Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012

This year Christmas went very well.  Having a full weekend before Christmas arrives is KEY.  I wish that happened every year.

The week before Christmas my brother's family joined us on the Niles Christmas Train of Lights. His daughter is 3.5 years old so watching her experience this event is pretty fun for all of us. I only have iPhone pictures to share so forgive the quality.

Shawna and I

Paula, Shawna and niece Allison

                                My brother Alan, Todd and Santa and Mrs. Clause coming down the train

Paula and I

My sister-in-law Jennifer. See how pretty the lights are inside the train. 

Allison at my house after.  We were trying on snow wear.  

The girls worked together to build mini gingerbread houses.  I vowed to buy normal size ones next year.

My husband's sense of humor attached to my light fixture

My brother (the cop) and his sense of humor. 
Alan sent this to me saying another cop sent it to him. He said this is what cops do when they're bored with Christmas stuff. 

Shawna pretending to make a phone call on the antique phone at my in-laws house.
There is actually a dial tone!

My in-laws house, where my husband grew up, is practically all wood inside. It might explain why my house is too. 
The husband ADORES OAK. 

My table scape with my Spode Christmas China

This is a 66 year old Elf on a Shelf my mom has from when she was a child. 
The face appears to be carved from wood.  My kids had fun looking for him one day when Grandma hid him several times. Like hide-n-seek.

Both girls were part of the nativity story at church on Christmas Eve. They did very well. Shawna was an Angel and Paula was Mary. The priest asked all the kids questions and both girls answered correctly on all counts. Did you know sheep herders were considered BAD? Yes, apparently they were the low man on the totem pole and were not considered "good". When the priest mentioned this the entire church hummed. I don't think anyone knew this fact. If it is in fact, a fact. Heh.

Overall this Christmas was enjoyable and not too stressful.  I'm very grateful for my family and friends.  Hope everyone reading this (all 4 of you) had a wonderful Christmas too!  xoxo

Tuesday, December 11, 2012



Dust if you must but wouldn’t it be better

To paint a picture or write a letter,

Bake a cake or plant a seed.

Ponder the difference between want and need.

Dust if you must but there’s not much time.

With rivers to swim and mountains to climb!

Music to hear and books to read,

Friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must but the world’s out there

With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,

A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,

This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must but bear in mind,

Old age will come and it’s not kind.

And when you go and go you must,

You, yourself, will make more dust.

Remember, a house becomes a home when

You can write “I love you” on the furniture……

Author unknown

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Israel not so far from home

I work for an Israeli owned company with our HQ in Tel Aviv. I talk to my Israeli folks almost daily for one reason or another. I’ve met some in person when they’ve come out here for sales conferences or projects. We've gone to lunch, hugged, kissed cheek to cheek.  Shown each other pictures of our kids, told stories, laughed. 

Last week when this war with Gaza started I was on a conference call with Israel.  I was remotely working on one Dawn's computer in test mode so her emails came thru to my side. Emails saying that "we" bombed Gaza.  I did not receive those same emails here in the US.  I wasn't on that distribution list.  It was odd to see those emails flashing in front of me while I worked to run the testing I needed to finish. 

We also have several Israeli’s here in our Sunnyvale office who have either been transferred here or are visiting.

The situation over there is very close to home is what I’m saying.

Monday I emailed someone in our IT department who handles Oracle issues for us on a regularly basis. I've met him during a visit here. He's a really nice person. His name is Guy.  Guy is fast to fix problems. I've worked here for almost 1 and 1/2 years and he's the 'guy' to go to, literally.  Thankfully our group figured out the problem on our own so we told him to ignore.

He still responded. “I'm on RD (Reserve Duty) anyway, so I couldn't really help...
No clue when I'll be back. Will inform you once I do.”


I replied to him to "STAY SAFE.  Hoping this ends quickly and safely for all of you."

He just replied to me this morning
"Thanks, doing my best."

I feel like this war is not so far from home.

Monday, November 12, 2012

November Update

I need to update this thing or I'll forget simple things.

Paula has started babysitting for 20 month old twins who live around the block from us. Boy/girl twins. The mom or dad or both are always home. Paula is more of a mothers helper right now but she wants to be able to babysit them and other kids alone some day. She gets paid but not much, although money does make her feel like it’s a real job. In December she’s signed up for a Red Cross babysitting class in Palo Alto from 9am-6pm. That’s a long class. The list of what they get taught is lengthy.

Volleyball started up again at school. There are two 5th/6th grade teams and the one she was on last year (coach) she did not get on this year. This time her team has a lot of new players and although they can hold their own for awhile, they end up losing in the end. She’s discouraged.

For Halloween she dressed up in 80’s clothes. Some from the Halloween super store and some from Goodwill and Walgreens. She wears the legwarmers quite frequently. She may bring them back in style. Heh.

Parents at school asked me if I had those clothes lying around. Ha! I actually did have the black shirt buckle in my hope chest. I just could not throw it out. Good thing! 

Paula's grades are very good also. Almost all A's.  During parent teacher conferences we were surprised to learn she gets distracted easily in class.  Yet she has A's so the teacher is not sure what to make of the two.  Paula is working on paying more attention. 

Shawna is doing really well in school. She also has almost all A's.  Her teacher started the year tutoring her then said she no longer needs it.  She's all caught up from summers lack of reading.  Not that we didn't try to get her to read, she just refused most of the time to pick up a book.  She does better when a teacher makes her read, apparently. 

Volleyball is happening for her too. She's loving her first year. I really like her coach, who has a scheduled movie night for the team. We got her new sneakers yesterday with white soles for the gym.  A new rule or old rule, I'm not sure. She wanted to test them out by jogging but I don't job. haha Todd took her to the school by our house for her to run around. 

This past weekend Paula went to two different sleepovers so Shawna and I got to pal around. We watched Soul Surfer together on the couch.  She's a snuggler that girl. Love my Shawna time. 

Todd turns 45 in a couple days. I'm throwing him a birthday party with our close friends.  I wanted to invite more people than we are but I started to hyperventilate. Thankfully he wanted something smaller.  For Christmas maybe we'll have a big one, who knows.

Alrighty, I'm off to go dress shopping at Macy's for my company holiday party coming up in a couple weeks. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012


                                                                    Halloween 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane

Tomorrow Todd and I head out to Cabo for a weeks vacation sans kids. My mom is arriving today to stay with them all next week.  Todd is texting me now saying the suitcase is already at maximum capacity with the booze we're taking so I guess I don't get to bring any clothes. Heh.  I'm sure he'd love THAT. 

We're going to Playa Grande Resort where we have a timeshare. Last year we had to skip the vacation due to my new job and all.  No vacation time plus I was covering for someone on maternity leave.

I'm looking forward to getting away.  Wishing the temps weren't going to be 91 though.  I'd prefer 80's.  It's not as fun laying out in 91 degrees for a weeks time. 

We'll hopefully get some free activities by listening to more timeshare spiels.  They have an entire system down in Cabo where you get free activities or resort credit just for spending a couple hours of your time with them.  Even your own resort will give you activities for NOT listening to some other resort spiel. The game of timeshares down there is crazy but Todd and I have almost fully mastered the plays. 

Obviously since we have a timeshare or two the spiels sometimes work.  Luckily for us we're too poor to buy anymore.  Heh.  This time around I want someone to offer us a swim with the dolphins again.  Todd and I did that many years ago and it was the BEST feeling ever. If you ever get the chance to swim with dolphins take it.  You won't regret it once. 

Kid wise volleyball just started up again. There is drama though which sucks. There are two teams this year for Paula's grade.  Actually, there are 5th and 6th grade combined becasue not enough 5th graders for their own team and too many 6th grade girls to fit on one team.  The powers that be didn't divide the teams equally off the start, which has caused parents and the players to be quite upset.  Paula especially is sad because she didn't get her favorite coach and most of her classmates/friends are on the other team.  We were told last night the diocese has required the board to divided the teams up again.  This is the result of parent complains I'm sure.  We're hoping for the best.

Volleyball is Paula's favorite sport and she literally wanted to quit when all this happened. I want her to be happy.  I'm not opposed to her making new friends and there is nothing wrong with different coaching syles.  What irks me are the parents who could have prevented this issue from happening in the first place.  I think that's what bothers me the most.   My family didn't make the "cut".  We're not part of the "click" that was chosen to stay together. 

There are league guidelines to follow for a two team split but they didn't follow those guidelines.  On purpose.  Even with the caveat "these teams are not set in stone" is not enough to make me, and some other parents, feel better. 

Shawna's team has zero drama.  Thank God.  This is her first year playing and she's sooo excited.   I watched practice last night and she had fun bumping the ball.  She bumped too hard a few times causing the ball to flyyyy over the court.    

Both girls have colds right now.  Paula's seems to be the worst of the two.  We all received flu shots last week.  They probably got sick from the doctors office who administered the flu shot.  I swear, as youngsters, any time we went for a well-check visit the child would be sick a few days later.  Never failed.  Germs germs germs. 

Todd and I hoped we wouldn't get sick before the trip.  I'm still hoping.  Thankfully Mexico has pharmacy's where you can get everything under the son without a doctors Rx. You can buy Viagra right over the counter. We don't and won't but you can.  Penicillans too.  My nurse friend warned me though that their products might not all be kosher.

Looking forward to hopefully releasing some baby tortoises into the ocean.  This resort has nests on their beach protected by fencing. The resort patrons get to release the babies after hatching.  I did it 2 years ago.  So awesome.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 Remembered

My first child was 6 months and 3 days old when Good Morning America showed the planes crashing through the world trade centers. I didn’t really know what any of it meant at the time.

Terrorists were people who lived far away. Once in awhile they held a plane at gunpoint hoping to free one of their people from prison. I truly never gave them a second thought until that day.

I didn’t know if I should go to work or not. For one thing, I’d just came back to work from maternity leave. I didn’t have any vacation days left.

I didn’t know if I should risk taking my baby to daycare. Would she be safe? Would bombs start falling from the sky? How out of control could this terrorist problem become? I live in the Bay Area.

San Francisco is only 45 minutes from my house. By way the crow flies that’s not very far. Still, I felt I had enough distance between a major city and my home to not panic. I was scared. I was uncertain.

But I wouldn’t panic.

I took a chance. I took Paula to daycare and drove into work. The roads weren’t as busy as they’d normally be.

I turned on the AM radio to listen to news coverage on the event while I drove. How could this happen? Planes hijacked, crashing into buildings. On purpose.

All my coworkers were talking about the event. People were in a daze. Shocked. The lunch room TV was on while people huddled in the room watching the news. By this time the buildings had not collapsed yet. That would come later.

One coworker had tears in her eyes as she said. “All those people. All those people.” That stayed with me.

Not much work was being done. To be productive was impossible. All you could do was watch the news, talk to your work friends, call your family members.

They let us go home early.

I drove to my child, gave her a huge hug. I took her home and watched the rest of the day unfold on the TV. Buildings collapsed, dust/ash everywhere. People running. People missing.

What would all this mean for my future. For my child’s future?

Did we lose freedom that day?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What my family did in June 2012

What my family did in June 2012

Went to my cousin's wedding in Sparks, NV.  The weather was hot but windy. Visiting with my mom's side of the family is one of my favorite things to do always. 

Went to Southern California to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. Super fun!! Highly recommened.

Visited Disneyland and California Adventure

Visited with my mom who came down to stay with us for a week.

Visited my friend Jill's house. The girls held one of her pigeon's which is always fun. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Wow, my calendar is less packed but the days don’t seem to be less busy.

School gets out on June 7th then we immediately (as in same day!) head to Disneyland.

I’m less excited this time than when the girls were younger. They seem less excited too. Not talking about it as much as when they were smaller. This will likely be our last visit in a long time.

I’m splurging on hot lunch for the remainder of the school year. My kids do not get hot lunch normally. Private school hot lunch is very pricey. None of this subsidized or volume discount given to public schools. We pay a minimum of $4.70 for a regular (there is also large which is more) size lunch, which includes drink, entrĂ©e, fruit, and dessert. All organic, no preservatives type food too which adds to the high cost. It’s better than the Lunchables I was sending for awhile though.

We are going to a family wedding this weekend in Sparks, Nevada. My cousin’s son (so cousin once removed?) is marrying his sweetheart of 3 years. We’re all looking forward to the big event and spending time with family. My usual dilemma for these types of events is what to wear? I have waited till the last possible minute to decide on the clothing for my family. Todd will say “what am I wearing?” and the kids too.

This is an outdoor wedding (backyard backs up against a golf course) so I need to check for updates on that. Last weekend it snowed in Tahoe which isn’t totally far from Sparks. Ugh.

My dad is giving us his car. It’s a 1996 Buick Regal. Don’t be jealous now. It doesn’t even have A/C. Well it does, but the A/C doesn’t work. My dad bought a newer car and rather than donate it my mom suggested he offer it to us. Todd is going to drive the car home from their house this weekend (after the wedding) and try to fix the A/C. My BIL is “in” refrigeration. Todd will also use the Buick as a commute car instead of his diesel truck. I don’t do no A/C or windows down so that’s why he gets the car. Both my Odyssey and the truck get the same gas mileage. Plus, I’m carpooling with a coworker. See below for this update.

I’m carpooling to and from work with my manager. To some this may seem awkward, but we’re making it work. It was also his idea. He lives 15 minutes from my house and on the way to work. I drop off my girls to school then swing by his house. I text him as I leave school so he has an idea of my timing. We trade off on driving different days. We act very “business-y” at work but our car commute talk goes everywhere. Today we were talking about work bathroom stories. Swear. People of all cultures live in the Bay Area. Different cultures have strange bathroom habits.

He told me how an East Indian man literally removed his pants and hung them on the hook while he sat down to do his business. The gap in the doors were large enough where my manager could see the pants I guess. And this happened on more than one occasion. I told him at my past job people would stand on the toilet seat and squat, like they do in their own country. Facilities had to make a sign telling people to stop standing on the seats since it left shoe marks. I know right?! People complained about the shoe marks. It didn’t stop so security then checked this particular bathroom when people left. I have more stories but I’ll spare you today. One was so bad it made me gag.

We were just invited today to join some friends in Yosemite. A large group goes every year and some of the group can’t go which opened up some pre-booked rooms. They stay in the Yosemite Lodge. We would normally camp, but we’ve never been to Yosemite yet. Todd and I have, but not with the kids. I was actually looking to go over Labor Day Weekend but this trip is in early July. The thing is, the lodge, which I’ve seen online isn’t much more than a Motel 6 because it’s outdated, musty, etc, is over $200/night. Also, I’m super low on vacation time. New job = not much time off.

The thing is the reason I was planning this trip already is because 2 fathers from our school died within a week of each other for totally separate reasons. Stroke and heart attack. I feel the need to do some of my bucket list items and Yosemite with my family is one of those items.

Over Memorial Day weekend we camped in Santa Cruz at the KOA. While there we visited an aquarium run by USCS. This place was great, inexpensive and entertaining. Seymour Center at Long Marine Lab. We touched a some sharks, looked at various water creatures, saw a swell shark egg case. I didn’t even know sharks gave birth to a “pod” with the baby inside first. Super cool. There was a creature with 15,000 legs. Yes, I’m serious. Afterwards we ate lunch on the Santa Cruz pier. The restaurant we choose, Dolphin’s, wasn’t that great so next time we’ll hit another place, but the overall experience was enjoyable.

                                                                 2 Swell Shark Egg Cases

Paula with sea creature, who has 15,000 tiny little legs

Shawna touched a shark

Shawna & Paula with Miss Blue (Blue Whale)

Paula & Shawna at Dolphin's Restaurant Santa Cruz pier

Me & Todd

Monday, April 23, 2012

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

This weekend Paula, Shawna and I visited my girlfriend, Jill.  

Jill was my matron of honor in 1999 and has been a  long time good friend of mine.  She and her fiance' own an organic farm called Baia Nicchia.  They sell their tomatoes and other veggies to restaurants and at farmers markets.  Her fiance' creates hybrids for the bay area climate.  We have micro climates here in the bay area.  20 degree variances exist from San Francisco to San Jose which is only 45 minutes apart. 

This weekend I went to pick up some tomatoes from her to plant in my own yard.

Jill rescues greyhounds, pigeons and has a love of chickens. She used to keep her chickens at her home but  a fox or raccoon attacked and killed them so now she keeps them at her organic farm in a large caged area. 

My girls had fun petting and holding her chickens. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I must warn you ahead of time, this is a long post. I talk about a few different topics which somehow in my head all relate to each other. (probably not). Aren’t you glad you aren’t in my head?

When I was a little girl I had a bank account with a bank pass book. For you youngster’s out there, a bank pass book is about the size of a passport. It listed your account number, name, debits and credits. Each time I made a deposit the bank stamped it with a date stamp.

Mostly my money consisted of birthday checks but, when I was in the 7th and 8th grade I babysat for a 2 year old named Alex. I was paid $13.00 a week to watch him for 2.5 hours. His mom worked swing shift and his dad worked day shift so there were a couple hours each day they needed a babysitter. I’d leave Jr. High each day and go to his house to watch him. We went to the park a lot and played in the house or backyard. He came to my softball practices with me on days his dad wasn’t home yet. I saved $250 in 2 years babysitting Alex. I bought myself a queen size waterbed in 8th grade with my “Alex” money. A waterbed I didn’t get rid of until I was 27 years old.

But, back to being a little girl. I actually thought the bank had a deposit box just for me. Like in Harry Potter, where the bank vault had a box just for him. I thought the money I gave them was the exact money I’d get back.

I had some silver dollar coins and Indian pennies that I was convinced I could keep safe in MY bank box. Thankfully I never did deposit those items into the bank, or they’d be long gone now. I still have the silver dollars but I have since lost the Indian pennies from my Grandpa.

I just think it’s funny how a child’s mind works and the fact I remember this fact about the bank box about myself.

Currently I have a quaint money collection. My first collectable item, in my opinion, came to me from my most favorite teacher I ever had. Her name was Miss Liu and I adored her. I stayed after class to help her clean the classroom. She always made me feel special and cared for. I sat nervously next to her during recess when I received my first pair of glasses, afraid the children would tease me. They didn’t. I truly had the best 4th grade year EVER because of Miss Liu. I’ve often said I was her “Pet” even though I can’t substantiate that fact.

Originally, however, I was assigned to Mrs. Brazowski. We called her Mrs. BrazowsCOW. I didn’t like her AT ALL. After 3rd grade I didn’t tell my mom I didn’t want her as a teacher. I should have, but I just assumed I’d get Miss Liu as my teacher. I’d never had a bad teacher up to this point but I knew I didn’t want Mrs. BrazowsCOW. She scared me. My mom and I walked to the school on a sunny, summers day to look at the list of classroom assignments, and I almost died when I saw I was assigned to Mrs. BrazowsCOW’s class! She was so MEAN. I could NOT have her as a teacher or I’d die. I begged my mother to get me out of her class.

My mom, flustered and surprised to know this teacher was even an issue, and at this LATE date was understandably displeased she had to contact the office and request a transfer for me. But, contact the office she did and I was transferred from horrible Mrs. BrazowsCOW to wonderful Miss Liu’s class. Thank you mom! Moms rock.

But, the first week of school Mrs. BrazowsCOW sees me in the hallway, stares me down and says in a Hansel & Gretel witch voice (at least in my head) “So, I understand you didn’t want to be in my class”. I just looked at her, stunned she’d called me on it. I didn’t say anything. Eventually one of us kept walking. Horrible.

Back to Miss Liu.

After Christmas break Miss Liu returned from a visit to China. One day after class while I was helping her, we were talking about her trip to China. All of a sudden she goes into her purse and pulls out a red dollar bill. It was Chinese money. She said “here, I want you to have this.”

I was floored. My teacher gave ME money. And not just any money. RED money. Special money. Chinese money. I don’t know how much it’s worth but it has the number 10 on it. I remember asking her and she told me the worth. An Chinese man is in the center, just like we have our President in the center of our money.

I cherished this gift. I still have this gift.

Over the years I’ve also collected/acquired other kinds of money. As a late teenager and into my 20’s I worked in retail and handled the cash registers. When a customer would hand me a $2.00 bill, I’d save it, then on my break I’d get my wallet and pull out two 1’s and swap them out.

I have a couple Silver Certificates now worth approx $10-$25.00 in value thanks to my retail days.

I also have Canadian coins and dollars.

I have a Singapore $1 from an ex-boyfriend who visited there while we were broken up.

I have real SILVER quarters. Not quarters like they make today. These quarters used much more silver in them. They’re heavier than today’s quarters.

I have half-dollars and silver dollars.

Once in awhile I pull out my money collection and look thru it. I enjoy my quant collection.

My collection isn’t worth much. Not financially anyway. The worth is in the history, the story how I received an item. The fun in having something different than the day to day money/currency we use now. But it all started with Miss Lui and her generous gift to her student.

If you are a teacher don’t underestimate the value of your kindness. I’m in my 40’s now and will never forget Miss Liu. I wish I could find her now. I’ve often thought about finding her and telling her how much she meant to me.

Sort of related, here is a funny true event that happened to me in the 4th grade.

Even though I didn’t have Mrs. BrazowsCOW for 4th grade homeroom, I did have her for literature class. Our class was doing a play on Paul Bunyan. “Paul Bunyan is a lumberjack figure in North American folklore and tradition. One of the most famous and popular North American folklore heroes, he is usually described as a giant as well as a lumberjack of unusual skill, and is often accompanied in stories by his animal companion, Babe the Blue Ox.”

In this play I was the 3rd Logger. This was huge for me because I had LINES to memorize. I memorized my lines sooo well. I was prepared people.

On the day of the play where we presented to our ENTIRE school, someone’s mom thought it would be more authentic if the Loggers (there were 3 of us dressed in flannel shirts and jeans) sat around the fake campfire eating popcorn. Each of us received our own baggy of popcorn. In hindsight this might not have been a good idea. The play is moving along nicely and the other loggers and I are happily eating our popcorn when I take a HUGE mouthful. You know the kind. You shove a fist full of popcorn in your mouth. Envision a hamster who has just filled his cheeks with food.

It’s right at this moment when it’s my turn to speak. Crap. What do I do? Do I spit out the popcorn? Where would I spit it? Or do I say my lines? The show must go on right?

I stand up and walk to my position directly in front of the audience and with a mouth full of popcorn I begin to say my lines. Popcorn is flying out of my mouth. I can see the popped kernal’s going everywhere. The audience is laughing hysterically. You can’t really even understand what I’m saying because my voice is muffled by all the popcorn. I glance at Mrs. BrazowsCOW who is on my right, standing down with the audience. She is not laughing. I’m sure I turned bright red. I finish my lines and sit back down.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Bad Dreams

Paula came into my room today with tears in her eyes. She had a bad dream she said. I asked if she wanted to talk about it and she did.

I’m naked when she walks in since I had just taken a shower. I approach her for a hug but just do a quicky, then look for clothes.

I’m pulling on pants and a shirt while she tells me how she said she and Daddy were riding motorcycles when Daddy fell off. He hit his head pretty badly.

He immediately started talking like he had a speech problem.

Then as time went on he wasn’t the same person at all. In addition to his speech, he couldn’t do and fix things like he normally could. What really got her was

This. She prefaced it with “I know in real life this would never happen”, but Shawna and I didn’t like the new “Daddy” so we took off together. But Paula stayed with him. Lots of tears at this point.  I held her close and comforted her. My shoulder was wet from tears. 

She felt better after talking to me.  She came in later and asked if she could call Daddy at work when she went downstairs. I said of course she can, she can call him whenever she wants. 

She told me after she talked him that he too had a bad dream. He dreamt big clouds formed overhead causing a storm so bad it was taking RV's up into the sky. 

For him, we have a camping trip planned for this coming weekend.
For her, she loves her father like no other.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I'm a stalker

I’m warning you, this is really long but I want to document the events so I apologize in advance.
Earlier this month a woman I've been stalking on the internet for a few years now, came to visit San Francisco from her hometown of S. Calif. More specifically, The O.C. I don’t recall how I found Twenty Four At Heart but I was immediately hooked on her stories and tales of events. She’s funny, blunt, truthful, has the most crazy things happen to her. I read her blog daily at work as I drink my morning coffee. DAILY.

She started off as this anonymous blogger making fun of O.C. people and has since become quite the popular blogger and very well known in real life as well. So well known in fact, she’s spotted around her town, recognized by her readers. She’s an amazing photographer too.

So imagine my delight when she told readers how she was taking a trip up to San Francisco with a girlfriend and wanted to meet up with some of us. Squeee!

Now, she and I have emailed back and forth a few times. We're also Facebook "friends". I was pretty sure she'd want to meet me but you just never know. She may have some secret belief I’m a crazy person.

It’s been known to happen.

So, I mentioned in her comments section how I have a pretty busy weekend on those dates, but would love to meet up with her if possible. She sent me an email later saying that would be great. Phew! My stalking has just been amped up! I get to actually MEET her.

I did have a very schedule that day. I was snack parent for Shawna’s basketball game, both girls had track practice in the morning, Paula and I needed to sell her Girl Scout cookies at a booth sale that afternoon (picture below), then Paula had her own basketball game. To top off the night Paula was going on a sleepover.

I was pretty tired by the time the evening came around. But I REALLY wanted to meet Suzanne. So, when I came home from Paula’s BB game I threw on jammie pants, grabbed a glass of wine and texted her. I knew she was out~and~about taking pictures of the city so we hadn’t established a time/place to get together.

Now, before I continue I have to tell you, I was not thrilled with going into the city alone. Not because I was afraid of meeting her by myself, but because BART at night is creepy! Walking the streets of San Francisco alone is not my thing either.

I emailed my friend Kim and asked if she could go with me. She knows I’m a social media nut fan, but I wasn’t sure if she’d think my stalker status crossed the line of friendship.

Hey Kim, want to go to San Francisco on BART at NIGHT with me to meet someone I sort of STALK who I’ve NEVER met before but who I only know online??? Do yah huh, DO YAH?

Thankfully Kim was totally up for it BUT she had her boys that weekend and couldn’t go. Dang!

Next I emailed my friends Dina & Susanne. I turned both of them on to Twenty Four At Heart a year or so ago, but didn’t know if they’d want to go meet her like I did.

Thankfully they too were up for it BUT, had plans already that afternoon with one of their moms and wouldn’t be available to go.

My husband needed to stay home with Shawna. If I went I was going solo.

Suzanne texted me back that she’d be in her hotel around 6:30pm and we could meet in the Hyatt’s lobby area. Sweet!

I dolled myself up a bit since I was definitely nasty from a day of running around and I couldn’t meet her looking all hag-like.

I drove to BART and would be in San Francisco in about an hour. I’d be late but thankfully it didn’t ruin anything. Heading there was a no brainer. It was still day light and BART was packed with people. I got off to switch trains, got on the 2nd train. I arrived on schedule.

Walked down the street to the Hyatt and anxiously waited for her to appear. I took some pictures with my iphone while I waited. Check out this Atrium and the lights hanging from the ceiling.

Suzanne appeared and looked just like her pictures.  She was immediately warm and friendly like I knew she would be. Her voice was much softer than I expected. Not sure why, but I just expected her voice to be deeper. Louder.  She has a very soft voice.  We visited a bit then her friend Nike came down to join us.

Nike looks like Jamie Lee Curtis. Even one of the hotel personnel mentioned that to her.

All of us decided on some wine and dinner. Nike was in the mood for Chinese food so we went to the concierge who recommended Oriental Pearl in China Town. He said their Peking duck was infamous. Alrighty then. Lets go.

The three of us shared a cab to the restaurant. Suzanne immediately started a conversation with the man to get to know him better. Our chauffeur was a trained engineer who was now a taxi driver. He was pleasant to talk to and didn’t get us lost. Win win.

China Town’s lights weren’t all lit up yet so we ventured into the restaurant and immediately seated. It wasn’t packed, but it was crowded. We all agreed we should order the peking duck since it was famous. The waiter also helped us to pick other “popular” delicious menu items. We shared our food choices, Suzanne took pictures of the food, as did I, we chatted. It was a great night out with friends.

Our peking duck came with this center piece. It's a carving out of carrot.  Swear. 

We closed down the restaurant so we had to leave. Suzanne took some shots of the red oriental lights in the street before we walked back down to the hotel. During our walk to she took many more photos.

Nike and I discovered we both stay in the same resort in Cabo every year. What a coincidence.
Once back to the hotel we each ordered a cocktail and chatted more. I really enjoyed these ladies.

Sadly the last BART train at 11pm was coming soon so I had to take off. We did a few pictures, I gave them each hugs and I was off!

Suzanne kindly walked me to the BART entrance. She told me to text her when I made it safely home. I really appreciated her concern for my welfare.

Now is when my story gets creepy.

The first BART train was fine. We got off at the 19th St station where I had to change trains. Thankfully my guardian angel was watching out for me because two guys passed by talking about the lower level.

What lower level??

Shoot! If I wanted to catch my next train I had to go downstairs! If they hadn’t come by right then I’d have for sure missed my train. I followed them and stuck closely. I choose a seat which I thought was in a good open area.

I have to say BART was packed for 11pm at night.

Then some freaky guy got on.

He sat right in front of me and stared at me wayyyy too much. Started creeping me out! I had police issue pepper spray in my purse (thank you brother) just in case too.

He turns to me and says “Ma’am, are you going to Fremont station?


Do you know when the 403 arrives?

Uh….Is that a bus? Sorry. No.

I turn back to my phone and play solitaire but kept my peripheral eye on him. I wanted him to go away.

As we got closer to the station he stands up and continues to stare at me way too much.

Ma’am? I just want to tell you I like your lips. You have nice lips.

OMG! He’s a total weirdo!!!! I start to think how I can get my pepper spray into my pocket without him seeing. I don’t need to alarm him or get him all agitated. I’m not sure he’s going to kill and rape me at this point but the thought crosses my mind!

We arrive at the station and he moves out first. I immediately transfer the spray to my coat pocket. I’m hoping he’ll exit the right hand side doors instead of left which is where I need to go to reach my car.

Dang, he goes left.

I stay behind him at all times. I see a janitor by the exit and smile nicely and tell him to have a nice evening. I wanted him to SEE me in case I screamed or something! Ha!

I quickly walked to my car and got in, locking it behind me. Phew!! I’m alive!

I text Suzanne to let her know I arrived. I told her later about the weirdo!!!

Even though the end of my trip creeped me out I’m still sooo glad I traveled to meet her and Nike.

Being a blogger (and I use that term loosely when it comes to me!) and following blogs is a funny thing. I’ve met some amazing people thru online connections. I’m a more educated and enhanced person for the stories I read and the things I learn thru the personal experiences people share with me. To get to meet some of these amazing people in real life is an extra bonus.

Suzanne and I. Don't we look cute and like we could be sisters?  :) 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I have so much to post but never time to do it.

So here is a quick picture of Paula and I together during the Girl Scouts 100 year celebration
last week.  Well over 200 people showed up at our local gathering. 

We sang songs, did dances to some of the songs, lit candles and enjoyed being 100.  My other daughter Shawna was with us too. 

I was a Girl Scout when I was younger. I started as a Brownie, then bridged to Girl Scouts, but only lasted a year I think.  I started playing softball and time management became a problem.  That and maybe I just didn't enjoy it anymore. *gasp* 

I do remember going on a GS camping trip with my troop as a child. I can't remember where we went but a exactly.  It was woodsy/forest-y.  What I do remember clearly was a child belonging to a family not associated with us at all, became lost in the forest and military vehicles started showing up with a huge seach party to find the child. 

It was all very exciting to me, who was maybe 10 years old or so. 

Happy 100th Birthday Girl Scouts! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


This weekend here in the U.S. was a 3 day weekend in celebration of Presidents Day.  My family and I spent it sporadically doing various things.  On Saturday after Paula had a basketball game we went miniature golfing.  Shawna whizzed thru the place at lightening speed and we pretty much had to add points to her score since she cheated the whole time.  

Our beloved dog Rosie was groomed on Friday.  She used to resemble a small furry bear, but now she has a sweet groomed puppy look. We all love to hold her and pet her much more when she's cleaned up.  It's a win-win for everyone. 

On Monday I took the girls to visit some aunts and uncles in a dual effort to visit family AND deliver Girl Scout cookies. We traveled across a the Dumbarton Bridge from the East Bay over to the Peninsula to Redwood City where Todd's brother lives. His wife ordered 6 boxes of GS cookies.
On the Peninsula just off the bay happens to be where Facebook lives.  Really.  They took over the old Sun Microsystems Campus and have recently added this below as their corporate sign.  I had to take a picture from the car at the stop light.  I wanted to jump out and pose in front but no time or planning. 

The final stop was to visit my brother's house to deliver 2 Thin Mints to his wife.  His cutie pie daughter loves my girls.  They played for a couple hours until we had to go home. 
Paula, Shawna and Allison

Friday, February 17, 2012

Use Mommy as a hair model

Lately Paula has been into doing hair.  She practices on her American Girl Doll and lately on me.  She watches tutorials on YouTube once then figures it out.
Here are a few of her creations from this past weekend. 

This one below is two braids combined together underneath by some bobbi pins. 

This is a fishtail braid. 

Close up of fishtail braid  

This is her playing around with the top.  I suggested next time she clip the sides back.  heh.   

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Things going on these days in my world:

1. Basketball season started for both girls. This is Shawna’s first year in basketball. Her coach is a head college basketball coach for men and coached 3rd grade girls last year for our sports program. He has a 9 year old daughter. He and his wife (team mom) are really nice and Shawna is diggin’ her first couple weeks so far. She thankfully fit into Paula’s old bb shoes. Size 4. A tiny bit large but not too bad. Paula on the other hand required new bb shoes size 7. I wear a size 7 shoe. Geez.

2. Shawna’s last 9 year old well-check shows she’s 70#’s and 4’6” tall putting her in the 75% for her age bracket for height. Doc said she’s all good, just needs to up her calcium (remember the broken arm??) so we’ve added lots more chocolate milk to her diet. She doesn’t like plain milk unless it’s in cereal. She eats various things with calcium but not enough all the time.

3. Both girls are still in church choir. Paula complains most of the time about it so I told her she can quit if she wants. So far she’s not quitting. Shawna likes it. We missed the last mass performance on Super Bowl Sunday. We ditched it for a day in Santa Cruz with a friend of mine. It was totally worth it. We had great weather and the girls had a blast with the other kids. The ocean was freezing but they don’t care. Crazy kids.

4. Girl Scout cookies are here! I have tons of boxes just for Paula’s troop. I haven’t even picked up Shawna’s cookies yet. You should see my “store” set up in my cubicle. I’m all over this selling thing. Weekend booth sales start soon. My calendar is filling up with all the girls’ events.

5. Speaking of calendar and events, track & field is starting next week for both girls. Paula gets to do the high jump this year for the first time now that she’s in 5th grade. She’s sooo excited and talks about the high jump a lot.

6. A friend from my past called me 2 days ago saying she was thinking about me. She’s the 2nd friend to do this in a month’s time. My high school friend called a couple weeks ago to say she’s removing her profile off Facebook, which she barely used anyway, and wanted to make sure she had my current contact info. It’s nice to reminisce with old friends. I’m having lunch next week with the one who called the other day. She was in my wedding in ’99 so that tells you how close we were at one time. Now with both of us having older kids and several cities apart, getting together isn’t so simple. Or at least we make it difficult on ourselves. I guess it could be simpler by just making it happen. The high school friend lives in Colorado now but she was out here 2 years ago visiting and she stayed at my house one night, which was fun. We had some good times in middle school and freshmen year in high school. She taught me how to use my first tampon!!! Swear to god. Why I remember that fact is beyond me. Do we all remember this? Like when and where we were when we first used a tampon? I gave her the name of this blog so maybe she’ll comment if she reads this. Haha

7. Speaking of memory, I’m told I have an amazing memory for useless facts. Like the one above for example. I remember really strange things. But don’t ask me where Ohio is on the map cuz I can’t remember important stuff that I should know.

Todd and Paula getting lunch for us on Super Bowl Sunday

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Indians and Cereal Box Book Reports

This weekend was all about school projects.
Shawna’s class is studying American Indian’s. She was given the Yurok Tribe to do a report and art project on. The report part was fairly easy given she’s in 3rd grade. I wasn’t sure how the

Art project would go. She could do a drawing, mask or diorama. She (we) choose a diorama. We had a bunch of stuff left over from Paula’s Mission project last year like grass, trees, rocks, animals. I just had to buy

A couple more Indians and some glue.

Shawna drew a picture of their traditional house, knew exactly where she wanted the trees and deer to go. She even came up with the idea to puncture the grass with the bottom of the tree, then insert the tree bottom, kind of like putting an earring thru an ear hole. This way the tree’s would stand up better. It worked great.

Todd and Paula left the house so I could concentrate. I can’t help with these projects if others are in the house making noise and stuff. In 2 hours we had her project completed.

Paula’s project day was Sunday. Hers was a cereal box book report. Her book was WAR HORSE. If you’ve never read the book the book is told by the horse. The movie is told by the boy I’m told.

She had to create a cereal using her book as inspiration. She named her Cereal Horse Pops. A toasted vanilla cereal shaped in a horseshoe. Her project took like 5 hours. She had to create a game for the back of the box. She made up 2 games. A prize was optional. We had a horse prize to put inside. On the sides of the box you had to list the Ingredients (main characters) and summary of the story. As the kids get older the details get more intense.

I have scrapbook supplies I used to use for scrapbooking, but now they are just for these activities.

Todd and Shawna took off at 11am to his parents house to help with his dads computer. They didn’t return until 5pm.

Paula had just finished her project In fact, we were still tweaking it a bit even after they returned home.

She’ll turn it in tomorrow.

Pictures below

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lighthouse Adventure & more

This weekend my family and I went camping in Pescadero to a place called Costanoa KOA. It's sandwiched between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz.  Pescadero is famous for Pigeon Point Lighthouse.


We toured the grounds, went into the visitor store and purchased Girl Scout Pigeon Point Lighthouse patches, a book on dolphins and a paper book mark. All in the spirit of supporting the lighthouse. At least that’s what I told myself as I was shelling out the dough.

there is another building where the original light lives.  The light in the lighthouse now is the 3rd light since it's erection.  heh

There was a man there to tell us all about its history.  Once we were done checking out the lighthouse the girls checked out tide pools for fishy critters. They discovered many fun living creatures. 

We spent time in the campgrounds riding bikes and not freezing our fannies off. 

The campgrounds were nice and clean.  Although the nearby horse stables did not smell nearly as nice as the ocean. 

I had to work on Monday where everyone else in my family had today off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day so Todd and the girls went home around noon while I left the campgrounds before 8am. 

It was a great time had by all.  We were overdue for a camping adventure. This one fit the bill. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Field Trip

Yesterday both 5th grade and 3rd grade attended a play on Tom Sawyer.  Thankfully both my kids are in those grades so I was able to be a chaperone and kill two birds with one stone. Which is to say, I attended a field trip for both my kids but it only cost me 1 day out of work.  Heh. 

I was technically a driver and had another mom in the car with me. I had to get my car washed prior because dang….the car was a filthy mess.  I have been on field trips where I didn’t wash the car first.  It’s not a must for me. But there was so much dust inside my car on everything plus the windows were awful.  In certain lighting it was hard to see out! 

I had 3 girls and 2 boys in my car.  The mom chaperone with me belonged to one of the boys.  I didn’t know her son or her so I’m glad they paired us up.  On the way home I think I even convinced her to chair the Halloween Event next year.  Score!  She was saying how she wished we had one like another nearby school does, where her bosses child attends. I explained we used to have it, but the chairperson no longer wanted to be in charge of it (it’s a big task) so a few year ago it went away.  This mom thinks she might get a couple others involved for next year.  Yay! 

I really enjoyed the play and especially enjoyed experiencing the reactions of the children in the audience.  Kids are so funny.  When the scary Indian showed up in the graveyard the kids got scared, when the actors did funny things they all laughed and giggled. When Tom and Becky kissed the audience giggled louder.   I was sitting next to the 3rd grade teachers aide for half the show (during intermission Shawna decided she wanted to sit on the other side of me so we switched places).  Even the TA was cracking up at the kids reactions. 

Paula sat up higher in the seats with her classmates so I wasn’t able to see her reaction.   I was a driver for the 3rd grade so sat down with the kids I was in charge of. When we were outside before the show Paula came up and gave me a hug. She was really glad I attended, even though I wasn’t her chaperone per se.  Another plus is one of the 5th grade boys in our school was acting/singing in the play.  All the children in our school knew him and enjoyed watching him on stage.  After the show he signed Paula’s program book.  She was impressed.  LOL

I just had the best day ever yesterday and forgot I even had a job to go back to today. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

School plays

Shawna, who turns nine in a couple weeks, is a vastly entertaining child.  She's energetic, funny, obnoxious, loud, chatty, smart. 

The past couple months she and a few of her friends have been performing plays at school. Not the kind on a stage or anything.  They perform them for each other. As in make-believe.  During lunch and recess. 

In December she brought Santa hats and reindeer antlers to school so her friends could be Santa and reindeer. At first when she was telling me about this play I believed the school was using the props.  Nope, just her and her friends. 

After the Santa/Reindeer play they moved on to the Chipmunks and the Chipettes.  Each of her friends is a character of the movie.  Today in the car on the way to school she described who was who.  I haven't seen the latest movie but the kids have. Paula knew every character Shawna mentioned. 

I love that my daughter and her friends have found such an imaginative and creative way to spend free time. 

Tomorrow I'm going on a field trip the 3rd grade (Shawna's class) and 5th grade (Paula's class) are attending to see Tom Sawyer.  I'm driving too so I'll have some of her little friends in the car.  It's cute to see them all interact.  I wonder if they'll put on a Tom Sawyer play after they see it.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


My kids wear uniforms to school. Paula wears a skirt or can wear shorts or pants. Shawna has to wear a jumper, pants or shorts.  Lately she's been wanting pants.  Last week she wore the same pants all week.  (4 day week).  I get them pants from the free uniform swap but they both are weird sizes and not always do the pants fit.  Sometimes the waist is too tight or something.  I do bring the unfitting clothes back to the swap the next time but 6 months may go by before I do that. 

Today Shawna wanted tights for her jumper but we didn't know where they were. She got all ATTITUDE on me so I left the room. 

I'm in the kitchen making lunches and she comes down stairs wearing pants which are way too short. 'Floods' as we call them here in Cali.  Some folks call them 'high waters'.  I'm looking at them and thinking are those the pants she wore all last week cuz I know they fit her last week.  My kids grow fast but not that fast. 

Nope, these pants were buried in her drawer so she yanked them out.  I said they're floods.  "How are they floods?" she says looking down.  The bottom of the navy pant legs are hitting the top of her white socks.  It's almost blinding the socks show so much.  We are now at the point in the morning where we have to go to school.  There is no changing our clothes now.  I told her she's probably going to get a clothing note home.  She's already complaining that her jumper needs to be let out.  I don't do "letting out".  I hate hemming anything.  Why can't my kids be normal and short so everything is long.  ugh.

Monday, January 9, 2012

13 Wedding Anniversary

Today is my 13th wedding anniversary.  It's amazing we got here considering a few years ago we were both seriously contemplating divorce. I'm thankful we trudged thru the mucky waters and came out the other side. 

To celebrate we went to San Francisco for the weekend.  We had dinner at Morton's of Chicago. Todd's steak was insanely huge. It took up the entire plate.  My tiny "petite" fillet mignon was so small compared to his that we took pictures comparing the two. 

When the restaurant learned it was an anniversary celebration they sprinkled heart shaped glitter on our table and took a picture of us with their camera, bringing us back 2 printed copies.  One photo was in a nice black thick paper frame signed by many employees. The other other photo in an envelope.  It was a very nice unexpected touch and I'm happy to have the photo to remember the evening. They also subtracted our dessert from the bill. 

I don't have the pictures with me now so I can't upload them but come back later and I might have added them to this post. 

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