Friday, October 31, 2008


Halloween always turns back the clock for me. I remember running house to house in PA, trying to get as much loot as possible before we had to be home. We never missed "The Major's" house because he gave out huge candy bars, year after year. When we arrived home, sweaty and sugared up, we dumped the pillow cases out and began counting and trading. My mom would confiscate half of it and freeze it. "See if you can make it last ill Christmas," she'd say. The rest was rationed out so we didn't get sick.
Everyone should live in New England on October 31. This year the leaves were past their prime, but still rustled in the trees and gutters. The weather was unusally warm. Kids, dressed as princesses, vampires, and even washing machines... rang my doorbell. I was alone. Josh and Teddie took Theo out and John tromped around with our neighbors and their kids. John and I had cleaned up the front walkway this afternoon and we had 8 bags of baby candy bars. There was no onslaught of racing kids, but a steady parade of mostly younger kids, all accompanied by adults. Even with the door closed I could hear their voices and footsteps. When I passed out the candy I saw my 88 year old neighbor across the street doing the same. Were my parents passing out candy bars? Were my sisters and brothers? Hopefully everyone enjoyed the evening as much as I did.

Trader Joes - RI

Teddie had told me weeks ago to be sure not to sub today because the first Trader Joes in RI was opening this morning in Warwick, a 25 minute drive north of us. After I went swimming we departed with Grammie, Josh's mom, and headed to Target, Gap, and Old Navy. Theo is a great shopper. Then we had lunch at Fresh City. With renewed energy we then headed to the mob scene at Trader Joes. Bumper to bumper carts in the store, but everyone smiling and happy. Carol saw a high school classmate who she hadn't seen for years. I discovered a new product I loved - crystallized ginger bits covered with dark chocolate. I thought it appropriate to eat half the container. After all, it was Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Subbed in an alternative classroom for high school students. Very different than anything I'd ever done. Half the time we were running to the nearby high school to see if they had made it to their other classes. It is very common for them to cut. The teacher had a sub, I was in for a teacher assistant and there was one more teaching assistant (who knew the routine.) I was glad I had my walking shoes on and probably walked a mile tracking everyone down. The day flew by.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Drove over the bridge this afteroon to Jamestown, passed through orange and yellow leaves glowing in the sunlight. Went with a friend to visit someone who lived on the north end of the island. Days like this make up for the freezing winter months, filled with boots, coats and shovels. Narragnasett Bay is breathtaking year round, but today there was a quiet stillness that made me wish the day would never end. The road the woman lived on had a view of the bay and an eclectic collection of well loved houses. It was a treat to find myself in another world, even if it was only for an hour and a half.

Maybe a Winner

All you writers. Here is your chance to enter a 300 word essay contest and win a vacation for 12 for 7 days at a fancy all inclusive dude ranch in Montana. Air fare is part of the prize. It looks great. I've already entered. Deadline is October 30, so don't waste any time. Go to for more details. Winners will be notified this Friday!! You can enter online... so don't think it's too late. Good luck!! Maybe one of us will be the lucky winner.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Today, Saturday, began as any other... waterwalking at the Y and a quick stop at the dump. Then laundry, eating, post office... Yaddah, Yaddah, Yaddah. Then... almost magically at 4:44 John left to go to a friend's for dinner. Teddie, Josh and Theo had left at 11:00 am to go to Boston and are still not home at 8:20 pm. I have had almost four hours of COMPLETE SILENCE. Only the wind blowing the trees. Just in time, too, because I had to write a talk for church tomorrow. I started at 3:00 and just finished. This is a record for me. Usually I'm up at 5 am the day of the talk wringing my hands, frantically scribbling. If I can figure out how to cut and paste the talk I'll try to post it. I mentioned Ted, Theo, Evelyn, and Grammy in it!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I've been busy subbbing at various schools, including the one I worked at in Narragansett. The variety of assignments keeps things interesting. When the weather is rainy my feet hurt more than usual, but I do notice that they are improving from my July surgery. Good News. I've renamed Theo "Mr. D" ... Mr. Distraction. With his irresistable smile he's hard to ignore and keeps me completely off track. I don't even have time to post blogs anymore. (I guess that means Dad will have less horse_ _ _ _ to read. (That's what Dad told me he thought of the blogs!) I love having Theo here and feel blessed by his sparkling happy self.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On Way to Work

My last day in California Kevin stopped by on his way to work. He looked great and has a fancy new motorcycle. Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Last Night

Finished shredding my parents old checks and statements from 1947 - 1955. Filled one and a half big black garbage bags. Found the check for the hospital when I was born - $57.00 and the doctor's check for $188.00. Gave my Dad a quick lesson on how to use the camera on his cell phone and how to enter contact numbers/names. Vacuumed up the mess I made while shredding. Played one last game of scrabble with Patty and Mike and Mom and Dad. Printed my boarding passes. All I have left to do is shower, finish packing, make my lunch, walk the dog, eat, and strip the sheets off the bed. All before 9:30 am when Matt picks me up. Believe it or not I will miss my morning walks with the dog and my afternoon ones with my Dad. My nephew, Kevin, is supposed to stop by on his motorcycle tomorrrow morning before work. See you all soon.

Grandma B

Grandma and I have enjoyed watching the debates together. Today the two of us went to Whole Foods and picked out our lunch from their great selection. We took lasagna, curried chicken salad, and a giant parsnip pancake back to her front porch and ate. She had made an apple, cabbage and walnut salad. I finished my meal with a piece of apricot pie from Marie Callendar's, courtesy of Victoria. Andy provided a bit of entertainment as he climbed on the tile roof looking for loose or missing tiles. It was 75 out with absolutely no wind. Beautiful. I took the remainder of the parsnip pancake home to my Dad. He loves parsnips and said it was delicious.

Andy Repairing Grandma's Roof

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Still Blooming in CA

I'm sure all flowers have ceased blooming in RI

Not Quite as Scary

Another 40 year old piece of art


My understanding is that Marianne refused to sleep in the room that had this portrait hanging in it. Can anyone blame her?? I painted it 40 years ago!!

Another 3 Generations

Matt, Alex, John


views taken from the deck of Robin's parents house near Half Moon Bay


Dad, Mom, Bingo and I traveled to Folsom to visit my sister, Jody. We arrived Saturday around 2, helped her with some gardening and picture hanging, and then had dinner at a Thai restaurant. After Mom and Dad went to bed, Jody and I stayed up late watching HGTV. We departed at 10 am Sunday and returned to PA at 1:00, after stopping at Safeway. I'm happy we made the trip. She was the only sibling I hadn't seen on this trip. Tonight we are traveling to Half Moon Bay to eat dinner at Matt and Robin's parents. This pattern of traveling and eating out is becoming very familiar.

Jody's World

At the end of Jody's street is a state recreation area with bike paths that run along a huge body of water. Dad and I walked Bingo this morning and saw 2 deer and innumerable 20-30 foot high piles of rounded river rocks. They litter Folsom's landscape, vestigas of hydraulic mining days.
Jody has a sweet little dog named Eddie. Luckily there were no dog fights between Bingo and Eddie.
fixing the coffee
New wood flooring and a gorgeous red couch.
And for anyone who'se wondering... Folsom State Prison (the one Johnny Cash sings about) is very close.

CA Highway Scenery

The highways we went on to get to Folsom were massive, filled with cars, and surrounded by brown hills. Every so often a refinery would appear. Not very inspiring. The last shot is of a fleet of WWII ships that have been mothballed near Benecia. All these shots were taken through dirty windows in a speeding van. The drive to Folsom took 2.5 hours.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dad's Post

I hope you can all read the name on the wine bottle label. I thought it might be enough to entice LaLee into taking a little sip as a gesture of appreciation. Well, guess what! She didn't drink any wine while I was present,BUT the level in the bottle mysteriously lowered about two inches overnight. It looks like your mother has the makings of a former teetottler. JP

Look Who'se Riding in the Car

Mike's Pumpkin Patch

The bigger of the two pumpkins. I put a brown magnolia leaf on top of it so you could get a sense of its' size. Mike estimates that it weighs 80-90 lbs. He puts dog hair around the edge of it to keep the rats away. They chew on zuccinni which is nearby but have not touched the pumpkin yet.
This one weighs between 20-30 lbs and has writing carved in it. No sure if you can read it when you click on the photo.

58 year old wheelbarrow

My parents have had the same wheelbarrow for 58 years, having bought it when they moved into their first and only home. This rusty one wheeled tool has quite a story. My dad and the next door neighbor bought the then very shiney green wheelbarrow together. "We each paid 16.00," my dad told me, "and when he moved I had to pay him 16.00 to keep the wheelbarrow." When you see the photo of this rusty contraption you may not recognize it. Wheelbarrows have become better balanced and easier to manage than they were when I was two. I am in the process of trying to get my dad to get something new. "Why should I?" he says, "it's worked for 58 years." "It would be so much easier to handle," I say, but so far my efforts have fallen on deaf ears. We are going to Home Depot later in the day and he has agreed to LOOK at the new wheelbarrows. That's progress.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Organized Potting Shed

After swimming ( yes, the water is still 70) I spent most of the afternoon cleaning and organizing the potting shed that's near the vegetable garden. Among other things I found lots of rat poop, 8 rat traps, multiple rakes, hoes, and lemonpickers, 25 plastic empty manure bags, multiple red clay pots filled with white spider eggs and spiders, 3 watering cans to go with the two in the patio, four dirty sheets, and a 58 year old wheelbarrow. An explanation is probably needed for some of the above stuff. My parents had a 35 year old lemon tree in the backyard, but eventually it died, thus the 2 lemon pickers. When I suggested we get rid of them Dad pointed out the twelve foot high baby lemon tree that will someday bear fruit. The empty plastic manure bags are used to clean up after the dog, and go in the trash can once a week. My Dad insists on a hefty stash.The sheets were thrown in a pile, but had been used (one for each year) to cover the rototiller when the machine was returned to the shed after it's annual chore. The 58 year old totally rusted wheelbarrow is another story and will have its own post. The area was so disastrous that I worried that anyone trying to go in it would trip, including myself. You all know that organization is not my forte, but I even went to the hardware store and got clips to hang the tools up on. The area is almost habitable now!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Garden Art

click on the claw below. It was 3 feet high.

click on turtle below. It was 3-4 feet long

sculptured sunflower. Click for details

art in one of my mom's friend's garden. My favorite is the giant claw.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fun Day

photo taken by Bruce. I'm not sure what I was doing with my mouth!!
my cousin, Andrea, with the San Mateo Bridge
We spent an entire day together and had a great time. First we walked around her neighborhood, then we ate a delicious lunch at a Thai restaurant in Foster City. It was my first time in that city and I was impressed. When I was growing up Foster City was just being built, on baylands. I doubt if such a development would fly today because of environmental issues. After lunch we dropped by Whole Foods in San Mateo. It was twice the size of the Palo Alto store. Then we spent close to an hour at the neatest, most organized Goodwill Store I'd ever seen. After showing her how to access our blogs I headed back to PA. At 5 pm I jumped in the pool then I headed over to Grandma B's to watch the 3rd. debate.

No Doubt

No doubt there are only two or three of my readers who will know the significance of these beautiful silver birds. Any guesses?? The younger readers will have no clue, I'm sure.

Monday, October 6, 2008


pelicans flying away
East Bay hills in the far distance. Click to see.

Finally, Pelicans

Click on photo for details

Dad & Jane

Nurse Jane

Camera Carrying Mama

Took the camera on my morning walk with Bingo, because the eucalyptus trees at Eleanor Park are so outrageous. I used to walk by the same trees on my way to elementary school 50 years ago. They looked like giants way back then and must be over 100 years old.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Foiled Again

Dad and I returned to the Baylands for a short walk this afternoon, specifically so I could photograph the pelicans. This time I remembered the camera and the pelicans were right where we left them. Unfortunately when I tried to shoot a message came on the screen, "batteries exhausted." I knew it was going to happen sooner or later and had even bought an 8 pack of new double A's. Do you think they were with me?? Of course not... so Dad and I will return again this week for a third try. We're going to try to remember to bring binoculars, too as there are lots of other birds, too. In spite of my mistake, we still had a very pleasant walk. The wrinkled golden hills across the bay were covered with a calm blue sky.


Went to the third session of General Conference at Menlo Park Stake Center. The screen was huge, 20 by 15. Most of the attendees were gray headed and stooped, missionaries, or Tongans. There were over 100 people there. Evidently it was broadcast on TV, but I never could figure out the correct channel. I enjoyed sitting in the crowd listening to the talks and reminisced about the many times I sat in the same room with Jesse, Kevin, and Evelyn. Soon I will be sitting in their Wisconsin Ward. Debbie, did you notice that President Monson said the same thing as Ekhart Tolle? I found that fascinating.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Three Generations

Father, Grandfather, Son
John is home from college for the weekend and promised to play scrabble with me on Sunday.

Kezar Stadium

Alex is the guy in the middle, leaning over, ready to snap the ball. He played center the whole game and was a defensive lineman for 5 plays. Their team won. Photo taken during warm-ups.

Matt and Robin were kind enough to invite me to Alex's game at Kezar Stadium in S.F. This is the former home of the S.F. 49ers and is at the edge of Golden Gate Park. It was a beautiful setting.

Look Closely

After Alex's football game we walked down Haight Street (S.F) for 6 blocks and found a great Thai Restaurant. It was 4 doors down from the corner of Haight-Ashbury. The inside walls were painted lavendar. Food was great. This unusual landmark was nearby.

Remodel Job

Photos of Matt & Robin's remodeled house. Just as nice on the inside!!