Saturday, August 1, 2009

Month End Musings ~ July 2009

I've been thinkin' about . . .

Those messages you get when you call a utility or a credit card company informing you that their menu has recently changed. I don't believe that their menu has really changed at all.

Sounds. I've been thinking about sounds that sound better from a distance. Trains. If you live next to the train tracks, the whistle of the train--loud and harsh--is far removed from the sound heard from just a mile or two away where it is rendered romantic and stirs the imagination. And lawnmowers. The sound of a distant lawnmower doing its business on a Saturday morning is so much more appealing than the roar of the lawnmower whacking the blades on your own front lawn. And fireworks. Need I say more? And the slightly muffled sound of a dog barking a block or two away is much more pleasant than the incessant barking of the neighbor's dog.

The woman at Mass in the pew in front of me a few weeks ago who was writing out a check to pay a bill during Mass. Go figure.

Kids today. What do Moms do when it's time for dinner and little ________ (fill in your feminine name of choice) or little ________ (fill in your mascuine name of choice) isn't home? When I was growing up (or, as they say now, "back in the day"--a phrase I really do not like), my Mom opened the front door and called my name. And if I hadn't heard her, a playmate somewhere in the vicinity would inform me, "Hey, your Mom's callin' ya." Recalling my Mom calling me home (or recalling my friends' Moms calling them home) fills me with nostalgia. I suppose now kids are probably not outside but are at their computers or if they are outside, they have cellphones. I'll take "back in the day" any day.

The fact that five months from today I will officially be retired. That's pretty much all I think about. I don't want to. I don't think they want me to. But I must. It's been a long, long, long time. And it is time.

Rainier cherries. I'm thinking about them right now, and it is very late. Too late to eat cherries. And there are some in the refrigerator. I just discovered them at Safeway a few months ago. They are sublime. I guess retirement isn't all I think about. I think about those Rainier cherries quite a bit.

Furloughs. The California State University System is putting its employees on two-day-a-month furloughs. No work and no pay. Time to do other things. Perhaps good training for retirement. See what I mean. Retirement!

This lousy digital television revolution. What a pain. What next?

Sherlock Holmes. Watched one of the 45 minute British television episodes on PBS. Scary. Perhaps suspenseful is a better word. But it was scary. And the actor playing Sherlock is odd, very odd.

Bed. It's time to go to . . .

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Month End Musings ~ May 2009

Now don'cha be looking here for musings. If I didn't have time to write one single thing in the month of May, what makes you think I'd have time to come up with any musings! Oh, I was going to write about my disdain for the plethora of cereal choices and bemoan the fact that the sweet little trio of cereal from my childhood (Cheerios, Rice Krispies, and Kellogg's Corn Flakes, if you must know) can hardly be found in the 2 1/2 mile stretch of shelves dedicated to honey bunches of this and crunchy fruity bits of that. But I didn't. I was going to write about toothpaste and the fact that I was forced to buy the vanilla mint flavor of my toothpaste because my usual toothpaste-flavored toothpaste was nowhere to be found in the 2 1/2 mile stretch of shelves dedicated to all manner of pastes and gels in lovely pastel colors (and striped variations) offered in every flavor save taco--which I suspect is somewhere just past the 2 1/2 mile stretch headed our way. But I didn't. I was going to write (read: complain) about the new fad of begging for money for charities at the supermarket checkstand and the incessant "woo hoos" that accompany every donation. But I didn't. I was going to write about a ladybug. But I didn't. But I might! Stay tuned!!!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Month End Musings ~ April 2009

Here's My Story - Sad But True!

April 18, 2009

City Of Oakland
250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612


I am paying this ticket under protest.

What was meant to be a nice (albeit very rainy) day to celebrate a birthday and to visit Mountain View Cemetery was marred by the receipt of a parking ticket for parking at a spot that WAS NOT CLEARLY MARKED AS NEEDING ANY TYPE OF PERMIT OR PAYMENT.

I was accompanied by two adults. We found a parking space on Piedmont Avenue. There was no meter associated with the space. The car in front of us had a meter. There was NO indication that we needed to pay. We had lunch and returned to the car to find a soaking wet, bright green envelope on the windshield. One of my companions said, “I wonder if that is a ticket,” but none of us really thought it was a ticket. I took the envelope and got into the car. Of course, since it was pouring, the envelope was soaked and part of it ripped. (Is there no one with the City of Oakland who figured out that tickets should be placed in plastic during a downpour?) I shudder to think what would happen to me if I had not retrieved the ticket before it was totally destroyed and, hence, did not know it was a ticket—not ever having received a parking ticket in the 40+ years I have been driving.

I opened the envelope and found the ticket. For about two minutes—which is a long time in some circumstances—we tried to figure out WHY I received the ticket. Then one of my companions noticed a sign at the end of the block POINTING OUT TOWARD THE STREET—NOT DOWN THE STREET FACING THE CARS WHERE IT COULD BE SEEN BY DRIVERS—and after some investigation we (all three college graduates) figured out that we were to have purchased some type of permit and this was indeed a “parking ticket.”

I repeat: I am paying this ticket under protest. I have no expectation that anyone other than the person who processes parking tickets will see this letter or that any consideration will be given to weighing the merits of the situation with the result being the return of my check.

The ticket and my check are enclosed, along with what is left of the unusable envelope. Perhaps I should ask for payment of the envelope I had to provide.

A Native of Oakland and Upstanding Citizen!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good Sabbath ~ Indeed!

I've heard of this happening to other people. It happened to my Sister. But this is the very first time it has happened to me. And I have to say I've been smiling all day just remembering it. A little background might be in order.

Last night, my Sister and I and our friend, Madelyn, went for our monthly dinner at Il Fornaio as part of the Passporto program (a celebration of a different region of Italy with foods from that region and a free gift--a package of pasta this month). We normally go on a Sunday evening, but went on Saturday evening this month.

After returning home, I logged on to Facebook and spent several hours instant messaging friends, searching for Hatchlings, tending to my farm in Farm Town, visiting friends in YoVille, collecting sweets for Willy's Sweet Shop, and attending to a myriad of other tasks to which I have committed my time and for which I should be committed. Since it was Saturday evening, I spent more time than I would on a weeknight and planned my time accordingly, going to bed at about 2:30 a.m. in order to awake and spring to life at 9:00 a.m. or thereabouts in order to make my usual 11:30 a.m. Mass.

Now here's the good part. I awoke at approximately 8:00 a.m. My Sister is my alarm clock, and I wondered why she didn't knock on my door when she left for work. I got up and "made my bed" in my inimitable manner, checked on my Mom and got her breakfast, engaged in trivial early morning conversation with her as I wandered around GETTING READY FOR WORK!!!!! When my Sister poked her head into my room, I was stunned. "Did you oversleep? You're late for work." Her "It's Sunday" was followed by "You're scaring me." I thought about it for a minute and decided she was right. Deliriously happy does not begin to describe my reaction to this particular "good news" on this Sabbath morn!!

The collective wisdom (that would be me and my Sister) is that three years of going to Il Fornaio on Sunday night--give or take a Sunday--followed by work the next day was a pattern ingrained in my brain. Shades of cane del Pavlov!! The early Sunday rising gave me the opportunity to go to the 9:30 a.m. Mass, which in turn gave me more time to make some necessary purchases at Target, Burlington Coat Factory (which should really be named Burlington Stuff Factory with a Few Coats), Ross, Starbucks, and Lucky. OK, OK--a purchase made at one of the establishments might not have been absolutely necessary!

What did I learn from all of this? They have a snare drum at the 9:30 a.m. Mass.

Good Sabbath! Good Sabbath indeed!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This Is The Day the Lord Has Made ~
Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Month End Musings ~ March 2009

This month I amused myself with musings about toast, neighbors, and cemeteries. But it is late--11:10 p.m., March 31, and there is a threat of a worldwide virus infecting computers at 12:00 midnight on April 1. My Cousin called and said not to turn on my computer tomorrow! So in a nutshell:

I burned toast last week. I didn't want to throw it away--too wasteful. I scraped, but ended up eating burned toast. I didn't like it, but it occurred to me that some people probably like their toast that way. My friend Julie likes her microwave popcorn burned.

There is a saying that good fences make good neighbors. I don't know what made me think about that, but I say that good people make good neighbors. We have the best neighbors in the world in Helen and Sal. When you can call your neighbors at 3:00 a.m. and say that you think you hear something in your attic and they come over--well, what can I say. "It's just the roses hitting the side of the house," I'm told. "What a wuss," I'm told. Yet on the following Saturday morning there is Sal, unbeknownst to us, cutting back the very tall rose tree that is caressing the side of the house.

My Sister and my friend, Madelyn, and I visited Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland last Sunday to see the tulip show. I put my digital camera in my car well in advance--I wanted to take pictures of the various displays. We were to meet Madelyn at 1:00, and we were running late, and I needed gas. So . . . we took my Sister's car. Without the camera. I ended up buying a throw-away camera at Longs. So there I was in the smallish Tower Chapel with its fantastic acoustics taking photos along with everyone else--everyone else, I might add, sporting $500+ digital cameras. I'd forgotten how very LOUD it sounds when you advance the film. Did I mention the great acoustics in the chapel? I am surprised I was not escorted to the door! If the pictures are the least bit decent, I hope to post them. In addition to the displays, starting in April, there will be thousands of tulips in bloom at the cemetery. We could already see many of them already in bloom on Sunday. Perhaps I'll redeem myself and return with my trusty Fuji digital camera. The cemetery is very beautiful--giving the appearance of a resort, with people walking dogs and riding bikes. It was very peaceful and lovely. It's made me rethink cemeteries and their purpose.

Finally, a big shout out to my peeps at My Friends and I--C, K, and M! A wonderful Spring Open House--as usual!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Pamela Kleinmeyer

I've been thinking a lot lately about memories and about how hearing a song, or observing a gesture, or looking at an object, or noticing the date on the calendar can call to mind someone I've not seen for years and years--someone who has disappeared from my radar screen or, sadly, someone who has died. When someone dies, it is a natural and caring thing to say, "I will remember her forever" or "I will never forget him." And I do mean it. But time passes and things happen and life gets complicated. And I forget. Then one day, I hear the song "You Make Me Feel So Young," and I think of Marge Kerns. My very first job was with the Board of Education in Oakland. Marge was one of the women in the office. On Friday afternoons, close to the end of the work day, we would get a little silly and I would sing "You Make Me Feel So Young." But I would sing it in a shaky, 99 year old voice. And Marge would laugh and laugh. It's been over 40 years since I worked with Marge, but whenever I hear that song--which isn't as often as you might suspect!--I think of Marge. I can see her face exactly as it was all those years ago. If I sneeze more than three times in a row, I think of Ann Clementi, a classmate from Oakland Tech. Ann once said it was impossible for anyone to sneeze more than three times in a row. I wonder if she remembers that? When I see an owl, I think of my Cousin Dorothy. It was not until after she died that I learned she collected owls, and now when I see a little decorative owl I think of her and wish she was here so I could buy it and give it to her. Those miniature cartons of Easter eggs remind me of my Uncle Bob. I was about 5 years old when I first met him. He appeared at our house very early one morning and had a little carton of those eggs for me. At least that is what I recall. And if that was not the case, I don't care because it is something that reminds me of him. Corn on the cob always reminds me of our family friend, George Fiorentino. George ate corn in such a way that the cob was completely smooth when he was through. That did and does amaze me. George passed away, but I am sure that the last time I talked to him I mentioned the corn on the cob. The song "Sherry" always reminds me of classmate Lani Temer. Along with thousands of other teenagers, I loved that song. One day it happened to be playing somewhere in school, and Lani said, "Oh, it's my song." I remember thinking, "It's my song." And so I think of her every time I hear "Sherry." The red, white, and blue afghan my Auntie Millie made for me for the Bicentennial reminds me of, who else, my Auntie Millie. Looking at the ceiling in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland reminds me of my Auntie Grace. I don't know how it happened, but we were in the ride and thought it was nighttime, even though we knew it was day. The magic confused us. It's a strange little story to relate, but nevertheless, whenever I ride the Pirates, I look at the darkened pirate sky and think of Auntie Grace. I dreamed up an ornament exchange at work many years ago. The first year I received a little Hallmark ornament of a girl on a swing. I'm reminded of Leslie Cicero every year when I unwrap that ornament. I have other wood ornaments hand made by my friend Jan Main's Father. I never met him, but when I unwrap those ornaments (a padre ringing a bell and, oddly enough, another little girl on a swing), I think of him. I don't think of my friend, Jan, I think of a man I never met. Dean Martin singing "On an Evening in Roma" will always remind me of my first trip to Italy because my friend Madelyn, with whom I was traveling to Italy, had it blaring out of her house when I arrived the night before our departure. But it will also always remind me of my Auntie Rosie. She watched the Dean Martin Show faithfully, and whenever he sang "On an Evening in Roma" she called to tell me. In my office there is a blue vase with a dried rose in it. It was my first gift from a student for a favor I did for him. That was over 40 years ago. His name was Paul Tichinin. He had red hair. The vase is somewhat hidden, but when I look at the vase I think of him. I could go on and on. The song "My Guy"--Charlene Gianni, my best friend from high school. The song "59th Street Bridge Song" (aka "Feeling Groovy")--my friend Barbara Smith, who graduated from Cal State in 1969. Things too numerous to count remind me of my Father, my Mother, my Sister, all my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. What does it all mean--this remembrance of people long after they are out of our lives? It is a good thing to be sure. Does it mean they live forever? I don't know. But I plan to ask each of them when I see them again. Oh--I almost forgot. Dates. May 20--Lorraine Patterson's birthday--my best friend from grades 1-3. June 20--Charlene Gianni's birthday--my best friend from high school. March 28--Pamela Kleinmeyer's birthday--my friend from grades 4-5. I've not seen or talked to Pamela in over 45 years, but every March 28 I think of her. Happy Birthday, Pamela!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Month End Musings ~ February 2009

There was more musing than blogging this month. I entertained little snippets of ideas as I drove to work, ate chocolate, walked across campus, shopped at Safeway, ate chocolate, watched television, made lunch, listened to the radio, ate chocolate, read a magazine article, ate chocolate, opened my mail, played Guess the Sketch on Facebook, waited at Kaiser for a prescription, ate chocolate, and waited on hold for PG&E long enough to have eaten an entire pound of chocolate. Alas, a little snippet that doesn't grow up to be a post is sent to the end of the month!

I didn't watch the Super Bowl, but I couldn't escape hearing about it Monday morning as I drove to work Apparently at the end of his performance, Bruce Springsteen (in what was characterized as an uncharacteristic burst of spontaneity) shouted, "I'm going to Disneyland." One newscaster speculated he said it to get free admission to Disneyland and the other responded that Bruce Springsteen could probably get into Disneyland for free anytime he so desired. No doubt he can. This has always been a source of irritation for me. Why do celebrities get free admissions and other perks when they can well afford anything they want while Joe the custodian or Joe the bus driver or Joe the truck driver with a wife and four children has to scrimp and save to partake of the joys of Disneyland?

Tortilla chips and salsa. Who can resist this salty and spicy lagniappe that is proffered within minutes of being seated at a Mexican restaurant? Did I say spicy? I did. Spicy is one thing, but SPICY is quite another. I've never understood why some restaurants put salsa on the table that is so hot it would make--well, it would make my Cousin Florence gasp. And she can, as we like to say, eat hot.

I don't care for Lou Dobbs.

Items I purchased at the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale: (1) A watercolor: "Summer Morning" by R. C.Lockhardt, (2) 5 jigsaw puzzles: "Rockefeller Center Holiday," "BoulangerieParisienne," "Napa Valley Wine Country, " USA Farmland," and "The Gallery," (3) 3 wool blankets, (4) 2 pilgrim couples (1 ceramic couple and 1 couple made out of gourds), (5) a rubber Santa Claus, (6) a Christmas candy dish, (7) a gift for my Godchild, Anna, which I cannot describe just in case she reads this, (8) 6 blank scrapbooks, (9) set of 12 gift enclosure cards, (10) 4 miniature vases, (11) 3 boxes of Christmas cards, (12) 9 books: The Geography of Bliss, It Isn't a Bus, Candy Freak, A Diary from Dixie, Christmas with Southern Living 1995, Christmas with Southern Living 1998, Christmas with Southern Living 2002, The Chef's Wife, My Pen Pal Scrapbook, (13) a large olive dish with 4 small plates, (14) set of 6 snowman coasters, and (15) set of 6 french motif coasters.

I lost another Cousin on February 4. Rest in peace, Eddie.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It Was 200 Years Ago Today . . .

Centennials, Bicentennials, Tricentennials . . . I find them all very exciting. They jump start my imagination. Every day something happened exactly one hundred years ago or two hundred years ago or three hundred years ago or five hundred years ago or one thousand years ago.

It was 200 years ago today that Abraham Lincoln was born. I celebrated by attending a presentation by CSUEB Emeritus Professor Gerald Henig who discussed "Abraham Lincoln: An Uncommon Common Man." Professor Henig was my favorite history professor--I took three classes from him, including one on Lincoln. I graduated a long time ago, but today I left wanting to take some history courses and wondering how anyone could not love history.

Happy Birthday Abe. Thanks for everything. And Happy Birthday to you, too, Charles!

Blog Archive

These Are a Lot of My Favorite Things !

  • A Really GOOD Hamburger
  • AAA Trip Tiks
  • American History
  • Anne of Green Gables (Canadian Television Production)
  • Antiques Roadshow (TV)
  • Anything My Cousin Florence Cooks
  • Apple Farm Inn in San Luis Obispo
  • Apple Hill
  • Apples - See My Apple Room Slideshow on the Right
  • Aprons - The Old-Fashioned Kind from the 30's, 40's, 50's
  • Avocados
  • Babies
  • Big Band Music
  • Big Cities
  • Bill Bryson
  • Boston
  • Breakfast for Dinner
  • Broadway Musicals
  • Bull Durham (Movie)
  • Calendars
  • California Gold Country
  • Casper's/Kasper's Hot Dogs
  • Chess Pie from Neldam's Bakery
  • Clotheslines
  • Clotted/Devonshire Cream
  • Coloring in Coloring Books
  • Corner Gas (TV)
  • Dill Pickles
  • Diner Memorabilia
  • Disneyland
  • Esther Williams & Van Johnson Movies
  • Fireworks
  • Flowers--White Geraniums, Roses of All Colors, Wildflowers, Pansies That Look Like Little Faces, Bougainvillea, Freesia--Is There a More Glorious Fragrance?
  • Formal Dining Rooms
  • Frasier (TV)
  • Garlic
  • Genealogy
  • George Strait
  • Gidget, Gidget Goes Hawaiian, Gidget Goes to Rome (Movies)
  • Going to the Zoo
  • Gooey Cinnamon Rolls
  • Google
  • Gooseberry Patch
  • High Tea
  • Holidays--All of Them!
  • Honey & Lexie - Two Very Sweet Maltese
  • I Love Lucy (TV)
  • Jigsaw Puzzles
  • June Allyson & Van Johnson Movies
  • Kaspers/Caspers Hot Dogs
  • Magazines
  • Meet Me in St. Louis (Movie)
  • Movie Musicals
  • Movie Popcorn at the Movies
  • My Family
  • My Friends & I - Niles, California
  • My Mother's Macaroni Salad
  • New Orleans - At Least My Memories of It
  • Old Time Radio Comedy Shows - Especially Burns & Allen and Jack Benny
  • Olives - Especially My Newly Discovered Mezzetta Mediterranean Olive Antipasto
  • Polka Dots
  • Skylines
  • Small Towns
  • Snowmen
  • Sourdough Bread
  • Sunsets
  • Susan Branch
  • Susan Rios
  • Taking Pictures of Signs--Yes Signs
  • The 3 Thirties
  • The Andy Griffith Show (TV)
  • The Beatles
  • The Big Bang Theory (TV)
  • The Carousel of Progress - Formerly at Disneyland - If You Were a Fan, Check Out the Updated Version at
  • The Grand Canyon
  • The Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale
  • The Odd Couple (TV)
  • The Season of Autumn
  • The Way We Were (Movie)
  • Thomas McKnight
  • Top Chef (TV)
  • Traveling
  • TV Food Network - Especially The Barefoot Contessa; The Neeleys; Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
  • Venice, Italy
  • Walnuts
  • Watercolors
  • What I Do for a Living--i.e., My Job
  • When Harry Met Sally (Movie)
  • Where the Boys Are (Movie--the Original)
  • Where's George
  • Window Flower Boxes
  • Wrapping Presents
  • YML


About Me

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******************************** What identifies me? American. Italian-Swedish-German-Catholic American. Daughter. Native of Oakland. Baby Boomer! Graduate of Oakland Technical High School. History degree from Cal State Hayward. Sentimentalist. Looking for Mr. Right. Novice blogger. Author-in-Waiting. And last--but not least as anyone who knows me will tell you--packrat extraordinaire !!