Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Aftermath

O.M.G.I.A.T (Oh my gosh, I am tired!)

But I’m also very happy. It’s been a real whirlwind Christmas. And the whirlwind’s name is Lia. I spent the week before Christmas at Sarah’s and had massive “Lia time” there. Then we all came up here the day before Christmas Eve and spent another week together. Talk about happy overload! Wouldn’t trade it for the world, though! And today Sarah and Lia leave and I will have lots of peace and quiet. Which will soothe my somewhat frazzled self for about half a day. Then I will start missing Lia again….

Sarah and I did get the place picked up though, and toys sorted as to what stays here and what goes back down to Fresno. Usually my first order of business is to clear a walking path through the house. After lunch, though, today’s plan is to pay bills. Talk about a let-down after all the joy! Then I’ll start some laundry. Then I’ll TAKE A NAP!! Tonight we go out to dinner with Marv’s bro and sis-in-law and mom. Then we can GO TO BED EARLY!! And SLEEP IN THE NEXT DAY!!

We need to rest up over the weekend because Monday is NEW YEAR’S EVE and we’re hosting this year. So there will be fun, frivolity, and friends.

BRING IT ON, 2013! I’m ready!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Stressings into Blessings

This first picture is kinda what I’ve been feeling the last couple of day. When I realized that I was going to be out of town the week before Christmas, I realized that there was a LOT of stuff that I wanted to get done before leaving. Since I won’t be getting back until the evening of the 23rd, that kinda put a real time pressure on me.
I think I finally got done with what I thought was important, and can now relax a little and start packing. I always am surprised at how stressful this time of year is. And it doesn’t need to be. We put this pressure on ourselves, for the most part.

This next picture is really what Christmas is about. Remembering the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. There is NOTHING else you need for the holiday to be complete. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE the decorated tree, giving presents, all sorts of goodies and treats, parties. But they are not a requirement. Christ is. He is my reason for living. And I praise Him for another Christmas with my family and friends. They are the best gifts I could ever get.

Blessed Christmas to all of you!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The 3 Amigos Go Shopping

My friends Mary, Paula and I are The 3 Amigos. We just click together so well and have a lot of fun when we’re together. Our trips to Chico are real highlights for me. Sometimes we browse, sometimes we shop a little, sometimes we just do lunch. Wednesday we did all 3 with a vengeance…this is our story.

We started at Hula’s for lunch. Mongolian BBQ is such a treat! And there is no way to eat it all, so I almost always get another 2 meals out of the leftovers. And I learned a new trick for putting the food in your bowl. I’ve always just smashed everything down with my hands, but I saw a couple in the line ahead of me that had the right idea: take an extra bowl and use THAT to smash the food down. Amazing! Unfortunately, I’d already started down the line and had been smashing with my hands…but next time! Watch out! And someday, I WILL learn how to do chopsticks!

After lunch we proceeded to go to 8 places. Paula and I had a bit of an idea of just what we were looking for on this trip so we wouldn’t waste a lot of time browsing. This was a SHOPPING trip. Or maybe I should say, this was a BUYING trip.

I bought something at every place except Kohl’s. That store wasn’t on my list. And it turned out I didn’t find anything at Barnes & Noble that justified using a coupon. And I was able to eliminate one store entirely. I know you’re dying to know what I got, so here’s the list:

Family Christian Store: This wasn’t on my original list, but it was right next to Hula’s, so why not? They had some neat Christmas t-shirts on sale, so I got 4 different ones. I’d been wanting to get some new t-shirts anyway, and I like my shirts to say something, and if they can be Christian ones, all the better.

Natural herb store: This place wasn’t on my original list either, but Mary needed to go there. I was able to get some much need colloidal silver for when I go to the dentist. Score! AND I got a senior discount as well! DOUBLE SCORE!!

Trader Joe’s: FONDUE FONDUE FONDUE! For some reason, TJ only carries packaged fondue in the winter. I’ve whined to them several times about making it available all year round, but to no avail. So I got 6 packages. They last a long time in the fridge and it’s the BEST meal for a cold day. Or even a hot day. Fondue is good anytime. And of course, what is a trip to TJ without getting a bunch of sweet stuff. This is what impulse buying gets me: 2 different kinds of cookies, chocolate orange sticks and caramels.

Target: Stocking stuffer for Lia and some more of those canvas cubes for the cubby in the guest room.

Costco: Gifts for Sarah and Marv. Although I REALLY wanted to get the tequila-filled glass decanter shaped like a shotgun for Marv (and was 3 feet tall) I passed on that because it was $50 and we really don’t drink much in the way of tequila. If it had been any other whiskey and had been maybe $30, I would’ve gotten that in the blink of an eye. Who DOESN’T want a glass rifle decanter? I did snag a huge bottle of Jack Daniels though. Hot toddies, here I come! The biggest score, though, was the premium Keurig that was on sale. I’ve always wanted one of those and had planned on checking out the sale ones at Bed Bad & Beyond, but this was a better one AND was on sale! So I got my Keurig and eliminated the need to go to another store. (We were on a time limit, by the way)

Cost Plus World Market: Mead was the main reason I was there, and I only got one bottle. I’m the only one who likes the stuff. Then I had to look at all the Christmas ornaments. So many ornaments and not enough trees! I found a beautiful peacock ornament for Lia. She’s into peacocks right now. And penguins. And owls. And of course I had to get a cute little wooden cat one for me.

And that was it. The last stop was Barnes & Noble, but the coupon I had was for toys/games and I didn’t see anything I wanted either for Lia or me.

So we hurried home and Paula dropped Mary and I off at my house. Mary and I went in and heated up some of our leftovers from Hula’s and managed to get to church in time for the Advent service. And after the service, there was coffee and PIE! Perfect end to a perfect day with THE 3 AMIGOS!!! (Paula wasn’t at church; she had to pick up Dusty at the vet.)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Nyquil shots for everyone!!!

This Thanksgiving, we were VERY thankful for many things:
Various antibiotics
Throat/cough drops
NYQUIL (balloons and confetti going up for that one!)

It was wonderful that Chris was able to come up with Sarah and Lia this year. He’s usually working. And while it was great having most of my family around me, we were all sick. Except for Marv. He kept as far away as possible from us and didn’t kiss anybody! Lia (who started it all) was pretty much over it by Thanksgiving, and since we didn’t dare bring Marv’s mom over to a germ-infested house, Marv was able to take Lia to see mom a couple of times.

Of the sickies, I was probably the most able-bodied, so I was able to play with Lia and keep her occupied. And the weather was perfect for going outside to play on the swing. We all even got in a bit of shopping in Chico and met up for lunch at McDonald’s.

While I would have preferred everyone to have been in perfect health, it was STILL a good family holiday. I love my family. I would have been great to have ALL of us together. Maybe in the future….

Friday, November 23, 2012

November 2012 Book Report

Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich

Number 2 in the Lizzy and Diesel series. In this one, they are in search of the Lust Stone. I cannot stress enough how much you should read Ms. Evanovich’s books. And I mean right now! You will be doing yourself a favor.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander

This is from the young adult section. Great read. A young boy and his cat go on a journey through time to 9 different time periods. One time period for each life of a cat. A bit of a history lesson thrown in for good measure.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
The Blue Room by Georges Simenon

This is the first non-Inspector Maigret book of Simenon’s I’ve read, and it’s a good one. I love the Maigret books and this was very different. Not a mystery, exactly, but a study in human relationships and passion gone wrong. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Forget Twinkies, Give Me Sno Balls!!

Don’t get me wrong, Twinkies are OK, and I’ve eaten my fair share of them. And the cupcakes are fine, too. Ding Dongs are better though. But Sno Balls rule! 
If Twinkies actually do go bye-bye forever, I will not mourn overmuch. And there are plenty of Walmart substitutes for Ding Dongs and some of the other Hostess/Dolly Madison goodies. Sno Balls are another story. I can’t recall seeing a knock-off or generic Sno Ball. And that’s concerns me deeply. I will have to start looking….

I have to admit that I would LOVE to try some of the goodies that the Tastykake folks produce, but that is apparently an East Coast kind of thing. Reading about their stuff in the Janet Evanovich novels make me drool…

Anyway. For now I will have to console myself with any kind of chocolate I can get my hands on and survive…AS IF THAT WERE A PROBLEM!! Buwahahahahahahahah!

Hey, it’s Friday and I didn’t have another subject in mind right now. Give me a break. Give me a break. Break me off a piece of that KitKat bar…..

I think I need to go lie down for awhile…..

Friday, November 9, 2012

Great Hobby

I’ve had a new hobby for the last 4 months or so. It’s exchanging postcards with people all over the world. A friend told me about it and I checked it out. It sounded like fun, so I jumped in with both feet. Go to and follow the directions. It’s easy and free, except for the cost of postcards and stamps. You start out by getting random addresses for others who have registered. You send them a postcard. When your postcard arrives, they register it. Your name is then thrown in the pot, and some random person sends YOU a postcard. When you get it, you register it, and the circle continues. Each time you register a card, you can get another address. So far, I’ve sent 30 registered postcards, have 8 that are traveling and have received 30.
One of the options you can sign up for is “direct swap” which means exchanging cards off the register. I’ve only had one person so far that I’ve done this with. Here’s my tally so far.(BTW, I have no idea why the numbers are all over the place. I line them up all neat and tidy, but when I go to post them, the copy shows them all over. Meh.)

Cards Sent:
Belarus            3
Russia              15
Germany         5
Finland            1
China               2
USA                5
Netherlands     5
Poland             1
Taiwan                        1

Cards Received:
Austria                        1
Germany         5
Belarus            2
Canada                        2
China               1
Netherlands     3
Russia              3
Norway           1
Finland            4
Italy                 1
Ukraine           1
USA                3
Australia          1
Taiwan                        1
Japan               1

It’s a joy every time I reach into my mailbox and pull out a card. The biggest problem I’ve had is obtaining any kind of local postcard. There just aren’t that many around here. The local Walmart is just now starting to carry a few, but there are only about 4 different ones. I’ve gotten some nice ones from the visitors center at the dam, but again, the selection is limited. And there are none that are just fun or funny cards. Sometimes I make my own postcard to send. But it’s still SO MUCH FUN to do this!! I get cards from kids who are doing this as a class project. I’ve sent cards to kids in other countries that are probably doing the same. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you’ve probably already seen my album of cards I’ve received. I really encourage everyone to look into this as a fun hobby.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Slow Down!

It may not look like it, by I have WAY too much on my plate! And I don’t mean just food (although that CAN be a problem…) but everything else I have piled on in life. And a goodly portion of that is something I have served up MYSELF. It seems like people feel that if they don’t have every minute accounted for in doing SOMETHING, they’re slacking off.

I have been given a great gift of not having to work outside the home, but it seems that I get to the end of my day and wonder “What the heck happened?!? What do I have to show for this day?”

I’ll admit SOME of it is due to having a computer, but not all of it. I used to write a lot more, and having a computer made it very easy. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a short story or a poem. Of course, I do keep to my schedule of a weekly blog, but I don’t count that as much.

I used to read a LOT. It was one of the biggest joys in my life. It’s still a joy, but one I don’t indulge in as much as I’d like. And I DO blame the computer for that one. When I’m at Sarah’s, I hardly touch the computer and I read each evening before going to bed.

Crafting has always been a big joy as well. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, when my muse Myrtle hits me, I’m a whirlwind for a certain period of time. Then I stop completely. My craft room is still in total chaos.

In my case, I need to clear some of the “junk food” off my plate and replace it with healthy stuff. Reading, of course. Playing the piano. Writing to friends. I had a very active and wonderful correspondence with 3 penpals that has pretty much fallen by the wayside.

Most important of all, I feel, is to JUST STOP AND THINK. Do nothing. Sit and ponder, pray, meditate, whatever. BE QUIET for a minute.

And I fully understand the irony of this whole post, as I'm about to spend another week in Fresno with Lia again. She doesn't understand the concept of "quiet time". And of course we're heading into "the holidays" as well. 

I don’t quite know how I’m going to deal with all this, but I’m hoping that by addressing this in a somewhat public manner, I will be encouraged to take charge and make changes. We’ll see. Wish me luck!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Reminiscences

My very first Halloween was when I was about 4. We had just moved out from Kansas City to San Diego for my dad’s work and were staying with our friends the Dearmans. It was the night before, and I remember Mrs. Dearman yelling at me and her two boys to shut up and go to sleep or there would be no trick-or-treating. I remember having fabulous dreams of witches on rooftops. But I have NO recollection of going out the next night. None. Odd.

I got glasses when I was in first grade, and from that point on, I couldn’t wear any kind of Halloween mask. It just wouldn’t fit over my glasses, and my glasses wouldn’t fit over a mask. I could have the pretty princess dress, but couldn’t wear the pretty mask with the makeup, crown and earrings that were part of it.

Later on in grade school, my friend Debbie and I would pool our treats and divide them up evenly as to “good stuff” and “ordinary stuff” and I don’t remember ever being limited on how much candy I could eat at any time. My treats were mine to do with as I chose. Sure didn’t pass THAT one on with MY kids!! Their stuff was put in a big bowl on top of the fridge and doled out sparingly.

When I got braces, I was almost at the end of my trick-or-treating career, but not quite. But I still had to pick out all the gooey stuff and gave it to Debbie in exchange for less sticky stuff. I hated doing that, but I was a GOOD GIRL and didn’t want to compromise my very expensive orthodontic work.

And now my kids are grown and gone and we answer the door on Halloween to an ever dwindling group. It’s just not that safe anymore, which I find incredibly sad. I’m glad there are more community and church events with a safer place for the kids, but it’s just not the same.

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 2012 Book Report

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat by Sofie Kelly 

This is the first book in the Magical Cat series. Picked this one up on a whim in Raley’s and thoroughly enjoyed it. What’s not to like: it involves murder, books and cats. ‘Nuf said.
Kathleen is disappointed in love and moves to a new town and a new job in a library. She’s adopted by two cats, Hercules and Owen, who turn out to have magical powers. With their help, Kathleen solves a murder and meets a potential new love interest in a handsome detective. I really look forward to more in this series.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Over My Dead Body by Rex Stout

I never get tired of these books. I’d seen the TV adaptation of this book, but had never read it. Even though I knew “who dunnit” it was still a very enjoyable read. Nero Wolfe’s long lost adopted daughter from the Balkans shows up in this country and gets into trouble at the fencing studio where she works. Of course Archie falls in love with her, and plans on calling Wolfe “dad”. And of course it doesn’t happen. But the murderer is caught and all is well in the end.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
America By Heart by Sarah Palin

I read Palin's book, “Going Rogue” several years ago and it pretty much cemented my hatred for politics. I love Sarah Palin, but really hate the atmosphere of the political world. This book had wonderful info and words of wisdom from great American leaders past and present. I absolutely love this country and wish the best for us all.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
An American Son by Marco Rubio

I know, another political book. But I truly admire Marco Rubio. I was fascinated by his family history. I had to skim some of the political stuff. Just can’t believe the crap that was done to him by his own party. I look for good things to come from him in the future.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Murder Past Due by Miranda James

This is another “first” in a series: Cat in the Stacks. And again, it was picked up on a whim at Raley’s. This time the protagonist is a man, who comes back to his home town after his wife dies. He doesn’t plan on any emotional attachments, because they are too painful when they end, but is adopted by a Maine Coon cat that he names Diesel. (Maine Coons are enormous, BTW. Always wanted one, but probably couldn’t afford the food bill.) Charlie works in the archives of the local college, where he’s all by himself mostly. Which is the way he wants it. But slowly, people in the town creep into his life and he finds himself getting involved against his will. Then a former school bully from Charlie’s past is murdered. Diesel’s presence helps Charlie deal with the fact that like it or not, Charlie is once again involved with people on an emotional level.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Family Words

Growing up, there were words and phrases used in my family that no one else used. I never really thought about them until I was much older. They were just a part of my life. They were mostly German in origin, and once I really started thinking about them and where they came from, my grandmother was long gone and I couldn’t ask her anymore. I had to do some research in my German/English dictionary and Google translator. I also consulted my brother, who is fluent in German.

“Schlook” was a term I heard a lot as a kid. I’d have a soda and maybe my mom would say “Hey, can I have a schlook of that?” Or I would say the same to my brother. Or someone would offer a person a schlook of something. The word is spelled “schluck” and means “sip”.

There was a heavy duty metal cart on wheels that lived in our garage and had all manner of cleaning supplies and rags piled on it. It was called The Hoodlum Cart. Q: Where’s the silver polish? A: It’s on the hoodlum cart. Q: Do we have an old toothbrush? A: Look on the hoodlum cart. The original word is from old German: hudelum. It means disorderly. And the hoodlum cart was certainly in disorder. 

“Saboola” was from a rhyme that my brother and I made up when we were very little. It went like this: “Hallelujah, hallelujah. Mashed potatoes and saboola.” And this is my spelling of the word. My grandmother said saboola meant onions. This is the one I had to ask my brother about, since his resources were greater than mine. This is what he wrote me: Saboola could actually be a morphed form of the German for onion, which is Zwiebel (pronounced suh-VEE-bool).  Could easily be that somewhere along the line somebody forgot the middle syllable, and came up with suh-BOOL-uh.

Now for words from Marv’s family. Of German origin, and again, the spelling is phonetic:
“Kanuppled” and Katiltered”—both mean askew, bent, awry, etc. “My fender was all kanuppled up.” “You put that bedspread on all katiltered.”  Here is my brother’s answer:  The German word is Knuppel, which means bat or cudgel, so if something is knuppelt (or geknuppelt), it is battered or beat up.  Same thing with getiltered; the ge- prefix and -ed (or in German simply -t) ending is just a past tense construction, so any verb can fit in the middle: getilted, ge-this-ed, ge-that-ed. 

The last phrase I have is from my family (with my spelling). This was said whenever someone went somewhere: “I’ll river.”
This was usually said first by the person leaving, and then whoever was nearby would respond in kind. This was said for YEARS. Many times I was the person responding. I had no clue why this was said and I didn’t think to ask. It was just a traditional saying as far as I knew. I don’t know how old I was before I finally realized this was actually the French phrase, “au revoir,” intentionally mispronounced as a joke.  I felt SO DUMB. Up until then, I would always have this little mental picture of someone sailing down a river in a tiny boat…I kinda miss that…

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hijinks in Fresno

OK--there were no hijinks. I just said that to get your attention. I didn't have a prepared blog ready this time, so I'll just babble about  being in Fresno.

This recent visit to Fresno was a bit different. Did a few new things; did a few familiar things; took some naps. Naps have become VERY important to me! Lia's now in preschool 3 mornings a week, which means getting up a bit earlier to fix breakfast. After Sarah leaves to take Lia to school, I tidy up the kitchen and then lay down for an hour or so. Makes a BIG difference! I still droop in the afternoon, but I can usually lay down in the front room with a movie on and Lia will play around me for a while. Of course, she tells me every so often, "Grandma! You've been sleeping a LONG TIME!"

Lia's been struggling with allergies, so there hasn't been as much outside play as other times. Also, it's still been stinkin' HOT here! But she's been much more into having books read to her, or even "reading" them herself to one of her stuffed animals. With me doing the voice of the stuffed animal...

I got to watch "Ratatouille" in Cantonese...good thing I've seen it several times in English. Lia would tell me what was going on in the movie, as if I'd never seen it before. Very cute. Her comprehension of Chinese is pretty good, I guess. There were a few places in the movie where Lia would say she didn't understand all the words. I told her as she got older, she'd learn more.

I found an easy crochet pattern for granny square slippers, and made a pair for Lia during this visit. She was totally delighted with them. Only problem with granny squares...they have holes in them....little toes have a tendency to peek through. I told her the slippers would work better in winter when she'd have socks on. Sarah requested a pair for herself...

And what would a trip to Fresno be without visiting A Book Barn, the most wonderful used book store on earth? While Lia was in school one day, Chris took me there. Love that place!!

Fresno water gives me..."issues" I always use bottled water when I'm here. Even with the filter on the faucet in the kitchen, I still have..."issues". Each morning I empty the ice trays I've filled with bottled water and refill them so I have ice the next day. But I will say this: my hair never looks so good as when I've washed it with Fresno water. I guess whatever is in the water that gives me..."issues"...makes my hair look GREAT!

We did a little shopping last night and will do the same today. Good visit all-in-all. Tomorrow I go home. And even though I'm almost beyond tired, I know when I call to let Sarah know we got home OK, I'll hear Lia in the background and wish I was with her...♥

Friday, September 28, 2012

Moon River Sunset

I have a lot of pleasant memories associated with Andy Williams and his music. We watched his TV show every week. Along with the music, I especially loved the “Cookie Bear” and his antics. And the Christmas shows were always a hit in my family.

I first heard “Moon River” sung by Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, and even thought Audrey was a wonderful actress, she sure couldn’t sing! For some reason, though, I was totally entranced by that little song. It’s been one of my favorites ever since. Of course, it helped that I totally loved the movie too, and had a giant crush on George Peppard! I don’t remember when I heard Andy Williams sing it, but from that point on, he was the ONLY one to sing it for me…

I had the 45 of Andy singing the theme from “The Godfather” and was impressed when he went falsetto at the end of the song to nail the high note. His vocal range was amazing. So many of his songs became favorites of mine, but only if he sang them.

Another favorite song was “May Each Day” that I first heard on a promo record given out by KFC. It had to have been in the 60’s. It was the size of a 45, but was played at 33 and had 3 songs on each side. I would listen to that record a LOT. I had to remember to switch my little record player to the right speed, though. I have no idea where that record is now. At some point, that was his ending song on his TV show, and my grandmother especially liked that one.

So, thanks, Andy. You were a bright light here, and always my Huckleberry Friend. Give the bear a cookie from me. And maybe give Audrey a few singing lessons….

Friday, September 21, 2012

September 2012 Book Report

The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

Fascinating case histories of mental patients. I was amazed at just how badly things can go TOTALLY WRONG in one’s brain. For no reason. Kind of spooky.
~* ~* ~* ~
Calamity Town by Ellery Queen

I’ve always loved Ellery Queen mysteries. I started reading them probably in junior high. This one takes place in a sleepy little town in New England. Nothing much happens beyond local politics and the quirkiness of the citizens. UNTIL MURDER COMES TO TOWN…..
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Blockade Billy/Morality by Stephen King

I’m not a big fan of King’s books. This one was in the bargain bin at Walmart, and after reading the blurb on the back, it sounded like there wasn’t a lot of weird gore or mayhem in either of the novellas, so I got it.

OK, I’ll admit it: it was just the right size for an altered book. But I did read it first!   

The first one was a good little story about the early days of baseball. I enjoyed it. The end was bloody, but I expected that to a certain extent. At least it was “normal” bloody, not supernatural. Like that excuses what happened….
The second one, Morality, was downright disturbing. I would rather not have read that and have what happened in the story in my mind now. Very unpleasant.

I will enjoy turning this book into a piece of art. Give it a nicer role….

Friday, September 14, 2012

Treasure Isle

I loved the game shows of the 60’s. There were a ton of them and they ran in the middle of the day. Summer vacation always meant planting myself in front of the TV and watching game shows. 

One of my favorites was Treasure Isle with John Bartholomew Tucker. I loved how that name just rolled off the tongue of the announcer! The show took place outdoors in sunny Florida. I don’t remember all the aspects of the game, but it involved two couples (in those days they were married) competing for a fabulous prize. Like luggage or a freezer. There was a time element, so everything was done frantically and quickly. The couples would be in little boats and have to paddle a type of obstacle course to get puzzle pieces. They would end up on a little island with a board to put the puzzle pieces on and then figure out what the puzzle was. There was digging in the sand for treasure chests. Maybe the chest they dug up told what prize they got. 

The biggest thing I cared about was the puzzle. I could usually get the answer to the puzzle long before the couple would. I thought it would be a fun show to be on if all I had to do was the puzzle. At that time of my life, I didn’t envision ever getting married, let alone appear on TV in a swim suit! As for being out on the water in a little boat...unless that body of water was only 3 feet deep, fuhgeddaboudit! 

I did think it would be super neat to have a matched set of luggage, though…

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Blog, My Rules

After last week’s whiney blog, I got some good advice about making this blog whatever *I* want it to be. So that’s what I’m doing. I will still pretend that I have a vast army of readers just waiting each week for Friday to roll around, but will mainly write whatever I darn well please.

I enjoy reading other blogs about a variety of subjects. There are so many really good writers out there in cyberland. You can just about pick any subject you like and find several blogs to choose from. I have a tendency to poke around a bit, bookmark the site for later reference and MAYBE get back to it. I might Google something, find a specific entry from a blog about it and then go to the home page and get interested in the whole blog. (That’s how I got interested in YOUR blog, Kristi!)

Something else I like to do is hit the “next blog” button and see where it takes me. I liken it to a frog jumping from one lily pad to another. Sometimes I will find a really interesting blog only to find that it’s dead. No updates. Bummer! Sometimes the blog will be in a different language and I’ll hit the “translate” button, if there is one. That is usually a real hoot. The translate function makes the blogger sound like he/she can barely navigate the written language. I had a German friend who had a very entertaining blog, but when it was translated into English, it made her sound like a moron. She was fluent in English, so she could see how badly her blog was translated.

I decided to write about one particular blog I read on occasion and the next couple of blogs that I was lead to by the “next blog” button. I may (or may not) do this as a recurring theme.

I found Scrappy Cat by goggling mandalas. I was trying to find some simple patterns that I could print out for Lia to color. Plus, I’ve always loved mandalas. I’m not very good at drawing them, but I enjoy the symmetry. Which is weird, considering how much I REALLY love abstract art. Anyway, Scrappy Cat had a nice little mandala she had painted. Not really what I was looking for, but I went to the home page and found a delightful little blog. I especially enjoy the “form” of it. That’s not quite the word I’m going for, but it will do. And unlike me, she truly can draw. And she writes well. She does book reports too! Nice little blog.

And now the “frog jumps” from there:

Miami Bourbaki. The original Bourbaki had to do with mathmatics. I guess this blogger is a math guy from Miami. At any rate, he’s WAY smarter than I am. Reading him makes my brain hurt. Also, I am not ashamed to say that YES, I AM A MEAT EATER!! But I won’t eat it in front of you if it offends you…just don’t try to make me feel guilty about eating meat!!!  (BTW, I did NOT bookmark this one)

The next blog was actually a dead one about logic. (gag) It had a new site, but it was no longer a blog. From there, it was just another series of blogs about math, philosophy and/or logic. (double and triple gag)

I’ve noticed that sometimes the frog jumps were linked by subject, which makes it strange that the original blog of Scrappy Cat led to them. Go figure. 


Friday, August 31, 2012

Blah blah blah part one

I am really hitting the wall again. I have been seriously contemplating ditching the whole blog thing. When it starts to feel like homework, that’s when I think it’s time to pack it in. I know there are one or two people who read my weekly drivel (Gladys, you ROCK! I know you are always there) but for the most part, I feel like my words are going into a black hole. My own kids and husband don’t even bother. But I will struggle on for another week at least…

Amongst my MANY vices is a love of books. I need them around me. Once I learned to read, I was never without some kind of reading material. Growing up, I had lots of books. Lots of comics. I had a subscription to Jack and Jill magazine, too. There wasn’t the vast variety of kid shows on TV that there is now, so I would read. I think I was in the 4th grade when I found out there was a LIBRARY in my school where I could get BOOKS ALL THE TIME. I don’t remember when I discovered that there was a town library as well. The world REALLY opened up for me then. Once in a while I would buy a couple of books at Salvation Army. And slowly, over the years, my collection of books grew. I always checked out the sale tables at book stores. Then I discovered USED book stores. I love pre-read books. They have more soul. Especially if they’ve been written in. Now I have online places to get my books from too.

The picture I’ve posted here shows my idea of a special little haven. I would love to be able to construct one of these in a corner somewhere. I like how the spines are on the inside of the little cave. Gives it more visual interest. I’d need a good light, a comfortable chair and a small table that I could have my cup of coffee or glass of wine on. I’d make it a bit more enclosed so you wouldn’t be able to see much of me from the sides. And I’d have the opening toward a wall. No distractions. Cozy. Maybe a pillow on the floor for one of the cats. Cats and books go well together, don’t you think?

Friday, August 24, 2012


Since school is starting up all over the place, I had it in mind to do today’s blog as a kind of tongue-in-cheek “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” kind of thing, but I realized that pretty much what has taken place in the last few months has been nothing short than a series of blessings.
It’s been quite a while since I did a “thankfulness” blog reflecting on all the blessings the Lord has bestowed on me. So here’s the list in no particular order starting with late June or so.

1. Being able to spend a week at a time with Lia (and family) is always a blessing from beginning to end. No elaboration needed on that. But this last visit was for TWO WHOLE WEEKS. It was like Christmas for me! And not only was this an extra-long visit with Lia, my niece Ellen was with us. That was great for two reasons: I got the chance to get to know Ellen as an adult, and she could spell me with Lia! I think 2 weeks just me alone would have done me in. I just don’t have the stamina. But with Ellen there, I could take a time-out and put my feet up when I started flagging and Ellen could take over. The whole visit was very low-key and easy on the brain. LOTS of crafts! I did more crafts and coloring than I can ever remember! We took lots of little shopping trips to the Dollar Store, Good Will, things like that. Nothing very expensive. Except when we went to the used book stores….OMG OMG OMG. Both Ellen and I were in bibliophile heaven. And even then, what we paid for the books was a fraction of what they would cost new.

2. The Holy Spirit is really moving in our church and it’s a joy to see and experience what is taking place. I feel a freedom in my heart that hasn’t been there for a long time.

3. My beloved mother-in-law is continuing to be an inspiration to me. She is truly someone who LIVES her faith.

4. I am continually blessed by our close friends. Our Bible study group feeds my spirit with wisdom. Our dinner/game night group feeds my soul with love and laughter. Our church family is a blessing without measure.

There are many, many more that I could list; everyday stuff that a lot of people don’t pay attention to. If you really look, there are blessings all over the place. Open your eyes. I need to remind myself to do that as well.

Friday, August 17, 2012

And Her Name Is...

Myrtle!! But she prefers Myrt. My muse, that is. Yes, I finally came up with a name. And a different picture. This one is closer to the actual idea I had in mind. Dame Edna is fabulous, but this gal is closer to the kind of art I enjoy. Recycled/altered art. Although I draw the line at wearing a colander on my head…

Anyway, Myrt did what I talked about in my blog 2 weeks ago. She took hold of me and basically took over the project I was working on. It’s actually 2 projects for 2 people, but they live at the same address, so it doesn’t matter which one I finish first. It’s just that I had the one project already done in my mind and intended to get that one taken care of first. But noooooo. Myrt had other ideas…..

I had mentioned that the second one was going in a different direction entirely, and that was the one that Myrt focused on the last couple of weeks. I could NOT even think of the first project…it HAD to be the second one that filled my thoughts. I pondered. I worked. I pondered some more. I ended up scrapping everything I had intended to do on this particular project in the beginning. I’ve never done one quite like this before and I finished it yesterday. I’m quite chuffed with the results, too. It’s ready to mail whenever I get the FIRST one done now. And so far, Myrt seems content to let that one ride as already planned.

So it’s Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, off to the art mines for me….

Friday, August 10, 2012

August 2012 Book Report

“Killing Lincoln” by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard

Excellent history book! This should be required reading in middle schools. The writing is so engaging that you don’t even realize you are reading history.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“High on Arrival” by Mackenzie Phillips

Sad autobiography. I found it hard to believe this woman did the amount of drugs she claims. I wouldn’t think the human body could survive it. She has a true iron constitution if this was a factual account. Well written, but ultimately a sad story.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“The Preschooler’s Busy Book” by Trish Kuffner

When I was looking on the Internet for a home-made finger paint recipe, I found a blog by a woman who got the recipe from this book. She couldn’t say enough about this book, so I decided to get it myself. I like coming up with new things to amuse Lia when I’m visiting. It’s a little outdated for some of the activities, and some are either too young or too old for her, but that’s OK. She’ll master the ones for the older child soon enough, and the younger stuff can either be amended or ignored. There is a TON of neat stuff to keep a kid busy. Some of the ideas are truly amazing.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“A Touch of Love” by Barbara Cartland

OK. I admit it. I enjoy sappy Regency Romances….(head hanging in shame). One of the best things about the Cartland books is that there is NO sex. Not before marriage anyway. And even then, if it’s a marriage of convenience, the couple doesn’t “get together” until they have truly fallen in LOVE. If your brain hurts, this is the kind of book to read.    

Friday, August 3, 2012

Smacked Upside The Head

I've written before about my muse getting a stranglehold of me at odd times. Sometimes taking over whatever project I’m working on. Lately she has been noticeably absent. I’ve had a couple of projects that I really need to get started on and have had ZERO inspiration.

Then I got a nudge.
Then a shove.
Then a smack upside the head.
She was back!!!

Now one of the projects is almost done in my imagination. I’ve done some of the prep work and have just started to amass the materials I will need. Naturally, it’s also the weekend that Sarah and Lia are here. I also started getting an idea for the second project that is completely different from what I had first planned.
Ms. Muse does that….

In getting the house ready for Sarah and Lia, I had to put my project stuff in a box and set it aside for next week. So I started really thinking about my muse. What does she look like? I had never really thought about it much before, but she seems to want visibility, at least in my mind.

I started getting a nebulous picture, but couldn’t think of how to make it manifest. My other artistic “talents” aside, I can’t draw worth beans. I could probably get Sarah to draw something for me, but it wouldn’t be done in time for my blog post. So I turned to the Internet. I googled a lot of different images without finding anything I could use. Then out of the blue, Dame Edna Everage came to mind. I’d always found the character that Barry Humphries had portrayed to be a real hoot. It’s been years since I’ve seen Dame Edna on TV, so I looked up images of her…
THAT’S what my muse looks like! Dame Edna!! I tried to find an image of Dame Edna in a toga, like a muse would wear, but this is the closest I came. Now I know the basics of the image in my mind and can make it my own.

At least I know what my muse looks like now when she smacks me. And I don’t really mind when she does that. It’s when she takes over a project and sends it in a different direction that she gets mildly annoying. But I can handle her. I have to come up with a different name for her, though. Any suggestions? 

PS—Look up Dame Edna on youtube and have yourself a laugh! J

Friday, July 27, 2012

I wish I was Seinfeld

Man, I got NOTHING today! Been running around doing errands, trying to get the house somewhat cleared so we can have friends over for dinner, pay bills…..yadda yadda yadda.

Thought I might write about my Fresno trip, but really didn’t feel like it…

Did have some fun going down the “Back To School” aisle at Walmart and looking at all the pretty folders, binders, pens, cases etc. 

Saw THE MOST FUN THING: a chandelier for your locker! 
How cool is that? It attaches to the top of your locker with magnets. I so totally would’ve wanted one of those!

I stood there looking at them and trying VERY hard to think of how on earth I could use one of these at home…nada. 
They are just SO CUTE! All Walmart had were the black and white ones, but they also come in pink and blue. I would’ve chosen the blue…natch.

So there ya go. Nothing. 
Sorry, Gladys. I’ll try harder next week….

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Natural Resources of Ravenskye City

A couple of times when there was a lag between quests in Ravenskye, I would idly see how many different types of snagvine there were. I toyed with the idea of cataloging them and coming up with uses for them. About the time I would start seriously thinking of this, the quests would start again. Well, now there are NO quests in the foreseeable future, and I find myself waiting to redo my city until I’ve finished getting the last of my collections and can clear the whole place and start over. SO….out came my list again and this time I will finish it.

When Cornelius and the gang landed in Ravenskye City, they had to forage for awhile until they got a better camp set up and rebuilt the city. The many types of snagvine available provided them with tools, medicine and food.

The city itself had 16 different snagvines, the peak had two, and the interior had two.

Reefroot (interior) The oily root could be crushed and boiled down to make a waterproof coating.
Seastalk (int) Bitter leaves, but could be used as a source of vitamins in a salad.

Hybrid bamboo (peak) Used as you would bamboo.
Mountain blush (peak) The flowers would brew into a very flavorful tea.

Chokeroot and Thornychoke were both medicinal for coughs and colds. Use the root of chokeroot and the thorns of the other, pulverizing them and boiling down into a thick syrup. Leaves of both could be brewed into a soothing tea.
Madrash – very toxic. Stay away from it! But the root from Noxroot, crushed and steeped in hot water, would soothe almost any skin irritation.

Clumpvine, Flattop and Wildstalk weren’t of much use except for animal feed.

Fireroot. Spicy leaves for salads. Dry and grind up the root for seasoning that tasted like cayenne.
Tearoot. The leaves made a good tea, but the dried and ground root had more caffeine.
Thickroot. Leaves not good for anything, but the root was good roasted, like a potato.
Twistroot. Leaves could be brewed for a spicy tea and the root ground up and used like ginger.

Spiney and Tangleweed. The spines were very strong and could be used as needles. The tangleweed was difficult to work with, but when soaked and straightened, the core of the vines contained tough fibers that could be separated and used as thread.

Spyrevine. Stalks were very strong and came to a point. After hardening in fire, could be used as a digging tool or as a weapon.

Towerweed was good for fencing.

Watchweed got the name because when burned, it “ticked” like a watch, because of the sap in the plant. Later, it was found the sap could be used as a natural insect repellant.

Even though most of the rocks and vines were eventually eliminated, the usefulness of some of the vines prompted Barley to keep some of the seeds on hand, and Iris and Monty to cultivate some of them in their greenhouses. 

And so ends my little foray into total geekdome....

Friday, July 13, 2012

Book Report July 2012

Holy smokes! I haven’t done a book report since January! I won’t report on all the ones I’ve read since then, at least in this one posting. Just a few for now and more to come later…

Heartstones by Ruth Rendell

I read this many years ago and gave it to Sarah. One of the last times I was at her house, I saw it in her bookcase and decided to read it again. I had not remembered the ending. It was a surprise all over again. I love that kind of thing! The young girl Elvira was just as creepy as when I first read this story. The teenage years suck!! This poor girl needs some good counseling and meds. As does this entire dysfunctional family. I’ve read a lot of Ruth Rendell’s books, and she is very good when it comes to atmosphere and tension. Can’t say much more without ruining it.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama

Awesome first book in a series!! I LOVED this book! Mr. Ali retires from a government position in India, and to stave off boredom, opens a marriage bureau from his home. Just a great little slice of life there. You really come to care about the main people. There’s great heartfelt concern and humor.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren

True story about how a prostitute becomes part of the Prince of Brunei’s harem. Ms. Lauren writes very well, and I was captivated from the first word to the last. One thing I was grateful about was that fact that there is no graphic sex. You know it’s there, but the spotlight wasn’t on that aspect of her life in the harem.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle

A real rip-snorter of a book! I’ve read all the Sherlock Holmes stories by Mr. Doyle, but had never read any of his ‘science-fiction’ and this was a good one. A plateau in South American is the home of dinosaurs and ape-men. The explorers of this strange land are tested to the maximum.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chocolate Skulls!!!

Forget about tasty brains….why not the entire skull??

Made of chocolate, of course. The BEST chocolate. They weigh about 5 pounds and come in 3 flavors: the blended white and milk chocolate called “bone”, dark chocolate, and semi-sweet.

They are hand cast individually to order and are anatomically correct. If that makes a difference. Don’t want no shoddy, crooked skulls on MY plate, thankyouverymuch.

It takes 3 weeks to make one of these charmers AND will ONLY set you back $375.00!!!
Plus shipping.
What a bargain!

Gotta admit…if someone gave me one of these…I’d eat it!

Cogito, Ergo, NOM!!!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Wonderful World of Sky Mall

Do people really order things from Sky Mall magazine? I hardly ever get a chance to fly, but when I do, I love looking through Sky Mall magazine at all the wonderful and expensive things that are offered. There are things offered that fill a deep need that most of us don’t even realize we have! You can spend more on a cushy sofa for your dog than you would for yourself!

We recently flew to Virginia and back for our son’s wedding, and I got to look through one of these mags. I now know they have a website as well! More fun! A lot of the stuff you can find in a lot of the mail order mags, but there were a few things I hadn’t seen offered before.

Orbitwheels! Who wouldn’t want those? They look like a lot of fun. They also look like a potential broken hip to me…I barely mastered the 4-wheel roller skates when I was a kid. Forget in-lines or blades. But I have to admit I wish these had been available when I was younger and more flexible…

Nano UV wand! Remember the episode of “Dirty Jobs” where Mike Rowe let you in on the AWFUL things that are in the bedding, remote control and telephone in a motel room? You don’t have to worry with one of these babies! It will sanitize everything! A must-have for travelers.

Inflatable movie screen! Now this one actually makes a bit of sense. I don’t think the other campers would appreciate it if you set up one of these in the camp grounds like the ad tells you…but in the back yard I think it would be fun. Just can’t do it on a windy day…and make sure you have the pump handy if you spring a leak…

Dress Up Squirrel Magnets!!!! Need I say more?? Your squirrel comes with the little outfits seen here. Put him on the fridge and delight your kids! Put him on the file cabinet in your cubicle and worry your office mates…

I’ll keep looking and let you know about any more wonders…

Friday, June 22, 2012

30 Days of Pictures - Day 9

A Picture of Your Favorite Book

Bet you thought I had forgotten all about this particular series of blogs, huh? Well, I hadn’t. Just too many other things to write about. I had to go all the way back to the beginning of March to find out what number I was on. 
The first book that came to mind was “Shut Up and Eat Your Snowshoes” by Jack Douglas. I had seen him on the talk shows on TV, and had read some of his very funny memoirs. In 1970 the Snowshoes book was available at the local library on advance loan. That meant you had ONE WEEK to read this book and then had to return it. You couldn’t renew it until it had been in the system for a certain period of time. I snapped it up and brought it to school where I shared it with my friend Terrea. We would read a chapter and then hand it over. In that manner we both got the book read in plenty of time. (I’m not admitting how much of it was read DURING a class…) BTW, I was a junior in HS…just in case you wondered.
After that, I checked that book out many, many times over the years. Whenever I was feeling down, I would check that book out. It never failed to cheer me up. Unfortunately, that meant I checked this book out A LOT for several years running. I was overjoyed when I found this book at a used book sale at the library. Now it was forever at my beck and call. I also have the sequel to this. The books tell of the author’s years living with his family in Canada with their pet wolf.

The second book that came to mind was almost as important: “Does It Make Into A Bed?” by Lorna Novak. This was another “cheer up” book that would take me outside myself, and I’ve read it countless times. Unfortunately, unlike “Snowshoes”, this book left the library system and the time came when I went to check it out and it was gone. This was LONG before the Internet, and my only source was a book finding company. I paid a nominal fee for them to look for this book. Months went by. Nothing. The book finders said I no longer had to pay a fee, but they would continue to keep my request on record and if the book showed up, they’d let me know. Years went by. Then out of the blue came a notice that they had tracked the book down. I am embarrassed to say what I paid for this book. But when I sat down and read it again after so many years (even though I didn’t particularly need the cheering up at that point) I enjoyed it just as much as ever. It was written in the early 60’s, so it’s pretty outdated, but I love it just the same. It’s about a housewife and mother in Texas, just trying to get through the days as best she can and keep her man happy. Funny as all get out.

Even though I’m on a much more even keel now and don’t need the “cheer ups” like I used to, these books are so dear to my heart that all I have to do is LOOK at them on the bookshelf and they bring a smile to my face.

Friday, June 15, 2012

"What Is Truth?"

When Jesus was before Pilate, He said, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Pilate answered Him with, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38)

When looking for something to inspire a blog for today, I came across this prompt on one of the many sites I troll: List the top 10 things you know to be absolutely true.

I immediately thought of the Bible passage. What IS truth? Even more, what is ABSOLUTE truth? Heavy question. There are a lot of things I’m not absolutely sure about, let alone believe to be true. But here’s what I came up with.

1. I am a child of God. Loved, redeemed, bought-and-paid for.

2. I will be with Christ one day, as He has promised.

That’s only two things, but those are pretty important to me. There are many more that I HOPE to be true, that I WISH to be true, but I KNOW ABSOLUTELY that the above 2 are true.

Some say “What about Death and Taxes?” But not everyone pays taxes. And when Christ returns, those that are still living will not taste death, so that’s not even a sure thing. (For most of us, it is, I know)

So that’s MY truth.

What’s yours?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Survey Says....

   ….we’re gonna miss ya, Richard!

I was so sorry to hear of Richard Dawson’s death recently. I just loved seeing him on the various game shows, Hogan’s Heroes and of course – Family Feud.

When Hogan’s Heroes was on in the 60’s, the whole family watched it. Cpl Newkirk was my favorite, probably because of the accent. He just seemed so suave and cool.

When Sarah was a tiny toddler, I always watched Family Feud during the day, and she learned to clap when that show came on. I stopped watching it when Richard left.   

The other game shows of the day were a real hoot. I loved them all. They were such fun and everybody seemed to have a great time. Match Game was probably my favorite, and Richard Dawson always had the best answers.

And so it goes. Another favorite joins eternity…

Friday, June 1, 2012

Reflections After The Trip

Now that I’ve hit the highlights of the Virginia trip, here are some “side issues” that I wanted to write about. God was very, very good to us, and I want to acknowledge that.

I was very concerned about keeping my luggage to a minimum. Since you are now charged for each bag you check, I wanted to be sure and get as much as I could in my checked bag and then hope the overflow would fit in my carry-on. I was amazed at just how much I was able to pack in my suitcase. I more than enough room for my stuff, and was even able to pack all those books I bought for the return home! I had thought for sure I would have to ship them. But Marv and I were able to split them up between our 2 suitcases and get everything else back in as well.

I was also very concerned about boarding Harper. Not about the cost, which wasn’t cheap, but about leaving a very loving and sociable cat in a cage for a week. Foothill Boarding is the BEST PLACE!! The room for the cats was light, airy, CLEAN and the cages were all multi-level. We checked out the place beforehand and were able to reserve a 3 level cage for Harper. When I took him in the morning before we left, the woman in charge, Karen, impressed me so much with her warmth and obvious love for animals. She assured me that Harper would receive extra love from her while I was gone. That eased my mind so much!

Since this whole trip was a once-in-a-lifetime deal, we knew our credit was good enough that we could put things on our cards and pay it off over time. Lots of time! We have always been careful with credit card use, and I thank God so much that we have a good credit rating!

While we were gone, 2 of our friends lost a parent. One friend lost her dad, the other lost his mom. We were able to get home in time for both funerals.

So all in all, the blessings abounded, as they always do. I still fret more than I should. I still worry about stuff I have no control over. In other words, I’m still human. But God made me human and loves me just the same! ♥

Friday, May 25, 2012

Back From Virginia part 4

This next installment starts with the whole reason for the trip: the chocolate fountain! wedding, of course. It was in the chapel of the church and was truly a lovely ceremony. The moms of the bride and groom got bouquets, which was a nice surprise. After the wedding pictures, the reception was in the fellowship hall and was a ‘dessert’ reception. I think you can guess what my favorite part of it was…

The next day, Marv and I hit a used book store before meeting up with Paul and Anne. I scored big time there! I just love finding bargain books! After a quick lunch with Paul and Anne, we went to Poquoson, a small town where Anne’s grandma lives. She had a flat tire the night of the wedding and was unable to come, so had invited us over to meet her. What a treasure she is! Almost 90 and spry as all get out! Her name is also Anne, so I will refer to her as G-Anne (for Grandma Anne) She treated us to another lunch (!) at a local spot and then gave us a tour of the area, where she is related to EVERYONE, since the town was given to the family way back in the day. It’s pretty close to Langley, where she worked for many years. G-Anne has a permanent pass for the base and thought she could smuggle us in for a tour. Apparently not. She tried to get us in at the NASA gate, where we were turned away by the no-nonsense guard. G-Anne tried all her sweet talkin’ skills (which were considerable) on him, but no go. That’s OK…we can tell people we were KICKED OUT OF LANGLEY, which makes a better story…

On Sunday, we went to church with Paul and Anne. This time it was in the big sanctuary. They have a pipe organ and a piano at the front, and a man who KNOWS how to play them both! Wow! I talked to him after the service and asked to see the music for one of the piano pieces. He’s a true artist.
Then it was lunch at Carrabbas! Amazing place! What is very interesting is, I’ve started seeing ads on TV for the chain, but there are NONE in California…as yet, anyway. Later in the afternoon we went to Hollywood Cemetary, which is named for all the holly trees, not movies stars. There were ‘stars’ buried there, but they were from the Civil War. Another amazing place. Such history. Just not enough time to take it all in.

The next day was our last full day in Virginia. Paul and Marv went to Arlington/D.C. for a field trip while I stayed in Midlothian with Anne. My knees just would not have been able to handle all the walking. The first place Anne and I went was to another used book store. Two book stores in one trip! Heaven! I am SUCH a bibliophile…and no, that doesn’t mean I collect Bibles…
Around lunch time, Anne and I got McDonald’s take out and met her daughter Madi at school to share lunch with her. That was so neat! They had a special seating area up on stage in the cafeteria for this purpose, and for kids who had rated special lunch time as rewards, etc. Great idea.
Then I just hung out with Anne at the house until Marv and Paul got back. It was a good time to get to know my daughter-in-law a bit better. All in all a very good day. We all had dinner at the house and watched HGTV. Great family time! Enjoyed it immensely. All too soon it was time for good-byes. If you’re reading this, Paul, (which is highly doubtful, NOT ONE of my blood kin read me) YOU DONE GOOD…I now have another daughter and 2 more grandkids to love. I know you read this, Anne, so you can pass my words on to him…

So ends our trip. Next week I will just natter on about some of the other things about the trip, the prep for it, etc. It will be a long time, if ever, that we get to go back to VA. Very expensive. But I sure wouldn’t mind going back.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Where Are You, Shirtless Wonder?

Living in a small town has some perks. Seeing “interesting” people is one of them.

When Marv and I first moved here, there was a man we called the Shirtless Wonder. I have no clue what age he was. My guess is maybe well in his 30’s in the beginning. We saw him all over town, always walking. He walked with a purposeful stride, like he had someplace special he needed to be. He’d walk in all weather. If it was the least little bit warm out, he would be walking with his shirt off, either in one hand or slung over a shoulder. He was VERY fit looking. Nothing much to look at in the face, but his torso looked like he did weights. As the years went by, we noticed that he would still take his shirt off, but now would be wearing a white tank top underneath. I saw him a couple of times in the grocery store, muttering to himself. I don’t know when it was that we realized we hadn’t seen him in some time. If my first guess about his age was right, he’d be pushing 70 now.

Then there was the couple. Man and woman. Walking everywhere. Many times laden down with shopping bags. They looked to be in their late 20’s. The man was short and on the heavy side and seemed to walk slowly. The woman was the same height and wore impossibly high heels. Always. Couldn’t imagine how she could walk all over town in those heels. She also had jet black hair worn straight down below her waist. I was in line behind them once in a store. She was doing all the talking and pulled out an enormous wad of cash to pay for their purchases. We would see them everywhere for a short period of time. Then they were gone.

And then there was Stalin…
Short little guy with long gray hair and beard and a Stalin hat. Completely dressed in black leather. Always. No matter how hot it was out, he’d still be wearing a leather coat, buttoned up to the top. We saw him a lot at Raley’s. You did NOT want to be close to him in the summer…
I think he was still around long after Shirtless Wonder disappeared. But it’s been many years now since he made an appearance.

By far, though, the one who was around the longest was The World's Oldest Living Cocktail Waitress. There was a "fancy" restaurant where Marv and I would go on special occasions. It had a bar section attached to it, so the cocktail waitress would come around to take drink orders before people ordered dinner. This gal was maybe 97 years old, wearing a short black skirt and spiked heels and had LONG, straggly, blondish (don't know what other color to call it) hair down her back. Absolutely frightening. Wonderful personality of course. But scary to look at. Haven't seen her in a while though, and since the place changed hands we don't go there any more.

Oroville is bigger now, after 34 years of living here. Haven’t really seen anyone out of the ordinary for some time now. I kinda miss the Shirtless Wonder…hope he’s OK.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Back From Virginia part 3

No, that picture is NOT of my little toesies…I don’t do red, at least not on my toes. I went with a nice pearl color. I had never had a pedicure before. The morning before the wedding, the whole female gang went to have their nails done. My fingernails aren’t worth dealing with, but “the mothers” of the bride and groom were treated to a pedicure. What a nice experience! I wouldn’t mind having that done on a fairly regular basis. It’s become increasingly difficult for me to do my toenails anymore, since my knees and back conspire against me. But it was such a pleasure to soak my footsies in the hot water and then have them smoothed and lotioned and the nails filed and painted while I just sat there in a VERY nice chair that had massage capabilities.

Lunch was with Paul and Anne at a local Taco Bell and then it was back to the hotel for a nap. Love my naps!! Then Mr. Garmin led us to the church for the rehearsal and dinner afterward. Beautiful church! Lots of stairs, though. Found out later there was an elevator! The rehearsal went well and then it was time for the dinner in the fellowship hall. Paul had REALLY wanted a Pirate Wedding, and of course, Anne being a SANE person, said no. But she had a surprise in store for Paul…a Pirate Rehearsal Dinner! The wonderful company of Oriental Trading (love them!) had all the supplies needed for such a thing. And a local bakery did the pirate cake. AND Paul and Anne gave presents to everybody! Did not expect that! Marv and I got beautiful scripture mugs and something to put in them: coffee and tea!  

The next day, Marv and I did some sightseeing. We didn’t have to be at the church until 6pm, so that gave us plenty of time. We went to the Museum of the Confederacy, which was right next door to Jefferson Davis’ house when he was the Confederate President. So much history in such a time of turmoil for our nation! Very sobering to consider.

One of my main objects while in Virginia was to find some “tourist souvenir stuff” to take back. I really wanted postcards, too. NOT TO BE FOUND! In the museum they had lots of very high priced things, but I was looking for a Walmart or some place like it that had that stuff. NOT TO BE FOUND! We went to a Cracker Barrel for lunch and there was a store connected to it, but again, it was all very high priced and not necessarily “Virginia”, just normal boutique type stuff.

Then it was back to rest up for the wedding!

Next week’s blog will be from Fresno, so it will probably be something easy for my brain to handle, since I will have been run ragged by then….♥