Friday, October 31, 2008




Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Okay, now I have yet another goal - to be quoted on this site - Bolgtations!

They made me choose a favorite quote and add it to a post. Well, they made me play a Party Game in celebration of their 500th quote. Okay - I am being bribed by a chance to win a $50.00 Amazon gift card.

So here is the one that hit home - many of the quotes by other bloggers made me laugh and some were a bit too foofy, or mommy or male for me. So, there is something for everyone!

This is the entry I chose:

I was thinking that my neighbors had been cooking something particularly stinky for dinner tonite and I was getting rather annoyed by the strength of the smell. Until I realized that the discomfiting stench was actually a piece of salmon that had fallen in my cleavage while I was eating my own dinner.

So go out and visit this funny blogger and check out the quotes on Blogtations - fun.


This week, tell us who you are, what’s inside, where you’re from. Share your memory fragments, those visions in your head, those figments that make you, you. What bits and pieces formed your whole? Are you whole? Tell us.

I am from a hot valley town surrounded by mustard fields and dusted by peat.

I am from hand-me-downs and housefuls and playing outside 'till long after dark.

I am from sewing machines and pixie cuts and shared rooms.

I am from drive-ins, dill pickles, huckleberries and basements.

I am from bare feet, chlorine scented hair, bikes and campfires.

I am from short skirts, long hair, protest songs and proms.

I am from sun bleached beaches, cool libraries, politics and parties.

I am from books, music, writing, friends and ideas.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Tonight in honor of Ally's soccer win - one of her favorites.


2 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded

1 pound fresh broccoli - cut into bite size pieces, cooked and well drained

1/2 cup mayo

1 1/2 T curry powder

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t garlic power

1/2 t salt

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided

1 can condensesed cream of chicken soup

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 350.

Spread chicken and then broccoli in bottom of 9x13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine soups, 1 cup cheese, mayo and spices. Pour over chicken mixture, top with remaining cheese.

Bake 30 minutes until bubbly.


Late last night I realized that I forgot to buy milk when I went to the store, and the last slosh of milk in the jug was being used to make Ally's mac & cheese. I got up at around 6 - guilt plagued that Tom would not have milk for his coffee, and honestly, not wanting to be found out for such a lapse. I can only say that the new layout of the grocery story still has me kerfuddled and I am not even sure where the milk is anymore.
At 6:30 I went out into the cool, dark morning to buy milk. When I came out the the store, I saw the sky to the east was glowing a soft magenta, throwing the trees in the subdivision across the street into silhouette. As the sky turned from pink to peach I pondered the choices people make when landscaping - one home had obviously gone for a tropical look with palm trees swaying high in the sky, next to that were a couple of triangular tops, some kind of pine trees. Ah, California, where the beach and mountain can reside side by side. I sat in my car thinking about living here - there are so many options when we are not ruled by the extremes of weather or dogma.
I listened to the end of the world music program and realized the bagel shop really should have opened by now - so I walked up to the door to find a hand written sign that the ovens were broken - no bagels. Oh, well. Waiting had given me a chance to watch the sunrise. And we don't really need the carbs anyway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Is anyone really surprised that Sarah Palin was given an extravagant wardrobe by the Republican Party? Really? One of my first thoughts when she was introduced was how fast they would do a makeover.

What I didn't expect was the price tag. $150,00.00 Geez. The Huffington Post said this: Palin received more valuable clothes in one month than the average American household spends on clothes in 80 years. A Democrat put it in even blunter terms: her clothes were the cost of health care for 15 or so people.

So much for the "like one of us" thing. Even if they donate the clothes to charity at the end of the campaign, as they claim, it doesn't change the fact that they didn't actually want a real person. A real person would have several suits and outfits that are mixed and matched and she would wear the same evening clothes to event after event. She may splurge on some nice shoes every so often when there were actually nice shoes in her size at Marshalls. A real person has never had her make-up applied by a professional unless it was while getting a sales pitch at the cosmetics counter at the department store.
One thing a real person might have done is get lots of different hair cuts and styles. Even real people (of course I am talking about John Edwards here...) have their little weaknesses.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I had heard about the PromptTuesday posted by San Diego Momma every week and was moved to post this week:

I ask that you write about a trip or an excursion that left you changed in some way. Did you conquer a fear on your trip? Learn something about yourself? Learn something about another person? Break up? Get together? Consider hospital time for the largest walking blister this side of Manhattan?

In May of 1980, I was 3 years out of college and was manager of a restaurant in Oakland. I enjoyed the work but was getting restless. I was searching for my next move. I had done some career counseling and testing at Stanford University which had been pretty inconclusive. I thought I might go to graduate school - maybe law school.

I had been dating around. No major relationships. One of the guys in my life was an old friend from high school who lived in Washington state. We first got together at our 5 year high school reunion, and got together several times a year when he was in town. I am not sure why he heated up a bit on our relationship, but he invited me to go visit him in Washington and "see how we feel about things." So I went.

I cooked him meals, I met his friends, visited the school where he taught and coached football. It was nice, I felt that we were getting along well. So I was floored when, Saturday night after a nice dinner out he said he didn't think we were going to "make it." It seemed like he knew before I got there that he wasn't really serious. I wasn't crushed, but I was not happy.

Sunday morning we decided to go to the store and get picnic stuff and go to the park before I had to go to the airport. It was a bright sunny day, but while we were at the store, huge dark clouds began to roll through. While we were in line, someone said that Mt. St. Helens had erupted and the clouds were ash from the mountain. We got out of line and added to our provisions, checked out and headed back to his place. By that time the ash was not just in the clouds, it was falling everywhere, coating everything. It looked like a very dense fog - but it was dry and puffed up like fine dust when cars drove by.

We turned on the TV and called the airport and it was very clear that I wouldn't be flying out that afternoon - or any time soon. The ash was acidic and grainy and dangerous for engines. We made the best of the awkwardness which had decinded after his pronouncement of the evening before. We were unable to leave the apartment for 2 more days. We drank a lot. I remember sitting on the floor playing one Beatles album after another, singing along. I remember wishing that he hadn't said what he said -that it could have been very romantic.

I flew home a few days dater, applied to law school in San Diego and met the man who would become my husband.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Every Sunday I expected my family to sit down to a family dinner. We usually had a sit down dinner during the week, but Sunday I didn't allow non essential activities to interfere. And if they did I pouted. With the twins gone, we have gotten a bit lax in the sit down dinner department (ahem, Tom?)

So now I am re-instituting Sunday Supper and I will blog the recipes. Tonight:

Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs


1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 egg
1teaspoon salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 cup catsup

Mix and refrigerate for at least 1/2 an hour before forming. Roll into small balls and fry in olive oil until browned, set aside.


1 large can Italian tomatoes
1/2 c chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped basil
5 cloves of garlic minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper

Put all ingredients except basil in pan used for browning meatballs (drained of any remaining oilbut not wiped clean) and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring and breaking up tomatoes. Add basil and meatballs and heat meatballs through, covered, about 15 minutes. Don't stir too much or meatballs will break up. Correct seasoning as needed before serving.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti and drain. Serve meatballs and sauce over pasta, sprinkle with parmesan.

Cook's notes:

I added the catsup because I saw Giada add it on her Everday Italian show. Sometime I will try it with half plain ground turkey and half turkey Italian sausage.

My Many Homes

I realized today that I actually have many homes - or at least many hometowns - or many places to which I have an attachment.

My son is at school in Monterey. I have visited Monterey many times and like it very much. But now I always check to see the weather report as if I need to dress for the temperature there. I have an interest in the local activities as if I am going to attend them...strange.

I have a daughter at school in Philadelphia. I have visited there 3 times. On my last visit she very proudly wore me to a stub showing off her city. Now when I see movies and TV shows set there, I actually recognise places.And say Oh, that is such and such a place, I've been there. I know when it snows - and not just because she still calls me every time to tell me with great excitement that is is snowing - but because I watch the weather reports from there, too.

In 2 or 3 years when graduate school and our younger girl going to college start - just think of the real estate I'll have an interest in.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Some Perspective on the McCain Signs Sprouting Up

This makes me feel so much better about the signs in my neighbor's yards:

[A]ll across America something is stirring,” he said in the same speech. “What the naysayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me; it’s about you.”

Alright. I may be screwing around with hope but I’m not monogamous: Of course it’s about him. But it’s also about me. It’s about all of us, including those citizens with McCain yard signs…for which we should all be grateful. Consider them the ignoramus equivalent of the sex-offender map.

From one of my daily reads - Thematically Fickle - still. Thanks for the perspective.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Since California is not a "battleground" state and it looks very positive for Senator Obama (my neighbor's yard signs not withstanding.) I am very focused on what I believe to be the biggest issue in the election. That is proposition 8 - which seeks to reverse the decision of the California State Supreme Court that individuals of the same sex have the right to marry under the California Constitution.

The effort to eliminate this right has been funded primarily by members of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and the money has been spent on a barrage of fear mongering ads - suggesting that little children will be taught to be homosexual and that the institution of marriage and the status of the church will somehow be undermined by same sex marriage.

This is the statement delivered by President Hinckley of the LDS Church:

Latter-day Saints are working as part of a coalition to safeguard traditional marriage from forces in our society which are attempting to redefine that sacred institution. God-sanctioned marriage between a man and a woman has been the basis of civilization for thousands of years. There is no justification to redefine what marriage is. Such is not our right, and those who try will find themselves answerable to God.

Some portray legalization of so-called same-sex marriage as a civil right. This is not a matter of civil rights; it is a matter of morality. Others question our constitutional right as a church to raise our voice on an issue that is of critical importance to the future of the family. We believe that defending this sacred institution by working to preserve traditional marriage lies clearly within our religious and constitutional prerogatives.

I have no problem with any religious organization determining that they will not sanctify same sex marriages in their church. However, for a marriage to be legal, there must be a civil license taken out. When it is dissolved, it is, again a civil matter, not a religious one. I was not married in a church or by clergy, yet I am married. I'll take my chances with G-d.

I support the freedom of speech, I understand the rights churches have to insert their position in political discourse. I don't completely agree that it should be allowed along with tax fee status - but that is not the issue here.

The issue is that people in loving relationships, many of whom have children, ought to be allowed the right to marry (civilly) and enjoy the same protections as everyone else. I disagree with Sarah Palin that tolerance is the answer. Tolerance is not equality.

Why people cannot enjoy the rewards of their religious faith without foisting their views on the rest of us, I don't understand.

From the time my children started asking questions about homosexuality and lesbianism I told them that I didn't see anything wrong with people loving and caring for each other. I believe that sexuality is not a lifestyle but the way we are made - and as humans, we are all made to love each other.

It's too bad so many church members can't see that.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I am particpating in a world-wide event tday! A day in the life chronicle with photos as instigated by my fav Mrs. G.

At 6:08 our dog, Hilda, began to bark, Tom yelled at her and she waited until 6:12 to bark again. I got up and let her out. I would be cranky about this but she is always so happy to see me and wags her tail cutely. I heat water for tea and turn on the news, make my fav breakfast (peanut butter toast with honey) and look at the parts of the Sunday paper I haven't read yet.
When Ally's alarm gets so loud I can hear it downstairs, I go up to raise the dead - err - kid. Actually, she has been getting up on her own very nicely lately - but it IS Monday. We get dressed and head off to school. She protested my taking a picture in front of people, then leaned back into the car to approve it. I drove the 10 miles to work, a lovely cool morning, I would have taken pictures of the hills and the sparkly water at Shadow Cliffs Regional Park, but if I am not allowed to use a hand held phone in the car, I figured I shouldn't be taking pictures out the window. Trust me, it was a pretty morning drive.

Suddenly the morning took a turn for the unusual, my "Air Pressure Low" warning light came on. I high tailed it to a service station with air pumps and checked things out - looked ok. I'll let Tom take care of it tonight. This may well be the most exciting thing that will happen today!
I continued on my way and arrived at work at Kyle Design where our slogan is "Put Art in your Cart." We are a web based art studio, selling customizable gifts and home decor. I start out by checking on our weekend orders, aswer e-mails and phone messages and write a blog post on my work related blog called My Art Filled Life.
I have two areas where I spend most of my day. My desk and the packing area. I go back and forth between the two which is nice because I hate to sit all day and I like a lot of variety. I like having a job that isn't sedentary. I make boxes and then pack them full of our products and label them and ship them off to happy customers. I answer the phones and work with our production staff, order stuff and laugh with my co-workers. I like my job. Kyle is a wonderful woman, artist, mom, and friend.

I head home at about 5 and start dinner when I walk in the door. Tonight it is an easy dinner because I have so much salad stuff left over from our Homecoming Dinner (see previous post). Hilda helped me with the dishes and then I sat down to see what other folks had done with their day in the life posts. As usual, I am significantly more wordy than everyone.
I spent an hour or so trying to reduce the pile of ironing on the guest room bed - I watched CNN while I was ironing, got depressed and I came back downstairs to start this post.
The rest of the evening I will read more blogs and try to knock off a few chapters of my book club book. Nothing I like to watch on Monday tv, so I'll toddle off to bed around 10.
Thanks Mrs G for inviting me!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Tomorrow I am participating in a day in the life photo essay along with about 80 other readers of my favorite blog Derfwad Manor.

I'm not an above average self conscious person, but I was thinking about what kind of impression my average day may make. What does my life now tell you about me without knowing what has taken me to this place? Some background is in order.

I will only go back as far as our very own financial crisis. I had been a SAHM for about 12 years as my husband climbed the corporate ranks. He worked long hard hours, traveled and I managed the rest of our lives. We moved to Bellevue WA when he was recruited to a company there - had a big house with a lake view and great school system. All was going great when out of the blue the owner of the company, who had lured us there with promises that Tom would take over the company when he retired, asked Tom to return his stock options. Whaaa? That is what he had been taking in lieu of raises and bonuses. Turns out that the owner had decided to cash in on all the great value that Tom had added to his company, and he wanted to cut Tom out. When we decided not to take a chance that he would do the right thing during the sale of the company and refused to turn over the options, Tom was fired.

Bla -bla, attorneys, a settlement, a job in Silicon Valley, a move, another nice house three more years, dot com bubble bursts, move to a smaller house, get a new job. Employers make promises, Tom builds business, brings in clients, earns big commissions. New employer decided he doesn't want to pay. With no notice, stops paychecks, drops insurance, locks Tom out of his office. Have any idea what COBRA insurance costs??

Bla-Bla, attorneys, a settlement, a new job? How many times do we walk this road? My husband was a highly compensated individual. Obama would raise our taxes. We didn't live high. We live in the San Francisco bay area - we were house poor. When we took vacations, they were long weekends - usually driving distance, I shopped Mervyns and Target and sales at the mall. We drove our cars for 10+ years. We were preparing for our twins to go to college and putting money in our retirement accounts.

Tom worked really hard to get his law degree and to become a licensed attorney in California. And yet he had never practiced law, always working in the corporate environment. It wasn't the ideal time to make such a big change, but life is short and he was 49 years old - if not now? He set up an office in our very large garage, made up cards and letterhead and a website. Oh, and he switched sides - he would represent employees only - not corporations.

When you start from nothing, it takes time to get to something. We went through our savings and retirement money, we borrowed from my parents against our house. We had all kinds of stuff go wrong. I sold the ring I got for our 10th anniversary, we sold all kinds of stuff. We hung in there.

After 8 months I finally got a job. No one was sure what to do with a job candidate with a law degree, marketing and management experience who was now middle aged and last had a job before there were computers at every desk. Last time I worked, I had a secretary! I felt very lucky that I was hired by a woman with her own business who took a chance on me. The older kids could drive to get themselves around, the job and Tom's schedule were flexible enough to get the little one to and from, so the timing there was one of the few things we had on our side.

So now it is 5 years later. We had to declare bankruptcy, and some time later sell our nice house and move into a small rental. The downsizing came just months before the twins went to college. One to Penn, one closer by in Monterey. Tom has a nice little office a few blocks from home and now has the ability to pick and choose his clients. His income is rising. We have paid off the bankruptcy, we're building our credit and retirement accounts, and in 3 years our 3rd child will be going to college, and we may then move to another area and buy a house. It is all survivable. He talks about me coming to work for him, but I like my job.

I work for an artist. Cool, huh? Most of the business is web based. I started out processing orders and answering phones and e-mails and pitched in wherever I could as an employee of a small business. Now I have moved on to other duties and we have added one full time and a part time employee the office. One of my favorite new duties has taken me full circle, I am involved in the marketing of our business by writing about it. I blog and Squidoo and This Next and write articles to drive traffic to our website. I am a part of a growing business with a boss who lets me know she values me.

And tomorrow you will meet the gang at Kyle Design.


It was Homecoming week here, the weather turned a bit cool just in time. The skits were fun, the Sophomores came in second behind the traditionally first place Seniors. The team lost the big game, but Ally's gang doesn't really go to watch the game. The real big event is the dance.

This year I agreed to host the pre-dance photo op and dinner. The parents arrived with teens in tow and hung around to take pictures. The kids were game and posed for endless pictures in groups and couples. We had one guy going "stag" and two girls going "doe". I think it is great that they feel comfortable attending the dances without dates - not done in my day. I still remember the year I had a date and my best friend didn't - took a lot of the fun out of it for me.

We planned a salad and sandwich bar for the dinner. Easy to make in advance, not too messy for the sake of the dressed up guests and the girls could "eat in front of the boys" if it is salad. I don't recall having that particular issue when I was 15, but I went along.

When I asked what they wanted on the salad bar I was told bacon bits, croutons and shrimp. I added chicken, cheese and various chopped up veggies which went pretty much untouched. They were all very appreciative and had a noisy dinner before we shuttled them over to the gym. One of the girls asked if I had ever gone to a Homecoming dance, I said I had gone to all four when I was in high school. She was surprised, said her mom never went to any dances. I said I could remember every dance I went to and I hoped they would be good memories for them, too.

Then I sent them off, all dressed up and ready to dance the night away.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

THE SHOW MUST GO ON ( and assorted mixed show biz references)

When I was a kid, a lot of the movies were about kids "putting on a show" as an answer to their problems. Seems like the McCain campaign thinks along the same lines.

When the Dems had a successful and uplifting convention, he pulled Sara Palin out of a hat -TA DA! He she got lots of attention which began to lag as the economy took center stage.

Let's put on a show! I'm going to run back to Washington and save the day - forget that pesky debate. And even better - I'll pretend that this effort to work out a new economic plan was MY idea, when, in fact, Obama called me first." (Twisting his handlebar mustache and chuckling.) McCain turned up a couple of days later and the negotiations immediately fell apart. Bravo!

Then he added to the suspense of the third act by pretending he may not go to the debate - oooh. What will happen next? It appears he went in for some off-off-Broadway interpretation of a debate. His acting method was to pretend he was ALONE on the stage.

Now, like an frustrated, aging Margo Channing - his campaign has admitted that they can't win on the issues, so they will attack his younger rival's character. We need to fasten our seat belts, we're in for a bumpy 29 days.

I admit, I am not the only person to see the melodrama here, conservative columnist George F. Will wrote:
McCain's approach to politics is "always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are 'corrupt' or 'betray the public trust,' two categories that seem to be exhaustive -- there are no other people."

Operatic!! Wow, the next debate should be a really, really big show.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I have been avoiding my favorite Raleys grocery store because they have been undergoing an obnoxious remodel. I can cope with things being in a different place each time I go and I enjoy taking to the staff about what's happening, but everything is so dirty and somehow I find that a negative when I am purchasing groceries.

Anyway, they are almost done and I am not happy. Please understand that I drive some distance to shop at this store. I like that it was clean and bright and had wide aisles that management didn't feel the need to block with little displays which I hate because I knocked one over once.

Again, anyway, they are almost done and it is dark and moody and the selection is smaller and the aisles are narrower in order to make room for things someone must have on a weekly basis like olive tasting bars and little tables scattered about so they can kick back and savor the grocery store ambiance. It's outfitted like a singles bar or something. I asked the checker if a man did the new design and she said yes and that he was pretty strange, and didn't appear to have ever shopped for a family.

The wine and liquor area is huge, spacious, the deli is twice the size and there is now a full on Peet's coffee. Lucky for us grocery shoppers, the bank they wanted to build in was canceled or we'd have to shop elsewhere for cereal.

Maybe I am cranky about it because I am getting older and broker and now I can not only not afford the new stuff at the store, I can't find it because it is so dark in there.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I am having touble with the proper way to add this Youtube video, but it is wonderful...


Tom and I celebrated our 24th anniversary a bit early last night. We had a marvelous dinner in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant recommended by his hair stylist. A wonderful Cabernet, tender steaks, a quiet atmosphere and a bit of reminiscing.

We went out into the warm early fall night and walked a couple of blocks to the new performing arts center. Outside was a small group of musicians playing country/bluegrass music to a small crowd, their harmonies were wonderful. After a couple of songs we had to go inside to take our seats for the performance we came for.

I must admit that my husband and I do not have many shared musical interests. He loves the more metallic rock and I enjoy softer, folk and classic rock. But we do have some artists we both enjoy, and one of them was out in our burb last night - Rickie Lee Jones.

As expected, the audience was full of older folks. The guy behind us had a much younger woman on his arm - probably the youngest person in the place. He was trying to explain to her who Rickie Lee is - "She worked with Tom Waits. "Who?" "Do you know the song Chuck E's in Love?" "No." Tom and I smiled at each other. The guy stopped trying, but expounded on how "rockin'" the band would be until the lights went down, after which he was mercifully quiet.

The show was great. She is a true musician. Both in voice and with multiple instruments. It was like sitting in on a jam session or a practice. They improvised and she bossed the band around - demanding they sing in falsetto and then grinning at the audience and telling us she should have behaved this way in bed in her younger years! During some of her songs she seemed to become 20 years old again - then she would wail and raise the hairs on the back of my neck. She has lost nothing of the range and poignancy of her voice. We just loved it.

We walked out to the car so satisfied with our evening out, nice to be able to share after 24 years together.