a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Thursday, December 8, 2016

tying up loose ends

There were a couple blog posts where I asked your advice about this and that and I thought you might be interested to see what the "final outcome" was.

Remember when I asked your opinion about posting a sign to keep solicitors away? We finally did get a sign and attached it to the window by the front door.  The outcome?  Wouldn't you know it.  Honestly since that time NO ONE trying to sell something or solicit something has come to the door (at least through the hours of 9:30 a.m to 6 p.m. when I'm working). So not sure if it is effective, but its posted. Time will tell.

Remember the post about the sewer bill from our previous home in San Diego? Something that I was trying to resolve close to a year after the property was no longer ours? I have to give hubby credit. When he decided to pursue it, he went after it diligently.  He called literally every day and explained the situation, tried to get resolution.  He finally connected with one of the people I had originally talked to who had moved up to management over time.  He got her personal number there at the company and called her daily. This happened pretty much daily through the month of August. She told him that the system was undergoing a change that month, but she was working on getting things cleared up and called him to let him know that the account had been closed. They bill bimonthly.  We should have gotten a bill in October. Guess what? No bill!! And so far no bill in December. Due to his diligence (and kindness in doing so because he is an incredibly kind person, more so that me, I'm more generous, but he's more kind) this was resolved. 

So now the burning question I just have to ask......

You knew there would be a question, didn't you?

Are you done Christmas shopping?

Or are you dreading it?

For us, we are only buying for the wee ones this year. I'm 50% done. Just need about 1-2 hours to wrap it all up.

And you'll be proud of me. I have a Christmas tree up and decorated and a strand of lights outside shining as we speak. A few other decorations and that's about it.

I'm actually doing okay with the fact that Christmas is a mere 17 days away. I'm not panicking or in despair.

Life is good

because (fill in the blank)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

It was good to get away

It was good to get away for the 3 days that we did, from "Black Friday" returning Sunday afternoon.

I took pictures and I planned to share the pictures here, but honestly, I just don't have the energy to do so.

We headed West to a place we were familiar with.  To Temecula, California, close to where we lived almost 6 years ago in Murrieta, California.  Temecula is known for its wine country.  Not as "fabulous" as Napa Valley perhaps, but coming to its own notoriety and success for producing good wines and pleasant tasting rooms to enjoy such wines.

We needed this getaway. Stress in one form or another had consumed us (me) since at least the middle of this past August. Anxiety, a lifelong unwanted friend of mine, was visiting for an extended period of time making my life (and those around me) miserable. We just needed to be gone for a few days, to be away from situations and to just think about something other than what we had been thinking about for all these recent times.

We started out on Friday morning and for 2 hours talked about "it." The thing that has held us hostage for those 3 miserable months until hubby and me agreed it was time to stop talking about "it" and to talk about something else. It was hard not to talk about "it" but we managed not to for the rest of our time away from here.

Our ultimate destination was Temecula, but we stopped at the Mission Inn in Riverside for lunch.  They go all out of their way decorating for Christmas and their yearly Festival of Lights.  We weren't there for the actual "flipping of the switch" to turn the lights on, but we saw the festivities and a lot of decorations. Lots of time put into creating a festive atmosphere.

Our next stop after that was Downtown Disney. Located right next door literally to Disneyland, a strip of shops, restaurants, and movie theater. A place to go to people watch, shop, and catch a bit of the Disney magic without paying the exorbitant price of an admission into Disneyland. No rides, just a fine time looking at shops and people watching, a favorite pastime of mine. 

We were planning to have dinner there but were still filled from lunch, so just enjoyed an appetizer and a glass of wine for me, beer for the hubby, during happy hour at one of the restaurants in Downtown Disney.  We enjoyed people watching. We have our own language for it with different abbreviations for this and that type of people we see (all clean fun, but our own secret code so to speak.) It was fun to laugh. We hadn't laughed like that in a few months.

Then we headed south to Temecula, actually Murrieta, to check in to our hotel. The hotel was located a mere 5 blocks from where we used to live down there about 6 years ago. I liked Murrieta.  I got to see quail there and if you know how much I like quail, you could imagine how much I enjoyed living there. We visited a lot of our "old haunts." The 2 places we lived up there. Where hubby worked. Places we walked that corgi of ours. We sadly saw a lot of restaurants that we had frequented had closed in the years we were gone. 

Saturday had us out and about visiting several local wineries. We enjoyed the wine tasting and the conversations struck up with those hosting the tastings at the local wineries plus other fellow wine tasters. We bought just a few bottles of wine, less than we might have previously done, but were cognizant of buying what we enjoyed rather than just buying because we were there.

Saturday night we enjoyed a nice dinner with hubby's brother and sister in law. They live in San Diego but came up to the area (45 minutes away) to join us for dinner. It was nice to reconnect with them.

Sunday we headed back home. Recharged. Energized. Ready to begin the new work week, the new month ahead, the Christmas season.

The problems still exist. They will for a long time. There may or may not be a resolution.  Whatever way the outcome may be, we will continue to pray about it and hope for the best.

But we realized we needed this time away and may need another time away in the not too distant future. We have to be alert to it and just do it.

In the meantime, we have Christmas to get ready for. Lights are up outside. Tree to be decorated this weekend. What little shopping I'm doing will be "wrapped" up in merely one shopping trip over a 2-3 hour perid.

Life is good.

Because God is good.

All the time.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

baby steps

Hard to believe, but the wee one turned 9 months old last Tuesday.  He's crawling and doing this and that and cruising around the furniture.  He's getting ready to want to take those baby steps from one couch to the other. You can see him reaching his arm out to the other couch, about 12 inches apart. Not enough for him to reach it, but he wants to get there. He's just not yet brave enough to take that first tentative step. I thought he wouldn't be walking until he was a year old, but I think it will be closer to 11 months, just based on what he's doing and how he's developing.  

Its fun to watch his progress in his development. With my own kids, I was wanting them to walk, talk, etc., and wanted it sooner than later. I know there's a skill set they have to learn to get to the next step. I can "breathe" easier with him because I'm "just" the grandmother and I'm wiser. I know he will walk (eventually), talk (when he's ready), etc., so I can enjoy watching those steps he needs to take to where he needs to be to do the next step he is ready to do (did you follow that??) Lots of steps going on.

And I want to stay not only is he making and taking baby steps, but I am too. I loved each and every comment that was left on my last post. So many thoughtful suggestions and loving care. So many others hurting this time of year too.

Baby steps I've made for Christmas this  year.

We decided to put up Christmas lights outside. Mind you, it will be one strand in a small area, but its the first time in a few years (5 to be exact).

We went to Home Depot and bought the lights and will put them up on Thanksgiving.

We even looked at artificial trees and guess what? We bought one!

I was actually in the Christmas section of a store and I wasn't in a panic mode or filled with dread. Believe you me, that is a big baby step.

Tree will go up first Saturday of December. The step granddaughter will be over and we'll set it up with her and decorate it.  

The wee one's parents won't need us next weekend for child watching due to their work schedules, so we are 'getting out of Dodge for a few days'. Taking a mini trip Friday through Sunday.  If it is noteworthy I'll blog about it upon my return. I'll be on the tablet while we are gone so if my comments are short, its because its harder to type on it than the regular desktop.  

Wishing each and everyone of you, who I truly do love and thank you for reading my writings and responding in comments, a most Thankful Happy Thanksgiving. Appreciate all you have and be grateful for it all. Each and everyone of us is truly blessed in so many wonderful ways.

Monday, November 14, 2016

you may remember (or not)

That Christmas is not a favorite of mine. I would personally prefer not to celebrate it all and just skip to the new year without the fanfare. I've written about it before, but I'm too lazy to show the links of it. Lets just say that December has not been a kind month to my family. Its been filled with strife and a multitude of deaths (actually three deaths, but isn't that a multitude when those deaths were a father, a mother, and a beloved corgi?). December sucks for us. I'm sorry, it just sucks.

I can't find joy in Christmas for the past 10 years (at least). I want to feel joy but who can find it in what has gone on for several of those years in the past few years? I want to get excited about seeing Christmas decorations before the Thanksgiving holiday but for the most part I just want to wrap myself up in a cocoon and start the new year with fresh start, oblivious to what may or may not have occurred leading up to December 25th.

And then we have this year. Really, how could it have happened? It surely wasn't something I wanted to encounter or be involved in. I wanted to sweep the holidays under the rug. But I found myself with an 11 year old young lady, a step grand daughter, who loves Christmas and still believes in Santa. She joyfully announced the other day "its 45 days until Christmas." I wanted to scream "NO......" but I didn't. I said "that's great." 

I tried to match her enthusiasm. I said later on in the shopping adventure "we'll make cookies" to which she replied "gingerbread cookies, we'll leave some for Santa". I never made gingerbread cookies. I was thinking sugar cookies. If you have made gingerbread cookies, let me in on your secret. I really need to know how to accomplish this.

There is talk of stockings and such, talk of trees and such.

I just cannot do it. 

I really can't.

But yet I need to.

I need to keep the spirit of Christmas alive for her.

I need to put up a Christmas tree (Oh Lord, please no, I really don't want too, just show me that one that looks cool and doesn't cost a lot)

I need to fill those stockings that will be hung by the wall with care (no mantle in which to do so, but stockings will be hung).

I need to model Christmas of my youth here this year.

Frankly, I'm not sure I can do so.

Yet I must.

Help me and encourage me. Help me to see the joy of Christmas when really i want  to ignore it all.

Help me to see and model some Christmas joy.

I covet what you will share with me.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog

Thursday nights we watch the wee one due to work schedules.  We have found that it is easier for him to spend the night with us than for him to be picked up late by a parent, which we have found is more disruptive on our sleep cycle than him sleeping over (and most nights he is sleeping through the night). We have a little portable crib for him in our bedroom.  I sleep in the bedroom, hubby sleeps on the couch in the other room so he can get sleep in case the wee one gets fussy.  Son will pick him up in the mornings before I start work.

The first few Thursdays I slept restlessly.  I forgot how much "noise" a little one makes when they move around at night and how often they might "coo" or "talk" in their sleep.  Each movement or coo in the beginning would wake me up, but now I'm used to the majority of them.  Sometimes he'll wake up and cry or fret for a minute.  They might not attend to him, but I'm still getting use to him, plus I don't want him to go into a full blown cry and wake up hubby in the other room.  So if he fusses for a bit, I'll pick him up and just rock him for a few minutes, he'll fall back asleep and then I'll lay him back down.

At a young age of 8-1/2 months, he has his favorite TV show already.  He likes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Disney, Jr.  We don't get Disney, Jr., just the regular Disney channel.  Disney, Jr. is considered a premium channel in a different package than we got when we set up our cable line up.

He loves that show and is mesmerized with it.  I have to admit, it is a cute show.  Thankfully it comes on at 8:30 a.m. in the morning on the regular Disney channel so he is able to enjoy it.  Each adventure Mickey and his friends are on involve them needing the help of Toodles who provides clues for what they might need. Like they need to climb up to hang lanterns.  Toodles will have the tools available, like say a book, ladder, ball, etc. The kids are supposed to figure out what tool would help them climb (ladder just in case you can't figure it out.)

The show ends with the Hot Dog Dance.

It really is a cute song.

Except if you get it stuck in your head.

Hubby said there's a term for this.  Earworm - a tune or part of a song that repeats in one's mind.  

Yep, happened to me this morning.  We were watching Mickey and his friends and a few minutes later son came to pick up the wee one.

I started my work day and in my head "hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog" is singing along.  ALL DAY LONG.  YES, ALL DAY LONG. 

We are waiting for our table at the restaurant tonight and every other word out of my mouth is "hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog."  I had to google it for hubby so he could be "blessed" with hearing it himself.

It didn't have the same impact on him like it did to me.

So I'm going to end this with have a great weekend

and hot dog,  hot dog, hot diggity dog.

I dare you to go listen to it.  Its only about 90 seconds long.   Listen here.

Do you have an earworm song that seems to stick with you?

I'll give you one to start with.

"It's a small world after all....."

You can thank me in the comments.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Self check out

Do you self check out at the store?

It almost seems these days they are promoting that (and online shopping) over cashiers and having adequate things in stock.

I was at Target the other day getting a few items, including a bottle of wine for dinner. There is a clear sign at the self check out "No alcohol can be purchased through self check out."  Interestingly, there were no lights on of any other cash registers working, but there was a Target employee at the self check out lanes designating where customers should go to check out and I heard her say to someone "don't worry, I'll help you if you need help." I remarked to her I had wine and she said "I'll help you on aisle 5" (right next door to self check). It was not lit up.

She processed my items and as I was gathering them up, another man came in behind me and placed his items on the conveyor belt and she took care of him.

It dawned on me as I was leaving the store.

They are training us to use self check outs. Think about it. One store we go to has 8 self check out "lanes" and one person monitoring it.  Probably 95% (if not higher) of the check outs run smoothly. One person monitoring 8 lanes of people checking out, reducing the amount of lanes ran by a "live" cashier.

I have to admit. Self check out is easy for a few items. I won't go past 5-6 items with its use. Some stores will allow alcohol to be purchased through them, some won't. (Those that do, they have it built into the system you have to show your ID to the person monitoring the lanes or they see you are "older than dirt" and just click their button, clearing you to continue to check out).

Sometimes I'll use the regular check out lanes even if they are busy because that at least keeps someone employed, if only for that date.

I fear the check out lines of the past are fading away, like so many other things, and being replaced by self check out services.

Another way to reduce jobs and cut expenses. 

Yet it is so prevalent, so what does one do?

To self check out or not to self check out, that is the question.  How do you answer it?

Do you prefer a "live" cashier taking care of your business?

I still miss the full service gas stations.  Anyone remember those?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I am no longer a soccer mom

Aren't the soccer moms the ones that drive mini vans?

Forgive me if you are (were) a soccer mom and drove (drives) a mini van.

I drove a mini van since 1989.  Is there an intervention for such a thing?

Two Chevy Astro vans and an Oldsmobile Silhouette.

The Oldsmobile Silhouette was purchased August 28, 1999.  It was a necessary purchase, one we didn't want to make, but the newly paid off 1996 Chevy Astro van had been totalled 18 days prior (not my fault).

The Silhouette was 17 years old with 93,695 miles on it.  It got a lot of driving when the kids were going to school, this activity, that activity. This vacation. This move. This son learning how to drive. This son taking it when his car was broken down.  You know the story.

The last few years it barely got driven. There were times when we lived in Prescott before we moved to Phoenix that it didn't get driven for 2-3 weeks at a time. The battery would go dead during those times but always started with a charge.

It needed work, but it still got you around for short distances. I rejoiced that it made the drive from Prescott to Phoenix without breaking down.

It was the last connection with that silly corgi of ours. He had many a car ride in it and had journeyed from Montana to Southern California in it, several places in Southern California too.  It still had corgi hair in it (a gift that keeps on giving, even when you vacuum diligently).

But alas.

Time to let it go.

We needed another reliable vehicle. Hubby drives 50 miles one way to work. His Nissan Versa is great and good on gas, but it was time to get another vehicle to drive on the weekends to give the Versa a bit of a rest.

It was time to say goodbye to the Silhouette.

Hubby did his research and based on what he thought we needed, he thought the Nissan Rogue was a good thing to buy.

He did a lot of research on prices, models, etc.

We went to the dealership this past Saturday. Prepared to get the deal we wanted. We had printed paperwork of what the car was going for, the abundance of cars in the dealership, and the fact that the Rogue which had a previous selling day of 51 days went up to 71 days.

We got an inexperienced sales person. Three weeks into the job. He learned a lot in the negotiations. We were his first car sold there at the dealership. He remarked he wished he had worn a tie that day because I guess it is customary for a salesman to cut his tie when making his first car sale. A delightful young man. I wish him and his family well.

We got a really great deal. Thankful to hubby for his research and his negotiations. I stay out of it. I tell him "you do your thing" (after all that is what he does for a living) and I tell him "when its time to walk, you let me know and I'll be right behind you." I knew we needed a car but I didn't want a car payment so if he said "its time to go" I would have been right there behind him.

What I didn't realize was how sentimental I would be towards the Silhouette. Cleaning it out Saturday morning before we went in, I saw the bits of a corgi's fur. And then I remembered so many wonderful memories of that van. My kids grew up in that van. Seventeen years. Low mileage. At the dealership they were amazed at the condition of it and the low mileage.

I cried a few tears and said to our salesman when we got there "I changed my mind" (We had been in the previous week to look at Rogues and do some fact finding).

It was a good vehicle. It never left me stranded and it needed minor repairs.

This Rogue potentially could be the last vehicle we purchase. Its sobering.  But if we keep it as long as the Silhouette, it really very well could be.

And the car payment really isn't that bad.

And it rides similar to the van.

Now I just have to drive it more.

Working at home, I never drive. But it will be the weekend vehicle and if I need to run an errand during the week.  I would imagine it too will have low mileage during its life.

Goodbye van. Thank you for being so faithful to us.