Friday, December 27, 2013

End of 2013 Book Report and Tally

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich

More fun and excitement with Stephanie Plum and her sidekick Lula. This time there’s a giraffe involved!
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Ghost Ship by P.J. Alderman

The second book in the series by this author. This time, Jordan’s investigation of a past murder coincides with the present-day murder of a descendent. Great series so far.
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Christmas Memories at Grace Chapel Inn by various authors

It’s been awhile since the last Grace Chapel Inn book came out. This one is comprised of the Howard sisters sharing their own favorite Christmas memories. As always, these books are a delight.
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Reviving Ophelia ~ Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher, Ph.D.

This was one of Sarah’s psych books that looked interesting because it included case histories. Everyone knows what hell adolescent kids go through. This book focuses primarily on the female gender. I did get some insight for some of the stuff I went through, and the mistakes I made while Sarah was going through this time of life. This book should be required reading for parents of girls. I don’t know if there is a book like this on what boys go through, but there should be. One of the statements a girl made in this book really hit home. She said, “Everything good in me died in junior high.” Truer words were never spoken.

Now the tally:

I read 40 books this year.
Non-fiction: 8
General fiction: 12
Historical fiction: 2
Mystery/Sci-fi/Paranormal: 15
Cookbooks: 2
Special book-in-progress by Sara: only 1 (but it was GREAT!)

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Remarkably Random Ramblings and Ruminations

This week has been INSANE and all I can do is just start pulling stuff outta my brain and putting it on paper so I can get a blog done.

Last Saturday was my birthday party. I’m 60. Had a GREAT time of food, fun and fellowship. Had a little too much wonderful Mexican food and MAYBE too much vodka, but that’s what it’s all about, right?

Tuesday was Bible study group. I love my group. It’s a place of complete safety. I can dump all my troubles in the middle of the floor and get it all prayed over. And the same goes with everyone else in the group. We prop each other up.

Wednesday was Advent service and Marv, Thea and I did Coventry Carol for offering. Love that haunting tune and have an awesome arrangement for it.

Thursday was a final (so I thought) shopping foray for Christmas stuff. Got things wrapped that needed wrapping and waited for the final things Marv was bringing home so I could prep the two packages that needed to be mailed. THEN I found out that I made a MASSIVE mistake when I paid the mortgage last month…eek. Got it rectified today.

AND made what I HOPE is the absolute FINAL foray to Walmart for things my MIL wants to give my nieces two girls for Christams. So other than food shopping, I do believe I’m done…so NOW you can stick a fork in me!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Keeping It Simple

With everything else going on (as usual) things are starting to get very hectic and I think I’m heading for burn-out. We got the tree up late this year, and for the last week all we’ve had on it is the lights it came with. And it looks very pretty just the way it is. I considered leaving it that way, but know I will enjoy having ornaments on it.

I decided on a different approach this year. I had Marv put the garland on last night, before any ornaments are on the tree. Usually, the garland is the last thing. This way, the ornaments will go where they will definitely be seen, rather than hidden by garland. I also had Marv take down ONE box of ornaments, and that will be the ones we put on the tree. Period. I have 3 other huge bins of ornaments and just couldn’t face going through them all.

I also considered not putting up the Manger this year. We did a different placement of the tree and there really is no good spot for the manger in the front room. Then I hit on the idea of putting it in the hallway on the bookcase where my kitty car cookie jar is. The hall nightlight is right above that shelf and I think it will look kinda like the Star of Bethlehem shining above the manger. I might even look for a special light to plug in there.

I already feel more like getting into it all. It just won’t be as much as in previous years.

I also decided NOT to make Christmas cards this year. It would be more of a job than a joy. So everyone is getting store-bought cards this year. I love sending and receiving cards and would never cut that activity out, I’m just giving myself a bit of a break this year.

There. I will put up some ornaments later and set up the Manger. And then sit and think about what this whole season is about. We were given a magnificent gift from God, and we need to really ponder that.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Dec 2013 Book Report

Haunting Jordan by P.J. Alderman

First book in a fun little series. Jordan escapes from the spotlight of her husband’s murder in L.A. and buys an old Victorian house in the state of Washington to restore. It comes complete with ghosts. Who want their own murders solved. I look forward to more from this writer.
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Deadly Heat by “Richard Castle”

The latest in the Castle series. In this one, Nikki closes her mother’s murder case and prevents a bioterror event. These are such well-written books, and a delight to read.
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Addams Family Values by Todd Strasser

This book was written from the screenplay of the movie. I loved the movie, and this book was lots of fun.
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UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn

This was a free ebook, and I didn’t realize it was the first one of a series. It was a good story though, and came to a good conclusion, so even if I don’t get more books from the series, it’s OK. Mina Grimes is very unlucky. It gets even worse when she finds she is the descendant of one of the Grimm brothers and must solve “fairy tale” stories or die. This is a YA paranormal book. Good read.
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Finding My Father by Rod McKuen

I always loved his poems and songs back in the day. I stumbled across this autobiography at a sale. The book was written when Rod was in his 40s and searching for info on his birth father. Lots of poems included in the work, some from his past writings and some that were written especially for this book. Lots of pictures, too.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Sitcom Dads

Did you ever wonder what some of the TV sitcom dads did for a living? I’m talking about ones from my childhood and teens. Most of the action of the shows took place amongst a family setting, with little mention of Dad’s occupation. There were a few obvious exceptions. Everyone knew that Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) was a sheriff, and Darren Stevens (Dick York/Dick Sargent) was an ad man. And some did have reference to the job. I decided to do some sleuthing and this is what I found:

Henry Mitchell (Herbert Anderson) from “Dennis the Menace” was an engineer for the Trask Corp.

Jim Anderson (Robert Young) from “Father Knows Best” was an insurance agent.

Steven Douglas (Fred MacMurray) from “My Three Sons” was an aeronautical engineer. I do recall some episodes where he came home with some large rolled-up papers under his arm.

Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont) from “Leave It To Beaver” had some kind of office job.

Mike Brady (Robert Reed) from “Brady Bunch” was an architect. And I remember some references to this job.

Martin Lane (William Schallert) from “The Patty Duke Show” was managing editor of a newspaper.

Bentley Gregg (John Forsythe) from “Bachelor Father” was an attorney.

Bill Davis (Brian Keith) from “Family Affair” was a civil engineer.

Don’t you feel smarter now? You’re welcome.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Facebook "Poke"

When I first got on Facebook, I thought the “poke” deal was superfluous and didn’t pay a lot of attention to it. Then a friend mentioned about praying for someone each time they “poked” that person.

I liked that. I liked that a lot!

I stopped just returning pokes whenever they happened. I started praying for the person I sent a poke to. So if I get poked and don’t return it right away, it’s because I’m busy and want to wait until I have the time to truly THINK about that person and pray for them.

Sometimes it will be several days and I’ll have several pokes to answer. I will stop or finish whatever I’m doing on FB and sit there and really pray before returning the poke.

Another friend called me a good “poker pray-er”. I like that, too…

Friday, November 15, 2013

Our First Date

When Marv moved up from southern California back in the summer of 1974, the first thing he did was find the local Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. We didn’t “meet” until the annual church picnic in September. After that, we would chat at coffee hour after the services. Our first date was November 15. There was a concert at the college with Dr. Bowman on harpsichord and Dr. Mallory on violin. Dr. Bowman was always fabulous, but this was the first time I’d heard Dr. Mallory. Amazing violin work!
Anyway, the date progressed, yada yada yada, we got engaged on the anniversary of our first date, and the next thing you know, we’ve been married for 37 years…
Today marks 39 years since that date. Must’ve been some date, huh? *wink wink*


Friday, November 8, 2013

Book Report November 2013

Guideposts has put out a new series of Christian novels called The Blue Hill Library Series. They involve a young widow with two small children who inherits her great aunt’s house and renovates it into a library for the town. 
These books follow Anne as she tries to put her life back together after the death of her husband, deal with 2 kids and a huge renovation. So far I have really enjoyed the first 3 books of the series. What is interesting is that all the books have the author listed as “Emily Thomas”, but that is a pen name for different people who write the books. Here are the titles:
Nowhere to be Found
Shadows of the Past
Unlocking the Truth
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The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

This was a delightful YA paranormal book that my eldest granddaughter lent me. Elizabeth is your typical teen going through all the changes most teens go through. Her generous heart lands her a dream job in a very unusual library, full of magical things. They all have to do with the fairy tales of the Grimm brothers. The writing is excellent and the story was a real adventure.
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I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee

Ms. Bee is a comedienne on The Daily Show. I’ve never seen the show, but her writing is hilarious. This book comprises of biographical essays. I originally got the book from the Dollar Store strictly to use as an altered book, but got drawn into the writing. I’m still going to alter the book, but I really enjoyed the essays.  

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Paging Mr. Peabody and Sherman!

I got in the ol’ Wayback machine, looking for blog fodder (hmmm. Sounds like something Don Corleone would talk about) and came across this little bit o’ fun from a few years ago. Some of my answers remain the same, some not.
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I give you money and send you into the grocery store to pick up 5 items. You can only pick one thing from the following departments. What do you buy?
1. Produce: navel oranges
2. Bakery: French donuts!!
3. Meat: t-bone steak
4. Frozen: ice cream (of course!)
5. Dry goods: candles

Let's say we're heading out for a warm weekend getaway. You're only allowed to bring 3 articles of clothing with you. So what's in your bag?
1. casual shift
2. Capri pants
3. loose blouse

If I was to listen in on one of your conversations throughout the day, what 4 phrases or words would I be most likely to hear?
1. Cool beans
2. Okie dokie
3. Really??
4. Well, I'll be darned

So, what 4 things do you find yourself doing every single day, and if you didn't get to do them, you probably wouldn't be in the best mood?
1. Bathe
2. Eat
3. Sleep
4. Laugh

You're driving down the road, and suddenly you're hit with this sense of road rage. What 3 factors probably contributed to it?
1. Jerk driver
2. Jerk pedestrian
3. Jerk driver (there's always more than just one!)

Sweet! You just scored a whole afternoon to yourself. We're talking about a 3 hour block with nobody around. What 5 activities might we find you doing?
1. reading
2. napping
3. watching a movie
4. playing on the computer
5. snacking

We're going to the zoo. But, it looks like it could start storming, so it'll have to be a quick visit. What 3 exhibits do we have to get to?
1. the big cats, of course
2. a bird/butterfly exhibit
3. lemurs
You just scored tickets to the taping of any show on TV. You can pick between 4, so what are you deciding between?
None of my favorites are taped before a live audience, so I'll just say what stars I'd love to meet:
1. Scott McGillivray from Income Property
2. Jim Caveizel from Person of Interest
3. Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs
4. Nathan Fillion from Castle

You're hungry for ice cream. I'll give you a triple dipper cone. What 3 flavors can I pile on for ya?
1. Black Cherry
2. Rum Raisin
3. Butter Brickle

Somebody stole your purse/wallet. In order to get it back, you have to name 5 things you know are inside. So, what's in there?
1. wallet
2. fan
3. tissue
4. hand lotion
5. checkbook

You are at a job fair, and asked in what areas you are interested in pursuing a career. Let's pretend you have every talent and ability to be whatever you wanted. What 4 careers would be fun for you?
1. Best-selling author
2. Mixed-media artist
3. Children's art teacher
4. Classical pianist

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pieces of My Mind

The last two days were lost in a sinkhole of pain, and I really don’t have much of a blog this week. I haven’t had an ongoing migraine in many years and this one caught me by surprise. It’s over now, and about all I can do is just ramble a bit. You can pass this one by if you want…I promise a better one next week. So bring on the ramblings!

The last time I was in Fresno, Lia had a very loose tooth that was being stubborn about leaving her mouth. One night, she agreed to let Sarah tie a piece of floss around it and yank it out. Lia sat on the edge of the sink in the bathroom while I held her and Sarah yanked. The tooth didn’t come out. Sarah thought maybe she hadn’t pulled it the right way or whatnot and after we calmed Lia down, I gave it a shot. I wrapped that floss around my pointer finger on my right had and I REALLY pulled! That sucker did NOT COME OUT! Lia was REALLY upset now and I was bleeding from a very deep half inch slice in my finger from the floss! I immediately grabbed a tissue so Lia wouldn’t see the blood. Not surprisingly, Lia wouldn’t let us come near her mouth after that. It wasn’t until a week or so later that Lia pulled the thing out by herself.

Next Thursday is Halloween, and this is the first year that the purchased candy has remained in the grocery bag, unopened. I usually get the bag home, open it and put it in the big “handout” bowl and set it in the living room. And we usually have to buy another bag by the time Halloween rolls around…
Not this time! We have remained strong and resolute!

I have always preferred the orange cafĂ© flavored instant coffee put out by Maxwell House. I have that every morning. My only complaint is that it isn’t available in decaf form. I usually only have one cup of caffeine coffee in the morning and decaf the rest of the day. I’ve tried all the other flavors, and just prefer normal instant decaf and use flavored creamer. And so far, they don’t make orange flavored creamer. I finally had the bright idea of getting orange extract and putting a couple of drops of that in my coffee. AWESOME!

OK. I’m tired. It’s been a crappy couple of days and I always write these things Thursday night, so I think I’m done now and am going to bed…sorry if this is drek. Ta for now.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book Report October 2013

This blog is all about 3 e-books I got for free on my Nook.
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A Blood Seduction by Pamela Palmer

This is the first book in a series about vampires in an alternate Washington, D.C. The city is parallel to the real one, with goings and comings freely between the two. Until the Magic wears out, that is. Quinn is a scientist with something “special” about her, and when she accidentally falls over the border into Vamp City, things really start going wrong. I was hooked within the first few pages of this book and look forward to the sequels.
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Evan Burl and the Falling by Justin Blaney

This was a very interesting book, in that it hasn’t been published yet. At least, not really. I still don’t quite understand it all. It seems there was ‘something’ published in two volumes, and this e-version is both put together, but when it’s REALLY published it might be different. Whatever. It was a good read. It caught my interest and even knowing it didn’t really have an end was OK. I most likely will buy the finalized version, and hope for sequels. It’s very hard to try and do a synopsis on this. I highly recommend it, though. You’re just gonna have to trust me on this one. Go to Blaney’s website and you can get the e-book for yourself. Free!
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The Midwife’s Here! by Linda Fairley

This was a joy to read, one of the main reasons being the author is about my age, and everything took place in a time period I was very familiar with. This is Linda’s autobiography of becoming a midwife in England in the 1960s. I’ve always loved this type of book. It was interesting to read about how things were done back then and how much the medical world has changed regarding childbirth. I look forward to her sequel.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Flashback Meme Time!!

Flashback Kitty is taking you back in time, back to when I was still on My Space……

Srsly, tho, I came across this meme in my files when I was going through a “purge spree” and decided to update a few of the questions. Hey, it’s not plagiarism if one takes from oneself, is it? (ask me if I care, go on, I dare you!)

1. People say you learn something new every day, so what did you learn today?
Grapes are toxic to dogs.

2. Which do you prefer: French toast, bagels, pancakes, waffles, or cereal?
French toast with lots of butter, powdered sugar and real maple syrup! And BACON!!

3. In your opinion, what is the very worst type of weather?
Humid! Hate it! I am SO grateful that my parents moved us out from the Midwest to California when I was 4. Even as a toddler, I remember HATING that hot muggy weather.

4. What is something you're proud of yourself for?
All credit goes to Jesus, but I’m pretty chuffed about my kids and grandkids. I’m also proud that I tried to start a new type of fellowship group at church, even though it was rejected.

5. What’s something that can always make you feel better?
Prayer, Marvin, thinking about Lia, chatting with friends, chocolate, good cup of flavored coffee, meds.

6. Window seat or aisle seats?
Aisle! If I have to escape, I don’t want to have to crawl over someone. I feel this way whether it’s an airplane, movie theater, church, etc. I don’t like being hemmed in.

7. Are you a big fan of thunderstorms?
Oooh, you bet! Love thunder and lightening.

8. How do you feel about change?
Prefer quarters and dimes to nickels and pennies. Seriously though, I’m a Lutheran. I HATE change! J jk

9. Are you a forgiving person?
I try to be. My biggest fault is that I don’t forget…

10. Have you ever passed out?
Sorta. Used to come close to it all the time when I was pregnant with Sarah. I’d get all woozy in church and have to leave. It got so the pastor started shaking my hand BEFORE the service, because chances were that I’d be outside by the time service was over. Once I did briefly lose consciousness during the service, but I was propped up between Marv and the end of the pew and remained upright. No one knew. Weird feeling.

11. When was the last time something REALLY made you laugh?
Marv makes me laugh all the time. He said that’s why he married me—I laughed at all his jokes, and still do.

12. Are you on any medication?
Ohhh yeah…the older I get, the more meds seem to fill my cabinet. A friend of mine calls them “Golden Years Meds”.

13. Do you love where you live?
Yes, if you mean Northern California. Grew up in Chico, have lived in Paradise and now in Oroville. Great area.

14. Are you easily amused?
Ridiculously so, sometimes. Simple minds….

15. Do you think you'll be married in 5 years?
God willing. That would make 42 years of wedded bliss.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Special Book Report

To Awaken The Sidh by Sara L. Wehr

This is a special review on a book not yet published. And *I* got to read it first! That’s because I am a close personal friend of the author! The picture I have here isn’t the cover of the book, because there is no cover as yet. It’s just a Celtic pic I got off the Internet.

I don’t want to give away plot points, so I will just say that in this first book by Ms. Wehr, you will get:

Excitement galore

And all with a fine Celtic flavor. Fey folk. Magic. Troubadours.

There is even a Pooka, and it is NOT a 6-foot-tall rabbit!

If you like your fantasy reads with all of the above, you will LOVE this book! And I will keep you posted as to when and where it’s available…

Friday, September 27, 2013

I Don't Care, I'm Old!

I think the biggest “plus” about getting to be a “woman of a certain age” is that I really don’t care much anymore what other people think of me. In fact, sometimes I go a bit out of my way to be seen as eccentric. It’s fun. Not for my kids when we’re out in public, but hey, I don’t care!

I can go to IHOP with a friend and after we’ve ordered our yummy meal WITH A SENIOR DISCOUNT, we can happily color our kid menus with the accompanying crayons that we snagged as we came in the door. Now, if there had only been a couple of these in the basket, we would have left them for REAL kids, but that basket was STUFFED. So there we were, coloring away…we didn’t care!

I have always enjoyed a fancy coffee from Starbucks. They’re pricey, yes, but oh, so good. Their food offerings are good, too, but way out of my budget. SO…my same friend from above and I like to pack a sack lunch and go to Barnes and Noble in Chico, which has a Starbucks. We order our fancy coffees and I get a discount for having a B&N membership and a small kickback when I use my B&N credit card. Awesome lunch. The last time we went, we stopped at S&S Produce for a can of olives (with a pop top) to enjoy with our sandwiches. (We drained the can before going inside the store.) So there we were, enjoying our bologna sandwiches and spearing olives from the can with a coffee stir stick. We didn’t care!

And whenever I’m in a store and the muzak is playing a song I know, I ALWAYS sing along. Out of consideration for the general public, I sing at less than full volume, but I DO sing! People might look at me funny, but ya know what??

I DON’T CARE!   :-)

…peace out, dude…

Thursday, September 19, 2013

25¢ Shoes

I think I was 15 when my brother and I went back to Kansas City to visit our Aunt Bernice. She was a widow with no children. One time she and I went shopping and she got a big kick out of walking into a swanky women’s store with absolutely no intention of buying anything. The prices were way too high. But she pretended to be looking for a fancy bathrobe. That was back when sales clerks got credit for selling stuff. Aunt Bernice asked the clerk all sorts of questions about the durability of the fabric, whether it was washable, etc. Then she thanked the clerk in a kind of snooty manner and we moved on. I got a kick out of her little “acting” job.

We then went to a shoe store and looked at the shoes on sale. There was a pair of screaming loud pink flats. (This was 1968, BTW) They were on sale for 25¢. I had absolutely NOTHING to wear with these shoes, but Aunt Bernice insisted on buying them for me. After all, TWENTY-FIVE CENTS!! WHAT A BARGAIN!!

These shoes soon became absolute favorites with me. I wore them until the soles started separating. My favorite combination was these shoes and a burnt-orange plaid dress. At that time I loved the color combo of hot pink and orange. I kinda cringe now in my mind thinking of this ensemble. I wasn’t exactly fond of this dress, but it had a wide shiny black belt that went with it, and I loved wearing it with the pink shoes. Once the shoes bit the dust I don’t think I ever wore that dress again. I think I saved the belt, though, to use with other outfits.

This is not a picture of my shoes, but one I got from the Internet. This is about the right color, but mine were more of a Mary Jane style. Loved those things. *sigh*

Friday, September 13, 2013

Miller's Market

My grandparents, Jacob and Luhlo Miller had a little grocery store in Kansas City. In the back was the butcher shop portion. They lived in an apartment above the store. I was about 3 years old when my parents and I moved in with them. We all lived there until after my brother was born, and then the store was sold and we all moved out to California so my dad could find work.

This picture is one I got on the Internet; it isn’t my grandparent’s store, but the layout is close. The floors were wood, and I remember when I got roller skates, my mom would push me up and down the aisles after the store was closed.

I remember when my grandfather cut his hand very badly in the butcher shop. He sat upstairs in the living room with his hand in a bowl of water. It was one of the few times I can remember him being still. He was always in the store. A few years after we moved to California, he had several strokes and after that, about all he could do was sit. Very difficult for a formerly active man.

There was a basement where my grandma did the laundry, and it opened out into the back yard where the clothesline was. I was scared to death going down to the basement. Not for anything in the basement, but the stairs were very steep (to my mind) and I couldn’t reach the handrail. I was terrified of falling down those stairs.

There was an alley on the side of the store, and my dad would take me on my sled there in the winter. I missed the snow when we moved. We first lived in southern California, and I didn’t expect snow there. When we moved north to Chico, I thought there would be snow for sure. I didn’t understand elevation. I did seem to know that north meant cold, and cold meant snow. Nope.

And that’s about all I remember. I sure wish I had some pictures of that store.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Marie Wright

In high school Botany class, we were assigned to do something concerning plants. A lot of kids did a report on wildflowers with pressed flowers. I decided to do weeds. Much more interesting. My mom worked in the office of the local Girl Scout Council, and said that a lady who also worked there could probably help me a lot. Her name was Marie Wright. She knew everything about plants. She invited me to come to the office and she would help me.

Next to the office was a field filled with all different weeds. Marie walked around that field with me and pointed out all of them. I had an old phone book to press the weeds in, and would write the names down as I put them between the pages. I got a ton of those things. Some of the weeds actually had pretty little flowers. Made up a nice album of them and got an “A” on it.

Sadly, a few months later, Marie was killed by a drunk driver. I never even got to show her my album. I still think about her. She showed me the beauty of weeds.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Summer Has "Fall"en

Such a melancholy time of year, yet it’s my favorite. The days are still a little too warm, and the nights aren’t cooling off enough yet, but I can feel the season creeping in. Crunchy leaves. Crisp nights. The smell of wood smoke from the fireplaces.

It also means: Time for school. *sigh* Now that Lia has started Kindergarten, I’ve been getting some of the old feelings back that used to accompany this time of year…

The only tradition I enjoyed about the “back to school” time was the new clothes I’d get. My mom would take my brother and I shopping and pick out a few new outfits. The new clothes couldn’t be worn until school started. I still remember one particular outfit that became a favorite. The skirt was a rich light brown with a touch of red. The blouse was cream with green leaves all over. Loved that outfit. This was back in the day when girls HAD to wear dresses or skirts. No pants! It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in high school that the dress code changed.

Along with school clothes, we’d also get to pick out new winter pajamas. I LOVED flannel pjs! I’d usually have a couple sets of pants/tops and a couple long nightgowns, all flannel. It would be a while before it was cold enough to start wearing them, but they were waiting for me!

Now I see all the back to school stuff in the stores and feel like I should be getting some new clothes and pajamas. Maybe pick up a couple notebooks and a new set of pens while I’m there. I LOVED getting a fresh box of crayons at the beginning of school. I don’t think schools even supply them anymore.

Ah well. Goodbye Summer. Hello Autumn. Come in and have a cup of hot chocolate.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Squeez Cheez Saved My Life

OK. It didn’t really save my life, but it sure helped in a tough time. And it was called Squeez A Snak, made by Kraft, back in the late 60s and early 70s.  I loved it. It came in several flavors, the cheddar/bacon one being my favorite.

In the early 70’s, I had my wisdom teeth removed. During summer vacation, of course, so I wouldn’t miss any school. It wasn’t like it is today…go to the oral surgeon, you’re knocked out, wake up with all 4 teeth out, recover with some fine meds. Mine were done one visit at a time. By our family dentist. Local anesthetic. I could hear it all and smell the blood. It took at least 2 hours each time. I’d go home and when I had healed enough, I’d go back for another round. Nightmare.

I don’t remember any pudding or ice cream being available. Soup, maybe. No coddling here. I was so sore and so swollen and bruised that nothing really appealed to me anyway. About the only thing I could try after a few days was the squeeze cheese on toast. I’d butter the toast and spread the cheese on it and let it sit there and get soft and mushy. Then I could sort of gently suck on it and get it down.

I guess my parents felt sort of sorry for me, because when it was my brother’s turn to have his wisdom teeth out a few years later, he got to go to an oral surgeon. When it was time for my kids to go through this, of course it was through an oral surgeon. And I made sure there was jello, ice cream, pudding, whatever they wanted. Squeez A Snak was no longer available, but I doubt that the kids would’ve wanted any. Snobs. J

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tea, Anyone?

I am a total Anglophile. I love all things Brit, but have a special soft spot for Victorian Britain. And Regency Britain. And Miss Marple Britain. The style, the grace, the tea. Coffee is my main drink, but I love the thought of a real tea party. I’d love to go into a tea shop (Tea Shoppe) and get a plate of cute little cakes and a pot of tea. I remember trying to have a tea party when Sarah was little and we used her Playskool Tea Set. I think I used apple juice instead of tea, and had little goodies to put on the plates. I think Sarah was highly unimpressed. I think Lia might be more appreciative, but I’m gonna wait a couple more years.

In my mind, tea would take place in the sun room of the cottage. So bright and lovely with all the plants in bloom. Small table, white cloth, the best china, of course. Little bread, butter and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Petit fours of all colors. Cranberry scones with lemon curd. Two pots of tea: one with orange spice and the other with mint. Cubed sugar and real cream. I’d wear my pastel dress and cream straw hat with the flowers in the front. No gloves. It’s casual.

If it was a nice day, the table would be set up in the garden in the white gazebo. Hanging pots of geraniums all around. All my besties would be there in their summery dresses and hats. We’d have our tea and chat and solve all the world’s problems in one afternoon.

Doesn’t that sound nice? 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Book Report August 2013

The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham

I had never read any Maugham before. This book was one from my mom’s library. I really wish I had read more of her books and had discussed them with her before she died. I really enjoyed this book, which takes place shortly after WW1 and ends roughly 15 years later. I have to admit skimming the philosophy talk toward the end of the book. I would be very interested in seeing the 1946 movie that was made based on this book. I can’t imagine what the 1984 version was like with Bill Murray. I know that movie was panned and from what I read about it, it had little to do with the book. The book tells the story of Larry, a young pilot in the war, who basically separates himself from the world in order to find peace of spirit.
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The Mason Williams Reading Matter by Mason Williams

I have always loved the music of Mason Williams. When this book came out in 1969, I bought it as a gift for my brother. He loved it, and so did I. I really regretted not buying a copy for myself. Much later I found a copy in very good condition at a thrift store, but didn’t read it again until recently. OMG. Talk about a “bathroom book”. We have a friend who uses this term for something that can be written while sitting on the toilet. He uses the same term of derision for music that has no talent or thought behind it. I couldn’t believe this was the same book I raved about back in ’69. It had some amusing stuff in it, but I KNOW I COULD WRITE SOMETHING LIKE THIS. I can do stream of consciousness writing…I can repeat random words to fill a page….I can dash off nonsense like you wouldn’t believe…but I doubt that anyone would pay me for it. Phooey.
BTW, his music STILL ROCKS totally….

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Subject I know Nothing About

I don’t care about cars. Make, model, color, whatever. For a long time I didn’t even know the difference between make and model. A Chevy was a Chevy. A Malibu was a Malibu. Two different cars. I just want to get from Point A to Point B in relative comfort and safety. And we’ve never had a new car, we always get them used.  A/C is a must. Automatic transmission is a must. Everything else is optional. For years I drove my dad’s old station wagon (don’t ask me what kind) and it didn’t have a working radio. It did have A/C, but it would leak icy cold water on your foot every time you went around a corner. I learned to take corners with my foot off the pedal and out of the way.

That being said, there are some cars that appeal to me visually. And if someone were to gift me with one of these cars, I would accept and say thank you very much. So far, that has not happened….

There is the cutest little blue and white car that I see around town that Marv said was a Metropolitan. Tiny little thing. LOVE THAT CAR! I know nothing about it except that it is cute and adorable and I want one. But only if I could put a huge key on the top, like one for a wind-up toy. And I’d want it to spin around in the wind while driving it. And it would have to be magnetic so I could lock it inside the car when it was parked. And of course I would call it “My Toy” but would not pay good money for a stupid vanity plate that would most likely be stolen immediately.

I think Cubes are adorable too. I like the lines of them. Kind of like if all the sharp corners had melted a bit. If I had one, I’d call it “Cube-Bert” but it would be spelled like the video game of the 80s: Q*bert. I LOVED that game….

Smart cars are beyond cute. You just want to take them home and hang them on your Christmas tree. From the very beginning, I thought they looked like huge tennis shoes. Kind of like the ones worn by Jeremy Duncan in the comic strip “Zits”. Just one big shoe. Somehow put laces on the hood. I’d probably call it “Nike” or something like that.

That’s another thing. We name our cars. The old Ford Galaxy that my parents gave us when the kids were little was enormous, kind of off-white, and we called it either “The Beast” or “Titanic” depending on our mood. Then there was “The Brown Bomber” a truly ugly Crown Victoria that had the bad habit of stopping on you unexpectedly and not wanting to start again. Usually in the middle of traffic, or middle of nowhere, neither of which is good. The current car I drive is a Prizm that I call “Winky the Wonder Car” or just “Winky” for short. It got that name because it can get into the smallest parking space from just about any direction. We recently got a white Yaris to replace the truck. I wanted to call it “Casper” but Marv wants to call it something else. So right now it remains nameless. Maybe just pronounce the name like a pirate would: “Yarrrrris!” Maybe get a stuffed parrot and attach it somehow, or fly a Jolly Roger.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Book Report July 2013

Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer

This was from the children’s section. Written in 1936, it was a little unusual in the way it brought reality into a child’s world. Kid’s lit in those days didn’t include the deaths of friends. This was a semi-autobiographical account of Ruth’s life one year in New York in the 1890s. The main character, Lucinda, had unusual freedom while staying with elderly sisters while her parents were in Europe. She could roam freely through New York City with absolutely no fears. Totally unheard of now, of course. A truly enjoyable look at life in a time long past. And even though it included the sad deaths of an elderly friend and a little girl, stuff like that happens.
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The Witches by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl wrote some really odd children’s books. Some are not ones I would read to a small child. This is one of them. An enjoyable book, well written. Definitely for an older child. I saw the movie based on this book years ago. It had a happy ending. The book didn’t. Be warned.
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How to Write Yuki Teikei Haiku by Edward A. Thompson

When Sarah was in high school, a local writer asked the art teachers at both high schools for illustrations for some of the poems in his book about traditional haiku. She submitted some drawings and had two of them used in the book. Each student that had his/her work used received a free paperback of this book. Sarah had zero interest in Haiku (still doesn’t) and let me keep the book. I had looked through it and read the poetry and of course made note of Sarah’s art. I recently read the whole thing. The philosophy behind this style of poetry was interesting. I did learn a few things about one of my favorite forms of poetry. I’ve always loved haiku. I skimmed through it and then read the poems again. I think my haiku are fully as good, and in some instances better, than what this guy wrote.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Gimme 5 - July 2013

This one ties in a bit with my last “Gimme” post, which had to do with travel. This one is:

5 Places in the world where I’d like to live for a year. And again, they’re in no particular order.

1. England. I’d like to experience a year of seasons in an area where I could take weekend trips to Wales as well. There is SO much history in both countries, and to do any justice at all would take at least a year, I’d think. And I don’t mean living in a large city. I would love to explore the rural areas, country lanes, things like that. I’d love to have a sweet cottage with a small garden. Of course, what comes to mind is the Agatha Christie type place, which no longer exists for the most part.

2. Australia. No big cities here, either. I want to see the outback. Visit Uluru. Go to a rainforest. Experience the rainy season. Visit a sheep station.

3. Alaska. A cabin in the pines. Maybe near a lake. Even though I’m not fond of fish, I’d be willing to learn to cook and eat it when it’s fresh from the water.

4. A houseboat in Seattle. Those little communities look so inviting. Maybe split my time between there and a cabin down the coast in Eureka, close to the redwoods and the ocean.

5. Traveling the US in an RV. One of the really fancy ones with a top deck and a slide out side to give lots of room. And the way Marv would want to do this is to fly into the area we want to explore, rent an RV, and when we’re finished exploring, fly into the next area. That way, you could visit every state and spend a week in the area you want to visit the most. And since I’d have already lived in Alaska, I could spend TWO weeks in Hawaii!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hear That??

That’s the sound of an empty nest. For the last 2 weeks we’ve had my son, his wife, and her daughter visiting us from Virginia. And last weekend we had my daughter and her daughter here as well. Full house, indeed. And it was wonderful! I loved having both my kids here! I loved having their families here too! It was total chaos but it was nice to feel like a real mom again.

And now they’re gone. It will probably be a long time before my son and his family are able to come out again. And now that Lia is starting school everyday, visits from them will be fewer, as will be my visits down to Fresno. Not a lot of point to spending all day at the house and only being with Lia in the afternoon and evening. I will admit to a LOT of sadness about that. It’s just not as much fun to color in coloring books without Lia there by my side…

BUT…now I hope to really get into my altered books again. I have decided that is my real love as far as crafting goes. I intend to clear out my craft room and put it back together again, with the hope that this time it will be “for reals” and will stay that way. I know that will make Myrtle happy.

So a new time of life starts. I’ve been less of a “mom” for some time now, and “grandma” now takes a back seat as well. Not having an outside job since having kids, my life and sense of self-worth has revolved around caring for someone else. Now it’s my turn.

But if Sarah calls and needs me for any reason, I will be in Fresno so fast your head will spin!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Requien For Ravenwood Fair

This will be my last post about one of the nicest little games I’ve ever played and thoroughly enjoyed. Even though the games aren’t shutting down until the 18th, I’ve chosen to walk away now and not look back.

I started playing RF about the same time as Cityville, and there were several players in common with both games. Cityville became more and more a frustration and a job than a game, so I quit. Ravenwood, however, I loved from the very beginning. When the running of the game changed from the original folks to people who didn’t care about it, I still played, even with all the problems. When the “sequal” game of Ravenskye City started, I enjoyed that too. My first love was still the Fair. I’ve been faithful the whole time, problems or no. As have many others.

Now the end has come. We’ve been urged to do as much as possible and help our neighbors as much as possible before the final shut-down, but I couldn’t. Just too sad. I started to “get my affairs in order” so to speak, but it was just breaking my heart. Ravenskye was always second place with me, and if that was all that was going bye-by, I could’ve dealt with it. I would’ve still played with my Fair and been happy. Even if it was just rearranging the layout in the fair and the mine.

I would buy this game if it was offered. In a heartbeat. But I doubt that will ever happen.

I didn’t even want to save a screen shot. That’s like taking a picture of your loved one when they’re in the casket. The biggest benefit from the whole thing is the people I’ve meet on Facebook through this game. Some have kept with RF to the end, some haven’t. A lot of the ones who left the game are still my friends on FB and I enjoy the interaction with them personally.

So goodbye Ravenwood. Goodbye Ravenskye. Thanks for the hours of gentle fun.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Camp Two Sentinels

For a while in my youth, I was involved in Girl Scouts, mainly because my mom had a big interest in the organization. I was in it for several years, but by the time I was in junior high I had lost interest. My mom kept up with it though. She took first aid classes, and for a couple of summers was the nurse at Girl Scout camp. In the summer of 1966, the camp was at Two Sentinels by Lake Kirkwood. A bit southwest of Tahoe. Lovely area. My favorite type of nature. Even though I was no longer in a troop, I could’ve gone to camp. I went the previous year on that consideration, but I’d had my fill of sleeping on the ground.
Camp had been going on for a while when my dad and I went to visit mom and my brother. My brother got to tag along, and at the age of 8 he was a little cutie and sort of the camp mascot. We were only going to be gone the weekend. Once I got there, I was hooked. I wanted to stay, but did NOT want to be in a unit. So I was allowed to stay and sleep in the infirmary (on a bed!) as long as I earned my keep.
I got up at the crack of dawn and went down to the kitchen and helped the cook get everything ready for breakfast. I did the same for dinner. Lunch was usually a sack lunch that the girls in the units would make up themselves after breakfast. After dishes were done, the rest of the day was my own. One girl had brought a huge stack of 16 and Tiger Beat magazines, and for some reason the unit counselor confiscated them until the end of session. They were brought to the infirmary and I was DELIGHTED with them!
Between sessions, a few of the counselors wanted to go into Kirkwood to the movies. My mom and I went with them. We saw “Shenandoah” with Jimmy Stewart.
At some point, there was an open bed in the cabin where some of the kitchen help slept, and I started sleeping there instead of the infirmary. There were a couple times when a camper was sick and had to stay in the infirmary for a couple of days. One time a girl was sick enough that they had to call on a doctor who was staying in a vacation cabin around the other side of the lake. I was dispatched to go fetch her. So I walked around the lake until I found the right cabin. There was another girl who became ill and they were moving her out of the infirmary on a stretcher and she had a seizure. Scared me to death!
That was the last year my mom was a camp nurse. I also think it was the last year camp was help at Kirkwood. If I had to pick one type of spot on this earth to spend the rest of my days, it would be in a setting like Kirkwood. Or Tahoe. Or anyplace like it. It doesn’t even have to have a lake. Just give me those pine trees.