Monday, December 31, 2012


I wish I was one of those wonderful, insightful people who could look back over the year coming to an end and call up the meaningful and important things to discuss in a post. 

I tend to be more of the moment - which is sometimes a good thing, but often I feel that my reactions and actions are too short sighted and often self-centered.  I have 59 years of experience behind me and a fairly good outlook to guide me - yet I often react with poor judgement and negativity.

In the year ahead I plan to change that.  To let the moment be, but to take a breath and call on my better self before reacting and acting.

I am inspired by Barb and her post about becoming a "Love Ninja".  It is a great post and worth taking time to click over to read. She calls on herself and others to join in. To act in love and kindness - and I have pledged to do that in the new year.

That and get back to the gym...

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I am joining in on Jen on the Edge's annual Holiday Home Tour 2012.  Returning visitors wiil note I have not made major changes this year.  I am still recovering from surgery and the energy is low.  I have, however, punched things up with some lime green accents this year - and lot's of sparkle. 

Enjoy our holiday dressed home!

One trip to Home Goods and the lime sparkle was on!

My mosaic tree collection.

Ally's alligator ornament fits the theme.

Not many cards yet this year...

My favorite thing about the holidays - the kids are home!

Happy Holidays to everyone - and a wonderful 2013 for us all.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Today I am posting our only family photo with Santa for Time Warp Tuesday.  Check in with Jenn to see who else posted this busy week!

For about 4 years we lived in Bellevue, Washington.  My husband worked for a company in Seattle and one of the benefits was that they gave us a membership to The Ranier Club which was housed in a beautiful old building downtown.  They had hotel accommodations, a nice restaurant and many social activities.  We loved getting dressed up and going with the kids to the family events because they were always so spectacular. 

This photo is from the first Christmas Party we went to.  I wish I had more photos of that day - they had elves and jugglers and all kinds of entertainment.  Tom and I didn't intend to be in the Santa photo but Ally was afraid of him and thus my "death grip" on her during the photo!  Of course, now it is one of my favorite family pictures!


I was so busy on Friday that I forgot to post this!

1.)  The area where my office is located is close to the foothills to the West; so it starts getting dark really early - like shortly after 3pm.  By 5 when I get to leave it is really dark. On the other hand, if I sneak out a bit early, I get to see some beautiful sunsets...

2.)  Tom turned 60 on 12/12/12.  To celebrate on Friday night, he wanted to see the movie Hitchcock at his favorite theater which serves food and beer.  He didn't know it, but all the kids arranged to be there, too!

3.)  Circumstances were such that Tom couldn't put off getting new phones for various family members (mine got wet in our big storm due to sideways rain... I am not kidding.  It was in the pocket of my raincoat and got wet enough to kill it.)  We are very behind the rest of the population and don't have smart phones and the kids have been clamoring for them but he was resistant.  He couldn't see what the big deal is and didn't want to pay for 5 phones and especially a data plan.

Well, he negotiated 5 free phones and a very affordable data plan and the phones arrived last week. Guess who is addicted to his smart phone?  The man never puts it down.  He plays with the "personal assistant" - Sam is her name and he gave her a British accent.  He has a dozen apps, plays music, started reading a book and even watched a movie on it all in the first 3 days!

On his birthday he asked Sam to sing Happy Birthday to him.  She declined.  He called her a bitch and then she refused to open his emails. 

4.)  Am I the only one who has a problem with ads showing items I have previously searched or ordered online popping up all over the place when I am online?  This makes it very difficult to keep my "Santa shopping" private since my computer is sometimes shared and is in the kitchen out where everyone can see. 

Every time I close the ads down in one place they open up in another.  This is an invasive marketing technique and this time of year it is especially irritating.

5.)  House is decorated, almost all the gifts are wrapped, most of the cookies are baked and some are in the mail, the holiday letter is written and the photo of the kids ready to print.  I seem to be in good shape considering I got a late start to things this year. 

How are your holiday preparations going?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Today is my husband's birthday.  In my e-mail was an e-greeting to him wishing him a Happy birthday from our insurance agent.  This was my response:

Dear Victor,

I am Susan Walker, my husband is Tom. My birthday was on December 1st and I didn't receive a birthday greeting, even though you clearly have my e-mail address.

 The reason I mention this is that I have been insured by Liberty Mutual since I was 16 years old - continuously insured by the same company. When I got married, my husband joined me on MY policies. Yet your company - the one I have been paying premiums to for over 40 years, keeps sending greetings and thank yous to my husband. I wrote a similar response to something we received over 10 years ago - and yet you are still following this protocol.

Wake up!! Women are not just along for the ride. I am pretty tired of this attitude from businesses. It is time to update your software or data so that you are acknowledging the party who actually chose to make you their insurance company, or at the very least, communicate with husband and wife in equal ways! In the 21st century is it right to default to the man?  I don't think so.


Have you experienced this sort of institutional sexism, too?

Monday, December 10, 2012


I have been out of the loop for a few weeks - but I am back for Time Warp Tuesday.  We are following Jenn's idea to post our family photos and tell the stories behind them.  Check out all  the participants!

So last time I featured a photo of all 3 of the kids taken in a photo studio and discussed how difficult it was to get Ally, the youngest,  to cooperate in those settings.  So you can imagine how I felt when the pre-school sent a notice that the kids were going to have an opportunity to ride a pony and have their pictures taken...

Apparently, a pony was just what was needed to make Ally sit up and pose! 

High-ho cowgirl!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I really screwed up.  I didn't notice when I paid my one store credit card - JCPenny, or as they want to be called now JCP - that there was a missed payment and a late fee.  So I paid my usual something above the minimum payment, but not the correct amount.  And, of course, they reported it to the credit agencies.  Tom found out because he was trying to buy me my hearts desire - a very expensive gift -  and wanted to finance it.

So because I was distracted (getting ready for surgery) and then didn't read my bill, our credit score was dropped by over 100 points.

I take responsibility.  I am an idiot.  However, when I called JCP to talk to them about this and make sure I was making an additional  payment to cover all the current charges to bring me up to date, the woman on the phone said that they "have to report" accounts late over 41 days.

This is not true.  There is no law or other requirement that credit card companies report to the agencies. 

Why such a huge hit to our credit score?  According to a finance writer on

The bottom line? One slip up and your credit score may take a dive, especially if you have otherwise stellar credit.

'The old analogy of 'the bigger they are, the harder they fall' applies to credit scores, too," warns Ely. "If you have a really high FICO Score, you'll take a bigger hit for a late payment than someone with a lower FICO Score."

We are going to try to get it removed, of course.  Not in  order for me to get my gift, but because we plan to move in the spring and we need that credit score back where it was. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I am very lucky that my son and his girlfriend are employees of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  They work the overnight "camping" events and there happened to be one on my birthday last Saturday.  I received a special invite to come along and tour the whole place at night, when it was pretty much empty.

Wow.  Anyone who has been to this aquarium or any other very popular museum or exhibit, knows that it is sometimes hard to see everything and especially to linger where you might like when visiting these places.  Saturday night I wandered and meandered and stood spellbound for as long as I liked over the jellyfish and the seahorses and tried to wait out the octopus's shyness.  Even cooler, later in the evening I got to go on a behind the scenes tour of some of the exhibits, see the home of the albatross which lives on the roof, hear the rescued otters smashing abalone shells to get to their dinner (they keep them out of sight of humans so they don't associate food with us and can safely be returned to the wild) and hear many stories about funny things that happen around the place - lots of intruders and escapees!
After I was worn out from touring, I went to a nice little hotel down the road which had a Jacuzzi tub and basked in the bubbles for a good long time, got into my pj's and had a long sleep. Woke up to a massive rain storm so I stayed put until Zac and Liz were done with their campers then we braved the storm and went to a cafe with a wood burning fireplace and had the most delicious tea before I went off into the rain to drive home.

There were a couple of casualties, though.  My cell phone was in my pocket and got wet in the rain and stopped working and even my camera got wet and lost the photos I took.  I think the camera is going to recover. The cell phone will be replaced with the new smart phones Tom is getting for the whole family as a Christmas gift.  Pretty good timing for getting drenched, I guess!  I will be much more careful of my phone in the rain from now on.