Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas (tongue in cheek)

If I were ol' Santa, you know what I'd do;I'd dump silly gifts that are given to you,and deliver some things just inside your front door,things you have lost, but treasured before.I'd give you back all your maidenly vigor, and to go along with it, a neat tiny figure.
Then restore the old color that once graced your hair, before rinses and bleaches took residence there.I'd bring back the shape with which you were gifted, so things now suspended need not be uplifted.
I'd draw in your tummy and smooth down your back until you'd be a dream in those tight fitting slacks.I'd remove all your wrinkles and leave only one chin, so you wouldn't spend hours rubbing grease on your skin.
You'd never have flashes or queer dizzy spells and you wouldn't hear noises like ringing of bells.No sore aching feet and no corns on your toes; no searching for spectacles when they're right on your nose.
Not a shot would you take in your arm, hip or fanny from a doctor who thinks you're a nervous old granny.You'd never have a headache, so no pills would you take and no heating pad needed since your muscles won't ache.
Yes, if I were Santa, you'd never look stupid.
You'd be a cute little chick with the romance of cupid.I'd give a lift to your heart when those wolves start to whistle and the joys of your heart would be light as a thistle.
But alas! I'm not Santa. I'm simply just me; the matronliest of matrons you ever did see.I wish I could tell you all the symptoms I've got,but I'm due at my doc's for an estrogen shot.Even though we've grown older this wish is sincere;

Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gift Exchange

Last night I spent eating, drinking, laughing, hugging and exchanging gifts with my Classic Diva girfriends.

I can't begin to describe the feeling of love, acceptance and caring that this group exhibits.

All I know is I thank God for them all!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Somebody Doesn't Get A Present!

I was wrapping some last minute gifts this morning before work.

Everything was going so well......

Until I pulled the cord too tight on the last bottle cover----the cord broke, the wine bottle crashed to the floor, and immediately I was covered in glass and the remnants of my last bottle of "Shipwreck Red."

Alas, who will be going without red wine this Christmas?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Music

We have a pact -- from now through Christmas Eve, only seasonal music is played on our work stereo.

That means the olds ones like Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, as well as the "NOEL" cd just out by Josh Croban. We start in the morning and just keep rotating through our collections.

The same old songs, but I never tire of them.

When I was young, I thought "I'll Be Home For Christmas" was the greatest song, until I grew up and learned the true meaning of "......if only in my heart."

Christmas in our church meant the youth choir switched out the bows on their choir robes for big red holiday ones.

Every time I hear a version of "Oh Holy Night" my mind's eye slips back forty plus years and I see a young blond boy with the voice of an angel singing for all he's worth.

Christmas memories -- priceless.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Today I am officially "finished" getting ready for Christmas. The cards are in the mail/emailed, presents are bought/wrapped/mailed or under the tree.

All I have to do now is sit back, relax, maybe make some cookies and enjoy the season!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Today is our 39th wedding anniversary.

After hubby's stroke, I kind of "gave up" on him remembering things like that. So this year I decided not to get him a card or even mention what day it was.

Imagine my surprise when I got up this morning and there was a card sitting on the bathroom sink!

He said he was in a store the other day and happened to walk down the card aisle, and something in his "post stroke" brain remembered our anniversary. He did have to ask someone what the date was however.

Things like this remind me that it truly is the "little things" in life that make a difference.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Most Inspiring Person of 2007?

I just read an article about a professor who was killed at Virginia Tech being named the Most Inspiring Person of 2007.

Not to diminish his accomplishments, but it made me think about who inspired me most in 2007.

It was an easy choice.

I have a friend who has not had an easy life. Her husband died of a heart attack a few weeks before I met her in 1994. She went on to raise two teenage boys by herself. In the last two years she has lost her father, her brother, her sister and her mother.

And yet when I saw her last weekend she was still the warm and loving person who is my best friend.

Her strength and courage inspires me to keep on keeping on.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Dog Ate My Glasses

Well, he tried to!

Somehow in the middle of the night, Charlie, our 1 1/2 yr old wire-haired daschund got my purse and proceeded to gnaw on the earpiece of my reading glasses.

He chewed on the velcro curlers I had stuffed in my purse over the weekend.

Fortunately, he left the $20 bill intact!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Lights

One of our traditions is driving around and looking at Christmas lights.

This year, as usual, my daughter in law, my two granddaughters and I will pile into the VW after dinner. We'll stop at Starbucks for hot chocolate. New last year was the GPS my daughter in law has on her phone. We'd program in one location, go "oh" and "ah", then program in the next address and away we'd go! Somewhere along the way we start singing Christmas songs. We don't know all the words to all the songs, but we certainly try!

Traditions are a good thing!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Classic Divas

Here in Elk Grove (suburb of Sacramento) there is a community bulletin board with about 10,000 members. It's an online thing.

Right before hurricane Katrina, a gal started a "diva" group (mostly in their 30s-40s). From that, some of us older women (50s-60s) decided the Red Hat Society was not yet our style, and formed the "Classic Divas."

We meet weekly for lunch, monthly for poker, and soon monthly for bunko! In between, we go wine tasting, go to plays and museums, have potlucks and video nights. Recently we watched Dr. Northrup's "Menopause and Beyond."

We collected cans for the local food bank at Thanksgiving, using the slogan "Classic Divas CAN Do It." We play poker every month, and the winner donates all the winnings to the charity of her choice. Soon we will be having a monthly bunko game, and will collect money for our local food bank.

But mostly, we meet for friendship! These women literally saved my life after a bout of depression that seriously impacted my quality of life.

I can't say enough about the power of girlfriends and remembering those less fortunate.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Wonderful Winter Weekend

Just home from a whirwind 30 hour trip---managed to fit in all of the following:

"My" 7th annual cookie exchange/potluck/ornament exchange

Visit with Son #1 and family

Drink and gift exchange with my BF Cathy

BBQ Tri Tip dinner at said #1 Son's house

Lunch with my Mom and Sister

Whew! I'm going to bed early tonight, tired but happy, basking in the love of family and friends.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Do you remember the old Carly Simon song that goes ".........anticipation, it's making me wait."

That's how I feel this morning. We're about to leave for a weekend of cookies, family, cookies and friends. Oh, and the weekend has some cookies involved as well! (See yesterday's post.)

I'll be seeing my best friend who only lives 3 hours away, but we manage to get together two or three times a year. We'll be attending a cookie exchange and potluck, and then head to the mall for our annual Christmas drink and gift exchange. Then we walk through the mall, smug in the fact that our shopping is DONE, and join the line of kids in front of the North Pole to sit on Santa's lap! Then we'll go to my son's house for dinner-----and undoubtedly more cookies

I can't wait to get in the car!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Cookie Exchange

Several years ago, I started a cookie exchange with some of my work friends. Even though I no longer live there, nothing short of my daughter having a baby in TX (which strangely enough has caused me to miss two!) will stop me from making the nearly three hour trek over the river and through the woods................just kidding.............the trek up I-5 to attend the party. It's good to see everyone and catch up on the past year. And of course there are the cookies. And before the cookies we have potluck.

And did I mention the cookies?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mom's Nutty Nuggets

For as long as I can remember my Mom has made Nutty Nuggets at Christmas. It's like the Russian Tea Cake Cookies or the Mexican Wedding Cakes, you know the buttery rich dough molded into a round ball, studded with lots and lots of finely chopped walnuts, baked till just set and then rolled into powdered sugar.

It's a recipe she got the first Christmas she married my Dad. It was Christmas 1946. She was a young bride of 18 when she married my Dad, who had returned from WWII and at the age of 34 never expected to be swept off his feet by her. But he was, and I'm glad, or I wouldn't be here writing this blog. Dad introduced her to some of his friends in the small country town they lived in, and the wife taught my Mom how to make these cookies.

And, as they say, the rest is history. Every year as a child I remember Mom making these cookies. Of course I carried on the tradition, even after moving to Arizona. One year, sick with the flu, I barely drug myself out of bed on Christmas Eve morning. It was obvious, at least to me, that some things would not get done that year, and one of them was the cookies! Or so I thought until my kids discovered my devious plan. "But Mom, Grandma made these every year for Bumpa when you were a kid, and now you make them every year for us!" Of course the cookies were made, and some left out for Santa as always.

And from such simple things, traditions are forged forever.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Traditions - Tree Staring!

I thought I'd share with you (over the course of the next few days) some of my favorite Christmas traditions.

For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season is to enjoy my decorated tree. I love to sit down at night when the house is dark and quiet, with only the Christmas tree lights on. I settle back into the couch, plump up a couple of pillows, turn on the holiday music. With glass of wine in hand, I contemplate the tree and it's decorations. Our tree has always had "unusual" decorations hidden in among the classic bulbs and baubles.

There's the teeny tiny gold Tupperware "wonderlier" bowl on a keychain, symbolizing my days as a "Tupperware Lady" back in the late 70's. There's the red guitar we got on our oldest son's first Christmas. There's the orange and white striped ball son #2 picked out when he was just old enough to say the word "ball", because that's what he thought it looked like. There's the ice cream cone, fashioned from a real ice cream cone and with a slight "bite" out of bottom, made by our daughter in 2nd grade. And the "World's Greatest Mom" signed, shaped like a yellow yield sign, that my daughter picked out for me one year.

When the kids were little, they each got a new ornament for Christmas. After hubby's stroke, we packed up and moved in with one of our kids. One of the things we did was to separate the ornaments and send each child theirs. So lots of the ornaments I now see only in my mind.

Life changes, circumstances change, people change. But my holidays memories?

Priceless and forever in my heart.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Are you in the Holiday Spirit?

I am!

Last night 17 of us "Classic Divas" met at the home of one of our group. She decorates her house to the hilt, and when I say that, I mean it! One of her trees was featured on the cover of an insert in the Sacramento Bee last year. I lost count of her trees, but I'm guessing there were no less than 15 of them! Each one had it's own theme, there was the African American Angel tree, the fish tree, the toy tree, the kitchen tree to name a few, and our personal favorite was her new addition this year -- the "Diva" tree complete with sparkly high heels and handbags!

Her sister prepared a "light supper" of chicken picatta, rice, veggies and salad, with homemade peach cobbler and ice cream for dinner.

Christmas decorations, food, and the laughter of friends made for a joyous holiday event!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Are you " giving back" this Christmas?

As complicated as the holiday's can be, there's got to be room for joy and generosity, gratitude and goodness, peace on earth, goodwill toward everyone!" --Oprah Winfrey

Someone on one of my yahoo groups sent me this quote today. It couldn't be more timely. Somehow, it never seems like Christmas until I do my good deed.

I have a group of 20+ ladies I've been hanging around with for over a year now. We call ourselves the "Classic Divas." We are in our fifties and beyond, and have found so much in common. We play poker once a month, and our $5 buy-in is ultimately given to charity (winner's choice). I just headed a food drive for Thanksgiving, and we were pleased to have collected nearly 50 cans to donate to the local food bank. And now I have a toy sitting in the back of my van, ready to drop off at the fire station near my work, for a local kid's toy drive.

And yes, I have dozens of cookies to make before this weekend--but the true meaning of Christmas, celebrating the greatest Gift we have ever received, remains foremost in my heart and soul.

What will YOU do this Christmas season to reach out to others?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Stressfree Holidays?

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately, and holiday stress (and the prevention of it) seems to be a major topic.

We all have stress in our lives, both good and bad. The good stress drives us to do our best, and bad stress can literally make us sick.

So how do you balance the two?

It helps me to repeat this mantra daily (I "stole" it from Dr. C. Northrup, author of The Wisdom of Menopause.)

I do enough
I have enough
I am enough

Happy Holidays to all!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

24 Blogging Day Till Christmas

I just signed up for a blogging challenge------a post a day until Christmas. Maybe that's what I need to get back in the "habit" of blogging.

It's been more than 2 1/2 years since DH (Dear Hubby, Darn Hubby, depending on the day!) had his stroke. We just found out he has "significant progressive blockage" in his carotid arteries and consults with a vascular surgeon on Thursday. Normally this would have thrown me into a tailspin. But the older I get, the more I try not to worry about what I can't control.

After all, it's ultimately in His hands.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Love Books

I love books.

I love new books.

I love the anticipation I feel when I hold a new book in my hands. I love the look of the clean, crisp book jacket. I love the smell of ink when you open the book. I love the crinkle sound the binding on the spine of the book makes when you open it for the first time.

I love used books.

I love the dog-eared pages, the coffee stains, the notations in the margins. I love the deeply creased bindings, evidence of others who have read the book before me.

Did I mention that I love books?

I always turn first to the dedication page. It gives me insight into the author. Is the book dedicated to his/her spouse, mother, first grade teacher or dog? If, due to some huge miracle I were ever to publish, I would put much thought into the dedication page. In fact, I've already written the dedication page for two books as yet unwritten!

To my mom, who taught me the basics, including the importance of following a recipe.
To my husband, who taught me so much more, including the importance of putting the recipe away and winging it!

(Hiking Memories and Photographs)
To the three special women who shared in my first backpacking trip.
To Cathy, who innocently asked me one day "Do you want to go backpacking?"
To Leanna, who took me up the side of my first mountain, bereft of any facsimile of a trail.
To Barbara, who taught me there is such a thing as "Happy Hour" in the wilderness, even when there is no ice.

I was introduced to books at an early age. I was lucky enough to have a mother who not only read to me, but more importantly, read with passion. "Read with expression" she would tell us. She taught by example, her dramatic reading of "The Three Little Kittens" still resonates in my memory. I doubt most people have heard of "Sally in Our Ally," but in our family it was a standard. Dr. Seuss books were another favorite, the rhyming stories giving my mother an outlet for her dramatic tendencies.

I read every Nancy Drew mystery published. Friends whose fathers made more money than mine purchased a new book every month. I made do with the books my mother bought at a yard sale. Thick, purple bound books with no pictures on the cover, I was embarrased to lend them to my friends, as their books were smaller and sleeker with color pictures of Nancy on the front. I kept my Nancy Drew collection for years, rarely remembering the treasure I had stored in dusty boxes in the garage. These books made the move from California to Arizona, back to California again before I eventually gave them away, their dusty pages covered in mold.

I savored every word written by Walter Farley in his "Black Stallion" series. I longed to be Alex, clinging aboard the back of the galloping black stallion on a faraway deserted island beach.

When I was eleven, I participated in our church's effort to "Read the Bible Through in 1962." For thirty minutes every morning and evening I would sit in traction (fondly nicknamed the neck stretcher), prescribed after I injured my neck in a car accident. My Bible in my lap, I would read alternately from the Old Testament and then the New, dutifully check off the chapters as I read them. I was mesmerized, rereading the stories I had been taught in Sunday School, and discovering people and stories I hadn't yet been taught.

During my high school and college years I read book after book, some required reading, some not. I read and reread "Gone With The Wind." The runaway best seller transported me back in time to the days of the old South, to the Civil War and the subsequent restoration, into the lives of Rhett, Scarlett, Ashley and Melanie. I could imagine myself dancing next to Scarlett at one of the grand parties at Tara or Twelve Oaks, waited on by servants, oblivious to the approaching storm forming in the North. I longed for her to find happiness in Ashley's arms. I wept with her at the death of her beloved daughter Bonnie Blue. I felt her loneliness and heartache when Rhett left her for the final time.

I enjoy hanging out at It's a simple concept. You register those paperback books you no longer want into a data base. The person who requested the book gets a debit for $2.50 ($2 goes as a credit to the provider, and $ .50 goes to the "donkey" for carrots (i.e. the web site). It costs under $2 to send a paperback in the mail.

Another site I like is

n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise. (added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in August 2004)

Did I mention I love books?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Instant Gratification

Remember when you loaded film into your camera, took twelve or twenty-four or thirty-six exposures (almost certainly one or two photos at this birthday party, the Little League game, vacation--but not numerous shots of the same thing!) and then carefully removed the film and mailed it off to Skrudland Photo Service in Seattle?

Lo and Behold , two or three weeks later your pictures were developed and miraculously sitting in your mailbox, waiting for you to look at them.

Fast forward forty years.

Now we grab our digital camera. We think nothing of firing off numerous exposures of the same thing, hoping to get that "perfect" picture for our Christmas cards. Heck, why not, it doesn't "cost" anything to shoot twenty or thirty exposures instead of that one or possibly two we would have taken in the "old days." We grab our laptop, insert the memory card, and right before our eyes we have the photos we just shot, ready for our viewing. Instant gratification!

Change. It's inherent. And sometimes it's even good!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Happy Father's Day, Daddy

Happy Father's Day

The words have a certain melancholy feel to them.

My Dad has been gone over 20 years now.

Yet I feel his presence daily.

Every time I see someone treat somebody with fairness and kindness, I think of my Dad.

Every time I see someone working hard to provide for his family, I think of my Dad.

Every time I see someone teach his child to swim, I think of my Dad.

Every time I see someone reading a newspaper with a dog curled by his side, I think of my Dad.

Every time I see someone taking out the trash, I think of my Dad.

Every time I see someone doing the dishes after a hard day at work, I think of my Dad.

Every time I see someone pull a practical joke on somebody else, I think of my Dad.

Every time I see someone working long hours at his desk, I think of my Dad.

Every time I see someone proudly watching their child play sports or perform in a school or church production, I think of my Dad.

Every time I think of my Dad, I thank God for the privilege of having been his daughter.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tag, You're It!

OK, I'm joining the game. I've been "tagged" by my niece, nephew, and now their dad.

"Here's how this little exercise in randomness works:
Grab the book closest to you. Turn to page 161, and type the fifth complete sentence on your blog."

The book I'm currently reading is The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama. (Yep, I'm one of them there Democrats!)

"Money does matter in education--otherwise why would parents pay so much to live in well-funded suburban school districts?--and many urban and rural schools still suffer from overcrowded classrooms, outdated books, inadequate equipment, and teachers who are forced to pay out of pocket for basic supplies."

I think you see this one coming -- "TAG, YOU'RE IT!"

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Early Morning Awakening

Something had woken me from a deep sleep.

I glanced at the alarm clock, which cheerfully informed me it was 3:10 a.m. Way too early, even for an early bird like me. I groaned and turned back over, pulling the covers up under my chin.
The glow of the streetlamp outside our bedroom window made it easy for me to make out the pile of covers on the other side of the bed where my husband slept soundly. I could hear the hum of his CPAP machine, recently added to our bedroom as a result of his sleep apnea. His beloved Ashley, a chihuahua/pug mix was curled up at the end of the bed.

There didn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary.

I sighed and tried to bury my head in the pillow, hoping to drift off to sleep again.

And then I felt it.

A gently, loving tongue was caressing the back of my neck. No, not now, I thought. I have to work in the morning. Just give me a few more hours sleep.

But he was not to be discouraged.

I gave in, and rolled over to say good morning.

Charlie, our new five month old wire-haired dachshund, was awake!