Friday, February 28, 2014

Did You Know That You Can Buy A Tiara From Walmart?

Everyone who knows me knows how much I like a good Tiara - well, this is not a good Tiara.  But it gets the point across and will be fine for Saint Patrick's Day.  Oh not for me, of course.  With a French mother and Czechoslovakian father I can't wear it, but my husband is half Irish, which means that my children have enough Irish blood to get away with such nonsense.  And Amanda looks very Irish with her pale skin and perfect almost black hair.  
Here she is with a good Tiara.  But my point, and I do have one, is that I'm sending this Irish Princess one to her.  And in April, John and I are planning a trip to Ireland.  And while we are on the subject of John, he sent me this picture from a golf tournament in either Phoenix or Las Vegas, which has a resident Falcon to control the snake population.  

  I can't be the only adult who loves the Despicable Me movies, especially the Minions - so how could I resist these piñatas?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Are You A Morning Person?

Anyone who know me knows that I am not a morning person.  And they also know that I am a sucker for small furry faces.  So when my son's dogs decided that they would like to go out for a walk this morning at 6 am, out we went.  We ran into this juicy looking brown snail, which my French grandfather, Emile, would have deemed delicious.  But we let it live to slime another day.  (After giving it a really good sniff, of course.)
 It was already light out, which you early risers would know, but I never count on daylight until at least 7 am.
 And I actually figured out how to use the Fitbit, fitness tracker - which shows my half mile dog walk at 6 this morning, including the two minutes we ran just for fun.  Good Times!
For fun, here are a few of the exotic items for sale across the street at the H-Mart, a huge Korean grocery store that is part of a chain.
 Prices range from unbelievably high to incredibly low - and come early for the best produce.  I snagged this enormous English style cucumber on sale for 49 cents! 
 But would have had to pay around $15 for this bag of Perilla seeds, which are used in Korean cooking.  I might buy these next time. 
 This is the frozen bulk foods section, with Fish Balls, Tiny Korean Sausages, and some other oddities - scoop just what you want into a bag.
 Hard to tell how shiny and blue these Crabs were - and how live!

 Juice Boxes and Pannetone, left over from Christmas, I assume, since who thinks to pick up their Panetone at the Korean grocers.

 And there's a sale on Duck Eggs.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tulsa To Kansas City Road Trip - Can You Imagine Doing This In Covered Wagon? Or Even Just In An Old Hudson Without Air Conditioning? (I would Love To Have A Hudson Hornet, In Yellow Of Course)

We took a drive North today taking the lesser used route to Kansas City.  Business, Nordstrom Shoe Sale, (for John, not me),
 and Barbecue!
 This is what the sky looked like on the way back - glad we hadn't stayed longer.
 This is the picture of the rocks at the edge of the Highway that I took and sent to Amanda and Mike.  I just recently decided that I wasn't being annoying enough as a Mother-In-Law, so I have begun to send interesting rock pictures - as a Geology major, I think Mike likes them.
 This is Coffeyville, Kansas - just North of the Oklahoma border.  Those houses weren't originally set so far back from the street - a flood came through and wiped out rows of houses.  You can still see the driveways and foundation.  (Just too hard to photograph, so you'll have to trust me.)  
 This charming old green house was far enough from the river to survive the flood.
 Here is the real Gem of Coffeeville - The Brown Mansion.  Another historic home saved by that Old Maid daughter who stayed to take care of her parents, and then lived to a ripe old age in the house, donating it in her will.  I can't tell you how many times I have heard of this. 

 On this sleepy little highway the biggest things we saw were grain silos, until the gigantic group of buildings.  
 Saint John The Baptist Catholic Church, Greeley, Kansas 
So surprised by the sheer enormity of it - do you suppose that every the Catholics in Kansas shows up there on Sunday?  (Or that Saturday 5 pm excuse for Midnight Mass?) 

And just in case you don't know what I meant when I mentioned Grain Silos, here's a picture.  (Or at least this is what I think is a Grain Silo - it could be a power plant, or actually anything else.) 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy News

Here's some of the nicest news ever - my son Nick and his girlfriend Kelsey (the lovely, gorgeous, and tall woman on his right side) are engaged.  As his sister Amanda (the less tall but also lovely and gorgeous woman on his left side) said when she heard, we are pretty excited.  But we are going to be in wedding pictures with not just his amazing fiancée, but her equally beautiful mother - yikes!  Since the wedding planning is going to take at least a year, I have just that much time to get 8 inches taller (or just 4 inches taller and wear 4 inch heels - although it is probably poor form for the mother of the groom to disrupt the wedding with a broken ankle).  Good Times!  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Happy Wednesday - Yes, I Know This Is The Lamest Post Ever

It might be hard to read, but my car is warning me to "Drive With Care" because as the snowflake indicates there is "Ice Possible".  I knew I loved my car, but haven't properly appreciated how hard it works to take care of me.  Admittedly, the snow on the ground was enough warning to "Drive Carefully", but this little warning comes up when there is just that invisible ice.  The ice can end up looking like it has been pleated when there is enough wind.  (Grey picture is ice.)  My car also tells me when I am backing into stuff or if someone short has walked in back of use when I am in Reverse, and when there is a car in my blind spot.   

 Have you ever seen odder furniture?  Even that classic Red Lips Chair seems normal when compared with Camouflage Print Sofas and Chairs with the Duck Logo actually embroidered on.
And here (at Walmart) is the robe you'll want to be lounging in. 
 Christmas Cactus loves this weather - lots of blooms!
This tiny, but many years old cactus is loving it too, or maybe it is the little drink Umbrella brought back from Hawaii that is making it so happy?  They always make me happy!
And as usually I find myself able to resist the charms of an old movie star who is running out of money and reduced to trying to sell me something on TV - but this has to be the funniest.  Or is it just Ironic?  Here's Tommy Lee Jones who was Al Gore's roommate at Yale for Heaven's sake, and he is admonishing us for not having saved enough for our retirement.  A commercial he would never have had to do if he had saved enough for his! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

One Of Those Days - But I'm Not Blaming Target For It (I'm Blaming Neimans, Since It's A Much Classier Store And They Had Their Customers' Credit Card Numbers Hacked Too)

I will be surprised if you can possibly read this, but just let me say it is a screen shot of my bank's website showing that my debit card has been used during the two hours I was in the pool yesterday.  It started in Istanbul and continued to New York; New Jersey; Benedict, Kansas; and Mountain View, California - all without leaving my purse.  It might not be the correct term, but I'm thinking it was "hacked".  And although no one knows better than my bank what a cosmopolitan life I live, it agreed that these charges appear to have been made fraudulently.  So they deactivated my Debit Card and arranged for me to get a new one.  Will this all be straightened out in time to purchase my San Diego Comic-Con tickets this Saturday morning?  Will I miss the biggest Nerd-a-poolooza of the year?  How can one woman live such an exciting life? 

Last Summer in California I tried to start my son's car and found that the battery had died - on the 4th floor of a parking garage.  Not a problem since I have a AAA card, that roadside insurance company that rushes to your location and rescues you.  I didn't have my new Oklahoma card on me, but still had one from Seattle and with my unusual name, I'm easy to find on any list.  But they could not find my name and so I sat around while they looked and looked.  Finally they discovered the problem - my new Oklahoma AAA card had a semi-colon(;) instead of the "L" in my last name.  My point, and I do have one, is that things that never happen to anyone else happen to me.  And when my new card came this year, I saw that they had responded to my complaint about them leaving the "L" out of my last name.  Note in the picture that the "L" is there now, along with that semi-colon.  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fitbit? Checking Out New Technology

Friends are always asking me what my secret is to keeping my shape after all these years.   No, not like you'd think - you see my shape is sort of short and round, like a peeled Russet Potato.  And how I can stay this shape with all my exercise and healthy eating is a mystery to them.  I do Water Aerobics five days a week for two hours each day.  I walk the treadmill for miles on the weekends.  I never use salt and rarely have sugar unless it is specifically dessert (and anyone who knows me knows that I always have dessert) - so much so that even carrots are annoyingly sweet to my taste buds.  Oh, there is my Chutney addiction which might add just a tiny bit of sugar to my diet.  (So maybe diet might be a factor.)  And I live up a flight of stairs which are climbed constantly, often lugging groceries.  Yes, it is a mystery.  So I decided to use this device called a "Fitbit".  Amanda asked for one for Christmas after careful research.  Seems that teaching 5 days a week at Cal isn't leaving enough time for scheduled exercise, so she decided to track how much she was getting from normal everyday activity.  Which for her includes a lot of bike riding, like everyone else who lives in Berkeley.  Well, her brother Nick (my oldest) got her one for Christmas and she loves it. 
The Fitbit also tracks your sleep, and that is actually why I had already purchased this one.  Now am I the only one who watches her significant other sleep like a rock and then wake up and complain about not having slept a wink?  I was planning on strapping this little guy on his wrist (yes, he does sleep that soundly) and checking in the morning to see how he'd done.  But instead I will be checking to see how I've done.  (After the requisite waiting period of 6 weeks while I dither about trying new technology, of course!  So that would be April, right?)  Good Times!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Owls Came Back For One Night And That Herd Of Ferral Emus Joined By Loose Kangaroo - Which Makes Sense In A Place Where You Can Get A Prada T-shirt At The Goodwill

So a few nights ago we heard the familiar "Whoo Whoo Whoo" of the Great Horned Owl.  When we finally caught a glimpse of the source, we saw two owls who must have be the babies produced last year by that huge (5 feet tall at least) female who made her nest directly behind our apartment.  Wonder if the nest will be used again this year?  So I did what I always do with Oklahoma wildlife questions, went to the YMCA Water Aerobics class and asked Amy and Ron.  They know everything and never lead me astray.  They were the first people to give me the straight scoop on the herd of Emus running wild on the Oklahoma Prairie.  No you're not having hallucinations,  a long time ago some Oklahoma ranchers thought it made sense to raise something other than cattle - cattle ranching is hard, so how much harder could Emus be?  Answer - very hard.  Emus are smart, spoiled creatures and they do what they want.  And what these guys wanted was to be free - so the Emus left the ranch and the ranchers stopped looking for them.  When I got back from Hawaii, Amy could hardly wait to tell me about the Kangaroo that is currently roaming around loose, confusing people.  (Kind of like that cougar back in Seattle - he only came out of the woodsy park around 2 am, which just happened to be closing time for Ernie's Tavern.  So the bar patrons called the police and tried to convince them that the drink had nothing to do with their eyesight and the cougar really did exist.  We all laughed at these reports - but did notice that the raccoon population stopped being problematic - until some woman sunbathing on her deck realized that she was not alone on her deck.)  But my point, and I do have one, is that Oklahoma is the most amazing place.  Tulsa was one of the riches cities in the country - you just have to visit the art museums to figure this out or pick-up a little new Prada t-shirt for $3 at the local Goodwill - and someone actually had his own Kangaroo and maybe a whole private zoo for that matter, with a fence low enough for his Kangaroo to get out.  (They jump, you know.)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cool Beauty Stuff And A History From My Mother

 One of the fun things about going along on a business trip where you aren't actually the one doing any business, is entertaining yourself in a strange city.  Even if you sometimes entertain yourself by spending a couple hours in a store you could have shopped in back home.  I found this little pink scrubbie thing at Sephora - and it is amazing.  In a test against my Clarisonic, this one won.  It got more make up out of the pores and my face felt softer afterwards.  And it was only $6 - instead of spending $20 every other month for a new Clarisonic brush.

 On while on the subject of softer skin, I was ambushed by the "oil lady" immediately upon entering the store.  She spread drops of 7 different brands of oil on my hands and arms.  All felt nice, but none of them wowed me.  But the next morning, I had this one very soft patch of skin on my left hand.  (I mean very soft.)  So I stopped back in Sephora and rubbed a little more of this one particular oil and a few hours later asked John if he could figure out where.  And he could!  So I have added Ole Henriksen Oil to my wish list for Valentine's Day.  Not that I couldn't afford to buy it for myself, but my local Sephora is too small to carry it, so I have to hint to have it brought back when John goes out of town next.   

My mother emails me her comments and lets me post them for her.  After all the talk about the days of elegant shopping, she put together her little history of Southern California's upscale retail:

Each little town had a major department store--Rankin's in Santa Ana, SQR Store in Anaheim, etc.  The sales ladies (my spellcheck won't let me make that one word, which it was in those days). They all wore black dresses and didn't handle the money.  They wrote a sales slip and put it and your money or charge card in a little capsule and sent it on  an apparatus up to the mezzanine, where the offices were.  There somebody made the change and sent the slip back.  Then, most small towns had a Penney's and a Kress or Woolworth.  (J. C. Penney himself had a house on Balboa Island.).   If my ninety-year old brain is still functioning, they had four big stores in Los Angeles, because it had almost two million people.  There was J.J.Haggarty, J. W. Robinson, I. Magnin, and Bullocks.    Then there were two less elegant ones called The May Company and The Broadway Department Store.   I don't remember when the malls started, but the Broadway was one of the first to get into the malls.   I remember when Haggarty and Magnin had their close out sales.   Robinson and Bullock's were still at Fashion Island in the Newport area when I was sixty. 
Norman Marcus and Buffum's (the Long Beach elegant store) were there, too.   It must have been in the nineties that Robinson and May combined.  I was so disappointed.  It's like getting a wonderful croissant and putting a weenie and mustard on it.   I cut up my Robinson charge card.   The May Company was okay if you needed to pick up some towels or something, but it just was not in the same class as Robinson's.   Looking back, I see my spellcheck changed the name of that Texas store, so I guess it is time for me to quit reminiscing.  Maman

Next time any of us want to skip our workout, think about how sharp my mother still is at 90+, which might just have been helped by her regular exercise.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My Mother, Her Personal Trainer, And His Wife At The Christmas 5K Run - Yes, This Is The Same Mother Who Turned 90 Last Year!

My mother is quite tall, much taller than I am, so this couple must both be well over 6 feet.  As a matter of fact, she used to be one of those Department Store Models that you see in movies from the 40's.  The shoppers sat in comfortable chairs and she would come out wearing various outfits - making shopping a very chic elegant affair.  I only got to see one picture of her doing this, but I think the store was called Robinson's,  I do know it was in Southern California.  Wouldn't it be delightful if they did that today?
But I digress - what this is about is my mother, who has always exercised, deciding to enlist the help of a professional to attain her fitness goal.  And just look at her!  Yeah!