Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Keep Her Safe, World!

The hardest thing for me to do is to let my children go off into the world. I know I have to do it. But it just wrenches me in a way that is impossible to describe. We spend our lives protecting them. Then at some point we're pushed out of the equation. We are no longer in charge. And while we know, on a deep level, that we've never really been in charge, we have at least had some idea of where in the world they were at any given time. Not so when they hit a certain age. That's when they make their own decisions to expand their universe.  Off they go, and we have no idea where they are. We know what country, but that's about it.

They'll travel in their own way, without benefit of knowing exactly where they will sleep that night. They will meet people without benefit of their parent's spidey sense, hopefully depending on their own. We did our best to develop it in them, after all. We paid for the inoculations, made sure they were carrying "Deet," sent them all the State Department updates, warned them against carrying their passport where it could be lost or stolen. We assure them we will pony up money if it looks like they will run out (and maybe make a poor decision about where to sleep, what to eat.) But after that? We have to let them go...

We ask the world to watch out for them. Keep them safe. Return them to us, please.
So I'm sending it out there -  Please world, watch out for my little girl. She is sweet, kind, a humanitarian. Her mother often learns from her. She's worth protecting. And if I come across yours? I'll be happy to return the favor!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Car Shopping

Is there anything worse? Seriously?

We've come to the time when we need two cars. I mentioned before that we gave our SUV to our son-in-law over a year ago. No need for a big vehicle to schlep soccer players from school to practice, or ballet dancers vying for the lead, as my nest was empty.

During that time I've not missed having two cars. In fact, my husband has been my chauffeur for the last two years. It's kind of nice.

But we live in an area without public transportation, except on a very limited, touristy basis. And being left without transportation when he is gone is getting old. So off to the car lots we go. Only two lots and we were exhausted. I think I'm done. I won't be test driving many, because I just can't handle the tactics used to sell them. The one I hate the most is the "delay, delay, delay." We're going for a test drive and the second lot asks for our drivers licenses to take inside to copy. Okay, sounds reasonable. But he's in there forever! I wanted to ask him how the sneaky credit check turned out...

Off we go for the test drive and he tries to use the very hi-tech, voice-activated navigation system to tell us where the nearest restaurant is located. Only he doesn't know how to use it, and keeps giving it the wrong commands. We sit in a bank parking lot for ten minutes while he tries to figure it out. After giving us some more wrong information on the car, we are finally ready to leave. We tell him thank you, we'll think about it, ask for his card and a brochure. He stalls getting the brochure, asks me for our phone numbers, takes forever to staple his card to the brochure -  well, you get the picture. After all that - we are walking out the door and he insists we meet the manager. Like meeting his manager is going to change our minds about thinking it over?

I wanted to tell him to save his energy. Delaying us and using ancient car salesmen tactics was just making me cranky. It wasn't as bad as one of the dealers a few years ago, however.  They took our keys, on the pretense they needed to move our car, and wouldn't give them back! They ended up literally chasing us out of the parking lot trying to stop us. By that time I seriously wanted to play "bumper people."

So what did we decide?

We don't need a navigation system, air-conditioned seats, back seats that heat or blue lighting on the floor while we drive. We do need something very good in snow and ice, good gas mileage, nice sound system, bluetooth for those calls we really don't need to answer most of the time, room for Lucy, and a car that will not need to be replaced for many years. Especially the last one. I don't think my patience for this is going to get any better with age...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Retirement Homes & Spring

I had the opportunity to shop with three generations of women this last week. My takeaway - it doesn't matter how old you are, women like to have something that makes them feel pretty. It's spring, and I'm finally digging out of the snow here at Lake Tahoe. My thoughts have turned to flowers, tree buds, birds, and lighter clothing. A trip to the tropics is on our radar and my daughters have also planned vacations. One is going to Thailand, which included a stop at the Travel Clinic, the other to Costa Rica, which doesn't require much more than what she already has, plus a bathing suit. My MIL, who is 97, also needed a few things, however, so my trip to Portland required some time at the mall.

It's nice to know that at 97 you can still care about how you look. She lives in a retirement home that has a certain decorum. They all have apartments, but take their meals in a centralized location that just recently decided ties were a bit excessive for dinner. But forget about shorts, that requires special dispensation. They do not want you out in the hallways in your bathrobe and slippers with curlers in your hair. The expectation is that when you leave your apartment, you are nicely dressed with hair at least combed. There is a beauty parlor in residence, and a small sandwich shop for guests. Most of the people who live there are from a more formal generation. They follow the rules and like structure in their lives.

So I started thinking what the retirement homes will look like for my generation. I really don't think ties will be something even on our radar. We Boomers are not very formal. I hope I don't get kicked out for trying to slip out and grab my laundry in the localized laundry room in my slippers. It would be just like me to test the rules. Not to mention my slippers are rather ubiquitous. In fact it's just like my generation to try and test the rules.

It may be a messy group of resisters in our retirement homes. Chaos in the hallways, calls to our children ...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What can we do?

After yesterday's post several people asked what can we do to help facilitate change in this country. We have a system that is not working in a way that constructively solves our country's problems. We shouldn't have to go through such ugliness to address detrimental issues. Health care reform was passed without one single Republican vote. Our two party system is simply not working. Its time to do things differently.

The New York Times had an opinion this morning by Thomas L. Friedman that actually made some sense. It is possible, with enough of us demanding these types of changes, to move this mess into a productive governing body once again.

Please let me know what you think about some of these ideas. A Tea Party Without Nuts makes sense to me. Where do I sign up for this third party?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Republican Party

Sorry, I try to stay away from negative posts, but this was just too important.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am shocked and appalled at the behavior of the Tea Baggers yesterday in Washington DC. Calling our Congressmen "niggers" and inciting hate and bigotry. This behavior is just unacceptable. Spitting on our legislators? Some signs calling for killing our president and using guns to stop health care reform! Have these people gone completely off their rocker? What kind of people listen to this garbage, let alone condone it? Fox News is inciting hatred and violence in this country and it has got to stop!

I ended another friendship yesterday because a "friend" felt the need to send me a hate-filled email over  this legislation. Mind you, I never send anything to him, yet he feels perfectly justified filling my email box with this vitriol. It proves how ignorant and hateful he really is, and I want absolutely nothing to do with him any longer. Another friend bites the dust. All this over health care reform? Really? We can wage two wars, kill thousands, and the country comes apart over health care reform? 

This kind of energy will have it's consequences. You can be sure of that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

How do you not laugh?

My daughters were not supposed to tell their mother "no!" Not that they always did what they were told.... But for the most part, they were pretty good about only showing their utter and total contempt for my rule behind my back! Not so for my grandson. He is a perfect gentlemen for most of the time. Sweet and utterly adorable. But when it comes to standing two inches from the television screen, we get out the boxing gloves.

Last night my daughter and son-in-law went to a birthday party sans their two-year-old. I couldn't blame them for wanting a little time that didn't include running after him. After all, with me living in another state, these times are not always easy to come by. The other grandparents are great, but they live across town, which means scheduling way ahead. No last minute drop offs. Needless to say, when I come to town, they take full advantage of Grammy being right in the house.

Which brings me to last night. We had a wonderful night and had just drawn our first line in the sand over the television - me telling him to back off from the screen a little bit - him very firmly telling me "no, his toons!" Forcing me  to use the clicker to shut off the television. Him turning it back on ... me asking him to back up ... him saying no! ... Well, you get the picture. When his parents came home, there we were - me with the clicker, him with his eyebrows knitted, two inches from screen. The problem was keeping myself from laughing. He was so darn cute! He had absolutely no idea how tiny and vulnerable he was!

Now why couldn't they have arrived home while he was telling me how much he loved my noodles with butter and parmesan, and that he "missed" me (his version of showing how happy he was with his dinner)? Or when he woke up all sweet and warm, giving me a big hug? Oh no, it had to be knitted brows, line in the sand time....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Girl's Night

I'm visiting my daughter in Portland this week and one of my favorite places is the Northwest 23rd, or alphabet blocks, part of the city. Full of old victorians and posh condos, it has plenty of shopping and restaurants of all persuasions. My daughter and I met one of her best friends and her mother for dinner tonight and had the best time! Our dinner at The Matador was wonderful, and the drinks were well appreciated. What is it about getting together with friends of the same sex that allows for a sense of renewal? My husband, happy back in the mountains, is hosting his annual get-together with the boys for four days of skiing, wine, and red meat.

I guess we just need time once in a while to talk about the things that are interesting only to others who noodle on the same thoughts. We talked weddings, hair, makeup, friends, and shoes. None of the things my husband and his friends are talking about, I'm sure. They're talking finance, politics, snow, and skis!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Earth's Axis

I had a very vivid dream last night about something happening to the earth's axis. I mentioned it in a comment on Synchronicity and they said it was the third mention of disaster in the last 24 hours, and decided to do a post on it. Has anyone else had odd feelings or dreams?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Make A Wish

Our little Lilly and her family are traveling to Disney World for a week of fun in the sun, courtesy of the Make A Wish Foundation. Tonight we attended a send off party which they sponsored. We had pizza, soda, salad and cake. They had presents for Lilly, which included a Minnie Mouse that she held on to the entire night. She is all things Disney! I wonder if that was the gist of the conversation here?

This organization is wonderful! I hope that you never have the need for their generosity, but if you have the opportunity to support them, please do. You can donate your time, frequent flyer miles, new electronics, building materials, and in a myriad of other ways. A worthy cause, indeed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sage of Synchronicity

This book, written by Marcus T. Anthony (PhD), is a radical change from most self-help or spiritual-leaning books. Dr. Anthony has intensely studied both, coming up with a new way of integrating the two. Believing himself to be a "futurist," he provides specific processes intended to help the reader get in touch with their inner knowing. You know, that niggling little feeling in the back of your mind that says you really should be focusing here instead of there, or on this instead of that. He terms this process "integrated intelligence," and its outcome "wisdom and transformation." You can read some of Dr. Anthony's academic papers here, on his website. This book is a sequel to Integrated Intelligence, and is written in an easy to understand format.

"This book is about a particular way of enhancing wisdom; using the innate ability of the mind to draw upon intelligence beyond the boundaries of self, and then applying that intelligence to make decisions, take action, and then reflect upon the whole process. This is the Wisdom Cycle."

He doesn't give the kind of advice that says this process is easy. Quite the opposite. Which is why I liked this book. He helps the reader take responsibility, which I believe is the key to success when it comes to any kind of transformation. Giving ways of connecting and healing those broken parts of ourselves that often originate in childhood. Connecting and talking down the ego, which never goes away. It is part of who we are, an integral part of our psyche. It just has a habit of running the show, causing us untold havoc and problems.

This book would appeal to those that are interested in psychology and spirituality. Also to those who feel they have a specific purpose, but have been unsuccessful in connecting with it. Based in psychology, but with new ways of understanding who we are, and how we can change the world through transformation of the mind, this was an interesting read.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pirate Radio

We picked two movies to watch this weekend. My pick was a flop, in our opinion. We didn't make it to the end, despite Ricky Gervais, a favorite of mine. I can't recommend The Invention of Lying. However, my husband's pick rocked - literally! We loved this movie! Without giving away the plot to those that might want to watch it - just let me say, if you love rock and roll, especially music from the sixties, you must watch this movie.

Two big thumbs up!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Cleaning

I'm in the process of cleaning up my blog. I have been following many people that either have not posted in several months, have not commented here, or have eliminated their blog altogether. So I stopped following several. However, if I stopped following you and you do stop by here occasionally, or may return to your blog eventually, please let me know! I will be more than happy to add you back. I would hate to lose a friend that is just taking a break.

Remember, many of you are followed on my dashboard, not just on my sidebar. I still go there to check up on people I haven't heard from in a while. But if you haven't commented here, nor have you written on your blog in three months, I'm assuming you have moved along. In that case, I wish you all well, and if you return at some later date - please drop by.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Blogger has just launched a brand new feature for templates! You can completely customize your blog without trying to download from other sites! Go here:


Stay tuned for a new and improved Life In The Second Half!


I am starting to see more and more buttons! I would really like to have a left side on my blog for buttons, but blogger doesn't seem to have one. Does anyone know anything about templates that are not from blogger? Do they work well? Can you add blogger gadgets? What should I watch out for?


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hearst Gossip

I finally visited Hearst Castle on the southern California coast. Something that I've wanted to do for years. The structure was never finished, even after 30 years of construction. (Please click to enlarge!) There are several tours to choose from, and we took the basic tour which included two gigantic pools, one inside and one outside, both of olympic proportions. This tour also included one of three guest houses, William Randolph's favorite - the one he chose to spend time in toward the end of his life at age 88, despite a lavish master bedroom in the main structure. He had homes all over the world, but "The Ranch," as he referred to it, was special. It continues to be a working cattle ranch. Hearst's parents bought the property in 1865 and it includes 50 miles of coastline. The castle is now a museum, but the property and houses on the ranch remain with the Hearst Corporation.

What we found interesting was the people who surrounded Mr. Hearst. He began building this incredible structure when he was 56 years old! After completing the first guest house, he began a 30-year affair with Marion Davies, a 21-year-old starlet, 37 years his junior. He never married her, and while she was his constant companion, his wife, and mother of his five sons, would sometimes act as hostess to important guests at the castle. Winston Churchill, Amanda Earhardt, Charles Lindbergh, David Niven, Howard Hughes, Myrna Loy, Bob Hope, Cary Grant, to name just a few.

The story goes that while on his deathbed Davies became upset with the loud chatter and activity surrounding him. We can only guess that she felt he was not being afforded proper respect. At which point she was given a sedative by her niece and her niece's husband. When she awoke she was surprised to find that he had died during the night and his body, and all personal effects, had been removed. His funeral took place in San Francisco without her in attendance. It was only after the death of her niece did it become publicly known that she was actually the love child between herself and Hearst. One wonders if the "niece" ever knew who her real parents were, since it did not become public until after her death. Hearst was not known to have many children as guests at the ranch.

The movie The Cat's Meow is based on Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst, and will be on my Netflix queue, since my current obsession is all things William Randolph. Of course there are other interesting stories, such as the supposed fatal shooting of Thomas Ince on Hearst's yacht. The story goes he caught Davies and Charlie Chaplin in bed, chasing him to the deck where he accidently shot Ince while trying to kill Chaplin. (Charlie was quite handsome!)

Many more stories surround the life of William Randolph Hearst, but you'll have to wait until my next tour of the castle. We hope to make annual trips to the beautiful coast of California each spring.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Almost spring in California...

We had a great time soaking in the warmth. Los Angeles in March is great, but San Diego was even better. Off to the coast and a tour of Hearst Castle, (more about that tomorrow), and home to a light snow. Can't wait to fill you in on the gossip surrounding William Randolph, just in case you've forgotten that story...

Looking forward to catching up with all of you!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Do you believe in afterlife?

Bonnie at Original Art Studio has a great conversation going on right now on whether or not you believe in an afterlife. Hop on over if you have an opinion, or just want to read what others are saying.

By the way, what do you think? Is there an afterlife?