February 28, 2018

Consequences of Being Healthy

Just when you thought it was too good to be true!!!

Lyn, my dear friend, just had a total knee reconstruction. She prepared herself for surgery by walking, exercising, strengthening herself for post-op recovery. She did all of this in extreme pain, she was supposed to have surgery last May but ended up putting it off (partly to build herself up).

She has state-of-the-art surgical procedures and surgeon. Typically a Total-knee takes a minimum 3 day hospitalization. Lyn went in with the mindset that she was going to do it in two days!  Huge winter storm threatening the west coast, prediction of 4 to 6 feet of snow east and west of us was a bit of a factor.

This morning, her doctor is totally blown away by her progress. First night after surgery she walked 70'! Yesterday she was making loops around the nursing station. He gives her the go ahead and signs the discharge papers.

Twenty minutes later, just before we walked in to bust her out, she gets a visit from the finance department. Medicare is denying a huge portion of her costs!

Why, you might ask!

Medicare informed her that her stay at the hospital is considered "outpatient" care because she didn't spend three nights in the hospital. Because it is an outpatient procedure, they are only going to cover a small portion of the costs.

Layman's terms: Because you got better faster it's going to cost you more!

Great method Medicare has adopted to help a person recover from major surgery?

Medicare friends, stay or pay!

February 27, 2018

A Lesson Learned

Home Safe.

After lots of debate and discussion, we decided to leave earlier than originally planned for our drive straight into the winter storm of the year!

The Guy bought cables for me, packed up two extra blankets, bottled water and oranges, and tore down a huge box into a long piece of cardboard about 10' long (in case I had to get on the ground to put on snow cables or work on car!) Always thinking, that Guy!

The sun was shining when I reached Lyn's house, not a cloud in the sky. The mountains were beautiful. We packed up her stuff and got back on I-5.

Mt. Shasta and Castle Crags looming in the distance were bright and shiny. Still no clouds. The wind was a different matter. Mr. Wind was blowing with all his might.

All this sunshine and I'm still full of anxiety, worried about the 7 mile steep grade headed up to Siskiyou Pass.

We round the mountains just after Weed (yes, there is a town in California named Weed!), we've made it through the Cascades! No problems! Of course there were the 18-wheelers swaying in the wind and crossing lanes at the last minute but that is a given.

There is a long stretch of plains and rolling hills between the Cascades and the Siskiyous, Yreka nestles in on the west side of the valley; a total sucker for the icy north winds.  Looming in the distance is a menacing, bank of dark ominous clouds! (I start wondering why I hadn't called the kids and told them how much I love them and how proud of them I am!)

We head up the grade, sun still shining on us, pavement dry.  We get to the Pass, road still dry, sun still shining. From Pass to hotel is about 10 minutes. By the time we get to hotel, the dark clouds have swept in. It is only 1:30 but seems that night has just leaped out. Temperature is about 36.

Just made it.

Looking out the hotel window at 6 AM, everything is white! Car is surrounded by 6 inches of snow. I know you Canada and snow country people are thinking 6" is nothing. You have to remember, I am from Redding; 2 inches of snow and we close the schools!

Started car to heat it up for Lyn. She is wearing pajamas because she just did pre-surgery wipe down.
She also only wore slippers! Six inches of snow! How she going to get to car? The Guy's cardboard!
I laid it on the snow, like a red carpet! Isn't he the best?

Packed up the cardboard and headed to hospital. But First, getting out of parking lot that no one has driven in, so I don't have tracks to follow in. More anxiety. Backing out of spot was okay until Malibu decided to slide sideways! Why did we decided to book a hotel with a sloped parking lot?

Roads were mushy but doable. Hospital parking lot was fun, again, tiniest bit of slope so my little car refuses to park facing west because there is a grade of about 2%!  (Could it be that my car suffers from more anxiety than her driver???) So, I back out, turn around and park east, sliding into perfect spot.
Cute little Malibu but she's going to need some therapy!
Lyn is admitted and on to surgery. The sun pops out and I discovered that I am in paradise! I love Ashland anyway, but dusted in snow, she turns into a magic world!

While Lyn was in surgery, I took a walk. Discovered that in my hurry to leave early, I left camera at home, right by the door, where I wouldn't forget it!  Met some nice people walking their dogs, some dogs had little booties. Scared a guy in a long (cashmere looking) top coat, carrying his gourmet coffee and newspaper. He saw me coming and crossed the street! (That's right, buddy, be afraid of the old woman in a USC sweatshirt and levis!) He could probably smell the sandalwood and patchouli on me and thought, "Oh, shit, an old hippie!"

Talked with Julie, my Portland friend. Another storm was coming down from her end of the state and there are several mountain ranges to cross to get there. We decided to skip my visit.

Best part of experience. Lyn sailed through the surgery. Knee replacement is a whole new world since mine (or maybe it's just Oregon). She didn't have to have General Anesthesia. They do an epidural, place a small catheter in thigh, just above the knee for immediate pain control meds for 36 hours after surgery (no narcotics or waiting 20 minutes for pain meds to take effect, yahoo!) and she is given something to put her in a bit of a 'twilight state', she is awake but mostly unaware during surgery. She may hear conversations and maybe not. No urine catheter, no intubation, no post surgical vomiting from anesthesia. She walked 70' yesterday, just a couple of hours after her surgery.

Headed back tomorrow to bring her home. Next storm is not until Thursday, so no worries! The Guy is going with me to help get Lyn in and out.

So now you are all aware of one of my most dreaded fears! What are yours. What makes you sweat bullets? 

Those of you that drive in the snow on a regular basis:

February 26, 2018


Friend sent this to me on Facebook. Couldn't resist sharing.

Yesterday I had my annual Medicare wellness check. The nurse said that at my age I should have a bar in the shower. So I took her advice.

February 25, 2018


Guess what highway has Severe Weather Alerts and Warnings for today?


Snow! 8 tp 15 inches predicted.

50+ mile an hour gusts.

Guess who has only driven in snow twice, maybe!!!!

Guess who doesn't own chains!

I'm packing blankets, pillow, water and little ketchup packs, just in case we get stranded and I have to eat my friend!!!!

This is a bit of Karma. When I had my total knee replacement, I was originally on a 3 month waiting list. I got a call on Friday telling me that several patients couldn't reach the hospital due to a blizzard, so if I wanted, I could have my surgery on Monday! Yahoo. I went for it!

Paybacks are hell!

February 24, 2018

Road Trip

Do you love road trips? I thrive on them.

Really don't know where it comes from, but I love driving alone! Primal screaming, top of the lung singing (totally off key and no one suffers!), audio books, making up stories about random drivers or houses as I pass.

Sunday, I pick up a friend who lives alone in the mountains, then we head to Ashland, Oregon. She is going to have a total knee replacement and, sadly, not many physicians or either hospital in Redding is trusted by any of us locals.

She needs to be at the hospital at 7 AM, so we're spending the night in Ashland. I love her dearly, but I can't imagine driving through the canyon at 3 AM, and, bless her heart, neither can she!

I'll stay at hospital until she's out of surgery then I jump into my chariot and drive to Portland to visit Julie!

Color me excited!

Julie, the best friend in the entire world, was my maid of honor when the Guy and I were married at Shasta Dam a million years ago. We have tickets to see Cheryl Strayed, of Wild and Brave Enough fame. Can you imagine hiking the Pacific Crest Trail by yourself?  I would love to tell you that I would hike it without a moment's hesitation if it wasn't for my bad knees but, sadly, that would be a big fat lie. Bears, Mountain Lions and a 70 lb pack...yeah, NO!

Depending on how Lyn progresses with her physical therapy, I will pick her up Wed or Thur on my way back home. Lyn will have some pretty heavy duty pain medication in her for the drive over the pass and through the canyon, so conversation may be minimal but there are those audio books. I don't care how medicated one is, I would never put them through the torture of my singing!

I gave my laptop to my grandson and his wife, so I will be able to read everyone's blogs while I'm gone, but won't be able to comment. I'm a little hesitant about putting too much info on my IPhone, so I can't post on my blog or comment on other blogs. Every time a prompt shows up on my cell asking for a password, I turn it off and say a prayer to the Tech Powers That Be to back off! I don't even have Messenger on my phone which is apparently a major sin to some!

The Guy is going to be in 7th heaven. He works with customers all day and has a commute of about 2 minutes! Before we moved to town, he had a good 25 minutes of down time before getting home. His days off are usually jam-packed, so, other than hanging out with my parents for a bit on Wednesday, he is going to have at least three evenings to do as he pleases, no pressure. He's acting like he's going to miss me...but we all know the truth, right?

As much as I love being with him, there are those times when being alone is more precious than gold or cheesecake!

Oh, the other part of that stupid promise I made to get out and be more adventurous...the weather predictions for days we will be headed over Siskiyou Pass are for snow and rain. Oh yeah, there is a huge climb heading north, or drop when heading south.
At least the highway is divided!

Just saying, there will wine at the hotel and probably a bag of Almond Joys (self medication) on the ride up!

Wish us luck. See you on the flip side! (p.s. to Martha. I'm praying there is no V-8 on the road!)

February 23, 2018

Random Thoughts about White Hair

When I started Wandering and Wondering, my hair was a dark mahogany, then it was black, then it was a lighter mahogany, then it was just brown.

Premature Gray Silver is a dominant trait on my mother's side of the family. My hair started to turn gray white in my late teens. By the time I was 25, I would estimate my hair was close to 25% white.  Luckily, I had been dying it since I was 14, so the only way one could tell how white it was is if it took me more than three weeks to retouch it.

Yes, my mother let me dye my hair at 14. I wasn't allowed to pierce my ears, wear make-up, tampons or bikini underwear (what would people think!!!!) but I could support Clairol!

My hair grows super fast. If I dye it, about four minutes past the 21st day a quarter inch neon stripe of silver glows at my scalp, yelling to the world, "FAKE! FAKE! FAKE!"

I stopped dying it ages ago and now my hair is mostly silver with some dark 'low lights' that don't cost me a dime!

My old Blogger profile photo was taken maybe 11 or 12 years ago. Yesterday one of my friends asked me why I have such an old photo representing me. She accused me of being ashamed of my hair color and age! She knew better but she was trying to make a point. So, this morning I have updated my photo.

All of you young women without gray in your hair, you are probably unaware or maybe you have asked these questions of your silver friends.

These are my answers to questions that are asked all the time:

Yes, I have white hair and I love it.

Yes, it is naturally curly, I only blow dry it if the humidity is below 38%, otherwise it is a useless task.

No, I don't think it ages me, having had 67 birthdays is what ages me.

No, white hair did not make my hair unruly. My hair, like myself, has always had authority issues! (Which brings me to the items above that I wasn't allowed to do...it didn't mean I didn't do them, I just wasn't allowed to do them!)

Yes, The Guy likes my white hair? Well, I don't really know for sure. He says he doesn't want me to dye it but I'm not sure if it's because he likes the white or his wallet likes the savings!

Lots of words here to assure you all that I didn't have some tragic event that made me go white overnight.

Are you happy, Jessica?

p.s. The Guy has the most awesome wavy silver hair. When he was younger his hair was black. He looks just like his Uncle Richard who has had the most gorgeous silver hair since I've known him. I couldn't wait for the Guys hair to turn and make him even more handsome than he already was. Now he looks just like Uncle Richard. Oo la la!

Celebrate The Small Things & Friendly Friday Fill-ins!

Time to Celebrate the Small Things with Lexa Cain.

Somehow, nothing seems like a small thing this evening. It's one of those evenings when all the blessings to celebrate seem big!

Last year, a patch of California Poppies sprouted up in my yard from a handful of seeds my grandson tossed out. They were gorgeous in their golden dresses. I let them go to seed. This year they are everywhere. The whole yard will be a paradise!

Rex's back seems to be healed. He's getting up and down with agility, energy and persistence! Poor boy, doesn't have any sheep but he has enough tennis balls to keep him busy for a long, long while.

It is incredibly easy to celebrate Feta Cheese with Mediterranean Herbs, Toscano Cheese with Black Pepper, Cambozola, and a Black Pepper Chevre. Celebrating these cheeses takes  a little (or lot) of Rosemary Focaccia bread, Garlic Olive Bread and, of course, Extra Sour Dough Bagette!
Photo Courtesy of http://www.docaitta.com/
The photo of the bread above is borrowed as the sisters and I devoured our breads, cheeses and wine in extremely short order. It actually took us three days of grazing but the platters weren't pretty after the first half hour!

Speaking of sisters, being with them was plenty of reason to celebrate!

I am celebrating Wild Card Scotch Ale! Oh my gosh, possibly the best Ale ever.

What small things are you celebrating this week?

Time also for McGuffy's Reader Friday Friendly Fill-ins! Another opportunity to get into each other's heads and see some of the fine tuned gears, or, in some cases, the gears that need a little tweak!  Which one am I? I guess it depends on the week!

1. My favorite President is_______________________

2. This weekend I have plans to ___________________

3. I _______ my _______________________________   Hmm! Just a bit confusing but willing to give it a try!

4. I believe ___________________________________

Ready, Set,

1. My favorite President is/was John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama. They were/are men of integrity, composure and compassion. They cared about people and humanity.

2. This weekend I have plans to pick up my friend Lyn and drive her to Ashland, Oregon for a total knee replacement. While she is in hospital I will continue on to Portland to visit another bestie, Julie. We will have three days to visit, see what she has discovered about her new home in Portland. We have tickets to see Cheryl Strayed. Lyn will be discharged on Wednesday, so I'll take her home to Lakehead and make sure she is all tucked in. A long weekend but excited to be on a road trip. Got my audio books packed. Camera batteries charged. Ready! Can't say The Guy isn't excited to have some lone time. He's probably counting the minutes...though he's smart enough to count quietly!

3. I give my doggies, Rex and Lily, treats and love every day.  I toss Rex his ball because he keeps dropping it next to me and Lily just wants to find a blanket or throw to burrow under, so I pray I don't sit on her! 

4. I believe that we need to put our phone down, toss out XBox and sit face to face with our children and get to know them, let them know that they are loved and that they count. I believe we need to teach them about consequences of good and poor choices. We need to get over ourselves and Parent UP! To teach a kid respect for life, it starts by showing them that their life matters!

I believe that we have failed our children with our worship of external success and failure to model character and values.

Whoa! Check out my soap box!  I think I'll paint it and make it pretty!

Have a great weekend.

February 22, 2018

I Was Propositioned!!!!

How many times have we reminded each other, "Be careful of what you pray for"?

This last weekend, I promised myself to be open to new adventures and opportunities. Who knew the universe was listening!

This morning I met with a friend for coffee. He and I collaborated on a book on parenting. I was also his researcher for a radio interview show he had several years ago. After the show, I would download the podcast, edit it with Audacity (the software, not the attitude), then make CD's for him and his guests.

We worked together on a couple of other projects and have always worked well together. He's type A and I'm type OK!

He interviews people who change the world; people who are passionate and altruistic.  He changed radio stations, and is now with a non-profit station. He found that the last station lacked a bit in the integrity department.

This morning he asked me to be his sound engineer!

Yeah! I didn't know my eyes could get that big or bug out that much!

"You want me to what!"

 I searched my entire Bucket List. There wasn't anything close to Sound Engineer on it.

Funny thing, synchronicity is magical. I took a 'Job Assessment Quiz' early this week; as usual, the jobs that popped up for me are Writer, Researcher, Editor, Photographer, Artist, but the top fifteen included Film Editor, Music Producer, Music Editor, Set Design!

Some of his shows will be aired live but many will be pre-recorded (so I can edit out my mishaps)!

He only does one show every other week but is scheduled to start weekly shows in May.

He said I could think about it...Big Mistake...don't ever let me think about scary stuff! Even though I am a cup-half-full kind of person, I always start my 'thinking about stuff' with the WHAT COULD GO WRONG part of the equation!

My son Adam once told me, when making a decision, he imagines what's the worst that could happen and what is the best; if he can live with anything in between he goes for it.

What's the worst thing that could happen? I could screw up and get fired (I know my friend wouldn't shoot me because he doesn't pack a gun and he wouldn't run over me because his car is new). I could handle getting fired but not getting dead!

What's the best that could happen? I could learn something new and meet some really kick-ass people while I'm at it!

I can live with any and all things in-between!

Sound Engineer will look really good on my resume! Who knows, could be that I could be in New York at the Jimmy Fallon show when their sound-guy doesn't show up because of bad weather and they ask the audience, "Anybody know how to work one of these boards with the thingies that go back and forth?"

Jimmy will be blown away by the silver-haired old woman in the baggy sweatshirt and jeans who stands up in the back row in her best-ever superhero stance, "I can!"
Sound Engineer Nana!

 I say, Yes! A Big, Fat YES!

February 21, 2018

A to Z Challenge! Almost Time!

Just a tad bit early, but the 2018 A to Z Challenge is fast approaching.

April 1!

Got you theme? Been thinking about a theme?

If you are thinking about joining or have participated in the past, the Challenge Hosts have a survey that can help give them the answers to make this year's A to Z, the best ever.

Do the survey! A to Z Challenge Survey!

February 20, 2018

Intervention Needed!

The To-Do list has more crossed out items than items still to do, for the first time in years!

Really hard stuff is looming ahead. Easy-peasy first, I have a couple of boxes to mail to Massachusetts today, then it's on to demo! I promised myself I'd demo the shower and tub area in the front bathroom.

 Not sure if I want to tackle it right now or give myself some down time. Somewhere in the far recesses of my mind, though, I remember Grandma saying something about idle hands being the devil's playground, and I do have a new addiction. Sanding and painting furniture is my newest love. Bathroom might have to wait while I feed the monkey on my back!!!!

Even the surprises and challenges of painting furniture are exciting.

First I painted a couple of old tables for the living room. That was fun.

Moved on to an old, old vanity that I have had for at least 35 years. The wood isn't the best quality but it is solid wood. It has hand cut dovetail joints, beautiful locks on each drawer, an old mirror that has a couple of spots where the silver is missing. I know the piece was built prior to 1870. The handles are copper but when I took them off to sand and paint the drawers, I discovered older holes from the original handles.

I sanded down all the sharp edges from years of bumps and bruises but left most of the distressed edges and gauges. The color is Little Whale from Fusion Mineral Paint. Little Whale is one of colors made especially for toddler rooms. (I have mentioned my issues with authority, right? Toddlers-smoddlers, I'm putting this in a room for old people...The Guy and me!) It is the sweetest of blues I have ever seen. Reminds me of a blue that older people used to call "Eleanor Blue".

The handles are cool. PBR 's Antique Roadshow personnel and dedicated collectors of antiques will probably get the heebie jeebies from this, but I cleaned them up, just a bit. Yes, I know. Never clean antiques!  Add it to the list of 'Never do's" that I've done and get over it!

I have a collection of skeleton keys, but none of them work the locks, though a couple do fit in the key hole.

 I aged it just a little by lightly sanding some of the edges and waxing with light, then dark wax, but I didn't want to get too carried away. I figure that it will get worn and scraped on it's own living with the Guy and I and the troops that come in and out of the house.

Next, I painted The Guy's bureau. His mom says it's way over 100 years old. His dad had it forever and he got it from his dad. Frank's dad died when Frank was just 18 (oldest kid of 10). He's had his dad's dresser for more almost 50 years! So, when I've discussed with him, over the years, about painting it (and OMG did it need to be painted) The Guy always insisted on white.
"Always been white, will always be white. Paint it white or don't paint it!" He rarely puts his foot down, but when he does, he means business.

White it is! He didn't say anything about the knobs though! Surprise! He likes them! He is actually very happy with the results and thinks his dad would like it.

We had to glue a couple of the drawers back together on his dresser. Even dovetail joints need new glue every hundred years or so!

There are three drawers behind the doors. Whoever built it was super diligent. Each drawer has a floor built under it and each is on wooden rails. The Guy's grandpa was a carpenter (built sets for movie studios) so maybe he built the cabinet. It is a fine piece of furniture.

The last project was a large chest of drawers. I bought this at a garage sale about 15 to 20 years ago for $35. The man I bought it from built it himself. This is the most solid piece of furniture I've ever owned.

First thing I loved about it was the secret drawer inside a drawer. It slides way back, out of sight. Great place for old letters, cards, memorabilia and those 'special' trinkets my grandchildren have discovered on our walks.

Secret drawer for treasures!
This dresser was the challenge to beat all challenges.

I bought new knobs for it, thinking it would be as easy to change as any other dresser in the world! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

The carpenter built the sturdy drawer bodies out of solid knotty pine. Then he built a knotty pine facade for each drawer. He drilled a hole in the facade, mounted the drawer pulls and countersunk the screws. He then screwed the facade to the front of the drawer. I cannot replace the pulls without dismantling the front of the drawer. Each facade has 6 screws holding it to the drawer body!

How to paint without painting pulls? I unscrewed the pulls but it was a tough job and he apparently glued the screws in place because two of the pulls won't tighten all the way. The screw turns as I twist on the pull and there is no way to stabilize it.

When the bug hits me, I will dismantle the drawers, replace the pulls (not that I don't like Lions, I just like whimsical more than hardcore traditional), then reassemble the drawers. In the meantime, I like it. Body is Homestead Blue ( a dark teal and drawers are Little Whale, matching the other little dresser across the room).

 Would you believe that I'm jonesing to paint more furniture? I'm addicted!

 I painted the little bench while I was waiting for paint to dry on dressers.

Maybe I should borrow my grandson's truck and make a Craigslist run!!!

My grocery list for this week:

Sumo Oranges
Painter's Tape

Heaven help me!

February 19, 2018

Slow Exhale!

The last three days were incredible; a whirlwind, but incredible.

Friday, my sister-in-law, Jacqueline, showed up just after noon. We hit World Market and Trader Joe's for cheeses, crackers and oh-my-god-good Sumo Oranges! How come I didn't know about Sumo oranges. What else is out there that my aversion to leaving the house is preventing me from experiencing?

We also picked up a couple of extra bottles of red wine. I lean towards Merlot, she is dedicated to Zin. We both discovered some new 'likes'!

Gathering of the sisters was a blast! The Guy and I have been the family photographers since day one. He, being the oldest of 10, always made 3 or 4 extra copies of all the photos we ever developed in the old 'film' days. Part of our 'purging' process is to par down (politically correct way of saying 'get rid of') our 15 or more photo boxes full of family photos.

Supper done, we sorted through all the boxes, dividing photos and revisiting the past!

There were weddings, births, baptisms, graduations, holidays.

"Is this Davie?"
"No, my hair is too big for it to be Davie!"

"Toni, do you remember when you and Francis ripped off your bikinis and jumped off the houseboat?"

"OMG, that's huge! Whose bra is that?"
"Mine, remember I was nursing Syd!"
"What is it; a Double G?"
Hospital Waiting Room Photos galore! When any one went into labor, everybody else would go to the hospital to wait. It was fun to guess who was having a baby by seeing who was missing in waiting room photos!

"Whoa! This must have been a long night, you look like crap in this pic!"

Women on Wine!What can you do?

End of evening, everyone had a nice share of photos and I feel so much lighter!

Jacqueline and I sipped wine in jammies until the spirit said get your butts in bed.

Saturday morning, coffee in jammies, couple of sisters popped in. We packed up and headed for Wild Card Brewery.

We ordered a flight of brews. I am not a fan of dark beer but OMG, apparently I am of huge fan of Ale! Scotch Ale to be exact. It tastes like a good scotch! I swear, it is delicious! One more thing I didn't know, and the dang brewery is in my own town!

I resolved to wrestle with my tendency towards being a recluse and walk out that front door more. Who will win? Recluse or Adventurer? I guess it depends on who is the hungriest and needs to be fed, or thirstiest!

The afternoon and evening were totally mellow. We met up with The Guy, his brother, Conrad and Conrad's family.  We had divine Mexican food at a super little hole-in-the-wall place with the freshest ingredients in the world.

After eating we headed over to our house to hang out for the evening.

Sunday, we hosted February birthdays for the Guy's family. Eleven birthdays in February but only five of them local! We had at least 40 people at the house on Sunday, not counting those in mother's arms and laps! It was a blast! It was chaos, but happy chaos!

Our Sycamore was having a happy day, filled with kids again!

The Guy, some of his siblings and his ma! Two of the brothers are out of the area and couldn't make it. Don't recognize the Guy without a camera in his hands, right?

Did you guess right? Isn't he just the most handsome man?

Two of the Littles who couldn't go out by the pool with the big kids. Hard rule at our house: If you can't swim, you must (MUST) wear a swim vest out back. (Yes, Mom, this means you, too!)

Day end, The Guy, two sisters and I sitting around, polishing off the pesto and bread, crackers and cheese, good wine and good talk!
Es was ein guter Tag!
Fue un buen dia!
Itan mia kali imera!
C'etaite une bonne journee!
Goede Dag!

However you say it, it was a good day!

Jacqueline and I had a couple of great cups of coffee this morning. Fleshed-out some upcoming events; big shindig for oldest niece turning 40 in June; July birthdays' celebration on the coast in July; bought tickets to see ELO, Electric Light Orchestra in August in Oakland plus spending a couple of days in San Francisco with sister-in-law and her hubby. She says she wants photography lessons from the Guy! I say, 'what ever works for you to get him down there!'

Today. Quiet! All are gone. Just me, my tea, my worn out dogs and my jammies!

Life is good!

February 16, 2018

Friday Friendly Fill-ins!

Catching my breath! (Otherwise known as procrastinating, I'm really good at it).

Guest Bedroom...check
Guest Bathroom...check
Dusting...check (cough cough)
Soup back on simmer...check

Plastic, tape, brushes & paint out to garage...next!
Mop floors again...why do dogs drip water for three feet after heartily drinking?
Shower...for everyone's sake!
Go to store for promised Artisan Bread for dinner.

Feet up, wine, visit with sisters!

In the meantime, time for McGuffy's Friday Friendly Fill-ins (Feelings, get it?)

1. My Chinese zodiac animal is________________

2. My (Astological) zodiac sign is ______________

3. Income tax season_________________________

4. In hindsight______________________________

1. My Chinese zodiac animal is the Tiger. Apparently I am internally strong, so much so that I may explode and get guts everywhere. I act without warning (WARNING!). I am adventurous and, apparently can seem aggressive in the romance department or would you call that passionate?
I like this part: A tiger may have difficulty "finding a balance between disciplined trust and whimsical passion!"

2. My (Astological) zodiac sign is Capricorn. My birthday is the 18th so I am a bit on the cusp. I am an earth sign but being on the cusp I can sometimes be a little airy (like now, instead of getting to the To-Do list I am playing! Dang me!)
Capricorn Traits from This Site:

"Strengths: Responsible, disciplined, self-control, good managers".......ME!
"Weaknesses: Know-it-all, unforgiving, condescending, expecting the worst".....ME!
"Capricorn likes: Family, tradition, music, understated status, quality craftsmanship".....Me!
"Capricorn dislikes: Almost everything at some point"....ME!

Good news is Capricorns are very compatible with Taurus'! The Guy is a Taurus. (Earthy, Stubborn and Compatible! That's Us!)

3. Income tax season is here again...shit!

4. In hindsight, I wish I had mopped the floor and taken a shower and was on my way to the store instead of 'taking a breather!"

"When you know better, you do better!"

Crazy Busy

Yesterday was a crazy busy day.
Life Saving Elixir!

Today promises to be even busier.

Heading out to get a large Dutch Bros Kicker coffee with an extra shot to kick start me.

Finished the dresser. Pictures and a story to follow.

Drove out to the folks house to take them dinner and visit.  All in all a nice visit.

Went to doctors for them. Wild goose chase.

Made soup for this evening's gathering with the sista's.

I promise, when this weekend is done, I will catch up on everyone's blog.

I'm hoping that a strangely wicked looking old woman shows up at the front door, offers me a shiny red apple and after I bite into it (and believe me, I'm gonna bite into it), I'm hoping that Prince Charming gets waylaid and lets me sleep for about a month!

Planning on having a great (though busy) weekend, and wishing you all a happy one, too.

February 13, 2018


Almost 10 AM. I have the sand paper, Ultra Grip primer, paints, brushes and 10 new knobs to finish off the project. Yet, here I sit.

In the past two weeks I have painted my bedroom, a bench, master bathroom cabinets and two dressers. I don't understand the hesitation to begin the third dresser.

It reminds me of the George W. Cecil quote, "On the plains of hesitation beach, the bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to wait, and waiting, died!"

Not that I think I might die if I put it off another hour but I've delayed for several days, supplies in hand!

P.G. Wodehouse wrote in Jeeves In The Morning, "It was one of those cases where you approve the broad, general principle of an idea but can't help being in a bit of a twitter at the prospect of putting it into practical effect." Apparently, I am not in bad company. According to Jeeves, Hamlet was a little stuck, too!

I know the project can be finished in two days, easily, in spite of having to wait 12 hours for Ultra Grip to set before applying the delicious color, but I still hesitate.

To start, all I have to do is put painting clothes on. Comfort City! Not the problem!

Then I have to remove old knobs. Still not a problem, the necessary screw driver is resting on the bench next to drawers.

Dresser is on sheet of plastic and the drawers are already out!

But first, I told myself, I will make a cup of tea.
Then, I will catch up on blogs while I sip the tea.
Hmm, why not blog about my lack of willingness to jump into the project....hey! I know! I'll look up a quote about a lack of willingness!

No such luck! Go ahead, Google 'quotes about lack of willingness'! All you will get is hundreds of quotes about 'willingness', 'will', commitment, passion! Stupid Google!

I did find this little goodie: "Don't be afraid to give your dream a try. Even if you fail, give it another try and several more until you excel. Success always comes from the willingness to never stop trying." Not sure who Edmond Mbiaka is, but he is credited for proclaiming this bit of wisdom.

I know that I am willing to 'never stop trying' but I've got to commit to making a commitment to 'jumping in'. Could it be that I'm just tired of painting and would rather eat cheesecake and have a massage? Probably!

Do you ever do the hesitation dance prior to a project? Do you see the finished venture, plan the process, gather supplies, and then precariously hang somewhere between 'get-set' and 'go'? How do you push yourself out of the blocks without the shrill blast of the starter's whistle?

Looking around, I don't spy any cheesecake and there is nary a trace of warming body oil, let alone a massage therapist. I guess I'm just going to have to woman-up and get 'er done!

But first, I should vacuum and clean the kitchen and Google Edmond Mbiaka!

February 12, 2018

Wabi Sabi

Last week for the Sparkle blog hop I posted this picture:

The following day, there was an article in my email. The subject: Wabi Sabi, the Japanese art of imperfection.

Don't you love synchronicity? (or for you conspiracy theorists, Don't you love the technological advances in invasion of privacy?)

Wabi Sabi, embracing the not-so-perfect aspects of life. Googling Wabi Sabi, I discovered that I am an accomplished practitioner of this  "ancient aesthetic philosophy rooted in Zen Buddhism"!

Treasuring the way my nose makes two slight jogs from straight instead of wishing it was a perfect nose. Who else can say they broke their nose twice, once playing football in the street with the guys and once high diving at school? It helps me prove to my granddaughters that I was, indeed, athletic at one time!

Whole Living website offers an enlightening article, Wabi Sabi Your Life: 6 Strategies for Embracing Imperfection."Simple Beauty" is a loose translation, as the article talks about Wabi Sabi being an aesthetic that is so ethereal that to define it diminishes it's true significance.

It's kind of like defining love. Have you ever said 'I love you' while gazing into the eyes of a loved one and felt that words are not enough? They are too shallow, too corporeal, to communicate the true depth of your feelings.

I thought about the 'things' that I love most in my home. The first object to pop into my mind is my dining room table. It is just wood, thick, carved legs, seats 14 with leaves attached at either end, but usually only sits 8. It is espresso in color. What makes it special?

Four of my granddaughters would come to my house every day after school. For one hour we would play and have a snack. At 4 PM everyday, we would all sit at the table to do homework. This went on for several years. Kindergarten assignments to algebra. Sometimes the girls would press a little hard.

Their homework in embedded in the table, making the table perfectly imperfect! Several visitors have commented on how sad it is! I think the table is awesome. It is no longer just a hunk of wood but a part of the memories and life of our girls.

Heart and Soul of my dining room table.

Speaking of tables, several table clothes have pretty significant stains in them, red wine, turkey gravy, magic marker. Makes them special, full of memories of dinners past.

Another beloved piece is my Corn Goddess. It was love at first sight. There is a fun shop in Soquel, just south of Santa Cruz, called the Pottery Planet. A half acre of pots, planters, ceramics and metal work. There she was, perched on a shelf across the indoor shop, calling my name.

Isn't she beautiful?

I made a beeline for her. Her face, her braid, her size...it was true love! I turned her around and there was a large crack!

Now that I know about Wabi Sabi, maybe I will highlight the crack with gold!

Did it matter to me? No! I don't know anyone who doesn't have a crack behind them. I made her mine. Put her in the front of the car, seat belt on. She was coming home with me, and as far as I'm concerned, we will always share a home.

I have two pieces of clothing that I love and only wear around the house. One is a sweater, slowing unraveling around the collar. It has been with me for ages and is as soft as a cloud. The other piece is an over-shirt; wore the hell out of that poor thing and still do. It isn't torn, it's just thread bare in a couple of spots. Time to patch them and wear them with pride.

I have no problem tossing out old worn clothes or donating clothing, just not those items that I love.

As I research Wabi Sabi, I discover that the philosophy is not just applicable to material objects but to relationships, in personal physical attributes, the home, in life's situations.

Japanese art form called Kintsukuroi “Golden repair”
Courtesy of https://www.jenniferhazi.com

Discovered in my searches, applying the concept of Wabi Sabi to motherhood. The Imperfect Mum. Be gentle with yourselves, new moms, old moms, in-between moms!

Love the imperfect in you, whether you call it your shadow self, your challenges, or your whatever!

I may just change my Google Profile, adding Wabi Sabi Practitioner! At the very least, place a small sign under the WELCOME sign at the front entry: WABI SABI LAND!

Have a good week, every one! From your perfectly content-with-my-imperfections friend!

February 11, 2018

Sunday Morning

It's winter again in the north state. Not actually active winter, just threatening winter. Great day to do nothing. Too bad, we're not doing nothing!

My border collie, Rex, jumped up to catch a ball yesterday and sprained his back again. Not looking forward to two weeks of no throwing of balls or ropes. If you've ever had a border collie than you can understand that the next two weeks are not going to be fun. Rex needs to be busy. He gets a little neurotic if he isn't. Time for a prescription of doggy downers!

I made tomato soup from scratch yesterday. Not completely from scratch because I won't buy tomatoes in January, can't make me! Winter tomatoes are nicely red on the outside, shady color of green inside. They're totally lacking in juice, not to mention flavor, well, except for ethylene gas. Winter tomatoes are great for playing fetch with Rex, they're more solid than a tennis ball; have a good bounce to them and won't crack or splat!

Soup base was three large cans of organic chopped tomatoes. Onions, garlic (need I say lots of garlic), bell pepper, fresh cilantro, 1 very small, slender serrano chili, ground cumin, ground cayenne and a bunch of fresh basil. I let it cook on low heat for several hours. Just before serving, I tossed in a couple of extra stems of basil.

Not last year but the year before, The Guy gave me a Cuisinart Smart Stick, a hand held blender. Last night was the first time I used it! ("and Darth Vader said, "Whaaa!").

I can't believe I have had this awesome little tool in my kitchen and not used it! I love it! What else can I grind!!!!!

I blended the whole pot of ingredients with the fresh basil for a real smooth consistency. I had a loaf of Artisan Herb Olive bread. I cut a third of the loaf into small cubes, toasting them in butter and garlic salt, for croutons. The rest of the loaf I sliced, spread one side with butter, then toasted in the pan that the croutons had been in. OMG! Dinner was great and I have enough for all day today, so we can graze 'at will'! 

Later today, we are heading to visit with folks, do some grocery shopping for them, and The Guy will do a couple of chores around the place. I have to say, my sister has been a god-send. She has kind of taken the reigns for caring for Mom and Dad for the past couple of weeks. I miss being with my dad but Mom can be so mean that it is difficult to be around her for any length of time. I've been a very poor example of handling the situation with grace. I just kind of bailed on the responsibilities. Took a much needed (and dare I say 'deserved') Time Out!

It's strange that at a stage in life, when I've finally defined boundaries for what behaviors I will allow  that my mother is smashing the boundaries to tiny bits! Maybe having such a crazy mom is the reason it took so long to define boundaries.

Send some positive energy my way kids, I'm going in!!!!

Have a great Sunday and enjoy the Winter Olympics. 

February 09, 2018

Friendly Friday Fill-ins

Friday! Another week shot by with barely a flicker! Is time really happening faster?

Several years ago, I began creating customized mandalas for some of the members of our metaphysical library. I use numerology to create them, using the person's name and birthdate, plus a short interview. They are sometimes just for meditation but some have asked for mandalas for healing or reaching a goal. I haven't done one in ages but I got a request for one and I'm excited to be doing one again.

I've posted a couple of them here on Wandering and Wondering but they've all been old ones. I'm excited to get started on a new one. Inspiration to get the dressers finished so I can get my studio back into Studio Mode!

These are some of the older ones. Revisiting them get me motivates me even more!

Time for Friendly Friday Fill-ins, a blog hop promoted by McGuffy's Reader and 15 and Meowing. Then I can get back to sanding the last dresser (hmm, but first a quick drive to Dutch Bros for a hot Kicker with an extra shot...best coffee ever!)

1. The Winter Olympics ___________________________

2. I think the most romantic movie (or book) is__________________________

3. Recently, I had an odd experience when__________________________

4. I believe that love_______________________________

My fill-in (feelings)

1. The Winter Olympics are filled with incredible grace and also an awesome opportunity for the world to see young people who strive to be their best and do their best.

2. I think the most romantic movie (or book) is Enchanted April. One of my all-time favorites.

3. Recently, I had an odd experience when I was thinking about a friend who died about 10 years ago and heard three knocks on the window. No one was there, of course, but I knew his spirit was.

4. I believe that love is a gift of spirit. To 'be loved' is outstanding but 'to love' is exquisite.

Speaking of love, anyone have any Valentine's Day plans? Any Valentine's Day traditions you follow?

February 08, 2018

A Little Help Here!

Whoa! Did anybody get the number of that truck?  My body is aching and I'm a little bit out of sync.

The painting in the master bedroom is done. Bed has been moved to a new position. Carpet in bedroom was cleaned and we put long runners on both sides and the foot of the bed to protect the carpet from dog oils, mud and hair. Who knew such lovable creatures could be such a mess!

Still don't have curtains in. Can't decide how to go with color. Maybe you can help!

 Top half of walls are a soft gray, bottom is a soft teal. The chair rail, ceiling and trim are white. The entry into bedroom is the same white. The dresser in the top photo I just painted a very pale baby blue. The comforter is a shiny tone-on-tone gray, possibly temporary while I look for a colorful duvet cover or make one.

The room is super peaceful, BUT it needs curtains and a pop of color. I'm really leaning for some pillows and maybe a throw folded at bottom of bed in a salmon color. Really stumped on curtains. My first thought was to drape sheers and fairy lights behind bed (we have blinds) and then a medium gray for the sliding glass doors but I'm worried that everything is too, too neutral.

Now I think, because the room is on the south side of house and sliding door faces west we get lots of light. Maybe we need blackout curtains and maybe they should be the pop in color!

What do you think, friends? Any ideas? And then...

This morning I woke up kind of in slow motion. The warmth from the flannel sheets and heaviness of quilt and comforter and hint of light from the cracks in the blinds made me feel that the universe had me in a loving snuggle.

I lay there for a long time, filled with gratitude for being blessed with a warm bed, a roof over my head and being safe. I thought of the many people who are in so much need of safety, of food, of warmth, of belonging.  I often take for granted all the blessings that I have; that we have as a nation. My wish for all the peoples of the world to have peace, love and a sense of belonging. 

Have a good day, all.

February 06, 2018

Sparks...Day Late!

Last week I posted that I joined a blog hop started over at McGuffy's Reader. Her intent is to light up the whole world. I, for one, thing she can do it but we have to help by posting something POSITIVE every Monday. She calls it Sparks!

Yesterday, my computer was out of commission. My Spark is a little late but no less bright and shiny!

Sending positive energy to all!

It's easy to sparkle when you're filled with gold!

February 03, 2018

NYT By the Book Quiz

Last week over at The Marmelade Gypsy the author/artist answered the New York Times "By The Book" questionnaire that is used when interviewing authors.  Her answers were marvelous and quite revealing of her personality, like and dislikes. She also challenged her readers to answer the questionnaire.

Though my publishing history is not worthy of a New York Times quiz, more like Senior Times monthly, I'm up for the challenge.  Quizzes like this, in my personal opinion, help us with self-reflection. Have you ever thought you believed something but when you actually verbalize it in a conversation; hear the words for the first time are dismayed or even shocked by them?

I often feel like Erkle! "Did I say that?"

Here goes!

What books are on your nightstand?

Sadly, there are presently no books at my bedside! Almost everything in the bedroom is in boxes in another bedroom. We just finished painting the room, and I am just waxing my bedside chest that I painted a soft baby blue.

When not packed away, the books that are almost always within arms reach are:
Untie The Strong Woman by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss
The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyers
My journal by me!
I might add that there is usually an issue or two of the magazine "Where Women Create." Looking for inspiration to get my studio functioning more as a studio and less as a storage unit!

What are you reading right now?

Typically I have two or three books going, two non-fiction and a good novel. True confession, reading is my addiction. I would take a good book over a glass of wine or cheesecake every time! That is why I am currently only reading The Road To Character by David Brooks. Interesting delve into our culture's virtues (or lack, thereof) and how values and virtues are nurtured. Good book but easy enough to put down when I know that the first coat of what ever I'm painting is dry enough for next coat, or sanding, or gazing upon proudly!

What was the last great book you read? 

I reread Do You Quantum Think by Dianne Collins. She helps the reader recognize their personal "paths of least resistance," the comfort ruts we dive into when life and change challenge us. It has helped me to give up allegiance to past reactions and responses and open up to the world of infinite possibilities. Sounds woo-woo but, I swear, it isn't. It would be by my bedside but I keep a copy of it within reach in the living room and an extra copy on the bookshelf to give to anyone who will take it. I love, love, love this book. I think I may have already given at least a dozen copies out.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is a show stopper in human drama. You won't be able to put it down, except to maybe reach for another tissue. Not a book to be read if you are already in a winter funk, wait for sunshine.

What do you read for solace? For escape? For sheer pleasure?

Definition of solace: "comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness". 

I often pick up the nearest copy of Do You Quantum Think if I find myself back in the well-trodden ditch of distress! I might pick up Byron Katie's Loving What Is.

For escape or pleasure? Remember my reading addiction is severe! I love the escape from reality of Sarah Addison Allen, Elin Hildebrand, Ruth Ware, Linda Frances Lee, Maria Goodin, Kristen Hannah, John Grishom, Micheal Chricton, Tom Clancy, Tom Robbins.

If I really want to escape for 8 to 10 hours, I grab a Robin Carr book. I guess one would call it Beach Fiction! Best read on a towel, on a beach, under a large brim hat, holding a glass of wine or a cold beer!

Dean Koontz was once a favorite but now I just stick to his Odd Thomas books. My imagination is way too developed to read Koontz or King on a regular basis.

 What are your favorite books on a favorite subject?

My favorite subject? Really? With all the universe has to offer how can one choose a favorite?  Maybe I can narrow it down to a couple. I am intrigued by human psychology, wisdom books, philosophy and metaphysics.  The Gift of Change/Marianne Williamson, The Gift of Imperfection/Brene Brown, Untie The Strong Woman/Women Who Run With Wolves/Clarissa Pinkola Estes, The Magical Approach/Jane Roberts, Behold The Spirit/Alan Watts.

Just because I love to cook (usually without a recipe, just my nose and memory) but when I do find a cookbook that speaks to me, visually stimulates my senses, I fall in love with it. So Rustic Spanish/Williams & Sonoma! Yum!

What are your favorite genres and which don't you particularly like?

Covered most of my favorites. I have to say that I usually avoid Jodi Picoult unless I am in a really good place emotionally. Her books are heavy hitting.

I don't mind Thriller but totally avoid Horror, Science Fiction (really, you would think that by now all extraterrestrial life would know not to invade earth. It's a no win scenario!).  I strongly dislike books about the South (except for Gone With The Wind, which I read every year from age of 10 to maybe 16), Downton Abbey era, or about English Kings and Queens from the 1400's through today.

Jeez, Louise, this questionnaire is long...didn't seem as long reading it as doing it!

What book do you think is overrated or just don't like?

Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good by Jan Karon! Everyone on Goodreads raved about it. I tossed it after 80 or 90 pages. Absolutely nothing happened...ever! Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes; I just don't get it.

How do you like to read? Paper or electronic? Morning or Night? Where do you like to read?

Addict, remember. Paper and electronic! Morning, Noon and Night! Where? Wherever there are words to read!

What's the best book you ever received as a gift?

A boyfriend gave me a copy of Wind in the Willows when I was 16. I cherish it.

My dad gave me Women Who Run With Wolves years ago. Just handed it to me one day and said it reminded him of me! I cherish that one, too.

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most.

Voracious reader! Loved Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys. I read every book that my folks had. Pissed Mom off that I read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World when I was nine! (Hey, it was two days before we could get to the library, and it was winter in Colorado! What's a kid supposed to do?)

Two books stand out. One was Tiger, Tiger. Not Margaux Fargoso's nor is it Rudyard Kipling's follow-up to Jungle Book.  It was a sweet book about a mother tiger and her cubs, their lives and struggle for survival. It was probably written in the 50's, had a green cover. I can't find it anywhere.

The other, No Children, No Pets by Marion Holland was a book that I just really related to and can remember the story, the sketches, the scenes. Good book.

From the age of 7 or 8, there were several books that I read at least once every year; Black Beauty, Little Women, Eight Cousins and Gone With The Wind.

Who would you like to write your life story?

I would like Sarah Addison Allen to write my life story. Her books are brimming with magical, mystical things. Through the ups and downs of life, I've discovered that magic does exist. I see angels and auras, I know things or see things that other's don't. I would prefer that my life story include the numinous and ethereal side of life's journey, not just the physical and emotional.

Ta Da! It's done. If any of you actually read this whole thing, Wow! I don't know that I would have read much beyond the second question. It did crack open a couple of windows for me and now I know why I easily relate to Brene Brown's Gift of Imperfections!