Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Since I don't watch commercial TV; this year's annoying advertisement is from the newspaper:

Who has time to go caroling...

Its over a picture of three children, dressed for snow, singing.

And then...
Last week I decided to browse the Macy's store near my new home. An employee asked if she could help. "No thank you. I'm just browsing." I said. "Are you shopping for yourself or someone else?" ""Neither." I answered. Her make-up and sparkling earrings almost fell off. I walked away.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Today I drove with friends for many hours to see Stanford women stomp the Lady Vols from Tennessee. The other people going to Stanford were the ones who sat next to us at the Monarchs games for ten years. One woman said it is like losing her summer family. Read on.

Sadly we have lost our Monarchs. The team has been dispersed. Only the Kings remain in Sacramento. We will have to find something else to do on summer evenings.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


No finished water colors yet but here is the mosaic I made last winter.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New place

Here are photos of my patio on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The leaves cover the dirt area. There is nothing planted there. I may have to do something about that when spring comes. The picture on the right is taken from the north, and yes that whole wall on the left are windows. Didn't like them too much during what we call a cold snap and Nebraska people call spring weather. Next, I am standing in front of the windows. You can see the 12 story tower in the upper right. Next, you are looking toward the north. That is a very big tree. This morning I watched a squirrel climbing it with a nut in its mouth. The other one is taken from the south of the patio.

As I get the place together I will send inside photos. Right now things are being moved around on a daily basis.

What I have been doing besides moving:

I went to a farewell party for one of my students from last year. She is returning to Japan. We had dinner at a Korean BBQ. This was a new experience for me. The chicken, beef and port are brought to the table sliced and raw.
You cook it yourself. There is salad and vegetable side dishes including kim chi a very popular Korean dish.
I ate it for the first time. It is spicy and I did like it.

I am still walking with the Sacramento AVA walking club. We walked in the little town of Winters, CA last weekend. A few weeks ago there was a walk around Folsom, CA, I am a fair weather walker so I'm waiting for the sun to shine again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

News from the West

October: Skyler's birthday, Apple Hill, David got a promotion and is working all the time. Paulette had a birthday. We had dinner at a Thai restaurant. I started a watercolor painting class, searched for a new apartment.

November: Found an apartment, about five blocks from the state capitol. Drove to Reno on Friday and delivered Shae's and Sterling's birthday presents. Stayed overnight. Saturday--we went to Home Depot and they built trivets. To the Dollar Store for some shopping. Sterling's ballet lesson where she refused to participate. TCBY for a frozen yogurt snack. I sewed the patches on Skyler's boy scout uniform, we played action UNO. I came home. Shae took pictures with her new camera. I drove home in the afternoon. Shae and David went to a father-daughter ball on Saturday evening.

I'm moving one car load at a time and will take the big stuff on the 21st.

Monday, September 28, 2009

New season

This morning it was cool enough for long sleeves--until about 9am. So that's how I know it is fall. And the tree outside my kitchen has some yellow leaves. I know the first day of fall was a week ago but it is hard to believe it when the temp outside is still getting up to 100.

My new ESL class is good although it is low intermediate instead of Advanced like last year. I have to practice speaking more slowly. I can always tell because their eyes glaze over. Most are too polite to say anything.

The Sacramento Monarchs ended the season at the very bottom. Oh well there's always next year.

Paulette and I went with friends to see Wicked in San Francisco. It was fantastic. We had been in Ashland the week-end before and saw three plays. Equivocation, All's Well That Ends Well and Don Quixote. Good plays and the weather was beautiful. They were having sidewalk sales and the craft show was still going on. Almost not enough time to get everything done between plays.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Are we having fun yet?

Shae and Sterling are visiting for a few days, three to be exact.
Here are some pictures of some of the things we have been doing.

Dominos are a versatile toy.
On Sunday, Shae and I went to see CATS. She liked it and so did I
Sterling ran errands with Auntie P.

A touching moment on the way from Paulette's house to mine: Shae said, "I'm sad to be leaving Auntie P's house." P's house is twenty minutes from mine.

In my bathroom, the flush handle is on the right side instead of the left side. I have no idea why. Sterling, 2 and three quarters started to flush the toilet. She stepped back with panties around her ankles and said, "The handle is on the wrong side." She's the only one who has ever commented on it in three years. She told me several times in a tone of voice that said, "Fix it."

Here's our schedule for today: Breakfast Cereal for Sterling, eggs for Shae. Shopping for groceries and coffee and chocolate milk at PEETS. We baked cookies, had mac and cheese for lunch. Sterling took a nap while Shae and I did a project. We went swimming. Chicken and rice for dinner. Watched Monsters INC. Ice cream with our cookies and to bed.

We will probably be even busier tomorrow.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I found a scrap of paper with these little poems called cinquains. The format is: first line-a noun, second line- adjectives describing the noun, third line-3 verbs ending in -ing, fourth line a 4-word phrase and last line one word. (may repeat the first word)

Two new year's poems

easy, difficult
works, nags, sings
My resolution is unclear

new, untried
waiting, coming, looming
filled with clean days

clean, clear
falling, roaring, crashing
cleans mind and body

Friday, April 17, 2009

Circle of life

Lots of birthdays in our family this month.  My great granddaughter, Robin had her first birthday this week.  I won't try to list the rest you all know who your are.  Just Happy Birthday Jerry tomorrow.

A friend's sister died last week a few days before her first grandson arrived in the world.

Two weeks ago my friend and fellow writer, Jim died of colon cancer.  Our writer's group (of three) met the Tuesday before he died and had scheduled another meeting for the next Tuesday.  It was not to be.  Jim liked the family stories I had been writing for the blog.  He had been writing a book on being a survivor of cancer.  He did survive about five years and tried many treatments.  He exhausted all treatments and prepared for the end of his life.  I was  honored to be part of his support in the end.   

This is the story I would have shared at our next meeting.


Neighbors worked together to harvest the oats.  First the grain was cut and tied into bundles. Then the crews of men ant teen boys stood the bundles up into shocks.  The shocks looked like teepees.

The Grenier brothers had a threshing machine they brought to each farm.

When threshing day arrived people arrived.  The men came with hay racks pulled by teams of horses or tractors.   The threshing machine stopped at the edge of the field.  A belt, very wide maybe 12 to 18 inches, connected the thresher to a wheel on the tractor.  The noise of the tractor and the thresher was as loud as a jet airplane.  It ran constantly as the men and boys brought the shocks of oats to be threshed.  The grain spewed into wagons that hauled it to the grainery and the straw dropped on the ground.   

Meanwhile back at the farmhouse, Mother fried several chickens, prepared a pot roast and some kind of potatoes.  The women arrived about ten with potato salad, corn on the cob, green beans, peas, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.  There were cakes, pies and cookies for dessert. Iced tea was made in a big kettle that would be used for canning tomatoes, peaches and pickled cucumbers.

The dining room table was stretched to it's longest and sawhorses with planks appeared on the lawn outside for the overflow.  Every chair in the house and some folding chairs from other women were set up. 

At noon, exactly 12 noon, I'm sure, the machine was stopped and the men arrived to wash with Lava soap at the outdoor pump.  Some of the men took short, black combs from a pocket in their bib overalls and combed the straw out of their hair.  They took places at the tables and women and kids old enough to carry a platter or a bowl kept the food coming.  They served dessert and coffee.  The men thanked and complimented the cooks and returned to the field.

Women and kids took places at the table to eat and gossip.

Stacks of dirty dishes turned into clean ones and returned to the cupboards.   

Bologna, cheese, and chicken or tuna salad sandwiches were prepared cakes were cut and a huge pot of coffee made.  At four PM this lunch was loaded into the car and driven to the field.  This time the machine continued to separate the grain from the straw and the crew members ate as they brought their load from the field.  They worked until the field was finished or dark.

The next day the scene changed but the people were the same.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bodega Bay Weekend

This is the spiral staircase in the beach house we rent for a weekend at Bodega Bay

Through the window we can see Salmon Creek and in the distance the waves are breaking on
 the beach.  We enjoy this trip once a year.  It is for my birthday and this year is the fourth annual.

David, Robin, Skyler, Sterling and Shae waiting for the cold water to splash their feet.  The water is very cold this time of year.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bodega Bay Weekend

Bodega  Bay pictures coming soon.

We had a great time.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I believe

NPR has a part called "This I Believe"  people write essays and then read them on the air.  There are also printed collections of these essays.

These are some of my thoughts so far.   Consider this a work in progress.

I believe in the interconnected web of being.  The web that connects me with every living thing on the planet.  I try to do what is the best for this web.   I try also, to do right by the earth, the air, the sky and the water that sustains our lives.

I believe in family however YOU define and live it for yourself.   I have family I can reach out and physically touch, some I touch through telephone and internet.   There is my family of origin and longtime close friends who often feel and act like family.  And there are the ancestors. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I missed watching the Obama Inauguration and hearing the complete address of our new president.  I was teaching an ESL class.   I heard pieces of the address on the radio during the day.   Today I returned to the same classroom.  One of the students brought the text of the speech to class.  I asked the class if they would like to read it aloud.  They did.  I walked among them and listened in awe as the speech was read in a dozen or more different accents.  Amazing.   We spent the two hours with Obama's words.  They asked about some of the phrases.  The unfamiliar metaphors and idioms.   

I have taught ESL for ten years and this was one of the most exciting, difficult and satisfying class I have taught.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

San Francisco

On a perfect Saturday, I walked seven miles with a group of friends.  We walked all around the Presido in San Francisco,  we walked along the beach and were rarely out of sight of some part of the Golden Gate Bridge.

We even found the buildings currently occupied by Lucas Films and here I am with a statue of Yoda.  Looks good, he does.  The building was closed and through the windows we did see Darth Vader.

San Francisco Bay was dotted with sailboats and rowing crews.  We think they were racing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

An end and a beginning

  Thoughts about the end of 2008
1. Secular Christmas:  
        Black Friday should be discontinued.  Someone died.
The commercial with dancing corkscrews wearing red and white Santa hats singing Bev Mo lulia.  Sick.  (This may have been a California thing)

2. Keeping Christ in Christmas.  
      Please bring back 'swaddling clothes" for Jesus.  Dressed in cloth doesn't work for me.  
     Glad Tidings is better than good news. 
      Sore afraid is better than terrified or as one pastor said 'So scared they peed their pants." 

The list could go longer but I have some positive things to say.
1,  Going to the Nutcracker with Shae and Skyler and Robin.
2. Shae and Skyler playing in the fresh snow until their hands were cold, cheeks rosy and a very short snowman decorated the yard.
3. Christmas eve service ending with candles and Silent Night.
4.  The quiet that falls over the city when most businesses close for Christmas day.
5.  Cards, family photos and newsletters.

Looking forward.
It's a new year with 364 fresh new days ahead.  I spent the first one having brunch with friends and then a long walk under foggy skies.

HAPPY NEW YEAR everybody.