Saturday, December 14, 2013

Round Robin Challenge: Pretty Paper

"Better to be strong than pretty and useless."

~Lilith Saintcrow, Strange Angels

RRC: Pretty Paper

I decided, since we are only a couple weeks shy of Christmas, to go with two of my favorite holiday papers... an advent calendar, and Christmas gift bags! Lets start with the advent calendar, shall we? In our house, it simply wouldn't be Christmas without the advent calendar! Alan had never had one as a child, and I hadn't had one either... well... except for the one we made for our classes in school. The way it worked then was the teacher would make the basic template, than each child was asked to draw a small picture for the door assigned to them for the calendar. So, if I drew December 1st from the Santa hat, than my drawing would appear behind that door, and I would get to stand in front of the class as the other children guessed what was behind the door for that day!

Whoever guessed correctly got a sticker star for their paper tree! The child who guessed correctly most often, got to serve as Head Elf at the Christmas Party. It was a fun time in my school life, and a part of me really missed it when I went onto Junior High... although I wouldn't admit it! LOL. So, when Alan and I first got married, and he said he had never had an advent calendar, we got one, and put a slight variation on what the prize is for guessing correctly most often! Usually, the winner chooses the holiday pie. Alan wins a lot more often than I do, but we have a lot of fun with it. Like I said, it just wouldn't be Christmas without it! So far I am 1 1/2 points ahead, but there is still time for him to come back from behind and knock me out of the lead! Wish me luck!

And Now For The Much Maligned Holiday Gift Bag...

Why do folks hate the holiday gift bag so much? I actually found a couple articles by folks who found them not only lame, but downright tacky and even peevish! Personally, I LOVE the bag! The holiday bag is just as pretty as the rolls of paper, and stores easier! Plus, it's fun to watch the cats dig into their bags to get their assorted gifts out! I have taught them to know when the holidays are coming, by when they see special bags with streamers and ribbons on them! Elvis was great about that also! He always knew when we brought out the hats, and the PRETTY PAPER bags, something special was about to happen! Plus, there is a lot less mess when the cats play with all the bags later in the day on Christmas, and this year that will be important with this being baby kitty Joey's first Christmas!

Print Ads Can Be Pretty As Well...

I was in a coffee shop the other day, and someone had left behind a copy of a Wall Street Journal on the coffee table. I thumbed through it, and on the very last page was a full print Chanel ad that I found rather striking! That is the whole point... right? Ads that capture your attention, and your imagination, make a product more intriguing! I don't think I will ever own a Chanel watch in my lifetime, they are a bit out of my price range, but still a girl can dream! Just because I can't walk into Chanel and buy a gorgeous new suit, dress or watch, doesn't stop me from window shopping on Maiden Lane during the holidays! Chanel mannequins are some of the best dressed ladies of Union Square! LOL. I wouldn't miss it for the world!

My Favorite Year...

Okay, how could I participate in a Round Robin Challenge, when the subject is Pretty Paper, without including my favorite Pretty Paper of all time? This is the movie poster for the film Blue Jasmine, which was done by my favorite director of all time, Woody Allen! As you probably know, during August of 2012, Woody was in the Bay Area filming Blue Jasmine, and I got to watch the filming a couple times! I waited, and wondered, what the official movie poster would look like? I knew the beautiful Cate Blanchette would grace it, and more than likely the color blue, but when the two came together, it took my breath away! I had to have it! And look how gorgeous it looks on the wall of my office. It looks amazing against that cornflower blue wall! And it makes me smile. That August held a lot of good memories for me!

Sigh! Smile! Happiness!

Okay, now that you have visited me, and saw my contribution to this round of the Round Robin Challenges, why don't you visit the other participants to see what they have all come up with? Better yet, join in the fun! Click the link at the top of this post, to be directed to the official Round Robin Challenge blog, where you can find the list of participants, and all the info you need to play along!

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Shopping Through The Years!

"As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December's bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same."

~Donald E. Westlake


Christmas shopping... BLECH! For some strange reason, I don't enjoy Christmas/Holiday shopping as much as I used to! In my twenties, I could work a full 8 hour shift at work, and still close the malls shopping! In my thirties, I learned to be a bit more reasonable with my time. Just because I could close a mall, didn't mean I had to! That was an unanticipated side effect of marriage! LOL. Suddenly, budgets were a good thing, but what goes with a sound budget? Strictly planned shopping! Gone are the days of impulse buying, nope in my thirties I learned to be a coupon clipper, sales advertisement peeper, and a bargain shopper planner! Not very spontaneous, but definitely less nerve racking come January! Now, my forties came with the idea of purchasing gifts throughout the year, and putting them away in a special gift box for the holidays! That way everything got paid off a little at a time! Can you tell what I am leading up to? 

My fifties! My shopping energy is now almost nonexistent, and so is my patience! Nothing makes me more irritable than rudeness! But it's especially bad when it's coming from someone 30 years younger than me! The other day, while standing in line at Walmart, a young woman of about 20 or so, who was standing in front of me, backed into my cart at least four times within a span of about 2 minutes! Each time she bumped into me, she would stop yelling at her boyfriend, who apparently lives in her cell phone, to turn around and apologize profusely! The first couple times I accepted her apology, but by the third time I was just pissed off! On the fourth, "I'm Sorry" I said, "No you're not!" You should have seen the look on her face! "No really ma'am, I am sorry."

I didn't have the energy to shop that day, but shop I had to! I didn't have the energy to stand in line at Walmart that day, but stand in line I had to. Walmart frowns on customers who take items from the store without doing the heavy lifting of actually standing in line! So I was pretty much at the mercy of whoever was standing along with me. When the young woman was so deep in her own life, that she couldn't just put a little thought into her actions, it just rubbed me the wrong way! Sigh. I let it go at that, because thankfully, the line began to move again, and she was going to be out of my life soon enough!


As of today, I am 90% finished with my Christmas shopping! I have one more trip to Walmart, to pick up a gift for the cats, and a small gift for Alan. Tonight he and I are going to pick out our annual Tilden Park Carousel ornaments. The Winter Wonderland at the Tilden Park Carousel is nothing short of magical, and when we are there it puts me in the holiday spirit like nothing else! We have bought each other an ornament every year for the last 7 years or so! They have about 14 Christmas trees, that have every kind of Christmas ornament theme you could come up with! Including a Hunter's Tree, Fairy Tales, Sea Creatures, and of course, some that are more traditional! It is gorgeous! One of my very favorite is the all Christmas candy tree! It consists of lovely plastic candies, and cupcakes. It's hard not to feel like a kid when looking at all the candy, and that makes this old lady feel really good!

Shopping isn't actually a sport, but it does take skills and patience!


Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Family

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about."

~Angela Schwindt

Alan and I are Furbaby parents. Don't laugh... it's a thing! At least try to understand, because I am here to tell you how rewarding and life affirming it is! Little boy humans, little boy cats, same thing! You might not understand that unless you are a pet person! But here is the point... you teach your human children values, and manners, and most importantly all about love! You do the same thing with cats. Do you think sibling rivalry only goes on in human families? If you do, you would be wrong! 

We brought Hendrix home first, Dylan followed about a week or so later. Hendrix is a wonderful, loving, joyful cat, but blending the two personalities took some effort on our side and theirs! Within the first couple months Dylan was already showing signs that he truly loved Hendrix, and Hendrix had assumed the role of Dylan's, and our, caregiver! He watches over all of us!

Dylan and Hendrix are a little over 5 years old now. They are adult cats, set in their routines, and ways! A couple weeks ago, along came baby Joey! Dylan is no longer, "the baby," and he seems a bit upset about that! Hendrix isn't sure he wants another brother who may not want to play with him. Dylan is a bit of a stick in the mud sometimes, so I am hoping as we break out the toys which the 3 boys share, we will find that important common ground.

It is already going amazingly well. Patience, patience, patience! Dylan's favorite game is chasing a ball down the hall, and bringing it back! He loves fetch! Hendrix runs through the house, but never interferes with Dylan's game! Hendrix likes to play with stuffed animals. He can throw them really high in the air, and is excellent at catching them! While he plays, Dylan sits on the sidelines, and watches his brother play! They both enjoy the laser mouse game, and Zhu Zhu pets RULE! Joey is really enjoying the laser mouse game also, and today all three cats played, with zero drama! It was amazing!

Now, I bet you are wondering about how you teach a cat values. Well, Elvis was the best example of that. He would put his toys away every night, when he saw Alan and I go to bed. He insisted that 10:00 PM was our bedtime, by coming into whatever room we were in, standing in front of us, and staring. HARD. And he would refuse to move, until we got up and went to bed! He was an amazing cat, and he was that once in a lifetime pet, that you never get over!

He has been gone over 5 years, and I still think about him every single day. I know one day, hopefully 20 or 30 years from now, I will have to face losing one of my furbabies again, and honestly I don't know how I will survive it! I just don't! But I try not to waste a single moment thinking about it. We are all in the here and now. Families come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and fur, and I wouldn't change that for anything!

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Autumn For A While Longer

"But frost, like the crystallized dreams of autumn, began to coat the clearing with it's sugar glaze."

~Victoria Logue, Redemption

It's so sad. What leaves the wind storm didn't steal from the autumn trees, the bitter frost did! Oh a few trees are enduring the early insistence of winter, but for the most part the mourning has begun! I know it's the season, it's the way things are, but I will chase down ever last autumn leaf I can find, and hold onto that warm feeling for the season I look forward to all year!






Mood: Hopeful 

~Me :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Am Sorry I Bit You Mommy, Love Dylan

"I'm sorry I bit you mommy, Love Dylan"

~Dylan Andrew Gordon

Is there anything more fun than being woke up by your cat hissing... and biting... you? Dylan is a special cat. Dare I say it? Dylan is short bus special! All kidding aside, he is either nearsighted or autistic. Wait... is that a thing? Can cats be autistic? I will have to run that question past Dr Barrett, when we take Joey for his baby shots later today. Yes, I know, I said I wasn't going to engage in any financial transactions today, but really, what could go wrong? It's a visit to Dr. B! But anyway, on the subject of cat autism, I will probably do some Googling on the subject before running it past Dr. B! LOL. It sounds like a dumb question, but I have wondered if there are some cats that have autism, or similar problems, because Dylan is a little, well, dim.

Now before you jump on me, I don't consider autistic human individuals dim, but humans can communicate a lot better than felines. Humans speak the same language, and have medical testing available, felines don't. At least not that I know of. If Dylan could tell me what's wrong, I could help him out... but he can't. He is a great cat mind you. Gorgeous, loving, full of personality, but it's taken me 5 years to teach him how to brush his face. Elvis learned within 6 months! But it's probably not fair to compare the two cats. Cats, like no other animals, are individuals. And in that I have been compared to a cat by more than one boyfriend in my past, I think being individual is a good thing!

Go Dylan! Embrace your individuality, but please don't bit mommy again! LOL.

 "To Do Today, 1/17/08
1. Sit and think
2. Reach enlightenment
3. Feed the cats"

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Monday, December 09, 2013

Happy December 10th Eve!

"Christmas is a time when everybody wants their pasts forgotten and their present remembered. What I don't like about Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day."

Phyllis Diller

Good grief! It's the Eve Of December 10th! What is December 10th? Well, that's our cursed day! Yes, Alan and I have our very own cursed day, and it's tomorrow, December 10th! Why is it cursed? Well, you see, it has been an annual occurrence since the year of our marriage, in 1990, that on December 10th something odd, usually something to do with finances, takes place on or very near the actual day of December 10th! If you are new to my blog, and this is all a new revelation about me, let me give you some examples of December 10th oddness, in random order...

Our storage unit was burglarized.

Someone claiming to be me, rented a car, on December 10th, had an accident, and I didn't find out until the following March when the claims adjuster called to ask additional details. That was the year we thought we had beat the curse! How this person got my name and phone number, I will never know.

One of my favorite December 10th hilariousness, happened when Alan was nearly arrested for stalking a neighbor! What he was actually doing was checking the roof at my mother's house for lost shingles, due to a wind storm the previous night! LOL. Thank GOD mom was home to identify him! I was there, trust me, he was looking at the roof's shingles!

In 2011, I decided to just completely ignore the day altogether, that DID NOT WORK OUT! I got a call at 3:30 in the morning, of December 10th, from the fraud division of my bank. It seems someone in Illonois was trying to purchase $1,000 worth of assorted items from a dollar store, using a copy of my ATM/Debit card! They had been approved for $100.00 worth earlier in the day! Thankfully, I wasn't held responsible!

Last year, on December 10th, someone did the exact same thing to Alan! Exactly one year apart mind you! They made a copy of his ATM/Debit card and tried to purchase first $100.00 worth of merchandise, then $1,000.00 worth, only this time, they were in Georgia!

Another personal favorite was the year Alan tried to order a garden hose, on December 10th, using a gift certificate he won at an office party, on December 10th the previous year! He ordered the hose, which was free, but when it came it wasn't one hose, it was 2 hoses! No problem, right? Yes... PROBLEM! Two weeks later, another 3 came! It was difficult to deal with, but they understood we didn't need 4 garden hoses! They told us to choose the one we wanted, and send the 3 remaining back. Alan hadn't opened them, so NO problem. It was however, when he opened the hose he decided to keep, the following spring, only to find it was damaged! 

And there are other assorted incidents. I won't share all of them. My friend Paul, of the blog, Aurora Walking Vacation, a kind and rational thinker if ever there was one, has challenged me at times to consider that December 10th isn't really cursed, but rather I am noticing a pattern where there isn't one. Like if I suddenly noticed that on October 22nd, leaves tend to fall from trees, or more in the abstract, every year during our vacation, Alan and I will spontaneously encounter a celebrity. It's happened a lot, and I used to think of it as magical, but in truth I live in the Bay Area, and we do get the ocassional celebrity in our midst. No magic, more just the way things work! If you leave the house, and even if you don't, random things happen! And I believed that for many years, but how many police reports does one have to fill out before you come to the realization, The Curse Of December 10th is a thing? But does it deserve the respect I give it?

I wish I knew. But good, bad or otherwise, 24 hours from now Alan and I are going to watch old movies, pop popcorn, make some cinnamon frosted pecans, play with our new kitten Joey, watch as many Woody Allen movies as we can fit into 24 hours, dance to disco music, play scrabble, play, Quiddler, and NOT ANSWER THE DOOR! USE OUR CREDIT CARDS OR DEBIT CARDS! WE WILL ACCEPT NO CODS! AND THERE WILL BE NO CYBER SHOPPING! Or for that mater, engage in any transaction of commercialism what-so-ever! There... I said it! I am not afraid to admit to this probably unfounded fear! In fact, I am a bigger person for it! And Paul, if you are visiting my blog this week, I will say it right now... YOU ARE PROBABLY RIGHT!

But Happy December 10th Day Anyway! Watch your wallet and bank accounts my friend! LOL!


Mood: Uncertain :)

~Me :)

Dear friends, I will update you later this week if anything happens, so stay tuned!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside! + Art About Town: San Francisco "The Tulip"

"December's wintry breath is already clouding the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer's memory..."

~John Geddes

It rained on Friday night! It also rained in the wee early hours of Saturday morning! Snow had been predicted on and off all day Friday, and I really got my hopes up, but alas, there was NO snow come early Saturday morning. Well, at least, not where I live. In fact, you had to drive all the way down to Mount Hamilton to find snow, and that was at the very top of the mountain, at the Lick Observatory. 
Oh well. At least it cleaned the air, and made for an absolutely beautiful Saturday! Crossing the Bay Bridge into San Francisco, you could see forever! 

I was tempted to ask Alan if he wanted to head over to Marin County for the day, after we finished at the Embarcadero, but I was a bit tired, so we just made it an early afternoon and came home and cuddled. We don't get Saturdays together very often, but I talked him into playing hooky so we could play in the snow. When it didn't come, we decided to just go with Plan B. That's what this year has been all about you know, Plan B! LOL. But am I complaining? Well... yes... but I am also thanking my lucky stars! Life is just one long adventure! You just have to go with it!

Saturday December 7th, 2013

It's Not Autumn Yet!

The Embacadero Center

Embarcadero Center Ice Rink

Art About Town: San Francisco... "The Tulip" By John C. Portman

I love this sculpture. I photograph it every chance I get! It can be seen from all over the Embarcadero, while on the ferry and from Treasure/Yerba Buena Island. It stands three stories tall, and at night makes a lovely appearance outlined in tiny, clear lights. I have done posts about this sculpture before, but each year I have to revisit it and photograph it especially for the holidays! I only wish my photographs of it did it any real justice! It's breathtaking!

It was a good day! A crisp, bright, beautiful day, and time with the love of your life, what more can a girl ask for?

Mood: Very Happy!

~Me :)