Tuesday, March 29, 2011


What I did on my first Saturday off in 5 months:

Ally and I went to:

Because she needs a dress for the Senior Ball which is being held on: 

And even though, she bought a dress last year and then couldn't go because of Maggie's graduation, she doesn't want to wear it.  Anyone want to buy a prom dress?  Cheap!

At the first store she tried on a dress that was way over budget but what she had in mind when we went shopping.  Picture this but in white with gold sequins, without the under bust bow and silly pose:

I was very relieved when after a bit of drama and sending of phone photos (to boyfriend, big sister and assorted girlfriends) of a few different dresses this is the one she chose, under budget, too:

So then we went to lunch, Zac drove out from Monterey to meet us and we all had a nice visit!  He was very helpful with the dress selection.

After we got home, Tom and I went out and had:


And then went to:

It was like a real date.  We also stopped off to see what was left:
Which was a lot because, sadly, they are not discounting the books very much.

I think I made good use of my Saturday off.  Hope it happens again someday.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Two pounds salmon,  10 pounds frozen chicken breasts,  4 pounds ground turkey, bag of romaine, bag of spinach, 24 eggs,  2 rotisserie chickens = $73.20

A tank of gas = $64.99


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I was never going to write about C****** S****.  I don't even talk about him, except briefly with my husband in the privacy of our home to bemoan the ongoing media coverage.  My husband made a goddesses joke.  Once.  He got my wifely stony response and that was the end of that.

So why do I mention "he who has been over covered" here?  Now?  Do you know that CBS is actually trying to hire him back?  I am writing because I think it is time for a complete boycott of CBS if such a craven, money mad thing is actually  true.

I am sorry if you watch Survivor or The Good Wife or something else on CBS.  Perhaps it is easy for me to suggest such a thing because I no longer watch anything on CBS. (The Amazing Race finally got too repetitive for me.)  But really.  How low can a company go?  How low do they think viewers in this country will go?  Maybe that is really the worst part...

Friday, March 18, 2011


This squirrel was outside my front door this morning soaking up the last of the sun before the next storm comes in.  Hilda's fading eyesight gave him the chance to take a nice long nap in peace!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I read a few days ago about a new study on teens and alcohol and whether being given alcohol by their parents led to "educated" drinking or abuse.  I was disturbed that they threw parents who supplied alcohol to partying teens in with parents who offered it at dinner or in family situations.  Apples and oranges, in my mind.

My own parents offered us wine with dinner when we reached our teens.  Not to excess, but enough to learn about feeling the effect of some alcohol.  They opened some champagne when I turned 18 but I don't recall any cocktails being offered until college - though not yet 21. 

They were very open about discussing the effects of alcohol and we could also observe  because they enjoyed their "before dinner" drinks and had  parties at home.  I could see that drinking could make things fun - up to a point.  I never liked to see people get "out of control" and never wanted to be like that.

The first times I drank outside outside our home I was a senior in high school and there was mostly beer around.  I never have liked it so I would carry a can around to be sociable but didn't drink it.  The first time I drank too much it was some Tawney Port that someone brought to a party. It was "wine" but with a punch I didn't expect.  That was my first "embrace with a  toilet" -  not to mention the hangover.   I learned the lesson to pay attention to how I was feeling instead of assuming I could handle a couple of glasses of something.  Those are things I shared with my kids - ways to deal with "social pressures" and what happens when you don't drink mindfully.

When I came home from college (fake ID in my wallet) my dad decided that I needed to learn to drink like a "classy woman".  Scotch and water became my drink.  It was a way to make sure I knew what it was that I was drinking, rather than trying all kinds of things without knowing their effect on me.  Plus it was amazing how infrequently I was carded when I ordered scotch!  Low calorie, too.

We have done the same with our kids. We are actually much more occasional drinkers compared to my parents.  We have offered small glasses of beer or wine when they were teens and home with us.  Sips of cocktails.  Frank discussions of the effects of alcohol, differences between different kinds of drinks and tips to avoid overdoing it.  (My trick is to order a glass of water with each drink and don't order another drink until the water is gone. It slows down the number of drinks and dilutes the effect of the alcohol on the body.) 

When my older daughter decided she wanted to see what to was like to get drunk, she was with a group of girlfriends and learned that she "loves everybody" - a very important thing to know in advance of drinking around guys!  I  am a very giggly drunk which my kids have enjoyed observing the once or twice a year that I over indulge.

My older kids are now 23.  One is into nice wines, the other brews his own beer.  They are both social drinkers and while I know they have also over indulged, I don't think they have set out to drink themselves into a stupor as so many young people seem to do.  My youngest is still in high school and is not with a crowd that drinks at all.  Though I know that will change in college. I have warned my girls to be careful of who is giving them a drink and of not leaving their drink unattended because of the dangers of drugs being added.

By the time they turn 21, 86% of American youths have used alcohol, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and 50% are binge drinking (defined as having five or more drinks in a single session for men, and four or more for women.)  Surveys have shown that teens who drank along with their parents were only one-third as likely to binge and half as likely to be regular drinkers.

Many teens grow up drinking wine with their parents as an accompaniment to meals in wine-producing countries like Italy and France, where there is no minimum legal drinking age. But research is mixed on whether those teens are more or less likely to be problem drinkers.  Apparently the countries with the most binge drinking are those where drinking takes place primarily in bars rather than at home.

I would never offer drinks to other kids under 21 nor allow underage drinking at a party in my home.  I think each family has a right to make decisions about teaching responsible drinking in their own way.  For 2 generations my family has had success by introducing alcohol at home. Opening the dialogue and educating our kids has worked for us.

What is your take or experience with this issue?

Friday, March 11, 2011


1.)  I read that the Texas legislature decided they need to get serious about dealing with illegal immigration, so they presented a bill with a stiff, $10,000 fine for anyone hiring illegals. Then, at the very last minute before the vote, someone inserted a paragraph exempting people who hire domestics and yard workers. I guess life just wouldn't be worth living in Texas without a house keeper and yard service.

2.)  I sure hope that the citizens of Wisconsin move quickly and surely to recall Governor Scott Walker and the senators behind the sneaky and underhanded stripping of rights from Wisconsin workers.  As Robert Reich said on his blog:

Governor Scott Walker and his Wisconsin senate Republicans have laid bare the motives for their coup d'etat. By severing the financial part of the bill (which couldn't be passed without absent Democrats) from the part eliminating the collective bargaining rights of public employees (which could be), and then doing the latter, Wisconsin Republicans have made it crystal clear that their goal has had nothing whatever to do with the state budget. It's been to bust the unions.

For me the most ironic idiotic thing said was by Gov. Walker when he announced that he was saving the "middle class" of Wisconsin by this move.  Who the heck does he think makes up the disappearing middle class but the teachers, police and other civil employees? 

3.)  We watched 127 Hours the other night.  I just want to say that anyone (like me) who has avoided the movie because of all the talk about the graphic scenes of him cutting himself free from the rock - it isn't as bad as they say and it is easy to look away for the most difficult moments.  I liked the movie, but I don't know why it was up for Best Picture. 

4.)  I am so amazed and saddened by the destruction in Japan from the historic earthquake last night.  Of course our San Francisco stations are almost completely focused on the effects on our area from the tsunami activity - it has been predicted to create a surge no larger than a big storm - but the stations have pre-empted all the national morning shows to say the same things over and over.  I wish they were as interested in devoting as much time and reportage to some of the budget problems and political issues of the day.  Perhaps our electorate would be better informed.

5.)  Ally is taking economics this semester.  The teacher has the class doing budgets based on randomly selected incomes and marital/family circumstances.  It has been interesting to go through it with Ally who has a "dumb" husband who insisted on renting a house for $4,400. a month and running the grocery bill up to $900. a month!  The exercise is a pretty good exposure to real life costs and decision making.  I was a bit upset to see that out of the required expenses the instructor assigned, saving money was not included. Talk about missing out on a teachable moment.

 I instructed Ally to make savings a priority and to cut down in other areas to allow for it. 
6.)  Happy weekend and remember to Spring Forward on Saturday night.  Save some of that daylight!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I was asked about Oscar-winner Natalie Portman’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Natalie is an extraordinary actor, very deserving of her recent Oscar and I am glad she will marry her baby’s father. However, contrary to what the Hollywood media reported, I did not “slam” or “attack” Natalie Portman, nor did I criticize the hardworking single mothers in our country. My comments were about the statistical reality that most single moms are very poor, under-educated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death. That’s the story that we’re not seeing, and it’s unfortunate that society often glorifies and glamorizes the idea of having children out of wedlock.

So among the other strange and contradictory things Mike Huckabee is going around saying these days, he does not see his comments about grown adult actress Natalie Portman, engaged to be married to a grown adult man (who happens to be out in the public eye because she was awarded numerous prizes for her job) as a completely different sort of "unwed mother" than, say Bristol Palin, out in the public eye to glorify her famous redneck, "Christian" politician mother, pregnant at 16 with no real intention to marry the father of this abstinence ooops baby? Really? It seems to me that if anyone was going around "glorifying" unwed motherhood - it was Sarah Palin, not Natalie Portman or the media.

Not to mention that there is a big difference between single mothers and unwed mothers. Many single mothers have been left or widowed and did not have their children without "benefit" of marriage. However, our society and laws do not always protect them financially and many of them do end up needing public assistance. If Mike Huckabee was really interested in helping these women and their children he should be coming up with childcare and health care for the kids, decent and equitable pay for their mothers and better enforcement of support by the fathers of the children. 

But Mike Huckabee and his gang  are not really interested in so solving the problems, are they?  They are just really good at pointing the finger at the other guy and laying on judgment.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I am having trouble with my bright side.  I read a  post by Jenn on Juggling Life today and I couldn't summon up a sincere positive thought to use in my comment.  I didn't want to be negative so I didn't comment at all.

I grew up with a salesman,  my dad.  He is a big believer in the value of a positive attitude and I took his outlook to heart.  I developed into one to look to the bright side of things.  It is part of my very nature to see the opportunities in problems and to "spin" things in a positive direction.

But - and you know there was a but coming - lately I have been in a funk.  Jenn wrote about having to adjust her dreams and pursue other job opportunities in light of her husband's recent job loss and the budget crisis in education making her dream to teach less realistic.  She has the same gusto and "make lemons onto lemonade" attitude I had  back in 2002.

Without rehashing all the things which took us to the point where he started his own law practice in our garage and I started looking for work after being a stay at home mom for 16 years; I will just say that  the five years preceding that was a challenge to any positive attitude, yet I maintained.  In the 9 years since we have continued to have ups and downs - many chronicled here, many I have just kept to myself. 

It seems that just as things settle down, some other crisis intrudes to throw us off balance.  And, quite frankly, my positive attitude has worn thin. I just want the damned glass to be full and stay that way.  I need a break from squeezing the lemons and finding the windows that opened when the doors closed and I question what the hell I did in a past life to deserve what has been going on.

I know a positive approach makes a big difference and I don't like how I am feeling right now.  So that is my pity party for today.   I'll find my equilibrium again and the bright side will be clear.