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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016


It's OK.

I believe that when something is "right," there is no anxiety.  No confusion.  No feet dragging.

So I've taken really seriously my anxiety, confusion and feet dragging about my retirement decision.

I talked to the STRS rep on Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon discovered that I'd made a budgeting mistake (having to do with my late husband's pension) that was big enough to keep me in the classroom for a while longer.

Once I discovered my mistake and concluded that retirement would have to wait, I was at peace.

New decision is the right decision.  And I'm fine with it.  I don't hate what I do, I love the people I work with and there is enough discretionary time to fulfill my Masteryear plans (or most of them) during the year even with work.

Everything always works out for me. 

Just because.
 Mom and I took our first Christmas trip to Disneyland.  I didn't buy the top level pass this year (who wants to be there for the biggest crowds of the year, anyway?) so we're cramming our visits in early.  This one and another on December 3.

It was a perfect day with a slight chance of showers that kept some people away.  I wanted to go to New Orleans Square to see the decorations and the sidewalks - often impassible, always crowded - were practically empty so I was able to maneuver the wheelchair out of the way and actually capture some nice pictures.

My favorite balcony.

One of the Club 33 entrances.  I guess nobody's using it now.

My mom couldn't understand why I was set on taking her picture right here.  I showed her once I got it that she matched the poinsettias.

Our day was pretty normal for us.  We were hoping to find the Moana Tsum Tsums at World of Disney.  We did.  We had a nice breakfast at Rancho del Zocalo, then went up to NOS.  Came back down to enjoy the Silverdollar Six on the balcony over the Golden Horseshoe, then got a good table to enjoy them again inside the theater.  The first showing of Laughing Stock was a good one because the audience members did an awesome job.

We decided our schedule would be to go see Musical Chairs with the Mad Hatter at 3:45, then stay there to catch what we could of the Holiday Magic Parade at 4:15.  We were a little worried, though, because the last time we were there Hatter was at the Coke Corner for Musical Chairs at 2:45.  I suggested that we change the plan and go to the Corner to see the 1:15 parade so that we would be there in case Hatter did show up at 2:35.  We left the Golden Horseshoe, did a restroom stop and then got to Coke Corner and got a good table.

Evidence of low attendance.  You NEVER see three empty tables here at lunch time.
And were really glad we did because Hatter showed up at 12:45 this time.  He had a rough job yesterday as there were few children in the audience, so musical chairs was mostly delightful adults who played along to see that the two little ones were the winners.

I had hoped to see the holiday parade in the evening, but they have brought back the Paint the Night parade so were only running the holiday parade during the daylight.  It's just not the same. Some of my favorites missing and if the herald trumpets - my very favorite part of the parade -  were there (we were sitting back from the street and couldn't see what was happening on the ground) they marched past us because I didn't get to hear them play.  Another casualty of the Paint the Night Parade (part Las Vegas - part Mardi Gras) were my favorite decorations, the Mickey swags across Main Street.  I spent some energy working on minimizing disappointment yesterday.

Still, we could see the tops of the floats and somehow I managed to catch some of them.

Look at him zeroing in on my Mom again.  How did he know the stud magnet was back in the park?

We stopped and shopped at the Emporium on our way out and I found the best Disneyland Christmas decoration they've had in years.  I collect unusual tins, and this is a tin music box cookie tin.  I'm trying to find out if Jerrod Maruyama designed it, because the critters are sort of his style.

We got to the tram station for our limo tram ride back to parking and made our trip over to Knott's Berry Farm for a nice early chicken dinner.  The first two times we tried this were traumatic, but we didn't realize how traumatic until yesterday's super fast and easy trip.

The food does taste better without the bitter aftertaste of trauma.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Transitions and Transformations.

For twenty years I was a daughter.
Then a wife.
And seven years later, I added mother.
And then teacher.
And five years ago, grandma.

I had my meeting with the STRS representative.  She went through everything I needed to know to decide whether to retire at the end of this teaching year.


I will be 66.
I will begin a year-long Masteryear celebration.
Of me.

I realize, this will be the first time that I will add
to the list of Me.

I've realized that for most of my life, I have not seen myself as SELF.  Only in relation to others.

I've been doing the work to bring my SELF out.
I like her.

It's our time to play.


on the road.

Took a therapy trip on Saturday.  Kind of a last-minute decision to go to Carmel for lunch, a round trip of a little over 600 miles.  I left at 5:30 am and stopped in Cambria for about an hour.  Had a little minor car problem that took a half hour to remedy, and got to Carmel about 12:30.  Ate a delicious breakfast for lunch at From Scratch, then turned around and took my time coming down our spectacular Big Sur coast.  After a little visit with my friends at the Elephant Seal preserve, I hit Morro Bay about sunset.  Had the same car issue so took another half hour to remedy it, during which a man (possibly my age but seeming older) delighted me with horrible old turkey jokes.  He was so charming all I could do was laugh and thank the Universe for sending him to take the edge of what promised to be a very stressful time.  Once I had remedied the situation, I again got on the highway just in time to enjoy the almost full supermoon right in front of me.

Sometimes you get to be grateful for the delays.

Looked over and realized the most spectacular sunrise of the year was happening in my side mirror.

Sunrise clouds reflecting on the sea.

Waiting for the Cambria nursery to open.  Loved the moss.

At the Barnyard.  I love the way the sunlight was making the petals translucent.

I have a thing for feathers and there was a part of me that wanted to go collect one of these "caught" on the fence post.  It wasn't until I got home and uploaded the pictures that I realized this was an art installation, a dream catcher a little battered by the elements but otherwise beautifully done.

Green grass coming up along the Big Sur coast.  I was there about the same time last year, and it was just brown dirt.

I will never tire of sunlight on seawater.

REALLY high tide and dramatic waves.

At first I was irritated that this weed was in my way as I tried to catch the reflection on the water.  Then I had a "wait a minute" moment and ended up taking a half dozen different shots using a variety of telephoto ranges.  Now I can't decide which I like best.

Just a gentle mist.  Barely noticeable in person, but stunning in the pictures.

The big teenage boys, practicing in the water.

Sunbathing.  Doesn't she look sublimely content?

The night before the full moon.  A fitting ending before the trip home.

For the next three nights I enjoyed taking dozens of pictures of the November 2016 Supermoon.  I actually had to drive around the neighborhood to find a gap in the trees big enough to not be blocking the moon.  It was worth the effort.  What a gorgeous experience.

November 2016 SuperMoon.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

That was the week...

...that was.

It is tempting, after a week like this, to return to my old wallowing habits.

Last Monday I felt what I thought was an allergy attack coming on.  By Friday night I was practically falling asleep - in my favorite restaurant with my mom - over my creamy Tomato Basil soup.  An hour after dinner I was dozing off during our weekly catalog browse and headed home early.  My son was gone for a weekend in Las Vegas, so the dog and I tucked in for a quiet weekend.

The next morning I woke with a nasty cough and had to accept that it was virus, not allergy, that was making me feel so crappy.   After  a fast trek to Costco for emergency supplies, I tucked into my recliner for a weekend of recovery.

It's been a while since I escaped into the fantasy world of film.  It was fun.  A lifelong lover of the Tarzan canon, I had made the effort to go see Legend of Tarzan on a big screen.  It was no disappointment and I'm glad I saw it big the first time.  But it holds on a small screen as well.

The Independence Day sequel was also worth the wait.  And after enjoying that one, I turned to an older favorite, You've Got Mail.   I haven't watched it for years, but found I still loved the story.  Since I last saw it I, too, enjoyed a brief online pen pal experience, and I'm happy to say the movie brought back pleasant memories of that time.

It would be nice to say that I managed to kickstart myself into functional health over the weekend, but it didn't work out that way.  Still miserable,  I dragged myself through Monday (thanks to my cocktail of guaifenesin and ibuprofen), returning to sleep in my recliner for another night.  Tuesday was the same, but with the added experience of moving through the depressing experience of going from school to polling place to write in my candidate.  He had no chance of winning, but I had to be able to "wake up with myself" the next morning so I voted my values and left at peace.

Yesterday was day nine of the crud, and after a fairly easy day at work I headed up the coast to have my car serviced.  It's no hardship to spend an hour at CJ Wilson Mazda, but just minutes into the process the service  manager came to get me to show me something.  She lifted the hood to show me that rats have been trying to nest in my engine.  I'm not sure just what that nesting material was, but the hollowed-out orange rind (not to mention the tiny footprints everywhere) were kind of a give-away.  I supposed I should focus on the positive:  this only cost me an additional $40 for a degreasing followed by a stop at Costco for dryer sheets.  It was my homework to take handfuls of dryer sheets and attach them to 'safe' places in the engine mount with zip ties.  They believe the stench of the things repel the rodents.  I sure hope so;  I can't stand the smell myself, so choose to be optimistic.  Whatever will work to spare me the experience of the previous customer who came it with the same problem.  The ratbastards had eaten out his air supply system.  $1200.  Not on warranty.

Today I almost managed to get through the day without expectorant (although I coughed on and off all day, it was manageable) and as far as content it was one of my favorite days of the year.  I get to introduce the Preamble to the Constitution, which includes SchoolHouse Rock and a fun puzzle that they always enjoy.  They will recite the Preamble next month, and that is - possibly - my favorite day of the year.

It should have been a delightful day, but we were all on edge because of the reaction to the Trump victory on Tuesday.  Normally respectful young people all over the country are exposing the ugliness they have hidden under a cloak of political correctness (what I refer to as basic good manners).  The Trump gloaters in my classes are, so far, held in check by the majority who respond by ignoring them.  I posted a copy of the State of California statement of value in my window (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/11/9/1595296/-California-Does-The-Right-Thing-in-the-Face-of-Trump)  and plan to track down a large quantity of safety pins to offer to those who want them.  http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/11/10/after_brexit_tolerant_britons_adopted_a_simple_symbol_of_solidarity_we_should.html?wpsrc=sh_all_dt_fb_top)

Finally home, I decided to put my feet up for a few minutes in my recliner and woke up nearly three hours later.  I'm not a fan of naps.  I always wake up groggy and out of sorts, and today was no different.   And to make it worse, I checked into facebook to learn of the passing of the great Leonard Cohen.

I've decided to distract myself with anticipation of happier events to come.


Lovely movies to look forward to.  I'm driving up the coast on Saturday.   Leaving very early to have breakfast in Carmel.  A couple of nursery stops.  The butterflies at Pacific Grove.  The spectacular Big Sur coastline and a visit with the Elephant Seals.


Ah, damn.

There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Three Feet or So