Ox tale soap

On April 1 I saw this headline in our local rag sheet.  As is often the case, it dovetailed perfectly with the post that had been swirling in my head for today. If you only knew Stepford-like Santa Clarita, you would be rolling in the, well, wherever you are and could be rolling around, doubled over, peals of laughter escaping from you like puffs of steam.


I think I mentioned somewhere that since last autumn, our neighborhood joined a nation-wide (worldwide?) social network of homeowners who want to form a bond with their community and share the latest news in various categories.  When I signed up, I thought it was probably the friendly and sociable thing to do.


Ever since joining, I have been struck by how this one little venue is a microcosm of humanity writ large, society as a whole, with all its problems. Truly, it could be a tragicomedy if only there were a glib chronicler with an agile tongue and time to monitor the threads that come and go. Everything from leaving the gate open and then asking everyone to look out for one’s family pet, to why is there trash along our manicured curbs, to I won’t pay another dime in fees but want a full time security company patrolling the streets looking out for the terrorists to why did the Houstapo reject my front yard cactus farm, etc., etc.


When Geoffrey and I moved here we had no idea this was what is indelicately referred to as a “white-flight” suburb. I picked it because at the time, you could get a mini-mansion for under $500K.  No longer, of course, every community in Coastal California takes a million dollars to start, at 20% down. What really astonishes me is the people who live here who, evidenced by their anti-grammarian posts, can barely form a coherent sentence in even 10th grade English, park a behemoth or two in the short driveways and support a staggering overhead month after month. I guess the old idea that education and money are the ouroboros of adult enterprise has been debunked in modern life.


Anyway, as I have mentioned, we now look to a more catholic place to park some day, one like Oxnard or the Channel Islands, or the next spot (upcoming in future posts) that we rediscovered in our quest for a less controversial way of life.  One more in keeping with the broad-minded, worldly, international and objective place I came from, i.e., New York City.


How timely then, that the next pivotal primary should be set in my home town.  Three of five candidates are New Yorkers — when was the last time that happened? In the Roosevelt era? What wonders would a NY President bring to this country, I can only dream.  Just let’s make sure it is the right NYer, eh?


Yes, I am seeking those famed New York Values. Love ’em.  And what are they? Open-mindedness, tolerance of ideas unlike one’s own, minding one’s own business unless someone is in need and then lending that someone a helping hand, working and playing hard, looking really sharp to the best of one’s economic means, thriving on diversity, learning from different people’s points of view and cultural heritage, celebrating the richness of a responsible life lived scientifically, moving forward, running on energy, being grateful for the good fortune of living in the most important city on earth. I could go on and on.  What it does not mean is profligacy, wantonness and licentiousness.  Only outsiders who have no idea and have never lived in New York, either the state or the city — don’t conflate them, they are very different — could think that is what a knickerbocker cherishes.


Think about it. If you crowd, for example, 15 million people onto a small island cluster, could a sodom-gomorrah environment survive? When you are densely packed into a tiny scrap of land, surrounded by water, you had better find a way to curb your excess or there would have been annihilist extinction long ago.


I can see the charms of remote rural life.  It has its points and that is something one can find both in California and New York, in fact, the whole Northeast — something I will be talking about more on June 21 this year as I put up my summer season getaway post.


Oxnard was founded on agriculture. The fact that the farms, flourishing there to this day, stretch virtually to the sea and the deep water harbor of Port Hueneme does not negate the fact that it is both a progressive bastion and a rural/urban one.  It is not a planned city like Santa Clarita, it is, however, one of the biggest in California, with an array of natural and cultural riches that enable its citizenry to enjoy the best of both worlds, the agricultural and the cultural, sophisticated without being stuffy, exciting without being exhausting.  Just one of the places we have identified where we could go (if we can afford it) and live a life closer to the one we had back East (Geoffrey went to two Ivy League colleges back there, and worked in the City, so he gets it too, despite being a SoCal boy by birth).


I cannot imagine myself joining a social network in Oxnard/Channel Islands/Ventura.  My soap operatic neighbors here have just about put the kibosh altogether on my interest in social media.  I am hanging on to Flickr, Twitter and Word Press because I have made such good friends with like-minded people on all three. You know I got rid of Facebook and never touch my Tumblr account.  I am on Instagram but rarely post there. I will probably gently extract myself from the local media site as well.  I just don’t want to discover how extreme and petty my fellow Valencians are, as I did with my HS and family members on FB back a few years ago. It is scary to find out that they are the very people who support the demagogues we decry on cable every night while trying to eat a peaceful meal.


We have disciplined ourselves to two hours of news, DVRd, so we can then turn to our binge-watching. Lately it has been the Showtime series, The Borgias, where I can drink in that delicious body-confection known as  François Arnaud, and Geoffrey can appreciate the alabaster delights of Holliday Grainger (although he swears blonds are not his type. Right.). And, as a total aside, I was lasciviously delighted to learn he will head the cast of the upcoming soap, Midnight Texas.  Oh. Yeah.


As for the Housewives of Santa Clarita, well, it is not to be.  It would have been apt, though, believe it or not, based on what I read every day on our local social gossip confab. Aw, snap! Geoff and I might have thrown our hats in the ring for it. Yeah, like that would happen.


Next up: another place to keep our eye on for the next chapter in our lives here in paradise.  Stay tuned.

Images: Chez Bebe assets/Oxnard in Ventura County


27 Comments on “Ox tale soap”

  1. I like the beautiful house you showed with green details. Is this like your house or is it really your home? I would not wish you to display your home in fear of stranger danger, Beth.
    I agree finding a neighboring California location more “sympatico” to yours and Geoffrey’s philosophies makes sense. I like how you describe New Yorkers who will help out, if necessary, but mainly go about their business. I don’t have a lot of positivity when I drive through places where the SUV’s or vehicles are not ecological nor useful. Those who need to transport work related equipment, using them, don’t upset me. I think some people are shallow, others not intentionally mean, but my Mom is like your Mom would be if. . . thinking that language usage has “gone to heck in a hand (hen?) basket.” 🙂 I am a little tired so will close by saying very excited about the 3 NYers in upcoming political debate.
    My brother went for bachelor’s at Cornell and felt an affinity with NY, master’s at UNC, then pronounced himself a Tarheel, lastly got PhD at Kent State which is really where my family’s heart is: in Ohio. 🙂 His wife went to Princeton and not sure about her path to her PhD. But she is a Dean at Baldwin Wallace. Her family shares a lovely, large ocean front home at Bethany Beach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Goodness, Robin! I will bet they don’t drive SUVs, and do speak beautifully. I think we talked about this, I went to Cornell too. But am in awe of Princeton. That is a hard college to get into. I didn’t even try, even though it was much closer to home.

      No, that is not my house, these homes are all in Oxnard, about 45 minutes west of Valencia, on the ocean. Oxnard is part of Ventura County and is an old community, about 200 years old. Valencia was established in the 1970s as a Model America community. Our house is stone and stucco.

      I have refrained from posting a clear picture of our house for just that reason, since I have been so outspoken here about my views on things. And because Geoffrey doesn’t want the attention. Thank you for thinking of my safety though. These days we have to be careful!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tell Geoffrey “hi” and I am so glad he gives you great advice! I was wondering how his building shelves for your perfumes was going? Smiles, Robin
        Oh, I am going to tell you that my brother’s current and only wife, Susan, and her husband married while students at Princeton. He is an attorney who married someone about 20 years younger. I have met him at weddings and family parties. His daughter who attended Georgetown while getting her law degree, ended up in WVa and when she got married (at age 33), his “new” family were there. His young daughter of about 4 years old was the flower girl and his young son was the ring bearer. When they married in their college days, they lived on food stamps although their parents were wealthy, they “disowned” them for marrying so young! Lol 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Goodness! How unusual! Good of you all to still interact.

          Blended families are now the rule. Geoff’s oldest brother married someone 20 years younger and another brother is dating someone 30 years younger. If any of the girls in the family did that, dated someone so much younger, these guys would never stop gossiping about it. Hmpf.

          He has finished the piece but has not stained and glossed it because work is so busy. We are getting there and believe me is wants to get it done since right now the entire collection is sitting on top of one of our main dressers and giving him a headache (so he claims, LOL).

          Hugs, Robin!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you and hope you had a wonderful call or visit from family. Thanks telling me the collection of scents are on the dresser but progress is coming along on the shelves!
            You look beautiful and Geoffrey with you complete each other. I am so glad when I “meet” happy couples, Beth.
            Age is so strange. I was surprised and happily sending messages using the dating service and just found out a 55 year old has a 6 year old. It was disheartening since I have older grandchildren. I like your “Hmph!”

            Liked by 1 person

            • We would be even happier if we didn’t have to deal with the in-laws. My parents are very hands-off. Now Geoff’s mother has declined mentally so she is no issue. But! The others on that side are a different matter. We can do no right, and they can do no wrong. It is disheartening.

              There is always something one has to deal with. I would have rather stayed back in New England where we both went to school and where I grew up, my whole family — Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They are all there.

              But, I am adapting to So Cal and now Deanna, Al and Anna are moving back here this summer, so I will have more reinforcements on my posse, LOL!

              You are a dear, Robin. Geoff and I are exactly the same age — four months apart and that has made things easier. Keep looking! Whoever lands you will have hit the jackpot. ❤

              Liked by 1 person

            • I take your thoughts on life and politics to heart, knowing you are open and straight forward, Beth. The age difference may or may not work out with someone I am starting to like and I may just do things together but not get attached. 🙂
              I am at my Mom’s with one grandie, Micah. Getting ready to try and get caught up with loose ends. Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend, Beth and Geoff. ❤

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Once again, loved the pictures. I live in a catty, constantly complaining, over priced neighbourhood. Thankfully I live on one of the lower priced blocks. It has saved me from having to deal with the close minded, neighbourhood membership holding, daycare co-op (great way to keep “outsiders” out), life is so hard despite having a nanny and housekeeper, save the dying trees community members.

    I love the physical location of my neighbourhood and that’s why I live there. Great for walking, hiking, biking, and cross country skiing. Reading the monthly neighbhourhood newsletter is more than enough for me.

    When I saw the title of your post, I thought it said, “Ox Tale Soup”. I was excited to read what you had to say about one of my favourite soups :D. Silly me!


    • You made my day, Mark! One of my SILs recently said I should consider myself a Californian, having lived here almost half my life. I immediately informed her:

      Once a New Yorker, ALWAYS a New Yorker, right?

      And, an Upstater, too. I am both, a down and upstate NY gal. Forever.



      • Indeed, Beth. That’s how I feel. Born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island, adult years lived in Syracuse. Down and upstater, both. It can and is done, we prove. On the flip side, my dear wife Karen, born in LA, high school in San Diego, 30 years in Syracuse, and still feeling the tides of California. And that’s equally proper. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • I was born in Brooklyn, too! My parents were born and raised in Jamaica, Queens (Trump neighbors, lol) and Lawrence, Long Island. My Grandfather was born and raised on Staten Island. My Dad had family in Syracuse so we spent time there my whole childhood, even though we lived in Manhattan and at the Jersey Shore. Then, of course, I went to school in Ithaca and Manhattan after that. So, that is just too strong a heritage to toss aside for any other place. Your wife is like my husband, but he did go to school back East and work in NYC, so we can share an understanding of that life together.

          What a coincidence Mark!! ❤


  3. Well, I love saving dying trees :-D, but these are also my sentiments, exactly, JM!

    I picked our neighborhood because it is at the top edge of Los Angeles county and on the road to Northern California (at least in my mind, hee hee). I might have done a bit more sleuthing and picked Ventura instead. Ah well. Some day.

    Meanwhile, I am increasingly leery of social media. I have run into some really problematic people who are apparently on a hair’s trigger for anger and could use some therapy. But that is not my role when I am on social sites. I try to be understanding, but life is too short to have mean or volatile or smart alecky people to deal with on what is supposed to be a pleasant place to interact with like-minded souls.

    As for ox-tail soup, I am a vegan!! LOL!! But I picked the title deliberately so I am glad you got my little play on words.

    Thank you JM for reading and commenting. I like your posts too but cannot comment, so I appreciate it when you stop by and give me a chance to thank you for all of it, here.


  4. Man…is that one cultivated landscape!!! I’m ambivalent about it–part of me likes it, nice and clean. Part of me says: no way. I love your erudite meanderings, and your photos are simply awesome in this post, again!
    Tell me this: do all NYers eat hot dogs from street vendors like they do in movies?
    I’ve only seen the first season of The Borgias, but LOVE it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny you should say cultivated. That is exactly the right word for Oxnard: it’s all very old berry farms, acres and acres of them. Where I live, a bit east in Valencia, it is downright manicured and monotonous.

      Compared to where you have been going lately and the vivid way you bring us all along in both pictures and prose, I truly appreciate your reading this!

      It reminds me of when I was in school and my roommate went off to a semester in Florence and was sending back letters of the art and history and exotica of that ancient and rich culture, and my letters back were my dilemma of how to keep my underwear straight and stacked by color in the small drawer in the room we shared at the sorority. I felt so sophomoric and provincial by comparison. 🙂

      Yes, NYers eat those hot dogs (not I, of course) but I don’t think you would see, for example, Gloria Vanderbilt and her crowd doing that. Even my parents won’t touch those things and rightly so, as it is impossible to keep those carts sterile!

      Yes, yes to the Borgias. I ran right out and bought a 500 page, micro-font book on them too. What a fascinating family, misunderstood, living in my favorite time period.


      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: NaPoWriMo – Day 15 – “A Second Shot at Redemption” – A Poetic Duet by TooFullToWrite & A Shade Of Pen | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

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