Retirement is a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays interrupted only occasionally by a holiday.

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Ringing In The New Year

It's hard to believe that it's New Year's Eve morning and we're about to bid farewell to 2007 and welcome in 2008. I wish I had some brilliant philosophical insight into this annual event but sadly it's not to be...waxing eloquently is just not my "thing."

This evening Rick and I will go over to Lynn's home to celebrate the New Year with family. We call this "New York New Year's" since we watch the New York Times Square TV feed at 9:00PM Pacific Time, blow our horns, sip our phony champagne, kiss each other and then head on home well before our West Coast midnight. It will be a quiet evening with food and entertainment of our own making. I'm bringing chocolate chip cookie dough fixings so that I can teach Elle (my 13 year old niece) how to make and then eat the yummy cookie dough right out of the bowl. She thinks I'm "cool."

So on this New Year's Eve, I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2008. May the New Year bring you and your families peace and joy.

Update (11:00AM): they say - "The best laid plans..." Lynn just called to tell me that she was up all night with our family's version of the stomach flu. She's been fighting sickness for the past two weeks and I think her resistance finally gave up. I feel so badly for her since I was exactly in her place a few weeks ago and I know how draining it can be. Anyway, our New Year's Eve plans are cancelled so Rick and I will spend the evening at home...just the two of us. That's OK with us...we can eat sensibly, watch a movie, sip our non-alcoholic champagne, watch the Times Square ball drop and then head off to slumberland at a reasonable hour. Happy New Year's!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Why Didn't I Listen To Myself? yesterday's post, I talked all about the new scale I bought and how I wasn't going to open it up until after New Year's just in case it was too accurate. curiousity got the best of me and this morning I took it out of its box, removed the little plastic tab so the battery would work and then placed it on the floor. How could I not get on it and take a peek? Ouch...bad idea. As I suspected, the very large digital display revealed a number that was several pounds more than my old scale. And, to add insult to injury, Rick got on the new scale and declared it pretty accurate since he weighs himself everyday on the "medical" scale at the YMCA. So here I am facing 2008 with several more pounds to lose. Sigh...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

On A Scale Of One To...

Happy belated Christmas to me. My friend JAM and I went out shopping Thursday and what did I decide to buy for myself??? Well I've been talking about buying a new one for months and I've finally gone and done it...I've bought myself a new scale. Yep...a new digital scale. Are you impressed? Here's what it looks like:

Ever since I started my diet months ago, I've wanted a new scale. The one I currently have is the old fashioned dial kind which you can finagle by adjusting the dial up or down. It's just too tempting when the numbers aren't kind to me to move that little pointer back just a wee bit. Now I have a digital scale which won't allow me to do that and which is, according to the packaging, "within .2 lbs accuracy." And I made sure I got one which doesn't have a memory. The last thing I'd want from a "perfect" scale would be to allow Rick to see how much I weigh by pushing the memory button. No how! Oh...and the weight displayed in the photo is not my current me.

So where is the new scale? It's sitting in the box on the floor of my den with all the other gifts still to be put away. Today is diet "Weigh-In" day and I'm afraid to step on the new scale. I haven't lost any weight now in weeks (OK, maybe months) and I haven't been a very good dieter during this holiday season so I'm worried that this new accurate scale might reveal a number I don't want to see. So I'm thinking I'll use the old scale this week (just in case) and then open up the new scale as a way to start the new year. Yep...2007 was a pretty good year for me...why ruin it at the end.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Aftermath's over. Nothing's put away, of course, but Christmas is really over. We had a lovely time at Rick's sister's house on Tuesday and, as always, we experienced Christmas chaos...wrapping paper, gift bags, bows, ribbon flying everywhere, thank-you's shouted out, camera flashes popping. We got home, after dropping my mom off at my sister's, and then promptly fell into bed exhausted. Rick was actually feeling kinda punky and is now recovering from his version of our family flu...thank goodness it's not the "stomach" variety.

Then yesterday I went over to Lynn's at 6:30AM so we could make it to the mall by 7AM. Last year, we did amazingly well with lots and lots of goodies at incredible savings. This year we were not so lucky. I'm not sure if the sales were so good before Christmas that all the best clothing was sold out but we found very little and the items we did like were not listed at an incredible discount like last year. I did manage to buy (using store coupons, of course) 3 long-sleeved T-shirts, a black sweater top and a small purse while Lynn found a few items as well. I guess I should be happy. At least my already over-flowing closet won't be burdened with more "stuff" I really don't need.

Monday, December 24, 2007

It's A Wrap!

Yeah...I'm done! All the gifts for Rick's family are wrapped and labeled and are now sitting in front of our hearth in boxes ready to be transported tomorrow. I even managed to wrap the big flat-screen TV (for Rick's mom) all by myself and bought a huge red bow for it. Now I can take a deep breath and relax.

Later this afternoon, I'll get myself showered and dressed and then we'll go to church for the Children's Christmas mass. When Rick and I were younger, we'd go to Midnight mass but those days are long gone. Now we go to church for the 5:00PM service and then it's home for a simple dinner followed by our annual Christmas tradition of watching the 1984 George C. Scott version of "A Christmas Carol." Then it's off to bed.

Since I'm sure tomorrow will be a very full day for all, I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very joyous and merry Christmas. I hope you and your families have a wonderful holiday filled with love and laughter.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Smile For the Camera

Yesterday I took Mom for our pre-Christmas haircuts and then out for lunch. We've been going to our "new" hairdresser since September and I am so happy to have finally found someone who cuts hair really well. I booked this appointment four weeks ago to make sure Mom and I would look extra special for the big day on Tuesday when we celebrate Christmas with Rick's family.

Anyway, our haircuts look really nice and I made sure that we gave a holiday gift to our hairdresser to express our appreciation. This haircut is particularly important because I just got a letter from our Dept. of Motor Vehicles reminding me that my driver's license is expiring on my birthday in February and I need to renew it ASAP. For the past few renewals, I've been able to do it by mail but now they want me to come in and have a vision test, a thumb print taken and a new photo. Yikes!

Now I'm not worried about the vision test since I just got myself a new pair of glasses and the thumb print is no big deal. But the photo is another story. I actually love my "current" license photo since it was taken 15 years ago and I look so much younger. Now I'm going to have a new one and I'm not a happy camper! At least my hair will look good and maybe I'll just apply tons of makeup before going into the DMV. Oh well...I guess it could be worse. At least I don't have to take the written or driving tests again. Now that would be scary!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I've Got the Jingle Bell Blues

Wonder where I've been? Me too. I've been hiding out, so to speak, for nearly a week and I'm not too sure why. I think maybe I've caught a really bad case of the holiday blues. One week ago, I was humming "Jingle Bells," dashing through the store aisles excitedly looking for the perfect gifts, listening to the all-Christmas-music radio station, happy as a lark. Now suddenly I can't seem to face the whole holiday concept.

I'm thinking that, as we fast approach Christmas, I'm suddenly realizing that all the joy and merriment of the holiday season will be gone suddenly next Wednesday. It's always such a build-up to the wonderment of Christmas and then it's over in a flash. Yes...I know...I should be taking it all in and enjoying it while it's here. But, for some reason, I'm already looking ahead past December 25th. I can't explain is what it is.

Of course, this may all be a result of the guest bedroom which is filled with bags and bags of holiday gifts. Maybe the thought of me crouched over all these gifts until the wee hours of the next few mornings, with Christmas wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbon, tape and gift tags by my side, is just too much to bear. Shopping is the fun part of the Christmas season for me...wrapping gifts is not. Who knows...

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Healthy Cup of Coffee

Okay...I must be feeling better. Last night I managed to have pasta for dinner without any ill effects. This morning, I finally had that much needed morning cup of coffee. There wasn't any question about it...I was going to have that cup if it killed me. I was desperate. Thank goodness I take mine with lots of artificial sweetener and flavored milk. That seemed to help tame the acidity so it was nice and smooth going down. Now I finally feel like a human being again. Ahhhhhh...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Things Keep Rolling Along

I just don't understand it. I take my vitamins; I wash my hands constantly; I'm careful around sick people. So can someone explain to me why I'm the one to come down with our family's version of the stomach flu? First was my mom, then my brother-in-law and now me. It seems that, when there's sickness to be caught, I always manage to catch it.

Mine started Tuesday evening right after a delicious dinner from our favorite Greek restaurant. Sadly, I'll probably never be able to face Greek food again. My distress lasted well into the wee hours of the morning when the over-the-counter pills I took finally did the trick. Yesterday was spent in bed sleeping and eating a wonderfully bland BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast).

This morning I'm feeling much better although now I'm cranky because I haven't had my morning cup of coffee in two days. And, as much as I want one, I think I'll give it one more day just to be sure. I'd hate to get sick again, this time over coffee, and then never be able to enjoy a cup again.!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Adventures In the ER

Okay...I've had enough of our HMO Emergency Room. Friday night we spent 4 hours there attending to my mom's gastro-intestinal distress. Last night we spent more than 8 hours there after Mom complained about a "heaviness" in her chest during the afternoon.

I spent the morning and afternoon with Mom while Lynn was at work. Around 1:00pm, Mom began to mention that she felt a "heaviness" in her upper chest. It wasn't a sharp pain...just "heaviness." She then began to belch occasionally and I wondered whether this was all a part of her "recovery" from her weekend siege. My only concern was that she'd used the term "heaviness" in 1998 to describe the pain that eventually turned into a heart attack.

I continued to monitor her for distress and, when Lynn came home from work, we decided we'd bring her to the ER as a precautionary move. We arrived at 4:30PM and so began our 2nd "adventure" there. She was immediately seen by a triage nurse who took an EKG and determined things were not immediately life threatening. Then they parked us in the ER hallway (all the rooms were full) until eventually they found one available. Mom was hooked up to monitors and an IV and eventually blood was taken for her lab work. Finally an ER doctor found his way to Mom's cubicle and we were told that, while all her initial lab work and EKG were good, he wanted to admit her to the hospital for overnight observation and a stress test the next day. And then he left us to wait and wait and wait yet again.

I'm not sure how it works in other ER's but, in our HMO, once the ER doctor sees you and determines you need to be admitted, you must be seen by a hospital Admitting doctor before they look for a room for you. And that's where I just don't get it...if an ER doctor determines it's necessary to admit a patient, why is it necessary to be seen by yet another doctor? Aren't the ER doctor's medical degree and experience just as valid as an Admitting physician's? This HMO policy only delays things and adds to the discomfort and stress of the patient who is already anxious and concerned. There were 2 Admitting doctors on call last night to handle the entire Emergency Room and they were no where to be found for Mom. After several hours, we finally got testy with the nurse and he went off in search of any doctor to handle my mom's case.

Finally a Hospital doctor stepped into the cubicle and examined Mom and went over her lab work and history with us. The bottom mom's problem could be heart related or gastro-intestinal related...they just didn't know. It was up to us to decide whether to have them keep Mom overnight or release her. This was a pretty big decision for two extremely sleep deprived daughters to make but we decided to have them release her with a promise that we'd return if the symptoms returned. By then, it was after midnight.

I'm at Lynn's this morning while she is off to work for an important meeting. I'm worried about her health too since she's taken the brunt of this for the past several days since Mom lives with her. She's promised me she'll leave work immediately after her meeting and come home to sleep. I'm counting on that. The last thing I need is to nurse not one but two family members back to health. Florence Nightingale I'm not.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

If It's Not One Thing...

I came back from Georgia hoping for some peace but that's not the case. My 86-year-old mom has come down with gastro-something-or-other (better known as the stomach flu) and the 3 of us (Mom, Lynn, and I) spent 4 hours in the ER late Friday night making sure that's all it is. I feel really badly for Lynn since Mom lives with her and my sister has taken the brunt of the responsibility for Mom's care. I don't know what I would do without my sister. I went over there yesterday to help and Mom seemed a little better as the day wore on so we're all hoping she will recover quickly.

I want to thank all of you for your supportive comments about my cousin Frank's passing. While it's been a difficult time, your kind thoughts and prayers have certainly helped make our healing easier. Hopefully, things will calm down soon and I'll be able to get back to reading and commenting on your blogs. Until then...thank you all.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Returning Home

I'm home. Ina and I returned from Georgia this morning exhausted and weary. What should have been a time of sadness, mourning and healing for us turned into a time of anger, disillusionment and frustration. I went to Georgia with an admittedly idealized view of my cousin Frank; I return with a much more realistic and, sadly, somewhat disapppointing opinion of him. In Georgia, I watched helplessly as Frank's "adult" son displayed complete disrespect and disregard for his father's memory as he abandoned his responsibilites as Frank's son and heir, leaving Ina to take care of all the necessary arrangements and financial aspects.

This is not to say there was nothing positive about this trip. Frank's girlfriend of many years and two of his closest friends at work, grieving themselves, were incredibly kind and helpful as we waded through the "business" aspects of death. We were overwhelmed by the number of Frank's friends and co-workers who attended his memorial service and spoke so highly of him. Ina and I were greeted with "Southern hospitality" everywhere we went...the hotel, restaurants, airport, car rental company, stores.

With one day to ourselves, we drove to Warm Springs, Georgia and wandered through the quaint shops in town taking in the beautiful Christmas decorations and spirit of the season. We visited FDR's "Little White House" in Warm Springs, strolling through the grounds on a gloriously sunny and crisp day. And most of all, we had each other to help us get through this five day journey.

I'm happy to be home. This is the longest that Rick and I have been separated in our nearly 25 years together and I missed him terribly. Although we talked many times on our cell phones during my trip, I missed having Lynn close by my side to share in all the turmoil. My mom was constantly on my mind wondering how she was doing during my absence. And the trip, showing an ugly side of what "family" can be, only reinforced my belief in how blessed I am to have such a wonderful, close-knit, loving family.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I Love You Too Frank

Today has been a difficult one for my entire family. I am writing this on a break from packing my suitcase for a trip to Georgia tomorrow with my cousin Ina and her nephew Brian. This morning Ina received the phone call we all dread...a family member has died. In this case it was Ina's beloved brother, Brian's father and my first cousin Frank.

There are no words to describe our grief. For me, Frank represented the older brother I never had. Although separated by time and miles for many years, his infectious laugh and bigger than life personality was always with me. And, when he would call my mom, she would giggle and laugh as he told her one story after another. We always said that Frank was her favorite.

So now the three of us will travel to Frank's home in Georgia tomorrow to make arrangements and take care of the necessary business which comes with death. We will cope as best we can and hopefully do what Frank would have wanted.

Rick reminded me today, after hearing the news, that Frank always said exactly the same phrase whenever he would call and one of us would answer the phone. Immediately we'd hear "I love you" followed by that laugh of his. What man starts a conversation like that? One who was full of life and love. And so today, I just want Frank to know that, wherever he is now, I love him too.

Whew...It's Over

Thank goodness it's now December. November has come and gone and NaBloPoMo is finally over. If you're not familiar with NaBloPoMo, you can go here and read all about how more than six thousand bloggers made a commitment to publish a post every day in November...yes...every day! And I'm proud to say I actually managed to do just every single day...30 posts in a row! And now I get to proudly display this little graphic on my sidebar.

It wasn't always easy and sometimes I had to grope for something to write about but I managed. I admit it helped that my insomnia was in full swing in November so that I had plenty of time in the middle of the night to sit at my computer and write so I can't take 100% credit. Okay...maybe I can. Anyway, it was a fun and exhausting exercise in blogging. My only question what?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Can You Get That?

I’m not a fan of the telephone. When I was young, I would never answer the phone if there was another family member at home. I think it had to do with my shyness and never knowing who would be on the other end of the line when I picked it up.

Fast forward many years. We have a phone issue in our house. Let me set the stage. Rick usually spends his time in the living room watching TV; I spend my time in the den in front of the computer. Whenever the telephone rings, here is what I hear being yelled at me from the other room…”Can you get that?” Mind you…Rick sits on the sofa with one of our cordless phones right next to him. Why is it he needs me to answer the darn thing?

To make matters worse, every once in a while (for a little change of scenario) I hear Rick yelling the following to me as the phone is ringing…”It’s for you.” Does he really think I believe he can channel the caller’s identity by the sound of the ring!?!?!

Suddenly I’ve become Mrs. Private Secretary. What I find strange is that, when Rick worked as a manager, his phone rang directly through to his cubicle so that he always answered his own phone. There was no secretary for him to rely on. What? He thinks that, because he’s retired, he’s earned the right to have an assistant to do his bidding? I don’t think so…

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another One Joins Our Club

Today is my friend JAM’s last day of work. After several years working for our local university, she has decided to retire. So today, when she leaves her cubicle for the very last time, she will be on a one month vacation before her formal retirement date at the end of the year.

I know exactly how she is feeling today. I can still remember my last day of work nearly four years ago. After spending weeks cleaning out my office and files, I thought I would be misty-eyed and depressed as I walked out the door for the very last time. Instead, what I felt was an unbelievable sense of relief…as if the entire weight of the world was now lifted from my shoulders. Yes…retirement can be a scary thing with all the financial considerations and the fear of not having enough to do each day but it can also be a very liberating experience and one filled with all sorts of planned as well as unexpected adventures.

Tonight, Rick and I are taking JAM out for a celebratory dinner. And, on JAM’s first day of freedom tomorrow, what will she be doing? She’ll be going to a holiday crafts fair with her already retired playmate…me! She and I have already compiled a long list of things to see in the Southern California area and the list keeps growing. And who knows…maybe I’ll even get her to start a blog. You just never know…

So today, please help me wish JAM a very Happy Retirement!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Other Side of Disneyland

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I spent Monday at Disneyland with two friends from work. The park is now decorated for Christmas and everything seemed so festive and magical. Here's a sampling:

Now normally I go to "The Magic Kingdom" with Lynn and my niece and nephew and, when we go, we spend nearly the entire day moving from one ride to another. We traverse the park with the intent of riding on all the major attractions (Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, the Matterhorn, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean to name just a few) as well as some of the smaller ones. We are always on the move.

It's amazing what a different experience it is when you visit the park with adults only. On Monday, I was introduced to exhibits and attractions I never knew existed thanks to one of my friends. We visited a sourdough bakery exhibit where we watched them bake sourdough bread and had an opportunity to enjoy a few samples. We also saw an exhibit by one of the leading tortilla making companies and got to sample a fresh tortilla...yum.

When our feet needed a rest, we sat in one of the theaters and viewed a film, starring Whoopi Goldberg, on the history of California. And, of course, we spent a lot more time, than I do when I'm with the kids, in the various shops . The three of us wandered into a number of stores throughout the park and then ambled from one shop to another down Main Street. What fun! Oh...and we did experience many of the less "violent" roller coasters or other wild and crazy rides for us.

So Monday was a completely different Disneyland experience for me and it was a wonderful treat. But don't worry...when I want the thrill of a roller coaster (which is often), I always have my niece and nephew to keep me company!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Need to Repeat Pre-School

It's way too early to be awake today and I'm really bleary-eyed because I spent yesterday with two friends at Disneyland and didn't get home until late. And now this morning I'm on my way out the door to go to work. I have a committee assignment which requires me to use my computer at Library Headquarters but I wanted to share this little test, which someone sent Rick in an e-mail, before I left for the long drive. Are you ready?


Which way is the bus below the left or to the right?

Can't make up your mind? Look carefully at the picture again. Still don't know? Pre-schoolers all over the United States were shown this picture and asked the same question. 90% of the pre-schoolers gave this answer..."The bus is traveling to the left." When asked, "Why do you think the bus is traveling to the left?" They answered, "Because you can't see the door to get on the bus."

How do you feel now??? I too.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Can I Change My Mind?

A few weeks ago, I was tagged with a "5 Things" meme. One of the questions was "5 Things I've Always Wanted to Do." One of my 5 things was to "visit Antarctica." Hmmm...maybe I need to rethink that one.

Did you all see the news reports about the Canadian cruise liner, Explorer, which sank in Antarctica after striking ice late last week? Apparently the Explorer's hull was punctured and began taking on water...think Titanic.

Luckily all 154 passengers and crew members managed to scramble to safety aboard lifeboats and rafts and were eventually rescued by a Norwegian cruise ship 2 hours after abandoning ship in freezing weather.

While I like a little adventure, I'm not sure this is what I had in mind. Yes, I know these folks certainly will have a fascinating story to tell when they get home and I'm betting there won't be a disinterested listener amongst their family and friends. But I really want to chance it???

Moral of this story: "Quite often, an adventure isn't fun while it's happening."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It Seems Like Only Yesterday

Today is Lynn's birthday. Yep...she's another year older today and I cannot tell a lie...she's my baby sister.

I can still remember the day I stood on our sofa in front of the window watching my mom come up the walk with a bundle in her arms and my dad following behind. I was so baby sister was coming home. That event is my very first memory when I was young.

And, as Lynn's older sister, I actually had a hand in deciding her fate. As my mother tells the story, as soon as I heard I was going to be a big sister, I immediately informed Mom that I wanted a baby sister and repeated that demand throughout the long wait. No brother for me...I insisted on a baby sister. And, thank goodness, Mom and Dad cooperated.

In honor of Lynn's birthday, I thought I would surprise her and post a photo of my cute little sister.

So, on this very special day, please join me in wishing Lynn a very "Happy Birthday"and many, many more!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Shop 'Til I Drop

This will be short since I'm off to the stores again today. Yesterday's shopping extravaganza started at 8:00AM and I was on the go until 6:00PM. Rick managed to buy 3 more golfshirts and 2 fleece sweatshirts at the golfwear outlet sale and then I dropped him off at home and proceeded to the first of 2 big indoor malls and 3 shopping centers with discount stores. I managed to come away with a few small stocking-stuffer-type gifts for my family members and friends which is really all I went for. So I guess you can call it a successful venture.

The only victims of this adventure were my feet. Can you say they are killing me even after spending a night propped up in bed. What I really need is:

Or maybe this:

So now I'm off again today in search of more small gifts....this time for Rick's family as well as several of our friends. When I get home later, I guess I'll try to convince Rick that a foot rub would be really nice. After all...I am shopping for gifts for his family.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Shopping Mandate

Who am I to defy the will of the government?

First things first...Rick and I are going shopping this morning to a semi-annual golfwear outlet sale. We do this twice a year and Rick's closet rod is bending from all the golfshirts he has. Yet we continue to go just in case there's a shirt he has yet to purchase. One of these days he'll realize he truly has everything this particular company manufactures.

After this morning's excursion, I will drop him off at home and then make my way to the stores for my annual Black Friday shopping extravaganza. To be honest, except for my niece and nephew, I have very little to buy. Some years ago, the adults in my family and my friends decided to forego holiday gift exchanges. Since we all buy what we need when we need it, we agreed to save ourselves the hassles of trying to find things for each other. It makes for a much less stressful holiday season.

If this is the case, then why do I subject myself to the hoardes of holiday shoppers out there? What can I's fun! It's fun because I can wander around and watch all the craziness without actually participating. I don't need to hunt through store racks looking for just the right size. I don't need to rummage through piles of clothing looking for just the right color. No...I get to watch everyone else doing just that!

So...if you're one of those people desperately looking for just the right gift today, I humbly apologize for my glee.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Thankful Day

Today Rick and I will be gathered around the dining table at our family friend's home. We will be amongst family, friends and acquaintances and will enjoy the pleasure of each other's company and the good food laid before us. We are truly blessed to have our friend's 91-year-old mother and our 86-year-old mom with us again this year and we are most thankful for their health and well-being.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope that you will be spending the day with loved ones and friends. Stay well and safe as you enjoy this day and may you all have much to be thankful for today and always.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Incredible Shrinking World

Yesterday Mom and I went to the salon for haircuts. As is our tradition, we always go to the same restaurant for lunch. So we had our typical meal (turkey burgers with fries) and, as we were leaving, I heard a male voice call out "I know you; you were my librarian." I look around and waving at me is a gentleman at one of the tables. I couldn't believe it. Here was one of my long-time library patrons whom I haven't seen since I retired nearly four years ago. Surprise, surprise! We chatted a bit and then Mom and I left.

Why did this little meeting surprise me so? It's probably because the library where I worked is more than 30 miles from this particular restaurant and neither of us live nearby. We just both happen to be eating at this restaurant on the same day at the same time.

Moral of this story: Be very careful what you say in public; you never know who might be listening.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What Were They Thinking?

Yesterday I took Mom to our HMO for her appointment with the podiatrist. The medical facility is large and it's quite a long walk from the parking structure to the building. Then, after you finally reach the building and enter, you turn right and are confronted with a hallway. Here's what it looks like.

So...can you see the Podiatry Department? Of course not! Why? Because some fool of a building planner decided to locate it at the very far end of the long corridor. Yep...all the way at the end. You can barely see the "Podiatry" sign by the rear door. Now, why do patients see a podiatrist? It's because they have foot problems making it difficult to walk! So why would anyone, in their right mind, make these patients walk the greatest distance to see their podiatrist? doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

They Don't Make Edsels Anymore

It seems Rick has been trying to buy a new car now for years. And I do mean "years." He drove his old car for a long 12 years because he couldn't find a new car that met all his specifications. In 2004, he decided that I should buy a new car and he would drive my old one while he waited for the car manufacturers to design the "perfect" car for him.

Each year, we attend the Los Angeles Auto Show and each year he comes away from it more disappointed than ever. Granted his 6'3'' height eliminates many of the "boy toy" cars he really likes. But there have been a few we've seen in the past few years which seem perfectly reasonable and comfortable to me. But new car for Rick.

Yesterday was no exception as we attended the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show. We went from one car company display to another looking at new and improved models, sitting in the front and back seats of numerous cars, opening the trunks of each to make sure we could fit our golf clubs and suitcases comfortably. Oh yes...we have golf clubs, as well as Rick's height, to consider when choosing a car. Here's a sampling of the cars we looked at:

Finally, in the last hall of the Convention Center, I found the perfect car for someone like Rick, living in the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles. But, for some unknown reason, he just didn't like it. I can't understand why.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Day Late...And A Post Too Many

I seem to be losing my mind. Yesterday was my 200th post and I’ve been planning for the past two weeks to write something commemorating this event since I’d somehow managed to overlook my 100th post way back in May. I had a graphic all prepared and I even circled yesterday on my calendar a few weeks ago so I wouldn’t forget this blogging milestone. So what happened? I forgot! I forgot to look at my calendar; I forgot to write a post about it. Oh where, oh where has my little mind gone?

So…please have a heart and forgive me if I congratulate myself today. Here goes…

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stand At Attention

Someone sent me this photo recently and, although it's a little late for Veterans Day, I thought it was a fascinating bit of American photographic "art" so I want to share it with you.

If you look closely, you'll see 18,000 officers and soldiers on the parade grounds at Camp Dodge (Iowa) in July 1918 posed as Lady Liberty. The intended purpose was to help promote the sale of war bonds but a 1986 story in the Fort Dodge Messenger reports that the photo was actually never used. The news story also reports that many of the soldiers, dressed in wool uniforms, fainted as the temperatures soared to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Apparently the photographers responsible for this photograph also traveled to other American military installations and produced a number of similar patriotic images. Here's a sampling I've found:

U.S. Army Human American Eagle at Camp Gordon, Atlanta, Georgia

10,000 men at the U.S. Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois

25,000 officers and men at Camp Dix, New Jersey

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wow...Fridays Still Exist's Friday and, for folks who work a standard work week, this is the day everyone looks forward to. If you're retired however, Friday is just another day in a week of 7 similar days. Truly...the days just all blend together and there are times when looking at the newspaper is the only way a retiree can tell which day of the week it is.

Now normally today being Friday would have no real excitement for me. However, yesterday and again today I'm sitting in on all-day meetings at Library Headquarters as part of my committee assignment for the very part-time job I still have. And that means I had to get up before the crack of dawn today, now get this post written and published, get myself dressed in something a little more formal than my typical shorts and tee shirt (which is inappropriate even for Casual Fridays), then grab a quick sip of coffee, and finally drive the 40 mile trip through traffic to Headquarters. Then I'll have to sit through mind-numbing discussions of the new software system requirements and configurations all day long (except for our lunch break, of course) and finally drive the 40 mile trip home through Friday getaway traffic. I happy it's Friday? Let's just say I'll be a lot happier when it's Friday evening. But I'm not complaining...honest.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Can You Tell A Book By Its Cover?

My wonderful friend Susie tagged me with the perfect meme for a retired librarian. It's called the Book Cover Meme. It sounded really easy. Here's what you do:
  1. Go to the Advanced book search on Amazon
  2. Type your first name into the Title field
  3. Post the most interesting/amusing cover that shows up
Sounds easy right? Well, apparently when your name is "Joan," there's one little problem. It seems there are hundreds upon hundreds of books written about Joan of Arc. Now I'm neither a saint nor a martyr so I clicked through pages and pages of books about the young French hero until I finally found something that might be considered "amusing." Here's the result:

How about that...a title that actually describes me these days. Lately my mind seems one big jumble of thoughts, ideas, facts, words...all without the benefit of any type of organization. And that's pretty amazing for someone who spent her adult life living in the world of books and the Dewey Decimal System.

So now I get to tag others with this fun little exercise. Hmmm...who should I choose? OK...I tag Lynn, Patti, Ralph, Rosemary, Lynne and anyone else who might like to try their hand at it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My House is Cleaner Than Your House

I know I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been trying to clean up our den so I can finally get a loveseat for the room. The den is considered “my” room with “my” computer and “my” 20” TV and now I want “my” loveseat where I can get comfy and read “my” books.

Progress had been slow and intermittent. I’ll suddenly get ambitious and empty some of the cartons which have been stored in the room but then I’ll lose interest and energy and things will come to a grinding halt. It’s been status quo in the den for some time now.

Well…Monday was a holiday for many public employees and that included Lynn. So when I called her in the morning to find out what she was doing, she was telling me her grand plans to do a major clearing out of the clutter in her house. At first, I continued doing what I was doing…which was not much of anything. Then the jealousy bug started to buzz. Here Lynn was going to have a really neat, clean house and I was still going to have a den filled with “stuff.” That’s all it took.

I started emptying the first carton and soon I was in de-cluttering mode big time. Some of the cartons had old papers and receipts and I managed to nearly burn out the motor on my paper shredder as I shoved paper after paper into it. Of course, looking for places to put things meant I had to clear out some of the shelves in the hall closet and I did manage to make a dent in that too.

Now all I have left to find a home for are our two beach chairs which are currently propped up against the wall in the den (don’t ask me why they are in the den), a Big Box Warehouse package of 12 paper towel rolls, and a carton filled with old vinyl records (including the Beatles’ first few albums). Other than that, the den is cleared and ready to welcome a brand new loveseat which I will be hunting for in the next few weeks.

So I guess sibling rivalry and jealousy can sometimes be a great motivating factor. Thanks Lynn.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How Time Flies

Today marks the one year anniversary of my very first post. It's hard to believe that so much time has gone by. I started blogging last November after creating one for Rick who I thought needed an outlet for his wonderful writing skills. Once he began his blog, I became a wee bit envious so I decided to create one for myself. I can still remember trying to decide whether I could keep a blog fresh and interesting day after day.

What I didn't realize last November was how many friends I would find in BlogLand. When someone now asks me now why I blog, I always tell them I'm basically writing a nearly daily letter to all the friends I've made this year. And I couldn't be happier.

And speaking of friends, look what Mary has been nice enough to award all her blogroll members. I feel so honored to be included among some very wonderful bloggers.

So in honor of my first blogging anniversary, I would like to award this to all the members of my blogroll. Your blogs bring me joy and I consider each and every one of you friends.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Five Things Meme

Lynne has been kind enough to tag me with this fun and easy-to-do meme.

Five Things...

Found In My Room (I'm choosing my den)
My computer
Our massive DVD collection
Framed family photos
Books and more books
Paper shredder

I've Always Wanted to Do
Visit Antarctica
Learn to tap dance
Play the drums
Travel into outer space
See without glasses or contact lens

Found In My Bag
Travel sized hair brush
Monthly calendar book

Found In My Wallet
Driver's license
Credit cards
Insurance cards
Hairdresser's business card
Book of postage stamps

I'm Currently Into

Reading mysteries
Shopping for shoes
Keeping my blog current
Making new blogging friends
Losing weight

So the rules say I get to tag 5 blogging friends. I tag Lynn, the Moose Buyer, Patti, Michele and Renee. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day 2007

Today we pause to pay tribute to those men and women who have served our country through their military service. Veterans Day actually began as Armistice Day in 1919 to honor those veterans of World War I, often called "the war to end all wars." In 1954, after World War II required the greatest mobilization of the American Armed Forces and after American forces fought in Korea, the word "Armistice" was changed to "Veterans" and November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

To commemorate this year's Veterans Day, I am posting photos of my father who served this country during World War II.

My dad enlisted in the United States Coast Guard after the start of World War II. Here he is at home in Brooklyn on leave. Unfortunately, my dad suffered from an inner ear disorder which caused equilibrium problems resulting in severe seasickness. He was medically discharged from the Coast Guard and was then drafted into the United States Army.

After being drafted by the Army, he was sent to the South for basic training. While there, my grandmother became seriously ill and my father returned to Brooklyn on leave. While away, his unit was shipped to the European theater of war and my dad later heard that many of his fellow soldiers were killed or wounded. When my dad returned from leave, he was ordered to California and was eventually stationed in the Aleutian Islands where he remained until the war's end.

So today I hope you will take the time to pay your respects to the men and women in your lives who have served this country in times of war and conflict.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Let There Be Light

Yesterday was the big lamp sale at the craftsman lamp company near us...OK...not really near us but certainly freeway close. The sale started at 2:00PM so we figured we'd go a little early just in case there was a line. Oh yes...there was a line indeed and we were #31 and #32. While waiting outside, Rick was like a little kid...he just couldn't contain his excitement and enthusiasm. It's probably because he has wanted a lamp from this company for years now and here was his chance.

Because the place is so small, they allowed groups of 15 at a time so we were in the third group. While waiting outside, we could see people coming to the checkout table (a folding table set outside for the occasion) and Rick was getting more nervous by the second. Would there be anything left by the time we were let in? Finally it was our turn.

Truly...the place was just one room with two center tables with lamps and some shelving around the walls for sconces and other small items. We immediately went to the lamp tables and, lo and behold, there was one in the large style he really wanted just waiting for us. We immediately scooped it up and, while I waited with it, Rick went off and found a small lamp he liked. Now we'd saved a place in our living room for the large lamp but, honestly, there isn't a table or shelf to put the small one on. Nonetheless, Rick wanted it and who was I to deny him?

So here are photos of our new lamps. We're still wrestling with a place for the small one but, for now, we've found it a temporary home.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I Think It's Finally Autumn...

It finally looks like the Fall season here and I'm thrilled. This morning we woke up to a very ominous, cloudy and dank sky with a forecast of drizzle and light rain and cooler weather. Of course, you know what that means in Southern California...we'll probably have sunshine and warmth by this afternoon without a drop of moisture. Sigh...this lack of rain is getting really old.

Last night was a rare event for me...I stayed out until 10:30PM and this morning I'm feeling the effects of my late night "partying." OK...I wasn't really partying...I was playing Bunco. My friend "J" plays this mindless but fun game once a month with a group of friends and this was her month to host. Since there's always at least one person who fails to show, she asks me to come as a substitute when it's at her house. It's lots of fun and I get to spend a night out "with the girls." No...I didn't win any of the prizes this time but my prize was having a great time and that's certainly enough for me.

Today Rick and I are going shopping and "no" it's not for shoes. A local lamp company known for its craftsman designs is having a special sale at its factory and Rick spotted the ad in the newspaper last weekend. Although we don't live in a craftsman bungalow, we've been slowly buying living room furniture in that motif and so we're going to see if they have a lamp we like. Rick would really love a specific design that he's been coveting for some time now so I'm hoping we'll find one there. If not, maybe there will be something else to buy.

It's hard to believe that it's Friday already. The weeks just seem to be whizzing by. I was driving along the main street near our house yesterday and, to my shock and surprise, they've already put up Christmas decorations on the lamp posts. How can this be? The area's Holiday Parade isn't until December 2nd and yet here we are in early November and signs of Christmas abound. I'm just not ready.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Eek...I'm Out of Control

Honest...I don't know how it happened. I innocently went to work yesterday and, finishing early, I decided just to take a run over to one of our higher-end department stores since they were having their "Half-Yearly Sale for Women and Kids."

I apparently parked in the wrong area because, when I walked into the store, there I was in the Women's Shoe department. Oops...not a good place to find myself. I tried really hard to head for the escalator up to the clothing department but, while my head said "walk straight ahead," my body steered itself on over to the sale shoe racks. Oh no!!! Before I knew it, I had two "right" narrow shoes in my hand and was asking the salesgirl to find me the mates in the back room.

Wouldn't you know it...the shoes fit and were the perfect and brown. Suddenly my hand was reaching into my wallet and taking out my credit card to hand to the cashier. And before I knew it, she was handing me back a shopping bag with two boxes of shoes inside.

So here I sit in my den now staring at seven (yep, 7) boxes filled with new shoes. If you're wondering or have forgotten how 2 boxes turned into 7, take a look here. What is wrong with me? Have I gone insane? OK...I've got to quit shopping until I make a final decision about which pairs to keep. I've got to be strong. Help!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Peace Be With You...

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one.

-- John Lennon

I am displaying my new peace globe today so that I too can be part of the blogosphere movement that Mimi started in hopes of someday finding peace on Earth.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

We Need A Decision Here

Nope...I'm not talking about who to vote for. No...that's still a long way from now. What I'm talking about is the five (count 'em, 5) boxes of new shoes sitting in the den waiting for me to decide which of them to keep.

Yesterday, after working in the morning, I went on over to one of my favorite shoe warehouse stores near Library Headquarters to look around. Yes...I said "look around" but I couldn't help myself. I found a narrow pair of black mules and just had to take them home with me.

The mules now join the four pairs of shoes I ordered online within the past two weeks. Those include two pairs of lace-up suede shoes (brown, black) and two pairs of mules (brown, black). Can you tell I'm looking for some comfortable casual shoes in brown and black?

So now I have to get serious and try on all five pairs to decide which one (or is that ones) I'm going to keep and which ones I'm going to return. I know my philosophy is "you can never have too many shoes" but even I think five new pairs exceed any rational limit. Don't you agree?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Archaeology’s Missing Hero Found

In case you missed yesterday’s news from Egypt, King Tut’s body was moved from the sarcophagus in his underground tomb to a glass climate-controlled case to keep it from turning to dust. What made this event most noteworthy was the fact the young king’s face was revealed to the public for the very first time since he was buried more than 3,000 years ago. Archeologists lifted the fragile mummy out of its sarcophagus, temporarily removing the linen cover from the body. What was revealed was a black, leathery looking face very different from the golden image represented in the funeral mask we’ve all seen.

While the news photos of this event were fascinating, one caught my eye immediately.

Please note the gentleman in the middle of this photo. Look familiar? And I bet, just like me, you’ve been wondering where Indiana Jones has been since his last film was released in 1989. Now we know.