I Could Be A Contender

Yeah, that's right...a contender...of the homemaking kind.

I realized today - after being off work for the past week and finally having the time to clean the fridge, polish the floor and organize a couple a closets that I'd be  quite an acceptable homemaker if only I didn't have to work for a living!

What a revelation.  Now what to do with it?

Some say that useless information is well, useless and other will argue that no matter how random, some day all useless information comes in handy.   Does  MacGyver ring a bell? I mean he had to know that a zipper pull connected to a toothpick dipped in lemon juice found in the imported bricks that made up the igloo he was trapped in at the South Pole would stop an atomic bomb from detonating in Peoria.  Now admit it...that would seem to be useless info if you're sitting around sipping a jazmopolitan at a pool party in LA, but for Richard Dean it was a life saver!

My point?  Well, knowing what a great homemaker and stay-at-home mom I'd be when I have no choice but to work is right up there with useless info.  I mean, I can give myself a pat on the back cuz I can clean out the fridge better than my last six housekeepers put together, but that's not going to put me on easy street with a fast track to the sofa and  a box of bonbons...(well I have to have something to do in my nice tidy, organized home while the kids' in school, don't I?)

Although I suppose I can daydream  about this wouldbecouldbeshouldbe lifestyle after I'm back on the commute train throwing a pity party for myself this time next week when the gild, as they say, is off the lily.

Oh the impending doom...speak now or forever hold your peace.


Maybe I'll take what appears to be useless info and use it to uplift my spirit.  Know that if 'only things were different' they wouldn't  be what they are.    So that next week when I totter back to work and by Tuesday am resorting to take out for dinner while the wash stacks up, calling my 13 year old son, 'sweety pea'  -  because I'm too tired to remember his real name,  slide by the dining table which has ceased to offer a place to sit and enjoy a meal because it's piled high with the mail left unopened, jump into the the never ending unmade bed and glimpse the garden as I pull out of the driveway at 6am that is begging to be watered...that aside from all of that..I'm an awesome homemaker and some day willing stay-at-home mom.

Oh, I'm smiling already!


New Year Resolution - Wha?

I'm not going to make a New Year resolution this year. Nope. Not me.  Why?  Because within the first 48 hours I will have to crown myself a loser and that doesn't seem like a good way to start the next 12 months.

I mean, inevitably I would resolve to do something like lose weight, take better care of myself, cut back at least one martini a day, write letters rather than email, take more pictures of my kid as he's growing up, quit giving in to take-out, exercise more - ok - exercise,  learn more about gardening, finish all the projects I've started this year (that was last year's resolution...start a project. So I have lots of little projects sitting around unfinished - like the plant in the corner still waiting for a pot..... I guess I honored my resolution to 'do' something...just didn't resolve to finish was I started so there you go..finish what I start.  hmmmm.  Guess that means I have to finish this blog today.

Be nicer, more thoughtful, work longer, harder, pay more attention, laugh more, take a class, read a book, make less mistakes, laugh more, tend the garden, join a club, introduce myself to the neighbor - well, it's been six years you think I would have had some time to do that already - shop less, spend less, get green, stay green, travel, clean out the closets, enjoy staying home, take singing lessons, play an instrument, make pancakes for my son at least one Sunday a month,  actually visit  my friends who live in the same town instead of catching up via Facebook, create less garbage, compost, invest my money, hire a housekeeper, buy a house, take a class on investing, stop subscribing to magazines cuz they're cheap, eat less chocolate, chicken, beef, eat more vegetables from the garden perhaps?  Keep the blog updated, take down the tree before April.   Whew!  I'm already exhausted.


I could so go on.  But what's the point.  I've lost before I've started.   Or have I?

Maybe I should choose something as a resolution that I already do. Try tricking the universe and my soul into believing that all is not lost on me. I can be redeemed at least for the next 12 months.


Drink more, work less, spend more time on Facebook, Twitter, email, Linked In, pay less attention, make more mistakes - someone will catch them anyway before they get to the client, indulge in more take out...less dishwashing, take my son out to IHOP, accept that I am a renaissance women, enjoy the half finished, sweater, scarf, quilt, napkins, silver chain, wax mold, pair of earrings, drip irrigation system, greenhouse, potting shed, garden, painted room,  forget getting to know  the neighbor - unless they have a Facebook account I won't visit a second time, the investment class, or travel.   In fact, I'll be saving money by not doing any of those things and that can be counted as an investment!  Live life through the cheap magazines - home improvement, landscaping, fashion, etc.   Keep my current exercise regime - let's face it, from the couch to the refrigerator 10 times an evening is better than nothing.  Stuff one more sale item into the already over-burdened closet. I'm sure when I need it I'll be able to remember where I put it before I go out and buy another!  

Hey!  I'm feeling better already!

So here's my New Year resolution -- I'm going to accept that I am human and no matter how resolute I am I will can count on one thing and one thing only...and that is that I will not keep my resolution.

Woo hoo!  Happy New Year to me!!!!!!!

What is your New Year Resolution?


Savor the Moments

Face it, life can be tough sometimes.   And anyone that disagrees with me isn’t living.   It goes by too fast.  It’s overwhelming at times.  It can be frustrating.  It’s expensive, sometimes unfriendly and, unless you’re living in a closet, it’s an obstacle course of emotion.  Day-in and day-out.   Boring?    Sometimes.  Magical?  Always. 

Stop.  Look around you. Listen.  Accept.  It’s there.  Happiness.  Moments that you must learn to recognize. These are the moments in life that make up the memories that can  carry you through when the going gets tough…for the rest of your life.   Savor them.  Taste them. Take them into your soul. 

Have you ever heard a sound, caught a scent from your childhood, heard a phrase that brought someone from long ago into your thoughts, eaten something that tasted familiar?  These are all ‘memories’ that reside in your body, your heart, your soul.  When they visit, welcome them.  Savor them.  Feel the security, happiness, silliness, comfort that they bring to you.

Look to yourself for moments to savor.  There are plenty of self-made moments.  Maybe you’ve accomplished something in your own life that is worthy of a bit of self-congratulations, a pat on the back, a moment to breath in. Maybe it’s a new love or a particularly fetching glimpse of yourself in the morning mirror as you head out the door to face a cranky world.

Good news from friends warms me.  I savor these moments and let someone else’s joy sink in.  I shut my eyes, smile and let it start at my toes, up to the top of my head.  I smile. It’s filling.  It’s good. 

Over the past several weeks I’ve heard much good news from near and far and I have to say that I have savored each and every one of them. 

One friend called to say that after months of trying she and her husband are pregnant.  The bundle of joy is due to arrive in November.  Their lives will change forever in a way that no one can explain and they can’t begin to imagine.  I feel joy for them.  When I heard the news, I shut my eyes, thanked the universe for their blessing and savored that moment.

Another friend of mine who I’ve known for years called a couple of days later to say that she’d landed a terrific position teaching at a college here in So. Cal.  When she told me she was being considered for this position, I knew she had to get it - there just wasn’t any other outcome.  And yes, I shut my eyes and smiled when she told me it was hers.  She’s going to do an amazing job teaching and I think each and every one of the students in her class are blessed to be taught by her.  They just don’t know how lucky they are – yet.

This past week I learned that a co-worker of mine had been promoted to a terrific job that will take him from Phoenix to Atlanta, Georgia.  His voice on the phone was filled with excitement as he explained that he and his wife were sitting in the car, in Atlanta, outside the 20th house they’d looked at that weekend. All was happening so quickly.  He was giddy with excitement at the turn his life’s journey has taken him.  His wife and three boys are right along with him in his excitement.  I savored that moment.  He’s deserving of this good fortune.

Photos emailed to me of another friend’s new baby girl came at just the right moment.  All the frustration I was feeling toward a project I was working on melted away. I took the joy in that she must have felt when this cutie arrived. It changed the whole course of my day.

One of my dearest friends – after a long period of lack in her life – has blossomed in her work.  It makes my heart sing when I hear her voice, full of happiness, on the other end of the phone, telling me that she’s ‘so busy!.”   It just doesn’t get any better than this. 

And while my friends’ good fortune can conjure up the warmest of feelings, my son brings me moments that I’m sure all parents savor with their own kids in their own ways…

My son told me last night that I “absolutely MUST come” to his international dance show this morning at school.  His earnestness and excitement, along with the promise that he would ‘actually dance this time,’ made me smile.  Big.   Then I laughed. And then I told him that there is nowhere else in the world that I’d rather be than at his dance festival in the morning.  He won’t dance.  I know that.  But I will savor the moment that he asked me to be there, and I will savor the moment when he runs up to me, after the dance, and asks, “didn’t I do just great, mom!?“  Even though he just stood like a statue and stared at the crowd, I will say, ‘you did great.’

I will savor that moment for the rest of my life. 


Oh For Crying Out Loud! Where Is Your Brain, Jane?

So smarty pants that I am drove over to the closest big box store to buy some white ribbon today.  Well, let me just cut to the chase and admit - quite sheepishly - that I did not actually return with any white ribbon. In fact, I returned with no ribbon. But I do have some gloves for my son.

But then, that's not the reason I post tonight. Oh no.

Once back from my debacle of a shopping expedition I spied a parking spot right next to the elevator in our office parking structure.  It's rarely every empty so I grabbed it thinking I'd make a swift departure at the end of the day.

Come quitin' time, I gather my belongings and headed to the parking lot. 3rd Floor.  However I walked right past my car and to the area where I always park.  No car.  'Oh, yeah, right,"  I thought to myself.  "I'm on the 4th floor."  So up to the 4th floor I walk and search for my car. Not there.

Back to three. It's not there.  Down to two. Not there.  I knew it wasn't on one.  So back up to three.  Now...I'm taking the stairs up and down to each floor and walking  RIGHT PAST MY CAR.

It was now 15 minutes and counting.

Finally I decided to take the elevator from the 3rd floor back to the bottom and start over.  While waiting for the elevator I spied my car.

Rolling eyes.  Shaking head.  So much for the quick getaway!


Multitasker or Mental Disaster?

No time like the end of the year to pull up an old post and be reminded that sometimes you just have to say 'no.'   But those times for me are few and far between.  And considering that I've got another two week vacation coming up which is already booked with doctor and dental appts, painting the living room and hallway, shopping for a rug for the new room, haircut, botox and the after holiday sales -- I'll be begging to go back to work just to put my feet up and get some rest.   Maybe time to think about a New Year's resolution?   .....    nah.

I've always likened myself to the women I read about in magazines that seems to do it all. No amount of burden is too much to carry on their back or stall the 24 hour clock. Well, that is until this past week. For some reason a light went on and I started questioning my real abilities in this arena. Let me try to start at the beginning (which seems to be the essence of my folly today)...

I am on the last day of my nine day vacation. I know...I said I'd start at the beginning, but stay with me, it'll all makes sense sooner or later. In the past eight days, I have done pretty much nothing but prepare for my vacation. That and well, take on more than I could chew which overwhelmed me so I sat staring at my own life flashing before my eyes in slow motion on more than one occasion this past week.

Example numero uno. I don't know why, but I booked Dr. appts and shuttle rides to the ex's house to drop off the kinder on the other side of the hill almost every day. That's approximately 23 miles EACH WAY. By Thursday I was thinking to myself, 'what was a I thinking?!' I drive that route every day when I'm working. Could I not stay to the South for just a couple of days? Sort of defeated the purpose of getting away from traffic. On one of those trips I thought I'd drop into the largest membership store this side of the Mississippi - the day before July 4th! - just to pick up a box of blueberries that I'd seen at a friend's house a couple days before. "Why I'll grab some of those on the cheap, make some blueberry jam," when I'm not on the road of course. So after the twenty minutes it took to find a parking space, I realize I didn't have my membership card with me, so I stood in line for another ten minutes at customer service then went back outside to find a cart, and then back in line to get back inside. I'd been there just under an hour. And no, I had not even gotten my berries yet. Inside the cooler, I was overwhelmed at ALL THE OTHER BERRIES that this oversized membership store was offering that day. So I bought raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and of course, the blue berries. Why I'll make lots of jam! Why? BECAUSE I HAVE SO MUCH TIME!
Another 20 minutes to make my way to the check out, 15 minutes in check out, 10 to get out of the parking lot and I was headed back South. All in all the round trip only took three hours. But hey, I was on VACATION. Once home, I discovered that I really didn't have the jars and all that good stuff that is critical to making jam. My recipe books were loaned out, my kettle was in storage. But that didn't matter...why I had plenty of time to go back to the local grocery -- with the too small parking lot the day before the 4th of July -- and buy jars. Of course I hadn't seen a recipe so had no idea what sized jars I needed. I figured if I bought them all I'd have the right ones . Another hour gone. By the time I got home it was almost 3:00 in the afternoon. No worries, my dinner reservations weren't until 8pm which meant that I needed to stop and get ready by 6pm which meant that I really had just three hours to make a helluva lot of jam.

But wait, there's more! While fishing out the only book I didn't loan out - not because it's the best, but exactly the opposite, I found that I was missing another key ingredient, so what did I do? I started making berry syrup. Don't laugh. Everyone needs berry syrup. It sounded like a good idea at the time - handmade vanilla ice cream topped with fresh handmade berry syrup. Never mind that I don't have any ice cream on hand - BUT WOULD HAVE TO MAKE IT! Oh well, I started the berry syrup. Raspberry. The other berries could wait.

Example #2. The next morning, I realize that I'd paid no attention to the quilt I'm making. Not that I ever wanted to actually make a quilt, it was just that I was in the sewing center to buy a foot for my sewing machine and stacks of pre-cut fabric caught my eye. So $50 later, I was out the door with five stacks of the aforementioned pre-cut fabric. Never mind that I didn't have the backing fabric, center stuffing or top stitching thread or the foot for my sewing machine. I was going to make a quilt! Which brings me to

Example #3
Working on the quilt. Hmmm. Well, that sounded like a terrific idea, but I had jam to make. So I started that process again, only to realized as I was reducing my blackberry syrup that I needed to take back some silk climbing rose vines I'd purchased for another project too lame to mention here. I'd bought them on a whim - what's new you're thinking right now, aren't you - and when I arrived home found that there were so many roses and leaves missing that they almost could have passed for something I would have actually grown myself. Not exactly the look I was going for. So there I was with a dilemma - start the blackberry preserves or take back the vines. I did both. I started the preserves and then turned them off half way through so I could jump in the car and take the vines back - 12 miles away! The store clerks were very generous in time and effort and offered to fill the sickly vines out with new sprays of flowers. So out came the glue guns and off they went. That's terrific I thought, I'll just walk around while I wait. Which brings me to

Example #4
The fabric store next door to the silk florist which looked like a great place to squander the next 30 or so minutes. So I poked my head in and asked, 'do you have patterns?" "But of course," said a nice young woman with red white and blue hair. "Over by the window." I made my way through the rows and rounds of gorgeous cotton fabrics to a small table with two pattern books. No matter that I hadn't heard of one company and the other was one that I'd never even thought of sewing from. So of course I sat down, looked through and bought a pattern. Then I chose not one, but two fabrics, none of which were my first choice - I still don't know why - and then made my way home. My quilt was still waiting, the berries were still waiting, the rose vines were still in the back seat.

So I called my friend. "I think there's something wrong with me," I said.

"What now," she laughed.

"I swear, I can go out to buy a blue ball and come back with a polka dot pony"

"So make a list," she says, stil laughing.

"I do make a list. It doesn't matter. The polka dot pony always looks like the better deal. Even though I know I don't need a pony. I know I need a blue ball, but I always get the polka dot...." my voice started trailing off.

" I think I'm ADHD."

"Well," she said STILL laughing. "I guess it's a possibility."

I'm guessing that after the 18 plus years we've known each other that this might be something she's held back. She probably knew all along. I think the big giveaway was when I bough her the home beekeeping kit for her birthday one year. I'd started out to surprise her with a fabulous Prada knapsack, but beekeeping has always intrigued me and this kit came with all the bells and whistles, including the bees. She was stunned.

But then again, maybe it's ok she hasn't told me I was off my rocker and needed to be medicated. Probably a good idea since I wouldn't have bought the idea until now.

Why even this morning, I got out of bed, started to make coffee, but thought I'd check on the garden. Once there, I pulled out my moisture meter and made rounds, then thought, "Oh, I should water those pots over there, under the tree," but as I walked past the roses I felt an urge to do a bit of pruning, so I wandered back to the greenhouse for the pruners, then stopped to water the tomatoes in another bed that looked wilted, started back to the roses, but saw that there were suckers on my peach tree, stopped to cut those off, felt hungry for some of my left over suckling pig from my dinner out on Friday, went back into the house for a bite, saw my coffee cup still sitting empty, went back out to the garden, pruned the roses, left the cuttings sitting on the ground, because I thought maybe a piece of toast with fresh blackberry preserves would go great with my now cold cup of coffee, and then on my way to get out the toaster thought I should write this post.

In a nutshell, the water is running, there are cuttings all over the yard, berries to be made into jam, a cold cup of coffee on the counter, the toaster is out, there's a quilt that is half finished on the back of the sofa (OK, I confess, even in it's half finished state I used it last night), a bag of new fabric under my chair, a half eaten left over in the fridge, silk rose vines in the back seat of my car, and I'm glancing over at my list of things to do today, which don't include any of the above. In fact, I need to run to the Sur La Table and see what I can buy with my $300 gift card I got as a rebate on the expensive ice cream machine that I 'just had to buy' because my old machine - although it worked great - just wasn't doing it for me anymore. And yes, I do make at ice cream at least once a year, so it was a thoughtful purchase. NOT! I'm thinking I need a panini maker because we're going to have the salmon that I bought while I was at the biggest membership store getting berries and I need a cedar plank. OK...so.....

Multi-tasker or Mental Disaster? You be the judge.


Waist Alert

Mission accomplished.  Even the snowmen around here were jumping for joy.



OK. today I'm going to try and make some Christmas cookies. I can't eat any of them, but I can give them away. Shortbreads with chocolate and peppermint. I'll let you know how they turn out!

I Was So Looking Forward to Rain

Damn, Damn, Damn.  I know this'll sound funny to many, but I was so disappointed to wake up to sunshine again this morning. For crying out loud will someone have a talk with Mother Nature and tell her it's December for godsake.  It's OK that the sun does not shine 500 days a year.  In fact, I think the only time it doesn't shine here in Los Angeles is when there's been a smog buildup. (it's a fallacy that we really have actual blue skies)

I even stayed up late last night anticipating the sound of raindrops on the window to lull me into slumber.  By 2am I gave up.  "It'll start the minute I shut my eyes, I"ll bet,"  that's what I thought anyway as I dropped off. 

We'll it didn't.  So now I'll have to operate on half sleep today.

I wanna be a weather man here.  Every forecast is 'sunny'  unless there's a chance of rain, which means nothing really, does it?  I mean we all have a chance of being hit by a bus.   No one blames the weatherman if he's wrong.  We all never believed him in the first place.

Better yet, when some rain actually does fall from the sky they call it STORM WATCH.  I wonder if any of them here have ever really actually witnessed a storm.  Maybe, maybe not. We have a weather man called Dallas Raines though, I'll bet he's seen a storm.  Hmmm. there's something to think about today.


Merry Christmas

I woke up this morning and thought, "what a great day to buy a Christmas tree!" It's overcast (not something we see too often here in Los Angeles), it was cold and well, it just felt like the day to go out and spend a lot of money for a tree that would basically look like crap on Christmas morning. A fire hazard really. In fact we usually end up taking the tree down the day after Christmas. Kinda sad. Kind of a pain in the ass.

We started out at our local neighborhood grocery store. Support the local businesses. But alas,  they truly had about 20 trees and none of them were what I was visualizing in my livingroom for the next three weeks. Much to the chagrin of my better half, we moved on.

We headed to the second lot. One we've had good luck at in the past. However, even though we are very early this year, the choices were few and far between. We left.

On we went to a third, then a fourth, then a 5th. My better half suggested we get a fake tree. I balked. Over my dead body, I thought. I'm from Oregon. We don't do fake trees.

We marched on. Six, seven, eight. It was beginning to look as if all the lots were filled with haphazardly homely trees that already looked liked they'd seen the season.

Our last stop again proved fruitless. If the trees on this lot didn't look like someone had chopped 'em into submission to look like a Christmas tree, they were far too big around the base to fit in our small corner of the living room. If we purchased a $100 tree and then had to 'trim it into place'...well that's money on the floor.

Not looking good.

I looked at my better half. I was beaten down. I didn't want to make finding a Christmas tree my new career and I could tell my partner was losing patience with my insistence that the tree resemble one out of a fairytale.

"We're goin' fake."

Our first stop was a big box store with an overinflated idea of what a artificial, OK - fake, tree should cost. These were priced like a mortgage payment. I wasn't convinced I was going to like this idea overall so I wasn't going to drop the price of a Prada bag on one of these suckers.

It was not looking good.

We ducked into a Target and it was suddenly starting to look alot like Christmas.

A sale. 50% off. I'm all about the sales this year. Although I don't seem to take into account that 50% of well, $400 is still well, $200. Not what I had intended on spending that for an accessory that would dominate my living room for only the next three weeks and then be gone until next year. It's a tree for god sake and it's well, dead, er fake. But it looked so damn real! And it was prelighted!

I pushed all the sugarplums dancing around in my head to the side and made room for a bit of reality. This lovely fake icon of Christmas will last me for at least the next five years, maybe more depending on how well it's stored. There are no pine needles to find in my carpet in July, no tree stand to trip over, no plastic water pan to fill that inevitably has a hole in it so water lays on the hardwood floors until the tree skirt soaks it up. (Now there's something to look for under the tree.) And then well, there's the fact that the tree always looks like crap by Christmas morning. Fire hazard. Take down and haul away and well, that tree in front of me was looking pretty real.

My heart started pounding while we looked for 'box 29' for spanking new 7' tall cashmere pine tree, pre-lit and fake! fake! fake! fake! 19, 22, 17, 12, 09, 17, 28, 30, 31. No 29. You're kidding me. I'm so close. I may lose this moment if there's no 29. Where's box 29?! 14, 24, 36, 26. One last isle. 07, 13, 29. 29! Two left. One's mine! It's mine! It's mine!

I guarded the box like it was gold while my better half fetched a cart. It would just be my luck that a horde of people looking for just that tree would be let off a bus setting off a bidding war for this perfect specimen of a fakeness. Some would say that's looking at the glass half full, I would say it's another example of why I should be taking a tranquilizer.

I'd finally turned the corner and joined all those I 'poo poo'd' as far back as I can remember and dammit, no one was going to take that moment away from me.

I was now the proud owner of a perfectly fake Christmas tree.

I grabbed new ornaments, a fake garland for the hearth - in for a penny, in for a pound - and drove home to put it all together. In less than 20 minutes I had a beautiful tree, lit up and ready to decorate. Now, to be honest, I know it's fake so of course to me it looks like I brought home one of those trees you see in the department stores this time of year. But after layering on my cherished ornaments some going back to the 20s and 30s, I was totally buying into the illusion.

So the sun has set, the lights are brighter on the tree and I'm sitting back with my hot toddy and a nosh thinking about the night before Christmas and how fabulous the tree will look as it floats upon a pile of gifts for my family and friends. The tree may be fake but there's nothing at all fake about the love and joy I intend to spread around this year.

Oh, the pine scent? Will I miss it? Of course not! I bought a pine scented candle.

It definitely looks a lot like Christmas!


Picnic on a Moonbeam

Ok, sometimes the world is full of syncronicity. I wrote this little poem way back in the 80s -- no real reason why - it just flowed out of me one afternoon. Years later I employed an amazing artist I'd met to illustrate the poem for a children's book. She got four pages in and flaked off to some island off the coast of Washington never to be heard from again. Although grapevine rumour confirms that she's become a very successful and well paid artist. I only wish I could say "I saw her first"....but well, life isn't like that we can't put 'dibs' on people talent.
The second incarnation was as my wedding invitation. And well, let's keep it short by saying that those were awfully over the top. I took the idea of layering to the extreme and then put it all in a gold box. LOL Aw, we're funny when we're young.

And now, my dearest, most wonderful friend in the whole world - who I miss terribly btw, just in case he's actually reading this - reminded me of it on Facebook this past week. I thought I'd enter it here so that not only he could enjoy it again but anyone else who perchance might trip over this blog will find the magic in it that we always have.

Picnic on a Moonbeam

No need to fret
The table's all set
and nothing else is needed
but a goodnight kiss
in the evening mist, and you
we can be seated.

We'll picnic on a moonbeam
swing high among the stars
grab the golden ring from Saturn
jumprope off to Mars

The band will play
while we swing and sway
along the Milkey way

Let faeries whirl and
angels twirl us
toward a brand new day.