Sunday, December 30, 2007

One more day

Anyone know who this artist's name?

2007 is closing out.  The newspapers and TV are picking the ten best or worst or whatever.  It is hardly worth buying the Sunday papers.  

Yesterday I saw a movie that I think I will buy when it comes out on DVD.  I have only purchased three DVDs.  JUNO is the movie and the philosophy that comes out in the teen language brought me to laughter and tears.  Familiar faces playing new characters and doing an excellent job.
New Year's resolutions anyone????

Today I put up shelves in my storage area.  It looks very tidy now.  It will be even better when I sort out the last two boxes of stuff.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dec. 25, 26, 27

Christmas Day:  Here's how it went.  My friend Jeannette came from Davis and we walked to Subway for lunch.  And for exercise.  Then we went to see Atonement.  Intense movie.  

Wednesday, I drove to Davis and Jeannette and I had soup at her house and then walked downtown to see Margo at the Wedding.  I'm still trying to figure that one out.  Oh, on the 24th, while most of Sacramento was shopping, I saw National Treasure: Book of Secrets.  I do like Nicolas Cage.

Today, Paulette and I went to the Folsom Premium Outlets and shopped for four or five hours.  We didn't get to see everything but saw enough and bought enough. 

I must enjoy the weekend and New Year's Eve because I am on call for Jury Duty.  I have to call in on Dec. 31.  Guess I won't be going out of town for a while.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Solstice Sunrise service.  Saturday morning 7:00am, 31 degrees.

Thirty people gathered at the edge of the river to welcome the return of the light.  We shared coffee from Peets in cardboard to-go boxes.  As the coffee cooled we shared warm hugs.  Mist rose off the river as we created a sharing circle.  Our song "Morning Has Broken" hailed the sunrise.  A silent fly-by of geese completed the scene.   We filled a small cafe almost to capacity for breakfast.

As I left the cafe I called Paulette.  Where are you she asked.  I'm on my way to your house. I said.   She said: I was on my way to your house after a stop at the bank, I'll see you at my house. I stopped at Starbucks for a Grande cup of tea and we arrived at her house within minutes of each other.  Paulette's stuff transfered to my car because I have chains and her spider spikes haven't been installed.  There is a 10% chance of snow over the mountain pass to Reno.  

The Johnston home in Reno is active to chaotic.  The Grinch is on TV.  Sterling, doesn't feel well and sleeps in my arms while the dancer, Shae, gets her makeup applied by Robin.  Parents shower, Skyler gets dressed as his pants come from the dryer.  Paulette sneaks her gifts under their tree.  My heart is as full as the new Grinch heart as I observe all of this.

By 3:30pm we arrive at the Del Monte High school parking lot and wait for Robin's parents to join us.  We find our seats.   The recital begins.  The line of twenty to twenty five reindeer skips onto the stage.  In a whisper, Skyler asks where's my sister?  He sees her.  Each reindeer does the step she knows best and some of the others.  They all skip off the stage.  All siblings, parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles are proud.

We drive, in three separate vehicles to the Nuggett Casino and find Rosie's cafe for dinner.  It is about 7:00pm when we return to The Johnston's house.  Shae is excited about her two roses.   She and Skyler are told to get into pajamas.  This accomplished Paulette and I say goodbye and good night.  

We drive home through the magical mountain landscape.  There is enough snow on the mountain to reflect the light of the almost full moon.  Traffic is light and we have an uneventful trip home.   We are at Paulette's house just before eleven.  I am home and getting into bed at 11:30.

Wishing you all the best Holidays of the season.

Friday, December 21, 2007

School's out

Happy Holidays to everyone from Sterling and me.

My last post was rather dreary so here's something different.  Thanks LaDawn for the invitation to visit.  I checked airfare and it would use up too much of my Alaska money for next summer.  I baked some cookies for a group meeting, they didn't eat all of them.  I gave some away and am wearing the last dozen on my hips.  

I'm traveling to Volcano, Ca for a weekend at a gold rush era hotel the end of January.

I mailed gift cards to Denise and her family in Florida.  Since Denise let me know how much her sons look forward to taking their cards to the mall and shopping together I have a different outlook.  

We had some rain and some cold (to us) weather so it seems like winter.  There have been thousands of geese and one foggy morning a cloud of smaller migrating birds. flying over my car in the morning.

I'm no longer cranky.  There is a sunrise solstice service tomorrow and a Christmas Eve service on Monday.  And I'm looking forward to the New Year's Eve Dance.

I mailed a short story to a contest.

Friday, December 7, 2007

per LaDawn's request.

Attention to my blog.
I did answer the list of questions.   Whose psychology/sociology paper am I now a part of?

The first of December I thought I might write a poem a day during December for this blog.  I'm already seven days behind. 

For my friend Joan:  Today is your birthday.  Your are my role model.  You are amazing.  Fifteen years my senior, when you started sprinting to the finish in the Davis Turkey Trot, I could not catch you.  Keep pulling me along.  You do set the bar high.   Your parties are the best and I wish you many, many more birthdays.
 I am spending a lot of time practicing for the Winter Showcase at the dance studio.  I am part of The Girlfriends.  We are dancing a cha cha show piece.

Although I'm about 1500 miles away from Omaha, the shooting has made me sad.  I'm grateful that none of my family was shopping that day.  I have been wondering if they knew any of the victims.  
Why is this country fighting terrorists in foreign lands when we continue to have plenty of home-grown ones?   

The HOLIDAY season makes me cranky and I don't even shop or bake or travel.

1. Were you named after anyone?  I don't know.  Maybe Myrna Loy because people of a certain age ask if I was.
2. When was the last time you cried? This morning watching the photos of the Omaha victims.  I also cry when I'm proud of someone, sad, happy or touching TV commercials.
3. Do you like your handwriting? Sometimes.
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Real turkey
5. Do you have kids?  1 son 2 daughters
6. If you were another person would you be friends with you? Maybe.
7. Do you use sarcasm a lot?  I'm trying to quit.
8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes.
9. Would you bungee jump? No.
10. What is your favorite cereal? Oatmeal with walnuts and raisins and Honey Nut Cheerios
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?  Yes, How else can you get them off?
12. Do you think you're strong? Yes.
13 What is your favorite ice cream?  Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia
14. What is the first thing you notice about people? Eyes.
15. Red or pink?  Pink.
16. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? My weight, but only the part that won't go away.
17. Who do you miss the most? I really can't say.
18. What color pants and shoes are you wearing?  Black.
19. What was the last thing you ate? A phony Oreo.
20. What are you listening to right now?  The hum of my external hard drive.
21. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Magenta
22. Favorite smells? Mountains, oceans and newborn babies.
23. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?  Denise.
24. Do you like the person who sent this to you?  I think so.
25. Favorite sports to watch?  WNBA Basketball.
26. Hair color? Brown with gray.
27. Eye color? Hazel
28. Do you wear contacts? Yes.
29. Favorite food? A real hamburger.
30. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings
31. Last movie you watched? Lover Come Back, Doris Day and Rock Hudson.
32. What color shirt are you wearing? Black
33. Summer or winter?  Winter
34. Hugs or Kisses? Hugs
35. Favorite dessert? Blueberry pie al a mode.
36. What book are you reading now?  The Four Gated City by Doris Lessing.
37. What is on your mouse pad?  Puffins photographed by Tom Mangelsen.
38. What did you watch on TV late last night? Nothing.
39. Favorite sound?  The migrating geese that just flew by.
40. Rolling Stones or Beatles?  Beatles
41. What is the farthest you have been from home? Barcelona Spain
42. Do you have a special talent? I don't really know.
43. Where were you born?  Oakland, NE
 (Some answers subject to change without notice)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving tradition

I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving.  
If you want to join us next Thanksgiving, meet at Paulette's house at 8:00am Thanksgiving day.

8:30am  Here we are waiting for the 9:00am start. many people have their cameras out and are taking pictures.  Paulette took some with her phone and I had my camera strapped to my side this time. 
This was the 14th annual Run to Feed the Hungry, we have only missed one of them.  The first one had about 800 runners, yesterday there were more than 22,000.  All of the money goes to the Sacramento food bank so at $30 per person it is a substantial amount.  As we waited I asked Paulette how much money did she think had been spent for all of the running shoes.  Even more substantial number since there were some serious runners who probably paid $200+ for their shoes.  Well you have to do something while you wait for the start of the race.

The people behind me.                The people in front of me.  
 I passed a lot of them before the end.                                              
 It took me 50 minutes to walk the 5K.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

something special today

When I came up to my door this afternoon, something flew between me and the door. I was startled but looked at the ledge to my left and there was a little owl. Yes a little owl. I think it is a burrowing owl. I took a couple of pictures and it posed very nicely for me. It stayed for a long time.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday, 11/12/07

My computer is home again. The 'little' tune-up turned into a hard drive crash and now I have a new operating system and I-Life 08. And I am starting from scratch with a lot of things that didn't get recovered. I also have an external hard drive for back up on a regular basis. They saved my address book and I had backed up my photos before I took it in and everything else is either on line or I think I have a hard copy. I got rid of some junk. I do have to redo most of my bookmarks.

Shirley: Happy Birthday again.

We had a great celebration for Shae and Sterling. They came to California. We had lunch at Olive Garden because Shae got to choose. We went to the Make-a-Bear store and had a blast making a purple hippo, a pink cat and Cody from Surf's UP. Then we went to Paulette's house.

On the way to Paulette's house Shae asked if I would sleep with her. I told her I was going to my house to sleep. After we had been lounging around for a while (as much as you can with three little kids and four adults) Shae announced "I'm going home with Grandma to sleep." I said it was fine if it was ok with mom and dad. She turned to her parents and almost dared them to disagree with her pronouncement.

Monday, November 5, 2007

A few days away

My computer will be getting an annual service or whatever. I will be reading blogs from another computer that doesn't want to let me comment.

Something that made my world a little nicer:

I was taking my daily, well almost daily, walk a few days ago. I walk through a nice neighborhood. A young mother and her baby--he is about 8-10 months old--were sitting in the open garage door. As I passed the baby was talking. I looked over and he was throwing me kisses--lots of kisses. I thanked him, threw a kiss back and smiled at his proud mother. My walk was no longer boring exercise.

Friday, October 26, 2007

week in review

Friday afternoon and I thought of taking a nap but there is too much to do. So...I guess I'll sit here at the computer for a while.

Wednesday a dance friend planned a surprise dinner for Paulette. She was surprised when we started arriving at the restaurant. She thought she was having dinner with one person. We had a very good time and as you might expect the conversation was mostly about dancing. I took two pictures of her and her eyes were closed on both of them. At least she had clothes on; at her third birthday party she wore only her underpants.

I bought tires on line. That was Tuesday and they are at the COSTCO warehouse ready to be put on. Must call for an appointment. That was easy and I got a good discount.

Smoke from Southern California is drifting up here and making the air kind of icky; but we do not have fires.

Not a very exciting week. Must make some phone calls before everyone leaves their offices for the weekend.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


October arrives in the middle of my annual sad time. It starts about September 20th and continues until today, October 16. Yes on The anniversary of Bob's birthday my sadness begins to lift. Tomorrow Skyler will be six. I remember being in the birthing room and as the clock ticked past midnight and thought, He didn't make Bob's birthday. The deaths: Mom 9/20, Dad 9/24, Tony 9/25 and Bob 10/9. I'm not saying I curl up in bed during this time but I am aware of an undercurrent of sadness. And I can be extra cranky. Life goes on, and I'm glad.

My favorite month is October. Besides Skyler's birthday, The fall color in the mountains was so magnificant that year. A week later is Paulette's birthday; It was such a beautiful fall day when she was born in Mississippi.
The autumn trees are about to go into "full bloom", the rains have come, the temps are down and I have traded my sandals for shoes. Today the red trees on Highway 13 added a little cheer to the rainy landscape and the Ginko trees are turning lime green before they become giant golden bubbles or triangles.

Birds decorated the partly cloudy sky this morning and the western sky glowed orange and pink and gray from the rising sun. The waterways around Sacramento provide rest stops for the migrating birds and there are different ones every day. When I open a window in the morning the geese fly over with loud honks.

Sweaters and jackets litter the chairs in my living room and office. I don't know why I don't hang them back in the closet.

The first weekend of October Paulette and I went to the Ashland, OR Shakespeare festival. We watched Romeo and Juliet outdoors and it was a way cool play and the temperature was way, way cool. The next afternoon we saw On The Razzle, inside. I thought we were going to be inside on Saturday night but Paulette went to the theater box office and sent me a text message, Bundle up. She had traded As You Like it for The Tempest. Good trade and it was way, way, way cool at the end of the Tempest.

Last weekend we met David and his family in Placerville and went to Apple Hill. All of the orchards, wineries and the Jack Russell brewing company have open house from the end of September until November sometime. They bought pumpkins, apples, Indian corn and squash. I bought everyone a pint at Jack Russell. Paulette bought Apple Carmel Sundaes at High Hill Farms. Yes they are as good as they sound. Skyler and Shae rode the ponies that walk in a circle. A California substtitute for Bubba.

I had yesterday off and finally took my car in to have the driver's side window motor fixed. It cost a lot. I didn't work because it was Columbus Day. Yes I know that holiday was last Monday for most of the country but the Dixon School district decided on the 15th.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hawaii pictures

OK so I haven't been to Hawaii for about thirty years. My MAC teacher David was amused when I said I think I'll mess with my family's mind. Grammatically that sentence is a loser.

Anyhow I was practicing how to get my photos into this blog form I-Photo. Those photos are random ones from the computer at the Apple store. Now I know. I'll be working on something this weekend.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I went skiing on the big island Then to maui and the beach.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fall is just around the corner

Patty Sousa, our weather person, was right. It was necessary to be outside on Saturday and Sunday. Now I have lots of inside stuff to do. I'll get to it in a minute.

Sunday I joined my Sacramento Walkingsticks friends and we went for a hike in the foothills. We started at a place called Weimar. People with TB were sent here for treatment and kept away from the rest of the population. The hike was wonderful with a hill to climb called Cardiac Hill. We all made it just fine. We walked through a tunnel of manzineta trees. The reddish brown branches meeting over our heads. Then we walked past two of the cemetries. One by four boards with numbered brass circles nailed to them mark the graves. So many succumbed to TB in the past.

Today the weather continued moving toward cold. I will be out of my sandals by November 1.

Friday, September 14, 2007

good times

Last weekend I drove to Reno after work and lunch and a couple of errands. I left Sacramento at 2:30 with the knowledge that I would probably have to sit in slow and go heavy traffic--Yeah for the new lanes on I80 around Roseville or some miracle in the traffic world. I didn't even have to take off the cruise control from the time I entered the freeway. I made my stop for coffee in Truckee and there were many many parking places. They have pay parking on the street but it is so cool. There are these little boxes that take cash or credit cards and you can buy 15 minutes for 25cents. I put a 30 minutes ticket on my dash and dashed into the Pieper cafe for a cup of coffee. The help was indifferent to having a customer come into their establishment and I might have walked out except they have very good coffee. Coffee in hand I returned to my car with time to spare. I rolled into David's driveway 40 minutes later.

Skyler and Shae answered the door shouting "Grandma!" Nice. Sterling gave me the once or twice over from the floor and went back to her toy. Skyler wanted to show me his pitching skills and Shae wanted to show me the new cats they have. David told them "Let Grandma rest a little; she just drove a long ways and she's old." Later, Shae said, "Grandma, why are you old?"

We overslept so missed the Dawn Patrol at the balloon races but watched as they inflated the very colorful balloons and went home to breakfast.

WE played until everyone was tired and cranky and took naps. Sterling decided I was good enough to hold her and play with her.

I got home about 9:30pm Saturday night.

Spent Sunday doing all that maintenance stuff.

Our channel 10 weather person is so excited about this weekends weather--I want to find things to do outside. I will do some dancing and walking.
Janell have fun cooking. Sue, go golfing. Shirley, finish that remodel and get some pictures out there.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

This and That.

OK so I'm having a bit of a quick finger on the enter key--I'll have two posts with the same title.

Yesterday I had the dreaded screening colonoscopy. The good, no great, news is NOTHING there. I am old enough to 'qualify' for an every five year test. If it wasn't good for me I wouldn't do it. The worst is the prep. Oh well you will all find out someday. Please do not avoid this health screening. Two of my friends did and have battled colon cancer. Big sister advice for the day.

I'm going to Reno this weekend to see the dawn patrol of the balloon races. David and Robin take ALL (3) the kids. We get up at 4am and go to the place where about five of the balloons light up and lift into the still-dark sky. It is amazing.

Responses to other's blogs.
Shirley, I think Cassie will be able to make a book either on MAC or Shutterfly about the remodel of her house. Pictures and diary. What a great family project. Are you the general contractor? Congratulations to Adam on his first apartment. Does he have room mates?

About the are in advertising. Maxfield Parrish is another artist who made art for advertising. I agree children's advertising is horrible and should be banned and I won't tell you what I think should happen to the creators. And my current rant is about the advertising of medication. The power of suggestion is enough to make you have symptoms I read that patients insist that an advertised med is the answer. Even if their doctor doesn't If the drug companies spent the money they spend on advertising on research and development there would be cures for diseases that keep them in business.
Food advertisements in the evening. That melted cheese on the sandwiches and pizzas will send me looking in my fridge for something to eat.

Just in case others are wondering, The volleyball finals are not yet on the ARCO Arena calendar. If I see any of the Maloffs I'll ask them why it's not.

That other this and that title is empty and I can't seem to get rid of it. Must go.

This and That.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Full moon

Last night the Stars fell, hard, on the Monarchs. we are saying "Wait 'till next year." It's been a while since we were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. Paulette and I went to a bar with big TVs. Some of our seat neighbors were there so we cheered and ate. The food was good at The Hanger. Our women came from 20 points down to a point for point ending that a San Antonio player broke with a 3 point basket. Maybe it was the full moon that favored the Stars.

The full moon was beautiful and when I got home I sat on my balcony, sipped tea and watched the moon to console myself. I did not get up at 3AM for the eclipse. I saw it on the news this morning.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I went to Davis to walk with my friend Jeannette on Saturday. A cool morning and much nicer than walking on a treadmill. It helps that we walk to Peets coffee and have a Latte before going back. We stopped at a garage sale and I bought a new espresso machine for $10. It had never been out of the box. (Mine is wearing out.) So it wasn't adding to my stuff. Also went to the consignment shop and used my credit to buy two skirts for $8 or free. I saw a wall clock for my kitchen but didn't buy it. I think I'll go back next week and get it if it is still there.

I worked on the T-shirt quilt and finished piecing all of the shirts together. I'm letting it rest a while before I put it together and tie it. I can put my sewing machine away as soon as I hem a pair of pants I bought a couple of weeks ago. Autumn is coming and it's time to have new 'school' clothes. (Or different clothes)

Today we saw a play at our favorite B Street theater. The book of Elizabeth, by David and Amy Sedaris. I enjoyed it a lot.

Oh and I went dancing on Friday night.

So the week end is over. Time to listen to Extreme Makeover Home Edition (since Cold Case is a rerun) while I finish making my lesson plans and clean up the kitchen.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

School starting

The first days of school always like a new year to me. It doesn't matter if it is mid August (although it used to bother me because it wasn't September) the start of something new. The problem is August doesn't smell like September. Janell and Emily's adventure into book buying made me want to sign up for a class. HOWEVER the cost of books has gone so high I probably can't afford the class fees or the books.

Wow, you have had some weather. We are back into the triple digits here in the Sacramento valley. Of course it's State Fair time too and it has to be 100+ for that every year.

The Monarchs have their first playoff game tonight against San Antonio Stars. Go Monarchs!!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Difficult questions

Difficult but thought prevoking.

6. The best and worst about being a woman?

The best: Growing a new life. I wish I had been as aware of what was going on as women are today. Of course that means knowing all the dangers as well as the joys. Being a mother, regardless of all the work. Then the reward of becoming a grandmother. Not so much work. Dressing up in a dress or skirt or even pants. Men don't get to wear nice dresses, usually.

The worst: Inequality in pay and choices of vocation or career. This is better for women today. There is also the bad old double standard. I had a list once of how different actions are positive for men and negative for women. A single man is eligible and a single woman is desperate. With gray hair-- He looks distinguished and she looks old. Speaking of old; that's when women become invisible.

That's enough of that quiz.

Janell, I know as a young girl playing with dolls; I seldom thought of them having a dad. Delaine tormented me with the phrase, "You'll never get a husband if... And I didn't really care. I remember standing in the hallway of the place we lived in Hawaii and having two thoughts: Tony is an alcoholic. If this marriage ends, I will not marry again. It wasn't that I would be single; it was that I was not going to be married.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The questions

O.K. After writing about four pages in my journal about the first two I have something to write, I think. This has been hard.
A day or two after this list appeared; my horoscope said, "Write in your diary." So I wrote five pages about numbers 1 and 2.
Ho you probably don't want to read the whole reflections.

I start with 2.

2) Advice: I had to mull over the things the rest of you wrote. Here's what I wish someone had said to me: You don't have to get married. A woman can be single. I don't remember a time in my youth that it was not expected that I would get married. If I didn't I would be the dreaded "Old Maid" forever.

1) At eighteen I was married and would soon have the two kids I was suppose to have. I expected to live in different parts of the world with my Air Force husband or become the brave war widow like June Allison did in a movie I remember. Oh, yeah there was to be the split level home with perfect landscaping. Oh yes, staying at home with my perfect kids and a husband coming home for dinner at five or six.

Reality: I married twice and have been a widow for close thirty years. While I was trying to figure out how to rear perfect kids, keep them fed and clothed and sheltered, they grew up to be the independent individuals they are today. I'm afraid they aren't perfect. Of course neither am I. I live alone in a two bedroom,1 and a 1/2 baths on the second floor, in a 55+ apartment complex. There's a lot more to this story but you will have to buy the book when it comes out.

3) Best money: Education and travel or travel and education.

4) Not investing in AT&T in 1958. Not knowing how to manage money. Complete waste of money: All of the STUFF I have accumulated and moved and stored and then finally this summer had to dispose of one way or another. I did look at many things and think, "What a waste of money, time, and energy that went into this."

5) I have to pass on this one. See 2 and 1.

6) I'll get back to you on this one.

7) If there is a dream I will never fulfill, I have probably let it go without regret. I have new dreams all the time. I read a quote once something like this, "Reach for the stars and you'll always have a dream."

See the Gatewood blog for something else I have been thinking about the last two weeks.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


The Monarchs "Settled Seattle" (quote from a sign in the arena) last night. I forget the score but we had more.

I hauled away a car load of stuff today after Paulette took what she wanted last night. I'm feeling lighter already.

I'm about finished with the laundry. It is folded on my bed so can't go to bed until I put it away.

I ordered a lamp shade on line, sure hope it works. It was cheap enough.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday Morning

Friday morning walk. I have regained my morning walk habit and it is cool enough to walk if I start before 7AM. The sun was a bit hazy thismorning, the water in the canal very still. At the small pond the jack rabbits were darting around in the dry grass. One of them stopped and imitated a stump for a while and then seemed to know it hadn't fooled me so bounded away. A duck on the pond quacked once and unseen birds chirped in the vegetation around the pond. Close to my apartment I spotted a hummingbird sitting on one of the evergreen trees. It tasted a needle or two and flew away on invisible wings.

Stuff update. This week I emptied two large plastic boxes that had been my "garage" since I moved here in December. These are now ready to be removed from my balcony. The stuff? Well some is sitting in the trunk of my car to be donated, some in a box for Paulette to look at, some went directly to the trash and the rest is taunting me with "You can't throw me away, can you?"
My response it, "I can unless I find a use or a place for you."

The weekend: Monarchs play the Storm from Seattle tonight, Saturday and Sunday are open for the moment.

Monday, July 30, 2007


I tidied up my blog on the website and you can now comment, even if there's not much to comment about.

Who remembers the clock that hung in our kitchen, forever? The one that didn't restart so we always knew when the lights went out.

Who remembers the mirror that hung beside the front door of Grandma Anderson's house?

And finally who remembers the photo of our cousin Bjorn, on a beach in Sweden?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

odyssey final word

I knew there was more to the Odyssey and I came across the notes today so here the rest of the story.


Shirley and I drop Bob and David off on an off-ramp near Rosenblatt stadium for one more baseball game. (D do not recommend this practice of stopping on off-ramps) We continue on with Skyler and Shae to the museum where we meet Debbie, Derek and Dillon. The first thing I notice about the museum is the noise, lots of noise and it is happy noise of chldren having fun.

We start with the Bob the Builder exhibit with lifesize Bob the Builder machines, tools buildings and a garden. The kids scatter and the three adults try to keep at least on in sight at all times. The kids try out as many of the activities as possible and then ask to go to the main floor. I have never seen anything like the main room. There are tubes and chutes and things I have no word to describe. Then there are the balls the hundreds of balls of various bright colors that are being moved around this construction. Well you have to see it to understand. Shirley said to me, "What sick mind dreamed this up?" I noticed, however she became as intrigued as Skyler playing with the levers and wheels.

After that Shae found the store and shopping basket and went shopping for the play groceries. She filled a basket and said we had to have all of this stuff for a party. While Shae shopped, Skyler tried his hand at engineering with tubes and connectors in a water table. Shae also tried milking the cow.

While we were in the gift shop looking for a suitable souvenir, Bob called and said the gme was over and we could pick them up. (not on the freeway). Back at the Nebel house we re-group, add Adam to the crowd and set out for Lyons. Cassie and Alex follow in their car.

We were on our way to Lyons to see Faith play and Scott coach a softball game. We set out believing we had time to get there and have dinner at the Highway Cafe. Enroute we are contacted by cell phone that the game is at six not 8:00 as we had planned. Since we are more than halfway there we continue on our way. Janell's pick-up is outside the cafe when we arrive. David goes in to alert them to the change in game time. We arrive at about the fourth inning and watch the rest of the game. There are now about fifteen hungry family members gathered at the Lyons park. It is about 8:15pm the cafe closes at 9:00pm. We knew they would serve us if we made it by 8:30pm. Into the vans, pick-ups and cars and five minutes later we have taken over the large dining room.

Side story: Only once in about the last fifteen years, have I entered the Highway Cafe without seeing Cheryl (Bacon) Hoffman and sure enough there she is with her husband. We talk for a few minutes.

All of the employees know us as the Gatewood kids or Rachel's kids, since Mother worked as cook for a number of years. Orders are taken, we eat and we are gone by 9:15 much to the relief of the cook, waitress and Marilyn, the owner. She has health problems and sits in a booth with her oxygen tank next to her. This place is part of our history, a big part.

On the drive back to Omaha through the rural landscape we are treated to a light show from the fireflies aka lightening bugs. The side of the road is filled with flashing lights, very small but very visible even at 60mph. Looking out across the fields it appears that blinking Christmas lights have been spread out on the plants.

Thursday morning we load the van, carjole two tired, homesick children into their carseats as the temperature climbs to 85 degrees. By nine we wave goodbye to Shirley, Bob, Adam and Milo the cat. Maybe Husker Hound is open. says David. We drive to the Husker Hound (where they sell everything red and Nebraska branded). It doesn't open until 10. We drive t Lincoln and find the university bookstore, which is open. We spend an hour and almost $100 and everyone seems happy. Finally we are on the road west. The day progresses through good times and tears, and lunch, and ice-cream. We stop in Cheyenne and there is swimming, dinner, reading and sleep. We are all ready to be home. Day two we roll along I 80, everyone ready to be home. We stop, I read to the kids they play their kazoos, and then I drivee f rom Rawlins, Wyoming to Elko, Nevada while David and the kids watch videos. In Elko we stop at the Shilo Inn and after swimming and dinner we sleep. Saturday morning, David is awake early anda so are the rest of us. After we eat breakfast, David takes the wheel and we arrive in Reno about noon. The odyssey is complete.

I drove home from Reno, alone for the first time in three weeks. It was strange. Would I do it again? YES!

Now I fell finished with the writing of the odyssey.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Friday the thirteenth. No real comment, I had not even noticed until I started checking in on everyone.

I'm going on a four-day trip to Yosemite this weekend on a tour with the Green Tortoise You can check it out at Report next week.

Have a great weekend where ever you are.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


Today is suppose to be the luckiest day of the century. After hearing that and the many "news" stories about luckiest this and luckiest that; I wondered if someone has to be unlucky if I'm lucky today? Or does that only apply to gambling?

Janell, I changed the name by accident. I tried to set up another blog and my name got changed. I finally figured out how to change it back.

I have several more pages in draft form for the odyssey web page and hope to put up the whole thing by Monday.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

July 4th

It's going to be hot here in Sacramento--triple digits. And for several days after that.

I have several bags of stuff to donate. I have been sorting and downsizing my collections. I need to take some books to the used book store and see if I can get some money for them. I used to get credit to buy more books but that doesn't free up time and space in my life... So I am trying to read the books I have and not buy any new or used ones this year. If I really want to read something I don't have I will go to the library.

I have been saving things and accumulating things that attracted my attention over the years. I now find these things are taking too much of my space, time and energy. It was easy to accumulate and is so difficult to let go of, throw away, give away, or take to the consignment shops. Any suggestions???

Friday, June 29, 2007

June 29

June is over after tomorrow, Solstice has passed and the days are getting shorter already. And SUMMER will really hit Sacramento this weekend 106 predicted for the weekend.

Fortunately I have lots of inside things to do and central air; if I choose to use it. I checked to see if it works--it does. So far my apartment has stayed very cool by closing the blinds about noon. You know, that old fashioned, before air conditioning way of keeping cool.

I sorted another box of photographs. This project is in it's sixth year and I only have one more box of old photos to put into album pages. Maybe by August 15.

My other pending project is David's T-shirt quilt. I sewed some of the pieces together this week. I have my sewing machine set up until I go back to work. I can eat on my balcony since I bought a little table and chairs set.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Vacation recovery

Here it is the fifth day since I returned from the Odyssey and my list of things to do is getting longer rather than shorter. I arrived home on Saturday evening about 4pm and went to the Monarchs Basketball game at 7P. They beat Detroit Shock, last night they beat the New York Liberty.

I have finished unpacking and most of the clothes are clean and back in drawers and closets. I have resumed my daily walk. I watched one of two movies from Netflix. The Children of Men. The book is better. The reason my list of things to do is not getting shorter is I found a very old Bob Hope, Lucille Ball movie on TV in the afternoon. Facts Of Life and after the game last night The Sentinel was on. Yes, I like all kinds of movies. I'm planning to give myself a theater movie this afternoon-If I get a few things checked off my list.

Monday I took three dance lessons, probably too many but need to use some or lose them on Saturday. I have a monthly membership at the dance studio. Eight group lessons a month, one private, and two Friday dances.

So much to do so little time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007



The Gatewood reunion. Fifty or sixty adults and children gathered to celebrate their ancestory. All descended from Joel and Almina Gatewood; most were descendents of Thornton W. Gatewood. Grace Smith, the elder is 92 (93 in September). She really keeps going and going. She is my role model and I hope I got a lot of the same genes she did. There were about five babies born since we last met two years ago. Their names and birthdates will appear on the Gatewood family news--soon. Shae Rachel Gustafson Johnston, 3 and a half received M&Ms for the youngest attending.

The feast began at noon; followed by a brief talk by Paul D. Smith about our ancestors. Everyone scattered after that. Some had a second dessert. Swimming, hiking and paddle boats were available at the park. In the air conditioned lodge Joe and Connie Herman led a BINGO game. Visiting and sharing of photos and stories continued throughout the afternoon.

At five PM the food returned to the tables. Hikers, swimmers, paddlers and wandering relatives returned to the lodge to eat again. Clean-up,loading of mini vans and a few cars, and prolonged good-byes and the Mallett Lodge was quiet again.

Myrna, Bob, Shirley, David, Cassie, Skyler, Alex and Shae
The clouds hovered in the sky and the weather station predicted 75% chance of rain and that reduced to 30% by the time we left for lunch at Burger King. Five adults and three kids invaded the noon hour rush and we got our lunch. A stop for minnows and a short drive to Weirspan lake where Shae caught the first fish and after holding it for release declared, "Something stinks." while waving her fishy hands in front of her face. Skyler and Alex each reeled in a fish and we moved on to the Fremont lakes. (Cassie left us briefly for an appointment) Bob, David, Skyler and Alex fished while Myrna, Shirley and Shae walked to the little store for ice cream and Jelly Bellys. On their return to the dock, Alex and Skyler excitedly led them to the "little" fish David had caught. They said it measured 19 inches.

We loaded back in the red van and drove to Blair to Pizza Hut where our own Emily Carson served us pizza and drinks. Cassie had rejoined us and ordered our pizza in advance.

We left hurridly to make it to Bob Gatewood's baseball game in Uhling. The ball field was deserted. Randy and Janell caught up with us and through cell phone calls we found out we were suppose to be in Hooper. SOooooo off we went to Hooper thinking we could see some of the family at the end of the game. We did get to see Bob make a base hit that brought in one run. He had the largest cheering section. Skyler and Alex got to run around the bases before playing in the park.

Home to bed.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Today is catch-up day.


Paulette, David, Bob and Skyler went to the College World Series game. Rice won. By all reports they had a good time and had good seats secured via internet about three hours before the game.

Shae, Shirley and Myrna had a girls day. First we went to lunch at the Farmhouse. Shae declared it a barn as we parked in front of it. Then we took a little trip to Iowa to buy Uncle Bob a father's day gift at The Bass Store. Shae loved the aquarium with the various fish that can be caught in Nebraska waters. Many wild animals on display on ledges and the bears on the floor were touched by Shae.

Back home, Shirley gave Shae a manicure and pedicure while Shae kept up a steady stream of questions and comments about anything that popped into her head.

We had dinner for ten around Shirley's long table. After dinner we sat outside and waited for the fireflies to appear. Fireflies are more exciting that fireworks when you are under ten years old.

David washed clothes and spent time with his children alone at home for a couple of hours while Bob, Shirley, Paulette and Myrna went to two estate sales.

Janell invited everyone who could make it to the farm for a picnic dinner. Preceded by horseback riding on Bubba. The day was restful and successful.

No one can show the joy and excitement of riding on a trotting horse like a three-year-old on her first "big" horse experience. Shae showed no fear about being lifted onto a 1200 pound horse and showed great confidence when Janell put the reins in her hands. Skyler of course learned quickly how to guide Bubba into a walk and then a trot.

Jacob, Kendra and Skyler attempted to clean all the dust out of the hay loft. David checked their work and declared it the cleanest hay loft in Washington County. There will be pictures of Shae, Skyler and Myrna in the door of the loft on the website in about a week.

After dinner the kids rode again and Jonathan's wife April had her first riding lesson wearing stylish green rubber boots since she had no fancy cowgirl boots. As an adult she was allowed to ride out of the pen. Lucy, the horse not yet ready for a rider, put on a great show. Angry at being left in the pen she ran circles around it and whinnied for Bubba to return or at least to be let out to join him.

Shae made sure everyone had a tiny rock to take home as a souviner. Jonathan got two because he was bleeding from a scratch on his arm.

The grand finale was a firefly hunt and the capture of ten fireflies in bottles. Skyler thought one of his was injured and set them free and replaced them with two more.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Thursday evening.

Note about arriving in Omaha. Last night when we arrived Shae had been asleep about the last 45 minutes of the trip. When David took her out of the car and said, "We're here." She opened her eyes and said "Uncle Bob's rock." David put the rock in her hand and we trooped up the stairs to the front door. Shae handed Bob the rock she had picked up in Wyoming. When she picked it up she said "Uncle Bob needs this rock. Who is Uncle Bob?" (We had been talking about Uncle Bob and Aunt Shirley and had a rock for Shirley from the Great Salt Lake.

What a day. There are seven people sleeping in the Nebels house. Skyler slept with me, Shae with Daddy and Paulette got the couch in the living room and the TV. That also meant she would be awakened when Alex, Shirley's grandson arrived to spend the day. Then there were eight. By eight there were people, big and little, milling about everywhere. Paulette had been out for a run, Adam was awakened by three children looking for the cat. It was OK because he had to go to work. Skyler and Alex connected the way young children do--over toys and a cartoon on TV. Shae kept looking for Milo. Milo stayed hidden. Showers, dressing, tooth brushing moving car seats to another van--the one that would carry eight people, sun screen, water bottles, shoes, and whatever and we were off to the zoo. Rosenblatt stadium is across from the zoo. It was opening celebration for the College World Series and half the cars in Omaha were driving or parking in the area. The zoo parking is for zoo people only and everyone had to pay zoo entrance fee before parking meaning a long line to get there. Three, Four and five year olds can make a lot of noise in a confined place. After about twenty minutes we were on our way to get our hands stamped THURSDAY and in the aquarium. What excitement. Sharks, turtles, fish of all kinds. Skyler and Alex held hands and ran from place to place with one or two adults following and sometimes saying stop or wait. Shae walked into the tunel and said "Oh, my gosh." two or three times. Jack Carson joined us about this time. Next we went to the bears, then tigers, primates of various kinds.

The hungry group arrived at the Rainforest Restaurant and soon a table for nine held, hotdogs, hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, wraps, a bbq sandwich and assorted drinks. Jack began to talk about seeing the insects and spiders and soon Alex and Skyler were as quiet as they had been since their first meeting earlier in the day. The feast complete the group split, Shirley, Shae, Myrna and Jack rode the tram around the zoo to look at some birds while the rest went to the College World Series free events. When the tram stopped at the end of the route, Shae put her head on my shoulder ready to sleep. OH no I said and stood her up. Forty two pounds of sleeping three-year-old is not a weight I feel capable of carrying more than two feet. So she walked back to the car. Strapped into her carseat she slept before we backed out of the parking spot.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Here we are at Little America Wyoming at the end of our second day of travel. We are about 300 miles behind because of a late start on Monday. As Paulette says, It's all good.

Today we stopped in Wendover to see Wendover Will overlooked the salt flats and then we waded in the great Salt Lake. Skyler and Shae even made a mud and slime castle.

I have been tracking the I'm hungry, I have to potty, Where are we and Can I have... questions and statements I'm hungry is winning by a long margin. I'm surprised--I thought I have to potty would win

Enough for now--this will be easier with pictures.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Twas the night before the Odyessey....

Shae and I had a day of cleaning, laundry packing and for fun swimming. We were talking about the zoo in Omaha at dinner and she told me. Chimpanzees throw poop at animals that are going to eat them. We don't eat them so they won't throw poop at us. I'm sure she will announce this bit if information to the other zoo visitors at the chimpanzee cage.

Phoenix Mercury beat the Monarchs last night but not without working hard. So there.

I think I have all of my electronic devices together and have almost finished packing. The last of the towels are in the dryer and as soon as the beach towels are dry I can finish packing and put a few things in the car. It will feel so much closer to leaving if I do that.

LaDawn: There are few bidets in the US and my only encounter with one was in Spain. However I have an interesting picture in my mind of how that would look. Not much different than the toilet but It sure sounds classier.

Send good vibes to the computer/web/mac goddesses that Paulette and I can get my web page to her computer and have pictures of this event along the way. Verbal observations will continue in this space. is the web page

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Words of Wisdom for today: When you are five, tired and missing your mom--your socks don"t fit right.

A bike ride in the morning and swimming in the afternoon makes everyone very tired and cranky. Skyler is napping; I'm catching up. Bills are paid, laundry on the last load, clothes packed for Skyler to go home tomorrow. There are some vacation things I need to do but not yet. I'm making lists of what not to forget.

The new age of electronics requires a lot of recharging equipment and if you for get it your camera, phone video camera will be usless. There is a law of some kind that says if you forget one of those vital cords--no one where you are going will have one and even if you try to buy one it will have to be ordered and arrive when you get home.

How many kinds of shoes do I need? How many of my pills do I need? It is cool here for June and making it difficult to think: hot, humid weather. I usually forget anything for rain since it doesn't usually rain here in the valley from June to October.
I definitly need my exercise clothes and shoes. Walking daily in essential for me. I haven't done enough in the last ten days but I have been riding my bike.

OK I gotta go to the store and get some milk. And check my lists.

Monday, June 4, 2007


Skyler went to school with Paulette today so I was on my own. Maybe not a good idea because I went shopping. Clothes, software and stuff.

I met a friend in Davis at Peets coffee and we spent an hour catching up. I got my glasses fixed. I cleaned out my P.O box that I still have there until October.

I did some laundry and cleaned up a bit.

This evening I took a West Coast Swing lesson.

I'm going to sort one more basket of paper and finish the book I've been reading.

Tomorrow, after the Rivercats game Skyler comes home with me and we go to a Monarchs game in the evening.

Six days until on the road again.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The weekend

Skyler went to sleep at Auntie Pea's Friday afternoon and will return after the Monarchs game on Tuesday.

We had a busy day on Friday. No school. YEAH! Skyler had his first lesson with the digital camera. We went walking in Davis and then rode the a double decker bus. We sat on the top level of course. "Grandma, this bus is old. How old do you think it is?" I'm not sure. He looked out the windows and at the cars below and the tree tops at eye level, but the age of the bus was always on his mind. "Why is this bus so old?"

We were hungry after our photography trip and went to MacDonalds for lunch. I think it was a little lonely for him to play without his sister. There were a couple of other kids there but they didn't want to interact. We completed all of my errands and went back to Sacramento. He took his 25 minute car nap on the way home and was ready for more action.

We drove to Auntie Pea's through the Friday Afternoon traffic nightmare.

Paulette gave me an alternate route so I could go to the Zumba exercise class on my way home.
The apartment was very quiet when I got home.

Saturday night the Monarchs beat the Los Angeles Sparks in a really great basketball game. The women are getting more aggressive in their playing every year. Skyler ate his pizza while looking at the assembled crowd. When the game started and Paulette and I became loud fans. He sat for some time looking from one to the other with a puzzled look on his face. He then caught the Thunderstick that were dropped and began making noise with them. He stopped long enough to tell the woman next to us she had one of thundersticks was upside down. She later asked if he was always so good.

He joined in the chant BEAT LA, BEAT LA.... I watched him listen, try it out and listen again and finally get it right.

In the car, after the game he said, Can I call my mom? We said yes, and heard her say What are you doing still up? He talked to both of his parents and moments after he closed the phone was asleep.

Friday, June 1, 2007


The last day of school. I showed Whale Rider and my students exchanged gifts. I don't know how it came about but they drew names and brought each other gifts. I received a plant from one of my students. She doesn't know I can kill plants without even trying. No lesson planning until August.

Skyler stayed with Maria and last night he tried out a couple of Spanish words. I offered to let him watch the movie with the class but he looked at the cover and said, "I don't think this is appropriate."

Then we went to the staff lunch; small staff only seven people including him. I really don't like kids at adult lunches but the administrative assistant, Telly, talked me into it. I must say Skyler lasted longer than I expected him to. I still don't like kids at adult meetings even if i brought the kid.

Back home we rested until it cooled down enough to go for a bike ride. This time Skyler took a spill. He fell into the grass pretty hard and the bike hit his arm. No lasting scrapes or bruises. However, when relating it to his parents he called it a crash. Now I know to inform them before he does of the extent of the "crash" We went on to Borders and he had chocolate milk while I had a latte. The ride home was uneventful. We looked for our blue heron to take pictures but it wasn't at the pond.

I have had to relearn something I learned when Paulette was small. Do NOT be sucked into arguing with a child. I am walking away after stating my case once; sometimes twice. Kids are such little lawyers.

Now it's Friday, first day of vacation and we have things to do.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Today we went to the pool. Thank goodness Kaitlin and her grandma were there. It made it a lot more fun. Skyler showed his male side by wanting to be aggressive and Kaitlin held her own and was competitive. One hour and we were done and no one drowned. As we walked away from the pool Skyler asked, "Can we go bike riding now?" Answer, "Not until it cools off a bit."

This morning was the end of school party with plenty of very good food. I wish I liked tamales as much as everyone else. I'd rather have an enchilada. Anyhow it is the favorite food of my students. We handed out certificates of the hours students had attended since September. Everyone had a good time. Tomorrow I'm showing Whale Rider. After class is the staff lunch and then I"M on SUMMER VACATION. I can focus more on getting to Nebraska and setting up a web site for everyone to follow our road trip, I also have to learn to use my new camera and make sure I have all the cords I need with me.

Oh, does anyone have suggestions of music for a road trip. I already have On the Road Again and Route 66.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Day two. Today I had to go to work so....we got an early start. I'm so glad Skyler is used to getting things together to go every morning. (Thank You Robin)
We stopped at the recycling center in Davis to off-load a trunk load of cardboard. Then filled, well almost filled the car with gas. Maybe it will last the rest of the week.

At school Skyler waited patiently while I turned off the alarms for two classrooms and showed him where he would spend the morning with Maria. He followed me around as I prepared for the morning. He met Maria and went with her willingly. Maria told me later he wanted to come back to me because everyone was talking in a foreign language. He stayed when she let him watch Dora the Explorer. He was very happy to have had a little Spanish lesson before I picked him up.

He got a twenty minute nap on the way home and after mac and cheese for lunch he was ready for a bike ride. We had a rocky start here because his helmet didn't feel right and it seemed to be my fault. He took a fifteen minute rest and we took both bikes out and rode to Border's Books for milk, latte, and a shared rice krispie square.

to be continued...

Note to Bob Nebel...The blue heron lives in my neighborhood. We saw it flying over the little pond on our bike ride. I'll have pictures in June.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial day

On this Memorial day as we memorialize our fallen soldiers and thank them for the freedoms for which they sacrificed their lives; my thoughts, also turn to Saleem Amer.

Saleem Amer is a National Public Radio reporter living in Baghdad with his wife, five-month-old son, his father and two brothers.
I have heard his report of how he had to search for the safest not the fastest, route to the hospital for the safe birth we take for granted.

On Friday he talked of the nights of explosions and gunfire that sends his family to an inner room of the house his father built and doesn't want to leave to the fighting factions to use as headquarters.

I begin to cry as he talks about his wife holding their frightened, crying son. He thinks the explosions and gunfire have damaged his son but doesn't take him to a doctor. I can feel his shrug over the airwaves and my heart breaks for this family wen he days, "I don't think I want to know."

I drove safely to school as I listened.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

writing exercises

A cinquain

Bird Song
Chirping, trilling, warbling
waking me at dawn.

Suggestion: take a human emotion and describe it using five senses.
see, hear, feel, taste, smell.
Here are my efforts with some words I've been thinking about.

The taste of impatience is sour apples.
It smells like a burning forest
Feels like loose threads all over me.
Sounds like Koinsquatsi
Has the look of my cluttered desk
Impatience--Must get over it.

Squatiing against the brick wall, looking hopeful,
A whining request for spare change assaults my ears
A torn heart, closed mind and pocketbook. Passes by
Makes sawdust of my sandwich that smells homeless
Compassion doesn't breed generosity.

Would the silent sound
of dollars dropping
into the dingy hand of
the unwashed person
Make my heart grow like the Grinch's?
Make my food taste like ambrosia?
Generosity for starngers.

Lojong Slogans: Tibetan Buddhist slognas used as reminders on how to awaken our hearts in the midst of day-to-day life.

The key instruction is to stay in the present. Don't get caught up in the hopes of
what you'll achieve and how good your situation will be some day in the future.
What you do right now is what matters. Be in the present.

After writing for fifteen minutes why I can or cannot abandon any hope of fruition; I write these senryus--three line Japanese poems similar to haiku but focused on human nature.

Abandon any hope
Of gaining control of it
Optioal return

My wandering mind
Refuses the present task
Abandoning it all.

Abandon any hope,
I can't do that; says my mind.
Stay in the present.

I wander away
Wondering how to focus
Abandon not hope

I wander away
Returning as an option
Abandon not hope.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Saturday morning

A perfect morning for walking. The heron was not at the pond but on the way back I saw a mockingbird. At least I think this is a mockingbird. Perched on a chimney, singing it's little lungs out it stopped, did a back flip, circled the chimney and started singing again.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Delta Breeze

The Delta Breeze is the local name for a wind coming from the southwest, off of The Delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. It carries with it cooler, more humid air from the Pacific Ocean. The effects of this wind are very noticable during the summer, as this sea breeze can cool the air by more than 10 degrees F. This can turn an unbearable summer day into a comfortable evening. And you can turn off the air conditioning. The delta breeze is also why we carry sweaters to baseball games that start when it is 100+.

Tonight I'm going to see Shakespeare's King Lear, not exactly a light evening but I do like the play.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I try to walk every day. It has not been easy since I moved away from my 5:30am walking partner, but I'm getting back into it. I walk a mile to the Borders book store and have coffee or ice tea and walk back. I'm getting faster.

Walking at 5:30am put me in touch with the phases of the moon in the mornings, the seasonal change in light and daylight savings time. The early morning wakings of birds, particularly the crows that roosted in trees along our walk. Over the years the traffic on the freeway we walked over increased from one or two cars to heavy traffic at 6am.

Now I'm getting in touch with how warm it is at 3pm. And there are birds beside the little pond in the park. Today I saw a Blue Heron standing knee deep at the edge of the water. There are Canadian Geese with their families. They are a few months older than the Norfolk golf course geese. (Sue, I don't have to chase that little white ball or carry clubs.) I do however have a little back pack for writing and reading materials.

When school is out for the summer my walk will change again. I will get up and walk in the mornings--not 5:30-- but before the sun gets too high in the sky.

I'll keep you posted regarding the birds.

Friday, May 11, 2007


I found these words in my writing for health journal.


Crashing salt water waves
Assault sandy beaches and
Rugged cliffs, on the edges
of continents.
Respect the ocean.

The pleasure of standing in
the majesty and beauty
Deep in the forest
Replenishes the imagination.

The crashing ocean clears
the ears and mind of
unnecessary noise.

The silence of the forest
the joy of solitude.


Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Yesterday was world walking day. In the evening I went walking. We started at the Rose Garden at the State Capital. The 5K walk took us around the streets of Sacramento. There are so many buildings with interesting histories scattered along and in between the state government buildings which make up the majority of buildings. I walked on streets I had driven gaining a new perspective.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


5. Getting the right combination of contacts and/or glasses to see well. Grateful they exist.

4. Layers of push 1 for........ Help lines that dont. Service people who won't.

3. Prejudice.

2. Teachers in California having to sue the governor to get their billion dollars back for education.

1. Homeless and hungry children in this country; while billions of dollars are being spent on a war that is killing children in another country.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Bodega Bay

The weekend at the Dunes Cottage on Salmon creek provided a grand finish to my birthday month. This was the second annual Mom's birthday celebration that replaces in our family here on the coast and in the Nevada desert Thanksgiving and Christmas worries. I have a way to gift my kids and grandkids as we eat and play together for a couple of days. I shopped for gifts for each of them over the last two months. It was so much better than in December.

After breakfast they opened the Christmas paper wrapped presents. I had so much fun because everyone was surprised. And the gifts were something they wanted and liked.

We spent Saturday morning playing in the cold, very cold waves on the beach. Skyler and Shae teased the waves and within minutes of arriving were soaked. We took turns holding their hands and running from the waves that got the rest of us wet up to the knees. After lunch I sat in a chaise lounge on the patio and let the kids sit with me play with me and each other. We read a little and then it was time to go to the tide pools. The tide pools were a disappointment. Last year there were hundreds of starfish clinging to the rocks and the sea anemones were everywhere. We only saw one starfish and very few sea anemones. I hope this is not because of the climate changes. Saturday weather was sunny and warm but not hot, just perfect.

Sunday morning we took a short walk on the foggy beach. Short because it was impossible to keep the kids out of the water they were ready for a repeat of Saturday morning but they were dressed in long pants for the trip home.

Part two...I guess this is my rant.
I have spent many years playing Scrooge through THE HOLIDAYS. I boycotted Xmas for many years and then started taking back the parts of the holiday that I liked. Buying gifts was occasionally forced upon me but my heart was never in it as I walked through the stores full of, what I saw as overpriced junk wrapped in red and greed see I misspelled green. I buy as little as possible from Thanksgiving to New Year's day as a protest to stores that replace Halloween merchandise with Christmas decorations before Halloween.

The first year of my boycott I took Paulette to Disneyland on Christmas day and David visited some friends in Southern California. We happened to see a little of the DoDa parade in Pasadena that year. The next March i bought Paulette a new bike as an annual gift. For several years David got new tires. That's what he needed and wanted.
A couple of years ago i spend Christmas day at the bottom of the Grand Canyon with the Hulapai Indians who served Indian Stew. Each year has been different.

As I see it It would be much better for each family to have a big celebration in the birth month of the elder of the family. Presents, big meal, a family get together. Airfares might be cheaper, surley the airports would be less crowded. Gifts would be more thoughtful as there would be none of the abouve mentioned junk. I believe in the long run the merchants would do better if they did not have to work so hard to make up profits at the end of the year.

Sooooo in October when you are beginning to stress over THE HOLIDAYS; perhaps it is time to decide how you want to celebrate. Keep what is meaningful and joyful. Move what can be moved to another time of year. Drop the stressful and unnecessary.

Monday, April 23, 2007


I've seen two movies this month that I really liked. I did not mind paying six dollars to see either of them.

The Namesake How names are given, how they affect a life. It also shows another culture within ours. I really like that kind of movie.
The Painted Veil A lovely story in a different time and place.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


The spring winds have been blowing and today feels more like fall than spring. I have kept up with my walking exercise even in the wind. Yes I'm bragging and it hasn't been easy. Yesterday and today the clouds were so white and fluffy and I thought of how Mother used to talk about the clouds being whiter and fluffier in Colorado. The good news is the air is being swept of some of the smog andwhatever else our autos put in it in this valley.

The weekend. After work tomorrow I'm off to Reno to a Dance Sensation. 48 hours of dancing, dance workshops and dance shows. West coast swing, lindy, charleston, blues dancing, salsa and hip hop. Snow is forecast for the mountains so I might get to use my chains this year after all. I have to go finish packing. Can't forget my Aleve.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday morning

I left for work at a slightly different time this morning. I was stopped at a stop light near the high school. About 25 teenagers slouched, reluctantly, across the street in front of me. I was struck by the diversity of skin colors. It seemed most races were represented in this small group. I also had time to notice the diverse body shapes: tall, short, thin, fat, lots of in between. However, their clothes were so similar as to mimic uniforms. Dark pants and dark sweatshirts many of them hooded. I silently wished them a safe day and drove on.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cha Cha follow-up

I realized I did not write about how much fun I had with my students when I taught the ChaCha. I wasn't sure I knew how to teach dance so I asked my private teacher to give me a lesson plan. IT WORKED!

The class was divided, half enthusiastic and half reluctant in the beginning. I found that peer pressure is alive and well in adults as well as children. The enthusiasts pulled the reluctants into the lesson. Since it was a party day(We always have a party before vacation) we spent 45 minutes in our space and then were joined at the food tables by the other morning class. After the eating the two classes combined for another lesson. Soon there were 30 people trying out the Cha Cha. We laughed and danced. To finish the morning I put on latin music and we all danced the merangue in a long line dance.

When we returned to class yesterday someone asked when we would have another Cha Cha lesson.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

April 7

Back form the coast. We hiked the Pomo canyon trail named after Dr. David Joseph. I don't know who he is but the trail is great. We started at Shell Beach in the fog. It was a little cold but halfway up the first hill we were shedding the first layer. We walked into sunshine with the fog behind us. We met two cowgirls on horseback who were on the trail to head off cattle they were moving up the hill. They had been hidden in the shrubs along the trail. We never saw the cattle.

There are redwood trees older than I can imagine. There are three places along the trail where the trees form what I feel are sacred places. There is the sound of water, sun filtering through the thick canopies high up toward the sky and the light is soft. One has no water sound and is so quiet you can hear your heart beat and your breath going in and out.

We met a group of about 40 kids hiking towards Shell beach. One of the adults said they had hiked 10 miles already--they were a little less than three miles from the beach when we met them.

We ate lunch at a picnic table near the campground, refilled water bottles and took advantage of the toilets. Then hiked back to the beach. About a mile from the end of the hike the fog rolled back in toward us and the wind picked up. Really glad to be at the end of the six mile hike.

We showered changed, went to dinner at a local restaurant, bought a pint of Ben and Jerrys (Dublin Mudslide) and returned to the house for a quiet evening in front of a gas fireplace with the wind outside and the sound of the waves of the ocean about a quarter of a mile away.

A great birthday.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Tomorrow, April 6th, I will turn 66. I wonder what a 666 year will bring. Perhaps I should have planned a trip to Route 66. Instead I'm going to hike Pomo Canyon just North of Bodega Bay with two friends. Then we will sleep at the beach house of a friend and drive back on Saturday through Sonoma and Napa. I know this trail does not have any rocks to surprises in that area.

Today I am trying to do a weeks worth of sorting and cleaning. I'm not going to finish. However, I did get up early for a day off and walk to Borders for coffee. Then I walked back and did not even think about the order of things or try to make a list. Ipicked up the first stack of stuff and got rid of most of it in one way or another. I then attacked my office and it is so nice and clear and dust free I can sit and think. On the other side of that the hallway is barely passable because of the stuff that is going somewhere else--soon.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

April 4, 1007

In the middle of my spring break. Yesterday and today I walked to Borders (It takes me about 25 minutes each way) Bought a Latte, a newspaper, read it and enjoyed the feeling of not having to be anywhere unless I really want to.

I moved into this apartment four months ago today. I am deciding what to put on the walls. Can't decide. Will have to call a friend in to help me. I have lots of choices because I have framed my own photography over the years. I see today that a few of them need to be reframed. Another project.

I did make a spring vegetable soup and it is good and will last me until next tuesday unless I freeze some of it.

I have completed three or four projects today by pretending I'm a stamp that has to stick to it until the job is done. I always think I will have more time than I do when I have a little time off from work. First the regular maintenance, you know cleaning, cooking, laundry, paying bills and so on and on. Then organizing the projects and finding everything I need. Then a trip to the store for womething, it's always something. Of course I take breaks for dance lessons and phone calls and reading blogs. And now writing on my blog.

OK My blogging time is up.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Spring Break

Monday, the first day of spring break for me. No alarm clock and I still woke at 6am. Since it was a holiday for me, my 20+ years walking partner, Jeannette, came to my home for a morning walk. We started 5:30AM walking, five days a week back in 1985 or so and kept it up until last December when I moved to Natomas. Now I stop in Davis on my way home from work on Monday and we walk. Then one Saturday a month we weigh in at Weight Watchers and go for a walk. I sometimes find it hard to believe we kept up the 5:30am walk for so long. I know more about Jeannette than I do my sisters.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
San Francisco Open dance competition: Many hours of watching other people dance an d a little dancing myself. I wish they had more general dancing. I did get to dance a Viennese Waltz. I just learned the basic step in March and Paulette said I looked good. I was not in a competition. The Spirit In Motion team took second for their Bond piece. they really looked good.

The smooth dances are a swirling oof many colored gowns winding around the black suits, and tuxes of their leaders. Sometimes they looked like spring flowers floating around the floor. Other gowns were silver, white and sparkley. The rhythm dancers wear many colors and they are usually brighter, shorter, and very to be exact. I like the ones with long fringe that, to me, does a dance of its own around the body of the woman.

On the way home I drove into Berkeley on the off chance I could find a parking place somewhere near a store I wanted to go to...well that didn't happen. I did find a place to park near a place called Fatapples and had a great portobella mushroom sandwich for and early dinner.

I walked along the Bay Park Trail that skirts the bay across from the International airport. I see planes taking off and landing at the rate of about one a minute form this angle. It appears there wil be a carsh as incoming fly wing to wing to the two runways. AND the outgoing are sitting on yet another runwya that the other two are approaching. All of this drama about a mile across the water from where I am walking. Next to me in the rushes the shore birds are pecking their lunch. They are oblivious to the huge metal birds making loud noise a mile away.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Just home from subbing for a teacher at the Davis Adult school. There were 26 students from around the world. I had a blast.
Now I have to finish packing to leave for San Francisco after work. I will leave from work. Work is going to be play and eating. The last day before vacations are parties. The students bring very, very good food. this time I am going to teach a cha cha lesson for fun. My private lesson teacher helped me make a lesson plan. I'm looking forward to it and it seems my students are too. Just in case the Cha Cha doesn't work. I'm taking some salsa music--some of them already know salsa.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Six things about me

1. I love my post-retirement career. I teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to an adult class in Dixon, CA. fifteen out of eighteen students are from Mexico, one from Ecuador and one from Russia (Well two but one has a new job and comes only occasionally) They are wonderful. I tell them they must become bilingual so they can teach me Spanish when all residents of California are required to speak a second language. I am often embarrassed that in this country we do not require a second language. Well maybe that's not all about me.

2. I love to write fiction and non fiction and dream, only dream, of publishing something. I have a new idea every day for a new story.

3. I have two file drawers devoted to B&W negatives and color slides, everything I need to start painting in watercolor, and enough art ideas to keep me busy for thirty years.

4. I relearned something about myself yesterday: I like baginning things and the most difficult part of any project is finishing it. It became clear during the last mile of the five-mile hike. I wanted to sit down and blink my eyes and be back at the car. It wasn't going to happen. Part of my group was in front and part behind me--there were five of us--and I walked alone on the trail. I felt the downhill stress on my thighs (Hoping it would make them smaller but knowing it was only going to make them sore.) My mind played with stories I want to write, art i dream of making and the next hike I'm going to take. Step by step I made it back to the car and felt great. Now I want to translate that to the dozens of projects I have started. "I will be like the postage stamp and stick to one thing until I get there." Josh Billings from the inside of a bottle cap on ice tea.

5. I love the WNBA in general and the Sacramento Monarchs (2005 world champions) in particular.

6. I am known in my circle of friends here in California for my road trips.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Stebbins Cold Canyon

First hike since October. It was harder than I would have chosen for renewing my hiking but it was great. Yes I can say that now that I am home, showered and drinking tea.

We started with a breakfast at the Putah Creek Cafe in Winters. Must have big breakfast to hike. This was a new hike for me my friend Jeannette had been on the hike a few weeks ago. It's five miles she said. Goes up the mountain to the ridgeline and along the ridge and back down. Sinsce it's not the Rocky Mountains but the Coastal Range that didn't sound hard.

Weather perfect at the trailhead we didn't need more than a sweatshirt and shed it after about an hour. Nice walking along the trail wildflowers, butterflies and birdsongs. Then we came to the steps (4x4s pushed into the earth) that have been installed to assist goiing up. Nice. The steps went on and on and on and on. Then we followed the trail to the top. Well it wasn't really the top see that little peak over there. Great adn it's still early and off we went. It turns out that there is yet another peak along the ridgline and now we have to cllimb over rocks and boulders. What am I doing here? the other option is turning back and taking all those steps back.
More rocks and boulders and it is becoming a fun challenge. Then there is another peak to climb before descending on a smooth, switchback trail. We eat lunch overlooking Lake Berryessa. Vultures with brown wings and red heads are playing on the wind currents while we sit on boulders eating. We joke about not sitting too still.

We have one and a half miles to go and it is all downhill. Oh yeah downhill and some steep place. My legs will be sore tomorrow.

Worth it? Oh Yes! Standing on each of those little peaks looking out over the lake or the valley is great.

Friday, March 23, 2007


The weekend begins.....It is spring...Time to go outside.

Sunday a hike to Cold Canyon near Lake Berryessa. I haven't been there for a few years. I haven't been on a serious hike for a couple of years. It's time.

Tonight I think I'll go dancing. I have been doing other things on Fridays for a month or so and I miss the ballroom dancing.

I have had a good time with my students this week. (I teach adult esl students) They have been researching states. I have given each one a different state and the 50states website. Some answer the questions and go on to grammar exercises or other topics. The great thing has been the ones who look at more than the pages to get the answers and share what they are finding with me and their class mates. For example the Oklahoma state flag is beautiful. I haven't looked at all of them so can't say it is the best.

We have been learning to use pronouns. I forget every year how hard it is to explain sort out my, me mine, her hers she etc.
I think the most difficult is their, they're and there... But teacher they all sound the same.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


The news said rain and sure enough it is raining. I got home about ten minutes after the downpour started--it's an hour later and has lessened a little but still raining very steady.

There are still some addresses to change from the move. I had a po box for so many years that I never had to change addresses when I moved. Since I moved to another city i will be giving up the PO Box. I manage to get one of the leftover addresses changed every two or three days. The good news; the list is getting shorter.

Accomplishments today: my taxes are e-filed, I have my pictures to renew my passport, I sent in the renewal for my teaching credential. These were on another list.

Creative projects: David's T-shirt project is about four yards of pellon short of being on to step three. I have a deadline of April first for the next sharing of a fiction story I'm writing. It's writer's group and I share. So, why am I sitting here writing?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

weekend ending

Sunday evening....I have almost finished my weekend list of chores. I would be done but I took a walk to Borders for newspapers, iced tea and a little browsing. Perfect weather for walking this afternoon. There were Canadian geese by th pond and some little birds I don't recognize. I don't think they were babies because the adults were far away from them. I read the Sacramento and San Francisco Sunday papers all week.

Strong woman...The Kearney coach who went to support her team five hours after giving birth...

There is still smoke in the air from the burning railroad tresel. I can't see if if I look straight up but if I look toward the horizon it is smokey. Can't smell it so suppose to mean I'm not breathing creasote.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St Patricks Day

Saturday...The goodyear blimp has been flying over my neighborhood for the past three days. I live very close to Arco Arena.
I have no idea who is playing but try to avoid going past the arena between games. So if you are watching March madness perhaps you will see my place.

A railroad tressel near Cal. Expo burned to the water. No one was hurt. Arson suspected. From the news videos I can see that creasote burns bright, high and long.

If you haven't tried Zumba for exercise...I recommend it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Now that I have this set up and found my way back to the new post; I have no idea what to say...

Weather report: Sunny and warm. Must get out and walk soon. i noticed on the Norfork, NE web cam this morning the sky looked a lot like the sky over Sacramento and Dlxon. Lincoln didn't look bad either and there was hardly any traffic.

Last night I started trying to figure out the easiest way to break up the upcoming (in June) Johnston Odyssey I am taking with my son, daughter and my son's two children (ages 5 & 3). I am grandma and mom. David and Paulette are siblings, Skyler and Shae are siblings. David: dad, son, broher, Paulette: aunt, daughter and sister. Skyler: brother, son, nephew and grandson, Shae: sister, daughter, niece and granddaughter. ROAD TRIP!!!!!

BACKGROUND: I have been known for my road trips for more than twenty years. Perhaps this is the year to write publicly about the trips for a book. After all, Oprah and Gayle took a road trip. I can't afford to hire a production we will blog the trip and post daily updates. Last summer Paulette discovered wireless internet in hotels.

From Reno, NV to Omaha, NE is 1258 miles.

Beauty on the commute: The mist over the little person-made pond on Natomas Blvd.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

A Beginning

I could not let little sister get too far ahead of me...

The trees are blooming--some look like they are covered with snow here in the valley. (I know the people in Nebraska don't want to hear the word snow.)

It is Friday! Perhaps during the weekend I can figure out why I started this adventure.