Monday, December 19, 2011

Details, Details

Today was a shopping day. It's getting a little too close to Christmas and I have a little too little done for my tastes.

Sarah decided she was going to come with me and before we left I laid out EXACTLY what I was going to do to Jeff and told him I would call him at some point in my travels so he knew what time to expect me home. If I dont do this he will call and ask if I got lost or fell into a black hole because he can never understand how shopping can take so long.

He is one of these "pick something and buy it" guys. No patience to look around.

He is also pretty sick and has had a fever off and on for 3 days so he is grouchy and out of sorts anyway.

After the first 2 stores I call him and tell him I'm on my way to Home Depot to get the Christmas tree and then will stop at the market to pick him up him something to drink. I also start to tell him about a few of the things I've gotten so far.

He interrupts me and says "I don't want to hear all the details... just get everything done and come home".

I hung up and stuck my tongue out at the phone. Very mature I know.

Sarah and I got to Home Depot and start looking for a tree... She holds one up and I look at it, then I hold it up and she looks at it. We trade opinions until we find the perfect one. Not like when I take Jeff and he wants the first tree we pull out of the pile. We pay for it, stuff it into the back of the van and head for the market. We hurry through some quick shopping to get stuff so I can make cookies and other yummies this week, as well as the requested drink. As we are pulling out of the parking lot my phone rings.

I am greeted with a very dejected voice on the other end: "Exactly one hour and a minute ago you said you were coming home."

"Exactly one hour and a minute ago I said I was going to get a tree and go to the market... now I am 5 minutes from home."

"Oh OK...sorry.. I must have missed that part".

No kidding!

See what happens when you don't want to hear all the details?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Love You, Mean It ~~ A Tribute to a Beautiful Soul.

I lost a friend very unexpectedly this week. Not that any of us at my age (mid 40's) EXPECTS to lose someone. And not that that person was expecting it either. But its just so much of a shock when things like this happen that your brain can't quite wrap itself around the fact that a person can up and die and leave behind a family, friends and so many unrealized hopes and dreams and then life and everyone they left behind has to go on without them.

The circumstances of my friends death are not entirely clear yet. She was having some health issues and had been in and out of the hospital over the past week. But there didn't seem to be any indication that things couldn't be fixed. Until they couldn't. And she was gone. Just like that. Here one day, gone the next.

She left behind several young adult children who are of course much more devastated than I am. They have lost their mother. The one who was supposed to be there to guide them through the still difficult years of youth. To hold her children's babies, to soothe them when they are crying, and to watch them grow into adults as she grew into old age.

How many times can I yell at the universe that life isn't fair? Asking why a life has to be cut short when there was so much more to do? Surely the sole purpose of my friend's life was not a lesson for the rest us that if we don't get our shit together the same thing could happen to us. She was much more than that.

As I go back and read the things that she had been writing about recently, I realized I was not going to find any clues that she knew this was coming. If any of us knew tragedy was on the horizon we would certainly change the way we were living our last moments. Get our ducks in a row, heal old wounds, take that vacation we've been putting off, buy ourselves that pair of shoes we've been eyeing. Because we would know that life was indeed shorter than we think and we better enjoy what we have and fix whats broken right now because no matter who you are, we all come with an expiration date. And the thought we always have tomorrow to do or fix what we want may not come.

My heart is beyond sad. She and I shared a lot in common. We both had oldest sons named Chris. Who both went into the Air Force to become crew chiefs for F-16 fighter jets. They both had sons (our first grandchildren) within a year of each other. We also both had 2 daughters of similar ages. We were both remarried with step kids (I had 2, she had one). And we both loved to write and maintained a blog (Hers:

She was a much better writer than I was. So much more funny and the words seemed to roll off her fingers with much less effort than it took me. She loved Disney as much as I do and in an ironic twist, she died on Walt's birthday. She wrote REAL trip reports (not just a bunch of pictures strung together with a few words) that kept you laughing out loud and coming back for more. Her first report seen here without the original pictures as they got lost a few years back and she never got around to fixing them: was what started some of her popularity. I met many people and good friends because of her and I cannot express the how grateful I am for her to have touched my life.

I wish I could reach out and ease the pain her family must be going through. Because if I am as sad as am, nothing but a casual acquaintance who spent just a small portion of my life interacting with her, I cannot imagine the depth to the sorrow of the people who spent daily lives with her, knowing her, loving her... having her enrich their lives with her humor, kindness and ability to see the best in people and in life no matter what the circumstances.

All I can say is:
Robin... you will be missed more than you ever imagined possible.
There will be a emptiness where you used to be that no one else will ever be able to fill in quite the same way that you did.

Love You , Mean It

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Horn Tuskers

There comes a time in your life when you realize you take certain knowledge for granted.
There are things you figure everyone knows so it's a bit of a reality check when you discover not everyone is as well informed as you are.

Katherine: Today was Colonial Day so we made dolls out of things like they did in the old days.
Me: Really, what did you make them out of?
Katherine: Out of the horn of a tusker something or other...
Me: A what?
Katherine (sensing the disbelief in my voice) : Ummm maybe I got that wrong maybe it was a tusk of a horny something..
Me: I don't think that's right either...
Katherine: Well I forget what Ms Sendejas said.. or maybe I wasn't paying attention (SHOCKER) but is was definitely out of some kind of growth from some kind of animal.
Me: Why don't you just show me what you made....
She brings out the doll
Me: Katherine...  these are CORN HUSKS... they cover corn while it is growing... You peel it off before you eat it and it gets hard and turns this light tan color. This does not come from an animal.
Katherine: OOOOOHHHHhhhhhh... I thought you peeled it off some kind of growth that some animal had growing out of its face... like a unicorn or something.
Me: Face palm.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Way Back Wednesday ~ Vintage Star Trek Toy Commercials

So many times the geek in me comes out but I can't help it!
Not only do I love vintage stuff, but vintage Star Trek stuff is even better!
Enjoy these old commercials!

Bet you didn't know that Vulcans were so good at doing laundry!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Saturday in the Car Park

I was at Costco the other day, picking up our weekly supply of Family Size items, herding the kids around and trying to get done as quickly as possible.

We made it into the parking lot and I was feeling pretty good about how well everything had gone.
I didn't lose anyone, I didn't have to yell at anyone, I didn't drop a 25 pound bag of flour on the floor and then have to pretend it wasn't me. Just overall a good shopping trip.

We were about half way down one of the parking aisles when I realized I couldn't remember where I parked.
I stopped so fast Katherine ran right into me.


 I tried to say I was using it as a real world example of what momentum was... you know, any opportunity is a teaching opportunity I always say.

No the kids didn't buy it either.

Not wanting to let on that I had been overcome with sudden onset Alzheimer's I tried to act nonchalant and began digging for my keys.

"Mom, did you forget where we parked?"

Nothing gets past Jeffrey.

"No, did you?"

I was trying to remember something about where I parked. Was I going up or down? Was I parked near tree? A sign? The basket return?

And I tell my kids to pay attention.

The lot was a giant ocean and my car was lost, adrift on the current.

I found my keys and performed the classic "Hold them over your head and hope you see some lights flashing or hear horns honking" routine.


This is when I realized there had been a lady creeping along next to me apparently waiting to score my spot.

This didn't make her happy so she floored it up the aisle and out of sight.

"Hey mom I think that lady was waving at you."

Yeah, the one finger wave. My favorite.

I turned around and realized that a parade of other cars had formed behind me.

 I crossed through the parked cars pretending that I suddenly remembered where I was.

Two cars took off at top speed and tried to beat each other around to other aisle.

A-HA! There it is! I saw it!

I rushed forward, clicking "open" on my key ring and grabbed the back handle of the door only to have my fingers bend backwards, break a nail and realize this was not my van.

Why do so many people drive blue Honda minivans out here?

Another line of cars had begun to form and the kids were looking at me and I was becoming a stressed mess.
I waved the cars away "NO. NO I'm not leaving, just came to the car get to get something, I'm going back inside".

"Why do we have to go back in?" Jeffrey wanted to know. "I thought we were done?  Mom? Mom?"

Now my only choice is trudge up and down the aisles and I'm annoyed because I'm sweating all over my clean shirt, my groceries are going to be a melted mess by the time I get them home and the kids now know for sure that their mother is not perfect.

Yes up until this very moment my children have thought of me as a combination of Einstein and the virgin Mary... a genius without faults.

It's true and you cant tell me otherwise.

Suddenly all the way at the end of one of the aisles that I swear I have never driven down in my life, I spot the blue boat. I rush forward, click my keys, hear the honk and feel the joy of a kid on Christmas morning.

I load the kids in, load the groceries in and then some jerk honks at me because I'm taking too long.

I hurry into the drivers seat, back out, pretend Im not driving a minivan and pass him like I'm on the Indy Speedway.

"Hey mom.. that guy was waving at you too."

Yeah, I know... There seems to be a lot of that going on lately.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Ramblings

My life this week has been a series of unfortunate spills by the animals of the house.

It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't keep stepping in it.

I haven't figured out exactly what has set them off, but I suspect it was the week long visit by Grandma.

She pretends to like the animals. As long as they stay as far away from her as possible.

Unfortunately, as with most animals, ours know who does and who doesn't like them and it just makes them all the more friendly to those who don't.

This display of friendship sends Grandma into hysterics, waving her arms or kicking at them with her feet, all the while shouting "JEFF! HELP! Get over here" at the top of her lungs.

She is now safely back in Vegas and our life is SLOWLY returning to normal as we slip back into the school year routine. Which essentially means I will remember what day of the week it is when I wake up in the morning.

Today is Saturday so I get several hours by myself on the computer while Jeff and Alex beat each other up in Karate, Katherine is at Gabby's and Jeffrey pops in out to ask me deep philosophical questions.

Like "Are people bald because they wore a hat too much and it rubbed all the hair off?" or "If I asked my teacher for the whole years homework right now, could I do it all over the weekend and then play video games after school because my homework was all finished until Jr High?" and the last one  "If the number 2 pencil is the best one to use, why don't we call it number 1?"

I wonder if he sits around and thinks these things up just to make me stop and have to think about what he saying.

So I'm back to eBay-land for the time being, but if anyone needs any Simpsons figures, vintage items or Disney memorabilia, feel free to stop by our store!

J & M Sales Emporium

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Way too early for coherent thought.....

Who put 7 AM so early in the morning?

Honestly, would it kill someone to move it closer to the afternoon?

The dog is still sleeping, why can't I?

Oh right, I had to get up and schlep the crew to their institutions of learning.

Summer is over and I am forced to get reacquainted with the wee hours of the morning.

I suppose it will facilitate my getting more work done. I'm trying to figure out if that's a good thing or not.

Overall, I think the kids are happy to be back into the swing of things.

Well perhaps not Alex. He has been dreading this year since last April.

His class schedule is as follows:

~ Math Analysis Honors (which I assume is more than sitting around and analyzing 1 + 1 = 2)
~ AP English (which required he read Grapes of Wrath over the summer. Yesterday his homework was to pick out themes of the book and he wanted to know if  he could include "boring" and "unnecessary" without getting himself into trouble. I told him probably not).
~ AP Computer Science (He's going to learn how to program in Java... I told him I could probably help him with that since I am quite familiar with several types of Java including Breakfast Blend and French Vanilla. He did not find my humor especially helpful.)
~ AP Physics (Scares me just typing the words)
~ AP US History (I told him to study the states over the summer, but did he listen... NOOOoooo... what is his first test today? Name all the states. See mom knows what she's talking about some of the time.)
~ AP Spanish 4 (Me llamo Paco...Et tu, como te llamas?  See I'm bilingual.)

Alex pretty much figures this is the end of his life as he knows it and that he will never leave his room except to go to school and occasionally use the bathroom.

I told him I would keep dinner warm and slip it under his door around 6 PM every night so not to worry.

Good to see all of you again!

Now off to eBay land!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Summer Fun at the California Science Center & Griffith Park Observatory

As I feared, I have had no time over this summer to do much on my blog. 
SOON the kids will be back in school and I will be able to get back to regularly scheduled programming!

But in the mean time I am trying to keep up with picture trip reports.

On Thursday I took the troops downtown to see the science center.
I think Alex was 3 the last time we visited.

The cast of characters included:
Me (well you knew that since I took all the pictures)
4 of my own personal kids:
Sarah (We picked her up on the way there)
Alex (He needed a break from all that tiring Black Ops he's been forced to endure these past weeks)
The Partners in Crime, Jeffrey & Katherine
and The Twins, Jacob and Olivia who are spending most of their summer with us.

So we arrived bright and early, er, wait.... I mean in time for lunch at the California Science Center which shares real estate with the Colosseum (where many of the 1984 Olympic games were held) and The Natural History Museum:

First stop.... a picture in front of a SR-71 Blackbird:

For some reason the dry ice fog didn't show up when I took the picture:

The kids were fascinated with how small the Apollo capsules were:

Jeffrey listening to the Doppler effect:

Katherine and Olivia looking at the satellite exhibit:

The crew playing virtual soccer:

Alex trying out the ping pong ball machine:

Jacob trying his hand at it:

Sarah checking out some information on the wall:

All 4 of them trying to pick up balls with different types of bird beaks:

Jeffery & Jacob take a ride on a snowmobile:

Katherine, Jacob and Olivia check out the frozen wall:

Sarah and the girls find some dessert bugs and lizards:

Waiting to get splashed by the flash flood:

Alex showing Jeffrey how one of the machines work:

Smashing their hands in the ocean depth pressure machine:

Checking out the 2 story deep salt water tanks:

The kids loved watching the divers feed the fish:

Katherine looking into the under water periscope:

Getting some close up looks at the fish:

We were first in line when they opened up the touch tank:

Jeffrey and Jacob head for the 3rd floor:

Planes from the next door Air & Space museum are on display here while the other museum is being renovated:

Because we didn't do enough already today, we stopped at the Griffith Park Observatory:

Somehow we got inside, despite the contradictory signs:

The boys checking out the "Big Picture" from the new viewing platform:

Katherine and Jacob looking at Meteorites:

Jeffrey sits with Griffith J Griffith and demonstrates how little sky is actually shown on the "Big Picture" wall.

The planets shown in correct proportion:

View of the Hollywood Sign from the lower observation deck:

The gang's all here!

All in all we had a really great day!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Beach Pictures

I have been taking my camera to the beach every week and have come up with great shots.
We go to the Point Dume area of Zuma Beach off Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.
It's about 30 minutes from our house.

This is a compilation of shots from the past few weeks.

This is a sunset from our front yard last week.

Katherine loves the waves and has no fear.....

Though after taking this shot, maybe she should rethink her bravery...

Jeffrey is fishing with seaweed, and Katherine takes another spill

More frolicking

Jeffrey enjoying the moment

Jeffrey as the Sorcerer in "Commanding the Waters"

Katherine trying her hand at controlling the waves...
Either that or she's trying for Master of Silly Walks

A few waves pictures.. I must have taken 100 of them

4 of them out in the waves

LOOK! Out there...........

It's dolphins!!

Jeffrey was racing with them up and down the beach

The boys were thrilled they were so close to shore.

Here the boys were enjoying the way the sand felt on their feet

And here they come looking like they just had their nails done

Katherine spent a lot of time panning for sand crabs

Here everyone is trying to count how many were in the bucket

Jeffrey looks shocked he found some in his bucket

Here the girls were trying to divide them all up so everyone had the same number

Sarah takes a look

The kids spend a lot of time digging holes while we are on the beach

Jacob and Jeffrey would dig to China if they could

Jeffrey testing the depth of this hole

A collaborative effort well done

Everyone got themselves into the hole today

Katherine and Olivia spend a lot of time building sand castles

They are never very big, but they have fun making them

Always the ham

Jeffrey shows off his amazing 10 year old physique

Charles Atlas.. watch out!!

Katherine finds digging holes to be a tiring experience

In their best effort yet, Jacob relaxes at the bottom of their masterpiece

Jeffrey brings the water to  demonstrate the built in tunnel they created

Alex enjoys the relative quiet

Sarah snoozes in the sun

The seagulls seems to have a lot of yelling to do.
Of course after they ate Olivia's sandwich, there shouldn't be too much for them to complain about

I caught this one taking off

Pelicans.. a lot of them!

The lifeguard is surfing in his boat

One day, I promise I'm going to own a beautiful house on the beach
Of course I better be in shape if it's one of these because the hike down the mountain is a killer!

Lifeguard station #3


These last photos were of the little kids from the family who was sitting near us.
They were so cute and really enjoying themselves