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!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Not much to say tonight!

I figured I should at least say that much. It has been busy. I am driving down to my friend's tomorrow. She lives about an hour south of me and I haven't seen her in way too long. In fact she has my birthday present from a month ago.

Speaking of birthdays, tomorrow would have been my mother's 76th. She has been gone for six years now. Amazing how fast time flies. So, I will be thinking of her tomorrow. She was exactly one month shy of 30 when she had me. She was a hard worker her whole life. I wish she would have gotten to live longer to enjoy retirement. Cancer took her before the Alzheimer's could. Blessing really. She was pretty advanced and it was so damn hard to watch her lose herself. I missed her before she was gone and I still do.

I was looking at the date on the bottom of the page and it says Nov 7th, but it also says the time as 10:08. Which is my birthday. Freaky!

Hope you all have a great Tuesday and VOTE if you can.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I Should Do This More Often

It's true. I had a week of "I should do this more often" moments. Monday morning, I had to get a stick pony for Zoe. I went to Main Beach Toys, got the pony, put it in the car and walked on the beach. Then sat on a bench in the warm sunshine and watched the waves and people while listening to the waves. It was free, simple, relaxing and it's always there for the taking! I should do this more often!

I sat down at my computer and paid bills. Before the due dates. It felt great to get them done and not have to think about them again for four weeks! Most months, I dread it, put it off til the last minute and then feel bad. Better to get it out of the way early if at all possible. I should do this more often.

I went to the car wash, which I basically detest. This car wash is in no way fancy. It is simple. Covered with vining flowers and surrounded by Sweet Gum Trees, which provide fall colors for us. We are fall foliage challenged here in So Cal. The koi pond and water fall keep it cool and as does the shade. A light breeze blows the leaves off the trees to swirl down to the ground. So pretty, so relaxing and again simple, if I take the time to relax! I should do this more often.

Thursday night I got an invitation from a Realtor friend of mine, who was having a private showing for Realtors and friends. I took two friends with me and we saw two homes. Both on the market. One for 26 mil and one for 32 mil. The first house had valet parking, which was great. Lots of hills, lack of parking. We put little paper shoes over our shoes and went inside this 10,000 sq ft home. From the photos on the internet, I thought I would love this house more. I was wrong. It was purchased from Ricky Nelson's family and completely remolded and of course made into a dream home, at least for some. While the extensive work and river rock work and beautiful windows and such attention to details were great, it was choppy. No flow. We got lost a couple of times. Stairs that we thought would lead to another area of the home, just led us to another room, and resulted in going back down the stairs to find another staircase. Six bedrooms, ten bathrooms, three kitchens, but very tiny dining area, game room, media room and bedrooms. Major lack of closet space too. Balconies with amazing views above the sandy beach. A long staircase to the pool and spa, a bridge, steps down to the beach. All nice, but not my kind of home. If I had that kind of money, I would never plop it down on one huge home. We were treated to champagne and appetizers on one level of the home. The other level had a chocolate bar, and coffee. Here is a small tour of the home if you want to see it. I hope the link works!

The next home, in which the Internet did it no justice was much more homey and open. The layout was great and the use of the land was outstanding. Although dated in parts, the bones were there. Each level with decks the length of the home. All doors and windows looking out to the ocean. You could hear the waves breaking throughout the house. Unlike the other one. The huge picture window in the enormous kitchen was awesome. It lowered into the wall to open up to the outside deck. It had the biggest island I had ever seen. While we were strolling the decks, I found this table with and umbrella and I said, I would plop my ass right here and never leave! The closets in the master were to die for! Huge. With a center console with drawers. Lots of shoe space. And they had his and her closets! There was a gym, right off the office. A sauna, spa. A room behind the laundry room was full of vases for flower arrangements. The lighting was perfect inside and out. There was a media room, where my friend the Realtor dared us to sit on the couches to see if we could get up after sitting there for five minutes. The couches were down, and we could literally feel them conform to our bodies. I have a down couch, and it doesn't conform to my body! I took a couple of photos of my friends sitting there, oh so relaxed. We finally made it outside and the pool looked like it belongs in a resort. Surrounded by lounges and umbrellas and lots of lawn. Above the pool was a kid's paradise. A full size play house. A huge tree house. Play structure as well. And did I mention the sound system throughout the home, inside and out? There was a full bath near the pool area, where one could shower and change before heading back into the main home. There was also an outside shower with a drinking fountain. Of course this would be handy to wash off the sand from the steps off the pool area, which led down to the beach below. I would change things, like wallpaper, floor, and maybe take out some of the built ins that were dated. But, for 26 million, you would think nobody would have to do this. It happens every day of the week here in Laguna. Again, if I had that kind of money, I could a place on the beach and the mountains, on a lake with a boat for fishing and of course a dock. But, I would not need a huge house with a four car garage. I would get multiple homes.

I told my Realtor friend that the Internet did not do justice to the house. He said they taped it on a June gloom day. I suggested a night time video of all the lighting and it would show the warmth of the home. Here is the link if you would like to see it, and even if you don't!

After the open houses, we went to dinner. We had so much fun, despite the fact that our waitress was a royal bitch. We were shocked by how rude she was. We ordered appetizers and told her to hold off on one, as we were not sure yet if we wanted it. Almost immediately, she puts the one thing we did not order on the table and walks away. My friend tells her as she is whizzing by, that she thinks there was a mistake. We were not sure about that dish. The waitress says, Fine. She takes the plate and puts it on the counter near the kitchen and tells the chef, "They don't want this!" She brings out three prawns with two sauces. We needed spoons. I started to ask her if we could have spoons, and before it was out of my mouth, she said, "I am getting your plates!" Then we asked for spoons. My friend asked if she could explain the sauces to us. She goes into a robotic state and tells us what she knows. The restaurant is called Mozambique and the food is African. We had no idea what the spices were and thought it would be nice of her to let us know! When dinner was done, we actually had to figure out how to give her less of a tip. She was rude and nasty. There was NO way I was giving her a 20 or 25% tip, as I normally do. The bill was $87 and she got an even $13. Then we sat there for another hour and a half and chatted! We were on the roof of the restaurant and it was heated and the atmosphere was great.

I went out to get the car from the valet, while my friends visited the bathroom. The valets asked how dinner was and I told them, that the waitress was a royal bitch. I explained the whole thing to them and they were very apologetic. They asked if I wanted them to get management for me. I told them, No, I suspect my friend is taking care of that, as she emerges shaking the hand of the manager in the parking lot! He told her that if she would have complained earlier, he could have given us free desert or something to make up for it. We waited until the end. It was okay though, we had a girl's night out and had a blast. The waitress just made it more memorable. We decided we are going to have more girl's nights out. Once a month. And we all said this is something we should do more often!

Friday, November 04, 2005

This is What I Have Been Doing!

It has been an insane week. Girl Scout Nuts. It is going well. Our number for fall product sales are up 89% over last year. My first year as Service Unit Nut Manager. I have spent countless nights with my calculator and computer to make sure this sale has been a good one. When I first started, I asked a friend, "Why did I do this? Why didn't you kick me?" She laughed and said, " I thought it was very generous of you!" As the weeks went on, I began to enjoy the challenge of the whole thing. Getting the troops to turn paperwork and other things in on time. Sending out endless emails to keep everybody in the loop. Following through on questions asked to me and for answers to questions I had asked. Doing the financial stuff, which I love. The hub told me one night, "You have spent so much time on this. Are you going to do it again?" I answered, "Uh, yeah, I think I am!" Crazy? Perhaps and most likely, but I have enjoyed it, much to my surprise.

This afternoon we had our troop booth sale. Used to be easy with only one troop to manage. Still is really, just time consuming. I sent out emails to tell the mothers that I would have their daughter's orders all ready for them to pick up at our booth sale today and asked that they all pay today as well. No chasing anybody down. It went beautifully. I had all the orders in paper bags, with the quantities on them and the amounts due. I stapled them all shut, so none would fall out or get with the booth sale products. We got all the money from our girls and we sold 80 cans of nuts at our three hour booth sale in front of a local Supermarket. We have 4 left. Only $20. So, we are basically done! One day. We were going to end after two hours, and it was mentioned that we have another booth sale to sell more than 25 cans left. Nope, I said, "I think we should stay another hour and get this done." Six of our eight girls stayed. We did it. We do not have to schedule another booth sale, and we have all of our money to put in the bank. Today was the first day of the sale, and we are done! I am sooo happy! Our troop leader called me almost the minute I got home and told me she was thrilled! I told her I was too. The plan was to do it all in one day and we did it. We ordered the right amount of product, which we have to guesstimate, and pay for, no returns. It was a good night.

All the energy of eight twelve year olds, singing and laughing, selling and talking, nonstop for three hours was exhausting, but, oh so worth it! What a terrific group of girls. And moms.

Since we sold at the grocery store, mothers shopped while waiting for their girls. It was fun to hang out with everybody and chat. Mothers who were going to drop off and leave, stayed. I had intended on doing my shopping as well. When it was almost over, one of the mothers told me to go in and do my shopping. I had stayed with the girls along with our leader, and we had two tables, one at each door. So, this was a nice surprise for me! It reminded me of a game show, because I hurried thru the store and tossed things into the cart. I came out and loaded the car and we were off.

During the sale the girls went in to get snacks. Katharine was inside at one point and a mother of a little girl who was in the Sound of Music with Katharine, stopped her. The girl has done voice overs and has been on a soap opera, among other things. But, the mother said told Katharine that the girl's manager had asked who Katharine was after seeing her in the play. She gave Katharine her number and I am going to call her tomorrow. Apparently, this manager is the real deal. He takes on clients who look different than each other so if there is a call for a little blond girl, he calls her. If there is a call for a petite, dark haired girl, he would say, call Katharine! She is so excited. I am of a different mind on this. I want her to do drama with the great teacher the middle school and high school have. Plus, she has only done three plays. I also, do not want her doing calls with a thousand other girls. But, I will make the call. If it is meant to be her "big break" then who am I to stand in her way? So, we shall see.

I have more news, I will share in my next post! Not nearly as boring as the GS stuff! Just life and how sometimes things are right in front of me, and I forget to relax and enjoy them.

BTW, the hub sent me flowers yesterday. Very sweet and completely unexpected. He said, "Because I love you and life is too short." How cool is that?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Phishing via US Mail

I received a bill in the mail over the weekend that set me off. I am not sure if I should call Time Magazine and talk to one of the operators there, as if that would get me anywhere, or let the post office know that I received what I believe to be a blatant attempt at getting financial information from me, by fraudulent means.

The bill looks official. Similar to the phishing bills I have received through emails. I once received one from a fake AOL, which asked for me to fill in my name, credit card numbers, ATM numbers, pins, mother's maiden name, social security number, and of course the one thing that AOL says it will never ask for....My password. I didn't fall for this, but I suspect a pretty large percentage of people do fill out this kind of thing and end up being victims of identity theft, or credit card fraud. If they send out enough, they are bound to get some hits.

The bill I received this weekend was called an INVOICE at the top of the bill, telling me I owed $52.08 for 56 issues of Time Magazine. Pretty cheap, in my opinion. The bottom of the bill was headed with DEMAND FOR DELINQUENT PAYMENT. Here is what it said;

Dear Ms Epstein:

We have spent months trying to collect the amount you owe regarding your TIME subscription. Your outstanding debt totals $52.08. Send your OVERDUE BALANCE with the INVOICE no later than 11/12/05.

If your bill is in error YOU MUST CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY AT 1-800-BLABLAH.

Otherwise, return your INVOICE with the TOTAL AMOUNT DUE today.

I have never heard of a business that writes, we have spent months trying to collect the amount, et al. I knew it was bogus. Not only because of that sentence, but because I let our subscription to Time expire about six months ago. We simply had no time to read it every week.

I called the 800 number and put in the account number on the INVOICE and of course it couldn't recognize the number and I was prompted to put in the credit card number I had used to originally subscribed to the magazine! Like that was going to happen!

I waited for an operator to assist me for about four minutes. A man comes on and asks my account number. He tells me that I am delinquent and I need to pay the bill. I told him I have not received the magazine in about six months. He told me it was in June. Okay, five months then. I asked him why I was receiving a bill at all. He told me that I was signed up for auto renewal. I told him if I was signed up for auto renewal, then it would have automatically done so, with my credit card. He asked me to hold on. He comes back on the line and asks me what I would like him to do. I told him to cancel my supposed subscription immediately. He told me he would and told me if I got another INVOICE, to disregard it!

So, I have this bogus bill. I suppose I could attempt to contact somebody higher up than an operator at Time to let them know this is going on. I also suppose they already know. I could contact the USPS and tell them that I was sent a bogus bill through the mail, which I believe is illegal. I could be wrong. But, I will probably do what I am doing now and just tell you all to be careful and watch out for these kinds of things.

Since we have become so high tech, with pins and credit cards, a new word has come into play. It is called phishing. It is an attempt to get personal information out of us. We should all know by now, what to look for, but just in case, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Never give out your password or pin number to anybody.
Never give out your credit card or ATM numbers to anybody you don't know as reputable.
Make sure you take your copy and that the business does not show all the numbers on even their receipt.
Never give out your social security number or mother's maiden name. If you do, make sure you know who you are giving the info to. Like the DMV, when buying a car or house! Not to Joe Schmo off the street, in a phone call, or even on the internet.
Pay attention to the wording. Many of these phishing emails come from other countries. English is not their first language and they make grammatical errors. Look for them.
And finally, always verify. This could save you a lot of major grief down the line.