. It is written by Rebecca Lindenberg as part of a collection entitled Love: An Index, chronicling Lindenberg's passionate relationship with Craig Arnold, a poet who disappeared in 2009 while hiking a volcano in Japan.

N.B.: It wasn't until after I had drafted the majority of this post that I learned April is National Poetry Month. I have always been...intimidated is not the right word, I just feel like I never "get" poetry. Therefore, I don't read much of it. That may change. In the past two days, I've had friends post poems that I think just about anyone would find beautiful and relatable. The first, posted by my pal in just about everything but meat Chris La Tray over at The Chris La Tray Manufactory, knocked my socks off. It's called I Believe, and it's worth following the link to read it. While you're at it, subscribe to Chris' blog, he always has insightful things to say and his photography and musings from the road are fantastic.

Next up is Emily, who blogs at Books, the Universe & Everything.  Emily offers a poem about an OTTER. How could she know my love of otters? Paging Hilary Davidson!

Exhibit C:  Nothing to add, I just love this picture:

Exhibit D:  Frieda Lefeber has some competition (but not from me). Betty Reid Soskin is, at 93, the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service. She started serving at the age of 85, when most of us are lucky if we're still kicking.  Between speaking engagements, conducting bus tours, and giving presentations at the park’s visitors’ center, Betty was interviewed as part of Women's History Month and shared her history with the park service, before and after her time as a ranger. Again, adorable:

Exhibit E:  This week's "laugh out loud" item is this mock film poster, created by a father trying to get his 2-year-old to go to (and stay in) bed:

Exhibit F:  One of the benefits of being out in the field was taking Bird with me to work each day. Downside - she now wants a Ford F-250 (with toolbox and ladder racks).

Watching roof access setup was interesting at first:

Then a neighborhood cat sauntered across the street, into the yard right by the car, then into the grassy strip right next to the car, where he/she settled in to taunt poor B. Cats are assholes and I love them. They had a pretty good stare-out for a while:

Ultimately, even that got boring:

Luckily, Tyler's truck needed guarding:

This particular day was beautiful. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing. I looked over to make sure she had listened to me and left the rest of Tyler's fossilized orange peels alone and she was going totally zen (to hell with guard duty, apparently):

Exhibit G:  This is a late addition to the post, as I came home to it yesterday afternoon. My friend Julie posted this photo of her daughter, and it's simply one of the most magnificent things I've ever seen. If this picture doesn't scream joy and power and all that is good about being a strong girl/kid, I don't know what does. My friends are raising some out-of-this-world children, and Julie is no different. Because of her, we are not doomed:

Can't end the week on a better note than that. Go hug your kids, your pets, whatever you've got handy.


Chris La Tray said...

You're going to single-handedly melt my dark heart, Lauren.

Malcolm Avenue Review said...

I'm not sure this is possible with either of us, but I welcome the challenge!

Pop Culture Nerd said...

I read it as Betty Reid Soskin is the oldest active *rapper* and thought, "Damn, she's badass." Being a ranger is, too. And just reading about Ms. Lefeber's schedule exhausts me.

Whose car is B in? It looks blue, not brown.

That is such a smile-inducing pic of POTUS and FLOTUS. And a radiant one of Julie's daughter. Julie kicks ass, too.

Malcolm Avenue Review said...

Oh, man, a rapping ranger would be so cool. I'd take that tour.

Isn't that weird? It is my car, but all the pics in that series have a blue tint to them, even the white truck. It's B's blue aura, I guess.

Isn't it? She just looks so adorable in that pic (FLOTUS, I mean). And L. Both of those shots brought huge smiles.

Pop Culture Nerd said...

Did you see FLOTUS on THE TONIGHT SHOW--I think it was last night--doing "mom dancing" with Jimmy Fallon? Fun and funny. She can move! Avail on YouTube if you haven't seen it.

Malcolm Avenue Review said...

Mom dancing! She's good! And such a good sport, I just love her. I really want to just hang out with her for a day. Book store, tea, shoot hoops, mingle with the peoples. No dancing.

Julianne - Outlandish Lit said...

OH my goodness. The Obamas are precious. Bird is adorable. And these senior women do NOT look their ages at all. They are so cool, wow. I can't wait to be older and cooler like them.

Malcolm Avenue Review said...

Not to worry, you're already pretty nifty, so you will be a totally cool old lady. We just have to get you the right hat. That picture of the Obamas just makes me feel like she's having a moment where she can simply be happy and not have to be FLOTUS, moments which must be so rare. Love it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Pop Culture Nerd said...

Did you see her face when Jimmy did "the Barack Obama"? Hilarious.

My niece did get to hang out with her for a day at the White House. I shouldn't be envious of my niece, right?

Malcolm Avenue Review said...

I do remember that! And of course we can be envious, but not to the point where you push her down the stairs. Family, you know.

About Malcolm Avenue Review

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in a nifty, oak-shaded ranch house on Malcolm Avenue, a wide-laned residential street with little through traffic, located amid the foothills of Northern California. It was on that street and in that house I learned most of my adolescent life lessons, and many grown-up ones to boot. Malcolm Avenue was "home" for more than thirty years.

It was on Malcolm Avenue, through and with my family and the other families that made up our neighborhood of characters, that I first learned about and gained an appreciation for the things I continue to love the most to this day: music, animals, photography, sports, television/movies and, of course, books.

I owe a debt of gratitude to that life on Malcolm Avenue. It gave me a sense of community and friendship, support and adventure. For better and worse, life on that street likely had the biggest impact on the person I've become. So this blog, and the things I write here, are all, at their base level, a little bit of a love letter to Malcolm Avenue.


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