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.