Friday, December 30, 2005


I have been migrating my old computer information to my new one that I got for Christmas. I thought I would get everything, including all the files on my desktop. I still may, I have not had enough patience to deal with it for a lengthy time today.

I started using the firewire and hand picking applications that I wanted to transfer. After about fifteen of those, I found Migration. Click here and transfer all your info. Cool. Now, what do I do with the other stuff I transferred, did Migration know that I had already done it or not? I have opened each icon and checked in applications to see if it was there, then dragged the icons to the trash. I have not emptied the trash though. Too soon for that.

I transferred AOL and it seemed fine and working. Next time I logged in, I had to set up AOL again. Which of course means that I lost all my saved mail! I suppose that is not such a big deal since in got a new hard drive in the old computer this past summer and I lost it all then as well. Nothing like a good cleaning for the beginning of a brand new year eh?

I will figure it out. I am feeling better, but not very energetic today. Tomorrow, I, am taking down all the decorations and putting the house back in order. I say "I" but I really mean the girls and I are doing it tomorrow.

We are expecting some real rain tomorrow, so it will be a good day to clean up the inside of the house. Then all the boxes can go back into the storage unit and I can begin on the garage which has been terribly neglected since the last time it was cleaned. It depresses me to walk thru it, so it needs to be taken care of. No reason to wait til Spring.

I have made no New Year's resolutions and I plan to stick to that. I hate breaking them, therefore, I don't make them.

It is supposed to rain on Monday as well and that means rain on the Rose Parade for the first time in fifty years. It has only rained a handful of times on Rose Parade day in a hundred years. I say, rain rain rain! People see how beautiful and clear Pasadena is and they want to move here and many do. Much better to see some hard rain and realize that California is not the perfect weather capitol of America. It is to some. I love the rain. It clears the air and makes everything so clear. David had only lived in Santa Monica for six months and one day he was at the grocery store and noticed there were mountains! That is true California weather, at least in the summer!

Happy New Year to you all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Flu

This is not a poem.
This is simply how I feel.
My head aches.
It is difficult to hold up, even though it feels full of cotton.
I hurt all over. Even my eyes hurt.
I think I have the flu.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

I Wish YOU

Zbjernak (he's in my links) did a great post and played Santa. He sent me a helicopter that I am looking forward to seeing in the morning. He gave out lots of gifts and I liked his idea so much, I borrowed it from him. Although, I will not be giving out material things, I thought I would tell you all what I wish for you. If I omitted your name, it is unintentional, a lot of my links are on my computer and the display screen is not working....So, I am using my links off my blog and I know so many of you are not there. It only holds so many...I am putting names in bold, but not the links to your addresses. I already did this post today and lost it. And it is Christmas Eve! My kids have already opened one present each. Now, they wait for the stuffing of the stocking and then coming upstairs at the crack of dawn, probably earlier, to see what else they got! I love it! We used to wake my parents at 3am, until we got older, then my father woke us!!!

Heidi I wish you a year of less anxiety and less stress. Less worrying and more carefree days ahead. I also wish that our friendship is life long!

Cindy I wish you and Anthony a many more years of laughter, if that's possible. I wish you all the Michael Stanley concerts you can see. Plus, I treasure our friendship!

Bonn I wish you a wonderful new year in your new home with your family and your new addition! You and I nicknamed each other early on in our blog friendship and you are soooo witty and fun.

Jaded I wish you much happiness with your darling family and lots of fun with your new oven. Sans gas leaks! I have not heard much from you lately, I know you have been crazy busy, but I do love the friendship I think we established this past year. I hope Jadette has a wonderful Christmas morning!

Lighty I wish you a new home of your own where you can put out your own welcome mat and have some time to yourself. I have enjoyed you so much!

Annie and Jan I wish you both lots of time together and a much less stressful New Year. Annie, you post with your heart and Jan, you post occasionally, but with great heart! I appreciate both of you!

Sarah I wish you a lifetime of anxiety free days and lots of snuggle time with Jenn. You know that I adore you, even though I could easliy be your mother!!!

Anne I wish you to have your cozy shack stay cozy and a trip to Huahine in the near future! My six degrees of separation friend. This has been one of a kind with you.

Deb I wish you lots of cherished memories from your holidays with your family and friends. Selfishly, I wish you to continue to supply us with your important posts! It has been my pleasure to get to know you, a little tiny bit! LOL

Hollie I wish you and Hunter continued wonderful adventures, wild rides and lots of scrapbooking fun! Pong, you have rocked from the moment I met you!

Karen I wish you a virus free future and lots of time with your man and time to get your patio finished! You are so wonderful Karen, where are you????

Zbjernak I wish you a year of healthy, safe, adventures and lots of traveling! And I hope you continue to take your beautiful photos! You have become one comical friend that I just adore!

EngLee I wish you and your girlfriend a wonderful future! I have been away for a while but you know I care!

Dianna I wish you an easier time taking care of your kids and family. I wish you good health and less worrying as well. You work sooo hard! You amaze me with your stories and your life Dianna.

Carie I wish you a fab New Year with your off the chart smart daughter and lots of compassion from your family. I wish you to know that I am always here with an ear for you too.

LisaI wish a wonderful job for you this year that doesn't disappoint you. You deserve better. You have not posted in a long time. I wish you happy holidays!

Jackie I wish you a wonderful time with your beautiful kids and hope you take the time to enjoy this time, although often times hard. They just grow up soooo fast. You have such a wonderful heart!

Jan I wish you and Bob lots and lots of time together and that things just keep getting better and better! Your mind is on Bob and good for you!! LOL

Connie and Rob I wish you both a happy and healthy new year with lots of fun photos to keep us amused on your blog! Is there really a Rob? Just kidding!

Cracker I wish you and L'Ailee a wonderful New Year. I love reading your posts. You are a very intelligent woman with a lot of funny posts that I just love! Health, happiness and a happy New Year. You just plain rock girl!

SassyFemme I wish you and Fran to have a wonderful, exciting, adventurous New Year. I hope that your trip was great too. I hope to get to know you both better in the New Year.

Renee I wish you the most wonderful time with your little darlings and that you have a perfect New Year. Merry Christmas to you. You are the reason I try not to cuss in my posts! LOL

Blogzie I wish you lots of love, chaos and dinner in the New Year! And I promise not to be too intimadated to comment on your blog!!!!

Babs I wish you a terrific New Year with lots of funny posts to us! You were a bit late to get on the blog band wagon, but it has been so fun getting to know you through the buddy site!!!

Lois Lane I wish you much happiness and lots of sass in your posts. I, for some reason, just recently commented on your blog. Even though I saw your name everywhere for a year or so. My loss! You have it going on! You are funny, intelligent and have so many comments! I hope that you will keep up your very own brand of humor.

Alan I wish you much success with your New Year's resolutions. I am not a fan of New Year's resolutions, but if anybody can keep them, I believe it will be you! You have been a great new blog friend!

Okay, if I have forgotten anybody, I am sorry, This took longer than I thought. I went to other blogs to get names!
I have to be mommy now. I love all of you and wish you the best.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanakuuah to you all!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Off to Another Party

I mentioned tonight's event was an open house and Katharine looked at me funny. I told her it is still a party. I should be in the car on the way there now, but the traffic will be horrendous and I just had a look at Katharine's feet and sent her to the shower. She has been cleaning her room. We have wood floors and they do get very dusty. Especially when you cannot find them.

Anyhow, I have a couple of minutes of relaxation. We are going to cuzbro Ron's and cuzsis Pam's house. They live in Whittier which is about fifty miles from us. In LA county. My friend just dropped a gift off to me and asked if we were spending the night. I said, "No, it's only fifty miles." She raised her eyebrows...

Just to clarify, cuzbro is a name Ronnie made up for himself because we are as close as siblings, yet, we are just cousins. And Pam is his wife, yet like my only sister, except for my two sister's in law. Don't want anybody thinking we are from some back wood place where he is my brother and my cousin! I don't even want to think about how that could happen. We had double sets of cousins who married cousins in our family. Completely sends me to la la land when my older aunts try to explain it.....

Last night we went to my brother Clark's house. He is four years older than I am and just about to hit the century mark on the 13th. We have not seen them in so long that I still had their presents from last year. I actually took them in the box I was going to mail them in and never got to. We had such a blast. We did fondue. Kelly, my sister in law for twenty some odd years, had two fondue pots on the table with canola oil in them and sterno under them. We had chicken, filet, salmon and veggies to cook one piece at a time. It was a blast and we got a chance to have long chats and lots of laughs.

So, tonight we get to see why Ronnie and Pam won most innovative in their neighborhood for their Christmas decorations. I asked what they did and they told me I would have to see it. As if I wouldn't come to their annual party! Oh and they made tamales for us to take home too....YUMMY

We had a lot of scary fog last night. It was so hard to see while driving, but I only had to go about fifteen miles to my brother's house last night. On the way home, coming up the hill, it was slippery, as if we were driving on ice. I did a little sliding and got control and slowed down. I was not speeding either. It was just oily from the lack of rain for so long. It was quite wet. At the top of the hill, coming in our direction, was a Hummer sliding out of control. The driver got control and pulled off to the side. We proceeded up the hill about 20 mph. Tonight, there is no fog at all. In fact it is quite balmy out. Tomorrow it will be about eighty! UGH. I do appreciate the offers of sending snow my way though. Thanks!

Off topic of really no topic, I was wondering today if I am dyslexic. I read a phone number and put it in and get the wrong house. With the help of caller number review I can see that I mixed the numbers. Now, if I were a bad math student, way back when, I would have had a reason to be bad. I do hate math. However, I am really good with numbers, so it is strange. It could be a need for stronger glasses too. I am sick of wearing glasses to read anything these days. I am about to get a chain and let them hang on my neck. I am constantly saying, "Let me get my glasses." I know, it happens, deal with it. I am...

Okay, we are about to leave, so I will close now. Everybody have a grand Christmas Eve and first night of Hanukkah tomorrow...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Is This Rude To You?

The other day I needed to get a box of buttercream milk chocolate candy from See's. My neighbor's annual gift from us. She loves this stuff and can use the calories.

I had driven past See's twice and thought I needed to hit that store when it first opened to get in or find a place to park! Tuesday, the girls and I got there a little after 10:00 am. They didn't have the buttercreams already packaged, which meant we had to order them from the case. We got there behind three women.

The first woman ordered a couple of two pound boxes and she selected every single candy to go in them. She then decides that she needs another box for the day after Christmas and may as well get them at that time as well. Now there are eight people behind her. She picks each candy for another two pound box. Then she decides to get four separate pieces. The woman in line in front of us, walks out. The other woman, being helped by another woman in a white with black trimmed See's uniform, was not quite as bad. She ordered a two pound box and picked out each piece too. When the saleslady weighed the box, it was about two and a half pounds. She asked the saleslady to remove some, which of course, the woman chose herself. Then she was over by less than a buck over what two pounds cost, and she said, "Oh, that is fine." Saleslady asked her, do you want this wrapped?" Of course she did. This whole process took about a half hour between the two women and there were a dozen people behind us! Finally, it was our turn. I asked for a pound of buttercreams and was asked if I wanted it wrapped. I told the saleslady, "Just toss the paper in the bag please, and I will wrap it myself." I didn't have to hear it, but I knew that those in line behind me were applauding me! LOL

I think next year I will revert to ordering a box online. It came very fast last year!

When I am at the deli at the grocery store, I don't order a ton of items when there are people waiting. I think it is just rude. I go shopping and come back when it has cleared out. Many people are ordering a sandwich for lunch or one or two items, like I did. But to continue to hand pick each piece and ignore the line behind me, would make me feel bad.

In other news, we are in for another 80 degree Christmas this year. I know those of you who are freezing may think we are lucky. But, it feels more like Christmas when it is cooler out. Zoe asked if we could get a log for Christmas and Katharine pointed out that it will be 80! I told her we have a log and we can put it on if they get up early enough!

Also, we are having the biggest surf we have had in years. A swell all the way from Hawaii!

Surf's up

I cannot believe that Christmas will be here in three days. This year has gone by so fast!

Happy Holidays to you all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I've Been Watching Movies...

And some have been good and some have not. I have been taking advantage of HBO and Showtime, etc., since so many things are reruns right now. Last night I saw Bad Santa. It was made in 2003 and I have wanted to see it since then. Just never did. Billy Bob Thorton cracks me up! I laughed my head off watching this flick. Not for kids. Wacko Cohen brothers movie, but I thought it was funny, as I do most of their films. I do have a warped sense of humor. Not for those who cannot handle the "f" word!

I watched Cold Mountain. I thought it was a good movie. It was very long and sad, but good. Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweiger (sp) were very good. And that Jude Law dude...I have seen him in a couple of things, but this movie he stood out in. These are only my opinions.

We watched Mr and Mrs Smith. What a dog of a movie. Dumb and dumber. Silly and just bad! Brad and Angelina were the stars and the movie reminded me of a bad version of Spy Kids. Need I say more? Save your money, rent it if you must, but don't buy this one!

I loved Aviator with Leo DiCaprio. Well done and just a really good movie. The life of Howard Hughes. Lots of actors got work on this flick. I love movies that depict the thirties and forties. The sets were awesome and the acting was very good. I think DiCaprio was very believable as Howard Hughes. I would recommend this one.

I absolutely loved Spanglish. I have to say, that surprised me. Adam Sandler is not one of my favorite actors. However, in this movie, he was very good as a Chef who had a thing for the nanny, played by Paz Vega. Beautiful woman. Tea Leoni was good too. Man, can she do yoga. She is one strong lady. I would recommend this flick.

Anchorman, silly but fun. Will Ferrell, again, not one of my favorites. However, he was funny in this movie. I think the makers of this movie new it was silly and played into that. I have to admit, I fell asleep at the end and have not wanted to go back and watch it....I suppose I would not recommend this one. Although, Katharine loved it.

And I finally saw Sideways. I have wanted to see that movie since it came out. I have a friend who hated it and the arguing that went on. I loved seeing and hearing about California's wine country. The characters were in a real life town of Solvang, which we love. Over the hill from Solvang is where Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch is. We have stayed at a place called Alisal Ranch, a working ranch, with everything in the world to do as well. David and I fished on the beautiful lake the first time he took me there. I love to fish. The next time we went, Zoe and I fished by ourselves (David and Katharine went on a trail ride) and there was not one other person on or around the lake. We were out in a little boat watching the cattle come down to drink from the lake. It was spectacular.

I think one of the reasons I liked this movie was that I know the area where it was filmed. Right down to the restaurant where many scenes were shot. But, I enjoyed seeing Thomas Haden Church. I loved him in the TV series Wings set in Nantucket. He was good in this movie. I especially loved seeing Sandra Oh. I just love her. She was in Arliss and was his assistant, she was hilarious. She was in Under the Tuscan Sun, which I really enjoyed too. Sandra Oh now plays an intern on Grey's Anatomy, which is one of my favorite TV shows again this year. Virginia Madsen was really natural in her role. She is a beauty and had to do some mighty fine acting to be with the guy her character was interested in. His name is Paul Giamatti. I have seen him in other movies, thou what they were, escapes me right now. His character was depressed and not very likeable at all. Just imagining Virginia Madsen being with Antonio Sabato Jr in real life and then with this guy...Well, she did a fine acting job, is all I can say. I would recommend this movie.

I think that is about it. I think I may have seen a couple others, but nothing that stands out for me to write about. It has been fun to catch up on movies that have been out for a while. I am waiting for Million Dollar Baby to come. I think it will be this weekend on STARZ.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Yesterday, I was making a turkey sandwich and as I was spreading mayo, I had a flashback to making sandwiches when I was a kid. Using Miracle Whip. We never used real mayonnaise. It got me thinking about all the ways cooking and eating have changed since then. The way I learned to cook and had to unlearn when I grew up.

I was eighteen when I first tried broccoli and artichokes. I loved each. I suppose broccoli was within our means, but artichokes were foreign to my folks. They probably didn't have a clue how to eat them, so they never served them. I think my favorite vegetable is broccoli. Not covered in butter either, just steamed and yummy. I enjoy artichokes too. My kids like them too. Well, I am not certain about Zoe these days, but Katharine still likes them. And asparagus, I never had that until I was about eighteen and moved out either. I do enjoy steamed asparagus.

Our vegetables consisted of corn and green beans primarily. Carrots and potatoes. Potatoes cooked every way imaginable, but the best were fried, with onions in bacon grease. We saved bacon grease in a shortening can in the fridge. The mere thought of that now, makes me ill. We used shortening to cook, instead of oil. Maybe it was cheaper? I honestly don't know why we did that. We had one other vegetable to this day, is my favorite, but since I only like it fried, it only gets made once or twice a year. Okra. Okra with cornmeal and fried up crunchy. Delicious. Since it is so bad cooked that way, I am happy I love broccoli.

We used to cook bacon and eggs and cook the eggs right in the bacon grease. Sends shivers down my spine.....Thankfully Pam was invented and non stick pans! I think those two things were very important in helping people eat differently. Of course, If your family was not from Okalahoma or Iowa, maybe you would have eaten differently anyhow! Lox and bagels comes to mind... We had fish, but trust me, it was fried!

We used to have an occasional salad. Always with tomatoes and cucumber. I still love those two ingredients thrown into most salads even today. We only used thousand island salad dressing though. I like thousand island, but not on salads these days. Only for french fries! LOL I Love El Torito's Cilantro dressing and some others as well. I see a difference by introducing vegetables to my kids at an early age. Zoe is not fond of vegetables, but Katharine is and loves salads too. Zoe is better with fruit, like strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, bananas, pears and watermelon. Which is great.

When I was little, we ate a lot of bologna. My mother made this bologna spread that was made with Miracle Whip and relish, I think. She would put the grinder on the edge of the kitchen counter and grind the bologna up and make her concoctive. I loved that stuff.

I also loved Brunsweiger (sp), I would take it to school and get teased by the other kids that said I was eating dog food! Of course I stopped taking it for a while. I have it once a year or so now, out of nostalgia!

I think the last time I had Miracle Whip was about six years ago, when my mother was dying. My brother came over to be with me at her apartment. He brought ham sandwiches with Miracle Whip. I told him the sandwich tasted different and I couldn't figure out why. He told me it was MW and I laughed, because he still uses it! Same way he laughs at me for breaking up crackers into my chili!

Okay, back to the last post when I mentioned HTML. The girls gave me a paper with instructions to do it. So, I promised I would try it and here goes....bold should be here. This should be italic. This should be underlined Okay, it is not that hard! The font and color still elude me.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


I got all excited because I saw all the characters on the top of the page on AOL for posting. I clicked bold and my post disappeared. POOF. Crap. Of course it doesn't work, I have a MAC!!! Or, I am just not understanding how to use the different fonts and colors. It says error, so I am pretty sure it is not me. I normally use Safari, cuz, well, AOL truly does suck. I should give it up, but it was my first! I should know by now that it will be very slow in the evening because everybody is on at the same time. And half the time I cannot get on websites, so I use Safari. It is almost like having dial up again!

I suppose I am too lazy to use the HTML to make the font bold, italic, or even to change the color on my posts. But, I am not very HTML savvy either. That is why they always look the same. The words may be different unless I am on one of my current rants, but the font, size and color is ALWAYS the same. See, I would have put always in italic. Not caps...I know if I click the italic letter at the top of this composition, I will lose the whole thing! I have learned to copy and send most posts to myself before I publish too. Not an AOL problem there, well, I suppose it could be, but sometimes posts go poof and I hate to redo the post. Especially if they are funny and I forget what I had typed or if I am no longer as witty as I was when I originally composed the post, before it went poof. Cuz, you know when your post goes poof, you are not really in a good or even funny mood any longer. Poof equals mood modifier. And not in a good way...

So, the title, Finally, see I cannot even underline the title. Finally, is in reference to shopping being done and vacation is one day away for the girls. Not too much scheduled for next week. Only night time stuff and those are parties and Christmas caroling, which is fun! Tonight, Zoe is singing in her Christmas concert at the high school. Oops, did I say Christmas concert? Oh noooooo. I suppose it really is a Holiday concert cuz they are singing many different songs. I am looking forward to hearing the chorus tonight though. Zoe loves to sing. And I love (would be in bold if I could do it) seeing her happy. She is happiest when she is singing.

Only a couple of gifts left to wrap. Christmas cards were mailed out a couple of weeks ago. Last year, I mailed them in time for New Year's Day, which of course is a holiday! Yes, they were really tardy. Last night I realized the stockings were not up. I can't believe I forgot them, nor that the girls didn't remind me! We will find them with other decorations I am sure. Up in the rafters or in the storage unit. I am not putting up any more decorations though, only the stockings.

Did you know that the Rose Parade is on Monday Jan 2nd this year? How weird is that? My friend who grew up in Pasadena said that they NEVER (should be bold) have the Rose Parade on a Sunday! I have lived here my whole life and I didn't know that. I guess my mind has been on other things. My friend said, "Monday should be a holiday too, because the Rose Parade is on that day and we ALWAYS (bold) watch it together with hot cocoa." Therefore, I am pretty sure her daughter will be getting an extra day off for the break. I mentioned recording it and watching it that night, but that would not be the same.

We had an earthquake yesterday. Until late last night, I thought Charlie/Steve and I were the only ones who knew about it. I turned on the news and nothing. I looked online and nothing again. I picked up Zoe from school and asked her and she said she didn't feel it either. An earthquake, under only our house, and it shook like crazy. Okay, there must be some explanation, the neighbors house went boom??? Nope, I looked. And before you think me evil, I would not have wanted him to go boom, just away.

Katharine who had been at the movies came home about nine last night and I mentioned wanting to see the news. She said, "Oh, did you hear the big boom and feel the earthquake today?" I said, "Finally, somebody else felt it." She said most of the school did and some thought it was a sonic boom. Still, nothing in the papers or TV about it. We have Camp Pendleton blowing things up all the time, but this was different, it felt like an earthquake...Maybe some day I will know what it was.

My computer is in the shop. I will hear tomorrow what is wrong with it. Hopefully, it is just the back light on the screen. We shall see, and then I can get it fixed and have it back, finally.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Increase in Sales Tax for LB

A whopping 24% of voters turned out to vote on an increased sales tax for the next six years here in town. It passed with 55% of the vote. 15% of voters were absentee. Still only about 5000 voters voted overall. Enough to make it official.

The increased sales tax will begin July 1st and will put us on the map as having the highest sales tax in OC. Same as LA county. 8.25 %.

The monies raised by the increase are supposed to be used to help pay for the rebuilding of the hill that fell down during the summer. Bluebird Canyon, where I believe eleven homeowners lost everything. The hill is going to be rebuilt, like another part of it was back in the late seventies. Which is still standing.

It was my opinion that this was a bad precedent. The city didn't pay for a home that came tumbling down a couple of years ago. The family heard noise and got out just in time. The city cleaned up the mess and sent the family a bill for $75,000. I believe the family and the city made a deal in the end, where the city did help pay those fees. Of course, it was kept quiet because they didn't want to set a bad precedent. Along comes the city to shore up the hill and I was told by a contractor who was working on the street, on another project, that the work they were doing would not be enough for the road not to erode any more. In fact he was told by the workers that they knew it was not good enough to shore up the road. But, that is what they were told to do.

I don't have much confidence in many aspects of our local government. Especially the building department and certainly not the design review board. It all depends on who you know to get work permits in town. I am waiting to see if the loser neighbor Scrooge gets the "powerful person" he knows from the city to help him take out historical trees, without permits or contacting the neighbors up here.

Anyhow, I will be interested in seeing how well the hill gets reconstructed. I hope the work is good and that those who lost homes will somehow be able to afford to rebuild their homes, once they have a hill again. I was not wishing that this tax did not pass out of ill feelings toward any of those poor people. I was just wondering what would happen if another hill falls down. Will it come out of the monies left over from the current project? Will there be leftover money? Will the city have to pay to clean it up? Will we raise taxes again? Will this six year sales tax go away in six years? So many questions that I have, with very few answers. I just hope no more houses or hills come down ever again.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Scrooge Is Our Neighbor!

Our new loser neighbor is Scrooge! I actually thought Scrooge was gone, I was wrong. Here is the story. There has been an old man at the end of the street down below for years who caused all sorts of problems for the neighbors. He called the police on kids in the street with skateboards or if their ball went into his yard and they retrieved it. He let the air out of the neighbor's tires. He finally set up a video camera to prove that the kids were crossing a line by going into his driveway. Well, the good news is that his wife had his ass hauled off with a court order. Then she put copies of a restraining order in all the mailboxes. In case he was seen around her house, call the police. Finally, the kids can play in the street without the mean old man getting in their faces.

Along comes our very own loser neighbor. You have heard me complain about all his remoldeling without permits. Jackhammering concrete for weeks on end. Tearing out walls, cabinets, floors, and all the landscape and concrete in and around the house, putting in new, and replacing basically everything in the itty bitty house. I am not complaining because he did all that. That is fine. He could have waited til 8am or even told us that we would not be able to talk on the phone that day because of the noise. And he could have gotten a fricken permit for all the work he did. Now he asked the lower neighbor to take out some of his trees. And to top and thin out others. The neighbor said he would do it and along comes loser neighbor, who from now on will be referred to as Scrooge. Scrooge went over there with a guy from the city. Powerful guy he told the neighbor. He could get rid of the historical trees, while others in town cannot. I heard the "powerful" guy ask, "Are there any neighbors that may give us problems?" I believe that would be the neighbor on the other side of him and yours truly. We live in an historical Eucalyptus grove and we like it that way. He comes in and notices last weekend he can see the ocean...Wow, take out the century plus trees so Scrooge can see the ocean! He is the most narcissistic person I have met in a very long time.

It appears his mother is staying with him. I could be wrong, she could be his older, much older wife. We have tried to get Charlie/Steve to not bark at Scrooge, but how can we blame him for barking at such a miserable man? I have one of those cans of air for electronics. I spray it or reach for it and Charlie/Steve cries, but does not bark. I have been doing this for a couple of weeks, every time I hear his door open or his chain leash approaching. Charlie/Steve can be in a dead sleep in the sun on the deck or on the couch in the house and he hears Scrooge's dog's leash. He comes hauling ass out to bark at Scrooge's dog. People walk by all day and Charlie/Steve sometimes barks, but usually when there is a dog attached to a person. He stops once they pass our house. I have the mismatched beach towels up so we cannot see Scrooge and he cannot see us. But, I cannot stop my dog from barking at Scrooge. I assume when I am not here he barks to his heart's delight! Who could blame him, he is a DOG!

Right now, I am shaking. I am so fried I cannot even express how angry and upset my stomach is. We have been putting up the rest of the decorations and the ornaments on the tree and I came out here to untangle something with my glasses. I heard Scrooge and the old lady and I got the can of air. Charlie/Steve barked first. I squeeze the trigger on the air and he stopped. Then I hear the old lady say, "Shut up, you bad dog!" I had steam coming out of my ears! I told the old lady, that I could not see behind and down from my mismatched beach towels, that he is not a bad dog. They both got into it with me. Grandma said, "He is too a bad dog." Then I told her that he was protecting his territory. Scrooge, hiding behind grandma's skirt tails says, "He is too bad, he makes too much noise." I told him, "Why don't you just move out?" "You are the one making all the noise with your jackhammers, saws and all your other unpermited construction!" I told them it was nice up here til he moved in. I cannot remember much else, my heart was pounding in my ears. Katharine came out, David at the kitchen table looked shocked. I asked him if he heard what they said. He said, "No." But, he told me that Katharine was surprised to see me lose my temper this way....I told her what happened and she said, "He is a dog!" Out of the mouths of babes.

I poured myself a scotch to calm myself down. I am still pissed, with a knot in my stomach. If Scrooge was the kind of person, who would listen, I would talk to him like a normal human and tell him we are trying to get Charlie/Steve not to bark at him and maybe he could get a quieter leash! But, that will never happen. The war has begun, unfortunately. Not talking was okay with me, but I am not sure I will be able to hold my tongue now! That train has left the station.

Honestly, as I am typing this, I hear dogs barking all over the place. Charlie/Steve is not barking right now. He is playing with his toy, quietly in the house. How the hell am I supposed to keep my dog quiet when he has a deck to protect and run the length of while doing so. I will not put up screens to block him from looking out. And, I have truly been working on keeping him from barking at Scrooge and his dog in earnest. He can hear me tell Charlie/Steve not to bark, to sit, stay and good boy. Scrooge can hear all these commands. Does he appreciate it? No, he doesn't realize that keeping a dog quiet is no small feat. Unless, one has a dog like his that seldom barks, but barks at me plenty when I am out here at midnight. Charlie/Steve can care less at that point. Scrooge's dog barks when Scrooge is not home. His dog was barking when he and the old lady went into the house tonight, not mine. Mine only barks when he hears somebody coming near our property. It is not big, trust me. Once past our house, he goes about finding something else to do.

I am so angry right now. I am angry that when Scrooge told David that we should have our dog trainer call him, a couple of weeks ago, I didn't speak up and tell him to shut up and deal with it! We have such a great neighborhood, well we did til the twenty something narcissistic Scrooge moved in!!!! Scrooge needs to live in an association with CC&R's. Not up here in hippieville. We don't act like the stuck up stickybeaks in other areas. Most of the people up here are new families, with dogs, or the older people who have lived here for thirty years. We have had a great ride for eight years here. It is sad to think it is coming to an end because of Scrooge.

I am sorry this is happening. I wish he would sell his place now that he has fixed it up. He took one of the smallest, and the cheapest houses in Laguna Beach and made it it nice. I don't think he would be able to recoup what he put into it, because it it is so tiny. Unfortunately, he seems to like it here and he works from home! This truly sucks. We live so close to one another that we can hear everything each other says. I am not being nosy when I hear conversations. In fact, I usually turn up the radio, not to hear the conversations. But, the fact is, we know each other's business. Fact of life when you live viturally on top of one another.

So, I am asking for advice here. Should I be doing something differently? I am trying to keep an animal from barking due to one lousy complaining neighbor. We have had Charlie/Steve for a year this month and never has anybody complained before Scrooge moved in. How do you make a dog not bark? Is is possible to make a rat/fox terrier not bark at passing dogs? Or will he just protect his territory? Because at this point, I really don't want to hamper him barking at Scrooge anymore. I just want to let him bark til Scrooge has passed our house and let it go...But, to keep the peace, I will continue to try and keep him quiet. Is this dog abuse???

Saturday, December 10, 2005


The other night my neighbor and I were going to put up the Christmas lights and she knocked over a glass of water, with a ladder and it got into my screen. It is dark, but the computer still works. I am going to back it up and take it to Apple. But, in the mean time, I am borrowing one of the other three in the house. Not mine though and don't have my bookmarks and there are times when all four of us are on them at the same time.

I have all my Christmas information on my computer and of course more valuable stuff that I need! I lost over 2000 songs when my hard drive was replaced. I backed up everything but my music, because I didn't know I was getting a new hard drive when it went to the "shop." I was trying to upgrade to the latest o/s and it wouldn't work. The techies couldn't do it either. That made me feel pretty good, and as I have said before, the warranty had two days to go. So, I don't want to lose my computer. I just want a new screen, but I also want everything backed up before it goes in!

We did get the lights up and got quite hammered. We do this once a year and it was fun too. We actually had to hit Target the next morning to get a couple more boxes of lights. I wanted to make it nice and colorful for the new loser neighbor. We put up multi-colored icicle lights and blue all along the fence. We did blue on the deck where my "office" is as well, but we lacked a couple of boxes. I thought it would look kinda white trashy looking, which was why it was for the loser neighbor, but they came out really pretty. I doubt he will put anything up on his house, since he is scrooge!

David and Katharine went to her manager's Christmas party last night. A two hour drive on a Friday night. They didn't know anybody, the did some visiting, ate and only stayed for an hour or so and then came home. Katharine looked so cute in a long brown velvet and lace skirt and a new cream colored sweater and boots. Unfortunately, it was a party for adults more than children, so she didn't have a good time. Oh well. She got some nice compliments and at least made an appearance.

Zoe and I stayed in and had a Mexican meal that I prepared. We then proceeded to watch a couple of tivo'd episodes of House. Love that show! I have five more to watch still! Good because this time of year everything goes to reruns. And then there is the dreaded "best of 2005" shows that will be endless! UGH

Anyhow, the hub is home with yummy tamales from the farmer's market. I am going to have dinner. I may not be around as much as I can only remember some of the blogs that I visit, without my bookmarks. I do have several links on my site though and will be able to visit you all.

I wanted to take a minute and tell Cindy happy birthday tomorrow! Happy Birthday Cindy! I hope it is a fun day and that you enjoy it!

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I just heard a story about phishing on NPR. They said that phishing is getting better and fooling more people than ever. Please don't ever click a link on an email that says where they are from, even if you do business with them. Instead, go to their web address by typing in their address. Check your account. If things are okay, you will know that you were being phished. You may want to contact said company and let them know you were being phished. Chances are they have had several complaints before yours.

One example they gave was fake emails. People click on the link, enter their username and password and the page flickers and they now have your information, by the time you figure out, this is not really

I have posted about this topic before. For novices and even others, this is very dangerous. As our world becomes more internet dependent, more trolls come out of the woodwork and try to steal our identities or at the very least our stored credit card information. NEVER let a site store your credit card information. ALWAYS enter credit card info each time you purchase from a site. Change your password from time to time. Immediately, if you were just phished!

Another way to make sure a site is real, especially if new or unknown is to go to Put in the item you are looking for and it will tell you all the places selling that item and for how much. It will also give you their rating. Ratings based on customer reviews, re: quality, customer service, selection, cost, shipping, price and overall satisfaction with the site. I would be leery of using a company that had only an handful of reviews. It could be a real company, new to Bizrate or it could be somebody who is trying to get a piece of all the money that is spent this time of year!

Phishing is not limited to the internet. It has long been learned that we do not give out financial information to people who solicit us via telephone. Be aware for instance, if they want your social security number or your mother's maiden name. If this happens on the phone then hang up and if you have caller ID, report the number immediately to If you are not signed up for this website, you should be. It makes calling you for solicitation purposes, illegal. They are fined or jailed depending on the number of complaints. But, they are also not going to call you again, which is great.

Phishing, or mail fraud, seems much more prevalent these days. Mail fraud is a federal offense. Things that look real are fake. Look for bad grammar, or anything that tells you this may be a scam. If you call the number on the mailing and they ask for personal information, don't give it to them. Generally, you will find that the automation system is nonexistent and a real person will ask you for your financial information. A real company will already have this info and will not ask you for it! EVER.

There are so many ways to protect yourself from identity theft. Use them, be aware, be vigilant.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Tis the season for the fruitcake. I used to wonder, as I am sure you did as well, if there was one fruitcake. One fruitcake that got passed around year after year. Seriously, since nobody really eats these things, who would know if you regifted it?

This fruitcake never got eaten, nor unwrapped. It was used as door stops, paperweights or on display for the cute little tin it came in.

Yet, year after year, these fruitcakes make the rounds. They are everywhere and they are not cheap either. I wonder if that is because they have gotten more costly to make or they sell less, so they mark up the price. Who in their right mind would go into business making the butt of all jokes, fruitcakes?

The only person I know who eats fruitcake is my hubby. I laughed when I first found this out. And he has a favorite. I had forgotten about fruitcakes all together until the other day at the store. For the size of a pack of Hostess donuts, you can pay upwards of six bucks for a fruitcake. Of course the fruitcake weighs a lot more than a pack of donuts.

Yesterday, I got an email from the famous Collin Street Bakery, to remind me to order my fruitcake now, so I will receive it in time for Christmas. Already they are starting the last minute emails. It is the sixth of December. Nineteen days til Christmas. That used to be all the time most people had before sales began. Now, right after Halloween.

But, I don't think I will be getting hub a fruitcake this year. Even the small one, is not cheap and once opened, they truly do not last forever!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Yes, I did go shopping at a mall today.

I know, I cannot believe it myself! David, Zoe and I hit the grocery store about 8:30. Katharine got up about the time we arrived home to help put away the bags of groceries. We started talking about what she is going to wear to her manager's party this Friday night. Well, almost manager, probably this week. I had to get her a work permit. She has a doctor appointment on Tuesday.

I thought it was early enough to go to the mall and get a sweater that she could wear with a couple of her really cute skirts. Believe me, this kid is a slave to fashion and it's hard to imagine that she needs anything! Especially so close to Christmas. So, I thought a good compromise would be for her to get a sweater instead of a whole outfit. Because I am the mommy and I say so. Zoe reminds me of this often! It's pretty funny. She will say, "You know, you are the mommy and you can say no!" She is a different breed of fourteen year old in my eyes! Such a great girl.

We went to the first store that was open, JC Penney. I cannot remember the last time I went there. I don't do malls much. I am an creature of online shopping. We found a black lacy, velvet, longish skirt for Zoe, who has a concert with her chorus this week and asked if she could get a skirt. From the kid is exclusive to shorts, OH YEAH, she could have a skirt! First one was the right size and on sale. Good thing too, cuz there were no others. We were second in line and an older woman was behind the counter. Ignored us. Took a couple of phone calls. Then wondered out loud about where the woman was who left a stack of things on the counter and where she would put them. Then she moves the stack and then asks what she should do with all the circulars and not to anybody in particular. Then she asks somebody hanging clothes if she is going to work a cash register. Then she gets on the phone and loudly tells the person that she is very busy with a long line and asks the person to call back. We hear her say, "Oh, you want me to call you back?" Under my breath, I said, "like that is ever going to happen!" Then not under my breath, I said, "Now I remember why I hate shopping here!" Both of the girls told me shush! Finally after about eight minutes, the older woman was ready for us. Do I want to open an account? Seriously!!!!

We went to a couple of different stores and it is so freaking hard to find a decent cute sweater for a twelve year old. Not too young and certainly not sexy! We found two at Jones NY and they were on sale too. A nice cream color to go with her brown skirt and boots. And a red one that is so seasonal and cute with jeans. Both needed camis underneath because they were a bit too low cut. Katharine asked if she needed a cami and I said, "Absolutely." The cami's were on sale too.

Off to find a decent pair of shoes for Zoe. She has a couple of pairs of sandals and two pair of tennis shoes. She hasn't even worn the second pair of tennies yet, cuz, the old ones are good. We didn't find any shoes she liked, which was good with the prices in that store. Katharine found a cute pair of sandals. "Can I have these?" she asked. "No way." I tell her. "Why?" she wants to know. "Because they are heels and you are twelve!" And oh yah, I am the mommy! Zoe said she didn't get the problem with her wearing heels. I told he my first pair of heels was in ninth grade and that I wanted her to wait to ruin her feet or break an ankle! Like I did, twice. Funny thing is that when I was a kid, kid's shoes looked like kids shoes. Now days they look like little Ho's shoes. It is difficult to find flat shoes for kids. Luckily, they are in style and I was able to get some for Katharine before school started. I suppose I should stock up in bigger sizes as heels and platforms will surely replace them by Fall! I wanted to find a Payless, but we didn't. I like Payless for kids shoes. Their feet are still growing! I am pretty sure Zoe's are about done now though, at 14 and a size 9...

We ended up having lunch at outside the mall, in the corner of the parking lot and before it got crowded. It was a beautiful day. A bit chilly, but spectacularly clear. We had a funny waiter, which makes things fun too. I told him Katharine drank my ice tea and what was he going to do about it. He told her she was grounded and that he was going to tell the manager on her too.

I made a pot roast for dinner in an oven bag. It came out really good. I had a few bites. David is still at the office. Poor guy had to work on Sunday. He did go by the storage unit and picked up our tree though. I am thinking tomorrow after school we will decorate it and then we can wrap gifts. Hopefully Charlie/Steve will not eat them, nor the ornaments like he did last year. We got him on the 22nd of December last year. He was three months old and an outdoor dog. Things have changed. Since he outgrew his crate, he usually takes a couch to himself. I got him a big bed at Sounds like I am referring to a toddler! LOL... That is his Christmas present and he seems to like it and has yet to eat it! If anybody knows how to keep him from snatching ornaments off the tree or ripping open gifts, please share with me!!!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Hospitality Night Photos

look at the home above City Hall

People everywhere just hanging out

some of the singers


Hard to get a shot of the tree in the dark!

We had such fun. The light rain held off till the middle of the event, but it did not deter thousands of locals from conversing and shopping downtown. The streets were shut down and they were full of pedestrians. Clad mostly in jackets and scarves, sweaters and rain gear.

David and his community choir did sing. The keyboard was taken in when the rain began to fall. The singers kept on singing though. Many had libations to keep themselves warm and were not worried about the rain after the second set began! They are singing again tonight at the local high school theatre. It should be fun. He is there rehearsing now.

The kids had a great time. Starting at a local church where people were still bringing coats and jackets for the girl scouts to distribute around the area, very soon. Food everywhere. Lots of hot cocoa. Local bands. Marching bands. The lighting of the tree in front of city hall. Santa's arrival on a very old fire truck was exciting to the little ones!

Shopping was fun. Most stores were giving out refreshments and having sales as well. I got a couple of Christmas gifts and a pair of earrings for myself!

Sorry the photos are so dark!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

This is Strange!

How strange is this??? David found a website and signed up Charlie. It is called Piedog. Cuz, he has three colors. He got his certificate in the mail yesterday and his photo is on the website....Seriously, one of the strangest things I have ever seen! LOL


While on the subject of the dog, here is what is going on with the loser neighbor!

I despise the new loser neighbor. We have been working with the dog, Charlie/Steve, to get him not to bark at the dog next door. Can't dislike the dog, even though his owner is an idiot. Charlie/Steve has been doing better as I get him to sit and stay as the loud chain leash with the dog attached go by our house three times a day. I can hear the neighbor come out of his house and then I get Charlie/Steve to sit, before he hears it. If I can. Sometimes he gets there first. He just wants to play and talk to the other dog. Or maybe he wants to bite the loser neighbor in the butt! I have no idea what happens when I am not here. But, I suspect Charlie/Steve likes to bark at him, because he can.

It is very stressful to make sure not to let the dog bark and to constantly be listening to when I need to be on my toes. I heard another neighbor below us tell another neighbor next to him that the new guy has asked him to take out some of his trees! They are blocking his view! He said, he will be trimming his trees and will be doing this once for the guy, cuz he is new. He also asked the neighbor if he could top his trees by ten feet. I heard him say, sure, and I will pay you for it. I asked him six months ago to trim the mass of trees blocking our view of the bay and he told me he was going to do it next year. Maybe I should get the loser neighbor to ask. We all seem to be abiding by his demands these days. I can see what is next too. Our trash cans. He looks up to our driveway and we have the trash cans there blocking his view of us getting in our car. I can just hear him telling the city that we don't have them hidden. Which they should be. But, there is nowhere to put them, other than where they have been for the last thirty years!

Okay, this is too funny. I can hear the deer in his yard right now. HAHAHA. I have photos of the previous neighbor's garden being devoured by the deer. This guy is about to have his yard landscaped after ripping out almost all the gorgeous flowers that the last neighbor put in for the two years he was there. He worked from morning til sunset every weekend. I wish he still lived there! But, the loser neighbor is in for a rude awakening very soon. I am not going to tell him that the deer are going to eat everything he plants. I can't wait til he comes out and sees only stems. I suppose that is mean, but I don't care. This guy is not kind or neighborly in the least! He is Scrooge!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

On My MInd, Things To Do

The sunrise this morning was so spectacular that I had to show you....

Friday night is Hospitality Night here in town. The town is all lit up. They light a spectacular Monkey Tree (sp?) in front of City hall and Santa will be there, of course. The hub and his chorus will be singing. The scouts will be giving out coats to those less fortunate. We gave two bags of jackets and sweaters to the program called One Warm Coat. Katharine will not be working the booth though. Only four of our troop will be doing it for forty-five minutes. Then it is handed off to other troops. I suppose Zoe and I will head down there and check out the sales. All the stores in town will have sales that night. Katharine and some friends will be doing Hospitality night as a group this year.

The Winter Sawdust Festival has opened. It is so beautiful. Especially at night. Local artists displaying their wares. Our troop will be caroling there one night. There is even snow that is brought in for the kids to play in. It is pretty awesome. Better than the summer one, just because it is such a magical time of year. Still, the location is so quaint. It is in the canyon coming into town, located in a eucalyptus grove. It stays cool in the summer, so it gets quite cold, by California standards, this time of year.

I think Saturday the troop has a meeting to make up baskets for one family who lost everything in the Bluebird Canyon slide last summer. Each troop is helping a family. On the following Saturday, they are caroling inland. And the best thing they are doing is feeding the homeless a warm breakfast on the 18th. These are the good things that the Girl Scouts do.

We have much to do this month. As do all of you, I am sure. The tree definitely goes up this weekend. The lights on the house too! Which usually involves my neighbor and tequila! All I have left to buy are a few stocking stuffers. I want everything wrapped and under the tree this weekend too. The Thanksgiving deadline I set for myself, came and went, but I do have most things here already, so I am way ahead of last year. I still have Christmas cards to do too. Yes, I said Christmas cards. Even though some are "holiday cards" for the Jewish contingent. I have been doing this for fifteen years. The first year I sent out Christmas cards to everybody. Hub told me that some of those people were Jewish. So, now I get cards for Hanukkah and Christmas.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A day of errands

Not much to write about tonight. I had a day of running errands, cleaning, doing laundry and paying some bills. Fun stuff huh?

I stopped at the grocery store before I picked up Zoe from school. I had plenty of time to pick up the few items I needed. Or so I thought. Two cashiers open. Finally another one opens up and a nice old lady moves over. Fair enough, she is next in line. I waited while this other woman pushing her own small cart got in front of me as well. She said, "You don't mind if I go ahead of you, do you?" I told her no problem, looking in her cart. Then she tells me that she cannot put the stuff up onto the counter because she is trying to avoid back surgery. Hmm. I told her I would put her stuff up. There was already a bag full of items, which I thought she had already purchased. Wrong. When I put the bag on the counter, she dumped it out and gave the bag to the box person to throw away. The woman behind me was already huffing and puffing because she was in a hurry. At this point, so was I. The old woman in front of me also has a case of wine, a gallon of vodka, and six eggs, which was all I thought she had originally. She finally got done and gave the cashier her credit card and then signed her name with what must have been her middle and all her hyphenated names as well. Finally, she turns to me and says, "Thank you for your help." I told her no problem and was finally able to pay for the six items I had.

I was ten minutes late picking up Zoe. She understood. If it is not a woman in the grocery store, it is a trash truck or a bus coming down from the top of the hill that I inevitably get behind. Just another day in paradise!

I believe this is the shortest post I have ever written....

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Photo Sunday Again

We went to my cousin's for a cousin's party. We had a delightful time. I will introduce you to some of my family! There were about thirty more cousins, first cousins once removed and second cousins that I did not photograph. At some point one must put down the camera and chat! I was also obsessed with getting a shot of Zoe and Katharine for our Christmas card.

Aunt Juanita, Cousin Tere, Aunt Dorothy and Ronnie

My brother Clark and my sister in law Kelly

Cousins, Lindsay, Katharine, Zoe, Alyssa, Alec and Drew

Zoe and Katharine

My niece Alyssa and Katharine

Zoe and Katharine again

My lovely cousin K and her mother, my adored Aunt Dorothy

David looking better

Cuzsis Pam, Aunt Dorothy and Cuzbro Ronnie

Friday, November 25, 2005

Shopping Before Dawn is Fun!

First let me say that Thanksgiving day was wonderful. More food than anybody could eat. All kinds too. And bread from a store in San Francisco! OMG.... Cuzbro Ron made a turkey on the bbq and it was unbelievable! Yummy smoked flavor. His sister, also my cousin, LOL, brought a spiral ham from her home in Mesa, AZ. Her son 14 now and so tall. A great kid too. And my cuzsis Pam had her sister and husband and their kids and one of her brothers, who brought the bread! You can order this wonderful bread in the shape of a turkey or rolls. I have not looked at the catalog out of fear of liking everything in there! Pammy worked her tail off all day and it was a wonderful time. All the love in the preparation and the eating was evident. And the desserts! Holy moly. David made an apple pie and cranberry bread. Yummy. There were other pies and Pam's sister made a cake too! I made Annie's sweet potatoes and they were very good. I even liked them! Thanks Annie.

I woke up at one this morning and decided to plan my before dawn shopping trip. I got the ads out and then thought, hmm, if I can do a couple of these stores online, I don't need to go to all of them. Target was noncompliant! The things I needed were not all on their website. However, Kohl's rocked and I did get what I needed there. Of course I cannot tell you what I purchased, for obvious reasons!

Then I had planned to be at Target when they opened at 6:00. It took me a long time to go back to sleep after shopping in the middle of the night and I woke up at 5:50. I jumped up. Gave the dog his chicken jerky, brushed my teeth, washed my face, got dressed and I was out of here! No traffic on the roads near me, but lots of fog. Luckily, I know the roads, but I did drive safely. We have deer and coyotes around here and I would not want road kill on my conscience!

I got to Target by 6:20. The parking lot was overflowing. I found a spot where somebody was coming out and a great spot too! I got one of the few carts remaining. I got the things on my list. I was not shopping for toys and electronics, so I just had to dodge the carts of the crazed parents! I got Christmas cards for our annual photos of the girls, which I should take today. I got lots of lights for the house. Cool colored icicle lights for the house and soft blue for the fence and decks. I had never seen these before. Selection was great and not many others were looking at them. Too busy in other departments! I got two rolls of wrapping paper that will go with the wired ribbon I bought at Costco a few weeks back. I bought 5 huge rawhide bones for the dog. He gets so excited when he gets one and he stays pretty much to himself while chewing. I also got some cds for myself. It has been a long time since I have done this. I used to have 2000 songs on my computer from our collection and some purchased. I lost all of them when I got a new hard drive on my computer. Better to have to replace the music than the hard drive and my computer will last and last now. I got IL Divo *The Christmas Collection* I am importing it onto my computer right now. Man, not only are these men handsome, but I think they have lovely voices. I got Joe Nichols III. I love love love him! If you like country and have never heard of him, give him a try. His voice changes. Sometimes I hear Merle Haggard, George Jones, Keith Whitley and others in his voice. I like that he is versatile and cute too! And for a blast from the past, I got Culture Club greatest hits! HAHAHA. I love them. Check out was a breeze. Target was running the cashiers and customers like a well oiled machine. I have to admit, I was impressed.

I stopped by Staples on the way home. Actually, I was passing when I noticed they were open. I got a couple of stocking stuffers and some good photo paper. Prices at Target for photo paper are way over priced.

I have been shopping online for years, almost exclusively. This year has been no exception, but I did the Black Friday thing and it was fun. I think more stores should be open earlier, on normal days. I am almost done shopping now, a couple more stocking items and a couple more gifts and I am done!

Now, onto the decorations!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Consider this Wednesday and Thanks!

I thought it could be a couple of days before I posted again. Well, here I am again tonight. Who knew?

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here goes. I am thankful for:

I am thankful for the funny family I have. Seriously, all witty and funny. Always cracking up. Tonight Zoe said something and Katharine asked, "Why do we always have to be so funny?" The answer is that it is the way we are. We love to laugh. We are funny, at least to each other. There is not much better than family who loves to laugh together! I am overwhelmed by the blessings of this fact!

I am thankful for our health. It has been a trying year, health wise. David had bladder cancer, it did not spread, and I am unbelievably thankful for that.

I had/have cysts in my ovaries, but they seem to be going away on their own. I had the CA125 test for cancer and waited for the results, not too patiently. It turned out okay though. It just happened the same time as David's cancer.

I am so thankful that the girls are healthy. David and I are cancer free too. And, the dog and cat seem to be thriving!

I am thankful for the fact that the girls are so smart! Pulling straight A's and above, since the beginning of their school career. Especially now, since there is no way in hell I could do the math they do!

Thankful that Katharine may be on the road to a wonderful acting career. My hair stylist, friend, said she saw it when she was two. A mother needs to hear those kind of comments. I have heard them from other people with her plays. It is not just I, who think she is exceptionally gifted, not to mention, beautiful. It will be my job to keep her grounded. My friends say that I will do it. One said she can see me slapping her in the face and telling her to snap out of it. Like Cher in Moonstruck. I laughed, because I would never hit her, but my words can do the same thing. Not to hurt her, but to bring her back to what really matters in life. To be good, to be giving, to be nice. Period.

Thankful for the fact that I can drive Katharine to her auditions, etc., and feel like I am contributing something.

Thankful for Zoe. She is so amazingly smart! She just learned the fifty countries of Africa. I knew some of them, but not their locations. She has a test tomorrow. We copied several maps and she filled in the names. We practiced a couple of times, but she knows every single country and where they are located. Hence, I too, learned a lot! I cannot even tell you how impressed I am. David took the quiz. He took the same map and listed what he knew. He had some wrong. That doesn't happen very often. I am so proud of her! She is so smart. So much smarter than I am. I am so blessed to have this child who is so smart that she needs no help from me. Except when she wants to study. I am so thankful that she enjoys cramming with me. She loves it. Not too many teens who do. How did I get her?

I am thankful for my wonderful friends. I have some great friends. They tell me what I need to hear. They don't hold back, any more than I would. We have been in Laguna for eight years. I have made some awesome friends. I also brought some with me. Friends who are just there. I am so lucky. Even friends who have moved away, are still very close to my heart. We talk and we pick up where we left off. I am so thankful to have these women in my life.

I am very thankful for my blog friends. And there are some who are just above and beyond. The sweetest people in the world. I am totally addicted to seeing what is going on in your lives every day! Thank you for being the best. No weirdos coming out of the woodwork, just really terrific people. Men and women. But, especially to the women.

I am so thankful this Thanksgiving. I am so happy we will be with my cuzbro and his wife, like the sister I never had. They are the best, most down to earth people on the planet. I adore them. We will be spending our day with them. It is the first time in many years that we will be spending it with other's than just the four of us.

I am thankful for the overnight visits with my parents when they moved three hours north of us. We made arrangements that we would all meet up there the day after Thanksgiving. Gone, the guilt of not being with everybody. We simply met the day after. Two of my brothers and their families. We would spend the night. We went to the park, we played poker at night, we borrowed a corkscrew the first year from a neighbor! We had a blast together. Very memorable moments in our lives and the lives of our little ones. Even though we all lived in OC, we didn't see each other very often. We did for a few years, after my parents moved to Bakersfield. It is even more special now, looking back to when they were alive. They are missed.

Finally, I am just thankful for the family that I have. I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband, two great girls. We have a fun time together. Sometimes it is like a classroom, learning what David knows, some of it anyway. But, the best part is that we genially love and like each other, and we laugh, all the time.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my blog friends. You are all the best. Truly. Not many family members read this blog, as far as I know, but, Happy Thanksgiving to everybody. Enjoy the gift of your loved ones, your family, it all goes by so quickly. Please think each minute, how wonderful things are right now. Take it to heart. You will be so happy that you did, years from now.

Where Is Fall?

It has been way too hot here. The past few weeks have been hot and ugly. Very dry. Can you hear the cracking? That's my nails and hands. Not enough moisture and if I am not careful I could round a corner and get caught by a hangnail! My lips are perpetually chapped. Now I have a freaking cold sore. Sinus headaches. We haven't had humidity higher than 20% in weeks! It is up to about 28% right now, but once the sun comes up, that will change.

You know those new cloths. Dust free types? Have you ever used them with dry hands? It is the worst feeling. My hands feel like velcro with those things! I clean and then have to unattach them from my hands. I have been slathering on lotion too. I should be using udder or hoof cream. Those two items work well on my feet and then I put on a pair of socks all night. That feels so great. I could never use them on my hands and then wear gloves all night though. Every time I wash my hands, I would have to re-apply. Not like I use my feet for very many things, you know?

I just heard that it is only supposed to be in the high seventies today with a slight chance of rain. Well, you can bet that means I still have to water. Even the dog has been drinking two bowls of water a day.

Okay, enough of that now. I got my hair colored and cut yesterday and I love it. Same as last time, but with a tiny bit more red for the holidays. Not too noticeable unless I am in the sunshine. I try to avoid that, because it fades! Got the eyebrows waxed too. I hate getting it done, but I love the results.

I turned in all the final reports and paperwork to the Girl Scout Council yesterday. Huge job. Tons of hours. Lots of ink and paper. Those who get us to volunteer are no dummies! I will probably do it again next year though. I did enjoy it, most of the time.

Made the final decision about Katharine and her acting manager. I called her yesterday and told her we are going to go for it. She seemed genuinely excited. I heard her tell somebody else who she was talking about. When I told her that we were going to go for it though, she seemed surprised. She said, "Reeeeally?" I guess when we were talking on Saturday about all the driving and work involved, we didn't seem too excited. Cuz, we weren't. We were excited for Katharine though.

I gave Katharine the cutest hand made card. No, not by me. Had a woman on it with velvet pants and a furry scarf, and the shirt said, "You are fabulous." I told Katharine to reach for the stars and we would do our best to help her. And that it would be a team (family) effort. Needless to say, Katharine is oh so excited!

I desperately need to go grocery shopping today. I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is in two days! I have been shopping though. In fact, I got maybe two hours sleep last night, so I did some shopping online. I am almost done. It will not all be wrapped by Thanksgiving, but most things should be here by the first of December and then the wrapping. I suppose that means it will be time to put up the tree and decorations too. I got a fake tree with lights that we have used the last two years. Although I love the smell of a real tree, they dry out so damn fast here that they are huge fire hazards. The fake tree looks real, and all the lights are already on it! Hopefully, I can get that done and just enjoy the rest before Christmas. Once the new year begins, we are off and running, more than ever before. I should say driving!

Don't know if I will make another post tomorrow or Thursday. Just in case I don't, I want to take a moment to tell you all to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! That didn't take a minute, but Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Studio City

We went to Studio City today. About 65 miles north of us. Just north of downtown LA. We had a meeting with a theatrical manager. She had seen Katharine in the Sound of Music and was "interested" in her. We set up a meeting for this morning at 10:00. We left home at 8:00 to get there in time. Traffic is usually a nightmare in LA, and in OC as well. We got there 45 minutes early. We drove around for a bit. Checking out the neighborhood. We went past the restaurant where Robert Blake's wife was shot. Interesting timing on that one. I pointed out the crime scene as we passed. I pulled over and called the manager and told her we got there early. She told us she was cleaning the office and to come on in. I explained to the girls that when you drive that distance and you are early, in some cases it is okay to call and go in early. Not like going to a party and being an hour early when the hostess is still getting dressed. So, the manager was in shorts and a sweatshirt. It was perfectly fine!

The meeting went well. We have had many things to think about if we do this. Katharine wants to do this. She has wanted to act for a long time. But, I waited til she told me that she wanted to audition for her first play. She has done plays now and loves the whole process. She loves rehearsals as well. She is taking this very seriously. Which is why we even agreed to meet the manager.

One big factor, will be driving up to LA with perhaps a days notice, for auditions. There are acting classes for six weeks on the weekends. It is a big commitment on the part of our family as well as for Katharine. So, we have not made a final decision yet, but we are leaning in the direction of going for it.

The manager has some impressive clients and former clients as well. She is a casting director as well. We liked her very much. She just got back from the premiere of Walk the Line in NYC. She has a client in the movie, which she says is excellent. I have read that as well. I loved Johnny Cash, so we will be seeing this one at a movie theater!

I have to give Zoe a lot of credit. She sat there and listened as we talked about Katharine and took it all in stride. It is a hard thing to do, talking about one child when the other is there. I wanted to say a couple of times that Zoe is smart, funny and beautiful too. But, it was all about Katharine during the meeting. Zoe wants to be a psychologist and I told her it will be good for her to be able to tell us what is wrong with us. She said she didn't need a degree for that!

After the meeting we went to Phillipe's in LA for sandwiches. It has been there sine 1908. Always the same. Never disappoints. Then back on the freeway headed for home. We made pretty good time too.

Tonight we are going to the opening night gala for a play called Many Happy Returns. It is supposed to be very funny. I am looking forward to funny! And a date with the hub.

I think tomorrow hub will be taking the girls to see Harry Potter. I am the only person in America who missed the last movie, so I need to catch up. I have it on order from Netflix, with a short wait. I have read the books though. But, I will watch the movies in order. I hear this new one is very good.

I have almost finished all the girl scout nut stuff. I would be done, except for one person who is playing a game of "try to get the receipts from me." I am not in a playful mood about this. I should have had the all the paperwork by Thursday. This woman is very well aware of it too. Every other person abided by the rules, except her. She did this job a couple of years ago, so she should know better. I will try to get the receipt tomorrow, so I can take all the paperwork up to the GS Council on Monday, which is close to my hair stylist's salon. I have an appointment and it was booked weeks ago. I cannot wait to get a new color!

Update: The play was so funny. It was an Irish family who had an old friend coming back to town. Now a rich New Zealander with several markets, they try to impress him. He tries to impress them. It was very funny and we laughed our heads off.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Poor Zoe and the Loser Neighbor

We have a nice tall gate in the doorway between the garage and the kitchen. It has a handle that when squeezed the gate opens right up. Easier than most child gates. I got in when Charlie/Steve was a puppy and insisted on going into the garage, where the laundry gets done, to get socks. He was eating the girl's socks. I don't like to keep the regular door to the garage closed, because we need to get cross ventilation in the house, and because we use that entrance most often.

Yesterday morning I was about to take the girls to school and Charlie/Steve ran out so he could go to the front yard. He got into the bushes so the girls could not catch him. Zoe was standing in the driveway trying to scare him toward Katharine and she was stomping and kicking her foot. Right before Katharine got him, Zoe gave one final kick and missed and kicked the wall below the fence, as hard as she could. I thought she might have broken her foot. All the way to school she cried silently. I asked her if she could put pressure on her foot and she still thought she was able to go to school. She stepped out of the car and hoped back in. She could not walk on her foot. I zipped up the hill and dropped off Katharine at her school and Zoe and I pulled into a parking spot, to test her foot. That was it, she was in pain and could not put pressure on her foot.

I brought her home, she hopped over to the couch and I got her some ice. No visible signs of swelling or bruising. She could bend all her toes in both directions. I figured it was a jammed big toe, which is very painful. She kept the ice on it all day. Last night it was obvious that the big toe was inflamed. It was feeling better though, and she was able to walk on it. I suggested an ace bandage and sandals for today, but then thought of somebody stepping on it, made me cringe. If she can get her tennies on then, she will wear those today. Poor thing, she rarely cries. So, I know it hurt a lot!

Back to Charlie/Steve. As some of you already know, we had a confrontation of sorts with our new loser neighbor. You remember, the one doing all the remodeling on his home without the honor of helping the city make more money by having a permit or 20! Some of you already know this story and have offered valuable advice!

Sunday, hub and I were having a peaceful morning out on the deck. Charlie started barking and David got up to make him stop. The bratty neighbor asked David if there was something we could do about "that." The dog barking at his dog. He said it happens three times a day. I told him, without getting up, that Charlie barks when he hears people walking by on the lower street. Usually it is a chain leash or collar that he hears. Well, loser neighbor has a nice loud chain leash. Of course Charlie runs out to see who it is, every time he hears it. Anyhow, the creep tells us maybe we could put up a screen! We have a nice view from here and it includes looking past his house to all the lights in the valley. David told him maybe he could talk to the dog trainer and the royal pain says, "Good, have him call me too." David just turned and walked away. Can you believe the gall of this guy? Tells us to have the trainer call HIM? PLEASE!!!!!!!!! He is all of 23. He really should respect his elders! LOL

I was not happy. I was in fact, very angry. This control freak has spent months with jackhammers, saws, Contractors blocking out driveway, you name it, and never once apologized or warned us about the noise, which began every morning at 7AM and on weekends. Ever since a fire destroyed more than 340 homes here back in 1993, it has been illegal to do construction on the weekends. He cut major trunks off the hundred year old eucalyptus trees. These trees are historical. And if cut wrong and left unbalanced they could fall over in the right weather conditions. Hmm, that just kind of put a smile on my face, as long as it crashes down on his house!

Anyhow, I put up a couple of mismatched beach towels. Not very pretty, but now I do not have to look at him. And since I moved them down a couple of rungs, I can still see the lights at night. It has not stopped Charlie from barking at him, for all of fifteen seconds, when he sees him on the street. It is also not unusual for dogs to bark up here. Our house is street to street and a series of barking begins down the street as people pass by walking their dogs. The dogs stop as the people get to the next house, as does Charlie.

So, if this loser wants to call animal control about our dog, then he will be coughing up some money for the reassessment of his home, which was the cheapest in town.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Triscadecaphobia & Turkey

The fear of the number thirteen. Who knew? And no connection to the turkey! LOL

I was listening to a story on NPR (National Public Radio) just now and heard about this author name Nathaniel Lachenmeyer, who wrote a book called Curiously Enough, which attempts to uncover the history, psychology and evolution of the unlucky number 13.

He said it began in the 1700's and started with not having thirteen at dinner, because one of them would die within a year. A club sprang up in 1892, called the Thirteen Club. They set out to dispel the superstitions of the number thirteen. The author got hooked when he researched who the Thirteen Club were and what they did. He loved their macabre senses of humor. And I thought they were pretty funny too. LOL The club lasted until 1920.

He said the Thirteen Club planned a dinner with thirteen people to prove that none of them would die within a year. Then had the dinner in 1886 and they pulled out all the superstitions. People had to walk under ladders and past silhouettes of black cats. They had grave stones around and broken mirrors. They did prove that after a year nobody died. The only thing that died was the superstition of thirteen at the dinner table. The other superstitions seemed to have remained. I just thought this was interesting and wanted to share. Ther was more to it, but that was all I could remember to write here. You may read or even hear the story at . Under Weekend Edition Sunday.

Now, onto more important things, like my turkey dinner last night! Wow. It was fabulous. I used a cooking bag for the turkey. I put slits in the turkey and added some melted butter as well. It was the best turkey I have ever made. Right down to the moist white meat and the perfect color. It could have been a cover of a Thanksgiving Magazine edition. I am normally the worst with making turkey gravy. But the cooking bag enabled me to get all the juice and make a perfect gravy right in the disposable foil roasting pan on the stove. I even bought turkey gravy at Costco, because I know how my gravy turned out in previous years. I will forever use the oven bag! I use them occasionally for chicken, I don't know why I never tried one for the bigger bird. Anyhow, thought I would share that too.

Costco was fun. They had 50 sq. yards of wired ribbon for $7.95 a roll. Got some of those. Got everything on my list and didn't stray very much. They had beautiful, huge poinsettias, and I didn't buy even one. I figured that with a dog now, I would avoid poising him and they were too big to put on the rails of the decks. They would not have done well in the house either. Oh well. I did get one of my favorite things there, a Caesar salad with a turkey croissant for about $6. A great deal and yummy too. Funny that I had a turkey sandwich for lunch and then turkey for dinner. Oh well.

I will not have to go back for a very long time though. Which will be good on the wallet!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Saturday Doings & Stuff

I have no reason to be up at 4:30 in the morning. I just woke up and you know how it is when you know you are done sleeping. Just done. Really drives me nuts too. Friday, no school, no reason to get up at 5:00 and I am wide awake. This morning I would have loved to sleep in, but I couldn't. So, I am balancing my checkbook, doing a load of laundry, paying a couple of bills online and typing this post! It is freezing too. 49 degrees. And yes, of course I am outside! I am wearing three layers. The pink sky is a sure sign that the sun is coming up and will warm things up very soon.

I am going to Costco today! I have not been to Costco since June, I think. I am not going to go crazy, but I am so excited. The girls are coming with me, that always costs us more. I have saved so much money by not going to Costco every couple of weeks or so. I actually used to do that. The smartest thing I did was move my prescriptions to a local pharmacy to eliminate the need to go there! And since digital, there has been no need for the photo department either. Although, I could use an eye examination....

I did the grocery shopping online the other day. I saved $82 in specials and the turkeys were a mere $5. I got two. I cleaned out the freezer of all items I could not remember purchasing, or recognize and had a nice lonely shelf for one of the turkeys. I am making the other turkey today. I may make the other one around March. I may get one more for around June too! Too cheap to pass up and I am not getting the enormous 20 lbs and up. I got one that weighed in at 17 lbs and one at 13 lbs. I had asked for the smaller 12-16 lbs, but got a bigger one. Guess they didn't care, they were all the same price. Anyhow, got the foil roasting pans too. No reason to rubadub scrub when I don't have to! We will not be here for Thanksgiving. We are going to Luke and Laura's! LOL Any good yam recipes, send them to me please. We just cook em like baked taters. I think I have to take a bowl of yams that are whipped or mixed. I will bring marshmallows, but I refuse to put them on top!

I have started my Christmas shopping. One year, I had it all done and wrapped by Thanksgiving. Hub mentions that often. I make sure he knows we had no kids then! I have told friends, we can do lunch instead of gifts this year. As for the extended family, well I still have a box of wrapped gifts for my brother's family from last year. They will be getting those, if I see them. My cousin's, we will do kids only. Makes it a lot less expensive. And, I told the kids to get me their lists. Thankfully, they are out of the toy phase and cannot point and click at all the Barbies and accessories they want. Now, they actually have to think about what they want. Zoe emailed her list to me. Katharine told me yesterday, she could not think of anything she wants. I said, what about those cowboy boots? Oh ya, she said. I don't think she lets her mind drift to clothing or accessories as being gifts! I have every intention to be done shopping and have all gifts wrapped by Thanksgiving. The race is on.

Not there was a single subject for this post, it is really rather all over the place, but, I thought I would finish with this. Last night I was sitting in the car behind a car who would not pull up to the car in front of it. I remembered in driver training that we were taught to stay back far enough that we could see the back tires of the car in front of us. So, I wondered if all the cars on the freeway did that, would they back up on the city streets? Just something to ponder.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Four days since my last post.

While I was typing the title I felt like a Catholic going to confess. "It has been four days since my last confession." Seriously, I feel guilty for not posting for four days.

I went to lunch with a great friend the other day. We had a lovely time. Went shopping, did lunch and it was time for me to drive home to get my kids from school. Although short, I laughed the entire time. It was very good for us. When we go to Tahiti together we always say we need to get together more. Make it happen. We used to live on the same street, and then still near each other when she moved. I would go to her house in my pjs and have coffee. I miss that! I still take the girls to school in my pjs, but I don't go visiting in them anymore.

My friend now lives about 60 miles south of here. Not a bad drive, along the Pacific coast and it goes through Camp Pendleton where all the land is undisturbed. Probably the only hills and ocean property left in California that is pristine! I hope the government never sells it because it is worth a shipload of money! (I meant shipload, more than a boat load.) It is the only way it will stay undeveloped. Once I got to Oceanside, I went east for about 15 miles. She has a ranch now, with four horses, four dogs and three cats! She mucks the stalls every day. It is a lot of work, but she loves it there. It is still an area where there is land with the house. She has three acres. Still, I miss her, even if she is happy down there. At one point we almost moved down there. We put offers on one house twice and the people went out of town and the Realtor didn't give them our offers til they got back. When it was all done, and we decided not to pursue the home, I sent them a letter telling them what their Realtor had done and how they could have sold their house to us. It turned out for the best. Because we love Laguna and the schools our daughters go to. Things do happen for a reason.

It is raining. Just enough to have the local reporters out for storm watch, which is an ongoing joke here. It is spitting more than raining. I say local reporters, actually LA. 60 miles north of us. In OC we don't have any local TV stations. I think that this one thing that really pisses me off. Actually, I know it is. We have way too much news to leave to the local papers. We used to have a local news channel, and it repeated every hour after the six o'clock news. I wonder why it never lasted? LOL So, we get our news from LA and occasionally we get news about Orange County. Where we live, I can only get a handful of LA radio stations and had to learn the San Diego stations, which frankly, are better!

I had the pleasure of talking to Sarah (The Rose) the other day. We had a nice long chat and lots of laughs. She sounded pretty much how I thought she would sound. You know how it is when you get to know somebody online and then you have an expectation of how they will sound. Not always right on with what I think people will sound like. But, Sarah had a bit of Texas when I first listened to her, then I heard the distinct northern accent. I was so much fun to have a phone conversation with her. We have chatted and emailed, and when we spoke, it was like talking to an old friend!

Katharine is going by limo after school to Downtown Disney with five other kids for a birthday party. They are getting picked up at school. They should have a great time. When she was nine we rented a limo for her birthday. A dozen or so girls went bowling and then piled into the limo to go have lunch in Laguna. Then they just drove around for a couple of hours and the limo dropped off all the girls. While this sounds extravagant, I had a reason to do it. Katharine was so impressed with limos that I thought I would take the mystery out of it! Not everybody in a limo is rich and or famous. I am not saying she didn't love it, but she is not obsessed with them any longer. It is like the mini bar in a hotel. It is fun, but not cheap.

I was wrong about the rain. It is real! I left my computer outside on my "desk" and took the girls to school and it started to pour. I had to meet a mom in the parking lot of the elementary school near my house and I came home first to put away my computer! It is really beautiful though, low lying clouds and clear and the air is clean too! I won't have to water for a few days.
Yippee to that!