Category Archives: I Stimulate the Economy

Something Special.

Yesterday, a Saturday, my alarm went off at 4:45am. It was no mistake, I had set my alarm for that time. On a Saturday. I rolled out of bed and put my swimsuit on, drove up the hill to the “upper pool.” As I slipped into the water, chilly at first as always, I swam my first lap and finished it with a backstroke. The moon was off to my left and a flash shot through the sky directly overhead.

A shooting star.

Instead of wishing upon the star, I used it as a reminder to pray for those who I know are struggling right now. There are so many. Wishes are hopeful, but prayer is action.

Forty minutes later I finished my swim and started my stretching routine, something that has become almost as important to me as the swim in the last couple of years. I carry my tension in my neck and shoulders, so if someone were watching me stretch, I probably look very strange to them at that point in time. I finished my neck and shoulders and moved on to stretch my hamstrings and calves. I looked up to the trees above the restrooms and saw a hummingbird dart into the open arms and waiting cloak of leaves of a tree that is at least 50 feet tall. Seconds later, a swarm of hummingbirds, at least 20, maybe 30, followed the first one in. I blinked, tilted my head. I’ve never seen that many hummingbirds in one grouping and I know they’re territorial, but there is no doubt — indeed, they were what they were. Three or four stragglers darted to join the party a minute later. I smiled.

That was, hands down, one of the best stretching sessions I’ve ever had. What a way to start the day!

Not long after that, we were on the road to Disneyland for the “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps” tour of Disneyland. I didn’t even know such a tour existed until recently, and given our love for Disneyland, decided it might be a nice anniversary gift to ourselves.

But first! We rode in a horse drawn streetcart down Main Street — pulled by a Clydesdale named Danny! I even took a video of it, if you want to watch. You can be thankful that I turned the video off seconds before Danny pooped. The reason you can be thankful for that is because we were in the first bench seat and had an awesome view of the whole occurrence. (Click to see video.)

Now, back to the “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps” tour.

One of the most comprehensive reviews I found about the tour is here (link). On our tour, our guide was really good about finding shade and places for us to sit while she shared her narrative of the various places — it was one of the hottest days so far this summer. So hot, in fact, that around 11:15 am she obtained permission from her supervisor to remove her hat (kind of a big deal in Disneyland)! She was also personable and sweet. I kept thinking she reminded me of someone, with her proper posture and enunciation, and I finally placed it when one of the characters walked by: Mary Poppins! She didn’t LOOK like Mary Poppins, but she had that kind of demeanor. It was kind of cool.

One of the highlights of the tour for us was hanging out in the side path alongside the castle for shade (it’s kind of a short tunnel) heading into Fantasyland and, who knew, but a ton of the characters and Disney Band pass through that tunnel at 11:30 am for a show in front of the Castle — and we were right there!

We left Disneyland around 1:30pm (after they served us lunch and gave us a commemorative pin) and we felt as if we learned several new things about Disneyland, saw a couple behind-the-scenes places we hadn’t seen before AND had fun. If you want something the “normal” guest doesn’t do, and want to learn a lot of stuff about Walt Disney and Disneyland’s history, it’s definitely a tour I would recommend. Great value for the money spent.

The takeaway impression I was left with, through many of the stories that were weaved throughout the tour about Walt Disney was, that no matter how weird or strange or crazy your goal or vision might be, or the amount of time or even the amount of money it may take to get you there, or how complicated or badly things may appear to be going, or how many setbacks or judgments you face, if you focus on that goal and never give up — realizing that you may have to get creative about how you go about it — you will ultimately find a way a way to make your dream come true.
(Click to view larger size…)

Because some goals and dreams are simply *that good* that they shouldn’t ever be given up.

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Filed under Best Husband, I did something Special, I Stimulate the Economy, I'm Never too Old to Learn

Major Decisions.

How much of the outcome is luck? How much of it is based on level of skill? How much is based on statistics? How much is superstition based? How much of all those things together impact my brain’s level of comfort and ability to rest in God’s hands?

My answer: A LOT!

Which, I suppose, is why the major decision I had trouble making was what underwear and what socks to wear yesterday. On a normal day, those two things are important to me (because you just NEVER KNOW!), but on an important day like yesterday? Overwhelming.

When Tony arrived home to drive us to the appointment, I grabbed his hand and explained my dilemma as I led him upstairs and pointed to the options I’d laid out on the bed. To his credit, he assisted in the decision without laughing or rolling his eyes at me. Which is good, because I was rolling my eyes at myself.

Ladybugs are a thing with us. Everywhere we’ve gone together, whether it be Italy, Ireland, Hawaii, Sea World, LegoLand, etc., a ladybug has always flown in and landed near us. So we chose to go with a ladybug theme yesterday. But, to keep the Irish theme I’ve had going all month, the ladybug socks had a fair amount of green worked into the pattern, and I added two temporary clover leaf tattoos to my inner-upper calf area.

If nothing else, the silliness of my dilemma served as a distraction and a point of laughter for us, setting the tone for the rest of the day.

The procedure went well. I’m now off my feet and resting for the rest of the week.

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Filed under I Stimulate the Economy

Up & Down the Hill.

While you were here wishing us a Happy Anniversary, we were in San Francisco having dinner, riding the cable car and walking.

We’ve been to San Francisco a half dozen times together and we’ve never had the time to ride the cable car. Thus, our main goal this visit: Ride the freakin’ cable car, already!

We walked over to the Cable Car Museum from our hotel, and caught a ride on the cable car down to Union Square. They emptied the cars of all passengers there and reloaded them. We’d been shooting the breeze with the brake guy, so he told us to walk a block up and catch it there to ride it back. Except all the cars were full. So we shrugged and just kept walking, following the cable car route, walking, all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf, walking. If you’ve ever been to San Francisco, you can start smiling in amusement at us here. I’ll cue you at the appropriate time later for the laughter.

We got to Fisherman’s Wharf, and there were all the cable cars and the cable car guys taking their lunch breaks. The guy we’d been chatting with exclaimed, “Hey!” With a wave, he pointed at us, and then, “You didn’t WALK all the way from Union Square, did you?” We replied with much chirpyness, “Yep, it was great!” He was mightily impressed and we were pretty pleased with ourselves and our athletic prowess.

We walked over to Pier 39 and decided to grab a bite to eat for our own lunch. We were quite hungry given we’d just walked from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf. And then… we made the mistake of sitting down while we ate… (cue for laughter here) and all our muscles froze in place. After lunch, we barely made a standing position, and then limped and gimped and hobbled (note I did NOT say “walked”) back to our hotel, where we proceeded to take a two hour nap. I guess you could say we drowned the loss of our athletic prowess in sleep?

I would normally declare a two hour nap on a Saturday afternoon decadent, however, given the state of our muscles, this nap was downgraded to the status of necessary. In fact, we could happily have made it into a 10 hour nap, except that would have smacked of admitting our age (one of us had a birthday this week, not naming names, but I’m pointing at him). No one our age wants to say truthfully that they went to bed for the night at 4pm because San Francisco kicked their a**.

After our nap, we managed to make it out to the Golden Gate Bridge for the sunset. If possible, I think one should always see the sunset from the Golden Gate Bridge. If not there, then definitely from Alcatraz island.

Truly, though, we really had the best time. San Francisco is such a fun and beautiful place, and while our home was experiencing a summertime heatwave, the weather where we were was a perfect 70°F. Some drizzle/fog in the evenings, but warmed up right nice during the day. Awesome.

We also had a bit of warm reminiscent memories, for we stayed at the same hotel where we stayed the very first time we went to San Francisco together back in 2004. We enjoyed it just as much this time as we did then. They charge a bit more now than they did then and, personally, I think they charge more now than they should. Thing is, they have a great central location and they know it.

I guess I should also mention that I’ve never been to Chinatown there. Now, I don’t know what exactly I thought Chinatown was, so my ignorance (or lack of aforethought), and Tony’s desire to please attributed to yet another long walk on already stressed leg muscles. So, we get to Chinatown and we’re “walking” along slowly, feeling all the while that we’re about a second and a half from being pick-pocketed and I turn to Tony and say, “I guess I’m not much in the mood for shopping?” And he’s all, “That’s pretty much what Chinatown is, babe, shopping.” To which I responded with a grunt. I put the venture to good use, though, because I was on the lookout for Thee Dried Plums. While there were dried plums aplenty, and I didn’t find Thee Dried Plums, there were the scariest looking dried WHOLE FISH and dried WHOLE other stuff that smelled really nasty. I’m still shuddering over those dried whole fish. After that experience, we came the conclusion that Thee Dried Plums must have been homemade — they were simply too good to have been purchased somewhere.

The flights were fairly non-eventful, memories bountiful and enjoyment of each other top on the list — just the way we like it.

P.S.1 — I didn’t even mention the most delicious strawberry cheesecake we were given for free for our anniversary, did I?
P.S.2 — Or that we saw Tony’s twin (everyone has a twin, right?) playing hoops Saturday morning. Tony even said the guy looked like him, which really means there was a similarity. So weird.
P.S.3 — There is a store called Chocolate Heaven at Pier 39 — it really is. They even have chocolate pasta in there.

P.S.4 — We walked past several enclosed fern gardens (glorious!) and a 20′ tall wall of wild blackberries (unbelievable!).

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Filed under Best Husband, I did something Special, I Left Home for Awhile, I Stimulate the Economy

Long Weekend Ahead?

I’ve walked around all day today thinking that it’s Wednesday. Freaking out when someone asked me to schedule something for Thursday morning and thinking it’s TOMORROW. Yikes.

My car got two new shoes this morning. I was getting tired of testing my driving skills on slick pavement when it rained. The two that needed replacement were on the rear on a rear wheel drive car. Can you say “fishtailing”? Me neither, but I sure was driving that way.

While waiting for my car, I discovered a Starbucks gift card in my purse and, wouldn’t you know, there was a Starbucks across the parking lot!

I waited for my coffee, just people watching. The gal running the cash register and the two people making the drinks had a great system, and even though the line was long, it moved really quickly.

A fellow who was also waiting started to sit down in the chair sharing my table, and then realized that I was there already. He paused in an awkward half sitting, half standing position, so I laughed and said, “Go ahead and have a seat!” He grinned and shared that he’d called ahead for two gallons of coffee, but they had forgotten to make them. I said, “Uh ohhh…” He said, “Yeah. That’s OK, life’s too short to get upset over something like this.”

I replied that was very true. My mind flashed back to an experience I’d had a few months ago when someone got really upset because she wasn’t first in line to the newly opened cash register. The guy in front of us ushered her to the front of the line and told her, “You know, ma’am, life’s just way too short to be so upset over something so meaningless.”

Today’s person apologized and said, “Maybe that sounds too philosophical…” I replied, “That’s OK, there comes a point in people’s lives when I think it’s appropriate to be philosophical and realize that you have to prioritize everything, even the things you choose to get upset over… and it’s important to realize it IS a choice.”

And all this before my cup of coffee, mind you.

Is it no wonder I felt like it was already Wednesday?

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Filed under I ♥ My Miata, I Stimulate the Economy, I'm Never too Old to Learn, Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me

Don’t Fit In…

… or I have temporary ADD and can’t seem to put together a coherent post about one topic. So you get bullet points. I know, you’re thinking “Hey, that’s no different than your most recent posts!” And I’m here to tell you, it is too. Because I’m not using asterisks, instead you get two dashes for each new thought. So there. Don’t argue with me, you won’t win.

And now that we’ve settled that, here are things I’ve done in the last couple of weeks but don’t seem to fit in anywhere.

— I got a new cell phone. A Samsung Reality. Yes, mom, a Korean brand. It has a QWERTY keyboard and I feel like I’ve now upgraded to the Big Time (even though I didn’t get a data plan). Text messages? Bring ’em on, baby!

— I also got a 2nd computer (remember my other one’s monitor died just after I lost my job last year). I got a Gateway Netbook and I love it. It also has Windows XP, which makes me very, very happy.

— I upgraded the RAM in both my Netbook and my Notebook. My Netbook hadn’t even been turned on when I did it. After seeing how fast my Notebook booted (with Windows Vista, no less), I now cry out, “Why didn’t I do that sooner? WHY?” Vince even told me to, way back when it was new.

— Graham crackers are delicious. Who let me forget that?

— I colored my hair a golden brown color for summer. It’s pretty.

— Umm, I think yesterday marked one year with no usage of shampoo. I’m too lazy to check my archives, but I think that’s right. I also think that’s pretty cool.

— I got a Furminator for the cats. It appears that they think my hand has grown a purple cat tongue that grooms them. They now fly across the room when I open the drawer it’s kept in.

— Am I the only one who thinks it’s funny that I got a bit sunburned (slightly pink, not ouchy, ouchy burn) on Saturday when we went to Sea World, and now it’s raining outside? So, you know, here I am walking around all tan-like and there’s no sun.

— We saw Bill Cosby on Sunday evening. He’s 72 years old, married 46 years and is the only person I know who can bring a thousand people to hysterical laughter just by saying, “Aaaand then…” Worth every penny spent for laughing for two non-stop hours. Awesome.

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Filed under I Left Home for Awhile, I Stimulate the Economy, Kid Substitutes, Tidbits

Going Places.

Since you last saw me, I’ve been to northern California and back. Monterey/Salinas area to be precise. The handful of times I’ve been there was with my ex-husband and while I loved that area, he had a tendency to cast a pallor of gloom over everything. A little advice right here? If you have a suspicion that you’ll love some place, don’t let someone who’s a weenie take you there. Or just avoid weenies.

Anyway…

One of my friends from high school, Bridgett, lives up there and so it worked out that we were able to hang out with her quite a bit of the time, which was thoroughly enjoyable. The last time I saw her was in 2001 and we determined that nine years is far too long of a time between visits. She and her roommates were incredibly hospitable, generous and welcoming to us. In fact, I’d never met her roommates before in my life, but felt as if I’d known them for years. I love people like that.

Bridgett is a starving artist, or we can call her a cartoonist at large! She’s had creative artistic talent for as long as I can remember and I think high school art class is actually how we met. She did something with it, though, as far as college and schooling and education, and her comic strip recently made it into the local paper. I’m so proud of her. You should be, too, because I said so and also, because she was really tolerant and humble when I embarrassed her by making her autograph everything she gave me. A copy of her cartoon on the front page of the Monterey Herald’s Sunday funnies? Please autograph. A piece of paper with directions? Please autograph. HAA!

Bridgett’s strip, Squid Row, on the front page of her local newspaper… autographed

You can find her stuff here: LINK

Besides visiting with her and touring her studio, or rather, her Cartoonery, other highlights while visiting the area included driving the 17 Mile Drive and ogling the breathtaking scenery, which included enormous waves colliding with immense power upon boulders and sheer cliffs, Bird Rock covered with so many sea lions that it looked as if, from a distance, it was covered with brown, wiggling worms, but we could hear them noisily expressing their opinions from shore, and in contrast, deer quietly standing alongside the road with green beards of grass dangling from their mouths as they quietly observed us taking their picture, and, of course, the Lone Cypress secured to the rock upon which it stands with cables, a stark silhouette against a gray sky, reminiscent of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree when compared to the lush cypress trees nearby.

Bird Rock with sea lions…

The Lone Cypress

Deer with beards…

When we picked Tony up from the San Jose airport on Saturday, we visited the Winchester House. Truly, a spectacular experience. I took a ton of pictures, many of which were highly illegal (you know me and my pictures!). We did both the Mansion Tour and the Behind the Scenes Tour and they were equally entertaining, fascinating and informative.

One thing, though, if you have kids who are under 5 years old, I would not recommend taking them on any tours of the mansion. Kids love stairs and, yes, there’s a whole lotta stairs. The problem occurs when you pull the child away from the stairs to stay with the tour, and you combine that with a tour time when your child would normally be napping. Can you say “meltdown?” One child with a non-stop, hour long, shrieking meltdown equals 25 unhappy tour guests. Ugh. The tour guide offered them a credit if they wanted to “take a tour at a later time” and suggested that they could “leave and join the tour at any time”… but the parents resolved to stay with the tour, for what purpose I have no idea. It’s not like they (or anyone else) could HEAR anything the guide was saying over the 100 decibel siren that was squirming in their arms. Common sense, people, common sense.

We also went to the Steinbeck Center, which was a really educational and interactive experience. Since Salinas is a valley whose main history is rooted in agriculture and farming, and the cycle of same, and Steinbeck’s life was influenced by that, there was also a section in the museum showing the stages of crops and how they get from the fields to our kitchens. Another section in the museum was dedicated to the fine arts and local artists, however, we didn’t visit that part since Bridgett wasn’t featured in it! We could have spent much longer there, but we needed to head off to the airport… two hours is enough time to get a good feel for the place.

Oh but that all crossword puzzles could be solved just by pushing a button!

In the agriculture museum, I got to be a trucker!

We had dinner out a couple of times, once in Salinas at a wonderful Italian restaurant and once at a restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. Both restaurants were suggested, and dinner was generously gifted to us, by Bridgett and her roommates. I truly am blessed to have good friends.

Sadly, we didn’t have time to go to the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium (they have an octopus!!) because we departed Sunday afternoon, just before The Big Storm of California, January 2010, swept through the area. I’m currently listening to it beat down on the roof of my home and I’m so glad to be here and not out there in it traveling in a tin can through the sky.

Soooo, what have you done since last Thursday?

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Filed under Best Husband, I have Family, I have Friends, I Left Home for Awhile, I Stimulate the Economy, I'm Never too Old to Learn

I Really Should Get a Job.

This week I’ve been on a quest to find another Boney Barney. Remember I mentioned the one we have, and how effective he is at keeping the cats off the hood of my car? I wanted another one for the trunk of my car, and if I were lucky, I was hoping to find one for Tony’s car, too.

I’m here to report that I’ve been to every Target within a 15 mile radius (that would be one, two, three, four, five, six, SEVEN Targets), and none of them have a Boney Barney.

To console myself, I bought some cute (and I use the word “cute” in the context of scary, freaky or weird) Halloween clearance stuff (junk?) for pennies on the dollar. Stuff like next year’s Halloween costumes for the cats, a countdown sign, a t-shirt, cookie cutters and more, all at 75% off! My People, how can you go wrong with that?

Bonus, I bought all that stuff — several bags worth — for right around the $20 range!

But still, no Boney Barney. Extinction of his kind? A skeleton dog? Who knew?

Happy Friday to you!

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