Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I was thinking today about my children who aren't children anymore.  On days like today, I am nostalgic about the days when they were small and the fun we had trick or treating. 

Every year I refused to make elaborate costumes and spend money on cheap costumes.  I took my children to the thrift stores and let them buy things to make a costume.  Sometimes we just used stuff we found at home.  The wedding dress the year my daughter was a princess lasted us into many years and was loaned a time or two to friends.  At 5pm on Halloween, we drove over to my in-laws neighborhood and went trick or treating there with the cousins.  After making the full circle, we drove back home, went to a few houses on our block and then called it a night.

I miss that excitement and energy.  In the later years when they were definitely too old, they would hand out candy for my in-laws.  One year--the son's 13 year, we had a Japanese exchange student. Both kids went out that year.  The Japanese boy had a great time and left all his candy when he left our home for his next stop.

I miss all that.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Funny Story From a Friend

I work with Andrea.  She is really great.  I feel a connection to her for two reasons.  One:  her cousin Nicholas was in my preschool class that I taught at Holy Family Catholic Church ever so long ago.  Two:  Andrea was a ballet dancer.  If I had any coordination what so ever (and I really don't) it would have been my dream to be a ballet dancer.  Instead I get to love the people who are able to do it.

Today, Andrea told me a funny story.  Ten years ago she had a class set of a book, Catherine Called Birdy.  This book is wonderful.  It is about a 14 year old girl in the year 1201 and her father is trying to marry her off.  So, ten years ago Andrea is cleaning out her room and thinking she won't be teaching history, sells the entire class set to a used book store.  Now she is teaching history and she wanted to have some for the students to read.  She went back to the book store and there was her class set sitting there waiting for her!

Have a great day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It Is One Thing After Another

Dinner was all about my childhood.  We had roast, white rice, asparagus and rice pudding for dessert.

I wanted to use one of those "buy one, get one free" roasts.  My mother made this chuck roast with gravy that was delicious, except that it was a full of fat with that fatty piece of meat.  I had a very lean roast.  It was yummy.

Roast with gravy
   2-3 pound roast
   1 can cream of mushroom soup
   1 package dry onion soup mix
   1 can water

Line glass dish with foil and top with roast.  Pour soup, mix and water over the roast.  Cover.  Put roast in 300* oven for 2 hours.  Serve with white rice.

Tuesday our phones did not work--our land line.  It was thought that the problem was our actual phones.  So, Saturday, we went to Costco and bought new phones.  Still nothing works.  I will be calling the phone company tomorrow afternoon.  Then last night our washing machine died.  I have to say I care more about the washing machine.  It is a bearing and I will be calling Folsom Lake Appliance.  They have been good to us in the past.  I hate the Laundromat.  Anyone have a spare washing machine???

I spent some time working on a square for a block of the month through my guild.  The meeting is Thursday and we get our blocks back then.  I fixed a block that turned out to be 10-inches unfinished instead of the 9.5-inch block I need.  I also made the block due on Saturday.  I am not happy making 8-inch blocks into 9-inch blocks, so I did another block altogether.

Off to bed soonfor another week of work.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I got a card in the mail from Safeway.  It showed chicken tacos, a chicken and rice dish and a chicken salad.
There were coupons for almost everything you would need to make the chicken dishes.  So, I decided to see how much I would save.  Probably didn't save as much as I could have if I had really kept myself in check.  We all know I didn't do that.  I saw an extra deal or two, but over all.....

I bought everything on the card except the baguette.  That was $0.50 off one and would have cost me an extra $1.50.  I spent $90.00 on all my purchases.  After the coupons, I really spent $56.00.  That is a savings of $34.00.  The guy behind me was REALLY impressed! 

On the home front, my sister just called and told me she was at an underwater pumpkin carving contest.  Divers go down to the bottom of the pool and place pumpkins there.  Then divers go down and spend the next 30 minutes carving their pumpkins.  The best pumpkin wins.  Our biggest question is how much of a mess do they make and how do you get it out of the pool?

Have you ever put on the wrong shoes?

Yesterday, a teacher I work with was trying to tell me something. I wasn't getting it.  Then she points at her feet and says very slowly, "I put on two different shoes!"  I thought it was funny.  She did not.  At school yesterday it was "Sports" day.  She could just say it was one of those superstitious things that sports people do--if anyone even noticed.  Both shoes had touches of pink and were white and silver. 

I mention this because my husband always thinks people will notice his shoes and pays a lot of attention to his feet.  Not me!  I will put on anything and be happy that my feet are clothed.

Leah Update:  Her surgery was a week ago and she is doing fine.  Had lost 13 pounds as of Monday when I went over to watch Dancing With the Stars.  She is craving sugar-free Dr. Pepper and potato salad.  Cream of chicken soup will have to do.

Thursday and yesterday the children took a Healthy Kids survey.  This survey is very invasive in my opinion. One of the questions asks if they have been bullied because they are gay or lesbian.  How many seventh graders want to tell their teacher something like that?  Also, it asks if they have brought weapons to school.
There are questions about drugs I have never heard of.  But the question that bothers me the most...It asks if you have ever drank a full glass of alcohol.  If I was in the seventh grade, I would have answered that question with a yes.  We drank wine with dinner --not every night, but often enough.  My parents thought nothing of my wanting to drink at dinner.  Now, we didn't sit around getting drunk, but at a young age I could totally hold my liquor.  Now, as adults, we are all responsible drinkers (except Richard who doesn't drink for religious reasons).  We aren't alcoholics or driving around drunk. I offered wine to my own children.  again, not alcoholics.  While the survey is anonymous, wouldn't the school want to know who might have seen weapons at school????  Is there a way they can be tracked down????  I did ask one of the vice principals where the survey came from.  She said it was something all seventh grades did every year.  Not at our school.  I think I would have remembered a 114 question survey in the 16 years I have worked there.

Working on:
1.  blue and white Irish chain with embroidered baskets.  Have finished eight of the twelve baskets.  Must begin collecting blues and whites for the quilt.
2.  Grumpkin the pumpkin.  I think he will become a pillow.
3.  Garden quilt--applique.  I have about half of the patterns traced onto the freezer paper.
4.  Gifty for a trip to Apple Hill with quilting friends.
5.  block of the month for October.  Will be signing up for next years block next Saturday.
6.  Christmas pillow.

Today I bought a new cutting board.  I melted my other board.  I warped another.  I think I needed a new board!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Monday

It's reuben sandwiches for dinner.  Hurrah.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I've been "BOO"ed!

We are playing a game at work.  We are supposed to "BOO" each other.  Friday, I was "BOO"ed.  A wonderful surprise of a cup full of individually wrapped red vines.  Yummmm.  My plan is to "BOO" two of the teachers I work with--Andrea and Maryn.  I have two coffee cups that have black designs that are Halloween in look.  I am going to fill them with circus cookies--white with orange sprinkles.  Also, yummmm.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Watching the Clock

Today is Leah's surgery.  I am watching the clock and I have my cell phone --not in my bra like it was suggested to me-- in my shirt pocket.  I can see it and keep it on silent, able to slip out answer the phone at may minute.  I know everything will go well, after all this is 2011, but there is always that one exception....

Today I showed a picture to a class of 7th graders.  It is a picture of my children and my nephew in 1993.  They are sitting so sweetly in order of age.  First Sammy, then my son and lastly, the sweet girl.  I showed the picture because we tell two truths and a lie.  I said the children in the picture were my own.  I said the children were all adults now.  I said the girl's hand was drawn in and airbrushed.  The lie is that they were all my children.  I only have the two.  The day before we were to take a family portrait (that my parents arranged and spent $$$) I sent my kids to bed at the regular time.  At 10:00 that night, I made caramels to take with us to my parents.  It was Christmas time.  I cooked the caramels to the temperature it called for --250 degrees and pured the caramel into the buttered dish on the kitchen table.  Then I left it to cool.  What I didn't know is that the daughter was not asleep and was watching me.  She snuck out of her room and put her little hand into the caramel and burnt it with 3rd degree burns.  We couldn't leave her hand out in the air for at least a week because it still felt like it was burning.  When we took the picture, she had a big white bandage o her hand and the photographer drew it in and air brushed the color.  You would never know.  I will try to post a picture later, I am writing this at work during my lunch and can't do things like that on this computer.

Have a great day.  I know I will.  Thursday is music day here in the afternoon.  My favorite time with the 8th graders.......

Monday, October 10, 2011


I am catching up on things.

1.  I finished the homework for the embroidery class.  I think I am only supposed to have it drawn out, but I am a guest at the class.  The teacher is using me to get three of her students there on the right day!!!  ha,ha,ha.

2.  A while back I said you had to read this book, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  I did read all three books.  Enjoyed the first two the best, but number three was still attention getting.

3.  Men.  That is really all I need say, I am sure.  Here is the reason why....
    We are taking the plunge from satellite television to cable.  Our local phone company FINALLY put in the lines to bring us cable television.  For the area, we live out in the wilderness, although we are a relatively good sized city.  We have a mall for heaven's sake. 
    The guy comes out and sells us a deal.  We will get cable, dvr and 4 boxes for a lot less than Direct TV.
When I made the appointment (Tuesday 8am-12pm) I forgot that my son (who is an adult) wouldn't be home.  Both kiddies have tests and can't skip school.  So I make sure my husband can be here.  An adult must be here to supervise, put the dog in the garage so the guys won't be licked to death and worry about the inside cat.  My husband agrees to be here.  NO PROBLEM, he assures me. 
    Today these guys from Surewest come out and do some preliminary work.  My husband decides that he is no longer needed.  After all, the son is here, the dog is in the house and all is well.  So he makes an appointment for a possible job.  Since we are sure to run out of unemployment sometime, finding a job is important and I do have vacation, but really.  I had to call work to tell them at the last minute.  I didn't want to do this as I need to take vacation in November for the wedding in Southern California.
    Now, while I am happy to be home tomorrow, I wish for once, he would consult me before he assumes.  You would think that after 26 years with me, he would know to CALL ME!!!  Not so.  I can only shake my head and pray that he goes before me because he would be in real trouble.

4.  If you are my brother Jim (or enjoy a good story about the daughter....)
    On October 8th, my sweet girl comes out of her room and tells me that it is Uncle Jim's anniversary.  I think for a moment and say, "It might be the 10th.  Someone is on the 10th of October."  Does my sweet girl tell me I am wrong?  No, she says maybe I am right.  Later she tells me that Uncle Jim posted on facebook that it was his anniversary.  When I ask her why she let me go on wondering if it was the 10th when it was posted on facebook, she says that men get these things wrong.  

Happy Anniversary to Uncle Jim and Aunt Barbara --October 8th
Happy Anniversary to Uncle Richard and Aunt Laura --October 10th. (I think...)

Friday, October 7, 2011


I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but I make pillows using fleece for a program at my work.  We used to call it the PBS program --meaning Positive Behavior Support.  Then I guess someone complained and it became clear PBS meant something else --okay like Public television.  The name changed, but I don't remember what letter we added --and I mean the school district, not me-- but I began making a few pillows one year.  I made a few more last year and then stopped.  This year in August I asked if anyone still wanted pillows and the vice principal was noncommittal.  Didn't know one way or another.  I had three more and so I just left them with the vice principal and went on my merry way.  A few weeks into the new school year, I realized the PBS program was being run by one of the teachers.  One day in passing, I happen to say something about the pillows.  Jinne stops and is so excited about these pillows.  She had no idea who was making them, but she tells me the kids can't get enough of them.  Now I am the pillow factory.  Children are PRE-ORDERING the pillows.  They are gone as soon as I bring them in.  I'll be making more this weekend...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Another San Francisco Trip

I don't know if I have mentioned this, but my friend Leah is having one of the bariatric surgeries.  She began this path 2 years ago.  She was all set to get a date and then her doctor discovered Leah had diabetes.  It was put on indefinite hold at that point.  So, here we are today.  The diabetes is under control.  She has driven to South San Francisco Kaiser for all her appointments. She passed the psychological test.  We have an appointment date for surgery.  October 13, 2011!

Over this time, Leah has been driving to South San Francisco Kaiser because they don't do the bariatric surgeries here in Sacramento.  I hear it will be only five years until they are done here also, but for now, your choices are San Diego, Richmond and South San Francisco.  Leah choose South San Francisco because she has family in the area and will be able to rely on them.  She won't have to go to a hospital and stay over until her doctor says she can go home; Leah will be staying with her aunt and uncle who live about five minutes away in Daly City.  The plan is to go down Wednesday evening so there will be no stress.  Leah's mother and her husband will go with her.  They will stay until Saturday and then come home.

For each appointment, Leah has had someone come with her for moral support and because the drive is just too long by yourself.  I have been a couple of times as has Sole, another friend, and her mom.  Yesterday was the last appointment until the day of surgery.  This time it wasn't just a doctor's appointment in the morning and then the drive home.  She had her appointment, had to do her blood work and go to a pre/post surgery class which ran from 2pm-4pm.  I was perfect for this one because I will easily be able to sit around for the extra two hours.  We made a plan to stay for dinner down at Fisherman's wharf and waste time until around 6:30pm to miss what is sure to be horrible traffic.

First we were leaving at 9am for an 11:30 appointment.  A couple days later, we were to leave at 8:30am.  Then I said we should drop the sweet girl off at her school so we were now leaving at 8:00am.  Then Leah's mom wanted to go with us to be dropped off at her brother's house to visit.  Okay, now we are leaving at 7:30am and Leah is worried about getting there on time!  We left at 7:35am, went to Starbucks for coffee and breakfast (reduced-fat cinnamon coffee cake for me), dropped the sweet girl off, and were on our way to pick up Leah's mom.  Leah's mom lives behind an elementary school.  We stopped at the stop sign at the very front of the school,  Some parent in a white car was waiting to turn left into the school.  It was Leah's turn to go, but the parent started to go at the same time, so Leah stopped, waved the parent to go ahead and then drove through the stop sign.  Little did we know, a Citrus Heights policeman was watching this.  He turned after us and then stopped Leah.  First he accused her of not stopping and then stopping only because she saw the police car.  Either way, she did not deserve the ticket he wrote. 

The drive in was uneventful.  I always pray going over the Bay Bridge.  We dropped Leah's mom off at the uncle's house and we went on to Kaiser.  There we had problems.  Imagine a five story parking structure with valet parking and there is no space.  We drove around until we lucked out and a woman came out to her car.  The people there park so badly that she had to climb into her car on the passenger side because the car next to her was parked sooo close to her that she couldn't get into the driver's side no matter what.  Only Flat Stanley could get in that small space.

Leah disappear into the inner offices.  When she comes out her doctor is walking behind her.  I had read his profile and discovered he was from Lebanon.  I once had a doctor assigned to me from Pakistan and I was concerned.  Lebanon seems like a more civilized place.  After the first appointment Leah discovered the lab was open and we headed there.  She discovers that her juice opened up in her purse so there is juice over everything.  So, supportive Julie sat there drying her purse and stuff while she got her blood taken and typed.  We heard there was a farmer's market outside the hospital and decided to take advantage of this.  There was a tamale guy who was taking the sign down as we approached him.  He had three spicy pork tamales left.  Leah bought one and I bought the other two.  They were delicious!

We went back to the hospital for this class.  I figured I would sit in some waiting room away from the group, but there were no chairs--only a hallway.  There were more than enough chairs, so I stayed.  The nurse encouraged questions, but I was the only one who asked about anything.  I was the only one there who was just there for support.....The nutritionist was impressed that I was asking questions and taking notes while not there for surgery.

At 4:30pm we drove over to Fisherman's Wharf.  Leah said we could have gone to have dinner with her family (uncle, aunt, mom, cousins), but she told them I really had to go to Fisherman's Wharf.  We walked over to Boudin's and had clam chowder in a bread bowl (what Leah had planned, not me).  It was yummy.  Can you believe that a cup of coffee was $3.50????  It was more than an iced tea.  We went over to Ghiradelli and had an ice cream sundae (shared) and still Leah's plan.  We walked around and wasted time until 6:30pm.  Leah called her mom and found out they were just sitting down to dinner.  We figured we would drive over and then sit for a bit in the car to give them time.  It took 30 minutes to get over to Mateo Street from Fisherman's Wharf.  We got on Van Ness Avenue.  That street goes up--big steep hills-- and then back down in long steep drops.  I prayed the whole time and crossed myself every time we made it to a stop sign and didn't go sliding down the hills backward.  If it wasn't so far, I would have gotten out and walked.  I did consider it.  Eventually we got to 136 Mateo St and we got out and went in to say hello.  They were just chatting over dessert.  Leah's cousin Paul went in and made coffee.  Hurrah!

Paul and Tara live in a typical San Francisco row house.  They are so cute and so small.  The rooms are tiny.  My dining room is huge in comparison.  You could fit their dining and living rooms in just my living room and I have always thought my living room was so small.....  We stayed for about an hour talking.  There was a friend there from Nicaragua who was leaving to go home the next day.  That was why Leah's mom wanted to came with us.

We had plenty of traffic on the way home.  We arrived home safely by 10pm--just in time to find out that Kristen was voted off Dancing With the Stars.  We must have our priorities!  It was fun to spend the day with Leah.  I am equally happy that I took today (Wednesday) off because I was really tired and needed to sleep in.  I know how to use my vacation days!

Hope all is well with you and yours.  If you go to San Francisco, stay away from Van Ness Avenue.  It is too scary!