Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Return to Civilization

Let’s see, now. Black, brown or grey? Which color socks should I wear today?

Return to civilization, East Coast-style, from Los Angeles, means a return to a climate still not no-socks-needed-anymore friendly. I’m back to covering up my footsies.

To be honest, I indulged in some quality sock time in Los Angeles this past week. Though middle of the day temperatures hovered in the 70s most of the time, the rest of the day could be quite chilly, especially indoors. My sister had warned me layers were the key. It was downright frigid inside her home. What she didn’t tell me until after she came home from her trip to Europe with her daughter was to simply raise the heat in the house. Now, don’t go thinking Gilda and I were idiots not to figure this out by ourselves. You see, her husband was home all this time; it was natural to assume that he would put the heat up if it were truly unbearable.

Oh well, not the worst hardship to have endured.

The birds, the birds that have come to rely on my feeding them, they endured days of deprivation. Somewhere I remember learning that you should feed your livestock before yourself. I don’t have cattle or chickens, but I do have blue jays, cardinals and other feathered friends, plus squirrels, to keep fed. They had stripped the cupboard bare of the food I had left them before we traveled west. Before I could settle in for breakfast I put on snow boots and refilled their five feeding stations. They were back feasting before I removed my boots.

Squirrels are different in Los Angeles. I noticed LA squirrels clacked and chattered quite loudly. And they stayed in the same place for minutes on end.

I’ve been to Los Angeles at least 30 times, probably closer to 50, but only in the last year have I started to really enjoy the city and its surroundings. Sure, the first time nearly 35 years ago, Gilda and I did the touristy things, like visit Disneyland. Most of my subsequent trips were business-related, though I did squeeze in visits to my sister and her family. Even brought Gilda and our kids along when possible.

Over the last year, my three trips (two with Gilda) have turned into cultural excursions. All in all, I’ve been able to walk both parts of the Getty Museum, the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, the LA County Museum of Art, the Disney Concert Hall, the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage and the Hart Ranch and Museum. I’ve also enjoyed biking along the beach between Venice and Santa Monica, visiting downtown old Pasadena, driving through Hancock Park, traversing the USC campus. LA is far from the cultural wasteland it was said to be years ago.

Oh, by the way, I wore blue socks today.