Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Remember when kids would dress up for Halloween as cowboys and princesses and firemen and baseball players and flower children? Do you have any idea how difficult it is when you work on a college campus on Halloween and you pass a guy wearing a plaid shirt and a cowboy hat standing with a duck-hunter guy in full camo and then you pass a "Mormon Boy" in short-sleeved white shirt, skinny tie and satchel then a girl with purple hair and zebra-striped pajama pants and you can't compliment ANY of them on their costume just in case THEY WEREN'T WEARING ONE!
Thank goodness for the people in the Business Office, HR, Financial Aid and Counseling offices that do the Halloween dress-up thing proper. Even on this campus, there's no mistaking a witch with a purple feathered hat or a man in top hat and tails for standard college kids. Dr. Blair from Disabled Student Services in her black leather, spiked wrist bands, tattoos and piercings would have blended in had I not recognized her face. It's fun having such a diverse population to work around. Is this a great country or WHAT?!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I was so proud of this pie I had to share it -- at least pictures of it. I made a pie crust that was either a little dry or (more likely) I hadn’t rolled it out thin enough. So, figuring the top crust would crack I decided to do a lattice top. I was digging through my drawer of kitchen tools looking for the edger I used to cut the strips and came across the noodle cutter…hmmmm. I used it to cut tiny strips and put them on the pie. Is this not fabulous?! Raw was pretty. Baked was better.

This was just a standard apple pie save for the bits of thyme I added. I’ve been trying that more lately since I’m always overrun with fresh herbs from the garden and looking for new places to use them. Peach and basil pie was also to die for.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I'm angry and feeling the need to vent. I found out that a boy we know had his 18th birthday party last night. NO ADULTS in the vicinity because the parents had to go out of town and the son assured them he could be trusted....yeah right! They decided to trust said son with a few rules and not force them to have grandparents present. Needless to say, all rules were broken. There was alcohol, 25 kids and a slumber party (if you call young men and women sprawled in every room a slumber party...). I was a teen a helluva long time ago and I KNOW how even chicken-shit me would have handled that without an adult to supervise. What in the HELL were the parents thinking!? Do they not realize that 18 means ADULT in the real world?! Congratulations, you’re eighteen. You can now go to JAIL!

Here’s another question…. since these parents had no choice to be out of town so they really had no control over what was going on in their absence….Where did the parents of the guest kids think they were all night? Staying at Suzy’s? Did they call Suzy’s house – not her cell, duh -- to check? Who provided the alcohol? And the kids that had a curfew, what condition were they in when they left? What pisses me off and scares the crap outta me all at once is that my family may have been out there on the road with drunk kids leaving that party. Friends and family could have been killed by yet another car load full of kids from hell. Mark had driven to pick up Gloria. Gloria’s friends that have licenses were driving themselves home with minimal driving experience which means without the ability to avoid an accident that might happen to them. Monica was probably coming back to her place after a late night out. They were out on the road when drunk teenagers may have been on the road. I am SO angry.

So here’s the deal….were YOUR kids at a toga dance at school on Friday night? Where did they go afterwards? Where did they spend the night? Where are they now….Saturday morning and in what condition? Did you check their breath? I was a teenager once. If my kids are out late, they MUST come and kiss me good night. Warm and cuddly, perhaps, but I’m also checking breath and they know it. If your friends have high school age kids, please forward this blog to them. Somebody has to start asking the hard questions of their kids. Sixteen doesn’t mean, “Here’s the keys. Thank goodness I don’t have to drive you anymore”. For me, it was “Here’s the keys. Now I will worry more than when you were five and walking home from the bus stop alone.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I went to “Courage Night” last week. This week, Oprah had guests that were basically in the process of dying from cancer. The reoccurring theme seems to be “Living a Life with No Regrets”. It’s difficult to decide if the point is to not regret your past (since it made you who you are and you can’t unring the bell anyway….) or if you shouldn’t DO anything you’ll regret. I suspect it’s the former though both are good plans to live by. No sense crying over spilt milk goes without saying. Apologize for what you’re TRULY sorry for (especially if hurt feelings were involved) but don’t waste time with a flippant “sorry” that you don’t mean. Take a deep breath, buck up and move on.

You may have seen the essay about the date on a headstone showing the birth date and death date with the dash in between. The important part of life is how you spend that “dash”…I suppose we all worry about who will show up at our funeral or what will be said in our obituary. Not so morose if we give it thought BEFORE the time comes, while we still have time to modify what time we have left. I realized that the people whose opinions matter most are my girls.

Should a parent have to be reminded to enjoy their kids? Actually, when the kids are in their teens and beyond, we DO have to be reminded. When children are little and….more malleable….moldable, it’s easy to enjoy them. Even during the terrible twos and threes when they’re finding power in the word “NO”, you can balance a crazy day with them standing on a stool helping to mix cookies or rocking them to sleep or cuddling with a bedtime story. Once kids hit their teens, the talks are more serious and the nagging more frequent. The eye-rolling…oh don’t get me started with eye-rolling. You get so used to everything being a “teaching” opportunity that you forget to stop when they stop hearing you.

But, I am getting to a point where something Dr. Phil said has hit home. Kids reach a point where you’ve taught them all you can. You’ve given them every lecture and pointed out every flaw in their study-plan. At this point, all you can do is sit back and watch. Be there to celebrate the victories and hug them through the failures. At this point, they need to use all of the ammunition you’ve given them and make the best shot at the target that they can -- maybe even blast out the entire bullseye. Or as we say in our house…we have given them the rope. Now it’s up to them to water ski or hang themselves. I have no doubt they will water ski like champs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Mark and I had a weekend of remembering when we made a whirlwind trip to Santa Cruz for the funeral of a friend’s dad. The Carlson’s lived across the street from my family growing up in Santa Cruz. It was a new subdivision and ours was the first house. Free-standing mailboxes at the curb – no sidewalks. You had to honk to get the neighbors’ dog to move from her napping spot in the middle of the street. The Griffins were the first to have a color TV so we would all go down there to watch the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night. The “field” was at one end of the street where we would fly kites and collect pollywogs and could climb through the culvert to the next neighborhood. We sneaked our first smokes there in our teens. The “orchard” was at the other end where we would build tree forts, pick apples, pears and blackberries, collect walnuts. The “creek” was where we hung a rope swing. We never thought about someone owning those properties. I walked to school and rode the bus with the same kids from kindergarten through 8th grade. Black and white snapshots surface of us all at neighborhood barbecues where the families hauled picnic tables to a central driveway and the kids played in the sprinkler in the street. Needless to say, lots have been subdivided and there are houses filling every possible piece of real estate now.

Bill Carlson passed away a couple of weeks ago and, since I hadn’t seen Linda in more than 30 years, I felt compelled to head down for the memorial. It was more of a wake and we saw SO many faces from the past while we reminisced and laughed at pictures. We’ve all grown so much into different adults than we were kids.

Mark and I decided we needed this weekend to ourselves so spent it just driving around old haunts. Remember when this was built? Or that was an empty lot? We walked a bit on Twin Lakes beach, grabbed pastries at Gayle’s and sat on the cliffs over Capitola enjoying breakfast. The world we grew up in has changed so much yet some of it still feels like home. We cruised Pleasure Point where traffic is now diverted into odd little one-way sections but there are still kids on single-speed bicycles with their boards tucked under one arm on their way to the waves. Shaggy-haired kids riding skateboards with bare feet not chunky shoes. The Boardwalk and the wharf smell the same as they did when we were kids but parking is a bitch and you have to pay for the privilege. . The waves at Steamers are still awesome so locals still stand alongside tourists to watch the surfers…as always.

I often miss Santa Cruz, but realize that the Santa Cruz we visited is no longer the home town I remember. Humboldt is so much like Santa Cruz used to be which is why I’m so comfortable here. We have the ocean here but not the same “beach” mentality of SC. It’s hard to walk or ride your beach-cruiser to the waves. Beach umbrellas and bikinis are seldom seen on our beaches. You’re far more likely to see Frisbees and sweatshirts. But it’s good. I miss Santa Cruz but this is home now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Other than the tuning note of “my – dog – has – fleas”, there is no similarity between my ukulele playing as a youth and what Jake Shimabukuro produced on stage at the Kate Buchanan Room tonight. I didn’t know there was such thing as a “concert ukulele”. Jake is an ‘ook” virtuoso. Classical ukulele. It was a solo show – he performed with no accompanists and the audience was amazingly polite. Jake is adorable and shared anecdotes about a recent tour to Japan and background on the covers he does on his most recent album, many of which he performed. Covers of Zepplin AND Cindy Lauper?! On ukulele?! Very awesome indeed.

I’m not qualified to critique a performance but I do tend to critique the audiences of shows I attend. I’m one of those that hates when a performer rips it up on a section of a song and the audience applauds in appreciation … right over the top of the continuing song. Not this audience. You could hear a pin drop when he covered the Beatles’ “In My Life”, the title track on his new mini-CD, and George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. I’m never sure why people insist on bringing small children to shows like this. Even the best toddler gets bored and the most bestest whisperer whispers REAL LOUD. There are more appropriate places to teach small kids how to be a good audience…or do what we did, sit in the back and take them out the second they make noise. Before long, they figure out they miss stuff when they make noise.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Am I the only one that hates to be called sweetie? I don’t mean grandma's “sweetie bring me my slippers”. Or the "hi sweetie" from a friend". I mean, the “sweetie” that comes with a condescending tone…there is an implied…”you moron” that follows. It drips with pity that you should be so unfortunate and …. simple”.

Several months back, I received a “sweetie” from someone who I believe to be an equal though her tone told me unmistakably she felt I was FAR below her station”. The “sweetie” told me that I just didn’t have the brains to figure this one out without her help.

Today, the “sweetie” came from a girl in a local shop. I went to buy supplies for a craft project. I chose not to go to Michael’s for this because the products they carry of this type have been poor quality. When I talked to this girl, I presumed I could get benefit of her knowledge of the products she sells. When I mentioned what I had been using, I got the first “oh sweetie…….” “What an utter and complete incompetent must I be to even THINK of using THAT” her tone said. We chatted a little more as she packaged up the items I bought - $20 worth that fit into a bag the size of my iPod. As I asked another question about another part of the process….again I get “oh sweetie.....” that just faded off. This is a girl the age of my daughter speaking to me, a customer, with such a demeaning, condescending tone. Not unkindly, mind you. Sweet and kind, like you might speak to a poor stupid animal. She could have easily said, “hmmm, I hadn’t thought of doing it THAT way…this is the way I do it….I’ve always had luck doing it this way”. I would have been thrilled to have a helpful suggestion from someone who knows what they are doing. But she didn't. And I left confident that my ignorance would be discussed among the employees at a later date.

The thing is, this is a locally owned shop and there are several others just like it. I chose this shop today but likely won’t do it again. I will go into another locally-owned similar businesses where I have been treated politely in the past and received help when I asked.

Here’s my suggestion. If you are a business-owner in Eureka and you have an employee that calls you “sweetie”, listen carefully to the tone. She may be saying it to you in a respectful tone but…does she use a different tone with customers? If so, you might ask her to stop. For the sake of your business.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Pumpkins orange and smooth
Children search for the great one
Autumn fills my eyes

AKK! Pumpkin haiku. I was inspired ... then I bought a white one.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Considering this is Humboldt, this blog will probably get more hits than it deserves. Unfortunately, and especially so for the menfolk who might read this, I’m talking herbs aimed for the menopausal. It was brought to my attention by someone I have loved passionately for over 32 years that I’ve become cranky – not the same girl he married. Yeah well, screw you! That was a JOKE! Anyway, I knew I’d been feeling down and thought I had all the reasons figured out but argued, yes ARGUED that I was same DAMN happy girl he married. Okay, so deep down, I knew I was not my normal happy self.

I’m at THAT AGE….it sucks but the influx of hormones that got us into trouble in our teens, get us into more trouble when we start running low in our fifties. I started checking into herbal menopause remedies. I knew about St. Johns Wort but the articles state it's use is for depression. I truly didn’t feel depressed and didn’t want to get into taking the herbal equivalent of prozac. I looked at Black Cohosh which is indicated for malaise (being a whiney sad-sack) and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. I’m not yet at the stage of having my own private summers but I AM beginning to see signs of what they call perimenopause, a “transition period” of fluctuating hormones. So, why not.... Black Cohosh went in the basket to be taken twice a day.

I’m here to tell you, I’M CURED! Well, maybe not cured but I feel much better. Maybe it’s a placebo affect. Maybe no one is PISSING ME OFF as much…joking again…but I am feeling in better spirits. So, to all my friends who are still in possession of their girl organs so are going through this same stage, try the Black Cohosh. Be warned that “currently available data are not sufficient to support a recommendation”, yeah yeah. Call this purely anecdotal but it’s better than getting more wrinkles from having a cranky face. Take your Black Cohosh and a walk on the beach. Smile.

And to the men who might be on the receiving end of kind, bring chocolate and hugs...I suspect it will get worse before it gets better.

I have a rubber stamp that says I just get through metamorphosis and a long comes menopause….Thank God, I’m not alone.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


As much as I lament the end of what has been a perfect summer here on the north coast, a warm windy October day is the perfect start to autumn. Oranges and browns. Tumbling leaves. Pumpkin spiders. Those little creme pumpkins that taste better than candy corn. Perfect!
I stepped out on the back porch this morning to let the cats in and caught a glimpse of perfectly awesome cumulus cloud (Dr. Pedicino would be proud of me) in orange and dark gray. I stood out there for a minute, reveling in the wind blowing through my hair. When I sat down at the table, Mark looked up from his paper and laughed…”Were you outside?” “Yeah. Why?”. “Your hair’s kinda... big…” Yep, nature’s blow-dryer gave me a big ol’ Farrah Fawcett. I love the fall!