Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I received my homeowner's insurance bill in the mail today, and wouldn't you know... there's a fire somewhat nearby! Yeah, you'll have to look closely at the photo to see the smoke.

It takes about 35 minutes to drive to Mokelumne Hill, but the map shows it 12 miles due West as the crow flies.

Our usual afternoon breeze is starting up, meaning the fire is heading directly towards us.

So far, about 50 acres have burned.

The CDF is throwing everything it's got at this fire, but they'll have to land the aircraft for the night in about two hours when the sun sets.

Ahhhh, life in the foothills...

Can't wait for the photo op I'm expecting around sunset!

Update! This fire has been contained, but two new fires have started about 25 miles southwest of here. Thanks for all the well-wishes!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Our New Lawn Ornament!

Sleazy Rider -  Posted by Picasa

OK, I'm still thinking about landscape design...

This is way better than a pink flamingo, don't you think?

Not to mention it should ward off those Jehova's Witnesses who tend to ignore our No Trespassing sign!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Would You Hire These People To Design Your Landscape?

Neighborhood eyesore 1 -

Neighborhood eyesore, same property -  Posted by Picasa

I missed playing Stuff Portrait Friday hosted by Kristine, but I loved the idea of posting about my neighborhood eyesore.

This property is approximately two miles down the hill from me, on the main road.

I've read the owners are landscape designers, and wished to make their property something in which to showcase their work...

It's been several years since they began, not a good sign for potential customers who wish to complete their own yards in a timely manner.

To date, all I've seen go in is a large mound with a few plants atop, and I mustn't forget the hand painted planters.

Along a portion of their frontage usually sits this artwork which consists of what appears to be 5' pieces of concrete sewer pipe standing on end, and hand painted by what looks to be five year olds.

As for the heavy equipment and supplies housed on the property- I understand the necessity of this stuff... but you're supposedly landscape designers. How about hiding this mess behind that berm, maybe build a tall fence or perhaps plant some new trees along the roadside?

Has anybody driven past your property, fell in love with your vision and hired you?

I think not, and if so... they deserve you.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Just Playin' Around

Magazine Cover

To dishonor all those spam commenters!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Oooooh, My Aching Back!

Mrs. Boyd was a family friend, way back in the "good old days"-

Visiting over at Greenie's recently, I see that Nick is about to have back surgery for the second time!

This brings to mind my own back surgery back in September 2001.

Surgery was scheduled about one week after the infamous September 11 attack, and I arrived early at Stanford Hospital. News cameras, and hundreds of people wandering about in front of the hospital seemed a little odd.

I seriously doubted this extravaganza was due to the fact that former San Francisco Giant Willie McCovey was having surgery just ahead of me.

Nope, it was a bomb scare.

Hours later, when we were finally allowed inside after sitting in the hot sun, I was dehydrated since I wasn't allowed food or drink since the previous evening.
I was hooked up to an IV almost immediately, and the surgery, although later than planned, went ahead.

I had been told I'd be spending at least one night in the hospital, and due to the late surgery, it looked as if it might be a two night stay... something I really didn't want to do.

I decided to get walking, and prove I was doing fine. I buzzed the nurse and told him I had to get up, and when he saw I could walk, he allowed me the pleasure.

Like a ghost in a backless gown I wandered the hallways (never coming upon Willie McCovey or anyone else.)

During one of my bed rests and a most welcome shot of Demerol my new roommate arrived. She was much older than myself, and had just had neck surgery. She slept on throughout my roaming in and out of the room.

Back in our room, about 4am., my roomie awoke. Still out of it, the nurse on duty propped her up at a small table at the end of her bed with an early breakfast of juice and oatmeal.

Then the nurse leaves...

I'm observing her head, bobbing and weaving like a drunk at closing time when I see her drop face first into her bowl of oatmeal.

She's not reacting at all.

I'm getting up, buzzing the nurse as I do so. Somehow I lifted and wiped her face while trying to keep her neck as straight as possible. Thank goodness she was a thin woman. She was still breathing!

But no nurse has arrived, and no footsteps are coming down the hall.

Here's the funny part... picture Ms. Back Surgery holding up Ms. Neck Surgery. I was able to twist around somehow and get the phone with my right foot. Thank goodness for touchtone, because I used my toe to call the front desk!

"Hello... I need a nurse in here immediatley... blah, blah, blah. Yes I tried the buzzer! My back is hurting bad, send someone NOW!"

Within a minute or two, nurses came running. Right behind them was my roommate's neurosurgeon... and he was totally pissed off!

As a thank you, I was given an extra shot of Demerol. I needed it.

When my own surgeon arrived several hours later, he'd already heard the tale.

I was released by noon.

My roomie and her daughter thanked me profusely as I was leaving.

Was I a hero? No. But if you're ever drowning in a bowl of oatmeal, just call me, I know what to do.

Better yet, order the fruit bowl.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Company IDs and How I Met My Husband

My very first company ID

When I began working for The Telephone Company back when there was only one, we were issued IDs. You can see the low level of importance by the way they affixed my photo all askew.

Over the years, the company became more security conscious, and we were required to clip our IDs to our clothing whenever on company property.

It was a rare occasion when anybody would actually look at this identification, mainly when we were required to visit the San Ramon complex which came to be known as the Death Star.

A co-worker, I'll call her Ronnie (mainly because that was her name) decided to paste a photograph of Alfred E. Newman (from Mad Magazine) over her ID picture.

She'd been wearing this altered ID for quite a while when she was summoned to the Death Star for some class or another. Upon entering, visitors were required to show their ID at the nearest desk and proceed on. The guard glanced at Ronnie's photo ID, never noticing the picture was of a white male, and a famous one at that! Ronnie was an Asian female...

For much of my career, I worked in the central office environment, along with the telephone switching equipment. Most of these buildings had no windows, and if they did, they were bulletproof glass.

Everyone who had a need to access one of these buildings was issued a key.

As the company became more security conscious, they issued new swipe-card style IDs and took away our old keys.

In their infinite wisdom (?), the swipe-cards were not issued to many of our outside techs who occasionally needed access to the central office.

My job as a facility tech was a busy one, to say the least, and this serious ommision of entry required us to add the job of door man to our resumes.

I was extremely aggravated one day, and trying to get some work done at our computer terminal which was about 350 feet from the entrance door, when the buzzer summoned me back to the door (for the umpteenth time that day.)

Now irate, I opened the door to challenge this person to show their ID.

I did happen to notice this guy (I'd never seen before) was tall and very nice looking, but did that appease my anger? No!

A big smile lit up his face, and I could see that horndog look in his eyes. Great, now I'm really pissed.

He says, with that look in his eyes, "Oh, who are you?" (OK, now he's a slimy horndog.)

Sweetheart that I am, I replied "Who the hell are you? I need some ID here!"

I ended up having to assist the horndog with some testing, and he actually listened to the reasons for my stress, and commiserated!

We became friends, and later married.

It's been just over 13 years since we were married, and ever so often he'll look at me and say "Remember... Who the hell are you?"

Oh, I do!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Boyz Gone Wild!

Oh, yes it is! Posted by Picasa

The grandson has returned! Not the sweet boy who played his own unique form of Simon Says recently, oh no... This child is spewing chunks, not unlike the little girl in "The Exorcist!"

Not to mention a case of diarrhea as well...

His mama was recovering from her own flu, so when the little guy became ill it was all too much for her, and she came running.

I've been trying to keep up with the resulting laundry, spot cleaning floors and carpets and making chicken soup. A poor defenceless wall also had to be cleaned at one point.

Didn't I mention spewing?

Needless to say, my blogging will be seriously curtailed for an unknown amount of time. I'll attempt to keep up with reading... in between these other chores.

Ain't life grand!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Linguini and a game of Simon Says

The three year old grandson visited the other day, arriving just before dinnertime.
We sat him down to a plate of linguini with chicken in a four cheese sauce, hoping he'd be able to handle those long noodles.
As you can see, he did pretty well with his first attempts, and as soon as several photos were taken he learned to twirl it on his fork!

I wasn't feeling well, and not up to our usual more physical after-dinner games, so we decided to try and teach the little guy how to play Simon Says.
If you're unfamiliar with the game, or just plain forgotten how to play, a player becomes Simon, who names simple tasks to accomplish prefacing each task with the words Simon Says. If Simon can trick you into performing a task without saying Simon Says, you're out of the game.
Grandpa was the first Simon, and the grandson picked up the game pretty quickly.
Grandma was next, and pretty soon the grandson got his turn at being Simon.
He begins with "Simon Says- put on your hat." We did so.
Next came "Simon Says- throw your hat on the ground," which we also did as requested.
Finally came "Simon Says- get naked!"
While we're laughing, the grandson pulls down his pants, points his little finger at us while exclaiming "Grandma, grandpa- you didn't do what Simon Says! You lose!"

We're going to have to find a different game to play next time...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Campin' Stories

I've always loved to go camping, in fact it's one of the reasons we decided to move up into the forest.

Many years ago, we camped at walk-in tent sites at Big Basin State Park. These sites were situated on a hill, and each site was on a teeny-tiny plateau. Oddly enough, there was little shrubbery and no trees in that small area, meaning absolutely no privacy.

Being seasoned campers, we began our dinner shortly before nightfall and watched our nearest camping neighbors scramble to finish getting set up. This mother, father and young son appeared new to camping. The tent finally went up... and then they sat there. And sat, and sat.

My husband (at the time) went over to see if they needed assistance. We were thinking they'd forgotten something, and we were willing to share if needed. The husband was quite embarrassed, and finally admitted the only thing he couldn't figure out was how to strike a wooden match! I'm totally serious!

Once we observed a family camping next to us, also at Big Basin, but in the tent cabin area. Mother and two boys set up camp, and did it quickly. Later in the day, dad drives up with two business associates who appeared to be from Japan.

The guests were attired in brand new camping duds, and pitched an also new tent.

Mom ran the show, cooking and cleaning, and later the entire group went for a jog. Afterwards, at campfire time, the men stayed up late drinking and playing cards.

All were up for an early jog and huge breakfast. I'm sure a promotion came soon after, and I'm also positive the wife was a huge part of this success.

Yet another time, my current husband and I went to those same tent cabins for a weekend without the kids! It had rained recently, so the place was empty. Even the camp host had left the park to go fishing.

It was extremely cold the first evening, so we hit the Southern Comfort early while preparing dinner. We'd brought some nice thick filet mignons and baking potatoes which turned out divine. Bundled up by the remainder of the campfire, we heard a screaming coming from nearby. Thinking it might be a mountain lion, we sat quietly. Some raccoons we'd been watching suddenly went flying up the nearest redwood, and we could hear rustling in the bushes just out of the firelight. Soon the raccoons came back down and we went on to bed.

Early the next morning, we went for a long hike to work off those steaks. We ambled through some campsites on the way back and came upon a small group of people with movie cameras and lighting. The ummmm stars of this movie were wandering about in bathrobes, with apparently nothing on underneath!

Ahhh, the joys of the great outdoors!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Stuff Portrait Friday Again

Well, I'm playing this week!
SPF is hosted by Kristine, a fellow blogger from California.

My Ride (the 4Runner)-

Near my home (5 miles away)-

Favorite place (the deck)-

Other favorite place (the 'acuzzi)- Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 11, 2005

"They Will Come"

Waitin' for the fish-  Posted by Picasa

As I've mentioned before, we have a fairly large room downstairs which serves as both a guest room and temporary storage for my youngest daughter.

Whenever my daughter and grandson visit, I urge her to go through her stuff and allow us a little more storage for our own things.

During a short visit recently, while his mama was busy, the grandson decides to help with the sorting. We hear his little three-year-old feet running downstairs and back up, bringing old toys he's re-found.

After quite a few trips, we can hear him huffing and puffing, and he staggers in with an empty fishbowl he's discovered on top of an old buffet which is taller than he is!

He was very pleased with himself, and told us he'd climbed on the bed and crawled across the "dresser" to get to it. *Grandma is having a heart attack here*

I ask if he wants to take the fishbowl home and he says "No way!" I then ask what he wants me to do with it.

He said "Put water in it Gramma." I reminded him we have no fish here.

He replied rather perturbed "Duhhh, if you put water in it, Gramma, the fish will come!"

Well duhhh...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Oh Say It Isn't So!

The grandson- Posted by Picasa

As many of you know, one of my hobbies is genealogy.

I've decided to let my subscription to lapse, partly due to the expense and the fact that I've hit the proverbial brick walls on my family search.

My subscription ends in September, so I'm using the remaining time to wade through my notes once more to be sure I've not missed anything. Needless to say, this is quite boring, as I've delved through the online information so deeply as to have almost memorized much of it.

For fun, I decided to take a look at Mr. SB's ancestry. Since this would be a totally new search, I'd be able to actually find stuff!

I knew Mr. SB's mother came from Mormon stock, so my first stop was the LDS website. I never take for granted what I find there, but I do find good leads. I then take the information gathered and head elsewhere for census and other records to verify the data.

After going back and forth gathering data, I was looking at Mr. SB's G-G-G Grandfather, and found six wives. This wasn't too unusual back in those days, as people had harder physical lives and died much younger than now. Women tended to give birth almost yearly, and many died in childbirth. The men would take on a new wife as soon as possible to give their children a caregiver.

Looking more closely at the data, I found this man had six wives concurrently! Aha, he was a polygamist! I've read only a little about Mormon history, and I'm pretty sure I read that non-Mormons didn't accept polygamy, so I decided to look at the Federal Census data to see how they reported their unusual lifestyle.

I found this G-G-G Grandfather would show himself living with his primary wife and their children at one location. His other wives were listed as head of household in other physical locations nearby along with their children.

My husband is not at all interested in my hobby, but did get a laugh about his polygamous ancestry.

His comment was "I can't handle one wife... how could I deal with six?"

He's a smart man, he said the right thing. But I wonder what he really thinks?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Here's One For The Googlers

The Pyramid at Telume-  Posted by Picasa

Checking my stats recently, I found the most common Google search linking to my site was "Telume Mexico."

Oddly enough, my site is the only site given with that particular search.

The only time, (other than this) Telume is mentioned was in a post where I wrote that my ex-husband had threatened to throw me off the pyramid (shown above.)

Although the ex was of Spanish descent, he must have received some psychic impulse from the ancients directing him to perform a traditional sacrifice.

What an idiot, he knew I wan't a virgin...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Why I No Longer Shop At Thrifty Drug Stores

My oldest daughter-  Posted by Picasa

Several months before this portrait was taken, my daughter and I were involved in an incident at our local Thrifty Drug Store in San Bruno.

I used to enjoy shopping there as it was close to home and prices were affordable. We could get a single-scoop ice cream for 10 cents, a real treat a single mother could lavish on her little girl.

One day after work we stopped off to pick up some Pampers diapers, and to look at toys so we could advise Santa on what to bring for Christmas.

I guess we lingered a little too long, because my daughter who was almost fully potty-trained said she had to go poop... now!

As we quickly headed to the check-out counter she stopped dead in her tracks, became glassy-eyed for a few moments then continued walking. As I looked back while trying to urge her to speed up, I saw a perfectly round piece of poop fall out of her diaper and roll down the aisle.

I'm not one to carry Kleenex, as most mothers do, so I gently kicked it to the side so that no-one would step in it. As I did so, another little ball of fun came rolling out!

As I put down the items I no longer had the courage to buy, and pretty much dragged my daughter out of the store, the last thing I heard was a disgusted voice come over the intercom...

"Cleanup on Aisle 3"


Thursday, August 04, 2005

"We'll Leave The Light On..."

Part of the house- Posted by Picasa

It was getting toward sunset the other day when I left my computer to take a few photos.

This one shows my office already lit up for the evening, which is rare since I usually go offline when I begin dinner.

Mr. SB is silhouetted in the dining room, patiently waiting for me to return.

As you can see, I haven't done much in the way of planting off the deck. We have patches of iris, and I have a small experimental garden hidden behind and below the maple tree in the foreground.

There are two reasons this garden is experimental. I'm still working on finding truly deer resistant plants is the #1 excuse. The fact that the house needs sanding and painting is another reason not to expend too much time and money.

I've had homes painted in the past, and lost many plants in the process. The saddest loss was a large bouganvilla some painters tarped and bent away from a wall and trellis... snap!

When we finally get the painting done, I'd love to get a blogworld Dream Team to magically appear and help me make a design plan. I'd choose:
Greenie, Sylvana, and Susie for starts. I realize Susie doesn't talk much about gardening, but I've seen pictures of her yard!

In the meantime, I'll have to content myself with looking at their sites, reading landscape design books, and asking questions at the nursery.

Oh, and getting that painting done of course.

Any suggestions out there on great gardening and/or landscape design books? My 'bible' is the "Sunset New Western Garden Book."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The 'Dogz'

Tasha-  Posted by Picasa

We have three dogs living in our house, and making me crazy with their shedding.

First there's Dobie, the three-legged one who actually belongs to my daughter. Having a three-legged dog almost qualifies us for hillbilly status, except Mr. SB and I still have all our teeth. She lost a leg when my daughter's former landlord let her out (without permission) one night, and she was a victim of a hit and run. Dobie is also know around here as Mama-Dog, as she is the mother of our two pups.

Our only male dog was named Lobo at birth, one of three large males in the litter. I intended to keep only the runt, but Lobo was so good-hearted! When the runt would get knocked away at feeding time, Lobo would push his way in, and make sure the little one could eat. He is variously called Bobo, Bo, and affectionately as Big Butt.

The runt of the litter was Tasha, shown above. She's grown to about 75 lbs. now. She's also known as Natasha, Baby Girl and Rocket-Butt! She earned this last nickname when we first moved up here and she encountered her first deer. She chased a deer family (which included a large male) up our driveway and disappeared for at least 15 minutes. As I was resigning myself to the fact she was probably lost, she came running down the hill as if a rocket was attached to her butt... hence the name.

The dogs have learned to ignore our animal visitors. They just watch the deer, foxes, and other wild creatures. They do alert us to visitors of the two-legged variety, but the time we saw that mountain lion they didn't make a sound!

Perhaps we trained them a little too well?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Feeling Lost In The Woods

Nearing sunset-  Posted by Picasa

Are Blogfriends real friends?

My very old dictionary defines friend as:
"One attached to another by esteem, respect and affection; an intimate."

My answer is a resounding yes! I visit my blogfriends almost daily, reading about their lives. Although most of us have created an anonymous visage, the intimate details of our lives bleed over into our postings.

I prefer reading blogs which make me laugh, but sometimes life makes one cry. Being a blogfriend means you want to comment whenever possible, and make a special effort to help friends through hard times.

Sometimes I just don't know what to say.

I recently read a rant, written by a normally upbeat and good author. The rant dealt with blogging, something we can all commiserate with. This author was so angry I couldn't really put together the cause of distress. I went so far as to reread several postings back, along with the attached comments, and am still perplexed. So I said nothing.

Another old dictionary definition of friend is:
"... one of the same nation, party, kin..."

This brings me to mention Sarah. I've seen her comments in the past on other's sites, but we've never met. The site linked is manned by her sisters and significant other, who are keeping Blogworld informed on her medical progress. The last posting indicates she is not doing well.
I've gone over to visit, urged to do so by the wonderful Susie, but again, I don't know what to say.

I want to say "Been there," but that doesn't help. At this point I'd like to say "It's OK to let go" but I'm not sitting there helplessly watching my sister slowly let go of this earth.

All I've been able to say is "I'm sending my love and prayers." It's not enough, but I have no better words of comfort.

So pardon me blogfriends, but I think Sarah's family needs comfort. Instead of visiting my usuals, I'm going to sit here awhile and try to find something of value to say to someone who really needs it.

You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. --- Winnie The Pooh

Sarah passed away Tuesday, at 4am. Goodbye Sarah, may the next world be kinder to you.

Monday, August 01, 2005

They're Not The Bee Gees!

Dad holding "Pookie" Posted by Picasa

I was recently tagged by another of my favorite bloggers Romani Heart to post the 10 songs I'm listening to now.

Normally I listen to oldies, in fact I'm so far behind on current music that it's not even funny!

A friend of mine, John, has been kind enough to burn tons of CDs of our favorite oldies and mail them up here. Thanks again John!

When I drive, I usually turn on Newstalk Radio, and if Mr. SB is with me it's Sports.

So what am I listening to now?

Several nights ago I watched a documentary about the Bee Gees, and now I'm hearing their old songs running through my head!

"How Deep Is Your Love"
"Stayin' Alive"
"Islands In The Stream"
"You Should Be Dancing"
"Nights On Broadway"
"Jive Talkin'"
"Lonely Days"

That leaves me two more- so I'm choosing two of my all-time favorites which are always stuck in my brain:

"Last Dance" by Donna Summer
"Every Kind Of People" by Robert Palmer

Please Lord, get the Bee Gees out of my head! Well maybe not Barry Gibb, because he's ummmmmmm delicious...