Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Blues

Have you noticed how many people are feeling down right now? It is amazing how many. Blogs, friends, acquaintances, all talking about how they are just not feeling right this holiday season. I don't feel alone, that's for sure.

But who can blame us for feeling a little blue? Our economy basically quite working in September, our homes are not worth much and falling, our retirements have been gutted. Not to mention global warming, Maddow, stupid Bush, jobs, and the list goes on and on and on.

So what is a person to do? Well, if you want to know what works for me, it is to either do something for someone else .... cook, call a friend that needs me, etc., or practice "cognitive behavior therapy", i.e., stop the sad thought in mid sentence and replace it with a positive thought. Keep practicing it over and over. Your brain loves to get into sad little ruts. If you have enough sad sentences going through your brain - it actually doesn't want to do anything else! That's why it is so important to nip these thoughts and feelings in the bud. Acknowledge that it is a sad day and list all the reasons why. Let it soak in, if you will, then move on. It takes a massive effort sometimes to change your thoughts. But remember, the mind is similar to a computer - it only knows what you put in. It does not know the difference between something that is actually happening , and something that you are only thinking. It merely sends the message on to your brain, that sends it on to your body, to respond appropriately - to release hormones, adrenaline, etc.    -   It can be tricked, however.    -    If you use happy, peaceful, thoughts, and "creative visualization", imagining wonderful scenarios in minute detail, it thinks that is what is happening ... and releases the appropriate information to the autonomic nervous system. It does take practice, however. If you cannot think happy thoughts or scenarios, then start counting your blessings one by one. The mind can only think one thought, in any given moment;
  • I am so blessed to have a warm home. (look around you - feel how warm it is compared to outside)
  • I am so blessed to have this soft sweater. (feel the sweater with your hands - feel how it feels on your skin where it warms you)
  • I am so blessed to have food to eat today. (look at your food, smell it, be thankful for it)
  • I am so blessed to have a sweet child. (look at your children - they are so sad when they think you are sad - what would life be like without them?)
You get the picture.

So you do have control. You may not have control over what is going on in the world. But you DO have control over how you respond to it. Go ahead, try it. Be persistent though, your mind is a cagey little bugger. It always wants to go back to what is easy - it hates to work hard at being happy when it really wants to just WALLOW in it. 

So go ahead and give yourself some time to wallow - and then take control. You are the only one that can make yourself feel better. The only one.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I can honestly say I have not actually felt like screaming during this renovation until TODAY! We are at the tail end of stuff. It should be going smoothly and the finishing touches should put the shine on the massive amount of work that has been done so far. But instead of it being a "Ta Da!" moment, I feel like screaming and crying at the same time. I really need to get a grip, I know.

But the doors do not fit. My contractor has been left with additional responsibilities because his partner is gone for a week or so, and left him with all the problems he was dealing with - so he is not calling me back. In the meantime, the tile guy is taking the week off and is not available to seal the shower, or grout what he chose to not grout last week. My daughter is coming on Thursday and she doesn't have a door to her closet - and it is not pretty - not in the least. The stove does not fit the counter top - a full inch too tall. Now we are trying to cut holes in the hardwood floor to lower the stove. The guy at the hardwood shop forgot to reorder the trim my contractor had asked him to do two weeks ago. It goes on and on. Why can't people just plan ahead? Why can't they just do their job? If you run out of one kind of moulding - shouldn't you automatically reorder - especially when you are asked to? The only thing my contractor had to order was the doors and trim and moulding. I did everything else! What are we waiting for? Doors, trim and moulding. GHAAAAAA!

Since I am ranting ... is there any store that is stocking it's shelves? Throughout this holiday season, and before, I have had to order most of what I wanted. I think the retail stores are going to do themselves in, if they don't find a way to stock what they have for sale. It is just too easy to not go shopping, and just order everything over the internet. You get better service, too. Okay, end of rant.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Warm Boots

In case you haven't noticed - I have been watching a boat-load of movies lately. That is partly due to the new television that came with the remodel, but mostly because we are somewhat snowed in. We were able to get to the grocery today, and I did manage to exchange some boots for my younger daughter. She called, stating that she is dreaming of warm boots, and had been shopping for no-longer-existing-boots in Portland (all sold out with the current glut of the white stuff there, too.) It just so happened one of her Christmas gifts was a pair of warm UGG boots. Since she was unable to get here for said Christmas openings, she did not know this during our boot conversation. This brought me to a dilemma. The boots I had bought were really not the ones I wanted to get for her, But I took the advice of the sales lady, going with the ones all the young girls seem to want. After our morning conversation, I realized I should have gone with my own instincts and bought the ones that were taller. Especially after discussing this with my older daughter, who has been totally appalled with her younger sister's lack of fashion sense - cheap Rite Aid boots, worn short, (one pair already worn out in three days), with leggings not quite reaching inside the boot. Should I add that my daughters could not be more different? One is a fashionista and one is NOT. After a conversation with the local retailer (we tried to utilize local retailers as much as possible this shopping season), I knew I had to forge down and exchange for the last pair of boots in her size, in the shape and color that she wanted.

Which brings me to something I feel pretty strongly about. I believe buying one thing, of good quality, and using it for many years is preferable to an ever-changing quantity of cheap things, that end up in the landfill. I would rather pay more for these boots, getting her exactly what she wants and needs, and have her wear them for more than one season, or year, than buy more boots that are thrown away at the beginning of Spring. With these changing economic times, I think we are going to go back to that way of thinking. No longer should we buy lots of stuff. Period. We should buy those things that enhance our life (warm boots certainly fit this category), with an eye on reduce, reuse, recycle. It is going to be a big change for all of us. But maybe being stuffed into a small bedroom for two months gave me a new perspective. I have been very spoiled in living in large homes, even having two homes. What I learned in that bedroom is that we can be happy with a lot less. Just being downstairs in this small condo feels like living in a mansion. I realize I need less space than I have always thought I needed to be happy. I think we all will realize that we need less of everything, and those things that we do buy should be of a quality that is sustainable. My in-laws have the same furniture that they have had for most of their 60+ years together. It never occurred to them to throw away their furniture when it just needed to be re-covered. We need to get there, too. As for me, this small space is lovely, and it will not be done again in my lifetime.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Did we have Christmas?

We've been told that time moves with more rapidity as we age. But it is now bedtime on Christmas Day and I have no idea how it can already be over. I never did get with it. For the first time in my life, it was if I just skipped the holidays. Weird.

The day was excruciatingly beautiful. Two feet of snow on top of about six inches. I don't remember a more beautiful Christmas Day. But in all other aspects - it was just another day. We did not have our traditional breakfast, complete with my husband's family Christmas coffee cake. We spent the day hanging pictures, putting stuff in cupboards, washing the construction dust off of just about everything in the house. We fought over where the pictures would be hung. For some reason, my husband HATES change. God forbid that the cabin picture go over the fireplace, and not behind the table! I think he needs something more to do... good thing ski season is starting. Our dinner was a normal dinner, even though I had planned a really nice chicken marsala. By the time it was time to cook, I went with something I didn't have to read the recipe. No Christmas china, no silver, no centerpiece and crystal. No loud, happy family asking for the potatoes to be passed. It seems without the kids we are not as inclined to "do Christmas." Or is it just this year? The economy has tanked, shopping is no longer fun, the kids couldn't make it due to the weather, and we have no idea what to expect in 2009. Our country has been let down by so many. My husband has a job interview first week of January for a job he is not excited about. Hmmmmmm - I wonder why we don't feel all jolly.

I have felt extremely grateful for all that I have, however. I am thrilled with the updated 30-year-old condo that is currently our home. I am soooo grateful that my daughter is still here to enjoy her baby's first real Christmas. (Even though half of Christmas Day was spent in the emergency room with ongoing post surgical issues.) But I worry about everyone that is so much worse off than we are. I worry about our friend that just lost her husband of almost 40 years. I worry about our friends whose business is failing, as is the health of the man of the family. I worry about the workers that have made this transition in our home, and whether or not they will have work in the new year. It is something on their minds, that's for sure. I worry about my brother who told me today that he knows he is going to get a cut in pay, as he is the last one in his company without one. So maybe rather than beating myself up for not getting with the Christmas spirit, I will just skip this one. It seems I'm not the only one feeling less than happy today. Happy Birthday, baby Jesus. And Merry Christmas to everyone!  

Monday, December 22, 2008


Wow! Where is all this snow coming from? Portland is socked in, we had snow last night here in Nevada, and expect more all this week! I would be loving this if I was assured my daughter could fly out of Portland on Thursday. This may be our first (but probably not last) Christmas without our family. Not sure how I feel about that!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Wizard of Oz 1939 (Trailer from the mid-50s)

Does this ever get old? It is still as wonderful as it was when I was a small girl.

A different Christmas

This season is turning out to be a Christmas different from season's past. Our country is realizing that shopping till you drop is not working. Most of the people we know, including ourselves, are cutting back. One family is making each other's gifts, others are just not shopping as much. And while I agree with the changes, we need to change, the little traditions seem even more important. I have always tried to keep the little important traditions alive, in spite of my girl's declining interest in them. What was once an exciting day of decorating cookies with friends, is now me pushing them to show up, hoping for some enthusiasm. I have to admit, they usually have fun. 

The other little traditions; Christmas music starting December 1st, silly holiday movies, trimming the tree, Christmas Eve candlelight services, making cream puffs for friends, driving around looking at lights, have gone by the wayside this year. Our home will not even have the tree up until Christmas Eve. Finding the stereo for music has been impossible, and without a kitchen - forget entertaining, baking, or even having a home-cooked meal! Our daughter, son-in-law and grandson will stay home, where my daughter can continue to heal. I worry about my younger daughter getting caught in the storm due on Christmas day, when she will be flying in. The lights are not as plentiful this year, it seems. I think everyone is feeling a little blue. 

So an empty nest requires new traditions. I'm just not sure where to start. I guess the first thing would be to NOT remodel anywhere near the holidays. Maybe look for friends in the same boat next year, and start designing new ones. They need not be child-centered anymore. My girls will need to start their own. We will be together when we can, and I will look to them for the lead as to what they want their holidays to look like. What about your families? Are you changing, and if so, what are you doing to fill the holes once filled by excited little children?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This is what it looks like from the window of my bedroom, here in Tahoe. It could not be more Christmasy. I arrived to snowfall and all the quiet that comes with it. My daughter is healing in Portland. I stayed a few extra days (should have stayed more). She has her husband home, and help from her sister and mother-in-law. I am grateful this holiday season that my girl is here with us, and we are not grieving a tragedy. I will deal with the doctor later...

It is looking to be a quiet Christmas. Our daughter and her family probably will not be able to join us for the ski holiday they had been planning. But that is okay. This season is a time to be grateful for what you have, not what is missing.

The remodel is coming along. We are now in nail-biting time to finish before Christmas Day. I am pushing for Friday. The contractor is doing his best with last-minute problems like the stainless sink that was damaged just when the granite guy needed it to install. We have had problems getting some of the doors, a common occurrence with mountain living in the winter. So my little home will be workable for the holiday, if not perfect. Much like life, I guess.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Flutter of Butterfly Wings

It was like the flutter of butterfly wings. That feeling. That feeling that something was not quite right.

My daughter and I headed to the hospital yesterday for her to have a routine procedure in the out-patient surgery center. All was on time and went well, I was told two hours after they wheeled her down the hall, tiny in her overly large hospital gown. We would be home by 9 p.m., they said. I felt something akin to unease. But my logical mind said all was well, the doctor was on top of things, and seemed very competent. The surgeon assisting was also very professional and asked all the pre-surgery questions adequately. I smiled at her, reassuring, telling her she would feel better soon... 

But something went wrong.

How often have you heard about a routine procedure turning into a loss? Everyone shakes their heads, and asks - can you believe it? He/She was so healthy - what could go wrong? But the reality is, many things can go wrong. Surgery, is still surgery. It comes with risks. And my little girl could have died. Right there in that ordinary surgery center, on a ordinary day. 

The flutter of butterfly wings.

When they didn't bring her up to the room two hours after the first surgery, I knew something was wrong. Finally I get a call from the doctor - they think she is bleeding internally -  they are going back in. Bleeding internally? Not wanting to hold him up, I kept my questions to myself. Two more hours of waiting. All the normal programming driving me crazy. Finally the doctor comes up and tells me the routine procedure was anything but. They transfused about 5 pints of blood. FIVE PINTS OF BLOOD???? WTF???? She's tiny. Five pints of blood is about all she has...

It was an artery that they missed during the procedure.  (A #@*&%$# ARTERY!) Her blood pressure dropped, pulse went up - trying to keep herself alive while the blood spurted into her abdomen, FOR TWO HOURS, while I waited patiently in her room. 

The flutter of butterfly wings.

Our friend died today. A dear friend, and a great guy. Dead in his 50's from a devastating disease. For him, it was the end. Death, so close to all of us, came knocking. There comes a time when the flutter no longer passes. It will happen to all of us eventually. But it doesn't make it any less welcome.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


One really good thing about being busy with a grandson and daughter needing you for the moment, I have taken a respite from all the political websites. This, gratefully, has given me a little more upbeat feel for our current economic plight. Knowing full well that what we focus on becomes a physical and mental zeppelin, reading Mother Jones, Huffington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast,, EconoWhiner, etc., gives you an idea just how informed I am at any given moment. What it also does is give one a very pessimistic view of all that is happening. It wasn't until my daughter commented on the possibility of not having more children, that I took pause. I needed to tell her that the world has never been perfect, and yet humanity has continued. There is always the possibility of things getting better. And I really do believe things are going to get better. Much better. The reason for this belief is all the incredible energy going into solving the world's problems. Nothing like hitting bottom to get every one's attention. The economic meltdown in the U.S. has affected the entire world. They now know that when we go down, they also are very negatively affected.

Sixty Minutes did a portion of their program on how Saudi Arabia is now putting their extensive wealth behind finding alternative fuel sources. While denying the end of oil based fuel sources, they are also preparing for the future with solar, wind, etc. This is just one country working on alternative energy sources. Obama, and many others believe the U.S. needs to lead this effort. No denying this would be a boon for our economy. No, in fact, other than a few really difficult years, I see our world finally coming into the new century. We're talking an infrastructure that is befitting the twenty first century, clean fuel and energy sources, a world populace educated on their effect on the planet. All in all, not a bad future. Certainly not one that should exclude another grandchild.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Whew! You forget.

I have spent the last two days taking care of my little grandson. He is one year old and very active! In addition, he does not sleep through the night, just like his mother before him. Which brings me to the topic of children sleeping. Both of my girls did not sleep through the night. My oldest would go to bed at her bedtime and sometime during the night mysteriously appear at the side of my bed and scare the bejesus out of me, or cry from her room to be saved from whatever scares us in the middle of the night. Four years later my younger daughter was born, and since it had already been four years without sleeping through the night, you would have thought I would have been used to it. This daughter had asthma. But we didn't know that until years after we should have actually been doing something about it. Thank you, Dr. Dumbass. She would wake in the night and we would either bring her to bed with us, or try multiple themes of trying to get her to self-comfort and go back to sleep. We tried many means. We had her sleep in her sister's room, which only woke her older sister up, so I had two to deal with in the middle of the night. We bribed with different beds. There was a pretty day bed, bunk beds (she begged for), twin beds with her sister, you name it. Word to the wise ... it's not the bed!

I don't think the professionals really know what makes some babies sleep through the night and other babies turn their parents, and household's, into walking zombies. But that doesn't stop everyone, and their grandmother, giving advice on just how to accomplish a restful night sleep for all. Some well-intentioned friends said to just make them stay in their bed until they eventually go back to sleep. Just be firm. That may have worked for their children, but mine were either way more determined, or they worked themselves into a full-blown coughing, gagging, and eventually throwing-up, fit. Do I let them die of an asthma attack? Would that have given us a better night's sleep?

The point I am trying to make, is that all children are unique. What may work for one, probably will not work for all. So I try not to pass judgement on my poor, sleep-deprived, daughter and son-in-law. I try to resist the urge to tell them to try again the "Ferber Method", which is actually based on sound principles. Instead, this week with my daughter and grandson, I keep the monitor in my room and stumble up the stairs to try to get him to fall back asleep with a pat on the back, or walk him so his mother can sleep a bit longer. But, of course, it is not me that he wants, and she ends up getting up to calm her screaming son. It all brings back memories - not to mention burning eyes. All of which is forgotten in the morning when his sweet face gives me a smile. Just like his mother before him.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

New Economy

One of my favorite blogs, EconoWhiner, made a couple of points on one of her blogs, regarding what to do if you find yourself unemployed. She suggests, among other things, taking this time to really think about things you might want to do, other than what your last job might have been. Since my last job was five years ago working in the medical field, and had nothing to do with all those years of education I struggled through, I began to think ... maybe now is the time to write that book. It has nagged me for years. Many possible topics have come and gone in my imaginary book. Should I write about losing my mother at age six? How about my friend, Mike, who is a one-man anomaly? What about families? A work of fiction? It goes on and on.

But it was that particular blog topic that got me to thinking. She suggests honing skills you may need in this new economy. And it will be a new economy, believe me. I do not see us in the next decade doing the same things that we have done over the last two. For one thing, credit will not be available the way that it has been. That doesn't mean that people won't have jobs, or that we will all turn into roving bands of misfits. But it very well could mean that people will live in a reduced economic environment. I predict that conspicuous consumption will go the way of the dinosaur. It will no longer be as cool to tote your Prada bag, drive your BMW, and flash your bling with the same flare as you once did. It is going to take this economy a long time to rev back up, if it ever does. Many people have been living like millionaires, on salaries way below that level. They have used credit cards to look and act like Paris Hilton, and I think this is going to change. Consumerism, on the scale we are used to, is on it's way out. This meltdown has proven that it cannot, and should not, be sustained.

On that note, back to the blog that got me to thinking about writing. There is no better time to hone skills that could take you into the future. Whatever they may be. My husband and I are thinking about writing books. They may never get picked up, but the mental exercise will not be lost. For you, maybe it is starting a business out of your home, or taking a computer class, or going to cosmetology school. I don't think what you do is as important as taking this opportunity to try new things, especially those things that have always been in the back of your mind. I believe we are all here for a reason. We are born into this world with a task to complete. What is yours?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Book

I think I have found the premise of my book. I have messed around with different ideas, and today, while talking with one of our workman, it dawned on me. What am I good at? What really makes me animated and involved when I'm doing or discussing it? In other words - what really engages and excites me? This has been the question I have been messing with for quite some time. It was during a conversation with one of our workers on how to attract the right mate, that it came to me. The information I gave him was based on years of education, and lots of living. In other words, I realized that I have lots to offer in this way. I KNOW what scientists say about attraction between men and women, I KNOW what goes into attraction and what really works long term. I've been married for 28 years and still love my husband. Hopefully he feels the same way - he appears to. But most of all, it came easily. And that, my friend, is when you know it is what you were meant to do in this world. It flowed. And that is what I should have realized long ago. I am going to write a book based on how people need to look at where they are in their lifespan and where their potential mate is in their lifespan.  For example; men who look for women in their 30's, when they are in their late 40's, are always shocked when the women they are dating put their children first, or change their mind and want children. But that is exactly what they are supposed to do. It is where they are in their lifespan. The man is not going to be the most important person in her life, and he is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE. But how many men do you know who are always shocked and dismayed, when push comes to shove, and their girlfriend takes her children's side over theirs? Anyway, I think I am ready to start really getting down to business. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


We are now in the final race to the December 22nd (when the kids arrive for Christmas) deadline. It is really going to be close! What is amazing to me is the lack of specialized tradesmen available in this economy. Aren't they supposed to be begging for the opportunity to finish the fireplace with stone? Oh yeah, THAT guy is available, but can't do the stone until the WOOD guy puts in the shelves, mantle, and hearth - and he is not available until next week. The TILE guy is available for the kitchen back splash, but he can't do that until the GRANITE guy puts down the granite and he can't do that for TWO WEEKS. Now, may I remind you, dear readers, it is now the third of December? We are talking three weeks until Christmas! In that time they still need to do the above, AND the hardwood floor, AND lay the carpet, AND do the finish painting, AND cut, stain and place doors and other woodwork!  In the meantime, we had to order specialized cabinets for a portion of our kitchen because of a soffett that is not quite plumb - (please Gob, come in on the December 15th truck.) Oh, and I need to be ready for Christmas between the 20th when the carpet is laid and the 22nd when they arrive. Insert nail biting here. 

I think the worse part is just sitting and waiting for these guys. I want to be doing something, but I am stuck in the bedroom. There is nothing I can do to help. Ghaaaaaaa

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oh Happy Day

Today we had my grandson's first birthday. It was quite the party. I'm not sure I have ever seen so many doting people on one baby, in my life! He was surrounded, literally, by people who all love him, or at least like him an awful lot. I don't often write of my grandson, as I am never quite sure about a public blog, and who might be reading personal information. But suffice it to say, we are quite taken with him. So .... HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU....HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU....HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR BUGGA, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!! He loves it when everyone sings this to him - he continues to "sing" it to himself long after we have moved on to things like CAKE, and then he laughs quite hardily and opens his mouth big (like all of the mouths he sees when we sing).  He is quite the guy. A big thank you to his Mom and Dad who threw such a great first birthday party for their special little guy. One that we could all enjoy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Two More Days

Two more days and we will head home. We are hoping to see a very improved version of the home we left almost a week ago. The painters have been there in mass. They are supposed to have done 90% of the painting and almost all of the staining of the windows. The windows being an issue in themselves ... when they were sold to us, they failed to mention - oh by the way, it will be an extra $3,000 to have them stained. That was a bit of bad news mixed in with other cost over-runs that we should have expected. But you always go into a remodel hoping that you can stay in the budget. Anyway, the tile guy should be done in the bathroom and moving on down to the kitchen back splash, and the granite guy should be in the works somewhere. It should at least be in the beginning stages of "coming back."

It is always bitter-sweet leaving Portland. I hate to leave, but I'm happy to go to my own home. It is hard staying with your children in their homes. I always feel like I'm intruding. Which I am, of course. You want to be of help, but you really don't know what to do. It is their kitchen, their things, and their routine. No matter how hard you try, you are no longer a part of any of that. You are sort of superfluous. Now I can see the virtue of staying a four-day-maximum. My in-laws never stayed longer than four days. It was always the perfect length for a visit. Just long enough for a good visit, but not so long that I had to count the minutes. I was usually tired from all the meals, happy hours, and entertaining, while herding my children from activity to activity. Four days is good. I shall keep that in mind the next trip. (Of course if I lived here - I could just go home and it wouldn't be a problem!)

What I am NOT looking forward to is the drive. 10-11 hours in the same truck with my husband and Lucy, listening to his music, may do me in. I think I will slip my own music in, and may even consider a book on tape. Although after trying to listen to "Pillars of the Earth", all 34 cd's of it, neither one of us is particularly interested in a book on tape. Never did finish it. But we spent DAYS working at it on our drive from Minnesota to Nevada. Ugh - and that after I spent months reading it!

In other news, is anyone else unhappy that they are canceling Lipstick Jungle and Dirty Sexy Money? Are we going to be left with nothing but murder and mayhem on television? With the economy tanking, and all the other stuff we have to worry about - what exactly is wrong with a little escapism? Great shoes, jewelry, boy toys? Please, powers that be, leave us something to fantasize about!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cities have energy

Cities definitely have their own energy. I lived in one city my entire life but never really felt comfortable in it. Yes, I knew my way around, and could drive anywhere in the city with my eyes closed and find my destination. I knew all the history of it's politicians, all the secrets, hideouts, good and bad places to live. But I always wanted to leave, to live somewhere else. 

I feel differently in Portland. I feel at home, as if the city knows who I am, and accepts my idiosyncrasies. Weird, but I have always wanted to move here. I don't know why, but I had always felt this was where I wanted to live. When my husband was offered a job here five years ago, I made him take it. Unfortunately that company was not stable and we had to move to the Midwest and now back to Nevada. I love Lake Tahoe. I love all our friends and family that live in the area. I didn't feel at home in the Midwest at all. But I feel at home in Portland. It is more than just that my children moved here. It is an energy. I'm not saying it is without problems, on the contrary, it has plenty of problems. But it has people that think like me, have values like me, care about the same things that I care about. For the most part they share my political views. I feel at home. I feel like I belong. 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Big Birthday

Yes, indeedy, it was a big birthday. Numbers are getting bigger and bigger. It is a bit unsettling to know you will not live as long as you have lived. One of the things I learned in one of my human development classes in college is that the human mind does not age. Our bodies age, but our mind does not. Our brain ages. It becomes less elastic, prone to all sorts of illnesses, not the least of which is Alzheimers. But the mind - it stays the same. All those little old people out there that you have some preconceived idea about what they are thinking ... you are probably wrong. They are thinking in much the same way as they did when they were your age.

This birthday was special. I was with my children, and grandchild, and they always go out of their way to make it special for their Mom. They both had gifts and Jen had champagne (much needed after a ten hour drive from Nevada and then a traffic jam once we made it to Portland.) She had snacks to go with the champagne, and then tonight we had a gourmet dinner and my favorite cake - chocolate with white frosting. Perfect!

I'm grateful for the 55 years I have had. It has been a good 55 years. Not always easy, but always good. I am grateful for my family, my husband, my dear friends, for abundance, for a warm home. When I take stock in midlife, I wouldn't change a thing. Well, maybe a few things. I would have made more of an effort for a career after we moved to Portland five years ago. But it is never too late for something like that. My husband and I are going to try some new things in the next few months. We are going to think outside of the box and really look at what we WANT to do, not what we have to do to support a family. We have never been in this position, ever, where we could actually do that. It was fun to really get excited about doing something different. We have downsized, and we are comfortable. The next few years are going to be very hard for our country and it's people. But there is going to be incredible opportunities as well. We are moving into an era where "green" will reign, and clean energy sources will be sought after with a vengeance. There is opportunity in that. May the next stage of my life be exciting and fruitful!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hang on to that job...

I have been conversing with our younger daughter regarding her next step after college graduation. She has many ideas for what she would like to do next. Unfortunately, most are not compatible with the current economic crises. Our children have never known an environment where acres of car imports sit in ports because dealers refuse to take them because their own lots are bursting at the seams. Our children have never known an environment where store fronts will close on a daily basis. Estimations are that 20% of the stores in malls will close in the next year. They have never known an environment where their hard working father is still in the job market seven months after leaving his employment in Minnesota. His company, at that time, merged with another and we were lucky enough to sell the big home in the Twin Cities and move to our home at Lake Tahoe. (The new company that was created just filed for bankruptcy.) We are lucky in that we are not worried, like so many millions of Americans, about how to pay the mortgage. Luckily we made some good choices, and while we have definitely downsized, are comfortable. But we are in unprecedented times. One of the "headhunters" working with my husband, said yesterday, that jobs they are recruiting for are finding less applicants willing to leave jobs they already have. I'm sure that they are feeling that trying to sell a house that has lost equity, maybe leaving stock options that are underwater, and moving to the unknown is just not what they, or their families, want to do right now. People are starting to really "hunker down." Which brings me to my daughter.

Her ideas for what she wants to do next are unrealistic. They are about expanding her horizons, helping others, experimenting with job ideas, and maybe having an adventure. All actions we would have encouraged two years ago. Unfortunately, she is about to run head first into reality. She needs to maybe keep her part time job, go full time, and possibly move into another position that pays more and provides benefits, which are no longer covered through our insurance once she graduates. She will have a college education, free of loans, courtesy of her parents. But she will need to pay her own insurance, rent, utilities, cell phone, food. In other words, she will need to grow up. And she will be striking out during the worst down turn our economy has seen since The Great Depression. The world is going to be different for our new college graduates. They are going to learn first-hand that having a job, even one they don't want, is a luxury many people would love to have in this economy. They will encounter fierce competition, and many rejections. In other words, maybe they need to hang on to that part time job... 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Highlighted Links

They should work now. Evidently, for all you bloggers that don't know this, you have to have the link already copied before you highlight the word you want to link. Otherwise it will not go to where you want it to go. 

1) Go to your website (or whatever you want to share)
2) Copy the address
3) Go back to your blog and highlight the word 
4) Click the little green (bull-looking) thing above in the box
5) Paste your address

It should work.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What do you think?

What do you think about Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State? I can see pros and cons. On one hand, I think she is very well qualified, and would do an excellent job. She is not easily swayed and she is tough, not to mention very intelligent. On the other hand, she comes with baggage, i.e. Bill, a nasty run against Obama in the primary, and she is part of the "old" school in Washington. I think Obama is really smart keeping her in the loop, however, as she can be formidable if she is an enemy. Same for McCain. He has neutralized them by asking their help in being part of the solutions. Smart. Very smart. 

Some don't agree with the smart part.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm Hooked!

I have never really been a fan of video games, mainly because I'm not very good at them. I am, however, hooked on the "App Store" on my I-Phone. So far I have downloaded an ice-cream cone game where I try to catch scoops. Even I can do this game. One where I play in a koi pond - including feeding the fish. A "hangman" Thanksgiving game, "Shazam" - where I can point my I-Phone at any song and it will tell me the name and who is singing it. The "Crash Bandicoot" racing game is a favorite of my 10-year old nephew. When I don't feel like goofing off - I can read the New York Times. Isn't high tech amazing? I mean - who would have have thought we could do such things with a cell phone? In fact, in my youth, I would have never thought a cell phone could be a possibility. I mean, someone can actually call you - no matter where you are? Sometimes I just have to marvel.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas ideas...

For those of you that might want to give a special gift this Christmas, check out one of my favorite blogs. Go here.

The War on TOWELS

Some of the biggest fights I have had with my youngest daughter was over towels. Yes, towels. But first, I must go back a few years...

Several years ago I kept noticing all our clothes having big bleach spots. Knowing that I do all the laundry, and rarely use liquid bleach because of it's toxicity, I couldn't figure out what was causing it. But many pricey clothes, not to mention all my towels, had big bleach spots. So I thought it might be my washer, since it was aging. Maybe it was leaking some kind of fluid into the wash cycle, or something. I went to Sears and bought a very nice tumble washer and dryer. But it continued! I called Sears and they replaced that washer with an agitator as I thought maybe it was something wrong with the tumble-type. I could not figure it out! But then I noticed it happened more on the towels in the girl's bath than mine. Hmmm what could it be? Let me read the ingredients on their zit cream....

Yes, you have probably figured this out way before me - it was the benzoperioxide in the zit cream they both so lavishly used! Ugh! So the towels were already ruined, and I replaced any and all towels they used with white ones. I warned them within an inch of their lives to ONLY use the white towels and I washed them separately. I also encouraged them to forgo the zit cream - but you can guess how that went. Anyway, I bought some beautiful maroon towels to go into my bathroom here at the Lake and begged them to stay in their own bathroom when visiting - their towels were either blotched or white. One night Jill was in her last year of high school, and knew everything, when she blatantly walked into my bathroom, without thinking, and wiped her newly washed face on my maroon towel! I said, (okay, yelled), that she had just ruined my new towel, upon which she bellowed, (okay, yelled), she did not, and that I was just crazy! Isn't it fun to have high-schoolers when you are in the worst of menopause??

Needless to say, several years have gone by, and I have resigned myself to the white blotch on my maroon towel. Which brings me to now. I want to buy some really beautiful green towels to go into the guest bath which is being newly remodeled. Do I dare????? I know Jill no longer needs the zit cream but Jen is using SOMETHING since having problems with pregnancy-acne that I think has the dreaded benzoperoxide. My husband, knowing the history, has suggested the green towels be bought after Christmas...

Monday, November 10, 2008

We're getting close - pics soon!

We are getting close to having all the decisions made. I need to choose the stain for the woodwork and pick out a chair-rail for the bead-board in the bathroom, and make the final decision on paint. I have ordered little paint pouches from Devine Paint out of Lake Oswego, Oregon. They have the most luscious paint! When we moved to Portland a couple of years ago, our bedroom had been freshly painted the day we moved in and it did not smell! It is thick and "green". It is actually safe for pregnant women to use. So I had them send me their color pallet, and the painter and I chose some colors which they will send me in little pouches, so I can actually try them out on the walls before buying. The website also helps you to figure out how to do color, and the blog answers tons of questions you might have. Altogether a real find. After that, choosing the bathroom mirror is going to be a piece of cake. The only unfortunate thing is that the closest place to buy Devine Paint is Auburn, CA, about two hours from here. They do ship for free, but you need at least two days. Restoration Hardware, where I think I want to buy the mirror is in Roseville, CA, which is about 30 minutes from Auburn. We may need to take a quick ride to CA to pick up these items at week end, just in case I can get the painters this weekend. Evidently, painting comes after electrician and sheet rocking. Electrician is tomorrow or Wednesday and the new gas (low emissions) fireplace also on Wednesday. Ordered the shower curtain and shade for bathroom (odd size - 50X84). We may actually be done by the time the family arrives for Christmas!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Decisions, decisions

It is truly amazing how many very small and large decisions are made during a remodel. I have spent hours and hours trying to "picture" how I want this thing to turn out. It includes decisions on flooring and how it will go with the walls and that means paint. Paint! It is the hardest decision of all. Do you paint all one color? Or do you paint with multiple colors? And, if so, how do you know they all "blend" into a cohesive whole and not look silly? Today we are heading out to pick out tile for the bathroom. Since I couldn't live without a certain sink, and the bathroom is small, I will have to have a shower curtain instead of shower doors. Now this will save some money, but, since most shower curtains are made for bath tubs, mine will have to be custom-made so it is longer and not as wide. If I had a sewing machine, I could make it. But I don't, so it will have to be custom. And tile ... that is a whole other HUGE decision-making process. Do you do all white (my choice at this point), so you can change your colors easily with paint and linens - or do color - maybe even glass tile (which I love.) It goes on and on. And all these decisions need to be made "pronto" because you do NOT want to slow the workers progress. Not for a minute! Plus, you need to stay somewhere in a budget, as it can easily get away from you. We have already determined the bid from the contractor was low on most things. Anyway, it could be worse - I could be still living with the choices someone made in 1979...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let the healing begin...

I cannot express how deeply I feel about this win for Barack Obama. It really goes beyond words. This has been the most divisive election in my lifetime. I have felt strongly in the past at presidential elections, but never like this. I truly would have wanted to leave our great country if we, as a nation, continued in the Bush legacy. If we had voted to have a man who ran one of the dirtiest campaigns ever, despite the promise not to, with a running mate clearly not up to the challenge of being a vice president in unprecedented times, would have won, I would have wanted to look elsewhere for my remaining years. Me! Someone who have always said we need to fix what is wrong, not run, would have wanted to leave. Me! Someone who has voted in every election since I was allowed to vote. That is how disenfranchised I felt over the last eight years. How dispirited. How sad. How disgusted, as I watched our country gutted like the moose Sarah Palin shot from a helicopter, or plane, or whatever. That one act probably epitomized my feelings - a metaphor for what was happening in our country and world. A woman, no less, killing a great animal, not for food in all probability, but for the sport of it. And with the advantage of running it down, not on foot, but in a plane. Man, that says it all. 

I have fought, and been very disappointed in my friends, my family. I could not imagine how they could have been the people I love, and still not see what I saw. Another four years of inadequacy, blinded by ambition, of people who would elevate the unintellectual, divisive, angry Republican neo-conservatism to epic proportions. How could they not see that? These people that I knew so well, and agreed with, on most other things. The booing at McCain's very nice concession speech in Arizona showcased a lack of grace by many in the crowd. Even he seemed embarrassed for them.

But it was clear by the unbelievable numbers of voters that I was not alone. The majority of voters felt exactly as I did. And, for that, I am so very grateful.

Now it is time to heal. It is time to move forward, and come together, as a nation, as a family, and as friends. We need everyone working together, to face the incredible obstacles in our path. I know President Obama has that intention. And intention is the first step. But we all need to have the same intention. We need to focus on each other, our communities, and our great nation. We need to make sacrifices. Yes, sacrifices. History has taught us that rebuilding our country takes sacrifice. We will need to give up our consumer-based mentality to focus our energy on clean fuel and energy sources, which I believe will be the thing that will bring us out of the economic hole we are in. Our country is deeply in debt. Not just economically, but spiritually. It is time to pay. But it is also a time to start valuing what is really important. And that is ourselves and each other. Let the healing begin.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Hip Hip Hooray!!! We have come out of the dark and into the light. Now the heavy lifting begins.

Week Two

OMG this remodeling stuff is really getting old. We are trapped in our bedroom with our dog, Lucy, and starting to notice a few things.... Like my husband has this weird chewing sound that could be a jaw or teeth, but is LOUD. My dog is licking way too much down on the other end. My bedspread is starting to look like a dirty table cloth. My husband always leaves his dirty dishes in the bathroom. It has snowed here in the mountains, and my contractor's guy, that is demolishing my house, does not have snow tires, and lives in Reno. The highway patrol wouldn't let him through this morning and wondered, out loud, how he had made it that far. Luckily the sun came out and they let him through. We could go somewhere, but we have a dog, and she is not always welcome. We could take a trip to the coast, or wine country, but we need to be here to make sure things are moving along, making sure our contractor, tile guy, electrician, etc. have everything they need right here, when they need it. Go(b) forbid they are DELAYED.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Us in a Nutshell

It is the night before the election, and I came across this from economist, Thomas Friedman, that pretty much puts our current financial position in a nutshell. A must read before heading for the polls.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hopes for the future...

We are heading into the home stretch for this election. It is Sunday, and I have already watched Meet the Press, and read the New York Times, Huffington Post, and Politico. I, like millions of my fellow citizens, are hoping and praying for my man to win. I pray that he wins in a landslide. I pray that when he enters the White House, our country will come out of the dark place it has resided for the last eight years, and enter a time of enlightenment. All my spiritual reading, done over many years, have alluded to just such a time. A time when our politicians will be aligned with the wishes and hopes of it's citizens. A time when we will put all our efforts toward clean energy, jobs that pay more than service-industry wages, health care for all, an improved infrastructure, and a re-vamped educational system that will actually keep up in this new century. It is time for our country to embrace intellectualism, as well as, spirituality. Spirituality that embraces new ideas, and allows for differences. A time when we know we are only limited by our thinking of ourselves as limited. 

I pray that our president will reach "across the aisle" and embrace the best our country has to offer to help us out of the mess we are in. May he recognize the best and brightest of all colors, of both genders, and of all affiliations. I think it is Barack Obama. I think he was sent at this time in history, as it has happened in other times, with other presidents, to unite our country and our people. But he can't do it alone. Each and every one of us is going to have to give something up. We are going to have to pay more taxes, and/or do more community service, drive smaller, more gas-efficient cars, use fluorescent light bulbs, recycle, and the list goes on. This is about all of us. 

Now, I will keep my fingers crossed for the next two days...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Campbell Brown: Elizabeth Dole's

No more bull

I thought Campbell Brown did a stunning review of one of the most revolting political ad campaigns out there. We Americans, that stand for freedom from religious persecution, are appalled at the unabashed dirty fighting of the far-right religious fanatics that have captured the Republican Party. For many of us, the belief in God, and the right to believe in our OWN way, and not their fanatical witch-hunting, hate mongering fear-producing way, have had enough. Thank you, Campbell, and shame on you, Elizabeth Dole. Your type of politicking is on it's way out. There is a whole contingent of moderate folks in this country that are sick of your type of ad campaigns. You use lies and innuendos to incite fear and hatred. You are as much a dinosaur as John McCain.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And so it begins...

Today was the first day of remodeling. The crew arrived bright and early to replace all our windows and sliders with wood ones. It was a tough battle as the condo was built in 1979, and it lives in a difficult climate. It is warm and very dry all summer, and winters can find 6 feet of snow on it's doorstep with 14 foot icicles hanging from the roof that are 2 feet around. So to say it has settled, is probably an understatement. At any rate, the three workers worked hard all day and were still caulking when the sun was behind the mountain. There was one guy that drove the other two crazy because he talked all day. I mean all day. One of the other guys kept rolling his eyes and muttering about how he wished that guy would shut up. He talked constantly. Or sang. But mostly talked. To me, to my husband, to himself. It was close to the time they were leaving that I thought I smelled something organic.  Hmmmm - maybe that was why he kept saying he needed to eat. He called his wife, and I overheard him say he was going to be late - yeah it was "Buddy" again, yeah he was tired, yeah he wanted dinner when he got home. His voice sounded tired and definitely changed when he talked to his wife. Sort of like how your child starts whining when he/she talks to you, but has a normal voice when talking with anyone else.  Anyway, we are looking forward to the next group of these incredibly hard working guys tomorrow. They will tear out the kitchen, bathroom, and numerous other big, dirty things. Hopefully the "honey pot" will arrive, or this next batch will shut the door while using the bathroom...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Are Americans Beginning to THINK?

Oh my Gob, are Americans actually beginning to think? Are we starting to pay attention to what the candidates are saying about the ISSUES? Can it be, instead of paying attention to trivia and incendiary verbiage, we are starting to really get nervous about the unbelievable financial issues facing our economy? Well a Nobel-Prize winning economist seems to think we may actually be getting serious about what is going on - check this out.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lucy and Bedtime

Now that I am an empty-nester, one of the joys is going to bed when I feel like it. I watched my daughter struggle with putting her infant to bed when they visited last week. She wanted a few adult moments, before needing to head up herself, as he wakes early. I remember those years. Sleep was always something I just didn't get enough of. My youngest suffers from asthma, so she did not sleep all night for 10 years. The night was full of breath treatments and listening for coughing, not to mention she refused to sleep without ME. So after years of being tied to my children's schedules, from babies to teenagers out on Friday nights, my evenings are now my own. EXCEPT for my dog, Lucy. She believes bedtime is when it gets dark. She begins staring at me, then wagging her tail, then going upstairs to bed, only to return to start the process over again. She wants us to GO TO BED. She has replaced my children in her desire to have me where she wants me during bedtime. Amazing. She mostly gets her way. She is determined. She is following my husband's every step as I speak. It is 8:30 p.m.! (He just said, okay Luie, lets go.) See what I mean?

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I am never comfortable with picking color. I am struggling with new paint colors for our condo right now. This is what I wish I could do, but just lack the imagination. Make sure you (click on "more pictures") to view all fourteen incredible pics.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Getting Ready

We are gearing up for all-out remodel misery. So the contract came today, and not what we had agreed to regarding the payment schedule, not to mention back stepping from our "done by Christmas" target. That is a full two months, but he says it also includes "the holidays". But I say it only includes one holiday - Thanksgiving - and I need him to be DONE by the next holiday, which is Christmas. I told him I have my family coming for Christmas, including my grandson who spends most of his time on the floor.  (Hopefully this is true.) He was saying maybe they could have the kitchen done for cooking, but some of the "touch-ups" not completed.  (Like carpet & flooring?) That sounds to me like waffling - big time - on our two month agreement. And just when I was really starting to like him...

This weekend we will attend a funeral for my uncle, and then pick up our covered trailer (stored at a friend's house in Reno) to pack with all our belongings from the kitchen and living/dining room. Thank goodness we have that to store all the stuff we need to get out of the way of the workers. We will set up a coffee pot and microwave in our bedroom. I ordered three new wii games, and we will join the local health club for a few months, so we will at least have something to do for part of the day. Still have not heard anything on the Hawaii job search - neither has the headhunter - it seems to be on hold for now. In the meantime, another headhunter, with a job in Portland! Unfortunately, probably not one my husband will be interested in.... In the meantime, I am really happy we are here together during this process. Usually, he is working somewhere and I am wrestling with the workers/contractors by myself. (I will reserve the right to reverse this sentiment after a month or so trapped in the bedroom all day with him and Lucy...) A couple of good points - we came in BELOW the estimated amount for the granite counter tops, carpet, and hardwood flooring. Yay! Of course, it just helps with the stuff that is over-budget like the fireplace, and probably the tile. Oh well.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Words Come Back to Haunt

So I have spent my life espousing a certain philosophy that has come back to haunt me over the last few days. First of all, I have always said when you are down you need to go out and do something for someone else (thanks, Mae, for the reminder.) And I have always lectured that when you are depressed, you need to use cognitive behavior therapy, whereby literally replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. When you cannot come up with a positive thought, then start running through all the things you are grateful for, one by one. In this way, you trick your brain, and therefore your hormones and anatomic nervous system, to believe you are surrounded by good, not bad. Some depression (not all) can become a physical condition, caused by constantly dwelling on negative and fearful thoughts. Your body begins to respond in a like manner. Soon, it is very difficult to overcome depressive and obsessive thinking. Over the last few weeks, I have really got caught up in all the fear and anger having to do with this really negative and hurtful campaign run by McCain/Palin. They really are a drain on our very fragile national well being. On top of their hate, we have watched our economy literally tank. After immersing myself in this muck, I became a negative, neurotic, angry person. It took a conversation with my friend, Kay, today to remind me to use my power of positive thinking and spiritual awareness to get myself back on track and become the person my family needs me to be right now. When the Mom (or older sister) falters, no matter how old the children, it affects the well being of the family. We mothers need to set the example of what to do when the world tilts. How to keep a sense that everything is going to be okay, even when we are worried that it won't be. We teach this to our daughters, so that they can then do that for their families. Or we teach our sons, so that they can get up every day to do what they need to do to take care of their wives and children. I think our best legacy to our families is the ability to catch ourselves, and do what we need to do in times of crises, to keep our thinking healthy and productive. It does not help anyone to wallow in negativity for very long, least of all ourselves.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Death, Old Wounds

So what is it about a death in the family that brings out all the old wounds that one usually keeps under wraps, and buried. My uncle died last week and with his death came all the stuff I thought I had dealt with when my father died. When my Dad died, my siblings were not much help. They are younger, with the next one being six years younger, eight years, and ten years. I have always felt that being the older sister, I was responsible. Period. But now they are grown adults. And my brother took on the responsibility for an ailing uncle. That uncle has passed away, and with it comes all the stuff families seem to put on each other. Why do we do that? And most of all, why does all the pain we bury come floating to the surface? I know why it happens, but that sure doesn't make me immune to it happening. And I just don't seem to have the reserves to handle these things very well. Is it because there is so much anger and angst in the world right now? Or is it because we are getting worn down with it? I know that I quit my blog last week because I felt I was adding to the negativity. But, I think our blogs are just a release. They are our way to sit down and share our fear. I don't know if that is good or bad. But I do feel that people, in general, are bombarded with bad stuff these days. The economy is going to bring even more bad stuff in the months ahead. Hopefully, I can find some channel for all this anger I'm feeling. I'll let you know how I do.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Okay, I'm Back!

You may have wondered where I went - at least a few of you have wondered evidently. Well, I felt I was adding to the negativity, with my anger, regarding the politics of hate, I had been spending way too much time watching. So I erased my blog, and began writing a journal, feeling pretty good about not adding to the rhetoric. But, I guess some people actually read my dribble and - gasp - missed it. So I'm back, hoping to be more positive, but no less worried about our world. I hope all of you that asked what happened to me will also blog and let me know where you are, so I can read yours also. Until then - off to the debate!