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

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Because It's Monday

It's been a lazy few days thanks to the scorching heat here in Southern California. It's been at or near 100 degrees for several days now and the forecast for the next few days doesn't look any better. With the general malaise that comes with this kind of weather, I haven't done a heck of a lot of things to post about.

Let's see..we went to the YMCA yesterday; we went out for Sunday brunch; we sat around the house and did very little yesterday afternoon; and then went out for dinner with friends. Whew...there's not much there that holds any interest for a post.

Today I spent most of the day sitting in front of my computer racking my brain for something to write about. I realize I haven't posted since Saturday and I feel an obligation and compulsion to post at least every second day when I'm home. What to write about...what to write about?

I ran some errands and, when I came home, Rick was already home from playing golf. There in the front hallway was this beautiful bouquet of flowers.

I might have mentioned before that Rick likes to surprise me with flowers when I least expect it. And the reason for today's flowers? Why it's Monday, of course!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Can You Hear Me Now?

I had every intention of posting yesterday evening but I found myself too busy playing with my new cell phone. Yep, Rick and I finally bit the bullet and bought ourselves two new phones. Even as I was standing in the store telling the sales person which model of phone I had decided on for the two of us, Rick was calling out to me to look at all the new sophisticated, slimline ones. For some reason, he thinks of me as a technogeek who needs the newest, coolest electronics available…how wrong he is! Plus…I was insistent that we buy the same model since I know I will have to show him how to use the phone for just about everything. You’ll be proud to know that I stood my ground and we ended up buying the more traditionally shaped, less techno-ladened phone that my sister Lynn and my brother-in-law bought just a short while ago.

Now our new phones still do all sorts of things…play music, play video, provide email and Internet access, all for an additional fee of course. I have no intention of using any of these features, believe me. The one feature I will use, however, is the camera. It’s really the reason we actually got new phones and I have many of your blogs to thank for this purchase. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying all the photos that I see on your blogs and I realize that you probably don’t wander the streets of your city with an actual camera hanging around your neck or on your arm. Am I right in assuming many of you use your camera phone to shoot photos that you eventually post? I sure hope I’m right because now I have to spend all this time learning all the new buttons and features and gizmos on this new phone and the instruction booklet which comes with it is me.

Oh…and one more thing. The phone only comes with a small assortment of ringtones and they are truly boring and uninspired. For a nominal fee (surprise), I can download a few fancy ringtones available from my wireless carrier. My problem? I’ve been to their website and the number of available ringtones is astronomical and I’m having a heck of a time trying to decide which ones I want. Do I want classical, instrumental, rock n roll, jazz, oldies? Do I want rousing songs or smooth soft melodies? Help! Tell me…what ringtones do you have on your cell phone???

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Gauze Please...

Oh boy, oh I start honing my nursing skills again. This morning I took Rick to the dermatologist to have cosmetic surgery done on the skin cancer site where a spot was excised a few months ago. If you don't remember that little adventure, you can read about it here and here.

As promised, today's procedure involved using a Dremel tool to smooth the surface of Rick's nose and I actually got to see this device when I was brought into the room to receive wound care instructions right after the doctor was done. The tool was sitting on a metal tray and, sure enough, it looked almost identical to the photo of the tool I posted a while ago. It was at that moment that I realized how handy a cell phone with a camera would have been to take a photo of the actual tool. Damn! Anyway, lucky me got to watch the nurse dress the wound so I can duplicate the process (twice a day no less) for the next two weeks...until Rick's followup appointment.

So now my dining room table resembles "Hospital Central" again with boxes of gauze, tubes of Polysporin, a bottle of vinegar, Telfa pads, and other assorted "stuff" taking up a portion of it. Have I mentioned that medical care is not one of my strong suits and that I seem to be all thumbs when it comes to cutting the wound coverings and applying them with tape in just the right way? Oh well...I guess I'm better than nothing...maybe.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Yummy Pulled Pork Primer

As promised, here’s Joey’s dad’s recipe for his heavenly Barbecued Pulled Pork Sandwiches:

2½ lbs. pork roast
1-14oz. bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 medium onion, chopped
8 hamburger buns or hard rolls

Place the pork roast in a slow cooker. Cover; cook on Low 10 to 12 hours (or on High for 5 to 6 hours). Remove the pork roast from the stoneware, and pull the meat into shredded pieces. Pour out any liquid in the stoneware, and combine the pork with the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on High for 2 hours. Serve the barbecue pork on hamburger buns or hard rolls. Makes 8 servings.

Since I always insist that my cookbooks have lots and lots of photos, (what can I say…I’m a visual learner), here’s what the pulled pork (a doubled recipe) should look like when it’s done correctly:

Happy eating everyone!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Goodbye Baby, Hello Toddler

We’re home from the San Jose area after a wonderful long weekend celebrating Joey’s 1st birthday and baptism. The drive up on Friday was uneventful and, if you’re at all familiar with California’s 5 Freeway, you know it was a boring drive until we cut off and took Hwy 152 west. Then the landscape got a little more interesting.

We arrived at our hotel in Santa Clara around 1:00 pm and met up with Joey’s grandparents, his Aunt Jenny, and another couple who are also longtime friends. Joey and his mom came over for an afternoon visit and then dad joined us after work. We all had a wonderful time getting re-acquainted with the birthday boy who has left babydom far behind and is now definitely a toddler. Here's the cutie in his big boy Hawaiian shirt:

Saturday we all got up, had breakfast and then, a few hours later, we drove over to Joey’s San Jose grandparents’ home for his birthday party. We had a marvelous time and Joey was incredibly happy and not fussy at all. Joey’s dad and mom prepared all the food and it was scrumptious…particularly the pulled pork sandwiches and wonderful slices of tri-tip. I know, I know…I promised photos so here’s one of my plate filled with the “good eats.”

The only thing I can say is “Yum!” Joey’s dad gave me his recipe for the pulled pork and I promise to share it with you once I finish unpacking…the recipe is at the bottom of my suitcase for safekeeping.

Sunday was baptism day and everything went off without a hitch. Thankfully there were only 2 children being baptized so the ceremony was fairly short…oh, did I mention it was rather warm in the church? Joey’s mom had purchased a little white tuxedo for him to wear for the occasion and he was, without a doubt, the handsomest and best dressed male in the place!

The rest of the afternoon was spent with Joey and his parents and then we all had our last dinner together. Joey and his mom are coming down tomorrow to spend some time with his Southern California grandparents so the good news is we’ll hopefully get to see him lots more in the next week or so.

Looking at Joey now, it’s so hard to believe that it was a year ago last week that we all jumped in our cars and headed north to be there for his birth. I know they say “time flies” and, when I see Joey now…a happy and healthy one year old who is learning to walk, who is cutting teeth, and who is beginning to vocalize...I realize how true that saying really is.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Just a Reminder…

Rick and I will be leaving tomorrow (Friday) morning for our weekend trip up north. I want to leave at “0-dark thirty”…he wants to leave well after the sun comes up. His reasoning…we supposedly can’t check into our hotel until 4:00pm so why hurry up there only to have no place to rest. My thought is that we can always visit with Joey and his mom until our hotel room becomes available. We’ll see who wins this skirmish.

I’ve been trying to decide whether to take my laptop, “Silver Wonder,” on her first outing. I tried to read the hotel website to see if they have free in-room Internet access but all it says is there “may” be a small fee so I’m thinking the laptop can stay home. We’re only going to be gone until Monday afternoon; I can always use my cell phone to communicate with my family; and taking a short sabbatical from BlogLand might be just the thing I need to erase the blogging blahs I seem to have at the moment.

So, since I won’t be around for the next few days, I wish all of you a wonderful weekend with lots of good weather and lots of fun!

Oh…and a little heads-up. I’ve been toying with the idea of changing the look of my blog…at least a little. I’m bored with it at the moment so, when I return, you might just see a new look. Maybe…

Awwww Shucks...

I am honored to say that I have been awarded both the "Thoughtful Blogger Award" and the "Creative Blogger Award" by two different blogging friends...Empress bee and Michele. Apparently these two awards are variations on the same theme and I feel so humbled.

For those unfamiliar with the award, here is a bit of an explanation:

The Thoughtful Blogger Award...For those who answer blog comments, emails, and make their visitors feel at home on their blogs. For the people who take others feelings into consideration before speaking out and who are kind and courteous. Also for all of those bloggers who spend so much of their time helping other bloggers design, improve, and fix their sites. This award is for those generous bloggers who think of others.

Now it's my turn to pass this award to five creative and thoughtful blogging friends who meet these wonderful qualifications. So, without further ado, I'd like to present these awards to:

Linda @ Are We There Yet?
Lynne @ Lynne's Little Corner of the World
Midlife Mom @ Home on the Range
Kelly @ My Utopia
Pea @ Pea's Corner may choose either or both awards if you'd like since you are all both creative AND thoughtful. You are all most worthy and reading your blogs brightens my world each day!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Joey

Today is Rick's grandgodson Joey's 1st birthday. We can hardly believe it's been a year since we raced up to Northern California to be there in the hospital family waiting room when he was born. We, along with his grandparents and other family members, will be traveling north to Mountain View (near San Jose) on Friday for a weekend celebration.

On Saturday, there will be a birthday bash hosted by Joey's paternal grandparents at their home. We've been told to be prepared to "celebrate, hang out and have a good time." Sure sounds good to us particularly when the menu includes pulled pork sandwiches, tri-tip, cake and ice cream. Yum!

On Sunday, there will be a more solemn celebration...Joey's baptism. His aunt Jenny and uncle Bobby have been named as godparents and we will all gather at the church for this wonderful event. I know, for Rick, this will have an extra special meaning as his mind will travel back in time as he stood in a church more than 30 years ago holding Joey's mom in his arms as she was baptized. And now a new generation is about to experience this time honored church ritual. How wonderful is that!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Never Mind MTV...I Want My TCM

There’s not much to report today…my first full day home after staying at my sister’s house. It was odd sleeping last night with a human form next to me rather than a canine one. Oh…did I mention Amber (“the good dog”) runs and moans in her sleep? Not Hubby…he’s relatively stationary throughout the night.

Hubby went off to play golf (some things never change) so I ran a series of errands…you know the kind…the Post Office, the bank, the supermarket, the Big W store…everything that needed to get done, I did. It wasn’t the most exciting day but at least I was home sweet home.

When I did get home after my errands, I turned on the TV and realized there was one thing I really missed from my stay at Lynn’s house…digital cable! We have old-fashioned analog cable and get a limited number of stations. Our cable company keeps taking cable stations away from us (we’re thinking it’s their sneaky way of forcing us to switch to digital) so, while we have more than just the broadcast stations, I no longer have the station I used to watch most often…TCM (Turner Classic Movies). I just love old B&W movies (for the 1930’s and 1940’s) and got to watch several this weekend with my mom. Oh…I should mention that we also watched a number of “chick flicks.” Let’s see, we saw “Pretty Woman,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “While You Were Sleeping,”…all movies I could watch over and over.

So here I am with the TV on but my back to it as I type away. I guess that’s really what television is good for these days at my house…background noise.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I Cannot Seem to Lie...

...not even to a dog. Rick came over this morning to take us (mom and me) on a drive along the coast and out to lunch. Before leaving the house, I took Amber out to the backyard to pee so she wouldn't have an accident while she was home and we were away for the afternoon. Did she pee...of course not! Suddenly my cell phone rang and it was Lynn calling from the campground (or some place nearby that finally had a cell phone signal). They're having a great time!

Anyway, Lynn asked me what our plans were and I told her we were going for a drive. The good mama that she is, she reminded me to take out Amber to do her "business" before we left. I explained that I had just tried to do that but Amber's bladder wasn't cooperating. Lynn then told me to say "" Apparently Amber always pees before she gets in the car to go someplace and that's one of her favorite activities...riding in a car. I told Lynn that it didn't feel right to say something that wasn't true since we weren't taking Amber with us. Lynn told me not to worry about lying to Amber...she needed to pee before we left so it was in her best interest.

So...what did I do? I took Amber back out, said the magic words and, sure enough, she peed on cue. When we got back inside, I told Rick how awful I was feeling about lying to Amber particularly because now she was jumping up and down and barking in excitement thinking she was truly going with us in the car.

Knowing how miserable I was feeling, Rick finally came up with the perfect solution. We told mom we'd be back in a few minutes, we loaded Amber in our car and then drove around the neighborhood so Amber could have her fun. We then drove back home, dropped her off, picked up Mom and went on our merry way. Whew...I felt so much better.

I know when Lynn reads this blog she's going to roll her eyes and laugh at me but I just can't help myself. Lying to Amber would have been lying to a family member and I just couldn't do it. How silly am I???

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I'm No Dog Whisperer

So here I am at my sister Lynn's house with my mom and their dog Amber. My mom seems to be enjoying my company...Amber, however, is another story. She's been moping around the house since I got here yesterday morning and it's obvious to me that she doesn't think I'm an adequate substitute for her loving, now-camping family. I've stayed with her before and I know there's usually a breaking in period for me as far as she's concerned so I'm hoping she will come to terms with the fact that I'm "it" until the family gets back late Monday.

Now I know very little about dogs. Growing up in a New York garden apartment, we were not permitted to have dogs or cats so I wasn't blessed with a fun pet as a child. Oh...I had fish and turtles and Lynn had a hamster but you really couldn't "talk" or play with them. I'd always wanted a dog and I thought, when I became an adult, I would surely get one. Well, adulthood came and still no dog. When I was working, I didn't think it was fair that a dog would be home alone all day and then, when we retired, I was concerned about what to do with a dog when we traveled. So...after all these years, I'm still dog-less and clueless about them.

Back to the present. This morning I took Amber out bright and early to do her "business" and, instead, she threw up twice in the backyard. I'm hoping it was just a little tummy trouble (maybe from being upset about being left behind) and she will be fine but I guess I need to keep an eye on her today...she does seem a little lethargic. Lynn left me the vet's information in case I run into trouble but I don't want to be too hasty about taking her in when it might be nothing serious. Oh well, Hubby grew up with several dogs so I guess I can always call him for a little advice if I need some. If only Amber could talk and tell me what's wrong. Sigh...

UPDATE: Yea...Amber. As soon as Mom got up, Amber suddenly became perkier and even had a game of tug-of-war with me. I guess seeing a really familiar face helped her disposition. And most importantly, Amber just got finished doing her "business" in the backyard. Whew!!! Who ever thought the highlight of my blog today would be a discussion about dog poop?!?!?!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It's a Mom Week

It's been a rather quiet few days for me which explains my lack of posting. This week has mostly been about my mom.

Yesterday I took my mom to the YMCA for our weekly arthritis aqautics class and then out to lunch. Today my mom and I went to the hair salon for hair cuts. The verdict...our semi-new stylist improves with each visit and today's results were actually pretty good. My mom's looks quite nice and youthful. Mine is short but has been shaped so I can grow it out fairly easily (I hope) and I think it makes me look "perky" (can a middle aged woman look "perky"?) Of course I haven't washed it or tried to style it myself yet but at least it looks good right out of the salon.

Tomorrow my sister Lynn and her family leave for their weekend camping trip and I will be staying at their house with my mom and their dog Amber. Hubby will be home all by's funny how he doesn't seem too broken up by this little separation. Actually, we plan to get together for dinner with him on Saturday since Lynn and I live only 30 miles apart and hopefully I can convince him to spend Sunday with us...maybe a nice drive and lunch.

I'm sure Lynn and her family will have a great time and will come back tired but filled with exciting camping tales to tell. I can't wait to hear them all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Say the Magic Word

As some of you know, we had a bit of a problem with the tour guide on our recent trip to Ireland. If you’re new to my blog or just don’t remember, you can read about it here. Normally I’m the one who writes letters of complaint but this time Rick decided he wanted to write to the President of the tour company expressing our displeasure with the tour guide. We both signed the letter and mailed it along with the tour company questionnaires just over a week ago.

We were both out yesterday (me – shopping; Rick – golfing) and he beat me home. He found a package on our front porch and, when he opened it, he found a letter from the President of the tour company PLUS two boxes from the Waterford Crystal Company each containing two beautiful wine goblets made at the Waterford factory in Ireland. Imagine our surprise! The letter expressed the President’s sincere regrets for the problems we experienced on our tour and assured us he would see to it that steps were taken to prevent this from happening again. We can only hope.

Now, when I write letters of complaint, all I ever get is a phone call from some junior executive who apologizes for my inconvenience. This is Rick’s first letter and he gets beautiful wine goblets as a sign of the company’s desire to please the customer. What’s wrong with this picture? Rick is sure that the reason we now have these four beautiful goblets is that he actually managed to use the word “hubris” in his letter. He figures the President read the word and realized he was not dealing with some yokel but with someone with education and perhaps some money to book a future tour.

Our only question...if "hubris" got us these wine goblets, what magic word would have gotten us our much desired Waterford Crystal punch bowl?

Monday, July 9, 2007

I'm Awake Again

I'm back after deciding to take a blog snooze this weekend. To be honest, I seem to have taken a life snooze since we got back from our trip two weeks ago. I'm not sure if it's the need to decompress after such a whirlwind journey or if I'm just bored after 11 days of non-stop adventuring. Whatever it is, I'm bound and determined to get on with life and all its little chores.

The "highlight" of my weekend was being dragged by Hubby over to the cell phone store to shop for new phones. Our two year contract has recently expired with our wireless network and I'm entitled to $100 off a new phone...oh goody. We won't change carriers since sister Lynn just signed a new contract with the one we have and there is no way we're going to be on different networks so we were just looking over all the new phones available. I thought I had everything figured out but then Hubby decided I should take a serious look at some of the high end phones that do just about, video, music, Internet, email...oh yea...and phone calls. I'm not sure why he thinks I need such a sophisticated instrument but now I'm more confused than ever so we left the store without new phones in hand. I'm sure I will eventually decide to go "middle tech" but I want a few days to think about it.

When I finally got back to BlogLand late last night, I discovered a really nice surprise...Linda over at Are We There Yet? has awarded me the Schmoozer Award. Haven't heard of the Schmoozer Award? I hadn't either but, thanks to Linda, I now know its formal name is the Power of Schmooze Award and was created over at the blog Ordinary Folk. "Borrowing" from Linda who borrowed from award creator Mike, here is what it is:

Schmoozing as defined by is the ability "to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection." When it comes to blogging, schmoozing is your ticket to making new friends, getting yourself noticed and building a reputation. Some bloggers are gifted with the ability to effectively schmooze and others not so much. My new friend Danielle and I would like to recognize those bloggers who exhibit strong schmoozing skills. In order to do so we've created the new Power of Schmooze award!

I'm so excited to add this new badge to my sidebar. In keeping with tradition, it's now my turn to present this award to five more bloggers who have schmoozed their way into my life...and heart:

Lynn @ A Tired Mama
Empress bee @ muffin53
Patti @ Late Bloomer Boomer
Michele @ The Rocky Mountain Retreat
Rosemary @ Rosemary's Attic

These five bloggers have certainly earned this new award and I hope they will continue their schmoozing ways for years to come!

There's not much else happening. Rick continues his blogging story of our trip to Ireland (who knew it would take a vacation to get his writing juices flowing) so I've actually had to take out my hardly used laptop because he's been monopolizing our desktop with his postings. I know I shouldn't complain...I'm the one who nagged and nagged him about resurrecting his blog after so many months. Oh's making him happy so that makes me happy and isn't that what marriage is all about!

Friday, July 6, 2007

A Private Family Matter…I Think Not

In case you haven’t heard the news, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has found himself in the middle of a very messy “scandal” involving his wife and “another woman.” There have been many rumors over the months about dissension in the Villaraigosa household and, a few weeks ago, the Mayor announced that he and his wife were separating. At the time, Mayor Villaraigosa pleaded with the press to allow this “private family matter” to run its course without the glare of the media. Right…sure.

So now we learn that the Mayor has been having an extramarital "relationship" with a newswoman from a local Spanish language television station for more than a year. This is a reporter who has covered the Mayor’s political and personal activities for her TV station and to say there appears to be a conflict of interest seems to be stating the obvious. Once again, the Mayor is pleading with the media to allow this “private family matter” to be handled without the glare of media scrutiny. Who is he kidding?

Now I understand that, in any longterm relationship and marriage, there are bound to be problems which arise and sometimes these problems escalate to the point of separation and divorce. Divorce happens and we have come to accept that fact even in the lives of our elected representatives. However, Mr. Mayor…you had no compunction parading your family in front of the media while running for public office only a few short years ago, portraying yourself as a wonderful and caring family man. Now, when that self-made image is suddenly tarnished, you expect the media to ignore the story. And, when you place yourself in the tawdry position of having a mistress (and a high profile one at that) while still married, do you really expect the media to close their eyes and ignore the news? As that old cliché goes…”you made your bed, now you have to lie in it.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

We Interrupt for a Commercial

I’ve noticed lately that several blogs I read on a regular basis are now sporting advertising…either an entire post about a particular business OR advertising “billboards” placed in prominent places on the blog page. I’m not too sure how I feel about this latest trend. I understand that, for some, it is a helpful way to earn a little money and who doesn’t need a little extra cash now and then? On the other hand, we are bombarded with advertising everywhere in our daily lives and there is a part of me that wishes BlogLand could remain commercial free. Oh well…

With this said, I now want to do a little advertising of my own so bear with me. Trust me though…this one earns me no money. As many of you know, Hubby has his very own blog. I have tried my best to encourage him to post on a regular basis so he can build an audience but I haven’t been very successful. Since our trip to Ireland, Lynn and Patti and Ina have all asked me when Rick was going to blog about our trip. I’ve badgered and bugged and annoyed him to no end about doing just that and FINALLY today he sat down to post about our journey. So…please, please visit his blog---The Centerline--- and let him know what you think.

We now resume regular programming.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

I Held the Future in My Hands

This morning Hubby and I went for our golf lessons with the instructor we’ve had for 15+ years. Pro “G” is, among many things, a real Mac computer geek and has been an Apple proponent for many years. So when he reached into his briefcase and whipped out his brand new iPhone, I was not particularly surprised.

Apparently he was able to buy two on Friday at the local Apple store after waiting in line for only 30 minutes…no camping out for him. He was already an AT&T subscriber so he didn’t have the inconvenience of having to change carriers and so far he finds the network not nearly as slow as reviewers have been worried about.

The phone is actually lighter and smaller than I thought and the touchscreen is an awesome thing. I was surprised to find it really easy to read even in bright sunlight…something I’m always complaining about when I look at my digital camera display. I didn’t have a chance to actually call someone or look something up on the Web so I have no first hand report to give you but I trust “G” when he says he’s thrilled with the results so far.

Do I want an iPhone…not really. I’ve learned never to buy anything electronic in its first generation and I know the price will come down as the “newness” wears off. More importantly, my sister and I subscribe to another network and, since Apple has signed an exclusivity contract with AT&T for 5 years, I don’t see us changing over. Oh...and did I mention I don't even own an iPod yet?

So, while I actually got to hold the future in my hands, it’s going to be a long time before that future comes to my house. How about at your house?