Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thoughts on Aging

You Know You’re Getting Old When:

1. The bank tellers and other business people in your life look like high school students.

2. You think every lousy driver on the road is “some stupid kid”.

3. On New Years Eve you’d rather stay home, eat snacks, watch movies and be with your family instead of going to a party.

4. An hour of hard physical work makes you feel like you’ve been beat with a stick, and you used to spend the whole day working in the yard or cleaning the house or walking for 18 holes of golf with never a second thought. Now you hire the yard to be maintained and the house to be cleaned and you ride on a golf cart.

5. After you sit for too long in one spot, when you get up, you creak and kind of “crip” along for a while until everything “loosens up” again.

6. Your feet keep getting bigger, your neck more wrinkled and your boobs more saggy. Body parts that used to be “pert” are now droopy.

7. Your idea of a big night on the town is dinner and a movie. Remember when you used to dance the night away??

8. The reality of “going shopping”, once the most fun thing you could think of, is that it now resembles an endurance race. You send up several prayers of thanks daily for the invention of Internet Shopping.

9. You’d rather be shot than go shopping on Black Friday or the day after Christmas. There is no sale that good.

10. In shoes and clothing, Comfort and Looks becomes more important than Looks and Price.

11. You feel the freedom of your age…..no worries about how sexy you look or whether it’s okay to go to the store with no make-up. You just go and never give it a second thought. Clean and neat is much more important than cute and sexy.

12. You need glasses to watch TV, drive, read or do most anything of interest. You used to have 20-20 perfect vision and you will never forgive your eyes for failing you.

13. You can tell how cold it is, not by watching the local weatherman, but by the degree of stiffness or pain in your joints.

14. Your mind is frequently making these BIG plans that your body can’t possibly keep up with. Your mind is young, your body is getting old. It’s very difficult to keep them properly in sync.

15. The little old gray haired lady sitting across the room is not your mother. It’s The Spouse. And your ages are very much in the same era.

16. You don’t worry greatly about holding your stomach in anymore, no matter who is there. It is what it is.

17. Sex is no longer the first, last and major thing on your mind. It’s not dead, but it’s resting a lot.

18. You know all the words to the “Oldies But Goodies” on the radio.

19. The youth around you talk about “The Sixties” like it is “history” or something. You were there. Wasn’t that just a couple of years ago??

20. You realize that WW2 was over a half century ago. Surely that cannot be. Many of today’s youth have no idea what December 7 represents.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Memories....or not

Today I am packing. I’m heading East to visit with the family and particularly to spend time with my Mom. She’s getting up there in years and I try to go as often as I can to spend quality time with her. She’s a very important person in my life.

Because of the nature of The Spouse’s work, which I have discussed before, I often see how some mothers treat their children and it is truly unbelievable. Just yesterday, Christmas Day, The Spouse had to go to the local hospital to take possession of a newborn that was born drug exposed. In other words, his mother took drugs while pregnant. This is not the first of this woman’s children that this has happened to and this stupid woman keeps losing her kids to the foster system. When The Spouse asked her point blank why she continued taking drugs while pregnant, she responded, “you just don’t understand”. The Spouse agreed she did not and then she took possession of the baby. The mother informed The Spouse that this time she would “fight” for the baby. The Spouse told her good luck. Not gonna happen.

I guess these kinds of things are so far out of the realm of what I experienced as a child, and what I understand about being a mother, that it is like The Spouse is speaking a foreign language when she tells me about these events. I just don’t get it. My mother did so much for me when I was growing up, gave up so much, always put me and my welfare first and I feel very sure never took so much as an aspirin when she was pregnant with me. There are many things I know she did and I’m sure equally as many that I have no idea about. However, as I sit here, robust, healthy, intelligent, etc. etc, I know where a great deal of the credit goes.

She nursed me. I’m not sure young mothers today realize just how important this is. The strength it gave my immune system, the really good brain I function with, the strong bones…..many of those go back to those first few months of my life when Mom nursed me. I have read that testing has PROVEN that babies that are breast fed are more intelligent, healthier and have stronger immune systems. Their brains and bodies just develop better. They have a distinct advantage over the bottle fed. Thanks Mom.

She and my Dad loved each other and stayed together for their entire adult lives. No marriage is perfect. Two people always have “issues” but I never knew what my parent’s issues were. We, their children, just figured they were perfectly matched. They were married for 62 years. A child that is raised in a home with both parents, where those parents love each other, and love and want that child, is so much more likely to become an emotionally healthy, well adjusted adult. Thanks Mom.

She made me take typing in high school. She said I would never go hungry if I knew how to type. She was so right. Thanks Mom.

She taught me to cook. I have no memory of this but then I have no memory in general so this is not unusual. However, today, I am an excellent cook and know many of the “little secrets” of being a good cook. Once when Mom and I were discussing cooking, she rightly pointed out, “just who do you think taught you how to use a measuring cup? Or a sifter? Or a rolling pin? Etc. etc. She’s so right. I have gone above and beyond that basic cooking knowledge, but I had to have that foundation. Thanks Mom.

My mother doesn’t particularly like cooking. She’s not “a cook” like I am. BUT, every night of her life, when she had small children at home, there was a hot cooked meal on the table ready and waiting for her family. She got up every morning and cooked breakfast in order to send us off to school with a full tummy. No matter how tight the budget, and there were times it was plenty tight, there was always food on the table and we always sat down together an ate dinner as a family. Thanks Mom.

When I was an infant, she and my Dad would take turns going to the movies while the other one stayed with me. They didn’t want to leave me with a stranger when I was so little. Thanks Mom.

She and my Dad had more children than just me. Not only because they wanted a bigger family but because they didn’t want me to be an only child. They worried that I would be lonely. Today, my siblings are an important and vital part of my life. I can’t imagine them not being there. Thanks Mom.

When my Dad was overseas (military man) and my Mom was “wrestling” with managing four children alone, she still let me (the oldest) have my teenage freedom. Even though she desperately needed my help with an adolescent, a toddler and a newborn, she still let me go and play ball. My team needed their pitcher as much as she needed her helper. She understood that. Thanks Mom.

I once came very close to being molested. I was just a child. My Mom had a mother's sixth sense, knew something was wrong, and came to my rescue. She got there just in time. Nothing happened. Somehow she knew. Thanks Mom.

When I was a teenager and I was obnoxious, rude, self-righteous, convinced I knew everything, lazy, self-centered and most of all just a huge pain in the ass, she still loved me. I have no idea why. Thanks Mom.

She never said “just wait till your father gets home”……she dealt with it. Thanks Mom.

I could go on and on as my Mom has been a “force” in my life for all of my 63 years. She continues to be to this day. Thanks for everything Mom, I love you.

Back to my packing………….

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Hang in there...it just keeps getting cuter.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Christmas Tree = The Story of My Life

Today, as I walked past the Christmas tree, rather than seeing it as part of the overall holiday schmaltz that is encompassing my home, I tuned in to the various individual ornaments. In a moment of lightning clarity, I realized that the ornaments on the tree really tell the story of our particular lives. I was not unaware of the symbolism as we decorated the tree, but somehow, today it really hit home. Not sure just why, but I thought I would share.

Some people do color schemes when they decorate their tree, others do themes. At my house, we do our life. Many of our ornaments were gifts received over the years, so I guess they are a reflection of how our friends see us. Some of them we purchased as a momento of some event. Others just “happened” to us and we liked them, so they stayed around. We have many more ornaments still packed away, that aren’t being used, as we have a small tree this year. I probably have enough ornaments for a couple of trees but each year we just use the ones that “strike us” as we are decorating. Here’s just a sampling of some of the ornaments on this years tree.

By looking at this ornament, I bet it is entirely unnecessary for me to tell you that we are golfers.

This one reflects the Star Trek years. This is actually the U.S.S. Voyager, but let’s not nitpick.
This one was a gift almost 30 years ago and one that is still well loved. These metal ornaments start to show their age as the years go rolling past. Hence, the scratches. I think of them as the badges of Christmas past.
Need I say that we have a Chicago sports fan in our home?
Back to golf again. I have received golf themed ornaments as gifts quite often over the years.
This is one of our very sentimental decorations. It is homemade and it is actually more green than it looks. The flash “blued” it up considerably. Back in my other life, many, many moons ago, I had three children in my home, one of my own and two that belonged to my now deceased former mate. One Christmas, in a burst of old-fashioned “fun things to do”, we made Christmas ornaments. We found a recipe and mixed up some batter, rolled it out and, using cookie cutters, we cut it into suitable shapes. Then I baked them in the oven until they were rock hard and then we allowed them to cool. After baking, the kids painted the ornaments by hand. It was exceptionally messy and exceptionally fun. Now, here we are, more than 30 years later and this one ornament has survived the test of time. It always goes on the tree. Gina made it.If you have small children, I strongly recommend this as a Christmas activity with your child. Just think about 30 years from now when that little boy is a man with children of his own. That ornament will still be on your tree. Here’s a recipe for the salt dough that we made http://crafts.kaboose.com/saltdoughgifttoppers.html and here’s another: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ornament-Dough/Detail.aspx They seem to be easy to find on the Web.

Here’s another of the aging, and much loved, brass ornaments.
I realize it’s hard to believe, but we actually have a Starbucks coffee cup on our tree. The Spouse loves Starbucks almost as much as she loves me.
And finally, a hand carved, wooden, ornament from Europe. Memories of another time and place.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I wouldn't want you to think I was exaggerating. Check out these pictures taken a few hours apart. Same spot in the back yard.

In other news, I was out running errands today and Californians are just not used to dealing with snow. Icy parking lots were being navigated with tennis shoes and a prayer; I had a mammogram today and the lady doing the check-ins was astounded that I actually showed up; as I drove down the main drag of our little town this morning, both sides of the street were lined up for miles with 18 wheelers. They had been "caught" when the freeway closed due to the snow and ice and so they spent the night in their truck cabs sitting on our main street. The freeway was closed for a full 24 hours and they had to bring in snow plows from some of the nearby mountain areas in order to get the roads cleaned up enough for safe travel.

When I returned from the grocery store, I had to "shovel" snow with a dust pan in order to make a path for us to walk the groceries into the house from the driveway. My regular shovel has a rounded end and was worthless for the scraping motion I needed to clear snow.

Last night in a desperate attempt to get a TV signal, the Spouse and I were outside in wild, blowing snow, climbing a ladder and using a broom to remove piled up snow from our Satellite Dish. For the record it didn't work. Apparently the snow was so heavy and the clouds so thick that the dish just couldn't pick up the satellite signal. As of this morning everything is back in working order. A little sunshine does wonders!

The Spouse went outside to clear windshields this morning as we both had to go out. She ended up on her butt twice in the driveway as it was so icy. I made her come in and we used the car heaters and windshield wipers to clear the windows. It took a while to melt, let me tell you. I considered pouring warm water on the windshields, but since I am an inexperienced snow novice, I was afraid the great contrast in temperatures might crack the windshield. What do I know about getting snow off a car? Not much obviously.

The dogs have decided they like the snow and they are constantly asking to go out and play. The cold weather apparently agrees with them. This must be why they don't mind swimming even when the pool is icy cold. Their breed is actually descended from dogs that used to jump into the icy North Pacific and help fisherman haul in their full nets. No wonder they don't mind the cold!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


More snow news....we have 8 1/2 inches on the ground and it continues to pour down in blizzard like conditions!! The TV healed itself and the news tells us we may get a foot or more!! Southern California is in no way prepared to deal with this volume of snow. Slowly but surely we are becoming "paralyzed". The freeways look like parking lots and the roads are slippery and icy. Businesses are closing early and kids are building snowmen and having snowball fights.

I took my dogs outside to play and once they got used to this "strange white stuff" they had a ball running, jumping and playing. The cold seemed to invigorate them and I had to stop their rough housing so close to the pool. With the icy deck I was afraid they would go sliding into the frigid water! Although, honestly, if they had, I'm sure they would have been just fine. Hunting Labs go plunging into icy streams and lakes all the time. It's just that my girls are spoiled California dogs and not used to the cold.


I know you folks that live in snow country think that all this "hoorah" over a little snow is silly but this is SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!! It is seriously big news to us.

Jack Frost

Today we are having an “event” that only happens about every 10 years or so where I live. Therefore, when it occurs, we are enthralled and tend to run around and play like small children. I am talking about SNOW and all the fun things that go with it. Forget about icy roads, freezing hands and missed appointments. We are enjoying the beauty that is Mother Nature today and it is incredible!!

Most people who read this blog are aware that I live in the greater Los Angeles area so when I say this is rare, I do mean rare. Check out the pictures……

My dogs have never seen snow so when they went out this morning to do their business, they seemed fascinated, curious and a little nervous. “What is this white stuff Mom?” They rushed back inside with snowy backs and the young one was shivering. They are truly snow novices and cold weather wimps, as are we all in this part of the world.

People around here don’t know how to drive when it rains. For snow? They are hopeless. Hopefully, they will stay home today and not get out on those icy roads. I’ve already cancelled today’s appointments and will spend the day wrapping Christmas presents and doing some baking.

As I write, it is snowing VERY hard and the weatherman said we can expect 6-8 inches as our present from Alaska. That is the weatherman on last night’s news said to expect 6-8 inches. The news this morning? Not happening. The satellite dish is covered with snow and in shock apparently. We have no reception.

Well, that’s it for this time. I’m going outside to build a snowman!!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Some crazy gene that I am normally not even aware of apparently turns on and goes into overdrive when it gets cold. The nesting gene? Hell, I don’t know but as soon as the weather turns cold and ugly and wintry, I head for the kitchen. Since Alaska sent a storm down to us and we are experiencing rain, snow, sleet and freezing temperatures, I started cooking.

I wanted large quantities of warm, fragrant, fresh food and so I started rattling those pots and pans. Last night, IN ONE EVENING, I made a huge pot of delicious split pea soup. It was thick and tasty and all filled with ham and onions and shredded carrots. The family loved it. Then I made cornbread to go with it because who can have split pea soup without hot crusty cornbread? Then, of course, you have to have dessert and since I couldn’t decide what to make, I made a chocolate cake AND a batch of white, cranberry, nut candy.

Apparently, at this point, I still wasn’t well “nested” enough, so I made some orange-cranberry muffins which we enjoyed this morning. At that point my cooking ardor cooled and I sat down to enjoy the rest of the evening.

This is not the first time this has happened to me and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but I do find it to be an interesting phenomenon. Cold weather = cooking large quantities of hot nourishing food. Although, honestly, I’m not sure just how nourishing the sweets are, but they are certainly tasty.

Speaking of which, I thought I’d share the candy recipe with you since nothing could be easier and we think it is most delicious. Quantities are at your own discretion, since how much you use of each ingredient depends on how much you want to make. Therefore, I’ll just give you basic directions and you make however much you want. Get some white chocolate chips. Melt them in the microwave. Once you have liquid chocolate, add some dried cranberries. You will find them in the same area of the store where the raisins are. Then add pistachio nuts. Stir it all together. Then spread the candy mixture into the container of your choice and let it harden. Then cut candy, eat candy and enjoy. See? Extremely simple. The tartness of the cranberries, the saltiness of the pistachios and the extreme sweetness of the melted white chocolate all combine together to make some seriously tasty candy. Try it, you’ll like it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

An Old Fashioned Dessert

I had some VERY ripe bananas in the kitchen the other day and I decided, on the spur of the moment, to make some banana pudding. You know, the old fashioned kind with ‘nilla wafers and ‘nanners and puddin’. It turned out so well, and was so popular here at Lucy’s house, that I thought I’d share. Here’s what you need:

1 box “Nilla Wafers (is there any other kind but Nabisco?)
Several ripe bananas
1 large box sugar free, instant, vanilla pudding
1 large box sugar free, instant, banana cream pudding

This recipe made a large rectangular baking dish (9 x 13) full. You can make more or less by just adjusting the quantity of your three ingredients.

First line the dish with vanilla wafers. Put some on the sides too. Then slice the bananas into bite-size pieces and make the next layer with banana slices. Then mix up the two puddings, together, and pour enough pudding into the pan to cover the wafers and banana slices. Then repeat, ending with a layer of pudding on top. Sprinkle some nutmeg on top of the final layer of pudding, cover the dessert, and refrigerate. It will stay fresh and tasty for several days in the refrigerator.

Make up the pudding at the last minute when you are ready to pour it into the dish. It firms up very quickly and if you make it too far in advance, you won’t be able to pour it.

I used one vanilla and one banana cream pudding as that’s what I happened to have on hand and it worked great. I’m sure you could also use two vanillas or two banana cream flavor puddings. With all vanilla it will taste less “banana-ish” and with two banana creams it will have a very strong banana flavor. The combination of the two seemed just right to my crew.

This recipe gets “bonus” points at my house because it’s exceptionally easy to make AND since each serving has only a few wafers, fresh bananas and sugar free pudding, it’s low in calories and/or points.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Random Thoughts

I filled my gas tank, which was very empty, all the way to the tip top and it cost me $27.40. Note that I have a large van. I did a happy dance right there at the gas station.

So far no ill effects for Lucy from the lizard consumption. That girl has a stalwart constitution. We are calling her Lizard Breath as a new nickname.

We have decided to stop giving stinky dog so much fish oil. Maybe that is contributing to her problems? I’ll let you know if it helps.

The Spouse is smoking again. I begin to believe it is a losing battle for her. It’s just too hard.

One of my few splurges, in this time of belt tightening, is enjoying the services of a personal trainer. I simply won’t/don’t exercise without a very specific incentive. Having an appointment with someone and knowing that I must show up or leave her standing and waiting for me is what I need. I go, I exercise, I suffer. I have so many new terms in my vocabulary. Tricep dips, hammer curls, roll-ups…the fun never ceases. I’m not getting skinnier, but I’m definitely getting stronger and dramatically improving my sense of balance, which I didn’t know had gone to hell until I tried to use it. Very eye opening. Hopefully, if I ever stop eating cookies, candy, cake, pie, et al., I might actually see some weight loss as well.

In these times of troubled housing markets, we are considering upgrading to something bigger and better. Don’t know if we will, but we’re talking. A house that cost $½ mill a year ago can now be had for $200,000 give or take. That’s astounding. It’s definitely a buyer’s market. However, the thought of moving makes me sick to my stomach. I’ll have to seriously think about how badly I want more room and space.

We’re staying home more nowadays and, even though I dearly love television, a steady diet can wear a bit thin. We actually broke out some games the other night and played Gin Rummy and then Scrabble. I had forgotten how much fun those things can be. We must keep on doing this. We had to update our Scrabble game due to some missing parts and I discovered, while at Target, that apparently staying home and playing games is getting very big again. Target had, literally, hundreds of board games available to purchase. I was amazed at the volume and variety. Maybe we really are returning to simpler times.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Eating our Greens to Stay Healthy

The Spouse took Lucy and Meg (our Chocolate Labs) out onto the patio for a few minutes of playtime in the brisk, cold, evening air. They do love to be outside even on a nippy winter night. It never slows them down.

As they hopped and played and chased their tennis balls and caught their rings, “something” caught Lucy’s eye and she wandered over to take a look. Suddenly, she was at full alert! Body rigid, back hairs standing up, tail frozen in place, (instead of wagging madly) and her eyes glued to the ground.

The Spouse walked over to see what she had found and discovered Lucy’s nose on the back of a lizard about 2 inches long. She was sniffing it vigorously and with great interest.

“Leave it alone Lucy”, commanded The Spouse. Lucy lifted her head and, instead of her nose, placed a large paw on the lizard. “No, Lucy, leave it be, here, catch your tennis ball.”

Lucy wanted the tennis ball and she wanted the lizard. She solved the problem neatly. Bending down, with a large pink tongue, she scooped up the lizard and put it into her mouth. Its tail was sticking out between her lips and thrashing around madly.

The horrified Spouse yelled, “No, Lucy, No, drop it.” Lucy didn’t want to drop it. It was her “treasure”. Instead she swallowed.

Fresh greens anyone?


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where's The Ban?

My dog smells bad. Bless her little stinky heart. She can’t help it. But it is a first for us even with all our years of animal parenting, and we are suffering. Our dogs are swimmers who love the water and even in the cold of winter they rarely hesitate to take a dip in an icy pool. In the summer they live in the pool. Consequently, our dogs smell sweet and fresh and clean with maybe a hint of Chlorine.

However, we now have a pup that is a stink pot. She didn’t always stink but apparently, she went through puberty, her glands woke up and now she smells. She apparently has over active oil glands in her skin and, unless she is bathed at least every other day or so, she starts to get a ripe, stinky, dog smell. The chlorine doesn’t do the trick. She needs soap and water. The wetness from the pool just exacerbates her smell.

Since these girls are house dogs, bed dogs, lap dogs and well loved and well hugged, this is a troublesome problem. Who wants to hug a stinky dog? However, she is so sweet and so loving and so oblivious to her problem. She can’t help it. She doesn’t know she stinks.

The vet had us buy Selsun Blue to shampoo her with. Apparently the Selenium in that particular shampoo dries up the skin and helps with this type of problem. Who knew? I must admit, she smells very good when she is fresh out of the shower.

In the summer, we just use the hose and lather her up in the back yard, but in the winter, she joins one of us in the shower. Fortunately, she loves the warm spray and having her body all lathered up and then rinsed off. Unfortunately, it is backbreaking to bend over and clean her up.

This is true love.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Notes From the Dark Side

The Spouse is trying to quit smoking. To say I am thrilled is a minor understatement, however, I’m playing it very low key as she definitely does not want to talk about it. We had a little cancer “scare” here just recently and, although it now appears that things are going to be okay, I think getting scared of the idea of cancer was just what she needed to push her to stop the cigarettes.

The problem, of course, is that she’s mean as a snake. She’s been smoking for more than 40 years and that equals a serious addiction and a very unpleasant withdrawal. You’ve heard of that lion with a thorn in its paw? Well, she’s limping around and that thorn (also known as nicotine addiction) is really digging in. It is not pleasant for either of us.

However, I have great empathy. I remember the hell I went through when I quit, oh so many years ago. They didn’t have patches and gum and all that stuff back then and I just went cold turkey. For some inexplicable reason, she has chosen to do the same. No patches, no gum, no pills, no cigarettes. Gotta admire her gumption even while I suffer through her being so very unpleasant. Nobody around here is very happy at the moment.

In other news, it’s Finals week at school and I’m busily creating final exams for my classes. That too is a challenging task: to make a question hard enough to be “worthy” for a final, but not so hard, they all miss it. I do want them to make a good showing for it reflects well on my teaching. I have new textbooks this semester, hence I have to create all new tests. Not fun.

And finally, our weather is insane. First it’s warm and sunny and you can wear shorts. Today, it’s freezing cold with wildly blowing winds and gray skies. The weatherman truly cannot make up his mind.

Christmas is coming way too fast. I’m not doing much this year, but the little I’m doing isn’t done. Time needs to slow down……..

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I'm B-A-A-A-A-A-C-K.......

I’ve been missing in action for awhile but felt like writing, so here I am. My thoughts today revolve around the economy and how we’re dealing with it. I’ve been very lucky for the last few years and haven’t had to “count pennies”, however, now we are being much more careful with our money. We really splurged on our recent wedding which left some of our “buffer” accounts close to empty and credit cards with high balances, so it was definitely time to cut back, pare down and remember how to be thrifty.

Here are some of the things we’re doing:

1. Planning menus, making a grocery list, pulling coupons and THEN going shopping. That has not been the methodology for the last few years. Mostly I just bought whatever I felt like buying and never gave it a second thought. Now I’m giving it second and third thoughts.

2. We like matinee movies anyway, so now we are just making a point to go before 6 PM. It’s a lot cheaper. And, I confess, I have an ice cold bottle of Diet Coke in the bottom of my purse as well as something sweet. We do buy the hot fresh popcorn at the refreshment stand, but the rest of our goodies, we bring from home.

3. I’m so thrilled about the price of gas, words can hardly express it. I live in the state with the most expensive gas in the nation, so they tell us, and just a month or two ago it cost me $84 to fill my gas tank. Yesterday I filled up for $32.00. I am a very happy girl! However, when it cost a fortune to fill my tank I got in the habit of not driving so much, doing all my errands on one trip and making a concerted effort to drive the speed limit in order to conserve gas. I am continuing these habits even with my $32 tank of gas.

4. We’ve started buying and using a number of different store brands and, surprisingly, some of them are very good. Example? Albertson’s store brand OJ is half the price of Minute Maid, and the other name brands, and it’s just as good. The Costco store brand of laundry detergent was reputed to be as good as the name brands, so I have read. We decided to give it a try. It works great and costs 1/3 of what the name brand does and I am VERY picky about my laundry.

5. I’m a golfer and this is not a cheap hobby. Fortunately, I have all the equipment I will ever need in this lifetime, or the next, but green fees can be steep at some courses. We are making a point to play at city or county courses where the cost is half or less than private courses. These public courses do not have country club smooth greens and perfectly tailored fairways, however, they are in good condition and perfectly acceptable for casual play.

6. We have programmed the thermostat on the heater so that the house is cold at night (we prefer cold air and warm covers for sleeping) and just comfortable in the daytime. Keeping the temperature consistent, as opposed to frequently running it up and down, is much more cost effective. I definitely see a difference in the gas bill.

7. We joined a program, offered through the electric company, that allowed them to put a “meter” on our AC unit and in the summertime, if electricity is running short, we, along with thousands of other people, have agreed to let them cycle our AC off and on, remotely, in order to manage the electrical needs of a city as large as Los Angeles. The max they might black out our AC, in any one event, would be for 2 hours and in return we are saving a fortune on our electric bill. I just got the current bill and it is down over $100 from previous bills from the same time period. For us this is a no-brainer since we use a swamp cooler in the summer and never turn on the AC anyway. We told them this and they said they didn’t care, we should sign up anyway. So we did. Good move.

8. I like to travel home frequently to see my Mom, who is definitely not getting any younger. This involves plane travel as she is on the other side of the country. I’m due for a trip home and I was concerned about airplane ticket costs and spending money and the overall money that is involved with travel. I solved it by obtaining my ticket through using my frequent flyer miles. I only had to pay $10 in taxes. Then I submitted the latest claim to our healthcare flexible spending account and The Spouse said I can have the check when it comes to use as spending money. So I’m going on a trip, planning lots of fun and visiting and spending nothing out of the budget.

9. I cook for my dogs and have for quite a long time. I would like to tell you this is very cost effective, but in reality, by the time I break down the cost of all ingredients, it is either the same or more than what I would spend by buying high quality dog food. The big difference is that I know they are eating healthy, high quality, people grade food. The financial payoff? Healthy, happy dogs with no vet visits except for routine care. Since a trip to the vet can be just as expensive as one of my trips to an M.D., not going to see the doggy doctor is very cost effective.

10. One of the biggest cost savers for us has been to stop eating fast food and get back to cooking. We ate way, way too much fast food for convenience sake and that stuff is not only bad for you, but it is ridiculously expensive for what you get. I’m remembering how to cook and bake and find that I’m really enjoying it. Plus, it’s a great way to save money! I have been reminded that nothing tastes as good as homemade………

I’ll try to write more. I really do enjoy it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Believe...............

I was roaming around reading blogs this morning and ran across this question: What do you believe? An interesting question and one I feel like answering. The question was not faith directed or any other kind of directed for that matter, just………what do you believe?

1. I believe that two people who truly love each other and want to care for each other for the rest of their lives have the right to get married, legally. Doesn’t matter about the gender, the ethnicity, the race, the religion, none of it. It doesn’t matter. It’s about two hearts and love.

2. I believe that dogs truly are human kind’s best friend. Nobody else in my life will ever love me with such complete and total devotion, with no regard for how I look, how I smell, what I think or how I feel. There is nothing I could do to make these two, currently lying at my feet, stop loving me. Nothing. That’s pretty special and cannot be duplicated by any other creature that I know of.

3. I believe that it is incredibly unfair that my two nieces, both of whom will be exceptional, wonderful, sensitive, talented and understanding mothers, are struggling with infertility and adoption issues. And yet, right here in the city where I live there are women giving up babies, throwing away babies, mistreating babies and I am unable to get the two sides together.

4. I believe that the public school system in our country is failing our children and that the “dumbing down” of the system is causing them to go backwards rather than forward. My Dad learned more in a tiny, one room, country schoolhouse 75 years ago than too many of today’s students are learning in the beautifully built and air conditioned schools of today. Let’s go back to the three ‘R’s and to heck with political correctness. Those kids NEED geography and history and physical education and music as well as many other subjects that have been dropped from curriculums in too many schools. They should memorize multiplication tables and diagram sentences. Too bad if it’s hard. That’s how you learn! And you don’t get to the next grade unless you know the material from the current grade. No kid left behind is BS. If you can’t do the work, you should be left behind until you can.

5. I believe the majority of American women take their right to vote for granted. You don’t appreciate the blood and suffering that occurred to make it a reality. Put “Iron Jawed Angels” in your Netflix Queue. You’ll never miss another election.

6. I’ve come to believe that teaching is the best job in the world. Unfortunately, I came to this realization late in life and so will not reap the true benefits that can be gained from a lifetime career. Where else can you work 9 months a year and get paid for 12? Get all summer off from work? Have 4-6 weeks off work over the holidays? Get a week off every Spring? Only have to physically show up at work 2-3 days a week for a few hours (college level teaching)? Etc. etc. etc.

7. I believe that each of us will have dozens, maybe hundreds, of acquaintances as we go through our lives. However, the numbers of TRUE friends, REAL friends that we meet and go through life with can be counted on your fingers. If you’re really lucky, those few are not only friends, they are family members.

8. I believe the life our parents led and the ways in which they raised us has a dramatic impact on the adults we are today. If you are one of the lucky ones whose parents were together as a loving married couple for their entire lives, count your blessings. If your Dad was a strong, good man who was always there for his children, count your blessings. If your parents loved you and wanted you, count your blessings. If drugs or alcohol or violence were never a part of your childhood, count your blessings. There are way too few of us.

9. I believe that one decision can change your entire life. The Road of Life offers us many choices, but the path we choose to take is the one that determines our fate. Think about it. One decision.

10. I believe that our sexuality exists on a continuum. At one end is extreme and exclusive heterosexuality, at the other end is extreme and exclusive homosexuality. The vast majority of people are in the middle. So much depends on #9.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Almost

One of the winning photos from The American Humane Society's 2008 photo contest

"Just One of the Many Reasons We Voluneer!" by Ingrid Brustad

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Animal Lovers Unite!! Dangerous Pet Toy & A Lying Company That Doesn't Care

Follow this link: http://www.thechaistory.blogspot.com/ When you do, you'll read a story about a dog tragedy caused by a toy. This sweet and innocent pup was playing with his ball and ended up losing his tongue. What a nightmare for the dog and the owner!

We, dog lovers of the world, must unite and run this company out of business. Clearly, "Four Paws" cares about nothing but money. They certainly don't care about animals.

Follow the link, read the story and become an activist!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Adventures in Fruitiness

As a chronic Weight Watcher I eat a great deal of fruit. I should eat a lot of fruits and veges anyway, whether I’m a Weight Watcher or not, but the truth is, when I think dessert, I’d usually much rather have ice cream or a cookie or a piece of cake. However, I try to be good, so I eat a lot of fruit. I like the fresh, frozen and canned varieties so I think I can rightly be considered a “connoisseur” in the world of fruits.

The other day, while shopping, I decided to venture outside my usual apple, orange, banana, watermelon, pineapple et al varieties and try something different. Maybe y’all have already tried Asian Apple Pears and I’m way behind on my fruit coolness factor. However, I have just never gotten around to checking them out for no particular reason. But this week, I decided to give them a shot.

I’m a pretty adventuresome eater so I’m usually willing to try new things at least once, and if it doesn’t kill me or make me sick, I may be back for more. Therefore, when I saw apple pears in the market, I thought I’d give them a try. What the heck! I like apples and I like pears, so how bad could they be?

Well, they are not bad at all. In fact, they are downright delicious. They are extremely crisp which, in my book, is a big plus for fruit. I hate mushy fruit. They are sweet and tangy combining the best attributes of both the apple and the pear. The only thing I would recommend to those growers who are busily cross-pollinating different fruits is this: work on the color thing. Apples and pears are various lovely shades of green or red. This apple pear fruit is a rather strange looking tan-brown on the outside. Not overly appetizing to look at but very delicious to eat. Inside it is white just like an apple or a pear. Try them. If you like apples or pears, you will like this combo fruit. Expand your horizons!!

Here’s a “formal” description of this very tasty fruit: “Also called Apple Pear, Chinese Pear, Sand Pear or Nashi. Asian Pear is the generic name for over 25 different varieties of this "true pear." Although the outside appearance of each Asian Pear may differ, all Asian Pears are crunchy, juicy and sweet. Thought to originally come to the United States via Chinese immigrants, most Asian Pears are now grown in California, Oregon, and Washington. Depending on the variety, Asian Pears may be considerably large or somewhat small. Their color may vary from yellow to brown, and their skin may be smooth or speckled. Some of the most popular varieties generally can be described as: Hosui (Golden Russet Brown), Kosui (Golden Russet), Nijiseiki or Twentieth Century (Yellow-Green), Shinseiki (Yellow), Shinsui (Russet Brown). Chilled or cooked, Asian Pears from always make a wonderful addition to any meal!”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Try It Tuesday

Once again I am writing about food for “Try It Tuesday”. See? I told you I love to eat. Anyone mentions “new product” and I immediately think of food. So, here we go again…..

This week’s food product is in the dessert family. I do love my sweets and, as my hips can attest, cakes, cookies, pies, candy, ice cream, etc. etc. are all very high on my list of favorites. I’m perfectly willing to eat “healthy” sweets but the reality is, generally speaking, no matter how much I try to tell myself otherwise, they just don’t taste as good. I love fruit, but not as much as chocolate cake. I adore sweet, creamy, low fat yogurts, but not as much as ice cream – REAL ice cream. I think Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches are great, but not as great as a Haagen Daz bar…..You get the idea. I truly love sweets and the low fat, low calorie substitutes rarely satisfy me for long.

So, the other day I was shopping at Costco (I do LOVE that store) and I was wandering around in the frozen food section when I noticed this box:

I took it out of the frozen food case, eyeballed the calories and decided I would give it a try. I’m always TRYING to be good. It’s just so damn hard!

I truly do have a love affair with ice cream going on. Any type, any variety, any flavor and I’m there. I love it especially in the blazing heat of summer, and, since the average daily temperature where I live is 100°+ on a daily basis throughout the summer, there is lots of ice cream consumption going on around here. I not only love the sweet and creamy chocolates and vanillas and strawberries by the ½ gallon, I also like sherberts and sorbets, bars and cones, sandwiches and patties, and pretty much anything that qualifies as cold and sweet.

So when I picked up this box of sorbets I was intrigued on a couple of levels. First of all it’s in the ice cream family which means it’s cold and sweet; second it is quite low in calories; and then, to top off my interest, it has a “gimmick” in that the servings are presented to you in the shells of the fruit they represent. Coconut shell, pineapple husk, orange rind, mango skin, etc. So I bought it and brought it home.

My family was less than enthused ‘cause unless the ice cream carton says “caramel praline delight” or “oreo cookies and cream” or the like, they are not interested. However, I was very interested and proceeded to immediately open the box and try my first sorbet.

The first one came out of the box looking like this:

I was all ready to like it just because it’s so cute, but surprise! I liked it because it tasted so good! Rich and smooth and creamy with a great pineapple taste.

As I write this, I’m sitting here with a coconut shell in front of me and it’s filled with yet another smooth and creamy ice cream treat. This time it’s a wonderful coconut flavor that I am enjoying.

These treats are really tasty, very different, low in calories and fun to eat. Give them a try!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Try Those Chicken Patties!

I love to eat! To anyone that knows me this is not a revelation. The problem is that I love to eat wonderful tasting, fully satisfying, delicious food and, more often than not, that means the food in question is fattening. Since I am a chronic Weight Watcher, this is a problem for me.

Therefore, when I find something that is indeed fully satisfying and delicious AND, as an extra added bonus, it’s not overly fattening, I am a very happy camper. I have found just such a food and I’m here today to tell you about it.

We eat a LOT of chicken at my house, simply because as a WW queen, chicken and fish are better for me than a good rib eye steak. As a result, I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to prepare or buy chicken.It’s not enough that the chicken tastes good and is low in fat and calories, it has to be easy to fix too or I’m not real interested. I do like to cook, but somehow, the older I get, the more I like to make reservations instead of making dinner.

Therefore, when I saw this package, I stopped and gave it a second look. The lady was cooking up the patties (Costco is famous for their samples) and offered me a bite. I gave it the sniff test (it smelled great) and then read the box…….
Hmmmmm, chicken….already cooked….full of veges…..just brown and serve….I’m trying it. And Omigod, it was wonderful!! I mean truly write home to mother, skip around the room, dance a little jig, wonderful. It is tasty and juicy and satifying, well-seasoned and flavorful, and I just can’t rave enough about it. I immediately threw a box into my cart and made a note that we now have a new chicken staple at my house.

It is extra good grilled over charcoal or just spray a little Pam in the frying pan and toss in your patty. It can also be cooked in the microwave, but I like a little brown on my meat, if you know what I mean! Brown it up, hot it up and you are good to go. Nuke a little baked potato and some steamed fresh veges or throw together a nice salad (or both) and you have dinner in just a very few minutes. We also like to take these patties and make delicious hot chicken sandwiches. They too are wonderful!

They are conveniently packaged in twos, and they come in a box of 8 patties all ready to pop in the freezer. I bought these at Costco but I saw the same patties under a different brand name at Trader Joe’s. Haven’t tried the Trader Joe version yet, but they look very similar. If you don’t have either of these stores in your town, ask your super market manager to order and carry this product. You’ll like it!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Try it Tuesday

I haven’t posted in quite a long while but my sister has started a new “thing” over on her blog called “Try it Tuesday”. Since I’m always trying new things, I thought I’d join in and tell you about some of the products that I have discovered that have served me well.

Today I’d like to tell you about a moisturizing cream that I have found that is simply the best thing since sliced bread. I have always suffered with dry skin. I mean REALLY dry skin, with cracking and splitting and flakes and itching and pain and aggravation. I’m sure part of this is caused by the fact that I live in a climate with 0% humidity and average temps of over 100 every day for 4 or 5 months a year. To say it is hot and dry in this part of the world would be a minor understatement. I also imagine I just have a natural tendency to have dry skin. We all have our issues.

I think I have tried about every moisturizer in the marketplace from the common brands of lotion you buy at Wal-Mart to the Bath and Body lotions in the mall and the specialty items specifically made for problem skin. All of them helped to some degree but nothing really cured the problem. Just made it feel better for a while and then back to dry, itchy skin.

And then one day I found it……Nirvana! I came across the website for Origins products. I can’t recall exactly how I got to their website the first time but I think I saw a magazine ad for some interesting sounding “body soufflé”. Since I’m always a sucker for trying a new cream, lotion or moisturizer of some kind, I ordered a jar. It was VERY expensive (at least to me) and I thought along the lines of “it better make my skin feel like soft, sleek, expensive, silk for that price”, and guess what? It does! However, the body soufflé, which is truly wonderful, is, surprisingly, not what this post is about.

With each order of Origins body soufflé that I receive, they always send me a sample of one of their other products. A few months ago they sent me a sample of something called “A Perfect World” described as “intensely hydrating body cream with white tea”. Anything that is “intensely hydrating” means it’s immediately going on my hands. My hands are my biggest problem when it comes to dryness. They crack and split at the tips of my fingers, usually right at the edge of my nails, and it is EXTREMELY painful. My entire hands are always dry no matter what product I have used, but my fingertips are the worst.

So I took the sample tube of “A Perfect World” and I slathered it on my hands daily for the few days that the small tube lasted. It was wonderful! Rich and creamy and it immediately soaked right into my skin, not just sitting on the top as many products do. By the end of the tube, I was hooked and I ordered a jar. Now, several jars later, I can honestly say that this is the best moisturizing product I have EVER used on my hands. My hands are soft and normally moist, not dry at all, and best of all, no cracked fingertips!! I can’t remember the last time I had a bad split or crack on the tip of my fingers. I just don’t get them anymore. This is truly a wonderful, fantastic hand cream. I put it on generously every night at bed time and that’s it. No more problem hands. Try it, you’ll like it!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

100 Things About Me

My niece did the "100 things about me" list in her blog and, for some reason, it inspired me, so I decided to do it too. I really don’t have time to do this but when inspiration strikes, one must answer, so here goes.

1. I am an animal lover. (I know you couldn’t tell this by the header on my blog)

2. My first dog was a fox terrier named Penny

3. Next dog was a German Shepherd named Rex.

4. Next was a boxer named Champ. (Don’t you love the original names?)

5. Next was a dachshund named Heidi. Heidi was the start of something big for then there was Fritz, her husband, and then Gretchen and Hans, their kids, etc. etc. I still love weenie dogs.

6. After the little guys, I went large and furry and had Norwegian Elkhounds. The first was Misty. Her husband was Ricky and their daughter was Twinkle. Much loved but extremely hairy dogs. I decided the next time around I was going with short hair.

7. So then I got a Golden Retriever mix, Samantha. What happened to the short hair plan? I’m not sure. Along with Samantha we had Gracie, a black Lab mix and Terri, a terrier mix. Those were the mixed breed, rescue dog years.

8. Then one day I saw a Chocolate Lab puppy that belonged to someone else. And I thought, that is the cutest puppy I have ever seen in my entire life. When I have an opening at my house, I’m gonna get one.

9. And so I did. Her name was Bess. The most beautiful Chocolata girl you can imagine. We lost her at age 6 to cancer. It broke my heart.

10. When Bess was two years old we got Lucy, her niece. When we learned we were going to lose Bess, for Lucy’s sake, we got another chocolate girl. Bess and Lucy had been bonded at the hip. Bess’ death hit Lucy really hard. The new pup’s name was Meggie and she is a precious little girl. She drug Lucy out of her depression and sadness and, over time, they have become best friends.

11. Today we have our two Chocolate Girls and they are the sweetest babies in the world. I now know that I am a Lab woman. This is my breed. Best dogs in the world. I will always have Labs for the rest of my life.

12. Since I am an animal lover, as I said above, through the years we’ve also had numerous cats and a few birds. Current feline resident is Alice, a Siamese mix who is 14 years old. No more birds.

13. I am a college professor and I love it. However, I am a teacher by default. I didn’t choose this profession, it chose me.

14. For many years I worked in healthcare. I went back to college, got all kinds of fancy degrees and then planned to return to healthcare, but they didn’t want me. Too old. Of course, they couldn’t say that, but that was the reason. So through a friend, I started teaching. Best thing that ever happened to me. I love my job.

15. I don’t make much money. Thank God for my hard working, money making partner. She keeps us in the style to which we have both become very accustomed.

16. I love to travel. I’ve been in most of the 50 states and a few different countries as well.

17. My last trip was to Europe. We went on a Mediterranean cruise.

18. I love cruising. Anytime, anywhere, anyplace, just put me on a cruise ship.

19. However, I freely admit that I am spoiled. I must have my suite on the ship with lots of room. The days of a cabin where I can stand in the middle of the room and touch both walls are not happening.

20. I love my computer.

21. I don’t much like exercise but I’m doing it. It’s extremely annoying to realize that after I do something that I don’t like, I feel better.

22. I’m a Weight Watcher. It’s chronic. Don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be a normal eater. I just like eating way too much.

23. I have three siblings and they are all very dear to me. I’m the oldest and was always the babysitter when we were little. I was occasionally mean as hell to them. I’m surprised they forgave me. Teenagers really can be horrible.

24. I love to read. Read regular books and audio books constantly. Always have 2 or 3 going at the same time.

25. I recently bought an Amazon Kindle. I now carry dozens of books around with me all the time.

26. I love to gamble. We’re heading to Las Vegas this coming weekend. Wa-Hoo!!

27. I’m a golfer. I play regularly. It’s one of the joys of my life.

28. I was a jock when I was young. Unlike my niece and my sister, I played sports from the time I was old enough to grasp the concept. Softball and basketball mostly. I was a star on the softball field and I’ve got the old clippings to prove it. MVP, pitched a no hitter, home run champ, etc. etc. I was not so spectacular at basketball, just average.

29. I have learned that you pay for the athletic sins of your youth when you get older.

30. I have arthritis and it’s a pain. Particularly in my knees.

31. I may need knee replacement surgery one day, but I hope not.

32. I had a doctor botch a surgery once and I ended up with a ruptured Achilles tendon. He almost crippled me. I was in a wheelchair for a while. You never really appreciate how hard that is until you’re in that position. Fortunately, I’m a very good healer. I sued him and lost. You rarely win a lawsuit against a doctor in the State of California. Just doesn’t happen.

33. I lived in China for two years when I was an adolescent. Not on the mainland, but on the island of Formosa, today known as Taiwan.

34. My Dad was a career Marine. We lost him about 1½ years ago. I believe I will always miss him until the end of my life.

35. I look so much like my Mom that it’s ridiculous. We even have the same ailments.

36. I drive a Dodge Grand Caravan. No kids, but my dogs like all that space.

37. I once had a daughter named Gina. She died tragically at the age of 28. Drugs.

38. I liked being a parent and am sad that I’ll never be a grandparent.

39. I’m very close to several of my nieces and enjoy being a great aunt.

40. I was an only child for 7½ years. It was a bit of a shock to suddenly start sharing my parents with the newcomer.

41. I was a teenager when my youngest brother was born. He seemed more like my child than my sibling. I loved the little devil greatly and still do.

42. My Mom is one of my best friends.

43. Once upon a time, in another life, I was in the Army for about 6 months. They kicked me out because I had no sense and no discretion. At age 18 I was truly an idiot of the first magnitude. Why do teenagers think they know so much when they are, in reality, so incredibly stupid??

44. I moved to California when I was 19 years old and have been here ever since. A long, long, long time. Well, maybe not that long, but a good while.

45. Three of us came to California together and when we arrived, we had $19 between us. We also had Heidi the dachshund and all our worldly belongings in a U-Haul trailer.

46. I shop lifted food after we arrived. That $19 didn’t go very far. It was okay for me to go hungry, but God Forbid my dog should suffer. I stole dog food.

47. My first job in California paid $1.25 per hour. It was a good salary.

48. When I arrived in California gasoline cost about .30 cents a gallon.

49. We did our week’s grocery shopping for about $25.00. I once found a $5 bill in the parking lot of the grocery store and it meant we had steaks that week.

50. Our rent on our first house was $97.50 per month. In hindsight, I wonder, why the 50 cents?

51. One of our threesome bought and drove a brand new Chevrolet to California. It cost $3000.

52. I am so dating myself with this information.

53. I tried skiing once. Not my sport. I caught my ski on the ground as the lift was leaving and snapped it in two. I had to ride all the way up and all the way down with my broken, dangling ski. Everybody at the resort knew I was an idiot.

54. On the same ski trip, Gina put on her first pair of skis, took a lesson and within 30 minutes she was zooming down the mountain. It definitely made me feel my age.

55. I worked at the same job for 25 years. We had no pension plan. Not the smartest move I ever made. Who thinks about retirement when you’re 30 years old? Now I know. I should have thought about it when I was 20 years old and never stopped thinking about it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Too bad we can’t go back and get a do-over.

56. I once bought a ring off someone on the street and I TOTALLY believed it was a diamond. It was, of course, a piece of glass. It is truly amazing how gullible one can be.

57. I don’t have many friends, but the ones I have are close and true. One of the gals I came to California with almost 45 years ago is still a dear friend. After that many years, she is like another sister.

58. I am very lucky in that some of my very best friends are family members. We’ll always be together.

59. I have an “if I’m paralyzed-nose picking pact” with those same dear, close, family members/friends. It doesn’t get any closer than that.

60. One of my very closest, dearest friends is a guy. I never thought that could happen, but it can.

61. I’m very handy with tools and pretty good at fixing things.

62. I’m working on writing a book. Don’t know if I’ll make it to the finish line, but I’m trying.

63. I’m taking writing classes online. I’m learning a lot.

64. I’ve learned that the majority of the general public are not very bright.

65. I’ve also learned that I’m really quite intelligent. This sounds conceited, but it’s true. I’m a smart cookie.

66. I always wanted to be a veterinarian. Unfortunately, that’s one of those dreams that it’s hard to capture after a certain age.

67. I graduated from college #1 in my class.

68. I’m quite a cynic. Buy enough glass rings and you get that way.

69. I’ve learned that most people can’t add and subtract. Take away their computer at the take out window or the fast food counter and those kids will have absolutely no clue how much change to give you.

70. I can add really fast, hence, I’m a very good blackjack player. I do love me some “21”.

71. I’ve recently gotten hooked on Keno machines. It’s the only game in the casino that for $1 you can win $7000. The odds are high but I keep winning the smaller stuff repeatedly. One of these days…………

72. I cook for my dogs. I cook a huge quantity and freeze it. I don’t trust dog food manufacturers since they killed thousands of our pets last year. Chemicals, preservatives, crap food……not for my babies.

73. I’m going to teach summer school this year. I’m sharing the chore with another teacher and between the sharing, online work, and a short semester, I only have to show up at school 6 times and I will have worked the entire semester. This is a cool way to earn extra money.

74. I handle the money at my house. I’m good at budgeting.

75. I’m a good cook and I like to cook. Hence, Weight Watchers.

76. I’m a strong swimmer. I used to work as a lifeguard.

77. I was a brownie and a girl scout. I earned “thousands” of patches. Such an overachiever.

78. I’m a lousy housekeeper. I’m perfectly capable and can do a good job when I want to, but I’d much rather go play golf. I hire a house keeper.

79. I’m an E-bay seller who hasn’t sold on E-bay in a very long time. Not sure why. I have tons of merchandise in my garage. It’s stupid not to be selling.

80. I’m going on vacation to Pensacola, Florida this year with my family. We have rented a house at the beach, right on the water. Can’t wait.

81. I love chocolate.

82. I make a mean pot of spaghetti.

83. I can’t sing, sad to say. I do it anyway, but it’s not a pretty thing.

84. I’m an excellent driver. Never had a wreck that was MY fault. I’ve been rear-ended and had people turn right smack into the path of my car. If I should die in a car wreck, I guarantee you that someone else will have caused it. I think about these kinds of things since I drive the wild and crazy freeways of L.A. on a regular basis.

85. I get lost very easily. I learned to read a map when I was 18 and I have developed a sense of direction over the years, but I still get lost. I love MapQuest, except when they screw up the directions.

86. I’ve had a lot of different jobs before arriving at my current profession. Among other things I sold linens in a department store, worked for the Air Pollution Control people here in L.A.County, worked as a veterinary assistant, worked as a temp clerk, worked as a waitress, worked in a factory making Travel-Go-Lightly travel cases, worked for an insurance company, worked as a clerk typist for numerous people, worked for a trucking company, and then one day, I got a job at Kaiser Hospital. I had, via a long and circuitous route, arrived at healthcare and I never left. Now I teach it.

87. My favorite movie is Gone With The Wind. Saw it the first time at age 12. Classic.

88. I love to shop online. You can find anything if you’re persistent enough.

89. I like country music.

90. I watch way too much television.

91. Thanks to my sister, I am now hooked on Gilmore Girls. Netflix is my new best friend.

92. We are also watching Six Feet Under. Never saw it when it was actually on TV, so we are now loving it via Netflix. I can’t believe Lisa died. I was horror struck.

93. We are huge American Idol fans. Great group this time around. I just love that David Archuleta kid. (as does the rest of America) He is just so incredibly cute and unbelievably talented. So many of them are so good. Not sure who I want to win.

94. I can’t wait until July when The Closer starts up their new season. I love that show. Thank God for DVRs.

95. Speaking of which, I LOVE my DVR. It has to be the best invention since television.

96. I am SO glad that the writer’s strike is over. We seriously missed our TV shows.

97. I’m not sure who I want to win the presidential election. I have issues with all of them.

98. When I was a kid my Mom seriously limited my Oreos consumption. She wouldn’t let me be a pig. Good Mom. When I was an adult, I ate an entire bag by myself and got sick. Mom was right.

99. I'm still working to master portion control. When I like it, I want a LOT of it.

100. We got our first television set in 1953. My sister was born in 1953. I’m not sure which was the bigger event to me.

So there you have it. My "100 things about me" post. Not sure who will be remotely interested, but it was fun to write. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Friday, January 4, 2008

A New Years Meme

Hello, one and all. The absent blogger has returned for the moment. I felt like writing and since no brilliant inspiration has come instantly to mind, I am stealing this meme from my sister’s blog and answering the questions for myself. So, just in case you didn’t know these things about me (or just in case you care) here’s some “interesting” info about me and mine over the past year:

What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before? Went to Europe. Went to places I’ve never been and saw sights I’ve never seen. It was a revelation. I’m not sure what I expected, but it was so similar to being here only just a bit different. Different languages, narrower streets, strange flush mechanisms on their toilets, but in essence, people are people. Not much difference.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I learned quite a long time ago that, for me, New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time. I don’t keep the resolution so why bother? Each year I try to do some things better than the year before, e.g. weight loss, but no actual resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, my nephew had a beautiful little girl and my niece is about to become a mother via adoption.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Not this year. My dad passed away last October.

5. What countries did you visit? Italy, Croatia, Spain, Tunisia, Portugal, Mexico.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? An e-reader. I currently have a bid on one on eBay. I love the idea of carrying 200 books around with me in the palm of my hand. I can read anything, anytime, anywhere. I carry thousands of songs in my Ipod, why not hundreds of books in my e-reader? Makes sense to me.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? November 20. This is the day we left on our BIG trip. Our European vacation was definitely the highlight of the year.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Winning grant money from my University to enhance my work. I have to work anyway, why not get paid extra money to make the work more fulfilling?

9. What was your biggest failure? Not losing as much weight as I would like. Not staying in shape.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Not sure if my arthritis qualifies as an illness and therefore an answer to this question, however, assuming it does, my knees have gotten considerably worse this year. Knee replacement surgery is definitely on the horizon in the not too distant future.

11. What was the best thing you bought? A new laptop for The Spouse for her birthday. She LOVES it and I like making people happy.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Mrs. John Edwards. Despite the return of her breast cancer, she has supported and encouraged her husband to run for the presidency. Now THAT’s spousal support. She’d make a helluva first lady. I hope she gets a chance to give it a shot.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I assume, as I did with the last question, that we are talking about a public figure. With that in mind, I must say that Brittany Spears appalls me with her behavior. She doesn’t depress me because I don’t know her, so I don’t really care enough to be depressed. But as a public figure, a mother, a singer, and a supposed “teen idol” she is a mighty poor excuse for a person.

14. Where did most of your money go? To pay the bills that maintain a lifestyle and keep us fed, clothed, sheltered and entertained. We saved some, but unfortunately not near as much as we should have.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Generally speaking, I don’t get “really, really, really” excited about much of anything. However, I did get pretty fired up about our European trip and cruise this year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007? I am truly horrible about remembering song lyrics and the names of songs. I know what I like when I hear it on the radio, but other than that, I’m hopeless. Therefore, I have no answer for this question.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier. Time really does help those wounds of loss. One year and three months ago I lost my Dad and a beloved dog. Therefore, at this time last year, I was still seriously grieving. Today, I’m learning to live with it. Do I have a choice?

b) thinner or fatter? Thinner by about 25 pounds. It should be about 50 but I’m not a good dieter. I love to eat too much. I’ll go back to my WW meetings when I return to California and get back on the weight loss path. (I’m currently visiting my Mom back East)

c) richer or poorer? A little richer. It would help if the stock market would stop going up and down like a damn yoyo.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Eating right. I really do wish I were 50+ pounds lighter rather than 25. My knees could use the relief.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Being lazy, as in watching TV, reading, playing golf, movies, napping etc. etc. I got really behind in grading papers and doing my schoolwork and I really paid for it at semester end. I had a non-stop grading marathon during Finals week. I won’t do that again. If too much work makes Johnny a dull boy, then too much play makes Johnny an idiot for not getting his work done.

20. How did you spend Christmas? With family and friends on both coasts. First one and then the other. I’m a lucky girl.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007? Nope. Already there. Don’t need to fall again.

22. What was your favorite TV program? Like my sister, we are also TV nuts at my house. We truly love “The L Word” and are thrilled that it is returning this Sunday. We have really missed Bette and Tina and the gang. They are our kind of people even though they definitely seem a bit higher on both the social and financial scale than we’ll ever be. However, it’s nice to dream. Since I am away from home and have no access to Showtime, I was beyond pleased and happy to discover that Sunday’s premiere episode is available on line NOW. This is the 5th year of the series and the characters remain as real and true as my next door neighbor. I may not BE these people, but I KNOW these people in my life. If you decide to check it out, be aware that it is an R rated program with plenty of sex, although the online version has cut out the f--- word. Also be aware that this is a very serialized show and if you don’t know what’s going on, it’s because we are 5 years into the adventure! (The first 4 seasons are available on DVD)

I could truly go on and on about TV because, as I said we are big fans. But at a glimpse, some favorite shows are Dexter, Grey’s Anatomy, Journeyman, The Closer, Bones, Brothers and Sisters, Desperate Housewives, The Amazing Race, Heroes, Big Love, Damages, Mad Men, Men in Trees, My Boys, Nip/Tuck, Private Practice, The Riches, The Tudors……see what I mean? BIG TV fans.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No hating. A few dislikes, but no hating.

24. What was the best book you read? My sister is right. That’s a tough one as I read a lot. I discovered Harry Bosch, the detective, this year and I consider that a great find. So I’ll go with Michael Connelly and all the Harry Bosch Novels – The Black Echo, The Black Ice, The Concrete Blonde, etc. etc. etc.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? No big musical discoveries that I can recall, but remember me? I’m the one who never knows the name of a song, never knows who’s singing it or what the lyrics are. I only hum along and think “gee, I like that song.”

26. What did you want and get? A small thing, but then I’m easily pleased. A pair of Merrell Primo Chill clogs in red. Got them from OMAS for Christmas.

27. What did you want and not get? A lottery win. Sorry to sound greedy but we’re ready to make the move across the country to the family stomping grounds. We’ve been outcasts in the Far West long enough. However, everything is about money with a move like that and we just don’t have it. Not old enough to retire, not enough money to move across the country and start again with new jobs, not old enough for Medicare, not enough money to buy individualized health insurance, etc. etc. And then, of course, the lovely housing crunch. Perfect time to buy, lousy time to sell. Money, money, money. It really does make the world go 'round.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Sometimes having such a terrible memory is a real pain in the ass. I can barely remember what movies I saw this year but I think my favorite was “The Bourne Ultimatum.”

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Like my sister, I also have no memory so I don’t know what I did on my birthday. Since my birthday fell on a Thursday, we probably did nothing as The Spouse works on that night. Most likely we went out to dinner and a movie on the following weekend. As to age, I’m old enough to know better and young enough not to care. I do it anyway, whatever “it” may be.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Less work for my spouse. She works way, way too hard.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? I wear what I like, what’s suitable to my body type and what’s comfortable. If others don’t like it, tough. A fashionista, I’m not.

32. What kept you sane? Good question and hard to answer. My sweet hounds, my home, My Spouse, OMAS, Mom, my work, etc. etc. Lots of things keep me grounded and sane.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? If by “fancy the most” you mean “like the most”, I’ll go with Leisha Hailey from The L Word.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? The presidential election.

35. Who did you miss? My wonderful Dad and dear, sweet, Bess.

36. Who was the best new person you met? Interesting people from my work life. Can’t name just one.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. People are people no matter what country they live in. We all hurt, we all cry, we all love. Everybody understands a smile no matter what language they speak.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Can’t do it. Reread #16.

And that’s the end of this meme. Feel free to copy it and put it in your blog with your answers and thanks for reading.

Happy New Year Everyone!!