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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


crack me up.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Like finding hidden treasure.

So, my one-year anniversary for losing weight will be next Sunday, December 5. It is Walt Disney's birthday. Each year my sister and I go to Disneyland and lay a flower at the flagpole to honor Walt's birthday. There is a giant Christmas tree right behind the flagpole at the end of Main Street. Last year we had our picture taken in front of that tree with the promise that - one year from that day - there would be less of us in front of that tree. I've had my ups and downs but am proud to announce that when I have my picture taken there this year, there will be somewhere between 37 and 50 pounds less of me in front of the tree.

The amount isn't quite clear. On the Weight Watchers' scale the total lost is around 37 pounds. However, I've been working out for months now including about an hour of resistance training with machines at each workout. I'm down five clothing sizes. Figuring about 10 pounds per clothing size I'm guessing my total fat loss is between 45 and 50 pounds.


I feel terrific. Have tons more energy. And I know I look better.

So I'll keep plugging along. This is my life from now on so whether it takes one or two more years to get to my "goal" weight (and even that is up for debate) it doesn't matter. This is how I eat, this is how I exercise, this is how I live. There will be times (like this Thanksgiving weekend) when I eat a whole bunch of stuff I don't usually eat but it all evens out in the end. Literally.

So what does this have to do with the ball-o-jeans picture? (Yes, I've used that image before). This morning was pretty chilly here in sunny SoCA and I went hunting a sweatshirt. I knew I had some stashed somewhere and finally tracked them down in my husband's bedroom. I was happily surprised to find a half-dozen pair of jeans (4 brand new, some still with tags) stashed in there, too. And, I can wear them now! I think they've been in there twenty years.

I was even more delighted to find my Hiawatha sweatshirt.

My mother's sister married a farmer from Hiawatha, Kansas, and about every two or three years we would drive to Hiawatha to spend two or three weeks on the farm. I loved it there! Still do, for that matter. Anyway, my cousin (only 3 weeks older than I, we've always been spiritually close) has worked for many years at the WalMart in Hiawatha, and several years ago they sponsored a contest. Employees submitted design ideas for a Hiawatha sweatshirt and the winning idea would be produced and sold as souvenir sweatshirts. My cousin won the contest with her idea, and I have one of the sweatshirts! Hiawatha is The City of Beautiful Maples, and the shirt is dark green with orange maple leaves on the front. Green is not a great color on me (and orange is worse), but wearing the shirt is like being hugged. I was really worried that I had mistakenly thrown it out or donated it in one of my pitching frenzies. I was thrilled to find it!

My last class - the reading party - of my writing class was Tuesday. As usual I made a bad route decision and ended up on Santa Monica Blvd during "rush" hour traffic. Trust me. Santa Monica Bull-eh-vard isn't nearly as hip as Sheryl Crowe makes it out to be, especially when you're late. I left my house at 3:00 and got to the party at almost 7:30. If I'd made a better decision (like the 101 to the 405 to Sunset to Beverly Hills) I would have made it there early. Instead I sat in the same place for twenty minutes at a time watching miles of intersection lights flash red and green for the holidays. I was a mess when I got to the party.

But, oh, the writing these people have done. I enjoyed the class immensely. I will probably move to the next level next fall. That will give me time to save some $$$. I'm just hoping to have as good an experience, maybe even connect with some of the same group again.

Thanksgiving was yesterday and my brother and sister-in-law hosted it again. Delicious, with great company. I had a good time. Today I've been sorting and cleaning. Usually I start decorating for Christmas this weekend, but the house is just too dirty to begin.

I've been sorting stacks of genealogy paperwork. My uncle had a genealogy DNA test done and we learned that the line the family has been claiming as our ancestral line on my mother's father's side is not. I'm having to go through and dis-attach these people from the family on that line. It's tricky because the same family is also found on a second line of my mother's and a line of my father's. This means I can't just dump the group completely. And it means I can't just throw all the paperwork out since they are family back there somewhere.

I started this project 28.5 years ago thinking I would just document all lines to the immigrant ancestor. Surely that wouldn't take more than a couple of years, right? What I've learned is that my family goes back a long way, and the further back I go the more ancestors there are. I'm planning to type up all that I've learned into some kind of publication, but I'm running out of lifespan.

I'd better get started, huh?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Black Eyed Peas I got a feeling on Oprah Chicago Flashmob 24th


I like it.

I've come to like the little swirly thing that says "redirecting" when I move from one place to another on the computer. That's what I feel like I'm doing with my life. Redirecting.

Mom and I went to Disneyland for ChristmasTime Saturday. We had some new experiences and relived some old ones in a new way.

Yep, we got rained on.

It had been raining the day before so we tried to prepare. And we had some help from the fates. On the way to the park, not five miles from Mom's house going up the grade over the hills into the San Fernando Valley, we were stopped about six cars back from a multiple-car accident. One CHP car was on site when we stopped and we watched one fire truck and several more CHP vehicles of different types arrive. It seems there were three or four cars involved, and one looked like it may have burned. But no ambulances, so apparently seatbelts did their job and nobody was badly hurt. (The cars had obviously spun all over the road).

We sat there for about a half-hour, maybe a bit more. We just chatted away so didn't really pay attention to the time. But if we had not had that delay, our day at Disneyland would have been much different. That half-hour behind helped us miss the worst of the rain all day. The deluge in this picture started as we shopped the Disney Showcase store. We had hoped to hear the Disneyland Band here at Town Square at noon, and I took this picture while we stood dry and warm under an awning waiting for the band. As a family of musicians, we were pleased enough that they did not arrive at the height of this downpour (rain does awful things to woodwind instruments; to all instruments, but especially anything with felt pads). This episode of hard rain only lasted about 15 minutes, so we waited hoping the band might come out later, but they did not so we moved along.

Earlier we had been disappointed that our usual breakfast spot, the Carnation Cafe, was closed (it's an outdoor restaurant) but we had a nice breakfast at the Riverbelle Terrace and look forward to doing it in nicer weather when we can eat outdoors with a great view of the River. Once we said this, however, we realized that we would miss the servers we've come to know at the Cafe, so now we'll have a dilemma.

We've been a little disappointed in Billy Hill and the Hillbillies on some previous visits, but this time they were back to their old selves and we really enjoyed our time in the Golden Horseshoe. We just lucked out all day. After the Billies we got on the train (one of the last of Mom's favorite rides that she can still enjoy because it has a wheelchair ramp and wheelchair seating). We went all the way around the park once, then to ToonTown station to see the 3:00 Princess Fantasy Faire Coronation. Sadly, the whole venue was closed up, but the young knight told us they were trying to get it going again by the 3:00 show. And, indeed, they did and we enjoyed that show.


(Aurora has always been my favorite princess and I admit that there is an 8-year-old still inside that gets a thrill whenever I see her.)

After this show we headed to Main Street to see if we could catch some piano while we waited for the Holiday Parade and Castle lighting. At first we were disappointed to see the piano missing from Coke Corner, then realized (duh) that it had been moved into the snack bar area (felt pads). It had not rained for quite a while so the tables and chairs were dry. We could not see the piano player but recognized Ragtime Michael's style right away. We decided he needs to make an album of holiday music; his arrangements of our favorite holiday songs are fabulous.

The parade was, as always, a delight (my favorite are the herald trumpets; it's a sound that moves through, not around, you) and the castle spectacular. We sat for a while enjoying the castle lights and the "snow" in the distance (you don't want to be under that stuff but it's pretty from a few yards away), then it started to sprinkle. We had already decided to leave early and eat when we got back to Mom's town, so I suggested we pack up and head out before it really started to rain. As I stood up to pack up, it REALLY started to rain, so we broke out our umbrellas and stayed where we were. It wasn't the deluge of earlier in the day, we stayed dry and warm and it let up shortly. After a quick trip to the restroom we headed out and after a fast, safe drive home had delicious lobster enchiladas at Mom's favorite Mexican restaurant back home.

It was a great way to start what is for me a week off for Thanksgiving. Yesterday I spent the entire day with Black-Eyed Peas on my headset while I disinfected my kitchen. Have you seen their flashmob for Oprah video. It's infectious. Lots of pick-ups. I'm going to think about it for this week, but am pretty sure I'm going to talk to my principal about having our students flashmob our Open House opening meeting in May.

Today I will bake in my clean kitchen for the last meeting of my writing class. I was looking forward to moving to the next level, but I just got an email from the teacher and he is shortening the classes in the next session. Because I live so far away I don't think I'll make it for more than 45 minutes or so (with a two-hour drive, each way) and, since it ends up costing me about $800 for the session, I don't think I'm willing to do that. Still, tomorrow's party will be fun. I still haven't decided on anything but monster cookies to give away. I'll probably just put together a big salad.

As I've read my friends' posts I'm thinking maybe I should find a group or class to get back into stitchery or quilting or something like that to replace the writing class. I did love getting out that one night a week.

Hope y'all have a great Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Such has been my year so far.

Really hard to believe that this school year is 1/4 past already. I am just now getting confident of the students' names. I'm really lucky this year. My principals did as they had promised last year. They "exploded" the schedule so that the challenging students are no longer clustered into one class at the end of the day, as they have been for me for 15 of the last 18 years. It makes a HUGE difference to leave work every day with a smile on my face and in my heart.

It's also hard to believe that my writing class is almost over. Last class is this Tuesday with a farewell party the following week. I'm hoping very hard (have cramps in my fingers for leaving them crossed so long) that certain writers from this group will go on to the next level. Not that they need it, but I will miss hearing their work every week. We are supposed to pull together some of our "best" work into what is called a "chapbook," then make copies for everyone in class. I'm concerned that this is too expensive for the unemployed, underemployed or employed students with horrendous expenses. But (and this is growth) I do not feel compelled to step in and pay for all the kids' books. They'll work it out or they won't. I can't make it my responsibility.

And, of course, the holidays are speeding their way in this direction. It will be an odd one this year with my son and his wife in Japan and my dad gone. I'm trying to figure out if I should stay at my Mom's for Christmas Eve this year so she doesn't have to awaken alone for the first time in her life, or try to pull things together for the holiday by herself. The answer will come.

The holidays are a very big deal at Disneyland, of course, and we (Mom, Sis and Nephew) have our first visit of the season this Saturday. The weather has been very summer-y here in SoCA lately so I'm hoping for a bit of a chill to blow in before Saturday. If not, though, we'll just have to work our hardest to have the most fun we can.

Such a challenge.

In family news, DS2 has resigned from the USPS. The boss at his second job has been very encouraging that said son needs to take advantage of the "gift" of living at home to take some risks toward advancement. Second boss will make up some of the hours he will miss. It will be interesting to see what he has in mind.

It has become clear that if my home is going to be livable I'm going to have to be the one to keep us out of the filth. I'm re-arranging schedules so that I can spend a few minutes here and there keeping up on things as best I can. Don't know if I can keep it company ready, but I should be able to stop worrying about the health department coming over.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

I Need More Hours...

...in my life.

-To write.
-To stitch.
-To quilt.
-To garden.
-To scrapbook.
-To do family history.
-To go to concerts.
-To watch movies. In theaters and on dvd. Old favorites and new favorites (loved August Rush!)
-To catch up on TV shows. Running after Extras (love Ricky Gervais) and Supernatural.
-To work out.
-To clean. To do laundry. To grocery shop.
-To visit loved ones.
-To play with friends.
-To go to Disneyland. Cambria. Big Sur. Eden, Utah. Fairview, Kansas. St. Louis, Missouri. Odessa, Missouri. Winona, Minnesota. Indianapolis, Indiana. North Andover, Massachusetts. Riverside.
- To go to Fuji-shi, Shizuoka, Japan.

(Some extra bucks would be nice, too.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Music is All Around Us...

All you have to do is listen.

Thanks, Skipper. Two for two. Don't wait another fifteen years for number three, OK?

So depressed.

Could barely drive home last night from writing class. These people are pure genius. I'm a decent writer, but these folks are phenomenal. I end up intimidated and embarrassed by my puny efforts. Ended up stopping for a McDonald's cheeseburger, fries and chocolate shake. Now, I hadn't had dinner, it was 9:30 pm and I was pretty hungry. But I haven't eaten this combo in years. It was purely a comfort food stop.

Things were kind of rough last month. Nothing I want to go into here, except to say that I really appreciate my friends, family and blog visitors who come to facebook or this blog and show me the cheerier parts of my life. Class usually is a dose of pure serotonin, but between my commitment to the campaign of a friend who ran for my school board (top vote getter, wahoo) and grades due at school, I neglected to do the writing assignments last week and walked in with a pitiful piece that I didn't even want to finish. I love these guys, though. They are so kind, bless their hearts. Jack assured me I'm doing fine. Guess it's just my competitive nature raising its ugly head. I think it's time to quit whining and dig deeper. Part of my problem is that some of the deep stuff I have stuffed inside is - well - stuffed inside because I don't want it out there, especially not in this kind of venue.


Looking forward to crop with Mom and Sis Saturday. Want to take stitchery to the library one evening each week so I can make progress. I shipped some projects to a friend this week. Once I've heard she received them I'll tell you about them. Of course, I forgot to take pictures. First accomplishments in handwork in almost two years and I forget to photo them before shipping.

I have no brain. Pretty much clouded thinking for the last few weeks. Really need a system to pull the maintenance of my life back in place so I can refocus on the fun.

Holidays are coming. Not even excited.

Hope you are.