Monday, December 31, 2007


Goodbye, 2007. I'm not quite sure how you'll be remembered. There were lots of highs, but more lows than usual. Things seem to have turned out okay though.

I'll be looking back over the past twelve months and gathering my thoughts about all your events. It's always good to take stock.

I think I'm looking forward to turning to a calendar, a new month, a new year, a leap year(!) in a few short hours. I like new beginnings. New possibilities. New choices.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Airing the Dirty Laundry

I admit it--my laundry room is stuck in the 80's. This apple wallpaper was probably a best seller back then. Target would have it on sale for 50% off. We possessed it both the red apple variation (shown here) and the blue apple style. Not only that but I helped my BFF wallpaper her entire hall in the red apple as a house warming present back in 1988. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Check out this light fixture in the bath attached to our laundry. It could rightfully be called hid-e-ous. It's sooo not Green. Six light bulbs to light up one very tiny powder room? Overkill.

But wait, it gets better.

We went away for a two week vacation in the summer and our powder room leaked while we were away. No, no, it wasn't that bad--it only was leaking for about a hour before we drove in. But it soaked under the linoleum and the underlayment (I just love those fancy construction terms) buckled. We both considered it a blessing in disguise. My sweetie got to rip off the blue apple wallpaper and I got to tear up linoleum. I liked the linoleum (sanded and worn by two boys, their friends, and our dogs) as much as he did the wallpaper.

This is our powder room now. I don't even want to say how long ago the vacation leak occurred, but I will tell you that it's numbered in years instead of months. Sad but true. The wallpaper came off and nothing went on. He wanted linoleum, I didn't, so carpet sample squares somehow slowly moved in and began taking over. He took down the mirrors along with the wallpaper and they have been hiding behind the sofa ever since. Erkie thinks it's very handy every time he wants to check out the latest mom-provided haircut and let's us know it.

Moving on with the tour, this summer our washer finally died. I like fixing things and I'm fearless about ripping things apart (carefully, so I can remember how to put them back together with the aid of my trusty Readers Digest Fix Anything Handbook). I was familiar with every nut and bolt of that washer, but when it began spewing grease and oil, I knew it was time to move on. The puppy had added to the linoleum mayhem by treating what remained in the laundry room as a chew toy, now with grease on the flooring it was simpler to tear it out in preparation for the new washer. Here it sits in all its glory. Charming.


There's hope though. Behold! We have ordered indestructable through-body porcelain tile. I figured that tile designed for heavy-duty commercial applications might survive the abuse our laundry room gets as the major thoroughfare from garage to kitchen. We even have someone to lay it when it arrives. We have a new, fancy faucet bought for a song on eBay. Things are moving along nicely.

Still to do: choose granite for the replacement vanity, find a stainless steel sink and get a vanity which will fit our angled space.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Natural History

Look at those funny dog tracks--what long toenails.

Ah ha! They go right into the Raccoon Highway aka the storm drain. I should have known that they're raccoon tracks. We'll just play Daniel Boone and see where they go.

Into the pasture! Hmmm...little kid smell, big dog scent, vole odor...and yes, eau de raccoon right about here.

Look! There were two of them. Back track them past the Hay Trailer.

Hey, where'd they go?

They were here a moment ago.

What a surprise! Right into the Briar Patch.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Seeing the Light(s)

School is done for the year. There is hope that I may be ready for Christmas on time.

I love Christmas traditions. My parents always took us out to ooh and ahh over the decorations that folks put up. Then it was just those big colored lights. My grandparents had a huge white star with blue tips on their ranch house and it was considered so unusual and special.

Now there are huge snowmen and twinkling snowflakes and Happy Feet penguins. And icicle lights. I love it all! There is no such thing as overkill in my book when it comes to Christmas.

We took our own children out to see the lights, especially the incredible displays in Hidden Valley, apparently created especially to see how much they could run up their electric bills.

Tonight my sweetie and I, with the pup in tow, drove up to Evergreen to see their lights. I'm always uplifted and inspired by their displays. They band together and light up trees, fences, rooflines, doorways in red, green, blue and white. They have delicate reindeer and snowglobes and big red bows. It all looked like a North Pole Dreamland shining on the snow.

Our house will never win any awards for Christmas decorations, but it has lights shining out into the blackness. And every single house in our little cul-de-sac has lights somewhere. We feel so lucky to have great neighbors. They are one of our blessings.

And speaking of over-the-top light displays, check this out:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Leftover Who Hash

That's exactly what I feel like after a long session of finalizing packages to mail. (Yes, the original Grinch cartoon is my absolute favorite seasonal DVD, far outweighing "White Christmas" not to mention "Elf" or "The Santa Clause." And yes, my kids think I am insane.)

It's my least favorite part of Christmas--having family far enough away that there is no chance of seeing them for the holidays, therefore presents must be trusted to the tender mercies of the Postal Service. And of course, that means finding boxes that are the right size to hold the presents. Sigh. It makes me tired just thinking of it.

But I was motivated to get it done. I stayed up till 4 a.m. finishing the last craft, wrapping the last presents, baking the last goodie and finding boxes just the right size. I managed to feed myself and the pup, throw on a Christmasy outfit, put out the address book for my sweetie and still make it to work on time. Unfortunately, the someone who was going to stand in line at the post office was incapable of seeing the boxes right outside his home office door with the address book conspicuously parked next to them. So they are still sitting in our house.

I admit that there were extra boxes floating downstairs, but still...

This Can of Who Hash, slightly dried out and feeling quite stale, will now retire for a Long Winter's Nap.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Star Light

Christmas 1979 was memorable in some positive ways too.

Because I was reluctant to travel for the holidays, it was the first time we ever spent Christmas in our own home. My sister Pooh was nice enough to brave the gloom and come share the holidays with us. Thanks to her, the holiday spirit arrived, a bit late perhaps, but it still came. She and my sweetie went out on Christmas eve to acquire a tree, only to discover that tree lots are not open on December 24th. Fortunately, a little determined dumpster diving on their part came up with a three foot fir that she still refers to as the Charley Brown tree. We dug out the ornaments and made a tin foil star for the top.

Other festive touches included
  • Dr. Demento's Christmas carols. Not exactly reverent, but worth a few laughs.
  • Repainting the fake brick he previous owners had splashed with strokes of mustard, barn red and ivory (it was supposed to look like old brick). It looked much classier in Najavo White.
  • Climbing in and out of windows to use the bathroom as the newly varnished hardwood floors dried. Yeah, it was December, but it was a Southern California winter.
  • And two out of three of us successfully avoided stepping on the carpet tack strips that had just been nailed into the concrete in preparation for our new carpet. Nothing says Christmas like tacks.

Besides some unusual Christmas memories, I still have the little tinfoil star and a firm belief that stars, not angels or treetoppers, belong on a Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December 1979

Twenty-eight years ago, we had just moved into our first house. After five years in a one-bedroom apartment, it was heavenly to move into a 1950's two bedroom with a large yard. We were filled with dreams. Dreams of hardwood floors and a remodeled kitchen. Dreams of paint and carpeting. Dreams of lush landscaping instead of a bermuda grass desert. Dreams of a dog. Dreams of a baby to come.

We were happily pregnant for the first time. Sleep often brought sweet dreams of a little red-haired toddler in our new family room, sitting on our new soft carpet and playing. We laughed at the thought of red hair when no one in the family had anything vaguely resembling any shade of auburn.

Then midway through the first trimester, I began spotting. It was too early for us to have chosen an obstetrician yet, so we headed for the emergency room. Amidst all the worry, I remember the smile we shared as the young doctor confirmed that the test showed we were indeed pregnant. We already knew it, but it was so thrilling to have it officially confirmed. We went home where I was to take it easy and hope the bleeding would stop.

We looked for an OB and made an appointment. We finally called our far-away parents and let them know our tenuous situation. The spotting grew heavier and my sweetie insisted our way into the doctor's office past one of those gatekeeper-types who seem to protect doctors from sick people. Although nice, the physician was not encouraging and warned us we were miscarrying. He was right. After a long afternoon of cramps and heavy bleeding, lots of tears and sorrow, we called him again and he arranged for a D&C.

I so clearly remember emerging from anesthesia as they wheeled me into the recovery room, feeling a terrible and final sense of loss and thinking, "No more baby, no more baby." I spent the night alone in the hospital, crying silent tears.

Life goes on and a happy ending later gave us two wonderful sons who are now grown. Sons, both of whom possessed red hair for a brief time during babyhood, a circumstance that amazes me. Still, each December I think of the little red-haired boy I never got to meet. With every particle of my being, I hope there is a heaven. I hope there is a way for souls to embrace because I need--someday, somewhere--to hold that son. To cuddle and hug and love in a very special reunion.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


This is what I've really been doing lately.

It would seem logical (since it's December) to assume I'm sitting here enjoying the snow that's been hanging around due to highs of 35 degrees during the day, enjoying Christmas CDs playing on the stereo (gotta get my Mannheim Steamroller fix), sipping hot chocolate.

Actually I've been sewing the Halloween and Thanksgiving outfits for my favorite doll. I know, she won't wear them for another ten months, but in my little world I've gotta sew while inspiration hits. I just love the little Halloween candy vest she will be able to wear next October.

And the nice thing about doll clothes is that they don't have to be sewn perfectly. I did my best, but in the interest of accuracy in reporting, I have to admit that one of the vest ties on her Thanksgiving outfit pulled clean away from the vest when I tied it for the photo. Turned out that I sewed too close to the edge and it just frayed and let go. I did try to sew it properly, but after two tries, I decided that it was okay to just topstitch it on. It'll tie properly and will be hidden. Hey, it's not like my doll is gonna complain about the itch from the tie against her skin. (There are definite advantages to a doll vs. a real live kid.)

This is what she is wearing now as she patiently sits in my old child's rocker as she waits for the tree and presents to appear.

Maybe it's overkill to have a doll dressed for the seasons and holidays, but that's just me. I like to celebrate!

p.s. Speaking of celebrating, Happy Hanukkah! The latkes with applesauce and sour cream are still making my tastebuds twinkle with delight after their appearance in the classroom yesterday!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Dogs and snow seem like a match made in heaven.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Cruel Comfort

Yes, it's me again. My mom is still upstairs and I'm lying here dying of boredom. Dying, I tell you. Don't you think I look bored?

No walks, no defrosting meat left out on the counter in easy reach of a hungry dog...there's even a ban on playing with the snowman ornament she left sitting on the coffee table. I'm letting her know how unhappy I am though. When she comes down the stairs, I don't even lift my head up or wag my tail. I ignore her.

And to punish her more, I am using her little wooden stool as a pillow. That'll show her.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Got Weather??

Dear Blog Readers:
Mrs. Santa has been busy busy busy, but in a guilt-laden moment managed to step outside her workroom (upstairs where I'm not allowed) and take me to the pasture. I love snow. I love frozen cow patties. I love playing with my friend Cody. He's tan and buff and likes digging for rodents in the irrigation ditches. (Don't worry, Jake, you're still my best guy!) Cody and I had fun running fast. I'm faster than he is but I wait for him to catch up, 'cause that's the polite way to play with friends.
Mrs. Santa is doing something called "sewing". It involves lots of noise, but doesn't smell very interesting. At least she finds time to cook and give me bits of moldy cheese (yum!) and sometimes a piece of meat falls to the floor where I help her clean it up.
I'm spending way too much time lying at the foot of the stairs waiting and hoping for a walk. It is beautiful weather out there and feels like summer. I hope she comes down soon and gets my leash.
She says I'm getting a "niece" soon. I don't know what that is, but I hope it either tastes good or is something to play with.
Time to kennel up for the night.
Love, Kharma