Sunday, November 30, 2008


There are problems in writing a blog. I want to tell a story, and I go, "Oh s*#@ , your name here will see this." I can't write certain things because it will hurt feelings. Or it could get someone in trouble. I started this partly to vent, to tell tales, to let you know my feelings. Well it doesn't work that way.

People say things to me, my feelings get hurt. (I do have very tender feelings) How dare they say that. I WILL BLOG!!! Well, I am a nice polite southern girl. You don't deliberately hurt people. So if I write about them, I am ruder than they are. Or someone is careless and I get physically hurt. Not a big deal, but I did get a little hurt and I was in a little pain. If I blog, people could find out and then all hell could break loose. So I control my words.

Now you are thinking just how many people read this little blog. Well, nearly everyone I know has been invited to read it. So they might see me bashing them. Off the top of my head, I know for sure 8 people who read this regularly. But there could be lurkers. So I must be nice unless it is someone like the nasty Yankee on the phone earlier this week. She doesn't count.

The point of tonight's blog. . . My feelings got hurt and I had a small accident. A bad day in some ways. Marty gave me a couple of big hugs and Randy hugged me and that made most of the problems go away. But I really want to vent and write nasty stuff. But I can't write about it because I feel a need to protect the guilty. I am taking the high road. I would rather not.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The next few weeks. . .

The Christmas season officially begins for us on Friday after Thanksgiving. We love the season, and we decorate every room in the house and the outside as well. It is a busy time and we have lots of fun.

Today the tree is done. I hung ornaments most of the day. We put more ornaments on than most people. We hang about 10 dozen glass icicles and have several hundred other ornaments. This is a major project. I hate it and love it at the same time. Every ornament is a memory. There are three I love the most. Marty and I bought them shortly after we married: a crown, a treasure chest, and a silver elf. They cost us a fortune, in 1967 we paid close to $20 for the three. And I love them. I have a bell made of aluminum foil and a paper cup that Erik made for us in Kindergarten. We have some we bought on trips, some from past students, and some we bought every year as a family. It takes a full day to finish the tree. I now have the rest of the house to decorate. That will be done over the next week.

Saturday we begin Open Studios The artists in Berkeley and Oakland do demonstrations and have their art for sale. Marty is a hot glass artist and will work every Saturday and Sunday through December 21. I work in the gallery. We are number one on the list/map: R. Strong Glass at Fourth and Gilman. I hope you will drop by. Marty will assist on Saturdays and will do demos on Sundays.

Of course our normal life will continue, I will marry couples and work at school and Marty will do his day job. So we are a little busy doing all the above and the Christmas gatherings also. But we seem to get it all done.

I trust everything is spelled correctly in this post. For some reason the spell check isn't working. I have used the dictionary to check some things. But sometimes you can't proof read your own work.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today is Thanksgiving, but it feels like Friday. There is no smell of turkey and dressing. I am not running around like a chicken with its head cut off getting 14 dishes to come out at the same time. We are not cooking this year. We have no guests arriving any minute. It feels really strange.

We are going to our friends and bringing mashed potatoes and home made rolls. I know we will have a wonderful time with them and eat great food. But we always host. It feels strange.

So what did we do today you ask. We did the Friday stuff. We drug out all the Christmas boxes, rearranged the living room so the tree will fit, put up the tree, and Marty is hanging outside lights. It feels strange.

We have a new tree this year. It is a smidgen smaller and came with LED lights on it. We always have white lights, this tree has colored lights. It feels strange.

I don't think I like doing differently on a holiday. Who knew I was so set in my ways?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Today was my day to marry couples. Many types of couples got married. For one couple I was checking the license and saw the bride's name was the same as the groom's middle name. They were Hispanic so his middle name also could be his last name, since they combine the father's and the mother's last name for their last name. I asked for her ID to be sure the clerk had written it down correctly. After that was confirmed, I read over the license. From the license I deduced they had been married before. They both were divorced on the same day in May.

Today I remarried them. He seemed calm and dedicated to her. She was agitated and crying through out the ceremony. I could feel the connection between them. There was a strong love, but something awful went wrong in the past. I really hope they make it this time. Again, I have no ending.

Thanksgiving. November. I grew up in Kentucky. November and Thanksgiving meant it was cold, dreary, maybe with sleet and flurries. It is a nasty time of the year. Now I live in California, not southern CA. But still much better weather than Kentucky.

Our yard is blooming. We have cymbidium orchids blooming in the yard. Tomatoes are still on the vine. Gardenias are in bud, camellias are in bud, basil and dill are waiting to be picked. My roses are blooming. , At least the the ones the gophers haven't killed. They just took out a 40 year old bush. One day it was there, the next laying on its side, roots gone. I totally understand Bill Murray and Caddy Shack. I hate those little hair balls. Breathing deeply to continue. . . I have butterfly iris blooming and lots of other plants blooming. My magnolia tulip tree is blooming a couple of months early because it is so warm this winter. But at the same time we have trees dropping their leaves. California does fall and summer at the same time. But we are never severely cold in the Bay Area.

Things I am thankful for this year: Marty, Erik and Jennifer. An election result that there was no doubt.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


My friend Janet Rudolph writes a blog called Mystery Fanfare. I have it on my Blog list to the left. Be sure to check it often. But especially today check it out. She has information about a wonderful convention Left Coast Crime:Say Aloha to Murder. If you like mysteries, this is the convention for you. She has links, so I won't put them in.

Check it out. There is a blog on the site that I contributed to last week. I sent an article on foods of Hawaii. There are contests, funnny pictures, and lots of info on the programing. Even if you don't make the convention the site has lots of information for mystery fans. The guest list has links to lots and lots of authors.

It is a great site. Feel free to pass on the information/site link.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I am ticked, peeved, and ready to kill. Not a good thing so early on Monday morning. Go to my November 9, 2008 posting, FIRST MAJOR PURCHASE. Just go down the left in the archives and find it and click. Read that for the back story.

OK, are you done reading?

The part has not come in. I received an email on the night of the ninth that it had been shipped. There was no tracking number included, so I called this morning to find out where it is. First let me say I am not a bigot. But the woman who answered was everything I dislike about the stereotypical Yankees: harsh nasal voice, unfriendly, and flat out rude. She can't help her voice. Not everyone is blessed with the lovely melodic Southeastern Kentucky twang I have. But just saying hello she told me I was bothering her. I gave my order number and she said,"It hasn't been shipped yet. The blades will be in this week." That pretty well set me off, but I stayed in my sweet Southern Belle mode. I explained I had an email saying it was shipped. She says, "I didn't send it, shipping shouldn't have sent it. We'll ship it when the part comes in." I started to ask her to notify a supervisor about the error of the email, ( if a company has a communication problem someone should know about it). I was quickly told not her problem. "I just answer the phone," she snapped.

It will be shipped this week, maybe.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Friday I continued being domestic. I ironed nine shirts and one blouse. I also went to the grocery that morning. I think those 2 things put me pretty close to saint hood. Lucky's the Friday before Thanksgiving is awful. The only thing worse than that is Costco the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Yeah, Marty and I did that today. I may hit Safeway on Wednesday just to really get that I hate crowds feeling.

Friday night we had play tickets. We met friends for dinner and visited with them. Then the four of us went to the play. It was a disappointment. Not well done, sound was poor, singing was off key, acting was not great. It just not up to what the Willows usually does.

Saturday we had the big A TEAM dinner in honor of the Gramms being in town for the week. We started with appetizers at one house and then the rest of the meal at another house. We had wonderful food and great fellowship. And we had party favors. Lovely Hank and Thom had pictures of each couple on a stand and the outline of us had been laser cut. Great party favors. We ate too much and drank too much. And we laughed and laughed and then we cried some too. Don't worry about us driving home liquored up. We slept on Nancy and Lew's couch for a while, and then slipped out about midnight and came home. We don't do the drinking and driving thing.
Today we had plans to start getting ready for the holidays. Marty was going to put up the outside lights, and drag out all the boxes of decorations. That didn't happen. We slept real late, loved that. We just weren't in the mood to start the Christmas stuff. We will regret that since we have no free weekends between now and Christmas. Oh, well. It will happen some way. Marty worked in the yard some, while I did even more laundry. We checked our friends' house in San Leandro and then did Costco.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Several friends have written me and said they like my Blog. Thank you, thank you very much. But they don't know how to make comments on the blog. They are Blog virgins. I have some directions that I think will work.

Basically you click until it tells you it works. After you post, the comment comes to me and I decide if it should be posted or not. I have not deleted anyone, yet. I want to protect the site from weirdos. Some strange people do come out of the wood work. I don't want filth on my site, I am protecting you, my readers from icky people. You are allowed to disagree with me. In fact one poster has. I just want to keep it clean.

To reply to the blog, click on comments, then write your note in the comment box, select a profile, most people just click name and fill in your name, ( some of the pull downs I have no idea what they are, I must ask Erik ) unless you have a Google account then click on the google, ignore the URL unless you have a website, if so put in the link, click on post, then type in the word verification and then finish. It is a little complicated, but really not that hard. The second and third time will be easier.

Also at the end of the post it says interesting, funny, cool. You just click on one and it ups the count. It really isn't hard. Just try it.

I do want comments. They help me know what to write. It also feeds my ego. I check about a hundred times a day to see if anyone commented or checked a box. I need the feedback to be sure you like me. So comment, agree or disagree, just read me and comment. Send the link to your friends, and tell them to comment. You all can tear the post apart. Just let me know you are there. Of course if you are harsh I will cry. But at least you are reading me.

Also, check out the Blogs I follow: drinks, comments on life, and mysteries; fun, interesting and all about mysteries.


Thursdays I usually stay home and act like a housewife. That word act is important to remember. I am not a very domestic animal. Well, I do like to cook. But someone must do certain things, such as clean toilets, wash and iron clothes, clean house. It seems that would be me. Marty could do most of that much better than I do. (I am much better at laundry. He doesn't understand hot water and colors.) But I don't want to hold down a paying job, so he does that for me and I take care of the inside of the home.

Today was a mixture of domestic bliss. I washed several loads of laundry, starched and sprinkled shirts to iron tomorrow, put up some laundry, did Christmas shopping, worked on our Christmas letter, made a huge pot of chili, and took out the recyclables.

The Christmas shopping was great. I love online shopping. No crowds, no driving there, just walk into my office and start clicking. I found the perfect gift for Marty, which I can not share. He reads this blog also. But trust me, even though we are doing the frugal Christmas, it is great. It took a while to comparison shop on line. You have to find the best price, then lowest shipping, tax or no tax, and then remember which site is best overall. He will love it and he doesn't even know he wants this. Well, maybe he does. : )

I love writing our Christmas letter. Every year it gets a little longer, which means it could be boring or worse bragging. We get those bragging letters sometimes, Sally Mae is prom queen, Johnny is president of the class. I won the lottery, you didn't. But that is OK. The worse are the letters that tell all the doom and destruction that has happened in a 500 mile radius. Every death down to fifth cousins will be listed. They will share the stories of the plague of locusts that wiped out their petunias, and that their fan belt broke after 100.000 miles. Those letters do sorta make us laugh.

We try to just list our year's happenings. Marty and I do a lot of things, we are active seniors. And I like to share our life with friends all over the country. Yes, sometimes we brag too. You have to toot your own horn sometimes. So forgive us. I write lots of stuff, put in beginning sentences about Marty then he adds details, and finally he formats and edits it. So maybe it isn't too long. This year he has a lot to edit. I have already filled the page and he still needs to flesh out his stuff. Maybe we will have two pages this year.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Today was a slow day for marriages. I only performed 5 or 6 ceremonies. I always lose count after the first couple of weddings. I think I will know, but the licences start piling up at the 3:00 rush and I just do weddings.

Couples must be clocked in the computer by 4:00 in order for us to perform a ceremony. Most of them seem to show up about 3:00. We figure they work through lunch and then take off early and come get married. That's fine, but some days we have weddings to do until 5:00 or 5:30. The building closes at 4:30 and lots of staff go home then. Some days when I finish there is just me, the sheriff''s deputy and the marriage clerk left in the building. Once I came down and the lights were off where my belongings were.

But as I said, a slow day today. Only one really stands out. A couple who were from Afghanistan. She had lived here a while and was a citizen, and he had just arrived recently from Afghanistan. They were rushing to do a civil marriage for immigration purposes. They had done a cultural wedding in Afghanistan. They had lots of pictures taken, still and video, to prove the wedding. They were in love, but it just didn't have much joy. It was for legal purposes. I hope the wedding in Afghanistan was cheerier. California has an optional box to check bride or groom,( That was the result of a lawsuit. Don't even ask.) They were afraid to check it because Immigration might make something of it. I don't know what, but they were afraid. That seemed sad to me to be afraid of the government. Upset by, mad at it, but not afraid of them in my personal life. We natural born Americans have no idea how free we really are.


When I wrote about friends, I included my book group. We meet every Tuesday night for at least 2 hours and discuss a mystery book. We take breaks during the summer, around mystery conventions, and religious and other holidays. We only read mysteries, every kind you can think of. Spy, thrillers, cozies, classics, police procedural, capers, books that are classified as novels but are mysteries, and mysteries that really aren't. But only mysteries. Until last night.

I was over my Monday bug and went to book. It was our last meeting until after the holidays. And it was a pot luck. No way was I missing food. Yes, queasy is gone. But the book we read is not a mystery. Never said it was, never tried to be. It is just a lovely book. Some had read it already, we all had heard of it. It has had incredible reviews. We decided we wanted to read it and discuss together and we did.

Even if you only read a book a decade, or horrors of horrors never read a book, you MUST read this book: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. The is written as letters between people on Guernsey, Juliet an author and her friends just after WWII. Guernsey was occupied by the Germans for several years. The book tells of their surviving the war, hence potato peel pie. It is an amazing book. I knew it was fiction, but I kept reading it and feeling it as real letters. The writing is superb, the characters are true, time and space spot on. I laughed and cried.

In the San Francisco area the book is #2 on the Best Seller's list. And if you want to borrow it from the library, prepare to wait. The line is about 40 deep, at 3 weeks a person.

The web site for the book gives you flavor of the book. And the history of the authors. Ms. Shaffer did not live to see the success of her book.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Today is the long volunteer day. Except today was different. I got up, got dressed, read the two papers, I was close to leaving, and thought yuck. I didn't feel awful, I didn't feel good, I was queasy. So I called the school and the county office and said I won't be in. I felt so bad because I was letting them down. But it was the best thing to do.

By 8:30 I had removed my jewelery, changed clothes, and I was on the couch asleep. I woke up at 12:30 and my husband fixed me a bowl of soup. By 2:30 I was back on the couch and asleep. When I woke up, it was dark and I didn't know where I was at first. It was 5:30 and man does it get dark early now. My Mother says she could always tell when I was sick, I would curl up and sleep. I felt better after my all day nap. I fixed supper and I have watched TV. I am now officially worn out. Shortly I will be off to bed for another 6 or 7 hours of sleep.

I love the word queasy. When I wrote that down, you all knew exactly how I felt. If I had said I didn't feel good, you would have wondered what's up. Queasy, you know. It is a great word, you feel exactly like it sounds. I checked my Webster's Dictionary and found lots of good definitions.

hangover ( not this time); affected with nausea ( oh yeah); squeamish ( not this time); uncomfortable ( yes); difficult to please ( always); hazardous ( you have to ask Marty on that one).

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Sunday afternoon we had a potluck lunch at a friend's house. It was in honor of the missing A TEAM members from New Orleans. The A TEAM and some of the neighbors got together to welcome them home, if just for the week. There were seventeen of us gathered together. Neighbors still on the hill, Marty and I who have moved down the hill, and the guests of honor, the Gramms. A good group who always has a good time together.

Lots of great food, boy can that neighborhood cook. Every time we get together I tell them we need to do a cookbook. Dave and Nancy brought guacamole, we all make guacamole. But theirs had a crisper/fresher taste. Maybe it was the lime juice and lime zest. Most people just use lemon juice and no zest. It was soooo good. Then Lorraine brought a curry rice salad. And the base of this great dish you ask, lowly Rice a Roni. It was fantastic. We stole the bowl and put it on our table. Everyone brought great food. And the wine was great. We cried, we laughed, we made plans for future events in New Orleans.

It was a lovely day. And we were home by 6:00. It felt like midnight. Dark, dark, dark. I really hate the short winter days. I know it is still technically autumn, but dark at 5:20 makes it winter to me.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


The wind: do you like it, hate it, are you scared of it?

I am sometimes just a little afraid of the wind. We live in the Oakland Hills, wind is not our friend. Especially when it is the Diablo winds coming from inland and not from the sea. This wind is strong, hot, and dry. You can feel your skin drying out, your mouth is dry, and you feel anxious. And this is when we get the raging fires. So we are all a little nervous with the winds. The last two nights I have often waked up from the noise of the wind and from the sounds of the house. Things pop that don't usually, branches hit the house, and the security light keeps coming on. Is someone on the driveway, is it an animal, or did the wind blow things in front of the security beam?

Sometimes the wind is great. At night when the house is warm and we have the windows open, a gentle breeze will fill the house with cool fresh air. Even though it is summer time, we sleep under a down comforter, the breeze blowing over the bed.

The wind blowing long grass on a hillside looks like the sea. Petals blowing from fruit trees in a gentle wind looks like a snow storm. But it is spring in California.

The wind blowing leaves in the fall is good. The sounds of the dry leaves, the leaves swirling in the air, the color of the leaves piled against the fence, that is fall.

My favorite wind, Randy Strong's glass art. Check out the gallery and look at the Wind series and the Sonoma Breeze art.

Wind is usually good. Wind is scary right now. We are the lucky ones this time in Northern California, no fires, yet. Southern California has the fires this time. Our crews are there fighting fires.

The wind is calm right now. Hopefully the front has moved through and we will go back to off shore breezes. Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Tonight we met our son, Erik, for dinner. As we were talking he asked why was the garage full on Wednesday. And then he said I had to tell you, my readers why. There are some readers out there I hope.

I was told there was a huge meeting in our building with lots of outside people. They filled up the MY garage.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I had a lovely lunch with Kirsten today. She is a college professor. She also is a lovely young wife/mother, highly intelligent, and funny as hell. I am old enough to be her mother. But we are friends in the truest way.

I thought about friendship as I was cleaning windows this afternoon. Hey, I do domestic stuff sometimes. I have waited for the window washing fairy to show for months. She is so lazy she skipped our house. So I cleaned windows in two rooms ( that would be the back of the house, all big windows ) and thought deep thoughts as I worked.

Friends not acquaintances but friends, why do you click? They say if you have one true friend in your life you are lucky. Why does this young woman like me? Why do I like her? She is so highly educated, knows stuff I will never know, nor have the vocabulary to understand. I love her energy; I love to hear her passion for her field of literature; and I love hearing about her everyday life. The first time we met, we knew we needed to get to know each other. A blessing.

I have been blessed with many friends. These are not talk on the phone everyday, go to lunch every week, these are caring, be there when needed friends. I may not see them often, some live thousands of miles away, but they are friends.

One dear friend gave me such a wonderful gift years ago. It was an awful time in our life. We were downsizing, leaving the perfect dream house, before we had to. We saw the stock market tanking and knew it was downsize or die at 65. That wasn't an option. My friend Janet brought wine and sat and cried with me for an afternoon. That is a friend.

Our special group of eight friends began as a cooking group. We now are as close as family. We call ourselves THE A TEAM. We are obnoxious when we are together. We are loud, loud, and louder. We cook, eat, drink, and laugh. And wonderful Thom takes hundreds of pictures for memories. We live less than 10 minutes apart.(except for the couple who accepted a transfer and left us) But we remaining six see each other maybe once a quarter. We are all busy and email to keep in touch. The eight of us have been through death, loss of income, job changes, scary health issues, a transfer out of state, and I married the deeply in love Hank and Thom. These are friends who we love and they are open with their love for us. We are there when needed. We are there to have food with. We are there. The couple who moved away is sorely missed. And we keep in touch with phone calls and emails. And blessings of all blessings they will be here Sunday to visit us and other friends. The A TEAM can hardly wait for them.

Why do we do things for some people that we would refuse others? We used to drive from Oakland to San Francisco to feed and walk our friends' dog. They didn't trust anyone else to care for him. I would sit in the car and go why are we doing this? Are we nuts? We left our dog alone to go take care of their dog. Of course we did that, they are our friends. I loved my dog, I totally understood them not trusting others to care for Benito. But on the balance scale of friendship they win. When we did our remodel from hell, they offered their second home( 15 minutes from our home) rent free. We lived there for nearly 6 months. We could not have paid rent and our mortgage for that long. That was a gift.

Sometimes group friends are the best. I belong to a book club. We bicker, we totally disagree sometimes on whether the book is good or not, we offer reasons for the book being boring to me exciting to someone else. But it is just discussion. We are a tight group. If there is trouble, we are there for each other. I have had some health issues over the years and they were a support group. Last winter I was sent to a surgeon with a cancer scare. The group was on the phone with me planning who would be taking me to the doctor, giving me advice, who would be there to hold my hand if my husband couldn't go with me. Thankfully, I didn't need the help, it was a false alarm. But they were there.

These are some of my friends. I am so lucky. Friends, a gift from God. Friends, what makes life worth living. Friends, so many types, so many wonderful people. Thank you dear friends, mentioned and unmentioned.


I just checked my spam. There I was again, two notes from me. ( I was checking that some stuff would be sent) and a couple of more important email newsletter in spam. All of these addresses are in my address book. Yahoo is going nuts again.

Oh and the exclamation marks I use. My son said something to the effect that he understood that crazy people used lots of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Santa will remember that crack.

I heard it was immature blond cheerleaders that liked !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am not crazy, nor blond at this time, or a cheerleader. I am immature.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Today was my day to marry couples. I got to the parking garage, window down, blinker on and the orange sign was out, GARAGE IS FULL. The security guard was standing in the lane so you couldn't sneak in. What was going on? It is never full at that time of day. So I begin driving and looking for a parking place. I lucked out, a pull in spot, no meter, and only a block and a half away from the county building. Not bad. Of course I could only park there for two hours and then would need to move the car.

I go in and wait for the licenses to start piling up. Nothing. I read, a boring book, for nearly two hours. Time to move my car. I grab the key and my wallet, leaving my purse, phone, belongings in the desk. I drive around to the garage. OH NO, still an ugly orange sign out with the security guard standing there. What is going on? I start driving, nothing for blocks. There are other lots but they are raping the public. Double my garage costs. So I think I will just call the office tell them there is no parking and go home. Oops, I left my purse and belongings in the desk. I have to park in order to get them.

Finally an open spot, but I have to parallel park on the left side of the street. I have parallel parked maybe 5 times since my driving test in 1959. That is what parking garages, head in spaces, and husbands are for. I did it, I parked that big SUV on the first try. And there was 28 minutes on the meter. I am one lucky gal.

Back to the marrying. I did 5 weddings in the next hour and 25 minutes. They were all love matches. You could just feel the love.

One couple just radiated love. Adoring looks and tenderness. But they didn't have a witness. They lucked out with a woman in the lobby, she would be their witness. They had no idea how lucky they were. We got upstairs and I asked if they had a camera or a camera phone. No camera, but they had the phone. Cristine, the witness says,"I have a camera." And she goes into her backpack and pulls out an expensive digital camera. She took all kinds of pictures, from all angles. She really looked like a pro. And the pictures will be emailed to the couple tonight. What a good Samaritan.

One wedding couple were babies, he was 18, she was 19. I hate those. So young, they should be dating, going to college, having fun, not suddenly becoming grown ups. It was a beautiful wedding. The bride had on a white wedding dress with a full train. The dress had seed pearls all over it, lovely. Her little sister was in a long white dress and stood up with her. The groom had on a black suit and his brother in a black suit stood up with him. There were corsages, bouquets, boutonnieres, lots of family, cameras everywhere. This was a happy occasion.

And I guess that is all anyone can wish for, a happy love filled room.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Mondays always seem long. I volunteer with my first graders, rush home at noon to eat and change clothes, and then off to the county building to marry couples. I leave at 8:40 and get home any time between 4:30,and 6:00. I know other people have as long or longer days, but they are getting paid. I am Volunteering. That means every Monday I go into the hole $7:00 just for parking.

Today was hard. My lovely teacher Amy was out today and we had a sub. She is a good sub, she follows what the teacher puts down, she tries to keep discipline, and she is teaching, not just showing up. But this class is hard, they have problems, they are immature, they are trouble. Even Amy somtimes has a hard time keeping control. There was talking out, chairs falling over with children in them ( that became a game), and there was the howler.

We had a child who was upset his Mother didn't hug and kiss him goodbye this morning. So he cried, whined, howled, tried to throw up, sobbed, carried on loudly for the entire morning. I longed for the days when you could hit students and give them a reason to cry. He was sent back to the room from Music class, they couldn't sing if he howled. The principal took him to the office to try to calm him down. He liked that too much and wanted to spend the day there. So he howled and carried on some more, no tears just disruption of the class. I took him back to the office and they refused him. We sat him in the hall and left him. He came back sniffling and acting put up on, again I just wanted to smack him up the side of the head. He finally calmed down but he had pretty much ruined the morning for me, the sub, and the rest of the class.

Then I went to marry couples. This is my happy volunteer job. I love to marry couples. But as I said, I have no endings. Lots of stories today, who knows how they turn out. My first couple were gigglers. They were so nervous, the bride giggled, then started laughing out loud, then the groom lost it, and then the witnesses were laughing. After they were married, the bride cried.

I took the license into the marriage desk to have it recorded. The clerk was on the phone. She was trying to find out when a couple was married. Their license said they were married on 11-11-08 which would be tomorrow. The bride said they were married on 10-11-08, (the license was not sold to them until 10-30-08) then she said on 11-05-08. Can you say doesn't make sense? The couple later came in and it still didn't make sense, the minister had put tomorrow as the wedding date. They couldn't speak much English and we couldn't get a straight story out of them. So a license amendment was mailed to the minister asking when the wedding was. This one I might get an ending.

I did a Hispanic wedding and the groom's first name was Williams, not a Hispanic name. I called the name and 2 men answered. I then went to the brides name and eliminated one couple. Two wedding later I get the license and there is the name Williams again. A Hispanic couple, but not a Hispanic name. Neither of these men were born in the USA, but had very American names. Why?

The last wedding of the day was fun. The groom had on a tee shirt that said The Groom, Dead man walking. The Bride's tee shirt said The Bride aka the executioner. There were four men with them. They were very polite and called me mam. I am 90% sure they were military, the military are always so polite and say mam. But I didn't ask, not my right. This was a joyous wedding, The guests were thrilled as was the couple. It was a nice way to end the day.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


In 1967 we were married. We lived in Kentucky across the river from Cincinnati. I was a teacher making a smidgen over $3000 and Marty was a CHEVRON sales rep making around $5000. Even back then, that was not a whole lot of money. I was very frugal, some might say tight. Marty wasn't. He knew what we could afford, or could save up for. He would not accept junk, only good brands. If it wasn't what he wanted, we did without until we had the money. Usually.

He came home one night with a 10 speed blender, an Osterizer. This was the Cadillac of blenders. It was maybe even a Mercedes. The blender cost $50.00. I had a melt down. That was a huge amount of money to spend without discussing it. Plus why did we need a blender? Where would we put it? Our apartment kitchen was so tiny we kept dishes and pots in another room.

We still have that blender. All we have done to it is replace the gasket every 10 years or so. I made daiquiris in it, sauces, baby food, crushed ice, all kinds of things. It was a great investment: metal parts, glass jar, made to last. But alas today tragedy. While getting a crock pot out of the closet, the blender jar was bumped and it fell! It broke.

This blender is so old that the model number is only three digits. Everything today is four digits or more. I found a place online that sells replacement kits. The cost is $24.99 for jar, blades, lid, gasket. A very reasonable price. We figured the blades might be a little dull after 41 years, so let's go for the kit. The replacement jar should fit most Osterizers. We shall see.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I just checked my spam box on Yahoo. I often find something there that is not spam. I had done a test email to myself and there was my note to me. I am spam. It was bad enough when beloved husband, Marty (by accident he said) blocked my email and it went into spam. But I now have refused myself.

How are you cutting back on spending?

The economy is in the toilet. Retirees are running scared. You have worked all your life to get to a comfortable life style level and it is now gone. Banks are failing. Homes are being lost. Sounds like a report on the 1930s. But it is now.

So, what are you doing to cut spending? Christmas is coming and we all go a little nuts then. We all need ideas. No matter how much or how little you have, your life style has been effected. Well maybe really rich people haven't noticed the problem. Although P. Diddy gave up his private plane.

I have listed some of the things we are doing to cut back. I have gone back to ironing shirts and blouses instead of taking them to the cleaners. We don't eat out as much as we did before. (hate that one) Car trips are planned. After I come back from the marrying couples in downtown Oakland, I go to the grocery and the library on the way home. I shop more at Ross and much, much less at my favorite Boutique. I am looking at the 2 for one items at the grocery. And I think much harder before buying anything. No impulse shopping allowed.

We are putting on our North Face shirts and keeping the temperature low in the house. We would turn out more lights, but we use fluorescent bulbs. If you are coming back within 2o minutes it is cheaper to leave them on. We watch more TV and go to fewer movies. I use the Senior Citizen discount everywhere I can. I now shop at Ross only on Tuesdays, senior discount day. I am giving more time and unfortunately less money to non profit organizations. We cut back on the number of plays we will see, We only bought tickets for two instead of the usual four seats. We are not renewing subscriptions to some newspaper and magazines. We can read them on line. None of these is a huge item, but they will add up. The huge money leak is Christmas.

Christmas we have several guest from out of state coming. In the past there has been an orgy of gifts. Not this year. We told them to be creative to find items that are inexpensive. We all want to unwrap lots of goodies, so this has been a challenge. To help we have a 9 page survey we all filled out. Some of my guests have never met, and I haven't met one of them.

This survey helped us get to know each other and see what we wanted for Christmas. We listed colors in our home; needs for our cars; favorite movies/TV shows; hobbies; vegan, vegetarian, or meat eaters, and one of us is all of these. There were lots of silly answers and that too told us who people are.

I took my seven surveys and I spent a good part of yesterday organizing the list, and deciding what to look for. Then I went shopping online. is my best friend. I paid only $1.00 shipping and had six items shipped. I found things on the lists, they are not tacky, and I saved money. I did not have to burn gas and I could do my laundry at the same time. I have more to buy and will do most of it online also.

So what are you doing to spend less? Leave a comment and share your ideas.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Last week we took our trip to San Diego. We left on Thursday and came home on Monday. If you check ROAD TRIP!!!!!!!!!! you will find out about the trip down. It was a very relaxing vacation.

We stayed with friends Richard and Luis. They own a lovely home on the top of a mountain in Mt. Helix. We ate out a couple of times, Richard cooked, I cooked once, and there were a couple of meals with Luis' family. One family meal at his Mother's and one cookout at his home.

We ate one killer meal at Inn at the Park

When the four of us eat together, it is like family. We taste food from each other's plates. We share and discuss the food. Not that night. If you keep clicking on the menu you will see the food we had. I had the gazpacho and the lobster and peach tower, which was drizzled with a bourbon vinaigrette. The others had mussels, lamb stew, fish, short ribs, scallops. They shared tastes. I told them I would stab them with my fork if they came near my plate. The donut peaches with the vinaigrette were like eating candy. The lobster was good, but oh my word the peaches. The plate was beautiful, tasted like heaven, and I have no regrets for hogging it all.

We ate lunch out the next day and it was on the water. Lovely view and nice food. Nothing to stand out though.

Halloween we went to Luis' Mother to see all the grandchildren dressed up. But the dogs were dressed up too, and Moms and Dads. Wonderful costumes. After they trick or treated we had supper there. Luis' Dad cooked an Aztec dish ( they are of Aztec ancestry). The main ingredient is a grain called Huizontles also called Quelites. This is a stalk of a wheat like grain. Several stalks are tied together, dipped in a batter with cheese and steamed in a sauce used for chile rellenos. To eat this is a feat in itself. You pick up a stalk and either pull the grain off with your fingers or teeth. A fork won't do it, trust me I tried. I thought eating ribs was messy, this is way messier. I went through at least a dozen napkins. I had stuff on my face, on my hands, and down my arms. No way can you be neat and eat this. But truly worth the drip. A great meal.

Sunday was the family get together. There were about 30 of us. It was your basic hamburger cookout with Mexican touches. Luis made a shrimp cerviche, I made potato salad. Early on we had Bloody Marys and a lovely Mexican drink, Micheletos. Micheletos are basically Bloody Marys made with beer. And they are very nice. I can't wait to go to a Mexican restaurant and order one. Of course I will have to take my sheet with the name written down in order to pronounce it.

We had such a relaxing time. We slept late, ate well, and enjoyed being with our good friends. We had a great time.


Damn! The most liberal state in the country just took a civil right away from a minority. And the lawsuits have begun. Damn.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We have a new President elect. Who ever you voted for and however you feel, at least the 2 years of campaigning is over. No more robo calls or 100's of ads in the mail and on TV. I was very impressed with the grace and class of McCain's concession speech. It was the first time I could see what his followers saw in him. We have a new leader and now can move forward together as both Obama and McCain asked.

But we still are waiting on Prop 8. It is too close to call. So we wait.

As a side note: The computer is fixed. Lovely Marty kept on it and suddenly I had wireless again. I am really happy and have quit muttering curse words at the machine. We don't know why the modem wouldn't recognize my computer nor why it now does. But I am out of the foyer and can work in any room of the house.

Election Day 3:58PM

The polls are still open all over the country. They will start closing in the next few minutes. And then the news people will start driving me crazy. The experts will tell us who is winning or has won; but we are still voting on the West Coast, in Alaska, and in Hawaii. Will people still vote if there is a called winner? They didn't when Reagan won so early. We have so many propositions in the Bay Area that needed to be voted on by all. San Francisco has 22 to vote on. In Oakland we had 17 to vote on plus all the people. Please, please may people continue to vote. Ignore the news and take care of the local issues.

I am still worried. I said I wasn't political, I find I am.

Monday, November 3, 2008


There will be two themes for this post tonight. First I must vent. We arrived home safely from our trip. (That will be another post. ) I wanted to write about my thoughts on the election. I turned on my laptop and the dumb thing didn't and still doesn't recognize our wireless system. Every time we travel and change settings to pick up wireless elsewhere, my computer goes wacko. My husband has worked over an hour trying to reset all those numbers and letters, and passwords. Nothing. So I am hardwired into the modem in the foyer, two extension cords are connected to get me power from the kitchen, the computer is on a card table and I am sitting on a kitchen chair. Foul nasty words!!! I hate it when this machine gets me so ticked off. I have stomped around saying really ugly words. And I am still mad. I truly hate machines that don't behave. Oh my husband's laptop you ask? As soon as he turned it on it switched back to our wireless. Not Fair!

Now to the important stuff.

Tuesday is election day. Whatever your beliefs go vote. You can't keep a democracy by sitting home. And if you don't vote, don't complain about the country and politicians in front of me. Yes, as an American you have the right to free speech, but just not in front of me. I have the right to not want to hear you.

I am extremely worried about one issue Tuesday. Will the civil rights of Gays be taken away from them? Will the bigots win? If this California constitutional issue passes, when does it take effect? Will it erase the same sex marriages already done? Will Tuesday be the last time I can marry same sex couples? If someone has a license that is valid for the next 90 days, can we still marry them after Tuesday if Prop 8 wins? We have heard a lot of opinions on these questions, but no one seems to have the legal answers. I keep hoping these questions won't come up because Prop 8 will be defeated. I am hoping.