Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Slippery Slope

This is a tough word. When I was growing up there was no truth in my family. My father had affairs, my mother drank and I tried everything I could to be a good girl. My brother and sister worked hard at this too. The truth of our accomplishments mattered little to our parents. They did not deal with the truth. It was too scary; at least that's my take on it.

Ultimately in a dysfunctional family truth did not win. So I grew up with lies; that's a strong word too. You said or did whatever you had to in order to survive. My most vivid remembrance is when I told my third grade teacher, Mrs. Ervin, a lie and got caught. I told her that it was okay for me to go to a friend's house after school. My mother didn't want me to be happy and have friends; she would not have agreed to the time after school with my friend. So I lied. I got caught; the fact that I still remember that is very telling.

When you live day in and day out with lies you don't believe any other way of life exists. You lie to yourself about what is best for you. I did that when I married my first husband twice. Finally I couldn't lie to myself any more.

I have learned that it is so much better to deal with the truth than to pretend that what you are doing is working. Most of the friends I have today live that way too. The others are on their way to discovering what the word means for them. As I said at the beginning, this is a tough word.

Truth has brought me much happiness. I would not give that up for the world.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tidbits From My Week

The object pictured here is a butternut squash. We like this vegetable a lot, but it is a pain to peel. The skin is tough as nails. Well, I finally Googled, "peeling butternut squash." Found a simple way to do it and did it last night. You soften the skin by placing the whole thing in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. The skin then comes off with a vegetable peeler. Voila! We can now eat a lot more of this great vegetable.

Sunday we took Harleen to the Mandarin Festival in Auburn, CA where we all worked in the booth for Canine Companions for Independence. She was exhausted by all the attention. Best part though was having a corn dog. Yup, a real one with nice grainy corn bread all around it. Slathered it in mustard and enjoyed every mouthful. Harleen slept most of Monday to recover from here frenetic Saturday (puppy kindergarten) and Sunday.

I'm still reading anything written by Jodi Picoult. A friend lent me "Second Glance" and I've been on a mission to read all of her books ever since then.

Tomorrow we drive to Steve and Janet's for Thanksgiving. They live over near the coast close to Boonville, CA. I'm bringing my grandmother's sweet potato recipe. No marshmallows or pineapple for my grandmother. Just butter, brown sugar and sliced potatoes. You caramelize them at the end of the baking period by removing the cover and slowly withdrawing the fluid as you baste. They are so yummy. We drive back Friday afternoon (it's about 4 hours).

I have four irises that are blooming and one that is getting ready to bloom. Strange; last year I had one bloom at this time and it bloomed again in the spring. My Gerbera daisies are blooming too.

I'm going to spend most of the rest of the day working on my applique. I just love it. Who would have thought I'd ever have the patience to take tiny stitches. That's what life is about...discovering new things about yourself.

Hope you all have a happy thanksgiving. If there ever was a time to eat carbohydrates, this is it.
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Giorgio Naps

I didn't even realize he was in there at first. The tee pee sits on top of a quilt which is on top of a bookcase in my sewing room. I was in there moving around getting ready to start a project when I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. I just thought he looked so cute I had to take his picture. After all, we can't have Harleen hogging all the photos. I originally bought the tee pee for my late cat Comet when she was very sick at the end. Giorgio and Nora had sniffed it a few times and declined to enter. I guess it's okay now.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Post Will Not Make Me A Lot Of Friends

I don't think that the U.S. government should bail out U.S. automakers. I will happily read your thoughts on this; I just don't think it's right to bail out companies who have not been astute enough to realize that the world is changing and they have to change too. I am a life-long Democrat so don't accuse me of going over to the dark side.

I blame the management, the board of directors and the unions for this. Everyone has been greedy and the employees will pay the price of that greed. I had my own consulting business for 13 years. I loved being my own boss. There were times when I was worried I wouldn't be able to pay my bills. Clients dropped off the radar; Enron file for bankruptcy when they owed me $13,000. But I got through those times by realizing what I had to do to bring in money. I never thought about anyone bailing me out.

None of the car makers outside of the U.S. is asking anyone for anything. The one thing they all have in common is that they are located in countries with universal health care. The big three car makers are paying large sums of money for health care for employees and retirees. Also, those non-U.S. car makers are building cars that people want to buy. Duh!

So, I'll get off my soapbox now. Do let me know how you feel. I promise not to delete your comments.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Applique For Sugar Creek Stuff Blogger


I've discovered a blogger who is as addicted to fabric as I am. She asked me to post some of my applique which is why some of you are seeing this stuff for the second time. The new blogger resides at Check her out.

The picture with the cow contains one non-applique. I'm sure you can guess which one. Sometimes I post whatever is on my design wall. The five baskets are part of an applique block of the month class I'm taking. We will have a total of 12 blocks which we will make into a quilt. We have ten blocks done. I did the heart applique quilt for my sister who was seriously ill this year. The road runner table runner is from Albuquerque. My son used to live there so on our last visit I bought this to remember Albuquerque.

In January I'm starting a new applique block of the month class which will end up being a Baltimore Album Quilt. I started quilting about 15 months ago and very quickly discovered my love for applique.

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Monday, November 17, 2008


Yes, that's what I've been doing for the past two days. Here's why. On our trip home Kerry and I listened to a wonderful book on CD. It's called "It's all too much." The author is Peter Walsh.

It's basically about how to get rid of all that stuff that you have accumulated. Kerry is a third-generation pack rat who has filled every space available to him with stuff. I set limits on the inside of the house when we moved in (he can fill his office but nothing else). So he has filled one entire double garage which was supposed to be his art studio, the entire underbelly of our 3200 square foot house (we are on a hill so there is lots of space under the house) and half of the other double garage...and, of course, his office.

He has tried the typical organization person where you figure out how to store your stuff and get rid of some. That didn't really work for him. I'm hoping that Peter Walsh's approach will help him. I think Kerry is drowning in his stuff.

Walsh encourages you to explore why you ever kept all that junk in the first place. If the things you have accumulated aren't actively helping you get closer to the life you really want, then it's getting in the way; it needs to go. The first step in all of this is putting in writing what you want your life to be. Then you can decide what to keep and what to discard.

While I'm not a pack rat, the book did spark some thoughts about the life I'm living now versus what I used to My sewing room still has too many remnants of my working life. So yesterday I started shredding much of what's in my file drawers. That space will hold many of my quilting supplies. I've also contacted a friend who works for the local Assistance League. I've asked her about donating clothes. I still have my work wardrobe. It's time for it to go.

I know Kerry spent some time yesterday sitting outside in the sunshine writing in his journal. Maybe he was writing about what he wants his life to be. It would be great if this book could help unlock his life.

And the beautiful picture above is what we came home to. When we left the tree was mostly green. Over seven days it turned fire engine red.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Our Adventures In Palm Desert

This is the view of the golf course and mountains from the timeshare we were in at the Marriott Springs Hotel. It's a two-bedroom, two-bath condo on the first floor with ample kitchen, dining and living room space. Kerry's dad bought two of them back in the late 90s. No one seems to know why. With his death, they passed to Kerry and his sisters, Susan and Joanne. We all meet there twice a year; once in early November and once around Valentine's Day.

It's a pretty laid back existence as you can see from the pictures of Harleen. I especially like the one of her in the jacuzzi tub. No jets for her. Our days were pretty much centered around food, reading and naps. Discussion would start at breakfast about what we would have for lunch and dinner and how we would space our meals. We tried a new place called Flemings. It's named for Paul Fleming who is also the PF in PF Chang. I stuck to my vegetarian regime except for eating bacon with my french toast one morning.

There were several demonstrations about the vote on Prop. 8 while we were there . The Mormons poured $37 million dollars into the campaign to make it illegal for gays and lesbians to get married. Now how Christian is that way of thinking. To spend millions to deny people their human rights is simply awful. The Palm Springs area has a large gay and lesbian population so they were out marching on Thursday and Friday night. I don't think that the vote on Prop. 8 is the end of this matter. At least I hope it isn't.

Harleen was extremely good all week. She tolerated the nine-hour ride down as well as any of us did. We took her to the hotel, let her ride the elevator, have lunch in one of the restaurants and ride the shuttle bus back to the villa. She really liked having more people around. Today she seems pretty bored with Kerry and me.
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

We Are Back From Palm Desert

I'm too tired to post much but thought you would enjoy this picture of one of our favorite restaurants in Palm Springs: Babe's. It's all barbecue. You can see from the people in the background just how large the bronze pig is. Great food, great service and wonderful ambiance. We are so happy to be home. Harleen was an exceptional dog on the trip. She went to restaurants without a problem; rode elevators, walked through the very large lobby of the hotel and didn't make a sound and managed to find lots of duck poop in the outside area of Starbucks at the hotel. Well, no one is perfect as she would point out. I'm going to bed. Hope you all had a great week.
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Friday, November 07, 2008

Traveling Once Again

Tomorrow we are driving to Palm Desert to spend a week in the family timeshare with Kerry's sisters and his brother-in-law. This time Harleen is going with us. Should be an interesting trip. We've realized that we have to bring twice as much for her as we bring for ourselves. In fact, all the stuff won't fit in the Prius so we are taking Kerry's Honda Element without the two back seats. Just like when you travel with little children.

This should be quite an adventure. She will be four months old tomorrow; we think that all of us are ready for this trip.

Here's a photo from the island resort where Mark and Julia went for their honeymoon. I love the feet touching. It was somewhere off the coast of Malaysia. They are really enjoying living and working in Kuala Lumpur.

Well, it's time to get serious about packing. All the clothes are clean and dry so it's suitcase time. I probably won't have a chance to post while we are away. Have a great week.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


It's only 8:30 p.m. PST and already McCain has conceded. I haven't been this happy since Bill Clinton won in 1992. It is a great moment for America.

A Heart For Mark's Sweetheart

On the Monday before the wedding, Mark and Julia went for a hike in the Grand Canyon. It was a pretty steep route which ended with Julia "slipping and sliding away" as Simon and Garfunkel would have sung for her.

So they cut their hike short and headed up to the rim the next day. No bride wants to limp down the aisle. But while they were there, Julia found the perfect rock. I've heard about these from a blogger in Missouri who has a whole collection.

A few days later Julia had traded in her wilderness garb for a wedding gown; she became the lifelong partner of my wonderful son Mark. I couldn't be happier for the two of them.
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The Generations

I love this picture of Mark and his grandfather. If you click on the picture you will see that Mark is really happy. He hasn't had a lot of grandparents. His grandpa used to walk erect but the years have compressed his body. He was never as tall as Mark but he was a lot taller than he is. I think the two of them have a good relationship. BTW, Jack has a 93-year-old girlfriend named Betty whom he refers to as his "bed mate."

A few years ago his grandfather played Santa Claus at a local mall. The ironic thing is that his grandfather is Jewish. I'm not Jewish so Mark is not considered Jewish. The line passes through the mother.

Folks at the wedding started to call Grandpa Jack (he will be 90 on Veterans' Day) Rabbi Santa. Jack did better at 7,000 feet than I did.

I'm doing all kinds of things to keep from looking at the election results. I swore I wouldn't get caught up in the minute-by-minute results. So far I'm not doing very well. If I post a lot tonight you will know that I am valiantly trying to not get caught up in this stuff. I'm too afraid that the Supreme Court will end up deciding this election as they did in 2000. I'm pro-choice, pro-immigration, and a Democrat. I guess that makes me a left-leaning liberal. So be it.
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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Dog Meets Cat...Sorta

Nora has taken to visiting Harleen. Today she visited a lot because it was raining and she didn't want to go outside. She jumps from the top of the washing machine just outside the gate into Harleen's room, aka my sewing room. It's hard to catch a shot of them because this is all happening pretty fast. Things looks pretty peaceful here.

My brother ran is 31 mile race in the pouring rain. I watched him get out of the car when he got home and limp down the stairs. He was freezing. After a hot shower, green tea and the fireplace he was feeling pretty good. Now he's napping. We may have to help him out of bed when he wakes up.

He's proud to say that he did not come in last. There was a little old lady right behind him. At 28.5 miles his legs talked to him and they were adamant; no more running. He walked the rest of the way. He did get lapped by some of the folks doing the 50-mile race. He was fed all along the race, which I guess is what you have to do when you run for that long. They had cooked potatoes that you could dip in salt at every rest stop; there were many rest stops. At the end of the race they served Thanksgiving dinner. He told me he ate 6 dinner rolls, dressing, mashed potatoes and corn. Remember he's a vegan/vegetarian.

It has rained steadily here all day. Last time I checked we had 1.8 inches of rain in our gauge. This is a good beginning for the rainy season. It will saturate the ground, which makes for fewer slides, plus the fire season is officially over. Yippee.
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The Right Way To Weigh?

And all this time you thought you were supposed to stand on the scale. Well Ramsays Farm blogger in Perham, MN had this on his blog. I shamelessly stole it; it just tickles my funny bone.

Busy weekend around here. My brother arrived on Thursday evening. Today he's running in a 50K (31 miles) race; it's pouring rain so I don't think it's probably very enjoyable. He left our house at 5 a.m. for a 7 a.m. race start. He figures it will take him about 7 hours. Meanwhile I snuggled in our warm bed and then got up for coffee and toast.

He's still a vegan but when he's not at home he adds dairy to his diet. Makes it lots easier to feed him. He said it was just to hard to eat when he's away on business and other travels.

This weekend his wife, Charlotte, is in Panama visiting her daughter, Cassie, who is in the Peace Corps. The trip had been planned for a while but then Cassie got seriously ill (she's in the hospital in Panama City) so mom flew there a day earlier than planned. She has an infection in her eye socket and is on IV antibiotics. No idea how this all started but I'm sure she's glad to have her mom there. Her brother, Brad, who lives in L.A. joined mom yesterday.

Richard called the hospital last night to talk to Charlotte but had to ask me to say room 420 in Spanish because the switchboard lady didn't speak English. So my four years of high school Spanish and my undergraduate degree in Spanish came in handy.

We were supposed to have puppy kindergarten this morning rain or not. Kerry and I were going to take our little princess but when we looked at how hard it was raining we opted out. Harleen would have loved it. We would not have.

Thursday night I cooked my first Indian dish: fried potatoes and cauliflower in tomato soup with rice. It wasn't that hard to make but it had a list of ingredients a mile long including some spices I had trouble finding. The cookbook I used is one that Julia recommended because it's vegetarian. Last night I made a vegetarian pot pie with a philo dough crust. Tonight we are having left overs. Every time my brother is here we eat tons of vegetables.

This week we are going to try goat meat. The meat club we belong to offered it so I bought some and will try it out this week. I'll let you know how it turns out.

With all this rain, I think I'll go back to bed for a nap.
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