Saturday, April 30, 2022

Favorite Column Leads, Part IV: Life In La Jolla

[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published May 2, 2022] ©2022

This fall will commence my fourteenth year of writing “Let Inga Tell You.”  It’s been the best retirement gig ever. I’ve covered a lot of topics, some of them repeatedly: technology, kids, rats husbands, weight, parking, appliances, Covid, and a host of local issues.  Over the last few columns, I’ve re-capped some of my favorite leads from the time I started this column. (No, I’m not retiring.)  Previously, I covered Husbands, kids, pets, grandkids, health, and aging. This week it’s Life in La Jolla. 

I know that everyone has to die of something.  I, for example, am more than willing to die from chocolate.  What I’m not willing to have as the cause of my demise is Death By Vons Parking Lot.  People roar down the aisles of that lot like Bobby Unser on the Indianapolis Speedway.  Except, of course, that when Bobby took the curve in the final stretch, he wasn’t talking on his cell phone.  [August 20, 2009]

What is so rare as a day in June that is not gloomy? [June 15, 2016 

I think it should be standard practice that after a remodel, you give a party for your neighbors and beg their forgiveness. [“September 11, 2014] 

It was the Monday of Thanksgiving week, three days before the kids and grandtots would be arriving, when my kitchen suddenly smelled like a marlin had died on the counter top. I only had one question:  Does God hate me? [Dec. 10, 2015] (A possum had died and decomposed in the crawl space under my kitchen.)

You know you’re turning into a curmudgeon when you can’t decide whether to write about dog poop or leaf blowers.  [Sept. 19, 2013]

Those who celebrated the Chinese New Year on January 25 know that this is the Year of the Rat.  I couldn’t help but reflect that in La Jolla, it is always the year of the rat.  The little buggers really like it here. [March 12, 2020]

There have long been allegations that there are plenty of parking structure and off-street spaces in downtown La Jolla if the local denizens weren’t too cheap to pay for them.  Well, OK, we are too cheap to pay for them, but that’s the least of it.   [April 7, 2021]

I can only conclude that La Jolla’s motto should be “Build it and you will get away with it.”  [March 19, 2020]

You know that life around you has become too perpetually noisy when you hear a sound that you can’t quite place but seems familiar. Then you realize it’s birds chirping.  In fact, it’s your own aviary birds. [May 5, 2021]

Sometimes I think I’ve fallen into the twilight zone when I realize I live in a state where it’s legal to get an abortion, but not a haircut.  [Jan. 13, 2021]

I was going to write about the vaccine rollout last week but my first draft was 25,000 words and they only allow me 800.  But maybe that says it all right there. [Feb. 17, 2021]

With an 11,000 square foot lawn-infested lot and only a 1600 square foot home, my husband and I are plagued with nightmares of San Diego’s newly-created Water Police showing up in the dead of night. The only question is:  will they be after us or the azaleas?  [June 2, 2009 

Every letter to the editor on the subject of the drought suggests converting lawns to a garden of “attractive native plants.” Is it just me or is “attractive native plants” an oxymoron? [June 18, 2015] 

Even in a beach community, restaurants have standards, as in the not-uncommon sign, “No shirt – no shoes – no come in.”  It goes without saying that they’re referring to guys as nothing would probably be better for business than women showing up topless. [Aug. 24, 2017]

The man who knocked on my front door pointed to the curb.  “Is that your car?”  Instantly you know there’s no good news to be had.  Which doesn’t, of course, keep you from fantasizing he’ll say, “I just wanted to say that I totally love those older model Toyota Corollas.  Such classic lines.  And SO affordable.”  [May 1, 2014] [My car was hit-and-run.]

DMV, how do I hate thee?  Let me count the ways. [Nov. 14, 2019] [Getting my Real ID]

One night about a year and a half ago, some miscreants wandered up and down our street and smashed the side mirrors and tail lights of more than 50 high-end cars. They significantly damaged our neighbor’s Lexus SUV then moved to our driveway where they whacked Olof’s BMW. But like the Angel of Death, they passed over my 2005 Corolla. I couldn’t help but wonder at the time: was this a class thing? Did they consider my crappy Corolla one of their own? Or, I feared, did they just think it wasn’t worth the effort?  [May 7, 2015] 

When you can’t even hear your own outdoor aviary birds, you know that surrounding construction projects are out of hand.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Favorite Column Leads, Part III: Life, Aging, Chocolate

[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published April 18, 2022] ©2022

This fall will commence my fourteenth year of writing “Let Inga Tell You.”  It’s been the best retirement gig ever. I’ve covered a lot of topics, some of them repeatedly: technology, kids, husbands, rats, weight, parking, appliances, Covid, and a host of La Jolla-centric issues.  Over the last few columns, I re-capped some of my favorite leads from the time I started this column. [No, I’m not retiring.]  This week I’m covering my on-going issues with health, aging, my house, life, and, of course, chocolate.    

I’ve spent considerable time over the years pondering the mysteries of the universe, but the one I truly can’t solve is why it takes four La Jolla women eighty emails to find a mutually-agreed upon date for lunch.  [June 30, 2011] [This column has had more reprint requests - as far away as South Africa- than any other column I’ve written.]

There was definitely a selection factor about the people who attended my 50th high school reunion in suburban New York a few weeks ago.  We were the people who weren’t dead. [Aug. 13, 2015] 

Everybody has a fantasy about what they’d do if they won the lottery. I’ve always been clear about mine: hire a live-in masseuse. I’d get a minimum of two massages a day of about four hours each. In fact, some days I wouldn’t even get off the table, especially if I could figure out a way to simultaneously get a straw into a glass of chardonnay.  [August 7, 2014]

Over the twelve years I’ve been writing this column, chocolate has been a frequent topic, most recently as a health food, which, by the way, it has finally been determined to be.  I was definitely born too soon.  [June 9, 2021]

Several years ago at a holiday lunch, I was seated next to a woman who had opened her own clothing boutique in North County. She thought it was a travesty that women’s clothes were mostly targeted toward the really slender. So in addition to carrying clothes for the emaciated svelte (my term), it was her plan to design clothing for her boutique for the “larger woman.” “What sizes?” I inquired, suddenly taking interest.  “8-12,” she says.  It was all I could do not to accidentally knock her Nicoise salad (dressing on the side) into her scrawny size two lap. [January 17, 2022] 

On January 1, I always vow – in writing - that this year I will lose the forty pounds I gained on the White Wine and Mrs. Fields Depression Diet during my divorce.  A minor detail, upon which we shall not dwell, was that the divorce was twenty-six years ago. Dec. 31, 2009]

I recently saw a beautiful choker necklace in a catalog and knew I had to have it.  But when it arrived, I discovered that the model had one thing I didn’t have:  a neck.  [July 14, 2011

It has not escaped my attention that all of my favorite TV shows are sponsored by antidepressants.  [Nov.17, 2011]

You know you’re getting older when you catch your adult kids walking around with a tape measure envisioning the remodel after you’re dead.  [May 3, 2012]

Last week I wrote about my husband Olof’s surprising heart attack after he’d just spent a year getting down to his ideal weight, eschewing alcohol and bad carbs, and walking two hours a day.  So much self-sacrifice and you STILL have a heart attack? Profoundly unfair. I could only wonder afterwards: should I just stick with chocolate and chardonnay, my food groups of choice? I would NOT want to risk a cardiac event. [Feb. 8, 2018]

It’s comforting to know that after I’m gone, I’ll live on through Post-it notes. [August 31, 2017]

I’m not the worst housekeeper in the world. But I am a contender. [April 20, 2016]

They don’t call me Orchid Death for nothing. [Oct. 6, 2021]

  You can hardly pick up a magazine these days without reading about the Japanese uber-organizer Marie Kondo whose best-selling book about tidying advises only keeping things that “spark joy.”  Does that include husbands and children? [Feb. 7, 2019]

A hazard of being a multi-ethnic household this time of year is that I’m always afraid the Menorah will set fire to the Nativity scene.  [Dec. 5, 2013]

Our dog, Lily, is definitely an emotional support animal even if she doesn’t have a diploma.  Fortunately, I also have an emotional support husband.  My kids, not so much.  But isn’t that why you have a dog? (And a husband?) June 3, 2020]

This time of year, we start hearing a rat family scurrying around our attic crawl space searching for warmth as San Diego’s version of winter begins. Honestly, these rats are such wusses. It’s San Diego you guys. It’s 60 degrees. They’d never make it as New York rats, let me tell you.  [November 20 2014] 

A mere month ago I conducted what I call a Preemptive Rodential Offensive, denuding my orange tree of 700+ oranges to avert our annual summer rat invasion. A rat accompli, the only fauna I’d now have to deal with was our visiting grand dog, Winston. That was until my husband remarked, “Do you hear quacking?”  [June 27, 2013]

Yup, we heard quacking.  And Winston wasn't happy about it. [2013].

















Sunday, April 10, 2022

Favorite Column Leads, Part II: Kids And Grandkids

[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published April 11, 2022] ©2022

This fall will commence my fourteenth year of writing “Let Inga Tell You.”  It’s been the best retirement gig ever. I’ve covered a lot of topics, some of them repeatedly: technology, kids, husbands, rats, weight, parking, appliances, Covid, and a host of La Jolla-centric issues.  Over the next few columns, I am going to re-cap some of my favorite leads from the time I started this column. Last week, I covered Husbands (particularly Olof). This week we’ll cover Kids (my older son (the irrepressible adopted Rory) and my younger son, Henry), single parenthood, grandkids and pets. 

When I became single after my divorce, it was a sobering thought that if I wasn’t murdered on any given night, it was only because no one felt like it.  [Sept. 29, 2021]

There are times when you just have to lie.  All right, I can hear my many lovely devout friends shaking their heads and saying, “No, it is NEVER okay to lie.”   So let this be my mea culpa:  I lied. But if I hadn’t lied, I’d probably still have a dead possum in my front yard.  [Dec. 2, 2010]

I still have the now-slightly-moldy handmade card my older son Rory gave me for Mother’s Day when he was 10:  You’ve been like a mother to me, it read. [May 11, 2017]

My husband has always maintained that I married him for his skills with a sewer augur, but that’s only partially true.  [March 11, 2010] (Rory loved flushing myriad objects down the toilet so he could watch it overflow.)

A few months ago, I wrote two columns regaling my readers with stories about how my older son, Rory, managed to terrorize me repeatedly by re-enacting scenes from horror movies he’d been allowed to watch at his father’s.  I personally think my ex hoped I would suffer a heart attack and die, thereby absolving him from further child support payments.  He denies this. [Nov. 18, 2020]

Every teenager at some point ponders the question, “Just how stupid ARE my parents?”  [June 6, 2013]

I get that teenager sons need to separate from their mothers. But do they have to be so mean about it?   [April 13, 2014]

Of all the fantasies one has as a new mom, one never imagines that some day that adorable blob will be assigned to write a paper for his abnormal psychology class analyzing the psychopathology of someone he knows well.  And choose you. [Nov.4, 2010]

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting my son’s mother for the first time.  [March 24, 2011] [I had to wait 32 years to use that line.]


Over the holidays, it is always our hope to have the company of our four preschool grandchildren. And after they leave, it is always our hope to someday get all of our electronics working again.  [Jan. 24, 2013]

Recently, we spent four days in L.A. babysitting our grandchildren – 5, 4, and 14 months – paroling our son and daughter-in-law for a much-needed get-away.  Overall it went well. There were, however, three heart-stopping episodes but fortunately nothing that could not be resolved by either (1) acetone (2) phenobarbital or (3) the realization that the house wasn’t on fire after all. [Sept. 10, 2015] 

I was thinking about writing a guide on how to be a good mother-in-law but truthfully it can all be summed up in two words: “Shut. Up.”  [May 9, 2013]

Preschool is a whole new world since my sons went. Two of my grandchildren go to a preschool in L.A. that is not only rabidly environmentally-conscious but also has a zero tolerance policy for sugar (bad for you) and nuts (someone could be allergic) on school grounds. (Knives would probably be OK.)   [May 11, 2016]

I’ve finally come to understand the basic connection between grandparents and tiny grandchildren: diapers. They really want to get out of them, and we fervently hope never to get into them.  [July 10, 2014]

At my granddaughter’s first birthday, her mother tore off a small piece of the baby-sized chocolate cake and gave it to her.  My granddaughter ignored it, picked up the cake itself, and buried her face in it. I knew absolutely at that moment that my genes had been thrown forward. [Oct. 11, 2018] 


A few years back when I wrote about our birds, I cautioned that one should never let kids get a pet with a longer life expectancy than yours. I really, really mean it. [October 16, 2014]

Call me na├»ve, but I really thought neutering a dog was supposed to make him, well, uninterested.  But even after Winston went under the knife, there would be the odd occasion when we’d be having a dinner party on our patio and a guest would suddenly exhibit a certain telltale twitching indicating to us that Winston was under the table having a close encounter of the interspecies kind. [March 2, 2016]

I still have the hand-made card Rory made for me for Mother's Day when he was 10


Saturday, April 2, 2022

Favorite Column Leads, Part I: Husbands

[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published April 4, 2022] ©2022

 This fall will commence my fourteenth year of writing “Let Inga Tell You.”  It’s been the best retirement gig ever. I’ve covered a lot of topics, some of them repeatedly: technology, kids, husbands, aging, rats, weight, parking, appliances, Covid, and a host of La Jolla-centric issues.  Over the next few columns, I am going to re-cap some of my favorite leads (or ledes as they say in the newspaper biz) from the time I started this column. And no, this doesn’t mean I’m retiring.  (You should be so lucky.) This week we’ll start with: Husbands (particularly my engineer husband, Olof).

We know couples who contend they can talk to each other about “anything.”  My husband Olof agrees that’s the way relationships ought to be, so long as you never actually do it. [Sept. 26, 2013]

My husband is having an emotional affair with a cooking show lady.  There, I’ve said it.  [Feb. 6, 2014]

When Olof married me sixteen years ago after eight years of commuting from the Bay area, I knew it was important for him to have his own space in my house since he’d had to give up his own home.  Since Rory had just left for college, I told Olof that room was his to do what he wished. Who knew I married someone with no taste?   [Feb. 24, 2011]

A while back, I wrote about how Olof and I were engaged in dishwasher wars now that he had taken over this chore in retirement.  Three-plus years later, after considerable discussion and negotiation, I would like to report that…nothing has changed.  [April 18, 2019]

Now that Olof no longer requires a high security clearance for his job, I can safely divulge that all anyone ever needed to do to get him to spill every secret he knew was tie him to a chair in front of a continuous loop of feminine hygiene commercials.  [May 20, 2010]

What is it with men, anyway?  No, don’t even try to answer that. [Nov. 11, 2020]

When my husband, Olof, asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I didn’t hesitate to request a top-of-the-line sewer auger.   Now, this might suggest that the romance has gone out of the relationship or worse, could be considered a dismal metaphorical condemnation of our union.  [Nov. 7, 2013)

I wrote last week about finding the ideal Christmas gift for my engineer Olof:  a slide rule.  I’d like to report that it is being lovingly slid on a daily basis.  Who knew there were so many uses for a logarithmic scale? [Jan. 20, 2019] [It was a never-used personalized high school graduation gift from 1949 sold on eBay by the now-deceased recipient’s estate.]

I think I can sum up my husband, Olof’s, and my different styles by the funeral instructions our estate attorney had us write when he set up our trusts.  Mine went on for three pages.  Olof’s were all of six words: “I don’t care. I’ll be dead.”  [Jan. 10, 2013]

It’s been my observation over 11 years and nearly 400 columns that I always get the most response when I write about dogs or my husband, Olof. Olof is trying not take this personally. [Oct. 21, 2020]

Forget iPhones, iPods, iPads and Wii. My husband and I agree that no techno gismo ever invented compares to GPS.  But then, we’re not called the Bobbsey Twins of Directional Disability for nothing. [Feb.11, 2010 

Last year, my husband took a trip with four fellow-physics-major college roommates that as basically a geek fest tour of the Pacific Northwest.  They took in the Boeing factory, then Reactor B, and apparently got positively misty-eyed at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory in Hanford. The only people who had more fun than they did were their wives who didn't have to go.  [Sept. 5, 2019]

Before my engineer husband tries to explain anything technical to me, he says, “I think you might want to get the yellow pad.”  He, of course, means an 8x11 lined legal pad which we buy by the kilo, since he also asserts that when I die, he’s going to insert a multi-pack of them into my coffin for my use in the hereafter. In his dream of the hereafter, somebody else is helping me with my technical problems who is not him.  [Dec. 13, 2012] 

A now a favorite one about a different husband:  

My expat friend Julia had to go out of town for several weeks on a family emergency and was surprised to return and find a veritable mountain of laundry waiting for her. She'd expected laundry, of course, but commented that she had never realized that her husband Fred owned so many clothes. Turned out that when she left, he hadn't. But as he ran out of clean clothes, he just kept buying more.  Weeks of more. [May 31, 2012]

I loved that my husband was willing to take over the dishes after he retired, but he runs the machine a quarter full.  Makes me crazy! (Column April 18, 2019)