Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Seattle and Poop News (but not in the same sentence)

The past few days have been spent getting ready for our trip up to Washington. I've never been there, and I'm so excited! My oldest and dearest friend Marion has lived there for awhile now, and it's my/our first visit to see her there. L spent his mission there, and has been telling me for years how beautiful, how green, how perfect the climate (he likes it cold). What makes me really excited is that, while we've been enduring temperatures in the high 90's during the day (and not much cooler at night) the temperature there is in the low 60's, sometimes 50's. You know what that means: boots, sweaters, and all manner of cold weather gear. Sure, my hair will be frizzy the entire time, but that's what pony tails are for. I'm anxious to see this cool, green outdoorsy place and rugged coastline I've heard so much about. Not to mention crazy Indian names for everything.

We're going to take a tour on an amphibious thing that goes on land, but also plunges into the water - it's a DUCK tour. Marion has already planned dinner at a favorite local restaurant, and we're going to shop at her local Farmer's Market and cook dinner with all of the fresh goodies another time. L will want to wander off and have some alone time, so that will give Marion and I some girl time - it doesn't get any better than that.

So I'm counting down now until Friday when we can leave on a jet plane for Seattle!

In other news, I got a phone call from Mia in Puerto Rico telling me that "I POOPED!" Now this is a very big deal for Mama Katie, seeing as how she only has a few weeks before girl #2 arrives! Mia got to go to McDonald's for a treat today because she was such a big girl. I love it when the grandkids will talk to me on the phone - it's only been a recent development that the girls have gotten old enough to begin to understand the fine art of phone conversation. Before that it was me talking a mile a minute and only heavy breathing on the other end. I'm looking forward to many many lovely conversations to come - even about things other than poop. So Mia? Lexi? Matthew? Call your Mema anytime.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

She's A Spunky Rib-Lovin' Lady

I feel like I've been ignoring everyone this week, but it's been very very busy at work. Can you imagine? No time to blog at all... I hate when that happens!
We had a wonderful afternoon at the Claim Jumper on Saturday with (most of) my family to belatedly celebrate my grandmother's 98th birthday. When her birthday really happened on August 14th, my parents were out of town, an aunt was IN town and visiting with my grandma, and it just wasn't a good time to have her all to ourselves. So we waited until last Saturday and celebrated with lots of food and dessert. My grandma ate lots of her favorite barbequed ribs, and even had some to left over to take home. When the time came for dessert, everyone said they didn't want any, and my dad looked sad, so my husband whispered "Tell the waitress you want the Motherlode chocolate cake." So I did, and my dad looked really happy again. (Sometimes I have to look out for my dad that way.) Claim Jumper's Motherlode cake is 8 layers of decadent, gooey, rich chocolate, so there was enough for everyone, and of course everyone decided they wanted dessert after all. (Hmmmm... and actually the picture shows the little red velvet cupcake they brought Grandma and not the Motherlode. Pity. ) Take my word for it, though, it's yummy.
It was a fun afternoon, full of family and laughing. My grandma leaned over and told me how much she enjoys getting out and seeing everyone. People energize her - they really do. Too soon it was time to go and we helped my aunt get her out to the car, and said our goodbyes and I love yous.
I'm probably repeating myself, but my grandma is one of a family of 9 sisters and 2 brothers. They're all gone now, except for her sister Beulah, who is almost 101, and her younger sister Bonnie, who is very ill in the hospital right now. When my grandma got home that afternoon, she found out that her sister Beulah had passed away that day. Now, I know that 101 years old is a ripe old age, and it was to be expected, and even, in a way, to be cheered. But my grandma is taking it hard, and I know she's so worried about Bonnie. I've been wondering what it must feel like to be the (almost) sole survivor in your family. Lonely, I would imagine. I keep thinking that soon she'll want to go home too, and that is a hard thought for me. I try to remember that I'll need to feel happy and joyous for her, but then I can't help selfishly wanting her to stay longer. So then I try to focus on the fact that a woman who can put away as many ribs as she did, and a baked potato and a piece of Motherlode cake really isn't the sort of woman who's ready to leave this world anytime soon. It does my heart good. Love you, Grandma!

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Love A Good Surprise

I've been sitting on a surprise all week. This person - Ashley -

traveled all the way from Florida today, leaving at 5:00am and bravely conquering the perils of standby at more than one airport in order to spring a surprise visit on this person - Scott.

The hardest part (besides keeping the secret) was trying to figure out how to coerce Scott into coming to my house after work on Friday to pick up Ashley. I finally decided to tell him that he'd received a registered letter that he needed to come pick up. He sounded wary and a little annoyed, (the last thing you want to do on a Friday night is make a trip to Mom's...because he's, you know, BUSY.)

But the surprise was a success - believe me, I have enough experience to know that not all surprises are good ones - it was with great relief that this one came off a winner! Don't they look happy? I was able to spend a lovely afternoon with Ashley before Scott came home to monopolize her time.

Ain't love grand?

On another note, we've made some progress on our cabinet, thanks to some great suggestions, and experienced help (THANKS, Nichole!) One more door to be finished yet, and then the varnishing can begin. We're still looking for just the right door handles. I'm not quite sure what I'm looking for but I'll know it when I see it. So here I'll just show you a little hint of how it will look when it's done.

I really love how soft and weatherbeaten it looks! It was a bit of a nail biter watching L rub off a lot of my painting. When I paint it tends to be painstakingly detailed, and even though I knew it would be rubbed off and weathered out, it was a little hard to watch. But L did an amazing job, and I think the finished product is just what I'd hoped for. I'm really excited about getting it into the house. It's a good week when you get two great surprises.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dentists With T-Birds

I went to the dentist today. I had my teeth cleaned and polished and x-rayed. They are good teeth, and I had no cavities. *phew!* I like my dentist's office - it has big picture windows that look out on gardens. Very soothing. The staff is friendly, and the dental hygienists are gentle and don't make me bleed. Consequently, I don't want to hit them.
I had the protegee dentist today - the young up and coming one. He mentioned that he'd just bought a 1964 Thunderbird to restore. My ears perked up (because my family owns Larry's Thunderbird & Mustang Parts) and I asked him where he gets the parts for his car. He looked blank so I told him about the family biz (I actually worked there for 10 years selling parts, can you believe that??)
He accessed the Larry's website right then and there (larrystbird.com) and requested a FREE catalog for his upcoming restoration. We yakked for a few minutes about cars and chrome and window switch bezels and brake boosters (See? I TOLD you I used to sell car parts!), and he became quite excited to start buying parts from our little business.
Like I said, I was "Larry's daughter" for 10 years there. I have a nice, clean job now, but it served me well at the time. Some customers really liked me (because my attention to detail was Nordstrom-like) and other's didn't like me at all (didn't like dealing with a girl). But like me or hate me, at least I never packed styled steel wheels in with a windshield (like one award-winning ex-employee did) and send it all to Australia to be unpacked as a bunch of wheels and lots of broken glass. That was awesome, and still exists at Larry's as the gold standard of stupidity.
But back to today's customer referral. I think I should get a commission, don't you?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sassy Boots

I went shoe shopping on Saturday. I was looking for some new black shoes to wear with a couple of dresses I'd just bought. I was kind of looking for some little bootie shoes and/or some other type of heeled beauty. I had some gift cards for Nordstrom (birthday gifts) so that's where I headed, hoping for some "free" shoes with my gift cards.
The Nordstrom shoe selection is, in a word, AWESOME. They have everything you could ever wish for, and the store at South Coast Plaza has everything you could dream up in shoe departments on three, count them, THREE separate floors. Shoe heaven. I was pretty confident that I would find just the right thing(s).
I got there and WOO HOO!!! - they were having a shoe sale. But I looked, and looked, and looked, and nothing was really quite right. Mostly the heels were all too high. To back up, I have a bum ankle: partly the result of more than one bad sprain, and partly arthritis. The result is that I can no longer wear heels over 2 1/2" - 3". High ones make me walk all gimpy. I have a gorgeous pair of black suede sky high ones (that I love love love) that I can no longer wear. Hence, the need to look for new ones. And I looked. I looked and looked and looked. And you know what? They're ALL really high heels. That, or they're flat, and that wasn't going to do, either. I even asked my salesperson and he confirmed it: this season the shoes are sky high (3-4 inches) or they're flatties. Not much in between.
I was sad. I felt old. I felt discouraged. I watched tiny Asian girls in their 20s strut around in all of the shoes I wanted. I was jealous. I finally found a pair of booties that are almost too high, but they're bearable. As long as I'm not walking a lot, and I'm walking primarily on carpet (like at work) they're OK. They're cute - soooo cute, but they border on being a little hurty. But I needed something nice for one of the dresses so I rationalized the purchase. And THEN: winking at me from across the shoe department floor, I saw a pair of short boots that folded down around the ankles and they're STUDDED with silver studs on the cuff - kind of bikerish. They'll be cute with the other dress, and with lots of other things as well. AND - the heel is only an inch or so!! Comfortable, loads of sass, and, did I mention comfortable? I made LaMar swear that I didn't look like an old biker lady (I have a horror of looking like I want to be 20 when I'm...well...not 20) - and I bought them too. Love at first sight.

I'm sad that I can't do the high heel thing anymore, because I love them. I love feeling tall and willowy even though I'm not tall, and I'm definately not willowy. They just make me feel a little bit glamorous. But they also make me limp, so that's the deciding factor. It's hard to age gracefully - I feel like I'm throwing a few tantrums along the way. But I'm slowly coming around to being at peace with the whole thing. But every girl needs the equivalent of studded biker boots in her life every once in awhile. For you, it may not be boots, but it's whatever makes you feel young and a little bit wild - like you still have an eternity of possibilities in front of you. And you know what? You do.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Read This And Tell Your Friends

I don't usually get all hot under the collar about things political. I normally leave such things to blogging friends and others who are much more knowledgeable and eloquent than I am in those forums. But I am SO ANGRY after reading the Dr. Wes blog post for today that I feel I really must urge you all to go to Dr. Wes' newest post, and also click on the link at the end and read that article from the Washington Post as well.
The lies surrounding healthcare reform, and the ever changing details of that reform have got to stop. And we're the only ones who can do that. I urge you all to read this and, if you're in agreement, get involved any way you can to make your voice heard on this issue. Ooooooh! I'm so MAD right now!!
I'd like to hear how you feel about this - am I correct in being afraid that the great insurance I currently have (and desperately need) could very possibly disappear, only to be replaced with something very inferior? What are your thoughts? I'm not that experienced in weeding out political lies, and making sense out of complicated speeches, but this really scares me.
As I've already told many of you (probably over and over and...) Dr. Wes' blog is a good one. I read it every day, and it's really informative. I hope some of you will become fans of his, too. The good doctor seems to have it pretty well together.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Had A Birthday, But First Things First...

Hey everyone - I've said it before and I'll say it again: you need to hurry over to my friend Sue's blog at http://grannysuesnews.blogspot.com She's celebrating her 300TH POST (although I'm getting to this a bit late so you'll have to scroll down some) and there are giveaways to be won! Hurry, scat, SHOO on over there and do what you have to do to get yourself entered in the drawing.
Why am I late in doing this? I had a BIRTHDAY this past holiday weekend, and L and I were busy enjoying it. I'll post more on it later. I wanted to get this done so you won't miss out on SUE'S GIVEAWAY. You have until Thursday, so get going!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Make Your Face Happy

Do you know how when you love something you just want to tell everyone about it? Well, I'm here to testify on behalf of theTarget brand makeup remover cloth wipes. They come in a resealable packet of 30, they smell divine, and they have all kinds of good, moisturizing things in them like cucumber extract. And NO alcohol or anything harsh. I'm an avid face washer. I don't really like to do it, especially when I'm tired, but I've never gone to bed with makeup on. My normal routine was, and still is, Cetaphil (wash twice) and then a wash with Dermalogica Microfolient powder. It's great stuff, and (even better) the Cetaphil is cheap. If you want to go even cheaper (and I do) you can get the store brand, which works just as well. The Microfolient just gently polishes your skin and makes it clean and smooth and shiny. But you know what? Sometimes I'm so tired that I don't feel like going through with the routine. So every other night, I just clean up with one of the Target brand makeup removing cloths. They're soothing and feel so good - and the cleanup is QUICK! If you've been out exercising, you can even use them to wash up your neck and sweaty parts. Soooo refreshing! I couldn't find a picture of the Target brand, but here is another one, so you can see basically what the packaging looks like:

Kind of like diaper wipes, but moisturizing for your face. The Target brand packaging is minty green. And only about $4.99 for 30 cloths. The one pictured above is about $9.99. I promise you that you'll be so happy to forgo the long routine, and relax with this one a few times a week. Like I said, I'm down to doing it every other night. And after walking and hiking around outside where it's 80 degrees at night with fine ash falling from a fire that looks like this from my house (the huge smoke cloud minus the LA skyscrapers) :
trust me - these little cloths feel like heaven. Let me know if you try them! They're one of my best loved finds. I wish I could send crates of them to the firefighters.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blood Donor Rejects

UCLA was having a blood drive today on behalf of the Doyle family, who (you may remember) recently lost their little Evelyn Grace to leukemia. It was a small gesture in which I thought I could do something towards helping sick children. So the three of us in the office here - Olga, Teresa, and I - set out at noon for the city of Orange with the best of intentions, and more than a little anxiety on Olga's part about the needles.
We got there (after much aimless driving around -it was hard to find), they were happy to see us, we're feeling good, we're filling out paperwork and questionaires, and then ALL THREE OF US got rejected. What are the odds??? Teresa, because she lived in Great Britain and Spain during the 80s, Olga because she is deficient in iron, and me because I take 1 mg of prednisone (a steroid) every day. Kind of took the wind out of our sails. We were on a feel good/do good mission and we completely failed. Our hearts were in the right place, but I wish I had known all of this before we went. I would have worked a little harder to get others to go, rather than just myself.
Some days you just can't do a good deed no matter how hard you try.

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