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August, 2011


This house is cursed! Still recovering from the hideous scorpion at my front door last Monday, we were sitting on the patio today at lunch time sipping tea, and a skunk walks by right across the lawn. A skunk. In the middle of the day! Just walking by. Didn’t see us. Didn’t even look over. And he was big. I did not have my camera so this is not his picture – he was bigger than this one. Here’s a list of back yard visitors so far, from biggest to smallest: deer, coyote, bobcat, ring-necked pheasant, red-tailed hawk, mangy, rat-faced, no-good, low-life, beady-eyed, scum-sucking, tomato-stealing squirrel, rat, garter snake, rattle snake, lizard, and scorpion. The only thing that has not visited so far that was just spotted in Burbank is a mountain lion. It wouldn’t surprise me. Maybe they eat squirrels. You gotta have a dream.

Is there something on my neck?

Why is this happening to me? This thing was at my front door today! I opened the door and it was inches from coming inside. What?? At first I thought somebody was playing a joke and it was plastic, but then it moved. I was so stunned I truly was speechless. In 40 years of living in Southern California, I have never seen a scorpion. I did not think they lived here. This is bad, right? Not really.

Here’s the really bad news: Denis said, “Oh, there was one in my office last week but I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to scare you.”

“What?!?” (I swear I just felt something on my neck! – I’ve gotta go)

Is nothing sacred??

Let’s just call it what it is.

Bird food. New name? Squirrel food.

You would think a birdhouse hanging on a single wire would keep out these mangy, rat-faced, no-good, low-life, beady-eyed, scum-sucking, bird food-stealing squirrels!

But noooooooooooooo! This was his little private playhouse… until I slammed together two metal pots and he went flying out the side like a frisbee on steroids.  Next time: Mexican jalapeno corn nuts. “Adios, mi amigo. Usted no está bienvenido aqui.”

Goodbye, my flying fuzzy frisbee. Keep flying all the way to Mexico you “sarnoso, rata-encaró, maldito, de los bajos fondos, de ojos pequeños, verdín-chupando, el pájaro ardillas alimento-robando!”

Dinner with the girls

I had dinner last night with two former staffers, Jen Jones (yes, we share the same name!) and Frances Palladino-Zahaitis. Jen picked a great spot called Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake and as always, we never run out of things to reminisce about. But this time, we were there to toast Jen’s upcoming wedding. (she’s the one in the turquoise top) Jen has found her soulmate and we are all so happy for her. She’s getting married next month and then off on a romantic honeymoon.

All the best to Jen as she starts her new life!

I’m still shaking.

It was unbelievable! I was outside and a red-tailed hawk swooped right over my head and sat up on a wall. I ran in to get my camera, afraid he’d be gone when I got back. But not only was he still there, he stayed there for three hours, switching from tree to wall to roof, and as I kept taking pictures, he didn’t leave. At one point, I was about 20 feet in front of him, in disbelief that he stayed the whole time. After three hours, he flew away, but came back around 6 pm but he didn’t seem as friendly as before. He had a laser-eyed focus on my back hill.  Finally, he turned to me and stared right into my eyes and it was unnerving, but I had to get my pictures! I finally took this last one and ran back in the house. I’m still shaking.

Father of three feels hopeless

I came from a divorced family full of alcoholics and could never please my parents. Moreover, I did not graduate from high school as well. In light of all circumstances, I did secure a career of 17 years (but recently resigned due to an organizational merger) and was ultimately able to secure an AS, BS, & MPA degrees… However, I am currently unemployed and my divorce of 13 years is almost final. I have struggled for years with addiction….and most recently it has been Very challenging. I am a loving father of 3, I attend church weekly, but I’m all tattooed up Which I believe has created a significant obstacle for me in securing any potential, yet decent employment opportunities. Any advice would be greatly appreciated…..I feel so hopeless…please respond….. God bless.


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Celebrity Sightings

We went out to dinner Tuesday night with friends and guess who was at the next table? Warren Beatty! I didn’t notice him until we were leaving and when I saw him, I knew his face but for a moment I wasn’t sure who he was. We looked at each other for a few seconds and he was probably thinking the same thing… “I’ve seen her before but where?”  Anyway, I played it very cool and walked out but as soon as I was outside: “Did you see who that was? It was Warren Beatty!” He’s definitely one of the biggest movie stars I’ve seen around town. I did see Tom Selleck at the nursery once (two words: Gor Geous!) and I saw Burt Reynolds driving on the freeway. Oh, and Elliot Gould on Ventura Boulevard, and Britney Spears at a Starbucks. I just realized there’s more…

I saw Nicollette Sheridan at the market, Tom Jones walking, Charlie Sheen driving, Nancy Reagan at the the Bel Air Hotel, Naya Rivera from Glee at the mall, Courtney Love in the Chanel store, Jay Leno driving an old Model T, Travis Barker in Benihana, and last month I saw Christian Slater at a Beverly Hills mall. Oh, oh, here’s the best one: Mohamed Ali at the Grove!

No one seems to notice me when I go shopping but if they ever do and take my picture, look for me in the horrendous “Stars Without Makeup” issue.

“I know where you live.”

It was a beautiful day today (in spite of two earthquakes) so I decided to go to Franklin Canyon to take pictures of the dragonflies. As soon as I got there, I saw a squirrel going up a tree. As soon as he saw me, he stopped dead in his tracks and started looking at me. He stared for a while and even leaned in a little, as if he recognized me. Was I the one who sent him on the metal basket ride down the canyon for stealing my tomatoes? Ostracized to the Squirrel Sanctuary? I wasn’t going to let him intimidate me so I stared him down. “What are you lookin’ at?” I said, standing my ground. “You don’t scare me. You miss my tomatoes don’t you, you mangy, rat-faced, no-good, low-life, beady-eyed, scum-sucking, tomato-stealing squirrel.” He took one last look and moved up the tree but he waited there until I left, and watched me walk away as if to say, “I know where you live. See you soon, cupcake.”

Is there a natural sunscreen?


I will piggyback on the last sunscreen question. I am allergic to whatever the main ingredient is all sunscreens seem to share. If I wear sunscreen for just one or two days, I’m ok. Any longer than that on a day-to-day basis and my skin becomes rough, almost like I have hives and it itches. I have the same problem with self-tanners. I’ve tried buying expensive sunscreens for sensitive skin from multiple brands, but always the same problem. Is there a natural way to make sunscreen or something I can do to keep from getting a reaction? I know it’s bad, but I’ve just taken to not wearing sunscreen now.


Dear Hana,

I’ve had a similar problem that sent me to the dermatologist last summer who told me I had a severe photoallergy. He recommended sunscreens with only zinc oxide or titanium oxide. I’ve used Neutrogena Sensitive Skin which uses only titanium oxide and Blue Lizard Sensitive which has both titanium and zinc oxides and did not have a problem. If you can find one that’s oil-free and maybe has just one of these two natural ingredients that might work. Beyond that, I don’t know of any other product you could use. I hope you’ll try every option before going without sunscreen. Good luck.