Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Finally, Brokeback Mountain

After all the hype and anticipation, I finally got to see Brokeback Mountain yesterday afternoon. Was it worth the wait? Yes. Was it the best love story of all time? No.

Brokeback Mountain is a beautiful film. The characters were somewhat painful to watch. For me, it was particularly agonizing to watch how life was forty years ago, for the cowboy lovers. It could have been written with an interracial or interfaith couple as well. There was no tolerance or understanding back then. If there was, only a few voiced it and not vociferously. One thing is clear, we have come a long way in the last half century. To be open and out, to be free to express love without reprisal, was just a dream back then. Sadly, even today, there are some who just don't get it. No doubt we have a long way to go, as ignorance which breeds intolerance, is still alive and well.

The acting was excellent on all levels. It was directed brilliantly. The setting was absolutely spectacular. The movie was a bit slow in spots, but I think necessary, to let the viewer get to know the characters more profoundly and see where they came from.

All in all, in was a good movie and I would definitely want to own it on DVD.

I went to see this movie with my friend Amy and three of her friends, whom I had never met. After the movie we moved to a nearby restaurant and were met by yet another of Amy's friends. She had seen the Brokeback Mountain already and wanted to hear our take on the movie. The six of us discussed the movie and it was nice. Like a book club, but a movie club. We are considering having a movie club. How fun is that? It was also interesting to see what stood out to some and how some noticed things others didn't. Or just a completely different take on certain scenes.

I am not one who would normally feel comfortable going out with a group of people I don't know. I sit in the aisle seat, in case I need to flee. David knows this and always makes sure I get the outside seat. I have had panic attacks in the past, at plays and other events. I quietly slip out and get air and calm down. I don't know why I have the dreaded panic attacks, but I have learned how to handle them and still be able to attend shows, as long as I can get out in a hurry.

This was a terrific group of women and I am glad I met them. They were fun, lively and all very intelligent. I cannot wait until we do it again!

Monday, January 30, 2006


No school today. Getting ready for the new term. Finals are over. Grades posted so far are As. I love that they post the grades online and the assignments as well. Each one graded. The report cards are now online and if you want a hard copy, you must ask the office. No way can my kids cut school the way I did! No way can they get away without doing homework either. Not that they would try that!

Katharine got back last night from the mountains. They got to sled on the man made snow. They went ice skating and shopping too. They had a nice weekend.

Zoe and David went to see a movie yesterday. I stayed home and did some laundry and watched Kill Bill. I never thought I would watch Kill Bill. I was not going to watch Kill Bill Volume 2, but I had to. The first one left a cliffhanger! Strange movies, both. So Quentin Tarantino!

Today, Katharine and a group of friends are going to Boomers. Video games, laser tag, boats and cars to ride. A wall to climb. A little Las Vegas for kids really. They get addicted to collecting as many tickets as they can while playing the video games. And what do they get for all their time and efforts? Toys. Cheap toys too. They should get cash back. Oh, that would be illegal.

I am going with a group of friends to see Brokeback Mountain at 4:00. Then we are going to have dinner and discuss the movie. Kind of like a book club! It should be fun. I need to put something in the crock pot for the kids to eat.

Oh, did I mention we are shooting for a Friday, this week, birthday sleepover for Katharine's 13th birthday. It is going to be a very busy week!

Friday, January 27, 2006


I watched Oprah with James Frey yesterday. It was very uncomfortable to watch. She was embarrassed. He is a liar. His answers made no sense for one who is such a good fabricator. I have not read A Million Little Pieces. I wonder what possesses somebody to do what he did. Did he actually make all that stuff up to make the book better? Did his publisher push for him to make it more sensational? Did they actually think they would not be found out? My impression of James Frey is that he is simple. I wonder who really wrote the book. I cannot believe they are going to release another batch of books with a disclaimer. Why didn't they just call it a work of fiction? What do millions of people feel who have read his book, now that they know it is not a memoir? I give him credit for going on TV in front of millions of people and enduring Oprah's wrath. On the other hand, one reason I think he is simple, is because he has gone on TV to say that he didn't lie and not only to Oprah, but to Larry King as well. What will he do with all those millions he has made, thanks to Oprah? What are the chances of him every penning another book and getting it published? Probably pretty good. He can come clean again, this time about lying and the dark secrets of publishing companies.

Finals this week for the girls. They have gone pretty well. Today is the last day. It has been a busy couple of weeks and by yesterday an ailing Katharine needed to just stop! No lunch with a friend. No going to the school to see a talent show rehearsal. She needed to stay put on the couch and do absolutely nothing. After about three hours of this, she was better. Her throat still hurt and she was still coughing, but she had some energy back. She had to study, do some laundry and pack for a weekend in the mountains with her girl scout troop. No rain here means no snow there. Except for the man made stuff. It is cold enough for that at least. I am sure they will have a good time.

We never made it to Brokeback Mountain. We have all rescheduled for Monday. Monday is a day off school. I would like to see some more Oscar contenders before the big show.

Local NPR is doing their fund raising, it is annoying me. I know they need to do it, still, it annoys me. I need to go to another radio station for the next two weeks. Thankfully, they do not have their fund drives simultaneously.

I finally got the incentives (prizes) for the nut sale for girl scouts, which was back in October. Talk about slow. I now have them in troop order and really want them out of my house! I have received too many emails from troops asking for them. As if I got them and stashed them until I felt like giving them out! And 8 items belonging to five troops are on back order! What a pain in the ass. To top it off, cookie sales have begun! Only the preorder right now. Nobody really likes the preorder part. I guess the scouts do it so they know how many cookies to have baked. Still, people like instant gratification. Pay for cookies and receive cookies. That begins in a few weeks. You will see them all over. Booth sales outside stores and other locations, only lasts two weeks. After being bombarded every place one goes, two weeks is plenty long. Until next year.

Katharine will be 13 next week and is still stressing about what she can do for her birthday. Apparently, her friends want her to have another sleep over. She did that the past two years. She is still undecided. Now we will have two official teenagers in the house. They are good kids.

Last night I had a beautiful dream that our garage was clean and piles of laundry were all washed and put away. Then I woke up.

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My New Vacuum

Sadly, nothing better to write about today than my new vacuum!

My new vacuum is a Dyson. After figuring out how it went together yesterday, I couldn't wait to try it out.

It is amazing. It truly sucks! The bare floor tool has so much suction that it was difficult to pick up and move. I ended up sliding it instead. It picked up microscopic pieces of dirt. I just know it did. Dog hair too. I could see that.

I was using in on the upper windows and wood beams to remove webs. Yes, I did say webs. It is a wood house and we get lots of those. None of my other vacuums would even reach them without a ladder. This vacuum has an extra long hose and a wand to attach making it even longer. And the cord is long enough, keeping me from changing plugs!

As I was using it, I thought to myself, I like playing with my new vacuum. Then thought better of using the word play in the same sentence with vacuum. One could infer that I actually like vacuuming. I may have yesterday and maybe will a few more times, but I don't want to be the only person who vacuums in this house. It was simply because it was new and I wanted to try all the bells and whistles. Oh, and get rid of the webs.

The vacuum is an upright. Purple and scarlet. It is low enough with the right attachment on the end of the hose for it to go under most of the furniture. I like that. The bin comes off to toss out whatever gets sucked in. No bags. I like that too. It does have a filter that should be washed out once every six months. It says lifetime. We shall see.

My friend called yesterday and started a conversation as if I knew what she was talking about. Then she said, "You haven't read any of my emails!" I told her, "No, I have been vacuuming." As if I was having a great time. I was just still in new toy mode.

When I asked David what he thought about me buying this expensive vacuum, he told me, "Well, we do have an anniversary coming up." Think he means it? I do!

I thoroughly researched this vacuum. I found it on overstock.com for $130 less than the other stores. Free shipping too. I read more than fifty reviews. A five star rating from the reviews. People who didn't know their pets shed found out they did. Others vacuumed with their old vacuum first and then went back thru with the Dyson and were amazed at how much more it picked up. A couple did complain that it was a bit heavier than the ones they had and that it is not self propelled.

I realize this sounds like an add for Dyson. Perhaps it is. I just know that this machine rocks!

I had a terrible night sleep last night. My feet were hot and I could not keep them still. So, after some vacuuming this morning I may just take a nap! Except I am supposed to go see Brokeback Mountain. No nap.

Monday, January 23, 2006


I have not played Scrabble for years because I got burned out on playing it with an ex-boyfriend years ago. We recently purchased one and have been playing. We played the other night and it was my first time against the hub. He told me to watch and learn. He kicked my ass.

We just finished and I beat him! I needed ten points to win and I got seventeen! I never thought I could beat him with his knowledge of words and their origins. But, I did. And that makes me the winner!

The End

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Time To Slow Down

This past week had been insanely busy. Running around constantly at a moment's notice to get the girls somewhere or to get them something they needed for school. This was the week before finals. It seemed to me that the high school teachers were hurrying to get all the curriculum that they had yet to teach this term stuffed into this past week, before finals. Unfair to the students and parents as well.

I believe that next weeks finals will be an easier week than this one was. Minimum days for both the middle and high schools and then they have the next Monday off. Then in two weeks, it is ski week and they are off for a week! Seems like they just got back from Christmas break! I mean, I still have my Christmas lights up. (I am doing it for the anal creepy neighbor's sake. At least that is what I keep telling myself) I am pretty sure these kids have less school days than we had when I was in school. Although, I will admit, they do work harder and have much more homework than they had when I was their age.

It feels like we are running all the time. My wonderful friend who moved from Laguna about two years ago, I finally got to see on Friday. I gave her the Christmas gifts I had been holding onto for her and the family. We got ours too. That was fun to open more gifts yesterday. We finally had her birthday lunch and another friend's birthday lunch combined on Friday. The other friend's birthday was in December! We don't see each other nearly as often as we should. Then when we do, we both race home to pick up kids. Although, it was Jami who had to race home 60 miles south of us. This time she came up here. I only had to go up the hill.

When we are in Huahine and spending days and nights together for weeks, we promise we will see each other more. We don't. We need to slow down and make the time! Seems that when we do, something comes up. One crisis or another! I miss her so much. One of these days I am going to go down to her house in my pjs just to have coffee with her like old times here in town, after we dropped off the kids!

My other friend Jana, lives about 15 minutes from here. We exchange multiple emails through out the day and talk on the phone some nights. We may not see each other, but we are in constant contact. I met her at 8:00 this morning! Saturday morning. My family were not all up yet and her daughter was still asleep too. It was cold, at least to us here in sunny California, it was cold! It was 33 in the canyon this morning!

Jana and I were going to meet in Crystal Cove. There is a Starbucks and a Trader Joe's there and it would have been perfect except for the Ferrari show in the parking lot. We ended up at a bakery in town and leisurely had quiet time for just the two of us to talk. No interruptions from dogs, kids or phones. Then we went shopping and she bought a bunch of stuff. I bought nothing! There is a store here in town called Fresh Produce. It is their original store which turned twenty a couple of years ago. I have been such a good customer in the past that they call me to tell me when they have new shipments or a sale that I should know about. I got that call last week. Jana got a bunch of stuff at least 50% off. I already had most of what I wanted from what they currently have, but she told me a new shipment is coming in and showed me a green that I just love. I will get something in that color when she calls. She will put my size on hold for me too! Such fun to live in a small town and get that kind of service!

Jana and I went to another store. Beautiful stuff, tropical in nature, but way over priced. Jana is my Martha Stewart friend. She saw some mirrors with sea shells and said she could go home and do that. Then a very expensive bed had the head board that she loved and she decided she would go home and make one for her daughter. Hard to explain what it looked like, but it had bamboo frame in black and woven material across the face of the headboard. I was not sure if she was headed home or to Home Depot after we parted ways. She made her own headboard. It looks like a picket fence. Very cute and then she decorated her room with that piece in mind. I am in awe of her abilities and visions!

She also let me borrow a tape of the first night of the new season of 24! I was basically distraught that I missed the first two hour show, kind of important, I sucked it up and I figured I would just watch the second night. A coworker of Jana's taped it and so now I will be able to see the beginning. I am rather stoked about that. This is supposed to be the best season yet, though it is hard to imagine it can be any better.

Two hours with Jana this morning. About the same with Jami and Pat on Friday. Just to slow down and take the time for a visit or two is such a relaxing thing to do. We should all do it more!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Tagged by Bonny. Thanks Bonn.

Four Jobs I've Had
1. Worked at Import Store for a couple of months at 14.
2. Winchell's Donuts, made donuts & coffee and sold them for three years.
3. Made circuit boards and ended up Purchasing Manager for ten years.
4. Bartender, made drinks for two years, until I broke my ankle and got married.

Four Places I've Lived
1. Santa Ana, CA
2. Huntington Beach, CA
3. Irvine, CA
4. Laguna Beach, CA

Movies I'd Watch Again
1. Almost Famous
2. Spanglish
3. Crash
4. Bad Santa

TV Shows I love to watch
1. House
2. 24
3. Apprentice
4. The L Word

Four of my favourite foods
1. Chicken and homemade noodles
2. Anything Mexican
3. Fresh hot bread
4. Good French Onion Soup (like mine)

Four places I'd rather be right now
1. In bed
2. On the beach in Tahiti (very relaxing)
3. Fishing
4. Connecticut

Four Bloggers I'd like to Tag
1. Sarah
2 Jan
3. Alan
4. Zbjernak
or anybody else who wants to play. I know some who won't! LOL

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

This is too funny

I read this on CNN this morning and got a good chuckle. This is not exactly as it was written. I have summarized, because I don't have much time this morning and I don't want to be accused of plagiarism. LOL

An English man found out his girlfriend was having an affair. He and his girlfriend were sitting on the sofa when his parrot Ziggy said, "I love you Gary." The man's name is Chris. He didn't know what to think when he heard the parrot say, "Hiya Gary," which was how the girlfriend answered the phone when he called.

Chris saw how embarrassed his girlfriend was and figured out she was having an affair. She admitted to a four month affair with a co-worker, using the flat.

Chris said he was not sad to see his ex-girlfriend leave, but he is heartbroken that he no longer has Ziggy. He had him for eight years. Chris said, "It was too painful to hear the Ziggy keep calling out Gary's name." He made sure the Ziggy went to a good home.

The ex-girlfriend said, "I'm not proud of what I did but I'm sure Chris would be the first to admit we were having problems. She added, "I was surprised to hear that Chris got rid of that bird, he spent more time talking to him, than me."

Sunday, January 15, 2006

We Do Have A Cat

Yesterday Charlie went for a bath and a pedicure. While he was out, we brought up Patric the cat. No k, just Patric. Zoe gave him the name and the spelling.

Patric is a big furry orange cat. He used to have free rein of the house. Once Charlie got too big for his crate, which he slept in at night, Patric took to the lower level of the house, where all the bedrooms are. We were sad for him at first, but he has all the comforts he needs. He is an indoor cat. We have coyotes around here.

I don't have a photo of him on my new computer cuz the photos didn't migrate with the rest of the stuff. I am sure somebody in the family will send me a photo to upload. I will also learn how to get those photos before the old laptop goes to the boneyard.

Patric used to sit under a plant and try to get the birds around their feeder. We made sure he had a bell on his collar so he would scare the birds, but not eat them. He loves to hunt.

While Charlie was gone yesterday Zoe brought him up and he sniffed everything single plant on the deck. He was very nervous and listening for the dog. Charlie was supposed to be gone for hours, but Patric didn't know that. He smelled the dog all over the place. He was having a good time checking things out. His tail was wagging. He was so happy.

Then Hub called. He and Charlie were on their way home. Zoe got Pat the cat and took him back downstairs. He let out a couple of cries and we felt sorry for him. He came back upstairs and went out onto the deck again. About that time, Hub arrives with a clean Charlie. I shut the open door to the deck. Patric knew Charlie was home and freaks. Charlie saw Patric out on the deck and just looked, didn't bark. David and Zoe tried to get Charlie into the bathroom so Patric could go back down to his domain, which is gated at the bottom of the stairs.

When the attempt at getting Charlie to chill in the bathroom failed, Hub just held the leash and I opened the door. Patric came in and went to the stairs. He was unsure if he would go down until we let Charlie off the leash.

Once Patric was downstairs, Charlie went all around smelling every where the Patric had been.

Zoe was hoping that Patric would have enough fun upstairs that he would confront his hate, I mean fear, of Charlie and come up more often. Who knows, it could happen!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday the 13th and My Brother Turns 50!

I grew up hearing how wonderful Friday the 13th is because my brother was born on this day, a half century ago! My friends always had their superstitious feelings about this day. I suppose that is why I am not bothered by a black cat crossing my path either. I had a black cat and now there are two in the neighborhood. What kind of day would I have if every time I saw those kitties, I thought it was bad luck?

I walk on cracks, although I don't allow my children to! Not really. I don't mind walking under a ladder (provided it is tall enough) or opening an umbrella inside either. I am not fond of those emails that say I will have bad luck if I don't foward them. In fact, I dislike the ones that say something good will happen to me if I forward it to ten or so people, just as much.

My brother is not real happy about turning 50. Can't say that I blame him, I will be there in four years myself. I am hoping that I will be happy to turn 50! 30 was hard, 40 was a piece of cake. Yes, literally and lots of gifts cuz I threw myself a big shindig.

Of course, hitting 50 is better than the alternative. He is healthy, he has a wonderful loving family and is generally happy. Who can complain about that?

My brother and I are closer now than when we were growing up. I mean, he is four years older. He did have some cute friends though.

Happy Birthday Clark and Happy Friday the 13th to everyone else!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"Mommy can even make the dog feel guilty!"

Apparently, I can make anybody at anytime feel guilty. A gift? I think so! To those I make feel guilty, maybe not so!

Tonight, Charlie got a hold of an expensive tie of hubs. Hub had it nicely folded on the kitchen table. Not lost on Charlie as a meal, he took it out to the deck where Zoe and I were writing thank you notes. We tried to retrieve it, but he would have no part of it. We finally got it away and the tie was ruined. Zoe hung it on a light to show David when he got home from chorus. He saw it and was none too happy. Maybe putting things away would work?

Charlie takes paper towels, food and anything else on the counter that he can get. This includes dollar bills, so far, only ones. We have almost learned to push things back so he cannot get them. Sometimes we fail. You would think the dog grew up with a bunch of other dogs and never got his fair share. We got him at eighteen weeks, and they even called him chunk a monk. He seems to eat everything in sight as if we are starving him, which we most certainly are not!

After Charlie growled at me for trying to save the tie, which I don't tolerate, he let go. No, I didn't smack him, although I did yell at him. I went to another room and I heard Katharine say, "Mommy can even make the dog feel guilty!" I cracked up hearing this and when I came back, I told them, "I have my next post!"

I am not Jewish, but I am an honorary Jewess, according to my sister in law. I don't mean to use guilt as a weapon, but it certainly works. Funny thing is that I truly don't even try. For instance, somebody, of course, unnamed, was going on and on about her day. When I spoke, she cut in. I stopped talking. She told me to finish what I was saying. I declined. She told me that I do that all time and it isn't fair. The way I see it is, if I, or anybody else is talking, the considerate thing to do is listen and then talk. If I am interrupted enough, I finally quit! Not a Jewish thing at all, just a matter of common courtesy.

The stubborn part of me says, " I am so done" and I am. No matter what cries come from anybody. I am just done! If I am not worthy of hearing the first time then, well you know!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

"Mommy, Can I Have Some GoGo Boots?"

Katharine: "Mommy, can I have some gogo boots?"
Me: "Katharine, do you realize we just finished with Christmas and you got cowboy boots?"
Katharine: "Yes, but I need these for D's birthday party on Sunday."
Me: "Why do you need gogo boots?"
Katharine: "To go with my gogo outfit."
Me: "Oh, of course."
Katharine: "And I will wear them after the party too!"
Me: "Well, how can I refuse that offer?"

Katharine: "We need to get something for D's birthday."
Me: "How about a scarf?"
Katharine: "We have to get her something better than that!"
Me: "Katharine, she is having 32 kids at her party. I think it will be okay!"
Katharine: "But I am her best friend."
Me: "Is there a rule about how much best friend's spend on bday gifts?"
Katharine: "No, but can I get the gogo boots?"

D turned 13 yesterday and is having a murder mystery party for yes, you read the number correctly, 32 kids. Luckily, D's family owns a restaurant and are having the party there. Katharine is spending the night tonight, by request, to help set up the party and get other things ready tomorrow.

Katharine will be 13 next month. Her last two birthdays were celebrated here at home with numerous girl friends. Lots of pink balloons hanging down from the ceiling with ribbons. All the furniture pushed back to the walls to make way for games and dancing. Lots of games planned, prizes too. Then all the sleeping bags come out. Wall to wall sleeping bags. Then it begins. Sewer Rats. A game that requires all the lights to be turned off and one or two people are "it" or the sewer rats. Lots of screaming and laughter. Sounds like elephants from our bedroom downstairs. Crawling around on the floor, chasing each other or trying to get out of the way. Last year, I told anybody who got scared to go down to Katharine's room. Some did. I was also asked, politely, to go downstairs so they could begin the game.

Katharine came home from school yesterday and told me she had asked for suggestions from her friends about what she should do for her birthday. Seems they want another sleepover. Hmmm. I offered to take her and a friend and drop them at Disneyland for the day! Of course, I would go back and pick them up!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

West Virginia

I was elated staying up til the wee hours watching the miracle rescue of twelve surviving miners. Until I heard, "there was a miscommunication," according to the CEO of the mining company. "Only one miner survived and is in critical condition."

My heart go out to the families and friends of the miners that died and to their small community as well. For them to hear that the miners were alive, to give them the miracle of hope they had prayed for and then to take it away three hours later is just incomprehensible to me.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Last Couple of Days

Front yard & deck after the storm

Salivating at the thought of the kids going back to school? I'm not really. We have had fun the past couple of weeks, especially watching a bunch of movies. I just found out that HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc., all have on demand. I knew that on demand had movies that cost four bucks, but if you have the pay stations, you can not go to on demand and watch them for free whenever you like. And they are yours for twenty-four hours. Stop, go shopping, cook dinner, walk the dog and go back and resume play too. Very cool. I was watching movies on the pay channels that we don't use enough, but they start at odd times and I either missed the first five minutes or go on to another channel. HBO on demand was the best of the lot.


We watched Crash. Excellent movie. Loved Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Big Bounce, an Elmore Leonard book, was funny and starred Owen Wilson and Morgan Freeman. Can't go wrong with that pair! Bewitched was surprisingly funny and fun with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. Watched other movies too in the past couple of weeks. Fun.

I mentioned I was in a cleaning mode lately. Yesterday was the refrigerator. Top to bottom. Out with the old. Have you ever thought rearranging the shelves would help keep it organized? I have tried that again and again and yesterday I rearranged the shelves and layed out the rules. Leftovers go here. Yogurt, sour cream, jello, small items go on this shelf. No longer under the deli bin where they get lost. That is now reserved for tortillas and basically leftovers. Only the very top shelf is high enough to hold a two liter bottle of seltzer, oj and cranberry juices. The next shelf is for the big Costco size salsa and real maple syrup and mayo, among other things. We are going to make this work!

Front yard and deck

We cleaned out the snack cabinet too. Really, it is a snack cabinet and has been for eight years. Every kid that comes in our house knows where the snacks are. Rolling shelves come out and there are Airheads, licorice, Crackers, Raisins, Cookies, Croutons, Pretzels, Chinese noodles, those sorts of things. We filled up a black trash bag with all the stuff in there yesterday. Out with the old. It got to the point that we were tossing things in there but when the girls wanted a snack, there was nothing to eat! It has already worked. Zoe was looking in there this morning and gazing at what to have. It has not been restocked, but I did know where the Ritz Crackers were. Katharine was impressed by that. LOL

We got the tree out of the house the other night too. Everything looks so much more spacious when the big tree is gone.

Although our weather is nothing like what they are experiencing up in Northern California, we finally got our first real storm of the season. Not a huge rain event, but the wind was downright scary up here in the eucalyptus grove. Our front yard is full of bark that has fallen off the huge trees. We leave it on as was recommended, so they are not the beautifully stripped trunks that we may see around town. We have strips of bark wanting to fall off and it usually takes some good wind and rain for that to happen. The bark protects the trees from three threatening types of bugs, currently eating the eucs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One kind of Lerp eats just new foilage. Another eats the older leaves and yet another eats anything. I did have to laugh at the creepy neighbor and wonder how he was doing in the storm yesterday. Bark, branches and leaves falling onto his itty bitty house. He has a flat roof and it is new. He was out there in the storm putting plastic on the roof with big river rocks. I was nice enough though, to not tell him those are our rocks! They line our side between our driveways. He was outside raking and put all the bark into a pile that I bet he is taking photos of to show how messy the eucs are! They are known as trash trees and he lives in a eucalyptus grove for cripes sake!


Our street and yards are covered with long strips of bark and I am happy to say lots of the blooming flowers are washed off the trees. The flowers looks like snow falling in a light wind. And they make me sneeze! They are very pretty, they make a huge mess and that is okay. Our back deck is a disaster at the moment. There are three umbrellas out there. Two that are rectangular. One is tied up and it fell over a couple of times before I left it on the ground. The other rectangular umbrella never falls, but did yesterday and we lost a mosaic bird bath and a hummingbird feeder. We did close them before they fell. The other umbrella is a standard octagon. I had it up all summer, tilted to keep the morning sun out of our eyes. Locked securely between two eaves, it never moved and I never put it down. Yesterday, Zoe and I decided it should probably be put down and it was a joke watching us in the wind and rain. I had visions of her being taken away in a big gust of wind. The problem was I could not get the umbrella off tilt. So, we took it apart at mid level of the pole and put in on the ground, while wide open. It survived and while I was just putting it back up, I remembered the button to push to put the umbrella off tilt! I will have to get it locked into the eaves again. The heaters fell over, a fan blew over but the house is still standing and no trees fell on us. It was a good day.

These photos are of the front yard and deck. The girls wanted to take photos of me out in the pouring rain while trying to get Charlie to do his business. The creepy neighbor was watching us from his front door. We got soaked but making the kids happy is what I live for...

The gardener comes tomorrow and normally, I would not have him clean up all the mess. However, he is just back from a three week vacation to Mexico. I think he can do the clean up. Plus it is very difficult to clean up with a broom or a rake until it dries out. So, there!

sunrise a couple of days pre-storm