Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Peace and Quiet

Nothing is better than a Christmas afternoon. It's time to relax after days of parties with families and friends. Good times have been had by all.

The traditions of our family were observed again this year. After an evening at Grandmama's house enjoying soup and chaos (28 people in two rooms?) everyone came back to the house to get ready for Santa. The pjs were unwrapped and put on. A new Christmas book was opened and read. The kids were sent to bed to try and go to sleep. Parents stayed up late to finish up last-minute tasks and to laugh and talk about Christmas' past.

Five hours of sleep went by quickly. This year the Littlest Ms. Eris got a sneak preview of the Santa haul. At her young age she was fully aware that there were good things in all those packages!

The kids were allowed to come upstairs once Grandmama was securely settled in her chair to watch the festivities. A special thanks to Mr. Athena for venturing out early to go get her after last night's beautiful snowstorm.

After an hour of opening gifts and eating breakfast it was now time to relax. As usual, Eris was the first to crash, followed shortly by Athena.

By 10 a.m. the loot has been packed up and the kids are leaving. Ahhh, it is quiet. Almost spooky. The cleaning up happens very slowly. The bed probably won't get made at all. Yes, that's right! Leftovers for lunch and supper.

Why should I cook when there is a plate of homemade chocolates right next to me!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Those left behind...

How come the other dog got to go?
Not fair (stomping of paws and growling).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's back!

I got a call on Friday that my camera was back after two weeks in the Nikon repair hospital. Picked it up yesterday morning and made sure that it was working, which it is! I haven't been able to give it a good workout yet but hopefully that will be soon. After being told 4-6 weeks for repair this was a great surprise. Now Festivus can go on as scheduled. And Deke can get married!

I realize this probably means little to the rest of you, but imagine Athena being without her cell phone or Ipod, or Eris having to do without her computer!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Something's not right here..

Part of my family is in Disneyland today. I'm not.

Is it time to begin the Airing of Grievances?

Seriously, I hope you are having a great time!
(Meemoo, are you with me?)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Festivus progress

Shhhh.... Don't tell anyone, but the pjs are done! This is always a big relief. Each year I am surprised all over again at how much these simple pajama pants mean to the kids (and big kids?). Last week Jakers asked me if I was doing them this year and when I told him "no" he looked like I had slapped him! I quickly reassured him that they would be waiting for him on Christmas Eve. The kids might not remember the other gifts they receive from Grandpa and Grandma but they can all tell you what their pants were for the last few years. Recently I was shown Pearl's pants from last year. Totally, absolutely threadbare! Now that makes it worth doing them!

Looks like there will be enough scraps for another coveted pajama quilt. Bubba received it last year after spending Christmas morning at the hospital getting his appendix removed. If you look closely at the Pajama Gang photo at the right you can see the pale, pained look on his face. Let's not have that much excitement this year, okay?

Oh yeah, the stocking for little Lily is finished as well.

It has been extremely cold, dark and icy this week. My street totals are pretty sad.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's Festivus!

I woke up this morning at 5:00 a.m. with a feeling of dread. Today was the day set aside for starting my holiday shopping. Aarrgghh.

All of the sudden it hit me: FESTIVUS!!!!! I have been waiting for nearly a year for this day to arrive but just didn't know the exact date that it would happen! I jumped out of bed and began frantically getting ready for this exciting day!

The first order of business was to get the Festivus pole up for the entire neighborhood to enjoy. I'm sure they all appreciated my pounding away at 8:00 a.m. Special thanks to Kari for coming over to take this photo.

The next item on my Festivus Festivities was to deliver gifts. As you can see, Athena was totally delighted with her PeeWee Herman talking doll. Jubee was unsure about her used ring but wore it anyway. Eris was simply grossed out by the talking Wendy doll (sorry, no photo) because she has always said it was possessed. Jan was pleased with the ugly picnic set that she received.

Although Jubee did not participate in most of the Festivus Festivities she was certainly a good sport. (Notice that she is showing off her gift!) She did mention more than once that she was getting a little worried.

Overall, the shopping went very well. As usual, I found a special treasure, one that will stay in my studio all year to put a smile on my face!

On the way home I was pleasantly surprised to see that the esteemed leaders of our fair city have seen fit to observe Festivus by putting out this fabulous Festivus Tree display. Hmmm, R & O Construction may have helped with this as well.

The celebration of Festivus is very open to individual interpretation. I have chosen to forgo the Airing of Grievances at this time because I have done it so well for the past twelve months. After all, why should these feelings be enjoyed only one day a year?

The wresting to the ground of the head of household is a private matter that will not be discussed in this blog.

If you are now totally confused you may opt to take a few minutes at this website:

Always remember: FESTIVUS FOR THE REST OF US!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Happy Birthday to Mr. Athena(?)

The hairy guy in the red suit

Lucy already knows how to shmooze the big guy in the red suit.

Pearl hasn't caught on yet.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Happy Birthday to Eris!

Can it possibly be 26 years ago (okay, okay, 31)? Nothing has been the same since that day. Athena's life was turned upside down (see "letters and numbers"post) and the rest of us have had a hard time keeping up with her as well. There is always a new challenge waiting for her and she can't wait to conquer it. That is why no one will be surprised that she is spending the day working on her final research papers, and loving it!

I love to look back through my albums to see what changes the years have brought. With Eris the eyes and smile will always be the same. Now we have added two more little Ms. Eris to the mix. Life will never be boring!

Happy birthday to you! We love ya!


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sis, you asked for it!

It took Athena a few minutes to figure this one out!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Every family has one

Every family has one. This is the kid who keeps everything in an uproar at all times. The surprises come one after another and after a while you wonder why you are surprised at all. This is the kid who takes every unconventional turn and ends up landing on his feet, running at full speed.

Meet my nephew Deke. He has been the one who has kept everyone in turmoil his entire life and gets great pleasure out of it. He loves to tease everyone and everything, cousins, aunts, dogs, cats, anything that breathes. A straight answer never comes out of his mouth. To him, rules are meant to be broken, or at least bent severely.

Deke has always been fascinated with fire. I have heard more than one story about how my sister's house or something else was nearly burned down. Fireworks were especially fun. When this kid was 14 he tried to break a telephone pole in half with his head while on an ATV. Thank heavens he was wearing a helmet. That little stunt got him a ride in a LifeFlight helicopter and great big scars on his chest, which he proudly showed off to his missionary companions. One of my favorite times with Deke was visiting him in the hospital while he was recovering and taking a bunch of boxes of Poppers, those little firecracker things that explode when you throw them at the ground. We had a great time on the second floor balcony throwing them at people walking into the hospital below!

About a month ago Athena called me with another Deke story. A reliable source had told her that he was going to get married soon. I told her "no way". Surely, his FA would have known about it. By the end of the day the rumor had been confirmed. No one had even met this lovely lady yet. Well, I finally got a chance to meet the fiance last Saturday and take some photos of the soon-to-be-wed couple. She is a delight, as are her two little boys. A date has not been set yet, but the tentative plans for the party afterward is a large bonfire at the home he is building. Is anyone surprised?

By the way, every family has a Deke. If you can't figure out who yours is, chances are it is you!


Thursday, November 29, 2007


Light plagues me. It seems like many of my life's challenges involve light, or the conquering of light. It is something that I took for granted until the last three years when I realized that some of the things I enjoy doing are dependent on how well I understand and can work with light. Today has been a particularly frustrating day with light.

For those of you who are skiers you probably already know what too much or too little light will do to a day on the slopes. Too much light and you are blinded by the white snow, not to mention the agony of burned eyeballs after a blissful day in the sun. Under cloudy skies the light becomes flat. There is no contrast and shadows disappear, making it nearly impossible to navigate through the moguls. Since I will forever be considered a novice skier this makes a trip down the slopes tough, if not dangerous.

With a camera in my hands "light" takes on a whole new meaning. It is either my friend or my enemy. For three years I have been studying hard and taking many thousands of photos in my quest to understand and utilize light. Just when I think I'm getting a handle on it I blow a shot and have to start over. F-stops, color temperatures, exposure compensations and white balancing will drive me crazy for the rest of my life. The search for the perfect "Rembrant lighting" might never be achieved. Sometimes I miss the old days of picking up a camera and not worrying about blown highlights.

This morning the "lack of light" just simply irritated me. When I am out running and the skies are cloudy it is impossible to see shiny objects in the street. I know they were out there.
11-28 $1.23
11-29 $.14

Monday, November 26, 2007

Counting the days

Two nights ago while helping Mom remove many years of accumulated "stuff" from her bedroom my sister and I were looking through boxes of Mom and Dad's treasures. Many of these treasures had been out of sight since he passed away 12 years ago. I told my sister a story of something that happened at Dad's last Christmas and she has given me permission to repeat this and post these photos. (Sorry, K)

The Christmas of 1994 was hard on Dad. He was struggling with many health problems. His tradition was always to go shopping right before Christmas, usually the day before. That year I picked him up and took him to the mall so he could find a gift for Mom. He wandered around and around and just couldn't seem to find the right thing for her. After what seemed like hours I finally was able to steer him to a nice robe and we headed to the checkout counter. As we passed by the costume jewelry he stopped at a table and looked for a long time at some boxes. The one he picked up was a simple brooch of the letter "K". I remember asking him if he wanted to get one for all the girls and he said "no". (Dad was a man of few words.) Those two gifts were the only ones that he purchased. I'm told that Special K cherishes this pin.

Special K, we are all counting the days until you get here for the holidays! Get ready to party!
Correction: K just told me that it was a bracelet, not a brooch.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Record Lows

I left the house this morning at 6:45 a.m. and the temp outside was probably around 15 degrees. An extra undershirt and leggings would keep me warm, along with added gloves and a thinsulate stocking cap. Last year I did 19 degrees so this didn't scare me too much. The full moon was still up and gorgeous, a perfect time to be out on the quiet streets.

Went through Taco Time. Zero. Wendy's. Zero. McDonald's. One penny. Okay, on to the good place, Blockbuster. One penny. 7-11, usually worth some good silver, zero. And so it went on for my one hour on the streets.

The grand total for the morning: eight cents! That is less than I found in the sleepy little town of Yerington last week. Weekends are usually quite lucrative, especially on holidays. Add to that all the shopping that supposedly was being done yesterday and I was all set for a large total. Go figure. The only thing I came home with (besides an embarassing eight pennies) was a very cold right thigh where those measly coins were in the pocket.

Come on folks!! Get out here and drop some silver! It's too cold to go out for this paltry amount. Now I am off to spend a few hours helping Mom clean out her overflowing clothes closets. Maybe some pennies have fallen out of her pockets onto the closet floor.

Thanksgiving day: $1.18
Today: $00000.08

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Athena, you asked for it!

This group was at the airport when Mom and I returned from the Philippines in 1999.

I know that there was another guy there with a clown nose on! How did he escape the camera?

meemoo, you asked for it!

The year was 1998 and I think I was returning from a trip to Phoenix. And of course, I was the last one to get off the airplane.

I'm sure there were a few people who wondered which passenger was the convicted murderer.

Bubba is holding the sign and Jubee is in my arms.



Sunday, November 18, 2007


Twenty-six years ago I started a new job as a teacher's aide in a school for children with disabilities. The teacher I was assigned to work with assumed that I knew what I was doing. In the first week she asked me to be in charge of "gross motor activities". "Okay", I told her, not having the slightest clue what gross motor meant. She was very patient with me for the first year as I learned the ropes. The next three years we shared a classroom and soon became good friends.

Best friends are there for each other every step of the way. They stick together through thick and thin. Together we have been through many trials as well incredibly happy times. We have seen divorces, deaths of fathers, problems with children and many changes in life situations. She kept me out of jail (sugar in the gas tank of a red 300Z) and introduced me to wine coolers. She was a huge support while I was in college and shared my happiness when I got married. We have shared the delights of each other's grandchildren. Last year we celebrated our "25th anniversary" as friends, complete with silly silver gifts.

My friend has patience and the ability to forgive like no other person I have ever met. I marvel at this. Over the years she has listened to my endless stream of rants and raves. She was never judgemental when I did totally stupid things, and there were plenty of those.

Today is my friend's 70th birthday. She is a very young 70. (Most are shocked to hear her age.) Last week I spent three days in Nevada with her wonderful 89 year old mother Phyllis. Now I know that I can look forward to at least another 19 years of this friendship, assuming that she continues to keep me out of jail.

Call your best friend today.

BFF: Best Friends forever




Thursday, November 15, 2007

with Love to Lucy

Today is Lucy's 5th birthday! She came charging into this world her own way (not waiting for the doctor) and has insisted on doing everything independently since then. It seems like she was speaking in sentences before her first birthday and hasn't stopped talking since. The words that tumbled out of her mouth during those first years kept us amazed.

There is never a dull moment when Lucy is around. She is up for any challenge, be it swimming and skiing at age 3 to going on every ride at Lagoon that she is tall enough to get on. Sometimes the fearlessness can be a problem, such as June 2005 when we were touring Mesa Verde and she insisted on climbing the ladders and walls out of the canyon by herself. Thank heavens for the leash!

It will be interesting to see where life takes this child. She is very much like her mother Eris in that she wants to experience everything. I love that she was named after me, although maybe that is where the stubbornness is rooted. There is never a dull moment when she is around and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I Love Lucy!

$ .20

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Flying just isn't the same.

Tomorrow morning I fly to Reno to spend a few days with Jan and Phyllis, her incredible mom. We will drive home on Wednesday.

Airports can be emotional places. People cry because they are happily greeting loved ones or cry because loved ones are leaving them. Occasionally you might see a strange sight and hear giggles coming from behind a pillar.

I believe Jake was barely a year old when he went to greet his Mommy (Eris) and Daddy at the airport. They had been in Vegas at a business meeting for three days. Eris really missed him and wanted him waiting at the gate with hugs and kisses. Ummm, sorry. For 30 minutes Jake sat at the head of an escalator dressed in his torn and mismatched clothes, covered with the remnants of a Raspberry Twinkie. He was perfectly content while watching lots of people pass by, some chuckling and some stopping to talk to him. He was fascinated by all the attention. Some people walked by more than once just to see what was going to happen.

A sad and disappointed Eris finally reached the top of the escalator to find Jake waiting for her, along with about a dozen people who were also curious about who this poor child belonged to. Eris' screams of joy were accompanied by applause and laughter from the crowd. The giggles coming from behind the pillar became uncontrolled laughter!
Airports just aren't fun anymore.
11-09 $1.20
11-10 $.69

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Letters and Numbers

Each time my daughters get together I am even more amazed that they came from the same gene pool. Although we try to deny this fact it has given us more than a few chuckles. They are different in so many ways that no one would guess that they are indeed sisters. With Eris' (the Goddess of Chaos) permission I would like to give her sister the title of Athena, the Goddess of War and Order. Athena is well know for her leadership in battles and insists on order in all things.

Athena is short, brunette and has short fingers and toes. Eris is tall, blond and has long fingers and toes. Their philosophies on life are as opposite as their physical characterists. Athena loves Nascar, Eris can't get enough of politics.

Last week I realized that these two Goddesses are different in one other way. Athena is blessed with the powers of numbers. She loves to play with them in many different ways and has used this ability in her successes at employment. This power reaches the bizarre level when she recites old license plate numbers and very old telephone numbers. (I have a tough time with my address because it has more than five numbers!) Athena's children seem to be similarly talented.

Eris is likewise blessed, but with the power of letters. She can read a textbook and retain the information, all while watching TV (and she enjoys it!). She read the latest Harry Potter in a day. (It will take me months to get through this book.) Her achievements in education is proof of her uncanny abilities. Eris' children also are letter people.

As you can tell from the photo, Numbers and Letters don't always get along. Obviously, the Goddess of Chaos was trying to mess up the play toys of the Goddess of Order. The ensuing battle was probably won by Athena by using her talents at war. This is one of my favorite photos!

In spite of their differences these two get along surprising well.
It is always a riot when they get together. Unfortunately, one of their favorite activities is making fun of me!

Can't wait until Poker night tomorrow!

11-07 $1.38
11-08 $.09

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


This is scary. One of the things that I have learned in my life is to NEVER write things down that could get me in trouble. Anyone who is reading this has also been a witness to this little bit of wisdom. So why am I doing this?

I don't keep a diary. I take photographs. These photos are my way of bragging about the people and things who are important to me. Continuously bragging about how wonderful my kids and grandkids are must get tiresome to others, especially those who have their own bragging to do. Also, there are a few people that I love (Lolo and FN, are you there?) who live far away that might appreciate some of these images.

It might take awhile to get comfortable with this. Any suggestions (gently, please) would be greatly appreciated.