Friday, March 28, 2014

My New Friends

I wrote about giving up my favorite shoes, Sperry Top-Siders.  I thought you all would like to see my new friends.

They are a lighter shade and fit my now thinner foot.  And they have sparkles.

I love my gold and brown rawhide ties. There are gold sparkles on the sides and the tongue.  A girl has to have her bling.

They are beginning life with me in a variety of places.  They have been to the Kaiser lab, to the Marriage Factory, and out to eat.  May they have as great a life as the recycled Top-Siders. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Testing the recipe for Salt and Pepper Shrimp

For the first time in a while we had a recipe to test for Cook's Illustrated.  They have sent other recipes several times but they were mostly food I can't eat anymore.  This one isn't real healthy either.  But we made it.  Or I should say Marty tested it.   The recipe is for Salt and Pepper Shrimp.  I love shrimp, but I never order this dish because you are supposed to eat the "crispy" shells.  No thank you.

This is most of the ingredients.  The shrimp is thawing in the sink.

Marty mashing up garlic and other good things.


Coating the shrimp with corn starch so it will be "crispy".

I am sure you have heard the expression, boiling in oil.   

Shrimp will be served on shredded lettuce.

Sliced jalapenos coated with corn starch all fried and ready to be taken out.

Shrimp and jalapenos combined with fresh ginger, garlic and other goodness.

Marty flipping the contents of the skillet.

Platter of the finished dish, ready for dinner.

I put on my big girl panties and ate some of the shrimp with shells.  Still didn't like the shells, and I ended up peeling most of the shrimp.  The flavors were good, but this is a very very greasy dish. Even though every thing fried was drained on paper towels, there was still a pool of oil.  

We decided we didn't like it well enough to ever make again.  There is a lot of prep with any Chinese dish, but this was not worth the effort.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Good bye old friends

They have been with me for over 25 years.  Together we have cleaned house; gone to parties; worked the AIDS Walk; flown to Kentucky, Hawaii, Vegas, San Diego; walked miles, gone to the ER; volunteered with first graders . . .

I love these Sperry Top Siders.  I wore them all the time, they cleaned up good for over 20 years. They lately began to fall apart, seams broke, rawhide replaced, soles paper thin, and the insides worn out.  Tonight they go out to the recycle bin.   Beside being pretty much worn out, after my weight loss they won't stay on my feet.  My old friends have become dangerous for me to wear.  

Good bye good and faithful friends.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Japanese Gardens again.

We first visited the Japanese Gardens in Hayward Thanksgiving 2013.  We went back in January 2014 to see the seasonal changes, and last week we returned again.  I have pictures from all three visits to show the beauty of the gardens and why the garden pulls us back over and over.

This is from November 2013.  Marty and my brother are just entering the gardens.  The fall colors are the stars.

This was taken January 2014.  Notice the Fall colors are gone and there are trees budding out in blooms and tender spring green leaves.

This picture and the rest below were taken March 2014.  More trees are green and or have blooms.
One of the many types of Maple trees in the gardens.
Another Maple beside a Tulip Tree
A Tulip Tree with buds, new blooms, dying blooms, and green leaves

 Cherry blossoms

Maple tree with seed pods developing

This Maple tree starts with pinky purple leaves which turn green later.

Our favorite Maple tree, maybe the favorite of all trees in the garden.

Outside the gardens as we walked to the car.

We did not do the whole park this time.  We arrived around 4:00 and walked for 30 minutes.  Then two park rangers told us the park was closed.  Most parks around the Bay Area close at sundown. So we were a little surprised.  They had cleared the part of the park we hadn't walked in, so we had to backtrack.  With the rangers behind us and other park walkers.  Now what we found funny was . . .

The truck in front of Marty is the Rangers' truck.  And it was running.  I consider that a huge waste of our tax money.  After they got in the truck they sat there until we all left.  Just Wrong!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Two Days of First Graders

Last week Ms. H was at a meeting, so we had a sub, D.  I have worked with D many times through the years and think she is an excellent sub.  Ms. H left great lesson plans and the morning went well except for library.  I checked in the books from the previous week.  Then I checked out the books they had picked out.  Well, things did not go as planned.

One of the books showed up on another child's name.  I struggled with the computer, not using the words I use at home.  Finally the book was checked out to the correct child.  I scanned the next child and the message came up Patron not found.  But the child's name came up with all her information.  I rescanned, put her name in manually, closed the window and reopened it.  Nothing worked.  The little girl was nearly in tears, she wanted her book.  I told her to go back to class, I would fix the problem.  I fixed it old school.  I wrote her name down, the name of the book, and the bar code number.  I left that clipped to our class bar code page and took the book back to her.

So today, problems from last week popped up.  I scanned two names and the computer said they had books overdue.  I knew that was wrong, I remembered checking those books in last week.  With the help of another volunteer and a teacher, we found the books on the shelf.  I rechecked them in, and then checked out the books they wanted this week.

Last week the teacher who every spring sets up our incubator and eggs for us, brought in a bonus.  Baby rabbits in a box lined with the fur Mama rabbit had pulled out for her nest.  I didn't get to take a picture last week.  But today the bunnies came back.

               Two bunnies visited us, while their brothers and sisters were in other classrooms.

                                             I told Ms. H that they looked like Ying and Yang.

  They are cute little bunnies.  Ms. H held the black bunny as each child petted the bunny.  The children were very careful using two fingers and rubbing the fur the way it grows.

The little bunnies made me forget the problems of the "lost" checked in books.  They made us all smile and laugh.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Just wanted to give an update to my health.  After the ER visit in February, the doctors and I have struggled to keep my blood pressure down and my heart beat up.  Yeah, the A-Fib lady has been running a pulse of 40 - 43.  I guess that is better than 190, but still not safe.

They have tweaked the meds several times and finally the last 4 days I have been in a safe range for pulse and blood pressure. 

Bigger news today, I have lost 70 pounds!  I am getting close to my goal, at least another 15 pounds to go.  We will see how droopy my skin will be, and how gaunt I look.  Vanity will decide what I lose from now on.

I am shopping at a Cancer Society thrift shop.  No point in spending big bucks on clothes I won't wear very long.  Yesterday I bought 2 pairs of jeans one pair brand new and the other gently used for less than $7.00.  They have pretty stuff, great brands.  Even after I hit my goal weight I will continue to shop there.  Pretty stuff is the main thing, not where it was bought.

I thank all of you for the support, love, and prayers.

Friday, March 14, 2014

I know, I know, no posts this week

The time change whipped my butt.  I am not a morning person, and here we are getting up earlier.  I have drug myself to the Marriage Factory and to Kaiser School.  But not with a smile nor with any energy.   

The time change doesn't just make us get up at the wrong time.  It messes with our eating habits, the clock says it is supper time, the stomach goes not yet, way too early.  And what do we do about medications? It says take at 10:00 A.M.  So do I take it a little after 9:00 and then a little later each day until I make it to the fake 10:00?  Or do I just go for it because the clocks says 10:00? 

The police tell us there are more accidents the first week or so of the time change.  People are so tired they don't react as quickly as needed.  A dangerous week to be on the road.

I think the time change has messed up my sleep cycle and I am not sleeping well.  So that adds to the tiredness.  24 hours in the day, why can't we just stay the same year round?

The poor people with small children are now changing nap times, meals, going to bed, getting up.  It is a nightmare.  Children don't adapt well to change. 

Farmers say every year cows don't know what time it is.  The cows just know they need to be milked.

I can't figure all this out.  I am just too tired.  I hate the time change.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Did I pronounce your name right?

The scariest thing about doing weddings is pronouncing names.  We have couples from all over the world.  And if they are American their heritage gives them difficult names to pronounce.  There is always one couple I struggle with a name.  Monday, eight couples, maybe 2 names I had confidence in saying.  We had Hispanic, Portuguese, Chinese, Israelite, and Vietnamese couples.  A true United Nations of weddings.  Before I went out for the couple several of the clerks and I would decide how to pronounce the names.  Sometimes we were right, sometimes not.

My first couple had a confidential license.  The bride was mortified to be marrying in the county building.  Plus she was embarrassed by what she was wearing, just regular clothes.  She looked cute, not dressed up but cute.  Bad me thought if embarrassed why marry today, you have 90 days to find someone to marry you in a "pretty" place.  Also you knew you getting married today, why didn't you dress up?  But sweet me told her how nice she looked and it is all about the love not the outfit.

I am sure the Yemen wedding was arranged. Neither the bride nor the groom were thrilled to be there.  The fathers were doing all the talking and answering questions.  You know me, I ignored them and kept talking to the poor couple.

One groom's father was the only witness.  The groom gave him a cell phone to take pictures.  The poor man had never taken pictures before and none were in focus.  So we restaged the ceremony and I took pictures.  Yes cell phones have great cameras now, but people let the non tech person practice before the wedding.

Only one bride stands out in the fashion department.  It was a cool day for us.  The bride wore an elegant light gray coat.  There was no collar, cuffs, or buttons showing.  It was very straight and hung to just above her knees.  Her dress was really interesting  From a distance it looked as if it were threads spaced horizontally 1/2 inch apart.  That was an illusion.  There were different sizes threads in the design in varying cream shades.  The dress was lined from the bust to the knees.  Again a very elegant look.

Except for the arranged marriage there was love in the room.  Hugs, kisses, just standing and holding each other after they were pronounced married.  Lots of happiness.  May it continue. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Stuffy Day

Stuffy is a new word to me.  Although any first grader can tell you what it means.  Stuffed animals have been renamed stuffies. From what little research I have done, it looks as if a brand of stuffed animals is Stuffy and it has become a generic word like Kleenex.

Tuesday the Kaiser first graders brought their favorite stuffies.  Most of the day's work used stuffies: creative writing, handwriting, scientific observation, math.

Above you see the IKEA  measures.  One side was inches and the other centimeters.  Tuesday we used centimeters.

 This table measured ears, paws, torsos, and around the toy from head to toe.  The  biggest problem at all tables was holding the measure at the starting point and using the other hand to go around the toy. 

 They had to measure 5 areas, write what was measured and what was the measurement.

After measuring the different parts of the stuffy, they had to write three observations. Such as the ear is bigger than the eye.  The head is bigger than the tail.

Later they had to finish sentences about their stuffy.   My stuffy's  name is                    .   My stuffy eats________________.   My stuffy can _______________.  My stuffy like to __________.
This fierce leopard likes to purr, and it eats candy.  The bear is so well loved, his fur is rubbed smooth.  The bear likes to play tricks.
Some stuffies looked brand new.  Maybe they were a Christmas present, or just a recent gift from a shopping trip.  Others, like the bear in the previous picture and this leopard, have been with their child a long time.  Our little leopard eats deer.  I think it must be the best hunter in the room.  Little leopard no longer has eyes or a nose.  But it is a greatly loved toy.  
Stuffy day was fun, and a great way to teach measurement and other areas.  I told Ms. H if she had let me know, I would have brought in my stuffy.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

New Skills

Tuesday was my day at Kaiser School.  Usually I work with the children, read a story, and go home.  Ms. H asked me to learn a new skill in order to help the children. 

Backstory: Several weeks ago the librarian retired, moved, got a better job, I don't know what.  But she told the children good bye and said next week a new librarian would be there.  Well, Oakland Schools' bigwigs are dragging their feet and haven't hired a replacement.  So a few library volunteers are trying to keep things going.  But they are not there every day.  Children have books that may or may not be checked out or back in.  Their regular library period is not happening. 

A volunteer happened to be there Tuesday, her work schedule had changed.  I was to learn how to check the books in, and then how to check the books out.  I would go down before the children come to the library and check in the books.  Then when they came to the library I would check their books out.

Of course there is a computer involved, password, user name, notebooks with bar codes for each child, and a scanner.  I also know where they hide the scanner when not in use.  I am trusted. 

My scanner.  I practiced checking in books.  There was a huge pile of books stacked up that teachers had returned and no one was there to check them in.  Then I checked out some of them and then checked them back in.  Lots and lots of practice.  I hope I am ready for Tuesday.
Some of the books I checked in.  I don't have to shelf them, thank goodness.  Just put them on a cart for the library volunteers.
With this new skill maybe I can get a job at Costco.  I was pretty fast with the scanner.