A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ben Folds

This is the most gorgeous song.  It always makes me wishful.  And teary.

He's going to be at a local theater tomorrow.   We're celebrating my younger son's birthday with Grandma so I wouldn't consider it.

I don't suppose he's bringing the choir anyway.  Theirs is my favorite arrangement.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

600 Papers.

I have not left my house in two days.  Progress report grades are due Tuesday and I got behind on grading what with one interruption or another.  Four assignments.  Six hundred papers.

I decided that it would be a good opportunity to wash not only my usual weekly laundry and the sheets but also the bed's undergarments.  And then got involved with the grades, bill paying, cleaning the hummingbird feeders and refilling, overfilling the pond (oops) again.

And forgot the wet bedding.  Until bedtime.

So, I have some time and decided to update my last trip to Disneyland.  I went by myself because I had some things I wanted to see, do, ride and I don't like leaving my mom sitting alone too long.  It was a smooth trip and a beautiful day.

My main reason for the trip was to ride the Haunted Mansion.  I love the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay and try to see (and photograph) it at least once a year.  This time the line was moving so quickly that I didn't have time to take too many pictures of the outside.

When a disabled person wants to board the ride, they stop it completely and this year I lucked out.  The stopped it when I was at the ballroom scene which gave me plenty of time to check out the gingerbread house (and smell it, too, as they were were pumping fragrance) and my favorite, the Christmas tree.  They've added an animatronic Sally this year and she was fluttering her eyelashes and doing the lovestruck leg lift.  Adorable.

It took so little time to ride the tour the Mansion that I was way too early for the first Laughing Stock show, so took advantage of the opportunity to get some photos of the New Orleans Square train depot.  The trains haven't been running for months because of the Star Wars Land construction.  I've always loved these trains (well, trains in general) and my family ended every visit to Disneyland with a trip around the park.  It was nice to have the time to leisurely document my favorite engine.

I spent a little time chatting with the engineer.  I asked if he had a story to share with me and he did not, but then said something quite lovely.  He said that when the engine is sitting as it has been, it is just a hunk of cold metal.  But when it is fired up and working, he said, "...it is a warm, breathing animal."  We agreed we are excited about the changes in the route, and he shared some speculations (I assume based on his experience in the park) about the changes.  If he's correct, it's going to be an even more awesome ride around the park.

Laughing Stock was fun as usual, and ended my time at Disneyland.  My second reason for visiting on this day was was to ride the new Luigi cars at Cars Land in Disney California Adventure.

The story of the ride is that Luigi's family has come to California for a visit and to celebrate, the family does the folk dances of the old country.  There are a dozen different dances, and I was hoping to enjoy at least three or four, but when I got there the ride was closed with no word when it would re-open.  Based just on the castmember carrying a container of disinfectant wipes, I'd guess someone couldn't handle the spins and turns and... 

Well, I decided to go on home.  Managed to hit my favorite restaurant for a big salad and get home before sunset for a relaxing evening with the dog.

It was so gorgeous outside today that I treated myself between stacks of papers with little trips into my fall garden.  Soon it will be time to cut stuff back, but for now it's all still looking pretty good.

Brugmansia 'Creamsicle'  Biggest bloom I've had so far, perfect form.

Looks like 'Frosty Pink' is going to be a sprawler.

That passion vine I don't like is doing great, of course.  At least the fritillaries like it.

Begonia 'Freddie.'  I guess I luck out with global warming.  For years by now this would be in shreds because of Santa Ana winds, but we don't get them like we did up until about five years ago.  Oh, we'll have a few days here and there, but they used to go on for weeks and beat everything to a pulp.

I was shocked and delighted to see that my narrow leaf milkweed is coming back...

Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi' (a treasure) and 'Insignis Pink.'  They are starting their slid into semi-dormancy and these are challenged because I forget to check this side yard for water during the heat.  Hanging in there, though.

This was a happy surprise.  I have three miniature roses from the Tiny Petals Nursery collection.  The original hybridizer and nurserywoman died a few years ago and a commercial grower got the rights.  They don't sell retail anymore so I take special care of these little gems.  This is a terrible picture, but these are perfect little buds about the size of my little fingertip.

Fall color on the hydrangea wall.  I'll start cutting these back next month for the winter.

As I said, I cleaned and refilled all the hummingbird feeders.  Found myself in a fight over one of them.  Had to laugh.  There are a total of six feeders, but they don't share well with others.

Better check the sheets.  Busy Red Ribbon Week next week, with some extra meetings.

Another trip to Disneyland Saturday with Mom.  We're both looking forward to our new tradition of chicken dinner at Knott's after Musical Chairs with the Mad Hatter.  Going to take her over to see the new Frozen stage show and will try again to dance with Luigi's cousins.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Life's Soundtrack.

My sister is a gamer.  Her former husband used to tease her about leaving the music on.  He would say, "Life doesn't have a soundtrack."

Foolish man.

Life does have a soundtrack.  For me, it's a constant and - most of the time - a delightful companion.

I'm grading papers.  Lots of them.  I ran Maleficent in the computer next to me, then decided I wanted a love story with a happy ending.  There is no better one than August Rush.  All I want to do is watch the final scene over and over.

The music is all around us.   All you have to do, is listen.

Well, wow.


My friend Ezra posted this to my facebook timeline this morning.  You'd have to know Ez to understand why it made me cry.  He's a bit of a curmudgeon sometimes.  A lot of sometimes.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Alan Watts - Why Your Life Is Not A Journey

We were supposed to sing and dance all along.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Grateful news.

Perfect day for a drive up the coast to my ophthalmologist.  The sea was a gorgeous blue.

I've know this doctor and his optician for 35+ years.  Got my refraction and had a delightful visit with the optician first, then a catch up and exam by the doctor.  I told him the "spectacular" story re: the retinal surgeon.  The ophthalmologist took a long, careful look and said that my story is beyond spectacular, it's a triumph.  "When I look at your retina...  it's not pretty in there." 

Which makes me even more grateful that I can see as well as I do.  Which is better than ever.

And he took me off the twice-a-year checks.  Back to annual.

Stopped on the way home at my favorite quilt shop for some of this:

And followed the recommendation of a friend and went to Senor Frog's for Mexican food lunch.  (Turned out the restaurant is directly behind the quilt shop.)

Horrible accident on the way home made for a slow trip, but learned later that nobody was killed (I am amazed but grateful).

A couple of errands and I was home to re-submit some med stuff and renew my internet package, then went out front to wash my car only to discover baby tortoise #4 UNDER MY CAR.  They're two inches long, for goodness sake.  How did he get out through the back and onto the front driveway.  I put him in the nursery, then went back to the pen to see if there were more (no) but almost stepped on one in the pathway headed back to the house.

The kids can really truck it.

Lecture all day tomorrow, then to my Mom's for dinner (and to replace a faucet so I can install a timer on her rose garden).  Seriously considering a day at Disneyland Saturday (taking her in a couple of weeks) so I can ride some stuff.

Fall is starting off well.

Sunday, September 25, 2016



I joke about Mercury in Retrograde, but figure that if the interaction between the Sun and the Moon with the Earth caught between can move oceans, then the energy interactions between planets should not be discounted.  Right now I can testify that the day Mercury went station, I woke up in my "All is Well" mode and the momentum of good things kickstarted back into forward.

I downloaded my pictures from the full moon and noticed a benefit to Benign Essential Tremor (Familial).  Sometimes I feel so happy there must be sparks coming out my pores.  Sorta like this.

I tried to catch my view on the last night through the trees at the end of my street.  Only marginally successful, but it was a beautiful evening and I enjoyed the attempts.

Finally, a sunset!  Pretty mild this summer, but I managed to catch this one. 

There are so many things in the sky that make my heart smile.  Clouds.  Sunrises and sunsets.  Birds and butterflies.  Hot air balloons.  I read somewhere that just smiling (even if you're not sure you mean it) or looking up will raise serotonin levels.  I believe it.

On the ground at school Friday was something that made me smile, too.  Our PE department had taught every kid in the school - 1100 of them - to do four line dances and then had taught the staff on Tuesday as a surprise for the kids.  The principal called us all out and we all danced our week to an end.  After my experience on Tuesday with the lessons aggravating my injured knee, I remembered to bring my brace so was able to avoid too much residual swelling and aching.  WHAT FUN that was.  On my bucket list is to participate in a flashmob.  Since we flashed the kids (they didn't know why they were being called to the blacktop) I think I can cross that one off.

Afterward I headed to Mom's for our usual dinner out, then home knowing I'd be returning the next afternoon.

The work at work had been a little taxing, so I welcomed the morning in the garden.  It's been months since I added rescue fish to the pond.  Dodger finally noticed them (there are about twenty).  I could hear his dopey doggy mind whispering, "WTF?"

Then it was time to feed the tortoises.  We had someone out to permit them last year and donated our dozen babies to the California Turtle and Tortoise Club for adoption.  Now we're down to eight adults, which is a nice manageable number.  I clipped some ruellia and was standing at the enclosure clipping it into the pen when I looked down and...

They're a little less than two inches, nose to tail.

There is something so hopeful about baby tortoises, and had I known a tortoise song I might have burst out with it.  I had to settle for smiles and giggles and maybe a happy little tear might have slipped out.  Maybe.  I got their enclosure set up and left them to stay safely in the house for a few years.  I really missed the little guys this year as it passed, so was thrilled to find a couple.

Dealing with the babies ate up my morning errand time (ogeedarn), but I pullled it all together to head back to where my Mom lives for a birthday party for a friend's baby's first birthday.  My friend is a server at our favorite restaurant (one of several I've formed an attachment to) and - hungry for grandchild type activities - I asked her to invite me to a baby shower when she was expecting, which earned me an invite to this party.

I've learned a lot about myself the past few years.  I am enough.  I don't have to bend to fit in.  I don't have to be where I don't want to be.  And I've learned to listen to my gut.  When I got to the party (which I couldn't find right away) all I could think was, "I don't want to be here."  It was a big party where everyone knew everyone else and I only knew the hostess.  It was outside, in the heat and wind.  I felt everything inside calm down when, as I crossed the grass to the picnic tables where the guest of honor was being entertained by three sets of grandparents, I decided to simply give and get a hug, deliver the present, wish everyone well and get out of Dodge.  (Apropos analogy since the park is near the old movie ranch were a lot of old Westerns were made.)  I went to my favorite restaurant, saw some of my favorite people and enjoyed my favorite salad in air-conditioned comfort.

I ran my errands and visited with my Mom while we waited for our appointed dinner date with my brother, sister-in-law and sister at El Toritos.  The food was a disappointment (the hot spice chef must have been in charge)  and a drunk woman was yelling her conversation so loudly that we couldn't hear.  Once she got her food, though, she was distracted enough to shut up and we enjoyed each other's company as we haven't for months.  After dinner we settled in for a round of Tripoly.  I play board games so seldom that I need a cheat card for the poker round and have to be reminded of the procedures and rules, but I ended up the big winner after all.   Most important, though, is that it proved to be a healing evening for a family going through a super stressful time.  I'm glad I joined that group.

It took me until 2:00 am to wind down last night, then Dodger wanted up and out at his usual time of 5:30.  Fortunately, once fed and toileted he was content to come back in and go back to bed, so I did , too, and woke up a couple of hours later.  Still feel draggy and not too motivated to get much done. but I did go out back to feed the tortoises again.

And then there were three.

All is well with me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I danced.

Paying the price, but I danced.

So, I'm going through a down time.  I joke and say it's because Mercury is in retrograde (which I don't discount) but really it's emotional overload.  Don't really want to keep the momentum of it all going by mucking around in too many details.  But I try to be somewhat honest with myself and I'm going through a lonely stretch.  Deep.  And sad.

And feeling hopeless.  I mean, the most appealing man in this town right now is a guy at WeightWatchers.  With Down Syndrome.

(Not joking.  This is a seriously lovely human being who is a joy to be around.)

He's too young for me.


One of the PE teachers asked me if I thought the teachers would mind if they pulled the kids out of classes early Friday to dance.  Turns out they spent all last week and part of this teaching every kid in this school (1100 students) four line dances, and she thought it would be cool to bring them all out to the blacktop to dance together.

That little dormant dancer inside assumed first position.  I told her the other teachers would probably whine, but I would LOVE it!  And I wanted to learn the dances, too.  So, she worked it out with the principal (who is married to a professional dancer) to not only bring the kids out (they don't know it but they're going to be a flashmob) but also to take our staff meeting time yesterday to teach the faculty the dances.

Some of my happiest times have been on a dance floor.  I did Country Western line dancing for a year or so, until I found a clogging teacher.  Closest thing to flying I've ever known.  Not even my college dance years live up to moving across the floor to blue grass or rock or reggae with a good clogging cuer.  It was so much fun.

Until I got "hugged" by a 110 pound Labrador Retriever.   According to the MRI there are six things wrong with my left knee, one of which will need surgery.  I avoid stairs; curbs are a bitch.

And I don't dance.

Until yesterday.  Just simple stuff, stuff you can teach 1100 middle schoolers.  The hardest was the Electric Slide, which is the rankest beginner, let's-see-if-you-have-any-sense-of-rhythm-at-all, dance.  I took it easy.  REALLY easy.  Not my way at all.

And am still hobbling around like I spent the day doing Swan Lake rather than a half hour of baby-stepping on the gymnasium floor.


Just a piss poor start to the school year.  Barely started the fourth week but spent three days last week in a criminal jury watching a video of a city police officer try not to get killed by a whack-o in the park.  Fall is here and the rodents have moved on property (which means in the garden and garage).  I HATE killing things - won't even let my students kill the little spiders in the classroom - but every morning I have to go collect the bodies and reset the traps. And the students I was told all last year I was going to LOVE because they are so much better than the previous year are the worst!  I've started more discipline plans already this year than in the previous decade combined.  More, more, more.

And I can't dance.  Maybe not ever.  And since getting back to dance was the main inspiration to losing weight in the first place, all I want to do right now is buy every piece of chocolate in town, stretch out in the recliner and IV the stuff.

I won't stay here long.  I never do.  It's not who I am.  But for now, I'm thinking of sneaking in to re-attach myself in the Matrix.  Or enlist in a space voyage like the Earthlings in Wall-E.