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...