Monday, August 31, 2009

The Four Insights

I just finished this book by Alberto Villoldo, PH.D., who is a medical anthropologist. It was recommended by one of you, and I can't remember who, exactly. But thank you. I really enjoyed it.

I think I will do something a little different with my blog. I thought I would do a quick review of those books that might be of value to others. You never know when one of those sparks will ignite a reader.

In this case Dr. Villoldo takes us into the world of the Shaman, or Healer. A fascinating look at an ancient practice dating back thousands of years with ancient cultures such as the Mayan, Inca, Aztec, and many more. In this case it is the "Laika" who's name came from the Andes and the Amazon. These secret societies have existed for millenia, and are entrusted with carefully guarded wisdom. They are the "Earthkeepers." They believe that the four insights teach that "all of creation, the earth, humans, whales, rocks, and even the stars - are made up of vibration and light." They also believe we are dreaming our lives, and that we can dream the world we want into being.

For those interested in healing, energy, and specific practices involving both, this may be a good book for you. Dr. Villoldo also has intensive retreat/trainings that you can attend, along with books, tapes, and other material you might be interested in perusing.

As the healthcare debate rages on in this country, I think we will begin to look at our health in a very different way. The old way of treating disease with pharmaceutical drugs will take a backseat to preserving our health before we get sick. We will look for alternative ways for remaining healthy and dealing with illness, utilizing alternative medicine, nutrition, and nurturing the mind/body connection.

So I will do a short review of what I'm reading, and please, keep those recommendations coming.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Beautiful Lunch

(winter shot of the dining deck)

My husband and I had lunch today with the lovely Reya of The Gold Puppy. She and her friend, Dave joined us at the Sunnyside Restaurant for a lakeside lunch. It was so wonderful to finally meet her! Of course, not being a great photographer, I forgot my camera in my excitement. So no pictures. But I will say that she is very pretty, in a very wholesome way, exactly as she is on her blog. (Come to think of it all the Aquarius women I have known have been pretty.) She's as nice and as soulful as her blog portrays her to be. I know I will see her again someday, she's that kind of person - you want to see her again.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blogging & Triggers

There has been an excellent conversation going on with Bonnie at Original Art Studio and Delwyn at A Hazy Moon. Both excellent blogs, by the way, well worth checking out if you are not already a follower. The conversation revolves around the meaning and intricacies of blogging. Why do we do it? How does it change us? What are the expectations? And best one of all - what are we getting out of it?

I have been pondering and studying these questions for some time. And I believe we are in the beginning stages of an explosion of creativity. Which often happens in economic downturns, by the way. The blogging world is one way to ignite the spark within us to find and explore the gift with which we were born. We all have one, and it may not have anything to do with how we have been making our living. We may read a post, or comment, or be directed to a website, and then find ourselves thinking in a completely new direction. When you think about it - most of us have dozens of blogs that we read on a routine basis, not to mention the comments on each post. That is an abundance of information being processed. What are the odds that something wouldn't stick?

We have been sparked and ignited. Which then sparks something in someone else... and so on it goes. Little triggers, hidden deep in our subconscious mind.

It's exciting to read your posts that talk about doing something you have always wanted to do, but somehow didn't have the confidence, time, money, etc. But now, for some reason you have decided to take a chance, follow a new path, think new thoughts, follow a dream.

And there are many of you out there right now.

Are you one of those considering a new path, or idea, that you have always wanted to explore?

What do you think?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A few years...

I am beginning to believe that having a few years on your "playlist" is not so bad. I started to really think about age a few years ago, never really minding my aging body and face. Some might argue I'm being too lackadaisical about the whole thing, and should do more to stave off the ravage of time. But, for the most part, I get what aging is all about.

We see things differently when we are not focusing all our attention on ourselves. Let's face it, when you are in your teens and twenties, it's all about how everything affects you. It's not a bad thing, don't get me wrong. It's natural, and part of the process. There is energy, excitement, drama. We have our whole lives ahead of us, and we are reckless, drunk with the ripeness of it all. The early part of our lifespan is designed to set the stage for what's to come.

The mid years are all about everyone else. We work, plan, cook, clean, do yard work, budget for college years. If you have children, this stage is anything but about you. But even if you don't have children, it's about your career, bosses, spouses, families, significant others. We constantly compare ourselves to others, to those that we admire, we strive to climb the ladder of success in whatever field we choose, to be the best that we can be. We also accumulate. Usually too much of everything.

By the late-mid years, my tag, not the social scientists, you realize it's not all about you, and yours. There is more of an understanding that others matter, that life is better when it's simpler, and the need for things diminish. Now it's about remaining healthy, active, and mentally nimble. Time to care about the little things in life. A nice meal with someone you love is a beautiful gift. A small home is cozy and comfortable. Flowers are to be admired, almost irrationally. Walks are not something you have to fit into your busy day, but are a main staple of the day. Life is slower, but sweeter.

It is this point in life that you realize it won't stay this way. You know enough to know that the only constant in this world of ours, is change. You know that you probably will face some physical problem, or twenty, in the years ahead, so you are grateful for what you have. The realization that life is precious, and should be savoured, like a fine wine on a summer evening. That the season will change and the leaves will fall, and winter is just around the corner. But the summer and fall are noticed, and dearly appreciated.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Heart Tag

A couple of days ago Harmony of Harmony Travels tagged me with a tag that I thought might be fun to do. I've always believed in getting in touch with those things that touch our lives in meaningful ways, and this is one way to do it. We always know the big things, but what about the little things? Here are the instructions:

The tag reads -- With as much creativity as you can muster, show your heart in a picture, poem, a song (or a piece of music), a phrase (or quote), an item of clothing, a place and (just for fun) a Disney Princess.

I'm not nearly as creative as so many of you, so expectations need to be adjusted, but here goes:

My heart in a picture would of course include my little grandson, who is one of life's pleasures and steals a little part of my heart each time I see him:

A poem that would come close to my heart, and my view of life, would be by Emily Dickenson, and is titled:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

A song is a little easier, in that I love music, but whittling it down to one is much harder. There are so many! But lately I have been thinking about the words to Kenny Chesney's song "Don't Blink". It may not be my favorite song of all time, but the words resonate with me right now

A phrase or quote is right up my alley, so a favorite would be:

Live with intention, Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

Mary Anne Radmacher

An item of clothing would have to be my big cotton shirt from Sea Ranch that serves to keep me warm in the winter in the house, and warm in the summer on the deck when the sun goes down. It's heavy cotton, and very soft. It fits guests, of both genders, and is often sought after.

A place is where I sit and talk with you. A down-filled chair cozied up to a window that sits up in the big pine trees and looks down on a little stream and waterfall. I am at peace in this chair.

A Disney Princess would have to be Cinderella, as she was from an era when I was a little girl and she always had all those animals and birds to help her dress:

So these are some things that are attached to my heart. I know I am supposed to pick a few of you to tag, but I find that too difficult, so I will tag all of you that would like to share a little of yourself. Please drop me a comment, so I know you decided to play along, as I am very interested in what touches your heart, as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Intention Experiment

I recently finished this book by Lynne McTaggart. It was not an easy book to read but the content was often really astounding. For instance, we have always heard that plants respond when you talk to them. But did you know that if you stress a plant (such as putting a needle through a leaf), that it will remember you and react when you come near it again? These and other very interesting experiments were discussed, in scientific detail, in the book.

I just recently visited the website associated with this book. The idea is to read and understand the book, then go to the website for coordinated intention experiments. I have not had the chance to participate yet, but I found the website to very interesting.

If you feel the call to learn more about consciousness, especially focused consciousness, you might want to visit Lynne's website.

What was even more interesting to me was the community that has formed with " A Call For Conscious Evolution." This is a very exciting group, in my opinion. It is discussing all the current issues we are facing with definite ways of dealing with them. I think most us of feel pretty overwhelmed and helpless with all the problems facing our world right now. Often we just don't know what to do about it. I think this is one way to utilize a group dynamic to understand and actually work toward solving some of the problems.

Anyway, if you have a minute, you might want to check it out.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Changing Times

This article in the NYT about Anna Wintour caught my eye. Just in case you missed The Devil Wears Prada, she is the editor of Vogue Magazine, the character that Meryl Streep's Miranda Priestly was based on. Vogue being the quintessential fashion magazine, at least in our country. A documentary film, discussed in the article, was made about her and her staff during the September 2007 issue when Vogue was over 840 pages, 727 were ads, and it weighed four pounds. She has a full-blown reputation for being a gigantic bitch. Sorry, no other word describes her reputation. She has worked hard to achieve that moniker, and wears it as a badge of honor. She eats only meat, and drinks only a little wine. I think that says it all.

The article struck me more about the differences in Anna's world since that September 2007 issue. Vogue's current issue has 36% fewer ads this September, which says much about the "Guilded Age of excessive spending". There is even talk that Anna may be going the way of the dinosaur. Certainly our economy is not going to bounce back any time soon. Which begs the question - should it ever bounce back enough to put women like Anna, well known for her eccentricities which do not include being kind to many, back on pedestals?

Maybe it's time to revisit the celebrity driven mania in this country. We have based our reverence not on people who are making a difference in our world, but on celebrities, clothes, cars, and slick businessmen, who turn out to be greedy and dishonest. All the reverent shuffling comes to mind when Berney Madoff fought off all those people begging to join his "investment" company.

I hope we are returning to a simpler era when conspicuous consumption was frowned upon, certainly not something you went into debt to afford. When heroes did good deeds and banks were looked at with some scrutiny. When helping your neighbors was just what you did, and celebrities were considered actors, not Gods to be chased and hounded constantly for boring pictures of everyday life. When people like Anna didn't have celebrity status, and Vogue didn't weigh four pounds.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Speaking of labels...

I should clarify my last post a bit. Labels that we love having, that we don't mind living with, are good ones. Thanks for your comments regarding good labels that are positive and help describe our roles.

I have been doing an exercise lately that might be of interest to you. I have been noticing all the labels and accompanying storylines I attach to everything and everyone. Next time you are walking down the street, notice how your mind immediately jumps to label the people you pass. Some are scary, too big, too small, unattractive, and my favorite - annoying.

I cannot believe how I label people I have never met. And I normally think of myself as being open-minded and kind! Training your mind to not jump to conclusions about events and people is not easy, but so necessary if you want to remain in a positive/healthy frame of mind. Keeping in mind the mind/body connection, it's important to be aware of our thoughts and their corresponding effect on our body.

Everything doesn't have to be good or bad. It can just be.

It's amazing how many times I look for trouble. An example: We have have limited parking in our parking lot. Sometimes, during the summer, most of the owners will be using their condos, or guests will be using them, making parking an issue. I find myself immediately worrying that they will park too close to my car, so I can't open my door, or that they will take the spot right across from our condo, which is technically ours. I'll then start a storyline - usually with the other people being wrong or inconsiderate. (Our neighbor does the same thing.)

Why do I do that? The reality is - they probably did not park too close to my car door, in fact they may be gone before I even want to use my car, and so what if I have to park away from our unit? It's a safe place. The point is that I don't need to look for trouble. I don't need to start a storyline. I don't need to put my energy into something that has not, and may not, ever materialize. I should just deal with the issues as they arise, keeping in mind that most people really don't mean to be inconsiderate. They are as puzzled as we are when it comes to parking during peak times.

We have a neighbor that is constantly looking for trouble. He smells strange smells, is worried about our dog, thinks our sprinkling system is making holes on his side, wants the association to move the garbage, wants the association to pay for the tiny scratch on his car from a bear breaking into the garbage he made us move. His list goes on and on. One of the other owners finally suggested to him that maybe he wasn't so happy, and should sell his unit. The guy has been driving everyone a little crazy for a long time, evidently. (We did not live here in the past, only used it a few weeks a year.) He is so annoyed all the time, he has become very annoying.

Anyway, check it out for yourself. Next time you think you are just observing...

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I was reading a passage in the book "The Four Insights" today, when I ran across a passage that I found very interesting. The writer, Alberto Villoldo, PH.D., was discussing "the practice of Non-Attachment." He said that at one time in his life he adopted the persona of Indiana Jones/Anthropologist. A book reviewer had referred to him by this characterization after reading one of his books. He began to identify with the character, when at age 40, he found it too difficult to maintain.

Here is an instance where we get labeled, or we label ourselves, because of a moment in time. A whole storyline gets attached to our label. No matter that we may have outgrown the label, or that it never fit in the first place, we believe it to be who we are.

I had just got off the phone with Trish MacGregor, wife of the author, Rob MacGregor of Indiana Jones' prequels and novelization, (Lucas/Spielberg creation), when I read this passage. It hit me that this wonderful, insightful, enlightened man had patterned himself off a character that had come from the minds of Hollywood and some talented writers. It was fiction. He was trying to live up to the character of a work of fiction!

How often do we do this to ourselves and to others? We label everything and everyone. Yet these labels often have no connection to who and what we are. We are evolving, changing, dynamic. We are more than mother, father, daughter, son, friend, worker, sibling, lazy, carefree, ugly, beautiful, fat, skinny, smart, loveable...

We simply cannot be labeled.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Where do the years go?

One of my girlfriends, that has been a friend for over 35 years, come up to spend the night and go to the lake with me today. It was fun catching up, as we rarely talk on the phone more than a couple times a year. But many years ago, when we were both very young and single, we developed a tradition of going to the lake at least once a year. When we first started going we had our bottle of wine and some towels, maybe a sandwich, and headed for the beaches you have to hike down from the road to access.

Over the years that changed to the crowded Sand Harbor beach with very soft sand that our children played in with their buckets and shovels. It has an area that is protected and shallow - which makes it warmer than the lake and ideal for little swimmers.

A few years ago my daughters and her daughter quit going with us, opting to go to the lake with their friends (to the beaches you hike down to access.)

This year our day was spent on the West end of the lake at a park that was an old mansion and playground for the rich and famous during the days of the Comstock and timber barrons out of San Francisco.

You can tour the mansion and the grounds and/or sit under some lovely trees on rolling green grass the extends down to the beach and water:

We sat mostly under the trees, as tanning is not something either of us does anymore, sans the bottle of wine. Wine? In the middle of the day at the beach? Ummm who's DD? We didn't swim much, something that we have always enjoyed doing together. But we talked and enjoyed the view, and the companionship that comes from years of knowing one another. We caught up on what our children were doing, how their lives have turned out so far, what they aspire to in the future.

We realized that time has marched right along. Our children are now in charge of their lives, making their own decisions, creating their worlds. Ours has changed. We are slowing down, enjoying the little things, the small moments. Our bodies have changed, our hair, wrinkles have appeared. But we are still the same in so many ways. All the little ways that attracted us to each other all those years ago. We may think differently, but we respect each other. We know each other's tender places, because we were there when they were experienced. The scars that are healed now, but were once so raw.

And we wonder - what is in store for us now? How many more years will we come to the lake for our day?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

An Ordering?

I mentioned yesterday that I have been reading and studying quite a bit lately. I just finished The Intention Experiment. I'm now reading The Four Insights, a book about ancient healers in hiding since the time of the Conquest, now re-emerging to offer wisdom in order to "sustain us during the great changes we are about to face." (In case you don't believe it's possible for a group to be in hiding this long, there was a writer about an ancient civilization of runners recently discovered in Mexico on John Stewart on Tuesday.) On top of these recent books, I've read The Toltec Prophecies, everything written by Eckhart Tolle, and almost everything by Pema Chodron over the last few months. I feel drawn to do this, and I don't really know why. But I feel as though something is happening. Our world is going through a change. Almost as if there is an "ordering" or organization of energy. People's energy, earth's energy, all energy. Something like "the endless passing back and forth of energy between all subatomic particles, leaving scientists to believe that all matter in the universe is connected on the subatomic level through a constant dance of quantum energy exchange." (The Intention Experiment)

I know some of you will think this sounds crazy. But before you wipe me from your blog world, ask yourself - have you been feeling differently lately? Have you had a feeling of being anxious, but without a ready explanation? Have you been drawn to programs like The Philanthropist, a program about doing good deeds, with messages that we are One? Do you feel a need to retreat from anger, violence, negativity, preferring calm discourse? Or perhaps you have thoughts of a world where everyone is equal, and less of a desire for material things. Does something tell you that you need to be more self-sufficient? Grow, can, eat organically? Maybe not eat factory-farmed meat, or not eat meat at all. Or maybe it's just an overall feeling of wanting to be a better person, to think good thoughts, and be grateful for life's blessings.

I know these are generalizations, easily applied to a variety of reasons. You can say they are just because of the economy, or news programs, or a fad. But I don't think so. Every book I have read has something about a great wave of change coming to our world. If you believe only in the Bible - then it's Armageddon. Edgar Cayce talked about it, the ancient civilizations and healers talked about it, every book I have read lately has something about it. It was even mentioned last night on a program about alien encounters! Is it the end of the Mayan calendar - which is 2012? Is it the changes in our weather patterns? Is it a metaphor for a spiritual awakening?

Could that be what we are experiencing? Is there an ordering going on because we may need each other?

It's a puzzle, and we are the pieces. I would love your wise words, opinions and stories. I hope you don't think I'm crazy. But somehow I don't think you do - at least some of you don't, or you wouldn't be reading this right now, I would have been deleted long ago.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm back!

Whew, it's been a wild couple of weeks. Having my little grandson and daughter here for ten days, driving them back to Portland, and then flying home has been busy, busy. You really forget just how much time and attention a toddler requires. I will be finding things for weeks, I know. He is fast and cunning! :-)

As for my daughter, I could tell she needed a break. A break from her life, which has all the trials and tribulations that this economy can throw at her. I know they will be fine, but it's hard to watch your child not smile much. The first really genuine smile of pure joy was when she emerged from the cold water of Lake Tahoe, after her first swim. I could tell she was focused solely on her senses, not on her problems. A beautiful smile of pure happiness.

She took the opportunity of having built-in babysitters and went out with friends some of the evenings. These are the kids she went K-12, and through much of college. They know her well and they had great fun, as it's been several years since they've seen each other. Laughter is very good medicine.

But now we are all back in our places. I have been doing some really interesting reading, which I will share with you over the next few days. I have an idea for a book I have been threatening to write, which I think could be interesting. So all in all, the break has been good for me, too. I have thoroughly enjoyed catching up on your posts. You are an amazing group of writers, and I am always inspired by you.

So what's new with you?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hawthorne Street Fair

My daughter and her husband live just a few blocks from Hawthorne, the southeast part of Portland. It's a lively street, with shops ranging from vintage clothes to ones that sell bizarre jewelry and red-feather wings for when you need that special touch. It has that hipster feel, but also attracts people like myself and every other myriad group. Lots of bicycles and families on this day. We came home with new "shopper" type bags for the girls, and earrings for my very cool son-in-law that has a reputation to upkeep as a snowboard rep. All in all a great day, finished off with shots of tequila at the next door neighbors, and pot-lock dinner at our house.

It's fun to visit Portland, and it's never boring! But I'm heading back to the mountains tomorrow. I will look forward to my own internet connection, as the one here has been booting me off all day. I have tried to post this since this morning.

Speaking of which, have you ever wondered what is going on when you try to post something and it refuses to get accomplished? Is there a deeper message there? Could we look at it from a different perspective - maybe including synchronicity, and ask ourselves if there isn't something more at work? Maybe this post or message needs to be changed, deleted, or is not meant to be posted at all.

Has that ever happened to you?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Can you feel it?

Can you feel the end of summer? It was very cool yesterday at the beach. It was about 69 degrees, but the wind was blowing, and whitecaps were visible on the lake. We packed up after only an hour and headed home to pack for the trip to Portland. I'll drive with my daughter and fly home, so that she won't be driving and caring for my grandson at the same time.

It's been lovely having them in my home. Most of the time we visit them, as it's just easier. They have very little paid time off, so it makes sense to have us do the traveling. But I'll bet some of you know what I'm talking about when I say, I like to have them in my home...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Measure for Measure

Every year there is a Shakespeare On The Lake series. It's held on Sand Harbor, which is also our favorite beach. This year the two plays that you could choose from were Measure For Measure, or Much Ado About Nothing. We went to Measure for Measure last night with a group of friends.

There is something magical about watching a great play, written by The Bard himself, while enjoying a good bottle of wine and wonderful food. You can either bring a picnic, or buy there. We chose to buy dinner there, and some of us had grilled tri-tip sandwiches or grilled fish tacos. The menus were varied and well-prepared, showcasing fresh vegetables and lean meats.

As I sat watching the sun go down on the Lake, and stars appear in the sky, I swear I could smell the beautiful clear water. I have always thought water didn't have a smell, unless it was chlorinated or not clean, but now I can actually smell water, including the stream running behind our house. Fresh clean water is what I am grateful for today. It is our last day on the beach with our daughter and grandson, and I will drive back to Portland with them tomorrow for a few days. So today is our last summer day together. It's bitter-sweet, and I will enjoy it to the max.

Hope your summer is going well, I have enjoyed reading your blogs this past week. On occasion I've tried leaving comments that have been eaten by Google. As soon as I pick a "user" which is Google, my comment disappears. Especially for those blogs outside the US. Firefox won't even let me sign in, so I've been using Safari. Anyway, I will visit you again. Have a great day!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Break Time

I'm going to take a break from posting for the next week, in order to spend time with my family, who are here visiting. My grandson is very busy. He requires lots of attention! I will be visiting all of your blogs and catching up on past posts. I've missed having the time to read what you have to say!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Remaining Flexible

We are currently experiencing a cold front. My husband said something today about snow in the mountains! What? This is August! Yes, I know we live in high elevations, but August is summer, not the start of fall. Of course this had to happen just as my family arrived to spend some time at the beach. Now, we are having to make alternative plans. The ice chest and floating toys remain with the beach umbrella, stored away.

Isn't that just the way? You make plans, have it all arranged in your mind, and when the time arrives, your plans are only a blueprint. Time to regroup, find ways to assuage your disappointment, and move on.

Maybe the man who decided to blow away all those women in the LA Fitness Center should have considered this concept. Women didn't like him? Hmmmm, I wonder why? Could he have always been a person with a "chip on his shoulder?" Always blaming someone else, in this case women, because he couldn't connect with love?

Flexibility is my word for the week. I'm working on being flexible in my thinking, in my desires, in my outlook. It's not someone else's fault I feel disappointed. I need to own my feelings. I may not have control over what happens in my life that is not in the plan, but I do have control over how I respond.

So we're off to do something different today. There is an art show in Truckee, CA, a mere twenty miles from here, or bathing-suit shopping in Reno, or a walk along the beach. Swimming will have to be another day.

But this day is perfect. Because I want it to be.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bad Ju Ju Closet Finale

Here is the closet we had built into our spare bedroom. It took about six months of pinning the contractor down to do it, and seven weeks of actual work (it was supposed to take three days). He managed to avoid me with the skill of a true Houdini. The end result was not what I had planned, but will be enjoyed none-the-less. It doesn't have the doors I wanted - to match the entry door to the room, it has a pull-out laundry bin instead of tilt out, it doesn't have the shoe rack, and they built the bottom cabinet too low for the hanging bar. But they charged a fraction of what Closets by Design quoted, and since we did the painting, it looks pretty good.

Isn't that what life is all about? Dreaming of what you want, working to get what you want, but being satisfied when the dream isn't exactly what you expected? Learning to enjoy the dream anyway. Learning to be happy with what you have, and not bemoaning what you don't.

I really like my Bad JuJu Closet. It has drawers for my guests to use, a big space for soft luggage, a place for laundry, and a hanging bar for short things. I love the green glass pulls. All in all, I'm happy. And for those of you following along on this "test" of my ability to keep my temper - I passed!

But we will not be doing anymore projects for a while!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Perfect Market

I am preparing for my daughter and grandson, who will be on their way here this afternoon. So off I went to the local Farmer's Market in Kings Beach. The market is small, with less than ten vendors, but they have everything I want. I used to enjoy the one in Lake Oswego, when we lived in Portland, but it was big and took a couple of hours to scan and then shop. This one takes about two minutes to see what everyone has to offer. Then the shopping is over in less than half an hour. Perfect. More time to spend cooking and planning for my very special guests.

Look at these strawberries! It is so nice to be near California and all it has to offer in fruits and vegetables.

This is the view the vendors have while they are open:

Hope you are having a lovely day!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dynamic Dynamo

(Here is where we found her one day - she had put herself in with the dog.)

When my children were four, I can remember them being a challenge. Four is a time in the lifespan where they understand many, many things. However, they do not always understand the consequences of their actions. So they have will, ability, and impulse working at high speed, but the frontal lobe, the center for higher reasoning, will not kick in fully for another twenty years. If you add intelligence to the mix you are apt to have a dynamic little dynamo of a four-year-old. Which is exactly what my great-niece is - a dynamic little dynamo.

My brother, her grandfather, is smitten, and very patient with his little sweetheart. He's protective of her and makes sure she has all her needs met. Her mother is a young mother, and hard working. Father not in the picture. Which has caused some problems lately as she wants to call her grandfather Daddy, like her cousins do to my nephew, their daddy. He keeps reminding her that he's Grampa, not Daddy. We all feel more than a little sad, when this is said.

Anyway, yesterday Lu and I dead-headed the hibiscus plants, gathered apples from the apple tree, read books, and watched The Backyardigans, stored on my computer (for emergencies with my grandson.) We were getting ready to leave, luggage in the car, saying our goodbyes when Lu grabbed my purse and started twisting and pulling. Fearing she would break the strap, I let go, thinking I would just get the purse back after she held it for a minute. Well, she immediately, in a flash, ran it over to the pantry, tossed it in, locked the door from the inside and pulled it closed! My purse was locked in the pantry. You need a key to open it. Well from the looks of dread on my brother and sister-in-law's face this was not going to be easy. The key had been missing for some time! A locksmith had to come out and open it the last time the pantry door had been locked. He'd charged $40, and because they are outside of Sacramento, probably more for the drive.

So for the next hour Lu and I read books while my husband, brother, and sister-in-law tried everything in the book to get that door open. Hangers, knives, thick pieces of plastic, credit cards, screwdrivers. Taking the door off the hinges was not an option, unfortunately. My brother finally sawed through the lock. The knob will need replacing, but my purse was freed!

After a great visit, wonderful swim, and a party with my family and cousins, we were finally on our way home. But I'm very honored that Lu liked her great-aunt enough to try to get her to stay a while longer, thinking she couldn't leave without her purse. And, it worked! She got an extra hour of story time.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Shrangli-La, Sacto Style

We are off to spend the night with my brother in Sacramento, CA. Earlier in the week a neighbor said he had just come from Sacto, and it had been over 110 degrees. I noticed it has cooled down, and the forecast is in the low 90's and high 80's for the next couple of days. Just as long as it's hot and the mojitos keep coming, I'll be fine. My brother's property is first rate. (He he, I didn't say terrific.) He has a giant cabana with built-in refrigerator, sink, bbq, ice chest, big bar, lounge area, 9ft deep swimming pool with waterfall, hot tub, outdoor fire pit, and numerous tables, etc.

My cousin has been there for a week.

She calls it her Shangri-la.

She'll be leaving and we'll be arriving.

Works for me.