Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Yesterday at the grocery store, frustrated with driving around and around the parking lot--to no avail--I went home cranky and foodless.  So this morning, I'm up early to walk the boys and hit the market before the rebel hordes arrive.  And it worked.  I had no trouble finding a space, the sun was shining, the dogs were content in the back seat of the Blazer.

It was wonderful to traipse through the store, up and down nearly empty aisles.  I breathed a sigh of relief that the end is in sight for 2014's holiday craziness.

I'm standing in line, dinking in my purse for wallet and coupons when behind me I overhear this conversation...

A deep, manly voice says, "Sweetheart, we forgot the ice cream."

Soft-voiced woman responds with a giggle, "Well, we can't celebrate the new year without ice cream."

He chuckles.  "No my love, we can't."

"I'll go," she says.  "Shall we have vanilla & caramel this year, or will it be rocky road?"

"Both," he says without hesitation.  Then they laugh, history mingled in the sound, something private, intimate shared between them.

"Be right back," the woman says as I turn and see her kiss the man, full on the lips.  He whispers, "I love you.  Hurry back."

"I will, baby.  Back before you know it."  And she hustles down the ice cream aisle.  The man watches her go, never takes his eyes off her as we both see her grab two flavors of ice cream.  Walking back toward the checkout line, she smiles at him, he beams back at her, and I have to turn away and blink hard against the tears.

The man leaned heavily on his cane, the woman was hunched over with age. They were in their eighties, if not older and yet their world was filled with love and kindness, memories and secret moments.

Such a beautiful thing to witness, poignant and heartwarming.

I cried all the way home.  I can't help it.  I'm a sucker for love...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Enough Already...and Other Stuff

Okay, I've maxed out on the whole holiday thing now.  I just want everything to go back to normal. Like being able to get a parking space at the frigging grocery store; not having to wait for over half an hour just to get to the gas pumps; no more inching, inching toward the traffic lights as they change at least four times before I can get through.  Seriously, would all you non-locals just go home now! And kids: get back in school!  Parents, go to work!  Normalcy peeps, that's all I'm asking for...


Amongst my excellent and thoughtful gifts this year, my dear friend, Susan--who lives in Yorkshire with my adorable godson, Eddie--gave me the cleverest thing.  An online class at the Craftsy.com website.  My particular course is called Snazzy Stitched Portraits which looks really cool and fun.  I've signed up already, but will wait until the new year to take the class.  After browsing the site, I found a few other intriguing classes that I might take, too, so maybe my new goals for 2015--not resolutions!!--will be to expand my creativity.

Susan and I initially met through an AOL chat room years ago, before the internet was the twittering, facebooking monster that it is today.  We became friends over Jack Russell terriers and a love of quilting.  Then when wee Edward was born, I was honored when asked to be his godmother.  My first trip to Great Britain was for Eddie's baptism, then a few years later I was in Scotland and met Alan. Funny how life goes...


I finished my Goodreads book challenge the other day.  Originally my goal was to read 175 books in 2014, but NaNo threw me off--no reading for the month of November--and I dropped the goal down to 160.  Surprisingly I had a great run of good books to read in December and easily made the 160, so expanded the number to 170 and yippee...I made it.

One thing I didn't finish this year was the 1000 Cranes project.  Even though it's right there, on the left margin of my blog to remind me, I totally forgot about it. Has that happened to any of you? Where you see something every single day until it becomes invisible?  (There might be a moral in there somewhere...)

I kept the little basket of origami papers at one end of the dining room table, but clear back in May, when my sister was coming to visit, I put the stuff in the cupboard...and there it languished, forgotten and unfinished. Until the other day when I was looking at the blog, wondering about changes, and suddenly--like a magic trick--there it was: the box, the birds, the meager numbers. Although I had no success this year, I still intend to carry on, adding the origami cranes to my 2015 projects list.


On a spiritual level, one major goal I have is to meditate more.  I used to do it daily, then it was a few times per week, then once a week if I was lucky, until it became something I said I would do, but somehow never found the time.

You make time, silly woman.

Meditation is a powerful, insightful tool to calm the mind parasites, recharge the body and find a measure of tranquility amidst the chaos--something I sorely need these days. I'm looking forward to having some of those peaceful moments in the coming year.

Aren't we all, dear readers, aren't we all...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Nearly Over

Well peeps, did you think I'd run off with Santa?  Though tempting, no.  I really just needed a break from writing, blogging, thinking.  Course, I talked to mi familia and friends on Christmas, and the dogs and I always have long conversations, but for the most part these last few days have been peaceful, quiet.  I spent an enjoyable Christmas morning opening my gifts and laughing as the boys had more fun with the wrapping paper then they did with the toys inside. Later, I made a great dinner, drank wine and watched sappy Christmas movies.  It was a drama-free zone at my house this year and I loved it.

Although...the day before Christmas was overly dramatic with wild torrential rains and flooding, howling winds and snapping tree branches.  I thought about all the folks out in the deluge traveling for the holidays, and remembered several times when I barely made it myself because of the weather.  Once I was caught in a freak snowstorm and it took me nearly twelve hours to make it the last 100 miles; another time there was a silver thaw--stunning with everything encased in ice--but I was stranded for two days.

As the storm rampaged on Christmas Eve, I could only be glad that for once I didn't have to be out in the chaos.  The tempest died sometime in the night and Christmas Day dawned bright and clear with sunny, intensely blue skies.  A beautiful contrast.


Over the next couple of days, I will do all the filing in my overflowing inbox and start 2015 with a clean slate.  There's something really nice about a new year...but also a bit scary. For some reason, starting a new day doesn't bother me, but a new year does. Weird, I know. There's the chance for disaster, dismay or mayhem on any given day, but facing a whole year of the unknown where anything can and might happen?  Daunting, butterflies-in-the-stomach intimidating.  But okay, exciting too, maybe even thrilling because fun and adventure are always a possibility.

So I guess what I'm saying is, regardless of what mysteries and challenges await, I have high hopes for 2015...

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays...

My wish, dear readers, is that you all have a joyous, safe and wonderful Christmas...and that you'll love and appreciate your gifts as much as this little puppy...

Merry Christmas !!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Winter Solstice !!

Today is the shortest day of the year.  Right now, in the throes of an unrelenting storm that has raged all weekend (and yes, that's a big ass smile I'm wearing), it's already heading toward the gloaming and it's not even noon yet.  I think in my last life I must have been a cave dweller--I so love dark and gloomy.  Though on the other hand, I was born in a place that has six months of winter darkness, which probably explains a lot.  Is it nature or nurture that makes the child? In my case, I'm going with nature.

After today we'll be slowly inching our way back to the light.  I've barely had time to revel in the rain, cooler weather and the coziness of staying indoors, surrounded by the soft, enveloping shadows.  Sigh.

Ah well, seasons ebb and flow, peeps, no matter what's going on around us, so I'm off now to enjoy the short day...but mostly the longest night.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nothing Really...

This has been one of those weeks where it's just...a week.  Not memorable, fraught or in any way exciting.  I can condense the past four days into a paragraph, which is kind of creepy in a way, if you think about it.  96 hours reduced to less time than it will take me to type the words.  (And the reason why I don't read those epic saga-type books where the main character ages from a child to an old crone in 500 pages or less.  No thanks.  Life is fleeting enough without reading about one that goes from start to finish in a matter of hours.  Ugh.)

Anyway...so far:

Stubbed my broken toes twice (yes, shrieking ensued), walked the dogs eight times, let them out in the backyard 700 times, did laundry, read two books that totally absorbed my attention, cooked, cleaned, went grocery shopping, took some photographs for a project I'm working on, tried to sleep but insomnia has me in a tight grip right now, worked on and posted the second chapter in my book, watched the last two episodes of Sons of Anarchy that I recorded (the ending is still running through my head), cried over two news stories that I'm trying desperately to delete from my brain, watered all the plants, answered several emails and balanced my check book.

See?  Nothing really.  Just a week...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Short Recap

The can't find a book to read curse is finally broken.  I found a book that totally captivated me on Saturday, plowed through it in record time, then lucked out with the next one in my TBR pile which I'm finishing today.  Whew.  I was worried for a bit there. Six weeks without reading was torture and my worst nightmare.

No.  Wait.  My real worst nightmare has been with me since I was a kid.  I used to love watching those old Twilight Zone shows, but only one episode has stuck with me for most of my life.  In fact, the BFF and I initially became friends when we discovered we shared the same nightmare, thanks to the episode, Time Enough At Last.  It makes me shiver just to think of Henry Bemis.  When I was that young girl, laying on the floor in the TV room and the final credits began to roll, I was filled with such horror, that I still haven't recovered. I wasn't bothered by aliens, supernatural stuff or scary things, but that episode terrified me.  And still does.  I think it's the reason I always have spare glasses around the house. Really.  I must have five pairs stashed in various places.  Ah, the influence of television on a child's mind...


Hopefully writing the words won't jinx things, but Max's eye has improved greatly over the weekend and I'm encouraged that by Friday (his follow-up appointment) he'll be totally okay.  Seriously, I could use a break in the drama.

Speaking of breaks...my toes aren't swollen anymore, though they don't like being stuffed into shoes.  The colors are pretty spectacular too, and now I have an interesting click coming from one of the gnarled toes when I walk.  It doesn't hurt, but my days as an undercover operative are apparently over.  No sneaking around when I sound like a deformed one-legged cricket.


The storms are over, the fog is back, but the temps are still unseasonably warm.  Even during the monsoon rain and winds last week, it was in the 60s.  It felt like a tropical storm...in the mountains, in the middle of December, peeps.  Not good.  So, along with killing each other, we're taking out the planet as well.

I just find it inconceivable that we're really this stupid.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Laugh...

Yesterday was one of those days, a stay in bed with the covers over your head kind of day.

It started out okay, although the West Coast is being hammered by an epic storm of torrential rains and super high winds that reached monster proportions by late morning. I really just wanted to stay home, but one of my neighbors called and needed a ride into town.  All went fine and we'd just made it back up the mountain when all hell broke loose, weather-wise.  It was really cool, with a dash of scary as the house shook and the rain overflowed my gutters.

I sat down to blog, but Max freaked out when a really hard blast of wind hit the front windows. He started to cry, then climb my leg where I'm sitting at the laptop.  I look down to reassure him and WTF??  His eye is once again swollen shut!  I can't freaking believe it. When did that happen?  His meds were done on Monday, he was fine on Tuesday.  Crap.  I glance out the windows.  Serious weather, sirens going nonstop down in the valley, looks like night though it's barely noon. **Sigh**  So much for staying safe at home.

I call the vet, get the last appointment of the day--5:00pm--and resign myself to a wretched drive in the dark, fighting a storm.  I hope things will improve by 4:30 when I have to leave the house.

Brief aside:  On Saturday my satellite receiver began to make noises like a 747 taking off at full throttle.  I called the company, they're sending me a new one, should arrive on Wednesday.

I give the boys some lunch and sit down to blog.  The UPS guy shows up with the receiver box. Yippee!  The box is a bit ungainly, but not heavy so I pick it up and head to the bedroom.  The dogs, of course, are curious about the box and are darting around me as I'm walking down the hall.  I can't see directly in front of me because of the large box, so I'm telling the boys to get out of my way, just as Max walks between my legs.  I do this hop, skip thing that might have saved the day...except Ozzy is now directly in my path so I twist to the side, hit the box on the side of the door, lose my balance and slam my toes into the jamb so hard I fall to my knees in stomach-churning agony.

I'm now hunched over the frigging box and I pretty much think I've just broken my foot. Waves of excruciating pain are shooting like lightning from my toes all the way up my leg. I roll off the box and sit up.  Holy crap. Why does my sock look...weird?  I hiss and yell and cry as I peel off the sock. Between the big toe and the little one, the three in the middle are...horrible.  One is pointing down, one is pointing up and the other is bleeding. Okay then.  Not a broken foot after all.  Just broken toes.

I hop to the phone and call my neighbor who's an ER nurse. Thankfully, she's home.  She comes down, laughs at my toes, says, "take a deep breath because this is gonna hurt" and yanks those little puppies back into position, then after bandaging the bleeding toe, she tells me to lay a bag of frozen peas over them and try to stay off my feet for a day or two. (Yeah, right.  In an alternate universe where I have servants and a dog walker).  I give her half my Swedish Chocolate Cake, just baked the night before, with profuse thanks for the rescue.

Then I install the receiver, which works like a dream.

I rest for about 14 seconds, but now that the excitement is over, the dogs decide they need to go out.  Hobble down two flights of stairs, hobble back up when they're done. Then I spend quite a bit of time trying on different shoes because it's almost time to leave for Max's vet appointment, the storm has gotten worse and I can't wear flip flops or go barefoot.  We're nearly blown off the mountain by the wind, I had to pull over twice on the trip to make way for emergency vehicles, and the roads were so flooded, I couldn't see the lanes. Though, throbbing toes stuffed into boots and teeth-grinding pain at every press of the gas pedal, I hardly noticed all the drama around me.

Long story short: Max had to have his eye abraded, then they removed a section of his eyelashes as several were growing downward and rubbing against the wound so it couldn't heal properly.  More swabbing, more meds, more money.  And I have to go back again next week to make sure the injury is healing properly.

Today, the storm is raging even worse than yesterday.  I fear for several of the old oaks up here on the mountain and expect some to fall before this is over.  Max is looking better, so hopefully the treatment and the medication are working.  My toes are swollen and hurt like...they got slammed into a door jamb.  I'm particularly fond of my new toenail polish: shades of black, blue and yellow.

I'm telling you, peeps, the fun just never stops...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Madness and Music

I spent the better part of the day out in the craziness that is Christmas shopping...and whew, I hope that's the last time.  I was surprised at how many people were out on a Monday, in the middle of the day.  I live in a small town, yet still had trouble finding a parking spot, had to backtrack out of aisles too crowded with carts, stood for about a year waiting in line to pay.  And drove right on past the Post Office when I saw the line was out the door, down the block and winding around the corner. Ah, the joy of the holidays.


I've been meaning to blog about this, but keep forgetting.  By now this is probably old news and everyone is already aware of Bookbub, but if not, and you own an e-reader, this is a very cool place to check out. They search all the e-book sites (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc) to find free or very cheap ($ .99) book deals so you, dear readers, don't have to. It's like having your own personal shopper. And it's totally free.  Just sign-up, pick what categories you're interested in, and ta da, every morning there's a list of books (with cover, synopsis, price) in your inbox to look over. I've found several really good books to download on my Kindle that I'd never have discovered on my own.

It's a good site to remember if you're giving an e-reader, or getting one, for Christmas. Nothing like new books to download, guilt-free.  Though beware:  Habit-forming...


I stumbled across a site this morning over breakfast, Playbuzz.  They had a quiz to find out which song by the Eagles you would be.  I confess that I love the Eagles and have no qualms about singing along when one of their tunes comes over the speakers at my grocery store.  I ponder for a minute before taking the quiz. Which song do I think I am? Desperado is a long-time favorite, though there's also Heartache Tonight and Victim of Love.  And I can't forget another killer song, One of These Nights.  (And yeah, read those titles, peeps.  Think I've got issues??)

What was my song after doing the quiz?  Take It Easy.  I could sing this song in my sleep. Not only do I love this one, but I actually drove miles out of my way on a road trip once to stand on that corner in Winslow, Arizona, just to say I did.  And it was so cool...

Today, while being jostled and elbowed, sneezed on and flipped off--all in the name of Christmas cheer--I kept singing that totally apropos song in my head. This verse was especially pertinent:

...Don't let the sound of your own wheels
Drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don't even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
And take it easy...

And if I didn't have to address Christmas cards right now, I'd be doing that very thing...

Friday, December 5, 2014

Show and Tell Friday...

I've been paying heavily for letting the housework slide for a month.  Holy crap, at one point I wondered if a woman can drop dead from too much cleaning...and yeah, I pretty much think you could.  Still, house is now back in order.  Woo-flipping-hoo.

I've put off some pressing business and the soon-to-be urgent Christmas shopping until next week, because, hey, I'm just one little person and can only do so much.  Okay, only want to do so much...


Yesterday I finished the last of the turkey by making a most excellent soup, with dumplings.  I always feel so, I don't know...nostalgic?...wistful?...when I make a recipe that comes from my mom (soup) or grandmother (dumplings).  Every bite last night was filled with kid memories, sitting around our big kitchen table with my two sisters and the Golden Child--otherwise known as my baby brother. We were a wild bunch, and I smiled a lot while savoring my soup, remembering.

I had to buy some fresh veg for the soup and whilst grocery shopping yesterday morning, I just couldn't resist the huge display of Poinsettias.  I found a small pinkish-red one with delicate, ruffled leaves that said take me home.  So I did.


The gloaming last night was almost surreal as the valley filled with fog, undulating like waves in a wispy sea.  The colors were shades of blue and lavender, gray and white.  And very beautiful...

The weather has been damp and foggy for days--typical December climate for this area.  Today it's dense and thick, dripping like rain off the eaves, the trees.  I decided not to take the boys down the mountain for their hike, so instead we walked our one lane road.  The dogs took a right out of the driveway and totally missed what was standing barely ten feet away to the left.

Although, she was kind of hard to see...

So was the house as we made our way back home.  I know it's near that bend in the road...somewhere...

I love the fragrant scent of pines, but these oaks, all gnarly and twisted, are my favorites, especially in the fog...

As the dogs ran ahead, I stopped to look closer at the trees, moss-covered and eerie, glittering with Nature's Christmas baubles..


I really and truly plan to sit down and read a book this afternoon.  I've hit some kind of snag: started five books, set them down after a short perusal.  One paragraph or one chapter, nothing is working. I think the story I'm writing is still rattling around in my head and I can't concentrate or something. Cripes, who knows.

In any case, it's time to jump into the weekend, peeps.  I'm taking it easy, hoping to find the right book to break the curse, because after waiting for a solid month to read, I'm finding it irritatingly ironic that now I can't.  Go figure.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dancing Into December

So peeps, here we are, starting the last month in a year that has flown by faster than should be possible, what with that whole space/time continuum thing going on.

I had a great Thanksgiving dinner, simple but delicious, followed by two nights of the best hot turkey sandwiches ever.  Honestly, it makes me wonder why I don't cook a turkey more often just to have those sandwiches.  Oh wait, I remember why--because I don't want to weigh 500 pounds and have to be lifted out of my house by crane.

I didn't make a pie this year, but I did make dessert.  Lynn had posted a recipe for her No-Brainer Fudge that sounded good and easy.  I had all the ingredients, plus some salted peanuts, so I made that instead.

And it was so very delicious....


The weather today is atrocious--my favorite--with howling winds and rain.  The boys weren't thrilled for their walk in the park this morning, but hey, if I'm out there getting soaking wet, then they're going to join in the fun.

And speaking of dogs.  I had a few inquiries about Max's two trips to the vet...

Last Friday morning I got up, fed the dogs and was making my coffee when I noticed Max looked...weird.  I lift his head and am shocked to discover that his eye is swollen shut, like he's been punched in the face.  A few weeks earlier, he had a slight case of doggy conjunctivitis, got some drops from the vet and by the weekend he was fine.

So what is this then?  I call the vet, take him right in and they do all these ophthalmology things--don't ask, it was gross--and ultimately find an deep abrasion on the surface of his eyeball.  No clue how it happened, though he's a dog and is always sticking his head where it doesn't belong.

Finished, I fight my way through Black Friday traffic, make it home and at first Max looks better, less puffy.  The vet had given him the first dose of medication, I gave him the second at lunchtime, then was finally able to sit down to write while both dogs took their afternoon naps.

Around 4:00 or so, I take a break from typing, make myself a cup of tea then take the boys out for a pit stop and cookie treats before I get back to work.  I toss Max a cookie and he missed it by a mile. I frown, get down to his level for a good look, and bloody hell, half his face has ballooned up and I can't even see where his eye is supposed to be.  He looks like a lopsided Cyclops.  Holy crap.

I rush him back to the clinic, there's more swabbing and flushing and other eye-related treatments that I thankfully wasn't privy to.  At last it's determined that he had a severe allergic reaction to that particular medicine.  So, third time's a charm.  The new meds did the trick and by Saturday afternoon he looked ever so much better.


My big plan to stay in my jim-jams and peruse my new books, whilst drinking copious amounts of whiskey, on my first free Sunday in a month didn't pan out.  Whenever I want to shut out the world and do absolutely nothing, I end up being more busy than if I'd planned a day's hard graft.

I'd let the housework slide during NaNo Madness, managing only the basics. Yesterday I took a good look at things and just couldn't sit down and do that elusive Nothing until I'd taken care of a shitload of chores.  So, I watered all the plants, did the laundry, washed the kitchen floor, plucked my chin hairs (and omg...I went out in public with those??), changed the bedding, walked the dogs twice and removed a tick from my neighbor's tiny little Chihuahua while she screamed like a banshee--the dog, not my neighbor.  And for a wee three pound dog, that little girl can make a prodigious amount of noise.

So, by the time I finally had a moment to myself--after dinner--I fell asleep in my reading chair, books piled all around me, and didn't read a single word or take one sip of my whiskey.  Buggers.

I'm sure there's a moral in there somewhere.