Tag Archives: driving

Shopping Habits [fpq]

Cat berries groceries market

Fandango provocatively asks…

During the height of the pandemic, to what extent did you avail yourself of online shopping for meals, groceries, and other goods and services? If you did use online shopping and delivery services, now that things have eased up a bit, has your reliance on or use of such service continued at the same rate, increased, or decreased. To what extent?

In March of 2020, when we all realized that Covid was a bfd, I stayed home from work for a while and was terrified to go out, touch anything, or breathe. While I had been ordering miscellaneous stuff online for years (vitamins, clothes, gifts, etc.), I had never used grocery or meal delivery services. I tried to set up grocery delivery during the beginning of the lockdown and every attempt failed ~ through Amazon, Target, and Vons. I’d load up a virtual cart only to be told at checkout that none of the items were actually available and/or that there were no delivery times available. It was incredibly frustrating.

So I kept going to the grocery store. I went super early, the minute they opened, and hurried through, masked of course, trying to touch as little as possible. When I got home, I swiped everything with alcohol wipes, including my steering wheel, purse, keys, credit card, and all the groceries. It was completely nucking futz. Naturally, I was extremely relieved when it turned out we didn’t have to do any of that alcohol wiping.

But as far as shopping during the worst of Covid (assuming the worst is over!), I basically carried on as usual. I went to meatspace stores to buy things I needed that I couldn’t get online. The above pic is from a farmers’ market outing with friends. We felt relatively safe outdoors, though we wore masks even at the beach, which in my opinion is an enormous pain. I hate masks. They are hot and annoying, and they make my glasses slip off. My glasses actually fell off and broke at one point (in my office building) and are currently held together with superglue. Yes, I understand this is minor compared to being on a ventilator, thanks.

I’m triple vaxxed now and lately I’ve been doing whatever ~ restaurants, movies, game nights indoors, etc. I will be flying to NorCal in November to spend Thanksgiving with my daughter and son-in-law. Last year I drove, but ugh… 7 hours in the car is really painful for my back. I feel safer now that I’ve had so many vaccines (not just for Covid but also for the flu and shingles), and California has a high percentage of sensible people who are fully vaxxed as well. I don’t always love living here with the ridiculous taxes and cost of housing, but I am grateful for the way most of us in this state have behaved during the pandemic.


Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

The Friendship Café [repost]

Road trip gas

Stan was starving. It had been half a day since he’d passed a rest stop, and he had long since run out of his stash of trail mix. Plus, his VW bug was now dangerously low on gas. As he daydreamed of a sumptuous bowl of lovely fettuccine noodles drenched with Alfredo sauce and topped with fresh seafood, he saw a sign for “Gas & Eats.”

That would have to suffice. Stan exited the dark, desert highway and proceeded along the bumpy unpaved road until he came to a common self-service gas station with a diner behind it. After filling his tank, Stan moseyed over to the restaurant, noting with pleasure the scent of garlic and onions starting to dominate the air. Mmm!

“Welcome to the Friendship Café!” a beautiful brunette greeted him as he walked through the door. An equally beautiful redhead stood by her side. “I’m Maori and this is Shayla. We love to make new friends for dinner.”

“Me too,” Stan said. “I’m Stan, and I’m starving. What’s on the menu!”

“You!” Shayla giggled. “Just take off your clothes in the back room, put on the light robe, and we’ll be all set to begin.”

“Wow, this is friendly!” Stan went in the back to disrobe. What a fun place he’d found. Dinner and a threesome, woohoo!

Maori and Shayla sharpened their knives in the kitchen as the water began to boil under the large pot. Stan looked so good, and the girls were very very hungry.


Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge.

Image credit to Bruno Aquirre at Unsplash.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

SusieCakes Review [repost]

lemon cupcake

I picked up two cupcakes from SusieCakes in Newport Beach last week, but then ~life happened~ and I didn’t try them until a couple days later. So, this review is not going to be complete and I may have to return and try other flavors in the name of fairness. Oh, woe is me.

First, parking at SusieCakes was a big pain in the butt. I passed the place the first time because buildings in SoCal are notoriously unnumbered and had to make a U-turn (I hate U-turns ~ remember my U-turn ticket and subsequent traffic school experience? Gah!), which I did in a motel lot, going in the wrong direction, almost crashed into some crazy chick going in the right direction (what is UP with people following arrows like automatons?)… and finally found SusieCakes mashed into the corner of a strip mall off Westcliff that had an extremely cramped parking lot filled with fancy cars and ginormous SUVs.

Second, SusieCakes is impossibly pretty, chock-full of adorable desserts and sweet little tables at which to sit and nom. I wanted ALL THE THINGS, but luckily I was forced to focus on cupcakes (for science!), else I’d be standing there all day unable to decide. I chose lemon and mocha, again resisting my faves in order to test new flavors.

How cute is this cupcake (above)? Unfortunately, by the time I tried it, the cake was stale, so I can’t give a fair assessment. There was lemon filling, which was tangy and not overwhelming (I dislike filling that takes up a high percentage of the interior). The frosting was still delicious after three days! It had that lovely buttercream snap and was perfectly sweet and citrusy.

mocha cupcake

Same deal here with the mocha cake ~ stale after three days, which of course is not SusieCakes’ fault. Again, there was tasty mocha filling in the right quantity. I adored the frosting! While I’m not a chocoholic, a coffee/choccy combo floats my boat. To me, that’s much more interesting than chocolate alone. And the slight crust with the still-soft inside was perfect. How I heart buttercream! I dare whipped frosting to stand up to that test, hah.

Despite the first world problems I had in traveling to and parking at SusieCakes in Newport Beach, I think I should return and try more cupcakes ($3.00 each).

What say you?

PS: Wrote this in 2013 and haven’t been back.


Images are mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Sharing My Avo


Melanie has some new questions for us this week and here are mine a day late and a dollar short…

1. Can you parallel park (if you drive)? If you don’t drive, can you still skip?

I noticed that the bloggers who answered this question already consider themselves to be excellent at parallel parking, so I am here to provide some variety. You’re welcome! I am a terrible parallel parker and I’m not that great at parking generally. When I pull straight into a spot, or what I think is straight in, I often have to back up and fix things. Why? Because I have horrible depth perception. This isn’t because of aging either; I’ve been this way since I began driving at age 16. Skipping? I just tried and still can, but it hurt my back, like everything else, so I’m not gonna do it again anytime soon.

2. Do you prefer early morning or late evening? Or something in between.

Welp, I don’t know. I wake up with a pounding headache (and a backache) and try to pretend it’s not there, but then I realize I have to get up and deal with it. So I’m not in the best mood right away. Then after a hot shower and coffee I feel a little better, around mid-morning ~ unless the headache has become a migraine, in which case I’ll dose up with meds and hope for the best. Sometimes I get super-tired by early evening, but other times I’m fine until midnight. It doesn’t seem to relate to anything I do or don’t do. As far as creativity, that can strike anytime of day… or disappear anytime. Again, it doesn’t seem to relate to any other thing.

3. Do you like avocados?

I love avocados! I love them by themselves with a sprinkle of salt, and I love them in salads, guac, and any other dishes. They are wonderful.

4. Is mind or matter more real?

Neither is real. Everything is an illusion, bwahaha!

5. Are people in this current generation less or more sensitive than people from past generations?

How far past are we talking about? I have no idea how sensitive early humans were. “Grug, you really hurt my feels when you criticized my cave drawing. I deserve an apology. Then I think it would be a good idea to discuss how to proceed from here to repair the delicate fabric of our friendship. Trust is so important in these perilous times and– holy shit, it’s that saber-toothed tiger again! RUN!”

So yeah… who knows? But my overall feeling is that people have been “the way we are” for many generations and it’s only the comforts of modern society that keep us from behaving like savage animals. Mostly keep us, I should say. I guess it’s fun to pretend we’re either so much better or worse than previous generations. I read this “back in the day” stuff, but how true is it really? There were plenty of delicate flowers all along complaining about things. You think there weren’t “Karens” 50 years ago? Five hundred years ago? There were definitely Karens. (Btw, I hate using that term, but everyone understands the meaning, so I’m going along, baaaa.) Again, I think that more comforts and more leisure time provide more opportunity to focus on trivial crap because most of us aren’t too worried about our next meal or where we’re going to sleep tonight to be safe from the elements. If we had to focus on those things, we’d be less likely to crab about people talking on their cell phone in the elevator or whatever petty annoyance.

I don’t think people were less sensitive when things were less comfortable; I believe any one of us would “toughen up” pretty quickly if we had to. We just don’t have to, is all, so we indulge our sensitivities. And as far as the other side of the coin, the ridiculous notion that there was some mythical time when everything was grand and people looked out for each other and cared about their neighbors… la la la peace and lurve… yeah right sure. If you believe that, please let me know the exact date this occurred.

6. Optional gratitude…

I’m grateful for my daughter Diane’s visit last Friday/Saturday. It was so lovely to hang out with her… and instead of moaning about the visit being too short, I’m just thankful it happened at all. I really like the people my daughters have become and adore spending time with them. This will also be my smile for the week. I plan to see my other daughter and her family soon and visit Diane and her husband Sam over Thanksgiving. Not sure yet if I will be driving or flying. We shall see…


Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

My New Gig [fiction]

Highway lights at night

It was 1987 and I was flying high. January first I went to a potluck and a dude there offered me a gig for fifty gees. His name was Tumbleweed, and I didn’t ask why. Over a plateful of macaroni salad and Swedish meatballs, he said he needed a driver for a couple months, and I told him I was free. Jimmy Bluenose whispered a word in his ear, and that was that. No, I didn’t have a résumé with me. As if.

Tumbleweed went out of the country for a week (I did not ask where) and gave me a jingle on the tenth.

“Be at Magnolia and PCH five ayem.”

OK, the dude wasn’t much for small talk, but I wasn’t about to complain when he was paying me fifty big ones just to drive people around. I put on my monkey suit, slicked my hair into a neat ponytail, and off I went.

I picked up a man with two blonde girls and drove them to LAX. They were silent the entire drive, so I played an ABBA tape. If they wanted something other than “Dancing Queen,” they only had to speak up, but the trio stared straight ahead.

We made LAX in good time. Finally, the last blonde out of the car said, “I liked that ‘Waterloo’ song.”

“I’m glad,” I said. “Have a nice trip.”

She just rolled her eyes like I was an idiot.

The second she shut the door, Tumbleweed buzzed me. “Wait there. Black guy in a green suit needs a ride at noon.”

Noon? I had almost six hours to kill. I went to a coffee shop nearby and sat next to a redhead in black spandex. She was eating French toast with bacon.

“That looks good,” I said, motioning for the waitress to fill ‘er up.

“Fifty bucks,” the redhead replied.

I glanced at her plate again. “For French toast?”

“Yeah,” she smirked. “For French toast.”

Oh. I guess I’m a little slow. I had scrambled eggs and coffee, and then “French toast” in my car.

“Look,” the redhead said. “I like you and all. But next time, please… no ‘Mamma Mia.’”

“Gotcha,” I said, ejecting Abba and slipping in Bruce Springsteen.

“Much better,” she said. “But I have to get going.”

I still had some time, so I went to a bookstore and picked up a couple Mickey’s I hadn’t yet read. Sat on a sofa there and read half of one before it was time to get the black guy in the green suit.

He opened my door at one minute after twelve. I was already loving this gig and the prompt, considerate customers. Or whatever they were.

In the back, Green Suit opened a briefcase and began rummaging through it. I couldn’t see what he was doing because the lid obscured my view.

Finally after ten minutes I asked, “What’s our destination?”

He peered over the lid, looking irritated. “Las Vegas. The Flamingo. And we need to get there by four sharp, so I suggest you move along.”

Jesus! I floored it to Vegas, praying I wouldn’t get stopped for a ticket since there was still that little matter of my probation, and the road gods listened because we made it there at four twenty-five.

Green Suit exited my car without a word. Immediately my phone buzzed. “Pick up the brunette in the yellow dress outside the Embassy Suites and take her to Newark.”

“Newark… New Jersey?”


I guess he meant New Jersey, since I didn’t know of any other Newarks. I drove over to the Embassy Suites and sure enough Yellow Dress stood under the canopy.

“You’re late,” she announced, showing a lot of leg as she slid into the front seat next to me.

“Sorry honey.” I grinned at her. “I had to pick up milk for the kids.”

She lit a cigarette. “You’re hilarious.”

“Thank you, my dear.” I pulled onto the main drag.

“My pimp’s after me,” she replied. “He’s armed and dangerous.”

It was 1987. I was on cruise control and headed for a wall. Should have gotten out while I was young.


Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Blowin’ in the Wind [repost]

secret admirer

[Written in 2017]

Last evening after work I headed from my office in Irvine toward a poetry meetup in the city of Orange. I had my navigator on and was listening to oldies tunes in between the directions. Nav was telling me to get on the 55 in some convoluted way, but I’ve learned not to argue with her. Just follow along, like a sheep, baaaa.

As I was driving on Warner, I noticed there was something taped low on the passenger side of my windshield. An ad? Not sure. Usually ads are stuffed under the wiper on the driver’s side to make sure you see them, plus this looked too small to be an ad. I didn’t think it had been there in the morning when I drove to work ~ surely I would have spotted it then. But perhaps not, who knows.

I remembered that the homeless dude who keeps his stuff in one of the storage cabinets at my apartment complex left a note on my car a few weeks ago thanking me for letting him use my cabinet. First, I haven’t “let” anyone do anything; I simply didn’t shriek at him to go away like my neighbor did when she encountered him. I just shrugged when I saw him and got in my car. Second, it’s not my cabinet he’s using. Third, when he left a note, it was on a ripped piece of cardboard sitting on top of my trunk, not something taped to my window. This of course doesn’t preclude a leveling up of note-leaving by said homeless dude, so we can’t rule it out.

I didn’t go out at lunch yesterday, so the note (or whatever) couldn’t have been left from an advertiser in the shopping plaza nearby. If it was from someone like that, s/he would have been sneaking around a private garage during the workday, which is unlikely, but not impossible. Someone who has legit parking privileges could also moonlight as an Avon rep or whatever and be leaving ads on cars in the garage, I guess, though it’s probably against the rules.

Or… it could have been a nastygram from someone who found fault with my driving or parking, sort of a prelude to the guy who yelled at me later in the evening for parking on a street near the poetry place without a permit. I had to get back in my car and repark on a different street. What a pain in the ass that all was, but… pomes!

But my favorite idea is this… imagine that some man has had a crush on me (shaddap! it could happen!)… he sees me in the garage at work from time to time. Maybe he he’s even been in line with me at the café for a coffee or lunch. Perhaps he’s held the door for me and I’ve said thank you, but haven’t really noticed him. We may have taken the same elevator together, or possibly he works on a higher floor and uses the other elevator bank. Could be he doesn’t always get to work at the same time every day like I do, but he does know my car now. He decided that the next time he sees me he’s going to say something, but our schedules haven’t meshed for a while. So, he left me a note! It was something cute, witty, with a pic, contact info, whatever, idk. Nothing creepy.

All the above went through my mind in about two seconds and I decided I should pull over and retrieve the note. Because obviously it was from a secret admirer. Right?! Yes, yes. But I was in the left lane, and before I could move to the right and find a place to stop, the note detached and blew away.

The end.


Image source unknown.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

TMP18: Roadwork

TMP monday peeve

Welcome to my refreshed Monday Peeve! Unburden yourself of an annoyance and you’ll feel better afterward. Or not. Complain in my comments or crab in your own post. Doesn’t have to be on a Monday. You do you.

We’ve peeved a lot about driving ~ speeders, red light runners, rude/dangerous drivers generally, etc.. Those are all great peeve topics and will likely be revisited. But what about the roads themselves? I’m a fan of well-maintained roads like any normal person, but wtf is up with the constant construction? It literally never ends around here, dunno about your part of the planet. For years, YEARS, the route I used to take to work had an overpass under construction, to the point of them occasionally blocking off the thing entirely. I think it’s finished now, though I’ve since moved and take a different route. Nowadays, I find that streets around where I live are randomly blocked for some sort of maintenance, and then a few months later, the same street is screwed up again. I don’t remember this happening all the time in the past and I don’t understand why a repair doesn’t last longer. It’s so GRRRR when I expect to mindlessly drive down a particular road to get where I need to go and then OOPSY NO ACCESS FOR YOU ~ the road is blocked off and I must detour around and around and around.


Image altered from the original at Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.


Man driving car

I have to get out of here, stat. I know by the way they’re looking at me that it’s only a matter of minutes, or less, before the authorities show up. I hightail it to my car and stomp that gas pedal flat. Man, I’m tearing up that highway like nobody’s business. Then I remind myself to slow down before I attract the wrong kind of attention. Cool as a clam, chilled as a cucumber. And just when I think I got away with it, I spot the flashing lights in my rearview mirror.

“License and registration, please.”

I hand them over.

“Mr. Matthews, we’d like you to step out of the car.”

I can’t do that. Might as well just plead guilty right here and be done with it.

“Now, Mr. Matthews.”

I see his hand twitch and know I have to obey. I gently open the door and step out onto the pavement.

The officer looks me up and down and smirks. “Mr. Matthews, we’re bringing you in for violating Section 7329 point 86B.”

I don’t have to ask what that is. My wife warned me not to wear socks with sandals and I ignored her. This is my third strike too. I’m doomed!


Image from Adrien Olichon at Pexels.

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

TMP13: Red Light Runners

TMP monday peeve

Welcome to my refreshed Monday Peeve! Unburden yourself of an annoyance and you’ll feel better afterward. Or not. Complain in my comments or crab in your own post. Doesn’t have to be on a Monday. You do you.

Today’s peeve is an oldie but a goodie: those asshats who run red lights. They’re so dangerous and scary, and so inconsiderate. Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about zipping through the intersection when the light turns yellow even though you have time to safely stop. I almost always stop then, unless I am a bit too close to the line. Plus with all the tailgaters, you don’t want to slam on your brakes. But I’m not talking about that! I’m talking about people who literally BEGIN their foray into the intersection AFTER the light turns red. I mean, WTF? I have seen it several times in this past week, both during my commute and on weekends. It’s worse than before the plague, or maybe I simply became used to empty streets. But no… I feel something else is happening. People are so damn eager to be out and about now that they can’t bear for anything to delay them by a couple seconds.

I think they should get jail time. Clearly tickets aren’t enough of a deterrent, even though they’re quite expensive. Nope. These selfish morons need to have something precious taken from them, and it’s the same thing they stole from us when they ran the red: time and peace of mind. A week in jail for every red light run. Boom.


Image altered from the original on Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Last night I returned to the mall…

Irvine sunset traffic driving

Things are getting back to “normal” in Orange County, California. This week we achieved the yellow tier in the Cootie War. I’ve never been a zealot in following directions, but I did take the mask-wearing and hand-washing seriously. I’ve also been fully vaccinated.

Normal, of course, means traffic everywhere and it’s been increasing. The pic is old, but the cars are back jamming up the roads same as before.

Anyway, I lost interest in wandering malls years ago, before the Cootie War, since it’s so much more convenient to shop online. But yesterday I had an appointment scheduled at the Apple store, so off I went. After finishing my biz there, I thought, hmm, why not look around?

I have to confess that it was entirely enjoyable! I didn’t buy anything, but it was great to see stuff in person. I looked at baby clothes for the grands, checking out fabrics and colors and prices. There was an art gallery I had completely forgotten about, and it made me so happy just to absorb all the beautiful vibes. There was also art from kids displayed throughout the mall. I checked out the cool items in an upscale home decorating store… not to buy, just to ogle. I thought about getting something from Starbucks… maybe next time.

But the main takeaway is that my mall walk was simply unstructured time, free of pressure and purpose. I didn’t need anything nor did I really want anything. I was just chilling. I let the sense perceptions swirl around my mind without the need to make a decision, to click something, to feel productive.

Everyone was masked and I felt perfectly safe. I don’t want to be afraid to interact with peeps. It’s great to feel like I’m part of society again instead of hiding away in my home. I liked chatting with the Apple guy, and it was fun to see families out and about.

I’m going to do it again soon.

Here’s a tune that goes with my outlook and also fits Jim’s “away” theme for this week’s Thursday Inspiration.


Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.