Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Quiet Birthday

The rainy season has descended upon northern California. It's about time, too. November was mild, gorgeous and moisture-free, a repeat performance of beautiful October in these parts. Mid-December brought us temperatures of degrees in the high twenties that reminded me of mornings back in New Jersey. Frosty mornings, crunchy lawns, scraping ice off wind shields and temperatures rising to no higher than 50 degrees during the day felt quite chilly to me. After living in California for over 29 years my internal thermostat has changed radically. Fifty degrees in a New Jersey winter would be cause to drag tee shirts and shorts from summer storage--almost. I've become quite thin-skinned over the years. These days, I freeze to death while shopping at the local Safeway year round. Admittedly, it feels good when the temperature outside hovers around the 100 degrees mark but I digress.

Today is my husband's 55th birthday. This blows me away because he was about a month shy from turning 19 when we began our relationship. We're not doing anything terribly special to celebrate. A birthday two days after Christmas is not the best time and more often than not, my darling dear gets sick just in time for Christmas and his special day. This year is no exception. He's been in far worse shape in previous years, however, so relatively speaking, he's doing okay. It's been a soggy day outside and a cozy, lazy day within. We've been enjoying a nice fire, reading and recovering from the Christmas swirl of parties, merriment and lack of sleep. Miraculously, I got Christmas Day and the following two days off from work. My husband called in sick to his work today and wisely so. I took the Christmas tree apart in the afternoon because it was literally raining needles. For the first time in our lives, it crossed our minds--fleetingly--that an artificial tree might not be such a bad thing after all. Merely thinking such a thought is sacrilege in my house and it was only a fleeting thought but...

I prepared a birthday dinner (with husband's help because he couldn't stay away from the kitchen helping with dinner if his life depended upon it) of Cornish game hens, stuffing, gravy and asparagus. It all turned out beautifully and the truth of the matter is that my husband has evolved into a superior cook and I often think some great, deceased chef has taken over my husband's cooking abilities...yes, he's that good! Back in the days when we were young and carefree and never gave a thought to what kind of food we ingested, I always made a German chocolate cake from scratch for his birthday. Ah, how time alters that which we ate in a blissful, guilt-free state. This year I made him a sugar-free, trans fat free, cholesterol free pumpkin pie. Are we getting old, or what?! It was good though and one does what one must.

It's back to work for the both of us tomorrow morning as we wend our way towards the end of this year. I wonder what the new year will hold for us, our family and beautiful planet Earth in general? I can think of lots of wishes I'd like to see come true. It will be here soon enough and time will tell.

Haven't Played in a Long Time

Image hosted by Photobucket.com


1. Which of the following generally costs you more: a normal trip to your barber/hairstylist, your usual lunch at your favorite restaurant, the most recent amount you paid to fill up your gas tank, or your biggest single contribution to a single charity in 2005?  A normal trip to my hairstylist; cut plus tip

2. What drink -- alcoholic or not -- do you drink entirely too much of?  Wine, particularly red

3. Did you receive a Christmas card from anyone you didn't send one to?  Alas, yes  Did you send them a belated card in return?  Alas, no

4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What is most important in your life?

Love is most important in your life.

A high love concentration indicates that you want love in your life. It is very important to you and something that you strive to attain.

Life Piechart - QuizGalaxy.com

5. Before taking the quiz, which of its categories (career, love, money, health, family or fun) would you have said would be your answer?  Love

6. Do you believe in soulmates?  Yes  Do you think that there are at least one out there for every person, that there is a single "true" soulmate for every person, or that there aren't soulmates for everyone?  I believe there is more than just one soulmate for each of us.  Some people are not blessed with finding even one.  They're out there somewhere but you have to cross paths at the right time.

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Sounds of Christmas

"How can you and Dad stand listening to Christmas music day after day?" my son asked recently. "They're the same songs over and over again." My answer was simply, "because I love to hear them." He's right, of course. Christmas music is repetitive and predictable and there lie the secrets to their enjoyment. The are the same; unaltered and constant and I look forward to hearing them all over again at the end of each year. They are so familiar to me that listening and singing along to them gives me great comfort and a source of continuity of Christmases past and present.

The key element to appreciating carols and holiday songs is knowing the words. I have been part of choral groups on and off ever since the fourth grade. I've sung in many Christmas concerts and practiced hundreds of carols again and again. They are indelibly ingrained in my cerebral folds. My son has never been in any singing group. We do not attend church where seasonal hymns are sung at Christmas. He never learned any carols or holiday songs at school either. God forbid he should learn a Christmas song there! How quickly times change; school was where I learned all my Christmas music.

As my mother did before me, I start playing Christmas music in our house on December 1st. I suppose my son has been listening to these songs for so long that he hears them but doesn't really listen to them and probably tunes them out for the most part. For the first 42 years of my life, my family gathered around the piano to sing songs before or after dinner (sometimes both) on Christmas Day. My mother sat herself down in front of our old upright and played one song after another. This wonderful, much looked forward to custom died ten years ago when she did. No one else in the family plays and we haven't sung together since. My son was only seven then and just beginning to be part of this joyous, good-natured raising of voices. This was one of my favorite parts of Christmas and I've missed it a great deal.

Christmas is a time to envelope and cherish one's family. It's a time for special meals, fancy desserts and gifts from the heart; an opportunity to let everyone in the family know how much they are loved. I have always loved Christmas and married a man whose enjoyment of the season transcends mine. I don't believe Christmas is just for children. I enjoy gift giving and receiving as much now as I ever did as a child. Do presents, Christmas trees, glitterydecorations and perhaps eating and drinking a bit more than usual have anything to do with the birth of Jesus? No, they don't but all these things are very much parts of a whole of what is still important to me to continue to experience and celebrate the Christmases I knew and loved as a child. I realize, of course, one has to be blessed with happy memories of past Christmases to feel this way and I have been. The holiday is more of a familial experience for me than a religous one. Is that so terrible? I think not.

Welcome Christmas! Bring your cheer!
Cheer to all who's far and near!
Christmas Day is in our grasp!
So long as we have hands to clasp!
Christmas Day will always be!
Just as long as we have we!

"WELCOME CHRISTMAS" Dr. Seuss and Albert Hague

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I send you my wishes for a happy and healthy new year.



Saturday, November 19, 2005

Oh, So Very Thankful!

For the first time in over 20 years, the Thanksgiving feast won't be devoured at my house. For almost all of those years my husband and I have singlehandedly planned, purchased, baked, chopped, mashed and roasted the entire meal for as few as nine (this happened once) and as many as 26 people. Over the years our guests have always volunteered to bring a dish to help lessen our load but it's been only recently that my husband agreed--at my insistance--that some help would be most welcome. True, the items offered may not taste exactly the same as we make them but there comes a time when one needs to recognize the need for help and accept it. That time had long since passed and thank God my darling husband finally came to his senses.

I know our Thanksgiving feasts have been very popular, much enjoyed and happily anticipated by my family. For the last couple of years, we've hinted in a not so subtle way that we were ready for a break and wouldn't someone else like to host this holiday dinner? This was the moment when the clinking of silverware against fine china and the general atmosphere of bonhommie came to a crashing halt; however, no one spoke up to volunteer. The gaiety resumed, the subject was dropped...or ignored...and that was that. I believe we were trying to generate some interest among the younger generation of our family. You know. I'm referring to all those people who used to be relegated to the 'kid's table" but have long since grown up into adults ranging in age from 26 to 30.

The ball of indecision about who was going to do Thanksgiving this year rolled about aimlessly for some time before my daughter and son-in-law picked it up and announced Thanksgiving would be celebrated at their home this year. Hallelujah!  I feel as though the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders. It is for these two wonderful people I feel most thankful this Thanksgiving.

I originally intended this to be my contribution to the current Weekend Assignment.  That, however, asks for an entry about someone we're thankful for who won't be with us this Thanksgiving.  Sure, I could've written volumes about very special people who are no longer of this earth for whom I'm extremely thankful and love dearly.  I wanted to go in this direction this time so this entry will stay right here.  Thank you my darling daughter and dear son-in law.  I am looking forward to this Thanksgiving so very much!

Friday, November 18, 2005

"Survey Like None-Other!"

Well now.  Journal Land is in an uproar and aside from all the obvious annoyances and indignities, I really miss the question/answer games I've come to look forward to during the week that disappeared overnight because everyone is so angry.  Thanks to Tina, http://journals.aol.com/onemoretina/Ridealongwithme/ I found something to fill a Major Gap in my journal, such as it is at the present time.  I want to post something and my problem lately has been lack of time, inspiration and a sparkle in general to produce anything so this will have to suffice.

The goal is to have this in every single AOL Journal. What do you have in common with others? Do you like the same things? Post this and put the title of your entry "Survey Like None-Other!"  This is a great way to introduce yourself to new readers!  

1. What sign are you?  Leo

2. What is your favorite color?  Green

3. How many waffles could you eat in one sitting?  One

4. Can you touch your tongue to your nose?   No

5. If you had to choose between cats and dogs, which would it be?  At this time of my life, a cat.

6. What is something you have learned recently?  That I'm doing well in my new job and need to stretch myself to learn more.

7. What is your favorite quote?  Check out my profile, it's there. 

8. What is your favorite entry in your own journal?  Too many to mention.

9. What color is your bedroom?  Powder Blue (not my choice) and I just haven't gotten around to changing it.

10. Where is your favorite place to visit?  The Springs.  For more details, check out my other journal http://journals.aol.com/springsnymph/MusingsofaNaturist/

11. What is one thing you want to accomplish this year?  To officially achieve Menopause...I think I'm going to make it.

12. Why do you write in a journal?  I love to write, it's a great catharsis.  It's an excellent format to record memories.  I enjoy the interaction/comments/feedback from others.  I wanted a hobby and this option presented itself at the right time and a hundred more reasons.

13. What is your favorite joke?  These two Irishmen left a bar... it could happen.  I love jokes; I'm a terrible joke teller and don't even try.  If I do try to tell a joke, I always mess up the punchline.  I'm married to an Irishman and he is a master joke teller.  I'm a great audience and, therefore, we are a perfect match! 

14. Do you like the city or the country?  Country

15. What style is your house decorated?  Early American Attic

16. Who is your favorite artist?  It's getting late and I need to go to bed.  I have several but if you really want to know, start reading my journal, get to know me and then we'll talk.  I'm very fond of Maxfield Parrish, I enjoy Dali and well, there's many more.

17. Can you pat your tummy and rub your head at the same time? Yes

18. Are you a night owl?  If I lived alone, yes...I would be.

19. What is something you love in your house? (If you have a picture you get extra credit!)  My family and my beautiful cat.

20. Do you believe in God?  I believe in a Supreme Being

21. What hobby could you never give up?  Never say never

22. What color makes you think of Hope?  White

23. What color makes you think of Love?  Red

24. What is your favorite flower?  I have a lot but I love daffodils and pansies.

25. If you had one wish for the world, what would it be?  Peace it is.  Can't we all just get along?

26. Whats the best surprise you have ever received?  A visit from a friend.  (and I don't know why I couldn't get rid of the underline.)

27. What can you cook like no-one else?  Too many things to mention.

28. What do you think about most?  My world.

29. Who is your favorite poet?  Don't have one.

30. And last but not least, if you could wrap yourself up in one word...what would  that word be?  Luscious.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Sunday Seven - Episode 11

Ever thought of changing careers?  This week's "Sunday Seven" will show you the Top 25 jobs for 2005, as defined by Fast Company

Of the Top 25 Jobs for 2005, list, in order, the seven jobs you'd least like to have, with #1 being the job you think you'd absolutely hate the most.  All seven should be jobs you wouldn't want.

1.  Actuary

2.  Financial Mgr.

3.  Management Analyst

4.  Personal finance director

5.  Securities Sales Agent

6.  Postsecondary education administrator

7.  Airline pilot, copilot and flight engineer

Hmmm...I think I detect a distinct theme of dislike here; not that I ever for one fraction of a second of my life entertained the idea of doing any of the above-mentioned jobs.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Saturday Six - Episode 83

Picture from Hometown


1. You are invited to spend a night, alone, in a large house that is believed to be haunted. A close friend of yours whom you trust tells you of his or her own experience, and you have sufficient reason to believe that there may be a genuine haunting going on there. Without promise of any kind of reward for staying the night, would you agree to do so? If a select group could join me to keep me company and I would be free to leave at any time, I would agree.

2. What do you most enjoy about your job?
I work at a very large lifecare, adult community. During the morning hours I deliver medication to many residents at their homes. This takes me about 1 hour and 45 minutes depending upon how my morning goes. I enjoy being outside and walking from place to place at my own pace which I am free to do.

3. Who was the last person you had a conversation with?
My husband What was the main topic of the conversation? The sky and the beautiful sunset before us as we were driving home from spending the day with friends. It was spectacular.

4. Take this
quiz: What kind of "smart" are you?

All-Around Smart

You are all-around smart. Essentially, that means that you are a good combination of your own knowledge and experience, along with having learned through instruction - and you are equally as good with theoretical things as you are with real-world, applied things. You have a well-rounded brain.

5. What was the last food that you totally ruined -- to the point that it was inedible -- when trying to cook?
I had to consult my husband on this one and all he could come up with was something I made long ago as an experiment which, evidently, tasted so bad we threw it out. Neither of us can remember exactly what it was but I don't think it was because I ruined it. My track record, cooking-wise, is pretty good.

6. STRANGELY-OBSCURE QUESTION #1: If you had to do over again, would you change anything?
I don't think so. I don't dwell on "what might've been" because I believe very strongly that things happen for very good reasons.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Tuesday Two - Episode 6

Picture from Hometown

Now, onto this week's choice of questions.  And remember the rules:  one topic, two questions, ONE ANSWER!  Don't answer both questions!  You'll find out why in December!


You are invited to a party at a nudist colony through a program that seeks to introduce the concept to people who aren't already members.  You know the following things going in:  1) There'll be nothing "inappropriate" going on, 2) You won't know anyone who is there, and 3) You'll never again see any of the people who are present for the rest of your life.  Given these conditions, would you attend?



While housesitting for a close friend, you discover some nude photos of your friend that were left out in the open, and apparently completely by accident.  Would you look at the photos, and would you tell your friend that you found them?

I will choose Question A:  Given those conditions, I would attend and, in fact, have done so.  It's not anything like you might imagine and far from being a terrible experience.  It's quite likely you'll encounter some of the nicest people on the planet.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

The Saturday Six

1. What is the last big "gift" you bought for yourself...either for your birthday, Christmas, or any other holiday? I don't buy big "gifts" for myself and very rarely, little ones either.

2. Of the official Vivi Award Categories, if you had to nix one of them, which would you choose?
"Best Entry or Series of Entries"

3. Which category would you add that isn't on the list this year?
"Most Creative Title of Journal" which reflects that journal's content in some way

4. Take this
quiz: Which soap opera does your life most resemble?

Your life most resembles:
The Young and the Restless

Your life mostly resembles those of the characters on the Young and the Restless. You are not very melodramatic, and your life is pretty normal. What makes you cool is that you can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

5. Have you ever heard a song and thought, "Whoever wrote that must know me?"
I don't believe so.  If so, what song was it, and do you still feel that way?

6. If your birthday had to fall on a holiday each year, which holiday would you choose and why? (For this question, assume that holidays like "Thanksgiving," which fall on a different date each year, would fall on the same date to accommodate the question.)
I love my birthday exactly where it is (August) but if I had to choose a holiday, I would choose Columbus Day because October is one of my favorite months of the year.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sunday Seven - Episode 9

Picture from Hometown


You are given control of a cable network to run a seven-movie Halloween marathon.  Which movies would you choose?

1.  "Frankenstein" 1931  The original, with Boris Karloff

2.  "Bride of Frankenstein" 1935  Again, with the wonderful Mr. Karloff  (this film and #1 are brilliant and need to be seen as a double feature, at least once) 

3.  "Count Dracula" a BBC 1977 production starring Louis Jordan...excellent, sexy, sensual and scary...this was a new kind of Dracula for me and very worth checking out

4.  "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark" 1988  This film is so bad, it's good and I really like Elvira (she's such a kick and who wouldn't want her job?) and it's time for a break to lighten up the mood.

5.  "House on Haunted Hill" 1958 with Vincent Price

6.  "The Haunting" 1963 with Julie Harris (this and film #5 used to scare me to death when I was a little kid)

7.  "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" 1948 with you know who which is just as funny to me now as it was when I watched it a kazillion times when I was young. 


Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Saturday Six

Picture from Hometown


. What is a bigger pet peeve for you: someone trying to talk on a cell phone during a movie, a baby crying in a restaurant, a dog barking on your street, or music played loud enough to rattle windows. This is a no brainer; the incredibly rude person on the cell phone during a movie. Haven't they noticed that big lobby? Perhaps they could go there. Duh!

2. What is your favorite cologne or perfume that you wear most often?
I don't wear cologne or perfume much these days. There was a time when I wore Jessica McClintock frequently because my husband adored it on me. Which one is the one you like the scent of, but don't wear often or at all? Before McClintock, I used to wear Halston which was my personal favorite and I adored it on me.

3. In your opinion, what is the best way to tell someone you value how much they mean to you?
Words of love are great, actions to show that love are even better; a combination of the two is the very best way.

4. Earlier this week, I posted a
personality quiz: If you haven't taken it, please do; if you already have, how accurate were the results compared with your true personality. 

I scored 41 points and apparently this means:

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

I would love to be this person. Am I? We never see ourselves as others see us; however, I've been told by several people that I possess many of these qualities so I suppose the results were more accurate than not.

5. When was the last time you feel you got as much sleep as you really needed in a single night?
Last night. I go to bed ridiculously early to ensure I do get enough sleep each night and I usually do.

6. If a stranger walked up to you and handed you a briefcase with enough money to pay off every debt you had down to the penny, do you think you could start from then on living debt-free?
Yes, barring some unforeseen event.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sunday Seven - Episode 8

Picture from Hometown

Sunday Seven - Episode 8

There are five letters of the alphabet not involved in hurricane names.  Apparently, no one wanted to show the love to the letters Q, U, X, Y or Z.  Pick one of those five letters and come up with seven names, male and female, that you'd use for hurricanes.  (Six names would be required for the current set of six lists, and the seventh name would be a back-up in case one of the first six needs to be retired.)

Hmmmm...let's see, I think I'll choose the letter Z.

1.  Zoe

2.  Zachary

3.  Zelda

4.  Zeus

5.  Zinnia

6.  Zippy  (remember him?) 

7.  Zora 

And I sincerely hope none of these ever come to pass.



Saturday, October 22, 2005

A Self-imposed Hiatus

There are only so many hours in the day and priorities ebb and flow throughout our lives. October is my favorite month of the year and one would think I'd be flowing with creative writing. I have posted exactly five journal entries in three weeks' time. Four of them are responses to weekly question games in which I enjoy participating. I call them games, many refer to them as memes but I haven't a clue as to what a "meme" is; perhaps someone would care to enlighten me.

For me, there's "computer world" and "the real world" and currently I don't have enough available time to live in both.  One of them has to go. Alas and alack, it will be my computer world for a while.  I think I've written all I wish to share at the moment.  I often think there's not a whole lot more to write about without becoming repetitive and redundant and you see, I did just that, didn't I? This is not to say I won't be back at some juncture, journaling away happily. I simply don't have the time these days and my energies seem to be flowing in different directions. This is not a bad thing. I feel the need to sit back a bit and tend to the business of exisiting in the here and now rather than waxing nostaglic in the there and then.

I shall continue to visit my favorite journals, comment when I have one and play the lively games which Patrick's Place so kindly provides us each week. I'll be back.

Saturday Six #80

Picture from Hometown

1. How many products throughout your home are labelled "antibacterial." None

2. As a general rule, and assuming any required knocking on wood, how often do you get anything more serious than a sniffle or mild cold?
At the risk of tempting fate, I rarely get sick.

3. John Scalzi ran
this story about research that suggests the increased use of "antibacterial" products aren't necessary for people who are generally healthy, and might be causing the creation of "superbugs" that are resistant to antibiotics. Are you more likely to avoid these products after reading about studies like this? I think, as a nation, we are so obsessed and panic stricken about "germs" that we've lost our perspective on the subject. I don't purchase products labeled as "antibacterial" with the exception of the occasional bottle of dishwashing detergent and only because it's on sale.

4. Take this
quiz: Will you pass the U.S. Citizenship Test? How embarrassing, I didn't pass.  No surprise there.  History has never been my strong suit and I'm very aware that the U.S. Citizenship Test is extremely thorough and difficult to pass.

5. Now that the gas prices have dropped just a little (but nowhere near enough), what's the most you've paid for a gallon of gas so far?
Well, I live in northern California so it was something close to $3.10. Arrgh!

Psychfun: What was your favorite cereal as a kid? Sugar Pops and you can bet this wasn't a product that was in the house very often. When was the last time you had a bowl of it? Oh, I guess it's been about 45 years.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Time Once Again for The Saturday Six!

Picture from Hometown

Saturday Six - Episode 78

1. What's your favorite brand and flavor of ice cream when you go grocery shopping? This is so sad! I don't buy a "special" brand of ice cream. I buy sugar free, low fat ice cream and there aren't too many companies that offer this. I buy it for my husband and if it isn't chocolate, he's not interested. I like ice cream well enough but it's one of those things I rarely eat. There's no bad flavor of ice cream; they're all good. Is there any of it in your freezer right now? Yes, Sunnyside Farms Triple Choclate, No Sugar Added, Light Ice Cream.

2. When was the last time you ate a fresh fruit as a snack rather than something not "diet friendly?"
Yesterday, a banana.

3. Take this
quiz: What language should you learn?

You Should Learn Swedish Fantastisk! You're laid back about learning a language - and about life in general.
Peaceful, beautiful Sweden is ideal for you... And you won't even have to speak perfect Swedish to get around!

Cdmmw2: If you could relive one moment of your life and watch it (like a movie) but not interfere, what would it be? I would choose my wedding ceremony. I know it was beautiful, intimate and very romantic. I wept through most of it and was pretty much incoherent when it was time for me to speak up. If this moment could stretch into several hours, I'd like to watch my reception. I know it was lively and fun but I drifted through it in a haze of eurphoria and my memories are far from crystal clear.

Debbie: What was something you were afraid of as a child? Spiders. Did you overcome the fear? I'm still not crazy about them but I've come to appreciate their worth in this world and unless they're in my house, I don't wish to destroy them.

Anna: If someone were to open your refrigerator right now, what item would it embarrass you most for them to find? Oh, probably something pushed way to the back that's covered with tin foil that I told my husband I wanted to save which, of course, I forgot all about. By now it probably is covered with white fuzz. Ah yes, a science project! I have such good intentions and think I'll eat it for lunch the next day which is crazy because I never do. But you see, he loves me and indulges me and knows damn well we'll end up tossing it the next time refrigerator clean-out day arrives.

Monday, October 3, 2005

Sunday Seven - Episode 5

Picture from Hometown


A day late and a dollar short but here goes:

Take a look at your immediate surroundings.  Not counting your computer, printer, other hardware, software or cables, name seven non-computer things that are on your computer table.

A cucumber-melon scented candle which smells so nice and has flowers embedded in the outside

A wooden carved sea otter from my son-in law

A small plastic figure of Daffy Duck

A pretty rock that I use as a paperweight

A thick straw coaster on which to place my mug of coffee in the morning and drink in the evening

A paperback I'm going to read two books from now

A pad of post-it notes


Sunday, October 2, 2005

Saturday Six - Episode 77

Picture from Hometown

Time once again for fun and games at Saturday Six - Episode 77 courtesy of our good friend, Patrick.

. How many AOL J-landers have you actually met in person? No J-landers but a while back I did meet with a fellow that I had been chatting with via IM for quite some time.

2. How many photos that you have taken yourself are hanging on display in your home in a size of 8x10 or larger? (The print, not the frame!)

3. How far do you live from your job?
About 18 miles What is your commute time like? Thirty to thirty-five minutes each way Has the distance prompted you to consider alternative transportation because of gas prices? Not a lot of alternative options around here to consider but I'm very glad the car we bought earlier this year has great gas mileage.

4. Take this
quiz: What decade does your personality live in?

your personality is living in the 1980s!

My son called this one. I was born in 1953. Should I be embarrassed?

Kris: What is the funniest, most original Halloween costume you've ever seen? Many years ago, my husband needed a costume for work. He took an old laundry basket and cut a hole in the bottom big enough to fit around his waist. He tossed in an assortment of clothes, an empty bottle of bleach, small box of laundry detergent and a box of fabric softener sheets. He draped an item or two of intimate apparel over the side. This was a very original costume since he thought it up on the spur of the moment. He looked pretty amusing to me with this basket of clothes around his middle. He came home later that evening with a bottle of wine as a costume prize. And yes, the clothes he stuffed into the basket were clean!

Courtenay: What is your favorite paragraph in a literary work? This might be a thought, or a message, or a descriptive passage which has remained in your consciousness throughout the years. Be sure to post the name of the book and author. I can't answer this question.  I have read lots of books and many thoughts and descriptive passages have stood out and carried me away over the years but I can't pick just one.

TGIF Revisited

I haven’t had much opportunity to write about anything lately. My recent entries have boiled down to the occasional "weekend assignment" from John Scalzi, the Saturday 6, Sunday 7 offered by Patrick and not much more. Maybe I’m just written out for now but I really don’t think that’s the case. The assorted challenges at work consume my time and energy these days; by the time Friday afternoon rolls around, my legs are so tired from all the walking I do all over the Spring Lake campus.  It’s been many a year since I’ve been able to join in and at 4:30 pm on Fridays, you can bet my voice is part of that time-honored collective cry of TGIF.

One of the things I dreaded the most involving my new job has turned out to be not so dreadful after all. I had great trepidation over having to drive on the freeway during the rush hour and for a greater distance. As is usually the case, in my cases at least, the mental anguish I build up for myself about the unknown almost never comes to pass. It’s nice to be able to listen to more than a couple of songs on the way to work. The distance I travel now usually gets me through most of a CD. It’s even nicer to be on the road long enough for the engine to generate enough heat to warm me up on these chilly mornings we’ve been having. I’m not exactly known for my "Pollyanna"" outlook on life but at times this approach works out well.

This past Friday I experienced one of my worst-case scenarios while driving. Even though I don’t live that far away from the city in which I work, I make it my business not to drive around in it. I don’t really have much reason to do so but this turned out to be a huge mistake. I only know of one way to get to work. Traffic was moving along swimmingly, the lights were going my way and I was thinking happily that I’d get to work nice and early–early enough to snag a parking space in the ridiculously tiny employee parking lot. Such was not to be. As I was about to turn right onto a street which connects me with the street on which I work, I was unable to do so because police cars and a huge blockade were set up across the street. Great! Just great!! Now what was I supposed to do? I hadn’t a clue as to an alternate route and I had foolishly removed my city map from the glove compartment. At that point there wasn’t much more I could do than be carried away with the sweeping traffic which was quickly becoming a major snarl due to the closure of this street. Once I mentally slapped myself upside the head and told myself to get a grip, I decided the best thing to do would be to go into some store and get specific directions to where I needed to go.

Before long, I found a small market, went inside and headed for a small café area in a corner of the store. I got the attention of a young lady working there and explained my situation to her. She was extremely kind and sympathetic and gave me a set of fairly clear directions to get me to my work. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking...no way I was going to get to work on time. Now, my emphasis was getting there at all and in one piece. Which I did, despite major clogged roads, an early morning sun, relentless in its brilliance, shining right at my eye level and a heart beating like a trip hammer throughout. Once I finally did get to the clinic where I work, things seemed awfully quiet. Enter worst case scenario at work in a new job. The receptionist who works the extremely busy front desk (plus a million other things because she’s been working there forever and knows everything) called in sick. Sigh. We’re shorthanded as it is at the moment but somehow, the nurse, the department head and I got through the day. It was one of those days that I thought would never end but, of course, it did and my mind was screaming "Thank God it’s Friday!" at the top of its lungs.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Weekend Assignment #78: Things to Take

Weekend Assignment #78: You are preparing to evacuate your house due to an upcoming threat. You have already packed up all your essential items, people and pets. You have room for three non-essential items. What are they?

Remember, you already have your essentials: food, medicines, water, clothes, and all the people (including the furry ones) who live with you. "Non-essentials" are things you don't need but would like to have, and can include momentos, books, jewelry, objects of sentimental value, and so on and so forth.

Okay, I have my essentials already conveniently packed and ready to go. I'm assuming there's no size limit to  the "Non-essentials"  that I wish to bring with me. I would round up all my framed pictures that meant the most to me and a huge shoebox full of photographs that I've yet to categorize and place into albums. Photographs are priceless and some of the most important "things" we own. Next, I'd want to bring my bicycle. I'm thinking the availability/price of gasoline might be pretty dear. My faithful two-wheeler could take me where I need to go. And last, but certainly not least, my beloved collection of Christmas ornaments because my life is deeply intertwined with these beautiful, delicate and exquisite things


Sunday Seven - Episode 4

Picture from Hometown

A fairly new game to play each week.  Relatively short and sweet.  I like it!  Want to join in?  Click here Sunday Seven - Episode 4

Of the movies in your current DVD or VHS collection, name seven (in no particular order) that you have watched enough times to make your friends suspect that there might be something wrong with you but that you can't imagine not watching again.

1.  Allegro Non Troppo

2.  Coal Miner's Daughter

3.  Dirty Dancing

4.  Flashdance

5.  Midnight Cowboy

6.  Somewhere in Time

7.  Tombstone


Autumn Reflections

And so, once again, it’s autumn. Lovely, beautiful autumn bringing its annual gift of gorgeous foliage as the leaves reveal their hidden secrets of red, yellow and orange hues. A brilliant mantle of fall color descends upon the vineyards, transforming them into vast expanses of living tapestries which are a breathtaking sight. I never tire from seeing this year after year. It is a constant joy.

This is my favorite season of the four but its advent is always a bittersweet time for me. The start of fall is always on, a day before or after the day my mother died which was on September 21, 1995. She’s been gone from this world and my life for a decade. I’m past the dreadful, wrenching grief of the void her absence from this planet left in my heart, soul and very existence. Ah, but I miss her terribly. There is so much I wish to share with her. I miss her presence to offer me comfort; I miss that she is not just a phone call or a short drive away.

The Out Patient Department where I work is just like a doctor’s office within a private community. The confines of a doctor’s examining room can be the source of many emotions at the conclusion of a consultation. Joy, dismay, or utter relief are some that come readily to mind. Recently, such a consultation took place at my workplace involving a resident and three of her daughters. I knew this meeting with the doctor was to inform the resident and family of results from several tests which confirmed a prognosis of terminal illness with no hope of recovery.

Three of her daughters accompanied the resident into the examining room and before too long, one came rushing out and threw herself onto one of the chairs outside the room and dissolved into tears. We’re talking gut-wrenching, from the soul grief here. My desk was parallel to this chair and my heart achedfor this woman. There wasn’t much more to be done than to offer her a box of tissues, a brief, comforting hand on the back and an invitation to stay here as long as she wished.

God forgive me, the thought that bubbled up to the surface of my brain was how thankful I was to have this huge, impossible to imagine hurdle of losing one’s parents behind me. Been there, done that and good Lord! it’s sadder, more difficult and worse than you can possibly imagine. At least, it was for me. Large price to pay for the loss of fantastic parents. Were they worth it? Yes, you bet they were. If you are fortunate to still have your parents alive and well, enjoy time spent with them. Yes, life goes on after they’re gone, but with them also goes a major influential part of your life.

Happy Autumn, everyone. I hope the recent catastrophes of nature will ease up so we can focus on recovery for all the victims and move forward to better things in this new season.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Saturday Six - Episode 76

Picture from Hometown

If you'd like to join in the fun, click here Patrick's Place

. Of the following, which one best describes you at your worst? (You can't select "None of the above!")
a. One who doesn't finish what he/she starts
b. One who talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk
c. One who always finds the worst in a situation
d. One who generally knows what's right but does what's wrong

If my husband were choosing for me he'd probably select c. because, alas, I lean towards being a pessimist. I'm trying to change my tendency to think that way so I'll pick b. But I also try very hard to do that which I say I will.

2. Not counting shows like Saturday morning cartoons designed specifically for kids, what single show that you grew up watching religiously is now the one you most hate to sit through?
Hate is such a strong word. I watched "Leave it to Beaver" religiously, loved it (and Tony Dow is still cute!). When I watched it as a youngster, I never realized how oh, gee golly, Wally it really was. I never tuned into how the two boys lived exclusively in their rooms while home unless eating at the dining room table, helping with dishes (or occasionally cleaning out the garage) unless summoned by Dad. Oh yeah, like that's a realistic scenario. I can still sit through an episode; I'm just much more critical.

3. Have you ever been so angry with a company that you swore you'd never do business with them again?
If so, it's been deleted from my memory. If so, did you keep that promise? I couldn't tell you.

4. Take this
quiz: Are you psychic?

You Are 20% Psychic
You are barely psychic.
Sure, you sometimes predict things...
But is it a matter of luck? Or something more?
Pay closer attention to your first intuitions
You may be more psychic than you know!

Lily: What's the longest you've talked on the phone in a single phone call, and who were you talking to? I'm not big on talking on the phone to anyone for any length of time. It was probably a phone call with my husband when he was my beau a very long time ago and I couldn't begin to tell you the time spent. When we were first together, an hour seemed like a minute so who knows?

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #69 from Betty:   (She recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas!)  How do you feel about gambling?  I'm not much of a gambler, I think I'm probably too cheap, I mean frugal,  and can think of much better ways to waste my money.  I've got to admit, however, that the sound of quarters raining down into that little bucket is quite exciting and makes you want to keep playing...



Tuesday, September 20, 2005

An Artsy Essay for September

Daniel, the old well-loved patriarch that he is, rests on a special pillow in a quiet place in the corner. From his vantage point, he can observe and silently approve the going-ons within his small kingdom. His mate, Patsy, is close by and while she too is getting on in years, she can still kick up a heel or two if circumstances demand it. Biff and Baxter are very snuggly and affectionately referred to as "the surfin' dudes". Buffy lingers adoringly in the background never too far from her Biff. Nothing makes them happier than surfin' the waves, hitting the beach to catch some rays, snackin' on burgers and fries and listening to The Beach Boys. Rocky and Natasha are of a more serious bent. They actually go to work and earn their keep. Rocky, a cocky Italian from Brooklyn diligently goes to work each morning to rid his place of employment from leopards and fierce mountain lions or any such creatures that might be lurking about. Natasha, a small black-furred beauty of Russian descent, patrols the perimeters in the nighttime; she's so dark that she's sure no one can see her as she goes about her business. Each night Rocky returns home to his Angel, a slightly fiesty little female from Flushink! Natasha continues her vigilent guard about the house upon her return for work.

Meanwhile, on the home front, a couple of mothers and their small babes keep each other company and an eye on whoever else happens to be around. Diana and little Noel snuggle quietly on their section of the comforter. Emily and her little one, Susannah, whose first name is Oh!, are interested in everyone and everything. They could be anywhere about the place. Always up for a bit of sport and mischief are Reggie and Casey, fine English-bred creatures that they are. Quite genteel are these two, extrordinarily polite and somewhat snobbish in their uppercrust attitude. Tatania, a throwback to the old Communist ways, can usually be found preparing to deliver some sort of political bombast for a meeting in the town square--she insists on referring to it as Red Square!

Emmett and Katie hail from the old country and often regale the group with an Irish folk song, dance or both. They've been known to hit the whiskey bottle or down a Guinness or two when the urge hits them. Bear, who isn't a bear at all, is quietly stoic and provides comfort and warmth on a cold winter night. "Doc" is a smooth-talking southern gentlemen whose accent brings magnolias and mint juleps tomind. He is a most charming fellow. And over there, across the room, is wee Douglas. A sturdy little Scottish fellow is he, fond of reciting the poetry of Bobby Burns while sipping upon a smooth, peaty scotch, neat. Elsewhere in the room is Pretty Perry. She is writing furiously, trying to meet the deadline of her weekly column which appears in a local newspaper. Its title is "If You Would Be Beautiful...". She never seems to run out of ideas. Amazing. Close by is Trill. Sociable, beautiful Trill. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer but so exuberant and such a pleasure to look upon, her lack of brilliance doesn't seem to matter.

Scamp looks out over the living room from his perch atop the DVD player. He is "very river" and only he knows exactly what that means. Cagney and Suzy-Q spend their time in fond recall of the days of bathtub gin and speakeasies. They're rough and tough on the outside but actually cream puffs once you get to know them better. Opie speaks in soft tones, always, so as not to scare away everybody. His growl is truly frightening and he tries to keep it under control. Little Holly's energy level and exhilaration of the pure joy of living is exhausting at times. It is her untiring efforts that keep everything clean and dust-free. If there's one thing she will not, cannot tolerate, it's dust! Last, but certainly not least, is Mistletoe who has taken on the title and duties of "the Mother" to this assortment of creatures. She'll mother just about anything and keeps everyone in line when necessary.

And just who are all these assorted characters? They are some of the inhabitants of our personal, make-believe world of otters who live with us, help keep our bed warm and provide us with much amusement. Furry, adorable, appealing little animals. This is how I perceive otters. I've never seen one alive in the wild; only a pair of river otters in captivity at the San Francisco Zoo. Sea otters, while extremely cute too, seem to be better known but the river otter is my absolute favorite and the animal I would choose to be if given the opportunity.



If I had property with a body of water on it, the time and most definitely the money, I would love to share my life with a river otter or two. My awareness and affection for these playful, engaging creatures began twenty-seven years ago on Christmas when I was pregnant with my first child. Coincidentally, my husband and I presented each other with a stuffed otter as a gift without knowing each other's intentions. I topped his stocking with a small sea otter and he gave me a lovely, brown river otter with great whiskers and a jaunty smile. I fell in love instantly and from that moment our stuffed menagerie began to grow. I started reading about otters; finding out where they live and what they do. They are inquisitive, social animals. An important part of an otter's day is to simply play for the sheer joy of doing so; be it in the water or sliding down snowy, icey paths in the winter. They play not to assert dominance but merely because it's fun. Play is an essential, integral part of an intelligent person's day; ergo, this small aquatic mammal must be intelligent.

As the years went by, our collection of stuffed otters began to grow. We couldn't pass a toy store, the toy section of a department store or a nature-themed store without going in and checking to see if there was an otter to "save". It became one of our missions in life; to save a stuffed otter from the lonely life of sitting on a dusty shelf in a toy store. I believe this is when my husband became a "stuffed-animal rights activist" and I his diligent disciple What fun we've had with these stuffed representations of the real thing. Each one develops a distinct personality, is properly named and never fails to fit in seamlessly with the rest of the gang. Our house has become an otter haven and over the years I've even come to depend on them for warmth and comfort. We have soft, plushy otters to cuddle when sad, feeling a bit under the weather or simply in want of a soft, nonjudgmental pal. We have large otters that work well as "back warmers" when the nights grow cold. According to my most recent count, I believe we have around 35 otters in residence. They are the perfect pets in that they have the wonderful quality of being there when needed and are none the worse when neglected. Existence as one of our beloved stuffed otters is what I would choose in a surrealistic world.




This is my secret world; this essay is my entry for Judith HeartSong's

September's anniversary edition of the Artsy Essay Contest which can be found here:  http://journals.aol.com/judithheartsong/newbeginning/entries/1556

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sunday Seven - Episode 3

Picture from Hometown


You will be locked in a tape vault for six months and you can only have seven choices of television programs to watch.  Name the seven shows -- present or past -- that you'd want to make sure were accessible by your remote control.   Don't worry about listing them in any particular order...just pick seven you wouldn't want to be without for six months.

1.  "Are You Being Served?"

2.  "I Love Lucy"

3.  "Masterpiece Theater", more specifically the entire production of "Upstairs, Downstairs"

4.  "SCTV"

5.  "Star Trek - TNG"

6.  "Taxi"

7.  "The Twilight Zone" original series


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Saturday Six - Episode 75

Picture from Hometown


1. When is the last time you took a vacation and went basically nowhere?  Was it as relaxing as previous vacations where you have actually planned a trip?  A little over a month ago I took a week off from working when I left one job to begin another. I wouldn't say it was relaxing because I had lots of places to go and things to do to prepare for my new job. Also, I was apprehensive and excited about starting a new job in a new place after so long. I have used vacation time in the past and stayed home, puttering about doing just what I wanted to do and these have been extremely relaxing vacations. I highly recommend them as a chance to enjoy the home we work so hard all year long to maintain.

2. Take this quiz: Which historical lunatic are you?

You are Joshua Abraham Norton, first and only Emperor of the United States of America!   Hmm.  I highly suspect this may be the only answer.  My husband took this quiz and came up with the same results.

3. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #64 from Jaymi:   What is your favorite book from childhood and why?  As always, these "choose one" questions are so difficult. I will pick Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. This is a charming book which reads well on many levels. It's as enjoyable a read today as it was when I received it as a birthday gift from one of my older sisters so long ago.

4. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #65 from Hannah:  What book character do you most identify with and why?  Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz because, after all, there's no place like home.

5. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #66 from Holly:  What do you think is an appropriate gift to a party?  What do you consider a quality Christmas gift from an acquaintance to a party or get together, a friend, and a GREAT friend?  A lot depends on what sort of party it is and the social habits of who's hosting it. I always think a nice bottle of wine is an appropriate gift; if the host is a teetotaler, they can always give it away or open it up and offer me a glass. A quality Christmas gift from an acquaintance to bring to a party or get together could be, again, a nice bottle of wine or a good box of chocolates. A quality Christmas gift to a friend could be a unique Christmas ornament. A quality Christmas gift to a Great friend could be a very nice bottle of wine and an exquisite, unique Christmas ornament. Yes, I enjoy wine, I live in one of the most beautiful areas of northern California's wine country and I make no apologies.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #67 from Judi:  If you had to make a choice for the rest of your life between food and sex, which would you choose, provided the following conditions: If you chose sex, you would never feel hungry, but just wouldn't be able to enjoy a nice meal or the tastes of good food or drink; if you chose food, you would no longer have the physical intimacy and pleasure, but you still wouldn't feel deprived of it.  In other words, whichever one you choose to give up will be a series of pleasures you'll never be able to experience firsthand again.  Firstly, I would like to congratulate Judi for providing one of the most interesting, thought-provoking questions ever to appear in the Saturday Six. This is a toughie...in the extreme!  I love both. A lot has to do with how old one is when answering this question but that's not part of the equation. I'm not young, but I'm not that old either. I would choose...sex!






Friday, September 16, 2005

Weekend Assignment #77: When I Grow Up

Weekend Assignment #77: What do you want to be when you grow up?

This can be answered one of two ways: You can answer by saying what you wanted to be when you were a kid, or, you can answer by saying what you still want to be, one day, one way or another. It's up to you.

This may sound incredibly lame and somewhat mundane in this day and age but I wanted to be nothing more than a homemaker when I grew up. This is not the same thing as a housewife. Ye Gods! Who on earth wants to be married to a house? I can think of plenty of more interesting diversions as residing lady of the house than being subservient to a house, being little more than a slave dusting, performing unnecessary tasks past the reasonable requirements for a comfortable, clean home. All I ever wanted to be was the woman who remained at home, in charge of the household and depended upon to be there when my children returned home from school and to greet my husband with a passionate kiss and a well-mixed Manhattan upon his return from work after a long, but successful day.

I would've had lots of projects and interests going on to keep me happily busy while my family was away at school and work and had the luxury of thinking about starting dinner around 3 pm. I wanted to be a stable, dependable presence; this was all I knew of my childhood with my mother who never worked after she married and even so, was one of the most interesting women I've ever had the pleasure to know. I wanted nothing more than to continue in her footsteps and, hopefully, do half as good a job. When my family grew older and more involved in interests outside the home, I would've pursued outside activities that interested me such as taking classes about whatever piqued my fancy, shelving books in the local library or offering my time doing something worthwhile with senior citizens or volunteering at the hospital.

Extra Credit: What did your parents want you to be when you grew up?

My parents wanted me to be a happy, well-adjusted person capable of adjusting to and handling the complexities of this thing called life. They wanted to be sure that I learned a skill(s) that would enable me to provide for myself if needs be. They did this by funding my business school education following my high school graduation. The rest was up to me. My parents have been absent from my life for almost ten years now and to this day, I still hope I continue to make them proud of me and never want to let them down. It never ends, this desire for approval, and this may be tantamount to a major ingredient to a successful life.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A Matter of Trust

Here's something to consider--

These days, there's not a whole lot out there one can count on and trust. We don't trust strangers, politicians, perhaps some of our neighbors and, unfortunately, possibly some members of our family. In a nation that has become fearful and suspicious of the unknown, there remains a daily event in which extreme basic trust among the human race is alive and well. Though we may not realize it, those of us who merge onto a freeway or main thoroughfare which takes us to work every day place a huge amount of trust in our fellow man. Nowhere have I ever before witnessed such a complete assumption of trust than seated behind the wheel of my car, driving along at a good clip en route to work. There I am in my very little car with assorted vehicles in front, in back, to the left and, sometimes, to the right of me. We are all placing our trust (our lives, actually) in the hands (on the wheel) and feet (on the gas and brake pedals) of these strangers driving along with us.

Having meandered along the backroads to get to work for the past 16 years or so at a relaxed pace, my perspective of the daily commute is fresher than those who are jaded to years of zipping along in a like manner. We're trusting everyone behind the wheel got enough sleep last night to function properly. We're trusting they're not still hung over from a big night out. We trusting they're not so worried or consumed by a major personal problem that they're unable to concentrate on the task of driving responsibly. We're trusting that they're not too busy chatting on the phone, looking up directions, eating breakfast, applying makeup, being distracted by noisy kids in the back seat...the list could go on forever. Scary, isn't it? But rather awesome as well.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Saturday Six - Episode 74

Picture from Hometown


1. You find out that you have to appear on a daytime talk show. It doesn't matter whose show you choose, but you must appear on one. Which show would you pick and why? I don't watch any daytime talk shows but I'll pick "Oprah" because I like her and am impressed with what she's done with her life. It would be much easier to pick which one I wouldn't be caught dead on!

2. Have you ever joined an online dating or penpal site?
No, I haven't. If so, have you kept in touch with anyone that you met there; if not, have you ever thought about joining up? No, I have no need to do so.

3. Who was the last person you promised you'd keep in touch with following a move or job change?
That would be all the residents and staff I bid farewell to when I left my last job on August 9th. Have you kept in touch? Not yet but I plan to visit them sometime next weekend to say hello.

4. Take this
quiz: What pizza best describes your personality?

Cheese Pizza

Traditional and comforting.
You focus on living a quality life.
You're not easily impressed with novelty.
Yet, you easily impress others.

5. You're having dinner with friends at a restaurant. Besides the company, what is the most important part of the meal: the appetizer, the drinks, the salad, the entree, or the dessert?
Probably the entree because it's only when I dine out that I order something like Prime Rib or New York steak and these selections are always a special treat for me.

6. Have you ever submitted a Reader's Choice question to the "Saturday Six?"
Yes, once. If so, did the answers surprise you? No, it was pretty much a pedestrian question. If not, why haven't you?

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

A Lesson For All of Us

Katrina. Up until recently, all this name meant to me was the object of Ichabod Crane's affections in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. How quickly things change. The surprise, the despair, the disgust and the outrage concerning the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina have been pretty well covered. I have nothing new to add that hasn't already been said.

I've read several entries in journals in which the writers state they feel "guilty" for enjoying a hot meal, a warm bed and a roof over their heads as they struggle with the knowledge of the loss and suffering of so many in this cataclysm of nature. This is a sympathetic, understandable reaction but what I feel is not guilt. What I do feel is a heightened sense of gratefulness that I nor any of my friends or family were victims of this catastrophe. It has given me a renewed sense of appreciation for all the wonderful things I have and where I live. I also see a warning, a wake-up call.

Where I live, we don't expect hurricanes. This is earthquake country and the occurance of a major earthquake is anticipated, expected but when? None of us know but we do know it's coming. I see how New Orleans has been all but swept off the map and the same could happen here. If nothing else, one good thing that should come from this horrific disaster in the south is the realization that we all should be prepared in the event of an emergency. What fools we would be if this incident didn't open our eyes once and for all and teach us a lesson. That being at the very least making some sort of effort to think of a plan of escape, gather together supplies to carry one's family through for at least several days in case of an unexpected event. That is what an emergency is...an unexpected event. There's no warning headline in the morning newspaper, no mention of it on the TV or radio, no means of knowing ahead of time.

I see this disaster as a blaring, not to be ignored message that it's time to put all our thoughts of good intention into action. It's time to begin storing away gallon containers of water. It's time to purchase an extra can or two of items with infinite shelf life while doing weekly shopping and stowing them away in a designated safe spot. A bit of warning seems to precede hurricanes; not so with earthquakes. One minute the earth is terra and firma, the next, it's roiling and rolling and all hell begins to break loose. I've yet to experience a big earthquake in my 29 years in this state. Oh yes, lots of little ones and I certainly felt the Loma Prieta, CA quake of 1986 and my house is a long way from where its epicenter was. If this tragedy gives us nothing else, at least let it serve as a graphic example of what could happen more quickly than we can possibly realize and let us learn from it and be better prepared for that which we know will eventually come.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Sunday Seven - Episode 1

Picture from Hometown


"The Sunday Seven" will feature a single question with seven answers.  Sometimes, you'll have to rank seven things, other times you'll have to list seven things you come up with on your own to answer the question.

 Here, in alphabetical order, are The Seven Deadly Sins

Anger, Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride and Sloth

Rank the seven sins in the order that you most often commit them, one being the sin you're usually most guilty of, seven being the sin you're usually least guilty of.

1.  Pride  2.  Envy  3.  Sloth  4.  Lust 5.  Gluttony  6.  Greed  7.  Anger


Saturday Six - Episode 73

Picture from Hometown

1. What is the price of gas at your regular station?  It was $3.05 when I passed by about two hours ago.  It's probably up to $3.10 by now.  Have you made any changes to holiday plans because of gas prices?  Not really because we don't usually make plans to travel any great distance on holiday weekends.

2. Some people feel that the song that was #1 when they were born somehow helps shape their life.  Which song was #1 when you were born, according to this siteAlas, I'm so old I have to go with what was the #1 song on my 18th birthday and it was "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart"by The Bee Gees.  Do you think it relates to your life at all?  Not at all; I received my engagement ring on my 18th birthday and my heart was bursting with love and it still is.

3. Take this quiz:  Which child does it say you are?  You Are Likely a First Born  Is it correct about your birth order?  It's totally incorrect; I am the last child of four.  The choices of answers to the questions in this quiz were so bad it's no wonder the answer was so inaccurate.

4. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #61 from De:  What animal do you equate your spirit with and why? 

Butterfly on Flower  I chose the butterfly because I very much think of myself as someone who emerged from a cocoon into a person of value and interest.  When I clicked on the Animal Totem site and checked out the butterfly, I liked the sentence which states:  "It may take some time being alone with ourselves to listen to Butterfly's gentle requests that we allow the natural transformation of things in our lives." 

I have always thought of myself as a late bloomer.

5. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #62 from PsychfunIf you had to describe your personality as a nut (as in the eatable kind) what nut would you be and why?  A pistachio; a little bit harder to crack but the meat inside is sweet.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #63 from Chris:   Who knows the "real" you better - - your real world friends or your Jland readers?  My real world friends


Monday, August 29, 2005

On The Job

Two weeks into the job and the fog continues to clear. I've been suffering from "brain stretch". For those of you who wear glasses, remember how your eyes felt when they're adjusting to a new prescription? I've always described it as the sensation of my eyes being pulled or stretched. This is how my brain has felt for the past two weeks. So much information, so much to process and remember; now, I'm mentally exhausted.

I've been working the last two weekends in order to receive extra orientation from the woman who's been filling in doing this job before me. I have one day off tomorrow and then I'm back at it Tuesday. On my own. Alone. Am I ready? Well, certainly more so than I was on my first day. I don't know my way around the entire campus (I've been told by more than one person this takes four to six months)! I do know where I need to go to deliver my med passes to homes. I do recognize and know the names of 23 residents. Gee! Only 277 more to get to know and remember. My biggest stumbling block is going to be dealing with the phone in the clinic. The receptionist picks up calls most of the time and the nurses help out too. If they're out or occupied elsewhere, which seems to be a lot of the time, it's up to me. This phone rings constantly.

The Phone. My old nemesis is back to haunt me. I have such an irrational fear and loathing of the telephone that I've aided and abetted for years. I especially don't like answering phones when the person on the other end is going to be asking questions for which I have no answers. This is what I have to look forward to on Tuesday. One of the major perks (to me) of my last job was that we caregivers never had to answer the phones. When I began working the early morning hours, the phone would ring occasionally at the front desk but it was always the same lady requesting bathroom assistance. No problem there. I hate to initiate calls as well. If I have to make a call to a serviceman, insurance company or clear up some kind of problem on my day off when I have time, that day is shot to hell and I'm miserable until this chore is behind me. I think the way my body reacts to interaction with the telephone is what I imagine a panic attack to be like. My heart begins to beat rapidly, my hands begin to sweat and I often develop a tendency to stutter somewhat. I realize these reactions to a modern convenience that so many people hold near and dear are foolish. I can't help how I feel. For all I know there may be an offical name for this phobia.

My family is all too familiar with my phone phobia. I'm often the target of mild, affectionate teasing and more than likely, private thoughts of being pathetically lame in this department. They simply cannot comprehend how I can feel this way. Knowledge that I'd have to deal with phones was one of the things that almost kept me from accepting my new position. I decided to accept this as a major challenge, however, in hopes that I would become more comfortable over time. And just think, for the first six years of my working life I worked as a secretary and had to deal with phones, multiple lines, etc. Throughout it all, my stomach tied itself in a knot each time those phones rang.

Wish me luck. Even as I read over what I've written here, I've been doing a little better with the telephone than my entry here implies. I have a long way to go. Lately, my personal motto has been "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". For me, this has been a most appropriate motto to live by these past several weeks.