Monday, December 28, 2009


We are in that odd time between the holidays. Trying to think of things to do and places to go. The weather has gotten rainy and ugly so the family bike ride is off. We can't all get interested in the same movie at the same time. And the suggestion of Monopoly or Scrabble was met with snorts of laughter.

I have run the dishwasher and washed hand dishes,wiped counters and carried out trash in a loop interrupted only by making meals. I forgot how much more work it is to have additional people here.

Maggie's plane leaves early tomorrow morning. She is prepared to remain in her seat for the last hour of her flight and whatever other nonsense they come up with "to keep us safe." Geez. We are so good at closing the barn door after the horse burns his crotch.

She is going to see the New Year in with her honey in Florida. Zac is hoping to get onto the schedule to deliver pizza on New Year's Eve - a big night for pizza and tips. Ally is still making her plans.

Tom and I will probably light up some sparklers I found in the back of a kitchen cabinet and toddle off to bed shortly after midnight.

See ya next year.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Maggie did not make it home on Sunday as scheduled. Her flight was one of the hundreds canceled due to the big snow storms. She is rescheduled to come tomorrow when the weather looks good all across the country. Fingers crossed.

The domino effect of this was that I had to hustle and make a lot of cookies on my own that we had planned to do together. And I still have no idea of what we are going to do for our big holiday dinner because we are going to plan and shop for that when she is here.

If Zac had his way we would wear our sweats and get In and Out burgers. Ally wants to dress up because she has a fancy new dress. We could flip our tradition, which is big Christmas Eve dinner, casual Christmas night dinner. Oh! And we still have not decorated the tree. We have a lot to pack into the 3 days and 4 nights we will all be together since Zac has to go back to Monterey on Saturday.

The house is pretty clean and decorated, the clothes are washed and the beds are made for everyone. I am excited to have the house full for a few days!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


The tree will be decorated on Sunday night when everyone is home! See more homes on the tour here.
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Dear Elderly Gent at the Post Office,

As you walked in your halting gait in a diagonal across the parking lot, holding up traffic in 4 directions, I began to think about the future.

While I waited for the cross traffic to clear so I could back from my space and then had to stop half way out because you pulled out of your space directly across the parking lot from mine without, apparently, seeing me, I thought about how many people would have honked at you. Not me, though.

Then I pulled up behind you and waited and waited and waited because you wanted to turn left and there was a sign prominently displayed prohibiting left turns and you were waiting for the city traffic department to change its mind and take down the sign and finally someone behind me started to honk so you gave up and turned right directly in the path of an oncoming car. And I thought about that talk family members have with aging folks about driving and how I will take it when my time comes.

And, well, just wanted to wish you a safe holiday season.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009


This may be a strange time of year to get serious about the job search, but that is the way these days are. The fact is that Tom is panicked about the drop in business and our large monthly requirements which come whether there are paying clients or not. The reality is that I cannot bring in or bill out money. I can help in other ways, but not the essential one.

And paltry as my pay was, I brought in our health care benefits. And now those are going to run out. And we could hire me as an employee and get benefits through his practice, but it isn't cheaper that way.

It isn't as if I haven't been looking and applying for jobs. I have posted with some frequency about my frustrations. About 6 weeks ago I realized I was depressed. It was really obvious once I started examining my symptoms. It isn't like the wind-up doll that they use in one of the drug commercials, or he hollow eyed, sweat shirted people in other drug commercials. For the most part I was up and around and functioning and wearing lipstick appropriately.

I went through the hoops and various appointments and have been taking some medication and I feel much more like myself. I feel some enthusiasm where before I felt my efforts were pointless.

I was submitting applications online over the weekend and wound up on one of those employment agency sites. Usually when that happens, I just go back out. For some reason I stopped and thought about it and decided to see what would happen if I followed through with their application process. In my experience, the agencies don't necessarily have the job advertised. They are trying to get candidates for their temp jobs, which I am not interested in doing.

I filled out the long and involved forms and was eventually siphoned into an appointment. And this is where I realize I have been really dim. Being sent by an agency to a job is so much better than sending a resume in cold. Especially as an older candidate. Being screened and "recommended" to the employer is always going to be better - duh.

Then I get to the strip mall office and I am not so sure. They put me in front of a tacky video for 15 minutes then have me fill out MORE forms and sit in cramped, dirty chairs in a waiting area with outdated posters on the wall and I am thinking I am wasting my time....
But the consultant was quite charming and professional. She really got my story and understood what I was looking for and had some ideas right away. She recommended I also apply to a couple of other agencies and sent me some tutorials to use to improve my skills before testing in Excel and Outlook. So I am quite pleased with my experience and have great hopes for the new year.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I have never understood why so many blue collar folks identify themselves as conservatives. Over and over again leaders of the Republican Party show themselves to be people who think you are a loser if you are not rich like them. Take Rush Limbaugh who thinks it's just fine that health care, like a beach house, is only available to people who can afford it.

* * * * * * * *

No matter what Tiger did and how many women he did it to, it is not NEWS as in capital letters kind of news. When NBC is using TMZ (a gossip show) as a source for stories, then it is gossip. There are more important things for us to focus on. The more the media plays into this glorification of celebrity and gossip - the stupider society is going to become. This really must change.

* * * * * * *

Okay, enough of the cranky pants. I am now officially done with my shopping and decorating and ready to move on with the festivities. I am going to make CDs of some Christmas music for a few family members to send along with biscotti and some fancied up almonds, specifically: Honey Lacquered Almonds with Rosemary & Black Pepper. I have a lot of wrapping to do and a couple of mosaics that need to be finished off.

I addressed all my holiday cards and letters last night while watching Glee. Tom said he wants an autographed picture of Sue Silvester for his office. Ally and I found one that says "WWSSD?" that we are going to print for him! And if you don't watch Glee - catch up while it is on hiatus. Great writing and musical numbers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


This e-mail came today from a book club friend:

I am passing this on to you, because it definitely works

and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives.

By following simple advice heard on the Oprah show, you

too can find inner peace.

Dr. Oz advised, 'The way to achieve inner peace is to finish

all the things you have started and have never finished.'

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started

and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this

morning, I finished off a bottle of white Zinfandel, a

bottle of tequila, a package of Oreos, the remainder of

my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake,

some Doritos, and a box of chocolates.

You have no idea how freaking good I feel right now.

Pass this on if you know anyone you think might be

in need of inner peace.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


"She will try to help an author who detests her, because of the home she wants to build inside herself, because of how she wants to live. In the end, to forgive, to tell the truth, to honor what is worthy of admiration, hurts less than the alternative." Elizabeth Berg , from her novel " home safe"

I finished this book a few days ago but this passage kept coming back to me. I really understood what she was saying about forgiveness versus carrying a grudge or seeking revenge. It is about what I want to reside in me. I don't want hurt and anger and hate there.

I want a clean slate; ready to be filled up by every new day. I want to hold on to what is useful and hopeful and loving. Take that into the next day and the next and make my life better and make the lives of my family better and then lives of other people better.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I signed on to do Jen's Holiday Home Tour again this year, then started worrying that it was all going to look the same as last year. But when I got all the boxes home from storage I was reminded that I had several large rooms worth of decor and a much smaller space to decorate now.

So I went all out. Pretty much everything in the boxes is out on display. Tom came home from a bike ride and was quite agog. It is very shiny.

We will not be decorating the tree until Maggie comes home on the 19th, but the photos for the home tour will be posted on Friday December 18. Stop in and see all the festive houses.


As the debate continues, I found this refreshingly honest.

Quote of the day :

This health care bill continues the redistribution of wealth to Wall Street at the expense of America's manufacturing and service economies which suffer from costs other countries do not have to bear, especially the cost of health care. America continues to stand out among all industrialized nations for its privatized health care system. As a result, we are less competitive in steel, automotive, aerospace and shipping while other countries subsidize their exports in these areas through socializing the cost of health care.Notwithstanding the fate of H.R. 3962, America will someday come to recognize the broad social and economic benefits of a not-for-profit, single-payer health care system, which is good for the American people and good for America's businesses, with of course the notable exceptions being insurance and pharmaceuticals. -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


1. I benefited from my premature grey hair today. I was shopping at Kohls and the checker deducted the 20% Senior Discount from my purchase. I am almost ten years too young for it - but I didn't volunteer that information...

2. My husband is so enamored of this commercial that he told me to go out to buy these shoes and I could even pay full retail price. I am tempted to buy them and loll around naked but for the shoes and see what he thinks then!

3. A woman who has been a friend for a long time went to one of those big sample sales in San Francisco. She bought a lot of cashmere scarves and pashminas and other things for gifts and some extras for people who asked her to bring some things for them. Before our last book club meeting she pulled out this gorgeous black and white patterned pashmina to show me. She had purchased one for herself and an extra one. She asked if I would like to buy it for $20.00.
This pashmina was so striking and completely my style. I felt a bit sorry for myself, but I said I couldn't buy it.

After our meeting, she was distributing the scarves and other pretty things and everyone was oohing and ahhing. Then my friend pulled out the black and white pashmina and showed it around and offered to anyone who might like it for $15.00.

4. Hilda, our aging little dachshund, has taken to howling and other nocturnal behavior on nights around each full moon. Is this a behavior known to come on in old age?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


In person this shoe isn't so white. It is what they call "stone" when it relates to khaki pants, which is what I had in mind for them to match.
I bought them because they were really highly rated and they were really cheap. Really extra cheap. And good "comfort" style shoes are usually so expensive.
Let me tell you. The ratings were right on. They're really comfortable. Wear all day with no socks comfortable.
So tell me straight. Are they really ugly?
P.S. Maggie - I already know what you will say....I won't wear them when you are home!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I posted a while back about selling some gold jewelry. I was happy with the amount I was paid. And put the money aside.
There was a pendant that had a couple of small stones, a ruby and a diamond, but it was only worth about $11.00 to the jeweler. I kept it and put it up on eBay and got $25.00 for it. So I popped a few more things up and have made a little over $100.00. All of that money and a bit more I saved has gone into my account for holiday shopping.

And that shopping? Almost done. I have a few things I am watching on eBay. Most of the shopping has been online so things are en route. I have been more careful than usual about watching the budget I set. I really don't want to put a penny on my credit cards. I am even planning to return a few things I bought early on before I got really organized.

So now I am focused on the things I am making. A few mosaic items I hope turn out well. Then I will make some biscotti and maybe some spiced nuts to send off to Idaho and Palm Desert and share with friends here.

I know a lot of people start decorating as soon as the turkey is put away, but I usually wait until a week or so into December.
How are you doing on your holiday preparations?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


My mom sends me all kinds of stuff from the internet. I have introduced her to the site that fact checks as many of the things she has sent have been dubious in nature.

But this one I must share. It was sent by a friend of hers with this note:

Our daughter-in-law, Emily (MacInnes) Somers, created, directed and choreographed this in Portland last week for her Medline glove division as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. This was all her idea to help promote their new pink gloves. I don't know how she got so many employees, doctors and patients to participate, but it started to really catch on and they all had a lot of fun doing it.

When the video gets 1 million hits, Medline will be making a huge contribution to the hospital, as well as offering free mammograms for the community. Please check it out. It's an easy and great way to donate to a wonderful cause, and who hasn't been touched by breast cancer?

Monday, November 23, 2009


I have been thinking about gratitude since this challenge was announced. I was afraid I didn't know how to show what I am grateful for when I am feeling so challenged right now.

I am grateful for my parent's long marriage. This photo is from their 50th Wedding Anniversary. They are now married 56 years!

I am grateful for giving in to my family's wish for a dog. I adore this funny little creature even though she pees on our carpets and barks with hysterical joy every time the doorbell rings, or there are kids playing in the street or she sees a squirrel on the fence.

I am so grateful that we saved up and took a family trip to Puerto Rico. It may not seem like the best thing to do when we have 2 kids on college and financial challenges, but it was a great family trip - perhaps the last one we will have since the older kids are so grown up.

Puerto Rico was wonderful and it was a memorable trip.

I am grateful that my twins love each other so much. They still feel such a tight bond that when they decided they wanted tattoos they had each other's initials inked permanently near their hearts.

I am also grateful it is a spot easy to cover up!

I am grateful for finding a hobby which allows me to be artistic to the best of my abilities. My husband made a little outdoor space for me to play with my glue and tile and grout.

I am grateful for roses blooming in November and this view from my kitchen window.

I am always grateful for beauty.

And most of all I am grateful for...


Sunday, November 22, 2009


I was reminded that today, November 22, is the 46th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination. I was in 4th grade when it happened, I remember the shock and fear. But when President Johnson took office we supported him, he was now our President.

Things have changes in our country in so many ways. We have lost a sense of respect fr the office of the President and our government. I admit I didn't like President Bush, but I never said he "wasn't my President." As an American, he was my President.

I was shopping on a website I have always liked. I will not link to it, because I was so offended by the direction of the products there. It is a site that allows people to "design their own" t-shirts, etc. and then sell them. The domination of the site by anti-Obama bumper stickers, t-shirts, and more was surprising to me. I even e-mailed the company to inquire if it was their desire to change the site content to be so overwhelmingly full of hateful, right wing rhetoric. I got some boiler plate answer about the content being driven by those who sign in to sell their goods.

Okay - free speech. They are a business, though, and they have some responsibility for the content, the amount of it and the source of it. I will not buy from them this year.

Now I hear there is another right wing craze to "Pray for Obama". The prayer is Psalm 109:8 which reads: "Let his days be few; and let another take his office." And they are selling fluffy little bears, t-shirts and bumper stickers with the "prayer."

If someone said "let your days be few" I would take that as a threat. If it was directed at President Bush, it would have been considered treason, a death threat or at the very least, unpatriotic.

Diana Butler Bass at Beliefnet explains that Psalm 109 is “a lament in the form of petition to destroy one’s enemies.” While perhaps intended to be a joke, she notes that the psalm actually “entreats God to destroy the president."
Of course, now as 46 years ago, people take these things into their own hands.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I was at the gym, just getting started on the stepper. I had my iPod on, my water bottle close, I was just getting over the initial grumbling of my knees - you know, getting the juices warmed up, the groove going.

I started thinking about a blog post. Mapping it out in my mind. I was pleased with the idea. Then I thought I should focus on my music and get into my workout.

Now I am home in front of the computer and I cannot for the life of me remember what that great blog post was going to be about. Not a clue. Gone.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


For many years after we five kids left home, we gathered in my parent's house for Thanksgiving. In the earliest years we came home from college or lived in easy driving distance and they were the only ones with a house big enough for all of us to gather. Over time, we spread out to other states and cities and the holiday gatherings varied in size and make-up depending on who traveled, had babies or new spouses.

After they retired and settled down (first in Tahoe and now in Palm Springs) my parents planned trips around holidays and family events and went back and forth between the Bay Area and Idaho.

After all these years we kind of have this down. Whoever is hosting does the turkey and we split up all the other dishes and bring wine and champagne. Since we have done this so often, we pretty much know who likes to do what, which foods go over well and that Polly likes to make the dessert. Dad gets concerned over the champagne consumption, but hey! Dinner is always served - eventually.

But this year something went wrong.

Dad is mad and won't come.

I am not certain of all the details; he and my sister got upset and she reacted by saying she was too stressed out. I didn't know she was being put on the spot or I would have stepped in, but the bottom line was she couldn't say what he wanted or needed to hear and he couldn't let it go.

This year is different in other ways, too. Polly is an interior designer and work has dried up. Her husband weathered countless lay-offs at Schwab, but not the last one. He is 48 in an industry that likes youth. They are worried about losing their house. They have 3 girls in elementary school.

We already lost our house, we know how hard that is. We have 2 kids in college. I have not had a job since January and have only gotten 2 calls for interviews since then. I am working with my husband to do what I can to help bring in clients to his practice. Each month we hold our breath that nothing big breaks or goes wrong.

My other sister and her husband are doing fine financially. She has taken on the care of his father who appears to be suffering from dementia. She spends hours every week taking him to appointments, shopping for him, paying his bills, doing his banking and making his meals. He is combative and unkind to her. She also has 2 kids and a job.

The stress is massive.

I am not sure why I am writing about this. I thought I might explore why my dad is so touchy and is it a by product of age. Or maybe to discuss how hard it is to get everyone together these days - we have made life pretty complicated with all our activities and our stuff.

But it looks like I am really saying - life is difficult for a lot of people right now. People have a lot of stresses and problems and maybe give someone a break if they say something you don't like. They might be touchy or anxious. You may not know what they are going through. So take a moment. Take a breath. And be kind.
We can all use some kindness.

Friday, November 13, 2009


1. My oldest daughter asked me to scan and send pictures of her throughout her life for a school project. This has taken me a lot of time as she tended to make faces a lot and she was so frequently in pictures with her twin brother and not alone.

The thing that struck me the most though? Our kids have had full childhoods. We took them lots of places, involved them in sports and other activities, lived in nice homes and exposed them to many wonderful things all their lives. I am proud of that.
2. I also discovered that the last time I put a photo in a scrapbook was in 2001.

3. Tomorrow is the last soccer game of this season. Hurray!

4. I finally took a lot of my old gold jewelry in to a local shop to see how much money it would fetch. I really hesitated for weeks and sorted and resorted through it because I didn't want to feel like a sucker for selling it. But I was happy with the price and the money has been set aside for gifts.

5. I know that these economic hard times are spread across the country. It had hit our family in many ways, unemployment, lost retirement funds, drastically reduced business, stress up the wazoo. The only people in our family who are doing well are those employed in health care and in government jobs.
Guess what I am advising my kids to look into for their careers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I love Jen's catalog posts because I can relate. I get so many catalogs and some of them are full of strange stuff. I have been working on reducing my junk mail so I don't get quite as many now - but there is still some strange stuff coming through my mailbox.

This Acorn catalog is new to me. It has upscale, mostly PBS related items and this:

Why would anyone want this? Much less spend $19.00 for it?

Then I was on Amazon last night looking for things to add to my wish list. I love little surprising things in the garden, but this?

uh, NO!!

Then I was shopping for a cute key chain to put in Ally's Christmas stocking and saw this: in Catalog Favorites:

There is also a BurpMaster version....yeah, who buys this stuff? From the same catalog:

A skull toilet brush holder. I am not sure it is best to suggest that's how frequently your bathroom is cleaned. (Ally asked if we could get this - I am not the right audience for this one, I guess.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009


We planned the entire day around the 4 pm soccer game. Ally has been having some knee pain so she and I went to the gym at 2, worked out and she sat in the whirlpool. She had her Tylenol, her hydration and her knee brace on. She was warmed up and ready to go. Got to the field and - Oops. The coach had not seen that the league rescheduled the game for 6 pm.

So we went out to get an early dinner and go back an hour and a half later for a game under the lights. The girls were kind of excited. At least the ones who didn't have dates or other plans for Saturday night...
I stopped at home for blankets and sweatshirts and got to the field just before the 6 pm start. No lights.
We waited. No lights. A couple of the parents turned their cars toward the field and put their headlights on. The girls were running around playing soccer in the dark - laughing and shrieking.
At 6:30 we all gave up and went home.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I don't know why I have not been able to come up with a cohesive post lately. It isn't as if there are not interesting things going on in the world. Just not much interesting in my little world. I have been occupied with work for Tom, but not really busy. I managed to get to the gym 2 times this week. Better than nothing, but not much. Just blah all around.

I have been suffering through without a printer/copier this week. Zac and I have been commiserating a bit because he has been off the Internet for a week. We agree we use these things more than we realize. I even carefully filled out a form several pages long knowing it couldn't be saved...then realized I couldn't print it either. Geez.

Once again I am struggling with Ally to get a couple of her grades out of the gutter. She has decided that she "is not going to be defined by scores." Which is fine - but a junior in high school still has a year or two until it is really possible to embrace that philosophy because her FUTURE is gonna require some GPAs and SATs!!

The weather is finally turning to fall. We had a breezy day in the 60's and a promise of a bit of rain tonight or tomorrow. The new printer arrived late today and Tom has installed it. The World Series is over and Glee will be back next week. I am enjoying the book club selection "The Help." So, as always, there is a brightside.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Philadelphia Magic Garden, Suede Shoes, Puerto Rico Rainforest, Mosaic Ball, Birthday Cake
For more photos of green - go to the Green Challenge at the Colony.

Friday, October 30, 2009


1. I am missing having little kids this Halloween. I think having time on my hands makes me itch to sew costumes and decorate like I used to. I even made fun Halloween foods like bloody fingers for dinner. I had fun until the sugar took over my kids.

2. Went shopping with Ally today. We had $200.00 and needed a coat, shoes and some warm tops. At the last minute we went to Kohls. We got a cute red "peacoat" with black buttons for half price, a pair of grey "suede" boots and 4 tops. I was amazed.

We even got along for the whole shopping excursion!

3. My printer/copy/scanner/fax machine has been breaking down utility by utility. first I couldn't scan anymore, then I couldn't fax, then the copier went and not I can't print. We had to order a new machine because I use it a lot for work. It isn't that old and now we have to figure out how to get rid of it. I now know to avoid those drop off places because they send the equipment overseas and it is causing big health and pollution problems. I'll check in with the garbage company, I guess.

4. Speaking of the garbage company, ours finally switched over to multiple cans for recycling, food/yard waste and garbage. It has been a big adjustment for Tom. He finally admitted that he could figure out what goes where but he is just choosing not to. Sigh.

5. My kids turn 22 this Sunday. This year has gone by so fast and 22 seems so much older than 21.

6. This time last year we were excited for the election! We are still feeling "hopey changey" at our house. We have been around long enough to know it takes a time for things to get done with a new administration. I prefer some thoughtful "dithering" to rushing into more war or ineffective legislation. What the election last year brought us here in California, was a shameful revision of the civil rights of same sex couples to marry. I hope that 2010 will bring those rights back.

7. Remember to turn those clocks back after the trick or treaters go to bed on Saturday!