November 29, 2008

Clouds, cookies, and PlayDoh.

A few of you have written to tell me I haven't posted pix of the grandchildren lately, so I thought I'd use them to show you what I've done so far for the Thanksgiving weekend:

I had the kids at my house for a few hours before we left for Thanksgiving dinner. Just before we left to pick up their mom, I heard a loud clank and then a thud and then a cry and this is the resulting bump on Talia's forehead from running into a very hard fireplace brick: She stopped crying once she took a look at herself in the mirror!

This is what we saw in the sky on the way to pick up their mommy. Doesn't it look like a face in a cloud?

The kids stayed overnight last night and here's the results of making sugar cookies and decorating them. (You can barely see the cookies on the paper towels on the counter in front of them. Excuse the cat.)

Here's the kids all curled up this morning watching some snippets of Thursday's Macy's parade:

Here's Quinn's self proclaimed, "The Artic of Blanket White House of North Levada." (Yes, Levada. He says it has desert and snow there.)

Here's the kids drawing, Talia wearing her self-made "Badger Costume." (Excuse the cat.)

And finally, the children making "fruit salad" and "an egg around a baby" from PlayDoh.

We've had a busy morning. Are there enough words to describe the pleasure of watching these happy little people play? I have a lot to be thankful for. Have a nice weekend.

November 26, 2008

Questions, punctuation, and knights.

Yes, yes, yes, I will post pix from the trip, but first I must find someone to scan a few and then you shall see them. I promise. Soon.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd share some more emails from men who recently answered my personal ad, since you guys on the trip said you find these posts amusing. I really would like to be dating, but consider the options. These are the COMPLETE responses (with NO pix attached) I received from my ad that requested from them a short bio, a pic, and a description of how what I wrote in my ad would work for them:

really like you, you seem to be a nice lady, are you…I would love to talk to you, please let me know sweetie. I’m a nice guy, you will like me…please let me hear from you soon. Sincerely

Just Wondering !!!!
Hows a nice man sound? Thats alot of fun and looking TO GIVE YOU ALL THE SPECIAL TLC YOU NEED !!

I enjoy who I am and enjoy what life has to bring maybe a new friend soon !!!!!! I'm 49 6'2' 195 in good shape and would enjoy meeting you, & This is for real so let me know !!!

Since Obama won, the sky is bluer, the air is sweeter, and I'm so optimistic that I'm writing to a woman online. I'm 56 and
iconoclastic. "I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe no man hate, envy
no man's happiness..." The shepherd speaks those line in "As You Like
It." I happen to like it, too. But I'm no Percy Dove-Tonsil quoting
Shakespeare all the time.

So let's have lunch first...
or I won't bother with you.

hi dr bob in westlake. wanna talk?
How big are you?

Would you enjoy a nice, smart, attentive, and
imaginative lover from time to time? Be careful what you wish for.

Ouch. You see the predicament? No pic. No short bio. No telling what appealed to them in my ad. No capital letters. Ouch. I wanna go back on the cruise. Real life is tough. Anyone seen a knight on a white horse?

November 24, 2008

Big ship, great people, and lots of laughs.

That was SOOOOOOOO fun! Where do I start! As you know, I went on a cruise this weekend to Ensenada with a group of single people. There were some of my Wowettes, some guys from the Party List, and some who booked the trip after walking into the Auto Club and seeing the flier.

What can I say? It was probably the most fun weekend I've ever had with friends. Our group was friendly and fun and almost like we were of the same mind with plans to get together for the weekend and enjoy the heck out of everything offered. We ate, we drank, we saw shows, we shopped, we laughed, and we partied. Did you notice that sleeping wasn't on the list?!?

There were so many moments that I hoped to remember so I could tell you about them, but they all just blurred together and I can't remember the specific things we laughed about, but my stomach still hurts from all the cracking up. To start, we had planned to meet on the pool deck upon embarking to have lunch and get to know each other but Bev and I didn't see anyone we knew so we just sat with a view of the Long Beach Harbor, having a drink, and one by one the table filled up. One of the guys I didn't know leaned into me and said, "I read your blog and booked this trip so that I could meet you!" Think about it, over 19,000 hits and I really have very little clue who is reading this and there, just inches away, is a guy I've never met who has read the posts for years and knows all about me and, until that very minute, I didn't know existed. He went on and on, praising me about my writing and my personality and I was totally amazed. Having not dated or had a party in over six months, it was almost shocking to meet someone, a man, with such knowledge and appreciation of me. And that set the tone for the weekend.

The women were beautiful, the men handsome, and everyone was fun. We woke up Saturday morning, docked in Ensenada, and had planned to meet on dry land to walk together into town. Bev and I waited and waited and, one by one, were met by three other guys from the cruise, two from my group and one from Utah who asked to join us, and we were off. Now, I didn't know these guys from anyone until the day before and didn't have any idea of how they would react to browsing through store after store in a strange town, but they were just hilarious. Kept us laughing the whole three hours. I just can't describe what a treat it was to spend the time with these guys who entertained us, let down their hair, and made it so much fun.

I feel rejuvinated, just alive again! It's been a tough year for me, as you readers well know, and this weekend just made my spirits soar. For some reason, which is still a surprise to me, I got more hugs and kisses and un-asked-for shoulder rubs from guys on the trip than I have had all year. After a while, Bev just stood there with the most bemused expression while another guy would come up to me and do something affectionate. Oh, I do remember one strange thing that happened. Bev and I were eating lunch (on the Lido deck, of course), and one guy who I had never seen before came up and asked me "What is there for lunch" to which I answered "There's Japanese food over there and some really good fish dish over there" to which he responded, "You should really be in comedy, you remind me of that comedian, oh yes, Rita Rudner." Listen, I told him what was for lunch. How funny is that? And at least three guys, at three different times, came up to me and said to the person next to me, "She's the most beautiful woman on the cruise." Listen, I have witnesses.

I don't know what got into everyone, but their spirits were high, the booze flowed, and everyone was gracious and friendly, which made for a good time for all. I have big thanks and love for Bev, our travel agent from the Auto Club, who spent so much time and effort booking all of us and turned out to be the best roommate a girl could ever have. (You can reach her at 818-313-7677 for any of your travel needs.) And to all of you who travelled with me, both those of you I have known and those of you who I met for the first time, I say that you were amazing, so friendly and happy and nice to each other, and I appreciate each and every one of you for making the trip so much fun for everyone. I can't wait to see you again. Really. Let's plan something again! (Pics soon!)

November 20, 2008

Juggling, boats, and friends.

I don't know how we all do it. Juggle. We have work, friends, family, lovers, school, chores, homes, errands, and the list goes on and on about all the things that take our time and energy. How do we have enough to do it all? How do we choose which to do and which to put off?

I'm going on a weekend cruise tomorrow, something that's been planned for about six months. There's maybe 100 single people my age going and I think it will be fun, but I had to do so much work and deciding and picking and worrying all week that I am spending the evening relaxing (think hot oil bath with candles), or trying to relax enough so that I can enjoy the trip.

Maybe it's about prioritizing or maybe it's about taking the easier path or maybe it's about giving in or giving up, but it's hard to make it all work. I guess the bottom line is that I can't have it all, that I have to make choices, and that sometimes I disappoint myself or others in the process. I really worked hard this week, just pushed and pushed, and my boss isn't at all happy that I'm taking a long weekend, but I still stood up, "barreled ahead" as my daughter says, and just said that's that. It was a week full of fires, real and perceived, very sick patients and some very sad stories, a sick grandbaby and a retired boss who's not doing so well in rehab and I'm just tired and wondering if other people have an easy time making it all work and I think this is just universal. We're all in the same boat. Life is tough sometimes.

So I'm off to spend a cheery and carefree weekend on a big ship with some old friends and maybe some new ones, to drink and eat and dance and maybe just sit outside and watch the ocean pass by. I hope you all have a lovely weekend, too.

November 16, 2008

Mules, dinners, and smoke.

I'm keeping my promise to tell you what I've been doing lately. That's a picture of Auntie Sharon's family at a recent dinner while she was visiting from Georgia. It's a big, loud Italian family that make me and my daughter and her family feel welcome, like we're a part of their family without the baggage. It's really nice to go to their gatherings since my family doesn't gather anymore, that since Mom passed we really have gone our own ways. I don't mind that, since we have a classic dysfunctional family and the gatherings were always fraught with tension, but I do miss the noise and the joy that exists in some families.

That's the view from the room Auntie Sharon and I stayed in at the Aquarius Casino in Laughlin a few weeks ago. That's the Riverside Hotel, the home of Don Laughlin who built the town. And that's the beautiful Colorado River that runs behind the hotels. One night we walked the length of the hotels along the River Walk and saw lots of ducks and one skunk. Really. We should have done more walking and less gambling, but it was a particularly nice trip. Sharon is my longest friend, like a sister to me, and I miss her terribly, so spending a few days together like the old days was really good. Below is a picture of Auntie feeding a mule in Oatman, a little town in the mountains just outside of Laughlin that used to be a thriving town during the days when gold was being mined, but now pretty much belongs to the mules who wander wherever they please.

And last week I had the flu, so there's nothing much to talk about and no pix. I worked most of the week and went home before I felt like falling over and it was a full moon and very busy, but it's over and so then there was the weekend. I hadn't made plans for the weekend because I didn't know how I'd feel, so I just took it easy and stayed inside. It was pretty weird though, with fires all over the place and the sky various colors of orange and brown and grayish and it felt like an episode of Twilight Zone, like I woke up in a movie or something. It was all over the news, something like 500 homes were burned, and I ache for the people who lost everything. The air was nasty and thankfully my daughter took her kids to the beach Saturday morning to escape the smoke and had a good time, except that she referred to the children as her aliens, so I figured she needed a break and told her to bring them to me on Sunday and they were a delight. There's something about walking through Gramma's door that makes them be good. I didn't know my grandparents at all, but I have to think that having me in the lives of my own grandchildren, with all the love I eagerly bestow upon them, is a good thing. Plus they're just the most fun. If I could bottle the sound of their giggles, I'd be rich. We even had a visit from my friend Kathy and her lab Onyx on their way to her little slice of heaven in Baja. Of course Onyx had to go in my pool, which I believe she thinks she owns, and the children had to hug and kiss her a zillion times. Here's a picture of the twins on my couch, pretending to be one of their stuffed animal friends.

So I ended the weekend taking the kids home and having dinner with my daughter, her husband, the kids, and my niece Debbie. We may not have a very big family, but we love each other a lot. Big bunches. Lots and lots. You get the picture.

November 13, 2008

Computers, viruses, and stuff.

Thanks to all of you who have emailed, asking me where I've been. Interesting few weeks, and I thank you for your concern. I formed about five or six or seven posts in my head, but alas my computer was in the shop. For a week. Except for one hour when it worked and then it didn't again.

Maybe I'll talk about frustration and angst and how little things really can upset us. When my computer gets weird, I just panic. I don't know how they work. I think it's magic, probably. Maybe I should take a computer class so that I won't get so agitated when it fails. Maybe I should just learn to relax and not take it so seriously. Whatever.

What I noticed is that I really felt disoriented, not having this means to communicate. I felt like I was alone in my little house and everyone else was "out there" living life without me. I know that's a bit extreme, but it kinda felt like I was disconnected from life. And then I got the flu or some icky virus and just didn't feel good for the past four or five days or so and that worried me. I'm not a good patient, I admit. Listen, I work for doctors and am really almost constantly aware of my mortality and the possibility of my demise, seeing all these sick people every day. Sometimes I warn my friends to be careful driving or to look both ways when they cross the street and they think I'm nuts, but I see the results of tragic accidents every day and it's really quite real. One of my docs is going to operate on a man tomorrow who was visiting here and got hit in a crosswalk, breaking his upper spine and neck and he's never going to be a pedestrian again or be able care for himself in any way. Ever. Like in that one second, his life and the lives of his friends and family are forever changed. So, sometimes I get weird about my own sense of mortality, and I apologize for the sad story, but maybe one of you will be a little more careful and never have to suffer like that.

So I vow to catch you up on what's been happening that's good, like my week with Auntie Sharon and our trip to Laughlin and Oatman. And that I went to visit a really cool church last Sunday with my friend Kathy, how it was the first service after the new President was elected and the crowd was pretty happy, and how colorful a group it was, and how I cried at the amazing music and the joy all around me. Maybe you can go next time with me. Or how I'm still not dating and have decided that life is about having fun and that I'm thinking of ways to have more fun that don't require a boyfriend. And how I'm having a major birthday at the end of this year and some really nice friends are trying to plan some fun outings but I just can't think that far ahead. And how the grandkids are fabulous (see for details and pix) and that I'm going on a cruise in a few days with 100 singles and how work is OK off and on, more on than off, and that I'm grateful that you read this. Stuff like that. Soon.