Thursday, August 11, 2011

Encyclopedia of Moi: D

Time for the Encyclopedia of Moi again 
~ this time with the letter

Dad - My dad is a huge inspiration and I feel so fortunate to be his daughter.  He is almost 89 years old but looks and acts much younger.  His secret?  Exercise!  When he was in his early 50's he started running -- this was back when it was just becoming popular to run 5K's, and 10K's.  He quickly moved on to marathons and completed many, with a showcase of trophies for his age group to prove it. When running began taking a toll on his knees, he switched to bicycling.  He has ridden coast-to-coast (at the age of 80) and still goes for 10-20 mile rides 4 times per week.  When asked what he was doing for his upcoming birthday, he said he was thinking of going out and buying a new bike.  Now how many 89 year olds do you know that are doing THAT for their brithday?
 Dad rafting down the Colorado River!
Dogs - I grew up with dogs and currently have two sweetiepies -- both were rescued from the animal shelter.  Six year old "Chaucer" is a poet at heart, like his namesake.  He's shy and quiet, with such a gentle soul. "Uncle Frosty" is eight years old and the happiest dog on earth.  Tail always wagging, slobbery kisses if you let him up on your lap. 
Dreams - Aren't dreams fascinating?  Hot topic in our family.  Every once in awhile I will have a dream that awakens me with an epiphany.  This morning I woke from a dream with the words ringing in my ears, "It's not what you DO, it's who you ARE inside that matters."  Besides trying to analyze the many vivid dreams I have in my sleep, I'm a believer in having the other kind of dreams and goals to keep us progressing and hopeful through life.

Dusk - My favorite time of day.  There is just something magical about the feel of the still air, the blue sky giving way to darker hues and street lights and kitchen windows casting their first yellow glows of the evening.  I snapped this photo out a window in downtown Santa Cruz during a concert intermission.... 
Disney - What incredible imagination Walt Disney possessed!  Disneyland was a big part of my life --not only as I grew up in Southern California but also when I had my own children.  We still make regular visits to Disneyland.  Besides the theme park, Disney movies have had an impact on us!  

My kids were fortunate enough to grow up during the Disney animated remakes of the famous stories of "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin," "Tarzan," "Lion King," "Pocahontas" and all the fabulous music that went into those flicks.  You might hear us break into song around the house:  "Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test..." or "Make way for Prince Ali!"  And "Dumbo" still makes me want to cry:  Baby of Mine 

Hakuna Matata!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Borders Going Out of Business

Ash and I went to Borders last Sunday.  They had their "Going Out of Business" banner plastered across the store front. 

We are very sad about this -- voracious readers that we are, it was one of our favorite hang outs.  They said they can't keep up with Kindles and Nooks and other electronic forms of books.  Personally I still like the feeling of a real book in my hand, being able to turn the pages, make notes in the side margins, highlight my favorite passages.  But I guess the electronic companies have answers to all of that and even offer clip-on lights and pimp-out covers in leather or needlepoint.  I was still holding out until I read an article about how after a certain number of 'reads' it is more ecologically sensible than books.  Hmmm, I sputter about that one for a minute.  Still not sure what the solution is to passing on a 'good read' to friends and family, which we do regularly around here. 

What is this world coming to?  Yes, I confess to kicking and screaming over that potential feeling of being "plugged in" all the time. Not to mention eye strain.  So I did a little research and found this spot-on analysis of traditional books vs. e-readers (at the least, scroll down and read the author's cheeky comparison list):  Kindle vs Real Books

One thing I absolutely agree with is the ridiculous cost of textbooks!  If you haven't been to college lately, textbook prices are criminal!  Editions are outdated every other year if not more often, prohibiting you from dumping them at the end of the semester buy-back season.  Textbooks surpass the cost of tuition at community colleges.  Some considerate, savvy teachers understand this and tell the students the "old editions" are permitted in class, despite the fact they were published a whopping three years ago.  My daughter's teacher credential program includes the cost of an iPad and all required reading material and texts will be accessed through it.

As it turned out, Borders' going out of biz sale was a bust.  We left empty handed.  Even with their 25-50% off deals, things were still overpriced.  Sorry, Borders. 

Anyone with e-reader experience out there that can share their win-over moments, would love to hear your take.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Every summer my two sisters, dad and I get together -- a pact we made years ago in honor of the importance of family.  This year we went to Linda's in Orlando and it was completely relaxing.  We had no plans, just woke up each morning and said, "What shall we do today?"  No tourist traps or amusement parks for us -- we took the roads less traveled to little towns outside of the city for leisurely site seeing.

One such place was De Leon Springs Park.
Boasting that their springs were one of the places where Ponce De Leon is said to have searched for the Fountain of Youth, people still come to swim and canoe in the lake.

It was here that we also discovered the charm of the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant.

Bowls of fresh eggs and pitchers of stone ground grain pancake batter are brought to your table to pour on your griddle, built into your table.  Fresh blueberries, chocolate chips, banana slices and other tasty sides are provided to make your pancakes oh so yummy!  I highly recommend the french toast -- the batter they bring to dip your bread in is delicious.
The old gift shop where I bought postcards and a "Flippin' Out" t'shirt for my grand-niece....

Another day we drove to the quaint town of Mount Dora for lunch and antiquing -- main street below:
Great prices on beautiful pieces were found as we browsed through shops of old furniture and glorious patterns. After commenting on the peaceful harp music playing in the background of one shop, Linda sneaked around and bought Chris and me each a CD of it to go with the ginger bubble bath she'd given us earlier.  Heavenly!  Don't you love these open air cafes and fun names like "The Painter's Daughter?"
 Other activities we managed to fit into the week included a visit to my grand-niece's horse camp where we visited the pot-bellied pigs, donkeys, horses, and chickens galore!
My neice holding "Miss Chicken" -- notice the kids giving the chickens rides in the baby stoller.  They play with these chickens like I used to play with my pet cats!
A visit to my sister's gym helped us work off some of the calories we were consuming.  That's my dad -- turning age 89 in a few weeks -- and still riding a bicycle 40-50 miles each week!  Is he amazing or what?!
 Lastly we enjoyed a jolly good time at Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Theater one night. 

Highly recommend it -- slightly risque humor, great wit!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Encylopedia of Moi: C

Summer school is over, my traveling is complete, so maybe I can move along with my blog once again during these last blissful weeks of summer vacation!  My oh my -- up to letter C.  I believe mon "Encyclopedia of Moi" amies are on letter K so no keeping up with them now.  This encyclopedia will have to be completed in my own sweet time.  So let's move forward with the letter....

Calendars -- I've kept daily calendars since high school -- and by "kept" I mean in a drawer.  I can tell you where I was and what I was doing any day of any year for the past four decades.  Nerdy, I know.

California -- I love this state. We moved here from the midwest when I was in elementary school, so I'm not a native, but have spent most of my life here.  It has it all -- beaches, forests, mountains, deserts, quiet nature or exciting city life.  Quirks and all, I stand by California.
Cats -- When I was a little girl we had a cat that fit into my Chatty Cathy doll's clothes perfectly.  Poor kitty.  There have been cats in my life ever since.  Seems in our family, a house isn't a home without a cat hanging around.  Last fall my house became catless when Ash moved out with her orange tabby.  So I visited the local animal shelter, intending to adopt one adult cat, but the shelter volunteer told me about their two-for-one special and helped me fall in love with an adorable kitten (I'm partial to Siamese cats, can you tell?).  Scarlet was an itty bitty baby who thinks 2-year-old Violet is her mama (she's not, even though they look alike).  Violet has good naturedly taken this maternal role in stride and allows Scarlet to cuddle with her, they groom one another and play together.  Scarlet has grown since her homecoming picture below -- she is lively and spirited and plays with the dogs fearlessly. 

Here is glamorous Violet.  Silly girl -- I set my tote bag and suitcase on my window seat when I returned home from Florida a couple days ago and Violet couldn't wait to make herself at home in the bag!
Cocoa -- It's a bit odd but my sisters and I are not coffee drinkers -- instead we grew up with a warm cup of cocoa in the morning.  Even now, all these years later, whenever we stay at one another's home we offer each other a cup of cocoa in the morning.

Creativity -- Where would we be without creativity?  It's been a touchstone throughout my life.  This word embraces inventions, art, music, progress, problem solving, decorating, educating -- so many avenues.  Everyone has the ability to be creative, and what is so cool is that it can take so many different forms!  My friends and family engage in so many admirable pursuits:  one daughter writes books, another writes songs, one creates tunes on the piano, another takes amazing photos.  Some of my friends make beautiful quilts, some have enviable gardens, one takes oil painting lessons in her retirement.
My sister Chris makes beautiful scrapbooks, my sister Linda has a home filled with antiques and personal momentoes that exude charm!  I write poetry, create family journals and albums of our life stories and photos, create themes and materials for my speech and language therapy, and am always exploring other creative outlets.  Creativity feeds our spirits, allows us to experience a taste of success, and provides joy in knowing it is our own work and inspiration that brought the idea to fruition.  What do you do to honor your creativity?

 Join in and create your own Encyclopedia of Moi.  Link to: