Romancing the Black Lace Water Dragon ~ Chapter 5 by Jacqueline Nyahay
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May 2012 ~
 

May came in with amazing weather.  I took the opportunity to go for many hikes in the low-lying clouds, a misty rain refreshing my soul as I prayed my rosary hiking up the hills.  I got back to work on writing my novel, new ideas coming to me every day.  Did some research on the back-story and found beautiful interesting facts to add character and history to my characters and location.  The central theme was my waterfall, Switzer Falls, I had just been blessed to finally return to after all the years it was closed due to the fires.  Worked some hours in Zyla's school library.  Had lunch with Sean at what I liked to call the Dexter Cantina.  There was so much construction going on around it, a new college was being built next door to the studio.  The Spaghetti Factory ruins were completely gone and the Producer's Lot I use to park in was all barricaded off, all part of the new building project for this new college.  No one from Dexter was in the Cantina, I wasn't sure if the show had started up just yet, or not, should be any day now, Season 7 would be under way.  My God-daughter Lillian got lines on Breaking Bad.  I was so excited for her!  I had just seen her in March and it was so crazy, that I had just worked with Bryan Cranston on Get A Job, then she ends up working with him a few weeks later in Santa Fe, NM!  Small world. 

 

The second week of May the temperature went up 20 degrees.  I stayed inside most of the time in the air conditioning, working on my novel.  I went hiking a couple times early in the morning to avoid the heat.  One morning, I finally saw wildlife other than black birds and lizards.  As I drove up to the trail parking lot a baby bunny was hopping by.  I started praying my rosary up the trail and immediately saw a baby Black Racer quickly make its way into the thick brush at the side of the trail.  When I stopped to try to follow its movements, it seemed to have disappeared.  I continued my walk and saw another baby bunny hopping quickly away from my direction.  I enjoyed the abundant wild flowers that lined the trail.  As I passed the first bench, which is not far up the trail at all, I was looking off to the side as I rounded the bend but something on the ground caught my eye.  I had almost stepped on a baby Rattler.  It quickly slithered to the other side of the trail, but did not really hide itself.  I stopped to watch what it would do.  Unlike the last baby Rattler I had come across on this trail, that went into strike mode and froze the entire time I watch it, this one was bold.  A hiker came up the trail from behind me and started to walk around me, heading right for the baby.  I told him to watch out for the baby Rattler.  He stopped and went around safely, thanking me for the warning.  No one wants to get bit by the baby, whose poison is so strong it could kill you, and with so many hikers, hiking alone, who would help?  Phone signals usually did not work unless you were at the very top of the mountain so it was potentially dangerous.  I continued to watch the baby while I was saying the rosary in my mind.  He boldly starting coming back across the trail right for me!  I stepped back a bit and watched him pass to the other side again.  Then another hiker came along and almost stepped on the baby, but I stuck my arm out to stop him.  He thanked me for letting him know.  I continued to watch as the baby Rattler slithered around on that side of the trail, before heading toward me again!  Really bold snake, really unbelievable.  Then it started to slither up the trail as a biker came by.  He found it cool to ride along side the snake.  It was getting hotter and hotter even though it was only 8:15am and I did not want to spend all day staring at the snake, but it was fascinating that it just kept slithering around and not taking cover while all these hikers kept coming up the mountain.  I watched it slither back to the other side again, this was the 3rd time it had crossed the trail in front of me in ten minutes time!  I decided to finish my hike to the top and turned to walk up.  The rest of the hike went by as usual, lots of lizards out and about.  As I made my way down I wondered if the baby Rattler would still be in the general vicinity or had taken off.  I watched a group of hikers walk right by where it should have been.  When I got to the spot, I looked to the side and there he was.  Slithering along next to the brush back on the other side again, who knows how many times he may have crossed the trail while I was hiking up to the top.  Another hiker came by and stopped to watch him with me, saying that he had seen a hawk grab up a snake the other day and fly off with him.  Usually I never speak to anyone on the trail when I am hiking alone but today seemed to be one of those crazy days that I shared some moments with strangers who all share a love for nature.  I was glad I could help prevent disaster and that I avoided danger myself.  I emailed my friend Lining telling her what was going on at the trails and she agreed to come hiking with me.  The weather took a turn for overcast and no snakes came out to play the day we were on the trail.  My friend Sean texted me with the news Whitney had been renewed for season 2.  I was really excited, emailing Joe, Alex and Ryan about getting back to work.  Of course the show would not start up again for another three months, but it was nice to know it was back. 

 

Ed had his annual Crespi Film Festival themed Mystery Theater because of all the sci-fi projects produced this year.  I brought Zyla and we sat through four hours of student film shorts.  It was really amazing the work being produced by high schoolers.  Ed had worked with and shaped many of these students over the past four years and they were doing incredible work.  Many of the students were getting into film colleges on full scholarships.  I was proud of the work he was accomplishing with his kids.  My favorites this year included many of the Matthew Somogyi's projects including ‘Nature's One Mean Mother', ‘Antigone', ‘Dancing Queen', and ‘Stale', as well as the Toma Brothers ‘Shepperd's Flock'. 

 

Mother's Day weekend was spent doing my favorite things.  My favorite game, karaoke was played all evening, the highlight being Zyla singing ‘I've Got Big Balls' by AC/DC, left me in tears she is so funny.  Sunday was spent in my favorite spot in the woods, Switzer Falls.  We got there early.  It seemed many had the same idea as us filling the forest with hikers of all ages.  I wanted to touch base with the trees and streams that were shaping my novel, so Zyla and I jumped in the water at many locations and took fun pictures along the way.  A trip to my favorite waterfall would not be complete without Peach Margaritas and tableside guacamole at Los Gringos, which we enjoyed before heading home.  The week that followed I spent working on my novel, hiking and watching the Spanish foreign films I, The Worst of All.  I went hiking at Stough again and on my way down saw a woman with two dogs stopped on the trail.  I assumed they must have been watching a wild animal.  As I approached she told me they were waiting for the rattlesnake to cross.  I saw a beautiful black and tan rattler, a little bigger than the baby I had seen last week, making its way across the trail.  Once across it quickly slid into the brush heading down the mountain.  Two days later, I was walking up the mountain, praying my rosary, when a family of hikers heading down told me about a baby rattler on up the trail.  I continued on my way, enjoying the colorful array of wild flowers, many different shades of yellows, purples, and orange.  I found the baby with its big full belly lying on a warm stone in the middle of the trail.  Oblivious to the world, still and content, the baby looked so cute.  I walked around it and hiked on up to the top.  On my way down, I found the baby rattler still stretched out sunning its big belly digesting its latest feed.  I went to brunch with Jodi after working in Zyla's School Library.  I was glad to be almost done with my service hours.  I took Jodi to Mimi's for Mimosa's catching up on life.  I was looking forward to spending summer Sunday nights with her watching True Blood.

 

Sunday May 20th, 2012 was Bat Day at Disneyland.  Perfect timing to renew our annual passes and enjoy the Magic Kingdom once again.  After witnessing the pageantry last year when Bat Day fell on Mother's Day, we had always planned in the back of our minds returning to Disney to participate in the Gothic Celebration.  Of course Disney does not endorse the event, so going off what I could find online I was hoping we were showing up on the correct day.  It was fun dressing up like it was Halloween in the middle of May.  Zyla and I changed our minds a bunch of times on what outfits to wear.  In the end, Zyla chose not to wear her monster girl Halloween outfit, since it was scratchy and the weather was going to be in the 80's.  Zyla and Ed went with comfortable cool goth.  I wore my regular sexy ghoul dress, Robert Palmer style, with Harley boots and sunglasses.  When we first arrived we had to go to a ticket booth since Disney changed the procedure with annual passes.  No longer was there a place in the Magic Kingdom set up to escort you to a window for private photos to be printed up on the passes.  Now, you had to go to a ticket booth outside the park to get your annual pass, then have a photographer inside the park scan the pass and take a picture that would be electronically shown when the pass was scanned upon entry.  Everything went quickly at the ticket booth and we entered the park and had our pictures taken in front of the Mickey flowers below the Main Street Train.  I thought it would be cute to see our annual passport pictures of us all dressed in gothic, but we were told they would not be available for 24/48 hours, so next time.  At first we felt like we were the only ones in the park dressed in gothic attire.  I did not bring my parasol because I wanted to be able to go on all the rides.  Most rides only give a tiny pouch inside the front of your seat to put a purse and you cannot leave anything off to the side of a ride.  Ed, Zyla and I had fun taking pictures of each other all over the park.  Eventually more Goths showed up.  As the day progressed the costumes became more elaborate.  The pageantry ensued when all the Bat's were to meet in front of Cinderella's castle at noon for a group picture.  Fantastical costumes were there, and I thought no way were they going on rides in those outfits!  It was so hot though, the sun beating down on all the black costumes, that after a half hour I could not take it anymore.  There did not seem to be anyone running the event, just a free for all of Goths milling about in front of the castle, tourists taking pictures of the opulent spectacle.  We had seen enough and felt part of it all, so we left to get pineapple ice cream whips from the Dole stand and head over to the California side.  We had a yummy Greek lunch in the back of the park with the same great band playing in the gazebo like the last time we were here.  It became overwhelmingly crowded and hot so we called it a day and headed home.  Ed uploaded all the pictures from his camera phone to make a cute youtube video of our Bat Day Celebration. 

 

The fourth week in May, was about the same as usual, working on my novel, watching more French foreign films, such as Anatomy of Hell and Lady Chatterley, working in Zyla's school library and hiking.  Ed wanted me to capture a baby rattler on video suggesting I take the camera with me hiking.  I had a feeling the day would not bring any snakes out, but when I went I did see two bunnies.  At one point I overheard a hiker telling two other ladies with dogs about a rattler on up the trail, but I never saw it.  Sean wanted to meet up for a hike at Bronson Canyon.  I wanted to share some sunshine with my friend.  That must have been everyone else in Hollywood's idea as well, because the park was overflowing with cars.  I had never seen it so crowded!  Two security patrols were monitoring the parking lots.  The weather was slightly cooler than it had been, a beautiful spring day in the park, birds chirping, stream flowing.  At the bat cave we came upon a student short film shoot.  Inside the cave an actor, hoping we were casting directors, approached us.  He gave us his business card for music since he was out of his acting ones.  It's hard to avoid networking in Los Angeles.  I wasn't sure what I could do for his career, but wished him well. 

 

Memorial Day Weekend was upon us.  I helped Zyla with finishing touches to her Oratorical Faire poster.  I wanted to go hiking out in Malibu and Ed suggested Escondido Falls.  We hadn't been there in over 2 years, so I looked it up online to make sure I remembered how to get there.  The comments people were leaving on yelp worried me.  I guess so much erosion had taken place that a rope had been put in to help hikers up to the second waterfall, but that did not prevent two deaths and one child getting stitches from hiking there.  I know it was a little tricky last time, but I was not looking for that much drama.  One comment suggested Solstice instead.   I thought I had never been there, so I looked it up.  It sounded amazing.  It was actually at the base of the road I usually would take up to Castro Crest - Upper Solstice Canyon.  I did not know what I was missing out on in Solstice Canyon Park.  Ed, Zyla and I drove out early Sunday morning, getting to the park at 9am and probably the last free parking spot.  The trail was flat, easy to navigate with beautiful shade trees, a brook and birds singing as we went.  Abandoned homes, including the oldest stone house in Malibu and a burnt down mansion were fun to explore.  We took lots of pictures of our adventure along Solstice Canyon Trail to the Tropical Terrace, including at the waterfall.  Walking back along the Rising Sun Trail was a lot of uphill, but worth the effort.  The ocean spread out before us in a breathtaking epic view.  I had read about a shrine to Mary, a holy prayer place, the family used back when the mansion was functioning.  We did not discover it on this trip, but I planned to return soon to look for it.  Monday, we BBQ'd with friends, blending up peach margaritas and lounging under the beautiful Cally sunshine.  I joined the baseball game for a moment, hitting a grand slam that almost knocked my bad knee out of joint.  We had to leave the party early since Zyla had to be back to school the next day.

 

The last week of May, Ed and I were able to attend Zyla's Oratorical Faire together.  Ed was pretty much on summer break, but still committed to editing the last Crespi video project, the graduation ceremony.  I worked in Zyla's school library; confident I had definitely put in all the hours I needed to for this year.  I handed in Zyla's work permit renewal form, waiting for the principal to sign off that her grades and attendance were satisfactory.  I hoped she would get another call for a gig this year, things seemed so slow for her compared to last year.  I went to the Glendale library to get myself some books.  Now that my free time was over, and summer break was beginning, I doubted I would be working on my own novel as much.  I found it interesting that my novel was all about the history of Switzer Falls, that I had spent so much time and energy there my whole life, and now had found a mirror image almost in Solstice.  They both had a waterfall, but where at Switzer the foundation was overgrown with bushes and had almost completely disappeared from view, the mansion on the Tropical Terrace seemed more current.  It had been inhabited only 30 years ago, so the structure was more recent, more alive, creepy in a way, haunted, I loved it.  We had found handprints of the family who had lived there pressed into cement.  Ed, Zyla and I all pressed our hands over their impressions.  The picture was surreal; Ed made a youtube video out of it all.  I wondered if I would bring any of this new discovery into my novel.  I wondered how often we would go to Solstice.  Being on the mansion property made me feel like performing, singing out to the woods.  I felt drawn to return soon. 

 

The last day of May, Ed and I returned to Solstice Canyon on a Thursday at 9am.  The parking lot was empty, we were excited to have the place to ourselves.  A hummingbird was going from one purple flower to the next as we set out in search of the private grotto.  I found it hidden, exactly where my research online had said it would be.  Across the river from the Tropical Terrace, a beautiful repose for the soul, a hidden grotto garden, with a beautiful alcove enshrining a statue the Virgin Mary.  I had read online that her head had fallen off, but it was merely severed above the lips and someone had put two stones on it to give a silhouette of her entire face.  A gauzy, white veil hung from her head down around her body.  There was a vase of flowers and written prayer requests in the offering bowl before her.  I knelt down to pray, then placed in the bowl some wild flowers I had picked along the way.  There was a mystery and sacredness to the place and I felt blessed to be there.  It brought back memories of the summer of 1998, our adventure to Harbin Hot Springs, where we had knelt together in front of a statue of the Virgin, pledging our love to each other.  Less than a year later we had been married.  Ed and I shared some snacks, chocolate covered almonds, while watching more hikers arrive to the Terrace.  It was fun to secretly watch other hikers from across the river, who had no idea of this grotto.  Most just went on to the waterfall.  I felt like singing and wanted to do so on the haunted mansion grounds.  Ed filmed me with his camera phone doing a little karaoke acapella version of Demi Lovato's "Give Your Heart a Break".  He had always wanted to film me singing, but I never let him until now.  It turned out cute so I said he could post it to youtube.  We then went on up to the waterfall where a fellow hiker suggested taking a photo of Ed and I together.  On the way back to the car, Ed tried filming a woodpecker tapping at a tree.  I stopped him from stepping on a baby black California Racer that was speeding across the trail.  We stopped for lunch at Thai Garden before coming home to upload the video.  It was a wonderful date day for us, enjoying nature, being led by the Spirit.  When I picked up Zyla from school, she was not happy that she missed out on the fun and I promised we would return to Solstice again soon with her. 

 

I missed Anais Nin, so when I had gone to the library to get new books, I grabbed up her first novel D.H. Lawrence An Unprofessional Study.  I had not been compelled to read it before since I knew nothing of Lawrence, but since watching Lady Chatterley on Netflix, which was based on the book written by Lawrence, I felt it was time.  After all was this not history repeating itself?  Last year I had gotten so obsessive about Anais diaries after watching the movie Henry and June.  Anais writing so passionately about Lawrence caused me to want to read more of him as well, so I also picked up some of his novels.  After reading Anais erotica last year, I wanted to go back and finish one of my first favorite authors Anne Rice's erotica.  I asked the library to put Beauty's Punishment on hold for me.

 

Click Here to continue reading Romancing the Black Lace Water Dragon ~ Chapter 6

Solstice Canyon, Malibu ~ May 31, 2012

Bat Day at the Fun Park!  Disneyland May 20, 2012