Puppy Love

Mulder the day we met him. So sweet, a bit shy and overwhelmed.

Mulder the day we met him. So sweet, a bit shy and overwhelmed.

I am most happy to introduce you to our new teen-puppy, Mulder!

Mulder is 7 1/2 months old Keeshond teen-puppy.  Teen-puppy is my term for his age, because he’s almost fully grown (30ish lbs now), but still a puppy in so many ways. Our sweet girl Genevieve was 1/2 kees/1/2 Sheltie. We got her from a local Keeshonden rescue back in 2002, when she was 4. She was such a good dog, and when she died in early 2012 (can you believe it’s been that long?), we were heartbroken. As time went by, we eventually decided we were ready to open our hearts and our home to another dog. We thought we’d like to get another Kees from the same rescue, so last December, we put in our application. Then we waited. And waited. And waited. About 6 weeks after putting in our application, having heard NOTHING, I emailed the rescue and asked if there was something wrong with our application. The reply came back, no, nothing wrong, but for better or for worse, NO DOGS are currently available for adoption. She said in her 20 years, they had never had such a long dry spell. I follow the rescue on Facebook, so I had seen several lovely dogs come and go in the last year, and indeed, there had been nothing in the last few months. So we tried to be patient. Every once in awhile we’d get an email…we have a dog…but we were hoping for a young dog, maybe 4 years or younger, and at least mostly healthy, so we wouldn’t be starting off with an old sick dog. We know that part is in the future with any pet, but we didn’t have the fortitude to start out that way. So we continued to wait.

Mulder on Sunday, looking very mature and calm.

Mulder on Sunday, looking very mature and calm.

When we thought maybe we weren’t going to get a Keeshond, we went to the local animal shelter a few times. There were some sweet dogs, but none that we fell in love with. We went to another rescue, for a husky, but that dog was a bit too much for my arthritic hands to manage. A sled dog is perhaps not what you want if you don’t want to be pulled. Perhaps we could have trained her out of that habit, but she was SO high energy, and not so much what we were looking for. So we tried some more to be patient.

And obviously, our patience eventually paid off. Late in October, the rescue contacted us to say they have a dog! Younger than we were wanting, almost 7 months old, but very sweet, healthy, and would we like to meet him? So off we went to meet him, and we fell in love right away. He had to stay at his foster home for a few weeks, so he could see the vet, be fully evaluated, and then neutered. Then we could bring him home. Last Saturday was the day, so we’ve had him for just over a week now. He is certainly a puppy, and he has to learn our confusing and weird rules, such as, no dogs on the beds. No dogs on the sofa. No dogs on the recliner. Very strange for him, as he was allowed full access to the furniture at the foster home, and perhaps at his last home before that as well. He has to learn that sometimes we leave the house, but that we will come back. He has to learn to rest in his crate when we’re gone, because we’re not thrilled with the idea of him chewing up our house while we’re not here to supervise. He has to learn to walk nicely on the leash. He has to learn to not bark at EVERYTHING. He’s learning pretty well. His barking has decreased substantially, he rarely tries to get on the furniture now, and he likes his crate (as long as he’s not locked in…that he doesn’t care for). He’s in his crate right now, playing with one of his toys, though the door is open. We’ll close it at some point so he can get more used to that. He’s playful and sweet and SUCH a good boy. We’re really enjoying having him in our home. So please, say hello and welcome to Mulder.

In other news: Today is my 10 year blogiversary. I had several real-life friends and family with blogs early on, and I met many new friends through blogging. I have enjoyed coming here, and coming to your blogs, and seeing the world though a bit of a different lens, over these last 10 years. My involvement has certainly waned as of late, but that’s OK. Maybe I’ll get more into a daily blogging groove again someday, maybe not. But I’m happy to be here, happy to share this part of my life with you, happy to have these friendships. Happy blogiversary to me.  P.S. My spell-check knows how to spell ‘blogiversary’.

Miscellaneous Stuff

Avo Bagel
Look at that awesome breakfast. Bagel, toasted, with avocado and lemon pepper. That’s it. So delicious. Served with OJ and tea (PG Tips, a bit of milk and sugar). One nice thing about Facebook is that some people post pictures of their food, and you can choose to be inspired by their pictures. I’m not sure I would have come up with this combination on my own, so thank you Facebook!

Then there’s this…the Gluten Free Museum. Famous paintings, with any offending gluten removed. Click the link to see more awesomeness.

Are you a fan of the ‘Little House’ books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder? If so, and if you like knowing the background behind these fictional books, I recommend the newly released “Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography“. It’s an amazing amount of research into almost every detail of Wilder’s unpublished autobiography, “Pioneer Girl”. Wilder first put her memories down and tried to publish them as “Pioneer Girl”, which is the story of her early life. The story is not written for children, and has some darker elements than the ‘Little House’ stories. The decision was made that the stories would better be told as children’s books, and Laura and her daughter Rose worked through the same material, and they turned into the ‘Little House’ stories that we all know and love. The difference between reality and fiction is sometimes jarring. That she had a little brother, who died as an infant, I knew. That the infamous Nellie Oleson was a composite of several girls in Laura’s youth, I knew. But that Jack, Laura’s beloved brindle bulldog and constant companion, was actually given away when Laura was 4…that was too much for me, and I thought I was going to have to breathe into a paper bag to keep from passing out.

If you’re looking for a good book to read, I really enjoyed ‘The Precious One‘, by Marisa de los Santos. I’ve read a couple of her other books, and I really enjoy them. They’re light enough to be an easy read, but I love her writing and her lovely use of language.  Without giving anything important away, this is the story of Taisy and Willow, sisters 18 years apart in age.  They share the same father, who is imperious and overwhelming and towers above their lives. They’ve only met once before, when Willow was a baby, when Taisy comes to stay for a short time at the request of their father.  Taisy is determined to find answers to how her father turned out to be the man he is, the kind of man who would leave her, her mother, and brother, and start over with a new wife and daughter.  Willow is focused on her dislike and jealousy of Taisy, and trying to navigate the treacherous waters of High School, after a life of being home schooled.

Ted and I went to see ‘Wild Tales‘, which was in town for about 15 minutes.  We’re fortunate that there’s one theater in town that plays independent and foreign films. I knew nothing about the movie going in, except that I wasn’t interested in any other movies that were playing, and that it was a foreign film. It’s a series of stories with a common theme, and that’s all I will say. Also, fairly dark, but not horrific, and pretty laugh out loud funny in some parts. Ted thought one woman in the audience was going to choke, she was laughing so hard. I’ll be watching for it to come to Netflix or something, so I can see it again.

Whew.   Now you’re all caught up.  I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted…I blame my iPad.  I don’t really like the WordPress app on it, so I get frustrated and don’t bother.  For this post, I pulled out my old laptop.  I should do this more often, clearly. I’ll leave you with the knowledge that Maya is now 19, and that we had a lovely weekend celebrating. Also, if you like to laugh, go look at this.

Still Alive

Still Alive
Yes, I’m still alive. I know, it’s been awhile. I hate writing that at the beginning of a blog post, but somehow, I find myself doing it more and more often. Today I took a few minutes and looked at blogs that I link to from my blogroll. So many of them are defunct, or might as well be. Last post in 2011, 2012, 2013. I should clean them up, move them out. But I don’t use an RSS reader or anything like that. My way of checking to see if you have a new blog post is to click my link, and go look. So I keep them. I want to see if some of you come back to blogging. Who knows…it could happen.

As is often the case when a household consists of two adults and a teen, most of the news around here is about the teen. Let’s see. Well, in one crappy week, she was in her first car accident, and had her first flat tire. Thankfully, the car accident was a tiny fender bender, and no one was hurt. Of course, nowadays a tiny fender bender still means a new bumper, new grill, etc. It wasn’t her fault, so the other insurance company paid for the repairs. Perhaps she could have avoided the accident if she had been paying closer attention, perhaps not. She was parking, and the other driver backed out of a parking place and into the front of our car. She didn’t see it coming, because she was looking into another row for a place there. So I’m glad she learned the lesson of paying better attention now, and in a safe place without getting hurt. Sadly, part of the lesson was that people can be jerks, as the woman who hit her got out of the car and yelled at her. The flat tire came the next week. Don’t know what she hit, or if maybe it was just the tire’s time. What she didn’t know was what a flat tire felt like, so she continued driving, wanting to get home. Bad move, but again, we were lucky and her driving on a flat didn’t cause any damage to the wheel. So…she’s learned a few things about auto stuff lately.

Also, she had her first opportunity to vote! We had a tiny little special election here, to renew a bond measure for the local high school district. I was unsure as to WHY they chose to have a mail-in ballot in May, when there is a much larger election scheduled for June, which will surely attract a much larger voting population. We (Ted and I) decided that it must be because they felt like they would get a better, more dedicated vote than they would get from the general public. Whether that was the reason for the strategy or not, it worked, and the bond measure passed. So the local high schools will continue to be well funded.

Which chaps my hide. Don’t get me wrong, I voted for it. I want the schools to be well funded. But it’s frustrating to the nth to me that this is how our schools work. You live in a wealthy enclave, and the people vote to support the schools. Why? Because it’s OUR KIDS. But a vote to support the schools on a larger, state wide, basis? A vote that would make the schools a bit more equal? Hell no. Why would we want to vote to support OTHER PEOPLE’S KIDS? Grrr. I miss the days back when I grew up, when schools were better funded, there was money for things like school buses, art, PE, etc., without having to tap different areas for different amounts of money.

So anyway, she voted, we voted, and the measure passed. That was a mail in election, and the next one will be a walk in election. I have, in the past, requested a mail in ballot, because gosh, it’s just SO DARNED EASY. Deep down, though, I can’t get past the idea that maybe they don’t bother to count those votes. Also, I kind of like the ritual of going into the little ballot box and marking the ballot myself. I liked when we lived in Philly, and you made your selections, then pulled a big lever down that punched holes or something. That was pretty satisfying.

We received news that Maya was awarded a scholarship for $1,000 from Burger King, which is funny because we don’t eat much fast food. I’m the junk food junkie in the house, and I don’t eat it THAT often. I think she’s probably been to BK twice in her life. But anyway, we applied for the scholarship, and she received it, which is great news. $1,000 now will pay for most of a semester’s expenses at a community college, as long as you live at home. Tuition and books. Which brings me back to my earlier point about funding the schools. Back until the mid-80s, community colleges in California were free. Then in 1985, they started charging tuition, which was a flat $50, no matter how many courses or units you took. When I transferred to San Francisco State University, it was about $450 a semester for tuition. My friend Janet transferred from community college to UC Berkeley, and her tuition was a little over $700. So a semester at a community college now is about the cost of a semester at Cal back in the late 80s. Which would be very well and good if wages had gone up that much, but of course they haven’t. Wages are higher, but the minimum wage has about doubled, which college costs have exceeded that at an alarming rate. She’s applied for a few more scholarships, and we’re hoping to get her next semester’s fees paid for as well. If we can avoid dipping into the little bit of savings that we have until she goes to a four year as a JR, that would be great.

Which brings me to my next thought. Really, a brag. The same week as her AP test, I found another local scholarship I thought she should apply for. One that required her to write 2 very short essays, get letters of recommendation, and have a resume. Being the quick turnaround time (2 days), I offered to write the resume for her, as she’s never done one for herself, and she had the AP exam to study for. I’m impressed. There are surely kids who have done more, and kids who have done less. But she’s an AP Scholar with a strong GPA, is a member of 3 clubs at her school (for 2 of them, she’s co-president), she’s been a cheerleader, in the school choir, and on the school paper. She’s volunteered over and over again (mostly through Girl Scouts) to wonderful organizations that help children, animals, and adults in rough times. I wish my resume had looked like that at her age. Mine was more like, “Two years at Mr. Steak, three years in the Dungeons and Dragons club, crappy GPA, decent test scores”. So yes, I’m proud.

Along with the end of High School (she graduates June 13th) comes the Senior Ball next weekend, and the end of Girl Scouts. She’s been involved for 10 years now, and I am so glad that she joined, and that she stuck with it for this long. The troop has dwindled down to 5 girls, and they don’t see each other or keep in touch the way they once did. But they’re still close, and have shared wonderful experiences. They have put in a lot of time, volunteering, camping, working on badges. I hope they are forever friends, even if that means the kind of friends who keep in touch online only, once in awhile. They’re all great girls, doing wonderful things with their lives, and I’m proud of them all. This next chapter will be an exciting one for them indeed.

My life? Not as exciting, but still pretty good. We went to Stockton a few weeks ago to celebrate my Great-Aunt’s 90th birthday. My Great-Aunt, who was in the delivery room with my mom when I was born. She took me on a trip with her and her daughter in the late 70s. We drove through Yosemite (drought, so no waterfalls), up to Tahoe, and had a great time. She loaned me money to pay that first $450 tuition check at San Francisco State, because my mom had no money and I had blithely moved out, gone out on my own with no money to my name, trusting that all would work out. Somehow it did. My roommate’s father loaned us money for first/last/security deposits. My great Aunt payed my tuition. My friend’s parents let me sleep on their sofa until we had our apartment, and while I started my job and got money for school books. Looking back, I can’t believe I got away with it.

I have a new computer for work. I love it. It’s faster, and a newer operating system. What I like the most about it is that it’s a laptop, which means when it gets hot here, I can work downstairs where it’s much cooler. My office is in the bedroom, which is upstairs and gets full on afternoon sun, which is lovely in the cold of winter, and fine until the temps get to be about 85 or 90. Once it’s 90 degrees outside, and 3:00 or so with the sun beating through the window full force, it gets to be about 80 downstairs, and I don’t know how much hotter upstairs, but I start sweating while at my desk, which I DO NOT LIKE. I don’t like turning on the A/C when the sun is hitting that room, it feels like it’s fighting a losing battle. I’d prefer to wait until the sun goes down, and then turn on the A/C if need be to cool the bedroom down enough for sleep. Now, when I’m upstairs, I have a docking station for the laptop, which means a huge monitor (good for my aging eyes), a full sized keyboard, and a mouse. Downstairs, I can bring all of that if I really want to, or I can just bring the laptop down with me. It’s great.

This coming weekend, my parents are coming for a very quick visit. They live in Portland. My step-mom is a big wig in the yoga community, and owns a very successful yoga studio there. One of the museums in SF has an exhibit about the birth of yoga, so they’re coming down on Friday, seeing the exhibit on Saturday, going home on Sunday. Maya’s Senior Ball is Saturday night, so we’re not available that day, but we will go into the City and have dinner with them Friday night. I’m excited to try the fancy French restaurant where we have a reservation, and of course I’m excited to see them.

That seems like enough for now. I did try a nice sausage and polenta recipe the other day that I may share soon, and we might go to a movie for Mother’s Day tomorrow. If we see something worth seeing, I’ll let you know.

Blog Love

Remember when blogging was all new and honest?  When we wrote about anything and everything?  For some of us, that stopped when we felt that the world had heard everything we have to say, so no need to say it again.  For some of us, that stopped when our kids got to a certain age, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to write about them in a public space anymore.  For some of us, both are true.

Enter Carla, a friend I had in High School.  Carla and I were not super close, and I think I only met her in my senior year.  But I admired her greatly, for her caustic wit, lovely beauty, and amazing talent on the piano.  She was the quality type of cool chick I wanted to know.  Fast forward 25 years, and she is just now starting her first ever blog.  I would love to point you there, because her brand of honesty is just exactly what made me fall in love with blogging way back in ’05 and ’06, and what I don’t bother to go looking for anymore (not because it’s not out there….I’ve just gotten lazy).  She’s a pianist turned lawyer turned stay-at-home mom to two wonderful kids, one of whom is kind of high need.  Her honesty about how difficult that can sometimes be is so refreshing and wonderful.  Go, check out Carla’s blog, grumpy for no reason.

Infected ~ The The

I mentioned a mix-tape on Monday, with the Bruce Cockburn song.  Anyone old enough to listen to albums or tapes, be they a mix tape or a full on album, knows that when you’ve listened to the album/tape over and over and over again, one songs leads you to expect the next in sequence.  So it is with this song.  Infected came after Lovers in a Dangerous Time.  Another great 80s song.  What was next?  I’m not sure…but if I run out of blogging ideas again during NaBloPoMo, you may find out…

My Happy News

I won an iPad Mini on the NaBloPoMo/BlogHer website! Isn’t that excellent news? I feel like I never win anything, though that’s not true.

  1. I won the lotto once, though not big. I won $96, which was pretty exciting. Safeway is smart to let you cash in your winning ticket there, because yeah, I spent my money on groceries.
  2. I was picked out of the audience at Marine World, Africa U.S.A, when I was in the 5th grade. I was called up front, and got to pet a cheetah, which was pretty awesome. When they picked me, they called on my for my bright yellow (sunflower yellow) sweater. I then decided that was my lucky sweater, and I wore it every day. When it was too full of holes to wear anymore, I just tied it around my waist and wore it that way. I loved that cheetah.
  3. I won a contest at work, where the person to give out the most coupons for the hotel restaurant (and have them redeemed) within an allotted period of time, received dinner for 2, or $100 towards dinner for 2, I don’t remember which. I won that one over and over again, because I loved the restaurant, so I was good at selling it.
  4. I won Employee of the Month (twice), while at the hotel. That was great, because the prize was $100 cash, plus a nice lunch to honor all of the nominees.
  5. Several years ago, in the heyday of blogging (or perhaps, MY heyday of blogging), I was picked as a Top 100 Mom Blogger, which was pretty darned exciting.  I had a little badge on my blog for it, but when I changed my blog theme, it went away.  I don’t do badges anymore.  Not because I don’t respect the thought and effort, but because I’m lazy.  I’m just NOT one of those top 100 mommy bloggers anymore.
  6. I won a homemade music CD from Greeblemonkey, which was pretty great, and I really enjoyed being introduced to some of the artists I hadn’t heard of before.
  7. I won a book on another blog, but now I can’t even think of what the book was.

I was thinking I’d make this a Thursday 13, but it’s Wednesday, and I can’t think of more things I’ve won, unless you count various blogging awards. Allow me to tell you HOW I won the lovely new iPad Mini. A few weeks ago, I decided to participate in NaBloPoMo. In years past, I have sometimes officially signed up on their website, in the hopes of perhaps luring a few readers over to my blog. I tried this again, and gave my blog title and url at the official website. I haven’t gotten any new readers, but I also haven’t gone over and posted there, I just added my name to their linky list.If you haven’t guessed already, from the picture above, there’s a little contest involved in participating (officially) with NaBloPoMo and BlogHer. There are 2 possible prizes…either tickets to attend the BlogHer conference, or an iPad Mini. Since I don’t really want to go to BlogHer, I don’t have money to fly and pay for hotels, etc., and I don’t currently own an iPad, I was THRILLED and surprised to receive an email saying that I have won an iPad Mini! Yay! I’ve confirmed that it’s valid, and I should be receiving my new iPad Mini any day now. Pretty exciting.

My first thoughts were, who should I give it to for Christmas? I’ll bet Maya would love an iPad Mini. Ted’s been kind of wanting an iPad. But they both have smart phones, which are almost the same thing. So I decided that I’m going to keep it for myself. They can use it, of course, because I’m nice like that.

Donut Test

You Are Sensitive

You are very intuitive and insightful. You understand what’s going on around you without needing to be told.

You are naturally nurturing and caring. You look out for people, even if they don’t ask you to.You tend to stay attached to those you love. It’s hard for you to let go when you need to.

You are in touch with your emotions. You know exactly what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it.

I suspect this is one of the stupid tests referenced in the last line, but who cares. Pick a donut, and they’ll tell you what it means about your personality. Really, what this means is I like chocolate icing on my donuts, and this one looks like it might have had custard inside. Mmmm. Now if they had had a filled maple bar, the results would have perhaps been EVEN MORE accurate.

I haven’t done a blogthing in a long time. Perhaps a few years. But I’ve been lazing around reading my library book all day, and not too interested in blogging, but I am still TRYING to be current with NaBloPoMo, so don’t be shocked if you get a few more of these things.

I started out taking the left/right brain test on Ally’s blog, but it didn’t give me HTML to post here, so I moved on. Anyway, I’m right brained, 68%, according to the test. In case you were wondering.

Back to my book now…

If I Had a Million Dollars

“If you found one million dollars in the morning and had to spend it by nightfall, what would you do with the money?”

After deciding on a whim to participate in NaBloPoMo this month, I panicked and went to the official website for inspiration. This was the prompt. It reminds me of a comic book I used to like, Richie Rich, and one time Richie had to spend a million dollars in one day. That was before the 4 bedroom, boring, subdivision house down the street was on sale for $899,000 (I stopped and looked at the price the other day).

So, let’s think. Rules. I have to spend $1,000,000 in a day. I cannot give it to charity (too easy), I cannot buy a house (takes more than a day, I assume, and pretty much is no challenge at all because even the boring house down the street is $899k), I cannot divide it up with family (not really spending), I cannot pre-pay Maya’s college education (because of course, these are the things I would ACTUALLY do if I had a million dollars, but where’s the challenge, people? This is a MEME, not reality).

First, I would sign us up for one of those river cruises through Europe. They look amazing. I’m picking the cruise that goes down the Seine, because I love Paris. It’s almost $4,000. I’ll buy 4 tickets, one for each of us, and one for a friend for Maya, because she might like that. So that’s $16,000 spent. Wow, I have a lot left.

I’d like to get a contractor out here pronto, since I can’t buy a new house in one day, but I wonder if that’s cheating? Let’s assume it’s not cheating. I’d put in a new kitchen, new floors, new bathrooms, new landscaping.  New heater and a/c.  New appliances all around.  I have absolutely no idea what that would cost. Let’s say $75,000 for the best of the best, and maybe some furniture and so on. We live in a condo, so we can’t tear down walls or put on a roof or paint the exterior.

I’d buy new computers. Two new laptops, one new desktop, all Apple. Then a new PC for Maya to use, just for gaming. She’s always wanted one. Who knows if it’s worth it. Who cares? $7,000 estimate for all 4.

I’d buy 3 new cars. We don’t need 3 new cars, ours are a 2005 and a 2008. But what the hell. A Porsche for Ted, though he’d worry too much about it without a garage.  A Mini for me, because they’re adorable.  Whatever Maya wants for her, I don’t know.  I’d pre-pay a neighbor for 5 years worth of renting their extra parking space for Maya’s car.  I’ll bet I could spend $120k on cars.

I’d call a very expensive restaurant for dinner, and see how much it costs to buy our way in that night. I’ve always wanted to try French Laundry. With good wine I’ll bet we could spend $1,000.

I’d take us all shopping in San Francisco for new clothes. (This whole thing is starting to make me tired, are you tired yet?) We’d explore Union Square, and nothing would be out of reach. Clothes clothes clothes. I’ll bet we could spend at least $50,000 if we tried. I wouldn’t buy anything that wasn’t me just because it was expensive. I’d just buy the stuff we want.

I’d like to get a dog, but I don’t want to worry about vet bills right now.  It’s probably cheating to pre-pay a bunch of money at our local vet, right?  I don’t care, I’d do it.  (Why can I pre-pay the vet but not a college for Maya?  Paperwork.)

I’d buy us a trip to Europe for next summer. I don’t know how much that would cost, and I have lost interest in keeping track. I’d buy us a trip to the East Coast for Spring Break, and a trip to Alaska at some point as well. Lot of money.

I’d book a family reunion in Hawaii for the entire clan. Airfare, hotel, food, drink, spending money. I keep feeling like this is cheating, because it’s for the future, not the one day.

OK, I give up.  I’d call an excellent college, fax them Maya’s jr year transcript and tell them I’ll pay them today to get her through in 4 years.  She’s a very good student, and she’ll do great.  I can’t bear the idea of having $1,000,000 in my hands for one day, and then the next day worrying about college again.  With housing and food and so on, I’ll bet I could spend $300,000.

Wait, I just noticed that I found the million dollars, and now have to spend it quickly. I’m thinking there may be drug dealers involved. Breaking Bad anyone? Crap.

I quit. Maybe it can’t be done without buying real estate, donating to your favorite causes, or sharing the wealth with family.  Actually, this exercise makes me grumpy, because I start thinking about retirement, and how little we have saved, and how STUPID it is to spend all of this money in one day and not have anything socked away.  Maybe I’d buy gold.  Can I do that?

If not, then I’d buy a green dress, but not a real green dress…that’s cruel.

Friday Randomness

I’m thinking perhaps it may be time for NaBloPoMo around here. Maybe a good idea to try to challenge myself to post every day, because crap, I feel less inclined than ever to do so. It’s not that I don’t get any pleasure from it…it’s that when I post all of the time, my brain works that way, and little things in my life inspire me. However, when I don’t post often, my brain doesn’t work that way, so I forget my blog is even here for days at a time. Not what I want from this space. So, let’s see what happens, shall we?

So, what can I tell you? Well, Maya is taking Journalism this year, and had her first byline in the school paper. An excellent review of the Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes concert she saw in September. I’ll admit to you that I was a bit nervous about her going into San Francisco with a friend to see the concert, with no adults. She’s a good kid. Her friend is a good kid. I don’t really worry about them doing something dangerous or wrong (though of course good kids do those things, too, but you can’t think about that when you’re deciding whether to let your 17 year old go out with her friends). But I do worry about some idiot doing something evil and her not being ready to deal with it, or perhaps her getting into a situation where no one would know what to do. These things happen once in awhile. But they took BART, they had a GREAT time, and her picture was even in a local newspaper. Whew.

I tried a new recipe that I’ll call ‘Mimi Bars’. My friend Cherry told me about them, so even though it’s not HER recipe, I’m tempted to call them ‘Cherry Bars’, but for obvious reasons, that might lead one to believe there are actual cherries involved, which in this case, there are not. I’ll share the recipe, if you promise to take your insulin first, because O.M.Gosh*, these things are SWEET. The sweetest thing I’ve ever had, perhaps. Yummy, though.

Mimi bars

9×13 glass baking dish.
1 & 1/2 cubes butter,
1 Duncan Heinz butter cake,
1 package kraft caramels (unwrapped)
1/3 cup milk
1 & 1/2 cups chocolate chips.

Preheat oven 350°.
melt butter in pot on stove, turn off stove.
Add cake mix.
Stir til stiff.

Press half of this mixture onto baking dish, bake 8 minutes.
Melt caramels & milk on stove.
Sprinkle choc chips on top of cake as soon as removed from oven, drizzle caramel.
Crumble remaining cake mixture on top.
Bake 11-13 minutes.
Let cool overnight and cut!

A few tips.

1st, maybe try lining your pan with foil or parchment or something, because when that caramel gets cold in the fridge overnight, it’s difficult to cut from the pan. Might be easier to remove it from the pan, and THEN cut it.

2nd, Cherry said if you eat these BEFORE cooling overnight, they just don’t rock for some reason. Conversely, I can tell you if you try them right out of the fridge, they’re so-so. However, if you cool them overnight in the fridge (wait, the recipe doesn’t actually say they have to go in the fridge…perhaps I made that part up?), and then bring them back to room temp, they’re amazing. Really good. But you only need one. One is enough. You will very likely not go back for more.

What else…I’m writing this on Halloween, and it’s 8:00pm, and we have had a total of ZERO trick-or-treaters. Living in a townhouse/condo complex sucks. There are 4 kids in our complex who are of age (though young), yet they do what we did…pack the kids up and take them to a neighborhood with sidewalks and houses. What goes around comes around. We didn’t take Maya trick-or-treating here, and so we don’t get any. Sigh. I want to see a cute pre-schooler in a lion costume or something.

Anyone trying out the new TV season? Since we have free cable right now, I’ve been giving it a shot. My favorite shows are not new…Parenthood and The Good Wife, but I’ve also tested The Crazy Ones, The Michael J. Fox Show, and Mom. Meh all around. If I’m bored and in the mood to watch TV over reading a book, I’ll watch any of them, in this order:

  1. Mom ~ Allison Janney is great, and so far I’ve gotten a few laughs out of it.
  2. The Crazy Ones ~ A show with Buffy is going to be good, right? And Mork? But it’s just OK. I kind of like it, but if I miss it, I don’t care.
  3. The Michael J. Fox Show ~ So far, I’ve seen 3 or 4 episodes, but the only reason to watch is being bored, not wanting to read your book (happens sometimes when I’m tired), and the only other thing to watch is stupid reality TV. I like Michael J. Fox. He was really good on The Good Wife. I’m not convinced the writing is that great.

Maybe I have something else to say, I’m not sure. But it just occurred to me that if I’m going to try to write every day in November, I’d better save a little something for tomorrow, right?

The End of -ism

Awesome picture showing that the end of one problem might just be the beginning of another, found here. I’m enjoying poking around on this guy’s blog, checking out his art. You should, too.

Under the Table

No, not drinking someone under the table. Napping under the table. When I was a kid, I loved to nap. I still love to nap. Now, my favorite napping place is on my sofa with my cozy napping blanket, or maybe on my bed. But when I was a kid, I loved to nap under things. Especially under tables. It felt so cozy, like a little cave, and if there were a party going on, I could hear the adults laughing and talking, and just soak it up until I dozed off. I know, I’m weird. I once fell asleep under a piano on a river boat*, and didn’t wake up when someone started playing it. So when I saw this picture on FB today, I had to share here.

*The link is to a post I did back in early 2008, about my life in Fairbanks. Perhaps one of my most favorite posts to go back and read, actually. And look, there’s a comment from my mom…just a week before she went into the hospital. I like seeing those comments.

Friday Randomness

Well, I made it to the end of NaBloPoMo, and I only missed one day, when I couldn’t get onto my blog to post. I’ve resorted to memes, Wordless Wednesday, and recipes. Then again, I like all of those things. I’ve enjoyed having that blog part of my brain tuned in. Like when something at least mildly interesting happens, and you think, “oh, that’s great for the blog!”

I missed saying happy blogaversary to Thinking About. I started blogging back in November of 2005, because all the cool kids were doing it, and it seemed like fun. I don’t think I could have guessed that I would make real friends here, some of whom I’ve not met yet in real life.

Grandma is doing better. She is out of the hospital, in a convalescent home for the next month-ish, until she can walk again. She’s going to be using a walker from now on. At least I hope so. She uses a cane, but it doesn’t stabilize her enough, and she loses her balance so easily these days.

Everyone on FB is talking about how pretty the full moon is. It’s cloudy and raining here, which is fine with me. I love a pretty full moon, but I love rain even more.

Ted came down with a cold last weekend, which means that I’ve come down with it now. Blech. I hope Maya doesn’t catch it. I am glad that it waited to infect our household until after Thanksgiving, and after I had a chance to see Grandma, too.

We’re dipping our toes slowly into the Christmas thing. Ted bought some poinsettias the other day, our boyscout neighbor delivered the wreath we ordered, and I’ve put out our little lighted snowmen. I know a lot of people decorate for Christmas right after Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving was so early this year, it seems ridiculous to put up the tree for at least another week. Maybe in time for Hanukkah. I know, we’re weird.

Speaking of Hanukkah, it looks like the first night is on a Saturday this year, which means I’ll have a little time for cooking. Maya and I are going to make homemade applesauce this year, instead of jarred stuff, for our latkes. You know that local TV show Ted has been directing and editing lately? He just finished working on a Hanukkah episode, and he edits at his desk, which is right next to my desk, so I’ve heard the apple vendor talking about apples and how to make good sauce. I’ll clue you in now: the ratio is 2-1-1. 2 sweet apples (like a Fuji perhaps), 1 tart apple (think Granny Smith), and another tart apple that is a separate variety from the first (maybe Pink Lady). I’ve only made apple sauce once or twice before, and I did know the trick of using more than one kind, but I’d never heard the ratio before. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I caved and donated money to my local PBS station (it was giving day, after all). I do regularly give them a little money, but this time the gift with purchase was too good to pass up, so I increased by donation. Season 3 of Downton Abbey. Sadly, it won’t get here before Christmas, or before the season starts, but it will get here just after the beginning of the season, so I can watch it quickly if I want to, and tease my friends on FB about what I already know that they don’t.

I’m sure there’s more I could tell you…but my stupid head cold has my head all blocked up and I can’t think. Happy NaBloPoMo to Ally Bean, who soldiered through with me. 🙂

Blogthings Saturday

This is a “just-in-case” type of post. I vowed to post every day this week, and such stupid vows sometimes produce stupid posts. It’s a fact of life. I’m writing this on Friday morning, and the plan is to go to Santa Cruz today, see The Fixx perform on the beach tonight, stay the night, and see where Saturday takes us. So I’m sure I can post something on Sunday, but I’m just not sure that I’ll be on a computer Saturday, and I kind of think that’s a good thing.

I was trolling my own blog, and found a post from ‘blogthings’ from back in 2007, which I had totally forgotten about. I had forgotten about blogthings, not 2007. It seemed absolutely perfect for stupid posts like this, when you’ve vowed something that perhaps you should not have. I wonder what all of this might mean about my personality type? And perhaps more importantly, what does it mean that I went in and cleaned up the grammar in the description of my personality?

You Are An ISFJ

The Nurturer
You have a strong need to belong, and are very loyal.

A good listener, you excel at helping others in practical ways.

In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through art, cooking, and music.

You find it easy to be devoted to one person… a partner who you do special things for.

In love, you express your emotions through actions.

Taking care of someone is how you love them. And you do it well!

At work, you do well in a structured environment. You complete tasks well and on time.

You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist.

How you see yourself: Competent, dependable, and detail oriented

When other people don’t get you, they see you as: Boring, dominant, and stuck in a rut.

Thursday 13

Trying to think of a quick blog post for today, before I run out the door. 🙂 So here it is, 13 Things I did (or shall do) on my Summer Vacation.  Graphic from the ‘official’ Thursday 13 page.

  1. Getting my hair done today.
  2. Took Maya to the airport yesterday for her first solo flight…to L.A. to visit her cousin.  I hope she has a GREAT time.
  3. Went to visit Cherry and her new baby, Jacob, and her old baby (2 year old) Elizabeth.  They live near the airport, so that was a two-fer.
  4. Mailed some packages I didn’t have time to mail before now.
  5. Did some work.  Not much, don’t worry, but I’d rather nip some things in the bud than let them wait until I get back.
  6. Going to Santa Cruz to see The Fixx on Friday, I hope.
  7. Maybe going into the City to see a movie this weekend.
  8. Maybe going to the Music and Market tonight, which is a Farmers’ Market with live music.
  9. Went to meet Heidi and her friend Ken in San Francisco last Saturday.
  10. Finished my book, which I loved.
  11. Starting a new book later today.  It’s waiting for me at the library.
  12. Going to breakfast in a few minutes with Ted.
  13. Thinking we’ll have salmon for dinner tonight.  With garlic and tomatoes.

That’s it…also thinking some thoughts about other blog posts I might work on.  Also watched a ton of Buffy episodes.  We have them all on DVD, and I’ve been sucked in, yet again.

Bloggy Friendships

Me and Heidi
There are different relationships in blogging. There are people whose goal it is to get as many comments as they can get (and there’s a hint of that desire in all of us, I suspect), so they go out and leave tons of comments everywhere. They do Wordless Wednesday and Book Reviews and all sorts of things where you leave your link so others can find you, and hopefully leave a comment. There is nothing wrong with this kind of blogging. I’ve participated in Wordless Wednesday and Book Review blogs myself, and really enjoyed it. But for me, that’s not where the lasting relationships, the real online friendships, are born. The online friendship requires a bigger commitment, and comes from finding someone who touches you in some way, with their writing, their humor, their story. Sometimes it’s all of these things, sometimes less. I do know that I’ve made some real friends here, people that I genuinely care about and miss when they go away. Sometimes they drop off of the face of the earth, and you realize, you weren’t really friends after all. Sometimes, they stop blogging, but you end up being friends somewhere else, like Facebook.

Heidi is such a friend. I don’t remember when I found her blog, or if she found me first, or how it came about. I know we have a few blogs in common, and that she knows my blog friend Chrissy in person. Heidi doesn’t really blog anymore, but she did for several years, and I loved reading about her life in Hong Kong. Her life with her mother, her teaching, her parties and thoughts on the party lifestyle of a certain set in H.K., her aspirations to be a singer (she has a lovely voice, and tons of heart, which is a deadly combination…I mean that in the best way…deadly in that it gets straight to the listeners heart). She came to my blog often, and left long, thoughtful comments. I went to her blog and did the same. Well, the other day, she said something on Facebook about being at Swan Oyster Depot, and I thought, “Wait, that’s in San Francisco!” And lo and behold, she is here! She came to see a friend with a new baby, and to connect with other friends, and to attend the Outlands Festival in Golden Gate Park. Happily, she and her friend Ken (who also knows Chrissy in person) were available to have brunch with me today. YAY! Really, you only have a few days in San Francisco, and you made time to see ME? I love that, and am so grateful.

So I drove into the City, blissfully cool and crisp after the 100 degree heat here, a mere 40 miles away, and we went to the Cliff House for lunch. The Cliff House is one of my favorite San Francisco restaurants, though it’s changed a lot since I first went there. It has been there since 1863, and has had many incarnations. But the food is consistently good (not as good this time as the last time I went, I think, but still very good), and the view of the ocean, right there outside of your window, is truly lovely. You can watch the waves crashing on the rocks, watch the surfers hoping for a wave, watch the seagulls swooping and flying around. It’s relaxing. So we stopped there and had a lovely meal, and got to know each other in person. When you meet someone in person, whom you’ve only known online, there’s always that brief fear, what if…what if they are different in person than they are online? What if I don’t like them? What if they don’t like me? What if we just don’t have anything to say to each other? Always a fear, but it’s not happened yet. I’ve met a couple of blog friends in the past, and they’ve quickly become real life friends. Heidi was like this for me. I felt that I knew her, and she and Ken were both so warm and real, that I was very comfortable right away. I don’t know when we’ll see each other again, since she lives in Hong Kong, and I live in Walnut Creek, and Ken lives in Toronto. But I hope we do get together again sometime. Perhaps in L.A. Chrissy, want to come along?