Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Excuse my poor photography - but I think the point is made.  I paid for and downloaded a book I already owned because I just couldn't read the small grey type for very long before my eyes gave out.

The good news - totally worth it - I am again loving the Margaret Atwood book, The Year of the Flood, leading up to her trilogy closing book MaddAddam.   I have book club tonight so I will have to read that selection before I get to read MaddAddam, but I am happy to have it waiting in the wings.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Time Warp Tuesday has been getting by me - but I am right on top of the upcoming holiday with this Halloween photo from 1990.  I made the costumes for Maggie and Zac and it looks like they were pretty happy!

Check in with Jenn to see who else has joined the Time Warp fun this week!

Sunday, October 27, 2013


 We live just a few blocks away from one of the high schools and woke up to the sounds of marching bands and drums so we hopped on our bikes to see what was going on downtown.  It was the annual high school band review marching down Main Street!.

We rode down to Tom's office and had a birds eye view of the judging of the drum lines - the main review stand was several blocks down the street.  We watched for a while then I went down the street to see the full bands perform for the judges while Tom did some work  in his office.  I loved that the drum lines had boys and girls and so did the flag teams!  Also noted was that the performers came in all shapes, sizes and nationalities - I love that about our changing society. In my day the performers were uniformly slim, pretty girls and the band was nearly all boys.

In the meantime, I noticed some trick or treating going on and found out the city was also hosting a Halloween scavenger hunt.

Cute kids, band music, sunshine - can it get better?

Being Saturday, there was also the weekly Farmer's market going on - so things were really hopping!

 I love the change in the colors at the market - the autumnal hues abound not only in the flowers but in the fruits and veggies on display.

 While we were wandering around taking in all the activity we noticed that one of our favorite places was having  a Happy Hour from 3-6.

So after finishing all our Saturday chores we cleaned up and managed to snag our favorite sidewalk table.The intention was to have a couple of drinks and appetizers, then go home for dinner. Turned out it was the evening of a Fall Pub Crawl and all the adults in costumes partying up and down the street was so entertaining that we stayed for dinner and enjoyed several happy hours which our darling server captured here!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


A year ago today I was in Mexicali, Mexico.  I was spending the night in a hotel after finishing some tests and interviews with the Bariatric surgeons at the Hospital Almater.  I was told it was okay to have whatever I liked for dinner, which was pretty cool after a month of significant diet restrictions; the last week being a liquid diet!  Little did I know that the small amount I was able to eat in the nice restaurant was a preview of my dietary future!

In the morning I was picked up and taken to the hospital, got settled in my very nice private room by the attentive staff and shortly went off into surgery.  I had little pain when I woke and got up to walk the halls later that evening.  I was well taken care of for the additional 5 days I was there and would recommend the experience to anyone considering the self pay option for weight loss surgery. It cost a fraction of the cost in the US and I had excellent care.

I have been writing pretty regularly about my weight loss and post surgical experiences on my other blog.  It's just such a milestone for me that I want to cross over and share here, too.  It has not been easy, but it has been easier than remaining morbidly obese, which is where I had been stuck for many years.

These are my before and after photos:

Monday, October 21, 2013


We had a great time in Monterey riding bikes along the coast and catching up with Zac.  He is juggling 4
jobs and doesn't have much time off, so we were honored that he invited us to spend some time with him on one of his rare days without a commitment to one or more shifts somewhere.

October is one of the best months to visit any coastal area in CA and we managed to have a gorgeous day.  A windbreaker in the morning was shed off by lunch.  As we rode along Zac shared stories from his week at Sea Lab and his group of 8-10 year-olds - some of them had never been to the beach!

I almost fell off my bike laughing when he told us about trying to re-direct the attention of his "campers" from a sea otter which was frantically fornicating a deceased harbor seal - apparently those cute, furry little otters everyone loves are quite kinky - and violent!  He regaled us with a couple of other "bad otter" stories.  His group also witnessed an otter grabbing a seagull, ripping it's head off and eating it, which is more disturbing than their usual tendency to simply drown gulls which are trying to poach their food...

Fortunately they also got an opportunity to see some of the magical side of marine life, too.  On their last morning at the beach there were some dolphins passing through.  Zac lined them up to watch them when suddenly a wave crested right in front of all the kids and the dolphins were riding the wave right in close to shore.  They did it over and over and all the kids in the camp got a chance to witness this  amazing spectacle!

Friday, October 18, 2013


1.) What does it say about our little city that the most prevalent new businesses seem to be two of types:
 massage parlors  and academic tutoring.

2.)  I was disappointed when the book selected for our book club this month was a Jodi Picoult novel. I am a bit of a book snob - I admit it.  However,  though I am not finished with it yet and it may still disappoint, The Storyteller is a pretty good read.

The thing is, I am anxious to get back to re-reading the first two of the Margaret Atwood MaddAddam Trilogy - the third book just came out and all the reviewers suggested going back to the first two before embarking on this new one.  The first, Oryx and Crake, came out 10 years ago and I was amazed at how much of it I recalled when I re-read it last week.  When I finish the book club book, I'll read The Year of the Flood again and then dive into MaddAddam.  Just love Margaret Atwood.

3.)  I started my holiday shopping this weekend with a online session.  I didn't have much luck finding things I was thinking about for gifts - some companies I have shopped with in the past seem to be gone and prices seem to be a lot higher this year.

I read that the California economy is supposed to be nearly back to what it was 8 years ago.  It certainly hasn't happened in my house and the article didn't address the huge increase in the price of everything vs. the new lower wages we are living with. I make $4.00 an hour less now than I did 8 years ago and pay $800. more a month for health insurance. Then add in the higher cost of gas, groceries and even internet.

 I suppose statistically speaking,  people who made good money during this recession and are making even more money now will skew the numbers higher than the reality most of us live with.

4.)  Just got back from our date night. We skipped dance class and went to the gym then out to eat.  The moon is huge and bright, the temperature when we got to dinner was 68 degrees; we ate outside knowing it is probably the last week of this balmy fall weather...  Tomorrow we are off to Monterey to ride bikes with our Zac.

Hope everyone has a lovely fall weekend!

Sunday, October 13, 2013


We had planned to ride into Livermore to attend the annual Art Walk but didn't realize until this morning that it was only a 1 day event on Saturday - so we decided to make it an adventure.

 We have passed by this trail and never knew the name until today -  the Arroyo Mocho Trail  runs along the creek of the same name and makes for some pretty scenery.  It's so nice to get off the road and into more varied and natural settings.  (Plus now we have a new neighborhood to keep an eye on when we are ready to move next year.)

 Turns out it came out near the Concannon Winery vineyards and a softball facility we spent many a weekend hanging around.  I recalled a great breakfast place down the road.  So we stopped in for breakfast and then headed back along the trail and home.

Monday, October 7, 2013


It's been a while since I have played along with Jenn's Time Warp Tuesday.  Check in to see who else is sharing family photos and the stories behind them.

This was taken 29 years ago on our wedding day.  We had a late afternoon outdoor ceremony and a cocktail party style reception on the patio of a restaurant.

When we finally remembered to cut the cake it was getting dark!  It was a small, inexpensive wedding with no wedding planner to keep things on schedule.  My mom made my dress, a neighbor made the cake, my sister's friend was the photographer. I asked for no chrysanthemums in my bouquet - as you can see my request was not honored!!  No Pinterest fantasies in sight - but it took!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


1.)  I was amazed to hear a "news story" this morning on NBC which focused on the new UN Ambassador, a mother!  "Balancing diplomacy and diapers."  Geez.  Is this 1959?  Are we still talking about women as the only partner in a marriage who has to deal with being a parent AND working?
Samantha Power.  The hook was about the fact that she is also

2.)  And while I am on my "feminist" soap box.  I have been looking for a new watch since mine is turning my wrist black after 12 years of wear.  Tom sent me to a site he likes which makes high quality knock offs.  I didn't find anything I liked and probably for this reason - their description of the difference between what women and men want in a watch:

Unlike most men who go after mechanical engineering, majority of women collectors and watch lovers prefer aesthetic value and style over construction. They pine after luxury watches who embody elegance with a hint of sparkle in them. For women, classic and timeless designs are works of art that display wealth and status in life.

3.)  I went onto the website for the ACA pooled insurance plans in CA to see if we could do better than our current COBRA insurance plan.  I knew the minute I saw the first question asking for our annual income that it wouldn't be good news and it wasn't.  The very lowest cost plan was over $100 more per month and has not only a $10,000. annual deductible but requires a $60. co-pay. (My plan has a $3500. deductible and a $30. co-pay.)

I guess I hadn't realized that the insurance companies could charge based on our income rather than our needs or use of the medical care - though there were some questions along the lines of how often we go to the doctor and how many prescription we have, which I answered at the lowest level of use.

I keep hearing about people actually finding affordable care through the exchanges - so I am glad it is going to work for some people.  I had hoped that it would be a better deal than through my employer so I could give up working in the next year or so.