Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Happy Halloween to all of you!

This year I was smarter than last. All candy to be given out to the little goblins was specifically chosen because it's NOT chocolate and can be resisted. The kids will like it.

The menu for supper tonight is Pumpkin Soup. No kidding. After that we will be welcoming our favorite little trick or treaters for brief visits.

If you would like to see other scary photos click and click.

Note to self: cropping photos with decorative scissors, stupid idea.

$0.00 (hopefully back out on Monday)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Buddhizing Numismatizing

Yesterday morning I attended a lecture given by Zeus on Buddhist Ethics. He only had a few hours notice because the scheduled speaker was unable to make it due to a snowstorm up north. Of course, Zeus did a masterful job. His subject matter, along with the MoneyWalker's (bleason) comments on my last post have prompted this subject matter.

I often joke about picking up coins while ralking. But seriously, I do realize that there is a fine line between what I do and pocketing money that doesn't belong to me. Bleason and I seem to be travelling the same paths many time zones apart and he has touched on the ethics of our strange hobby.

About five years ago I started daily walking, at first finding random coins in gutters that I thought were quirks. As my walking continued and I ventured out onto other streets I began to realize that there was coinage all over the place, a person just had to know how and where to look for it. For a while I didn't talk much about it to others but then my finds became common knowledge to those around me. Oh yes, I have taken a fair amount of teasing, mostly good-natured and always deserved.

Along the way I have developed my own "rules" for numismatizing, most of which are similar to Bleason's. I will share a few of these with you.

1. Walk early and fast. Most of the fast food establishments have not even opened when I go under the windows. Coinage that has been left outside all night is fair game, right??? Regarding "window wardens", I've seen all kinds of them, from the fun woman at a McDs who called me back to tell me that I missed a quarter to the guy who threatened to call the cops. That was in a different city and I never went back. Oh wait, there was one really rude guy who I told to catch me if he wanted his nickel back. He didn't. Also, I won't interfere with business. Coinage in the street, all mine, baby!
2. Safety. I've been on a morning ralking hiatus this week partly due to the pitch black darkness that lasts until seven. Of the three places I frequent one is scary in the dark and the other two are unsafe due to traffic. I wear ID and reflective clothing and have learned to never trust drivers making right turns. This weekend the time changes. Hallelujah!
3. Never miss an opportunity. Vending machines, telephone booths, parking lots, car washes, they all are ripe and ready for picking. Learn to laugh when others look at me quizzically.
4. Smile and say good morning to everyone I pass. It's a challenge to see who will reply.
5. Relish the sunny days and enjoy the rain. Endure the bone-chilling cold with more layers and thinsulate. Sleep in on the windy or icy days or hit the pool.
6. Realize that numismatizing provides needed motivation to get outdoors and enjoy the solitude. Who could have guessed that I would love mornings?

7. Mostly, be grateful that in my senior years (ouch!!) I can still ralk and that the circumstances of my life allow the time and luxury to do it. Also, the support of Zeus is priceless.


Monday, October 26, 2009

My miracle children

For the last few years I have looked at Athena and Eris and marveled at how they turned out so well. They are intelligent and both excel in their chosen fields. They each revel in new challenges, especially big ones, and are fiercely independent yet at the same time dedicated to families and life goals.

During their formative years the cutting edge technology in our home consisted of books, paper, crayons and scissors. Imagination was also a necessity. Television was four channels, one of which was PBS and included Sesame Street and the Electric Company. When we traveled they read, slept or sang along with whatever AM radio station was available. No multiple video players, Ipods or Gameboys. We kept track of state license plates, drew with an etch-a-sketch or played Fish. Or slept some more.

Circumstances in our home during their early school years didn't allow for the latest technological marvels. We were thrilled when we were given a secondhand BETA video player and later a Texas Instruments Computer that even had MUNCHMAN installed on it. (The old TI got me through college in the late 80's!)

Today I feel vindicated. It has been announced that Disney will issue refunds for those who purchased the Baby Einstein products. Apparently there is no proof that exposure to these videos will make a baby smarter. Who would have guessed that books, paper, crayons, scissors and a healthy dose of imagination would work just as well?


Saturday, October 24, 2009


I know before I even type one word that this is a very risky post. Some of you may be offended and for that I am deeply sorry. Gonna do it anyway.

Cats are not my favorite animal. They are temperamental, moody, aloof and hairy. If they are indoor cats they can often be found in many places that they don't belong. If they are outdoor cats they are chasing birds or pooping in the neighbor's garden. OH YES, THEY ARE!!!

Last night as I left Ms. Dub's house "Kitten" was nice and comfy on the hood of my car. Obviously, no one had warned this cat about who he was dealing with because he refused to budge, even after multiple camera flashes and the engine starting. Nope, he taunted me by sauntering right up the windshield and perching his hairy kitty butt on top of the car. No physical harm came to the cat as he was removed and placed behind the rear tire... ummm, I mean on the sidewalk.

Cat lovers, commence flaming.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

How did you play?

The photo has been sitting on my desk for quite a while. This was the team that taught me to ask "How did you play" instead of "Did your team win?".

Can you spot her? I'm laughing because she just entered another game. For a long time she has sworn that she would never join Facebook. Oh yes, after one week she is all over FB!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Bumping Elbows

Wiping noses and changing gross diapers of sick children. Eating apples on the way home from the grocery store before washing them. Dog kisses. Picking up dirty coins off the street. Sharing delicious desserts with anyone who will let me. Plus many other things that I am not willing to admit on a public blog.

Germophobic? That word would previously never been used to describe me. But now, things might be changing just a bit. It started about two weeks ago when Littlest spent her birthday on my couch running a fever and unable to eat. No, maybe it actually started two days before that when I saw the Duke looking like someone had beat him mercilessly with his own lacrosse stick.

Last week for the first time I refused a handshake by explaining to the kind person with the outstretched hand that she probably didn't want to risk catching my cooties. She didn't and then thanked me. Later that day as I boarded a germ-infested airplane I also did the same thing to a seat-mate who offered his hand. He seemed surprised but also nodded approval.

My right elbow has in the past caused me great pain with a nice scar to prove it. Hopefully it will become more useful now as I learn to offer it in greeting instead of my hand. Don't be offended, be grateful I'm keeping my cooties to myself. And by the way, yours cooties probably aren't any better than mine.

And no, I'm not germophobic. I just ate an unwashed apple. After I coughed on it.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Numi Tea Garden

So how cool is THIS!!!

And THIS!!!

For the last two years while Zeus and I have been making our twice-yearly pilgrimages to the Bay area I have seen from the freeway a building with an advertisement for the Numi Tea Garden. Today we finally made it a point to go in and see what it was all about. We had a delightful lunch of Spanikopita and Olive Tapenade and tea in the garden and then picked up a few souvenirs to take home. I'm not a hot tea drinker so was particularly pleased to find that they also have cold, bottled tea. It was really goooood! Now I just have to find out if there are any suppliers here in the land of UT. Doubtful.

The flight home was a bit longer than planned. Gave up my seat so a family could all get on the same flight. No, I wasn't just being nice. I was well compensated by the airlines for traveling from Oakland to SLC via Portland. It really wasn't bad. I spent the last leg of the trip watching Arrested Development on my laptop.

It was hard to leave Zeus behind in Berkeley, especially considering that today is his birthday. If you get a chance you might want to send him some extra good wishes! Love ya, hon!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Partly sunny and more sourdough!

Checking in again, this time with dry feet and once again stuffed to the gills. Today's lunch at the wharf was sourdough bread bowls filled with delicious tomato soup. Yummm.

Just for Eris, here are a few photos of Coit Tower, located at the top of famous Telegraph Hill, the highest point in San Francisco. Not only are the views from the top spectacular but the ground floor is filled with colorful murals painted in the 1930s by various artists.

The afternoon was all we hoped it would be.... and more. Thanks Zeus!


Note: Just saw on television that a 3.8 earthquake hit San Jose, about 35 miles away. Hope we don't start swaying here tonight!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rain, rain and more rain!

We knew it was coming. In watching the forecasts for San Francisco this last week we couldn't miss all of the special weather warnings that had been posted. Oh well, tickets were purchased and a little water wouldn't stop us.

It didn't stop us, although our plans were altered just a little. Started out this morning with a visit to the Dolores Mission, a beautiful old church that was the first building in San Francisco. Part of the church was destroyed in the 1907 earthquake and a new basilica was built, complete with beautiful stained glass windows. Even with the cloudy skies the windows were still lovely.

A few other places visited: The City College of San Francisco where we saw an original wall mural by a favorite artist Diego Rivera. Awesome.

Two fabric stores, one that I will be visiting again, Darlene's Fabrics. This was the DI of all fabric stores, lots of bargains on bolts, notions and ribbons just waiting to be picked through. The owner was the best part, an aging hippie who knew exactly what was in the store and who measured a yard of fabric at approximately 42 inches! Contrast that store with Britex, the other store, a four-story experience of overpriced textiles, nonexistent customer service and No. Restrooms. Are you kidding me??? Fabrics priced through the roof and they can't put in a potty?

Like yesterday, more delicious food, including another loaf of sourdough bread and chocolate. Suffering serious heartburn tonight from the yummy penne pasta consumed at the Wharf.

$.03 (not good results in the rain)

Monday, October 12, 2009


Hello from unsunny California! In fact, very unsunny. The major storm that was predicted is supposed to hit at any time with high winds (ugh) and lots of rain. Not sure what that will do to our plans for tomorrow but if we have to we can hang out in our lovely room.

Actually, the above photo was taken this afternoon while we toured the prison on the Island of Alcatraz. The room above is a typical cell, 5 ft wide, 8 ft high and 9 feet long. No view of other prisoners and most had no direct sunlight. Prisoners sat in these cells for 23 hours a day. Solitary confinement was even worse than this! The prison was closed in 1963.

It's impossible to spend time in San Francisco and not enjoy the wonderful cuisine. Zeus enjoyed a great dish of spaghetti and salmon while I enjoyed a very different and delicious lasagna. The sourdough bread here is to die for! Ummmm! I could eat it with every meal. And it goes without saying that dessert came from Ghirardelli Square. Now I just need to keep that ribbon tied tightly.

We took a couple of rides on cable cars in our outings. They are not as "friendly" as our Trax and Frontrunner systems back home.

However, they do produce trollified pennies just as well as our traxified pennies!

$.04 and one trollified penny
Update, Tues AM: It's raining and blowing, expected to continue all day. We have some interesting places to visit, all indoors and in the city. It's a good thing the hair was cut before leaving home.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ebony and Ivory

Sometimes I miss it so much my fingers ache. Often when I'm in church and listen to the pianist play there is almost a weird emptiness inside. Eight years ago when my piano moved over to Eris' house I never dreamed that I would one day miss it, and honestly, for six years I didn't. So why now?

A few weeks ago I sat down at a strange piano, got out a book of unfamiliar music pieces and tried to play. My brain knew what to do but it had forgotten how to communicate with my clumsy fingers as they stumbled across the keys. I left the room feeling sad and a little depressed.

The piano has always played an important part in my life, beginning in junior high and high school when I was either accompanying the choirs or singing. Playing the piano or organ at church was my ticket to avoid having to teach Sunday School classes. Then for eighteen years I sat at the electric keyboard with a group of eight singers who simply got enjoyment out of performing for others.

My skills were never as accomplished as those of my sisters, mostly because I considered the piano to be a tool for my enjoyment, much like my running shoes or cameras are now, or golf clubs are to an avid golfer. It was my hobby. My parents generously provided lessons all through my growing years, lessons that I selfishly took for granted and rarely practiced like I should have.

So why the unexplained yearnings? It makes no sense because I certainly have no desire to play in public or on a stage again. Nevertheless, I often think about having a piano in my home even though the drawers of music are gone and my fingers are very rusty. And I can't see the music without reading glasses. When did that happen?


Thursday, October 8, 2009


Yesterday was payday!

Total weight of coins: 28 pounds
Paper money: twenty three dollars
Gold dollars: eight
Collection time: Seven months, 13 days

Grand Total: $202.13
(This includes $8.81 that the bank rejected.
That will buy Zeus' morning cup of coffee for a while.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Health care, anyone???

Today is Littlest's fourth birthday. This is what she is doing.

Instead of partying at the pizza joint and Children's Museum with the Princess and cousin Keegan she is sleeping on my couch, probably drooling all over my pillows. She arrived this morning with a nasty cough and a fever. The two of us have been camped out all day in the lair watching the Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. When that child turns down mac-n-cheese and chocolate pudding you know she's not feeling up to par. Pushing liquids has not gone well but will resume when she wakes up.

Other health news in the family, more broken bones. This time D-Rock, Athena's husband is learning to live with a boot on his right foot and a sling around his right shoulder. Diagnosis: broken metatarsal bone in the foot and numerous breaks and probably internal damage to the shoulder. Surgery likely in the near future to repair. At least he has a good story to tell. Happened at Lake Powell jumping onto a boat that moved. Luckily friends were there to pull him out of the water so he could enjoy the ambulance ride to a hospital.

And the winter season is only beginning....


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Ungreen Thumb

At the beginning of summer this year I planted four zucchini squash, four pumpkins and two butternut squash. These plants were haphazardly watered whenever I noticed them wilting. The zucchinis were quite prolific, so much that I couldn't get rid of them fast enough and many ended up in the garbage can. The pumpkins produced fairly well and I would be picking them today if it wasn't raining, very windy and otherwise a totally miserably dark day outside. (If I was smart I would shut this computer down because I hear thunder echoing off the mountains. Not smart, I guess.)

Eris had given me a tomato plant and in spite of my nearly total neglect that thing grew incredibly large and produced lots of little red gems. A couple of weeks ago while picking some cherry tomatoes for Zeus' snacking pleasure I came across a forgotten watermelon plant that I thought was long dead. It's vines had wandered behind the wild roses and were hidden from view. Little and Littlest helped cut them off the wilted vine and we took them in the house to cut them open.

Those little melons were the best that we had all summer! You can see that Little totally cleaned hers out!

The chances are good that we will still have this dirt field behind us next year. I'll probably plant vining plants again next spring just to keep the dust down and give the birds a place to perch. There is snow on the mountaintops right now. I have seven months to decide what my sorry excuse for a farm will contain.


Friday, October 2, 2009


I'm pissed. And I need to get this off my chest.

First of all, msdegadeambtsmacoeputfpac. Notbscfcwzwutfc. Owihsomatkmofcftw. Bwhtetshfcwaaststfwssgalsthrbd. Asdwtb. Ahthmdfmmwwutbbfals.BS.

And then to top it all off, tifhwbittwamdhtttiaoot. Lllll. Taalllll. Ihtsilfcgdohaapihhfm.

And then there's this: Tsaihhdsiony. Tbliehid. Mbfitvshaifcoomoo.

And finally, Twitbcbaihtwaiaw. Fwfitmmwtp. Mha.

Now did I miss anything? Oh yeah. It's 6:15 AM and still pitch black dark outside. And isfctidwtgoar. Bmassbtihtgoaatgtpwihatntatolemmwdmfbs.

Rant over. Buddhizing commencing.

If you are reading this post you can rest assured that it is not about you. And don't ask because chances are even I cannot decipher what all of those letters that I just pounded out on my keyboard represent. But I feel #%&%$(@!& better after having said it all.


One more: Wwfscwotsfgc?

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Update: Check out the link in Wendy's comment. It is awesome!

When Napoleon Dynamite came out a few years ago I never thought it would become one of my favorite movies. I've seen it quite a few times since my first viewing and still love it. The Utah/Southern Idaho culture is ripe for satire and Napoleon Dynamite hits much of that nail squarely on the head. The game of tether ball is shown a number of times. Recess time at my grade school almost always included tether ball. Other games that were played were hopscotch, dodge ball and jumping rope.

Last Sunday our family met the English 101 group at a local park for a picnic. The day was absolutely perfect, temps in the 80's and beautiful fall colors breaking out in the mountain backdrop. There were quite a few jump ropes to keep the kids busy, not the old fashioned kind of rope jump ropes, but customized jump ropes made with colorful plastic tubing that loudly slapped the sidewalk with each turn.

Little Ms. Eris started out the fun. She is nearly seven and has lately been improving her skills.

Soon the rest of the kids wanted in on the fun so the long rope was put into play.

Athena and Eris wanted a turn as well.

Now this is scary. My mother is 78 years old. She insisted on a turn in the ropes, assisted by her great-grandson Bubba. She made it over the rope for a few rotations before Bubba missed. Thankfully, no broken bones.