Friday, March 27, 2015

Self Laughter

"I am so funny I laugh at my own jokes!" says the Bambino

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Welcome to Chez Q

"Welcome to Chez Q in beautiful Silicon Valley!"

"I would like to show you all the wonderful things you can expect during your visit at Chez Q!"

"Obviously, there is exquisite dining here. After all, we ARE in California!
Some will even lick their spoon and smack their lips. Yes, it is THAT good!"

"We also have free high speed internet for anyone staying with us.
You can check your messages or even play games - ANYTIME!
At Chez Q, we make sure we have the latest technology and we have the best support team in the entire valley!"

"Many of our visitors like to stay fit so we do offer an indoor jogging course for those so inclined."

"Others prefer the boundless opportunities to just rest and relax, which we also encourage. In fact, you can take a nap wherever and whenever you want."

"There will be opportunities for you to tap into your inner creative side while visiting Chez Q. Many of those who stay with us have a sudden desire to color or paint. We have all the primary colors and everything else you may need should you feel that creative urge of self expression."

"Most of our guests enjoy the exquisite trains at Chez Q. You can watch, play, or even participate in some healthy competition with the locals. It is your choice."

"I truly hope you will come and enjoy your time at Chez Q!'

To help you get in the mood

Ed Sheeran's video, "Thinking Out Loud," will help you get in the mood for either "Dancing with the Stars" or the Prom....whichever comes first.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hmmm, was that mom calling me?

"Was that mom calling me to come help put my toys away?"

"Too bad I didn't hear her."

Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott

Imperfect BirdsImperfect Birds by Anne Lamott

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The characters really were very imperfect birds - it was hard not to just reach in the book and shake them, especially the mother. She was so pathetic with no strength of character. I've never known anyone so vanilla, so needy, so unable to follow through, and with no stamina. It made me see, and also appreciate, how for some people, a crisis is required in order for them to make a decision and take action.

I really enjoyed Anne Lamott's writing style. I loved her descriptions and how the words just flowed, almost like music, and her descriptions were like poetry. She is an excellent writer. I just didn't like the characters in the story, which is why I can't give it 4 or 5 stars.

However, I did enjoy that the story was mainly in the Bay Area (my current home) and in Marin County, which is probably one of the most liberal and accepting places in the entire country. But then near the end of the book, after the crisis, the story branches out to Davis County, Utah (my former home) which is probably one of the most conservative areas in the country. What a contrast. The accepting place (Marin County) seemed to not have the needed structure these imperfect birds needed- it allowed them to just melt into what seemed like nothingness with not enough rules. Then towards the end, to send the drug addicted daughter to Davis County, a place with there is total structure and lots of rules, it allowed the daughter to put order into her empty life.

Because I grew up and lived most of my life in Davis County and then came to California, this book, "Imperfect Birds" reminded me that some people are going to need rules and structure to help them maneuver in their life. They NEED a Davis County-like environment or they can become just puddles of existence. But there are others who will need a Marin County-like environment so they can expand beyond the box they came packaged in, and fly.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Can you really be anything you want to be?

Remember when you were told you could be anything you wanted to be?
It was a way your parents or teachers would encourage you to see the wide, wide world of opportunity.
But then you may say, "I want to be a Vampire" and then were told, "No, you can't be that."
"OK, how about a mermaid, then?"
"No, you can't be that, either," would be the adult response.
"A princess?"
"Then how about a professional basketball player?"
"No, that's only for boys who are tall."

Each of these responses helped to narrow down the wide wide world of opportunity and started to expose the limiting qualifiers of what it really means to be anything you want to be.

The truer response would be something like this:

"There's a lot of things you may be able to be and do with your life. Let's discover what you're good at, what you like, and where your passion is."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

How to dispose your unwanted meds

You don't want to flush your unwanted meds down the toilet because you don't want the possibility of those drugs getting into your water supply. 
The best option is to take them to your local pharmacy where they can safely dispose them with other environmental or medical waste products.
Another option is to mix the unwanted meds with cat litter or coffee grounds, then put them in your garbage pickup.
Help keep our water safer by NOT flushing them down the toilet.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Lewis and Clark at Seaside, Oregon

Seaside, Oregon, is the official end of the trail location for Lewis and Clark, the great American Explorers who began at Saint Louis in 1804, and 18 months later ended at the Pacific Ocean.

This is what it looks like at Seaside, Oregon today - a gorgeous HUGE white sandy beach. It is absolutely breath taking and peaceful.

There is a bronze statue of Lewis and Clark to commemorate this event and it has these fine young lads looking out towards the Pacific. Lewis was only 29 when he began this journey. He is the one on the left. Clark, who was four years older, is the one who recorded the journey. He is on the right, jotting down the notes. Obviously, the hotels in the background came MUCH later, but they also have a fantabulous view.

Friday, March 20, 2015

It's a celebration when mom and dad come home!

"Yay, mom and dad are home!"

I wish he did that when I came to play!  ha ha ha

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Don't get caught doing this in Oregon

Oregon has a state law that requires gas be pumped by a qualified gas attendant. They were the first state to mandate a trained station worker was the only one who could put "Class 1 flammable liquids" into cars. The state didn't want people accidentally blowing things up. That was back in 1951.

Soon, MANY other states followed this precedent.  Nah, not really; only New Jersey. Yep, it's only New Jersey and Oregon with this law on their books.

But what I didn't know was that you could be fined $500 buckeroos for pumping your own gas!

So while in Oregon, I have to remind myself to sit back and wait, and then wait some more, for some guy (who looks like he just got out of prison) to slink over to my car while I nervously roll down my window and hand him my credit card.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Training for the pony ride

"Gramz, I'm pretending this is a pony, or maybe even an elephant!" reports the Grandkid.

"I think I am ready for one of those wild animal rides at the petting zoo!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Our Grandkids will grow up in a world with no plastic bags

Some day I will tell my grandkids about the time when the stores would pack your groceries in a plastic bag; for free! But then we noticed all those bags clogging up the ocean, or drifting on the beach or along the highways, so we had to change this.

I can just imagine those little eyes looking up at me as if this is a tall tale! They will wonder if I am making this up because it is so unlikely this could have happened in the world they now live in. But it will be the truth.

Single Use Plastic Bag Ban in the Bay Area of CA
Many things change right before our very eyes, and we sometimes forget how some events make things disappear completely. As you may recall, this happened with VHS, cassette tapes, the Instamatic camera, and even with film! Which probably means our grandkids will grow up in a world totally different from what we had, or even their parents had.

Wouldn't it be cool if our grandkids could grow up not even knowing what fossil fuel is? Now, that would be something I would get a kick out of seeing!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Flour Storage Changes with Each Generation

My grandma Edna's kitchen had just one row of cabinets in her small kitchen. The upper cabinets held the dishes and the lower cabinets held the staples; flour, sugar, salt, and a few canned goods.

In fact, one of those lower cabinets was totally devoted to just flour!

My mother, however, used less flour in her cooking so her kitchen didn't have a flour bin. She used a tupperware container, big enough for the family's flour needs for about a month.

Now, with me, I only have a five pound bag of flour stored in a zipped lock bag at my house.  Why? because I mostly buy bread, pasta, or other foods which use flour.

So what do you think the next generation will need in the way of flour storage? Will they even know what flour is? Or will they return to a time when the flour bin was the center of the entire kitchen?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Looking at messages differently

How much does the message change based on the medium the message is using? 

Is a break-up through a text message different from a "Dear John letter", or one done in person?  

How different is the experience when you watch the story unfold as a movie rather than reading it in a book?  

Marshall McLuhan argued that throughout history what has been communicated has been less important than the particular medium through which people communicate. The technology that transfers the message changes us and changes society, the individual, the family, work, leisure and more. 

The next generation will have very different skills and abilities than what we use because of the changes in the way messages are shared. The medium changes us.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Organizing the Kitchen the Bambino Way

"Pops and I are organizing the kitchen" reports the Bambino.
"I like it all out in the open where I can see and touch everything. Pops likes to group things that are the same, then put them in a straight line inside the cupboard. Once that happens, the doors get closed and everything is hidden!"

"But my way, let's you know what you've got and you can get it anytime."

"I have to continually redo Pops work. Someday he will learn that I will never tire of scattering things he has organized and put away."

If not for you, Babe

I would be lost ...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What kind of playground is this?

"Gramz" says the Grandkid. "These are the quietest chicks I've ever run into at a playground!"

"Where are we??"

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Unbelievable News!

Oakland City Meter Parking Still has Problems

OK. It's time for me to whine.

The beautiful city of Oakland, CA, put in 3,000 new smart parking meters and by now, the wrinkles should have been ironed out. But they are not.

This is what happened to me this week.

I had a meeting in Oakland and found a parking space right across from the building. "YAY!" I shouted! "I must be living right!"

I rushed over to the smart meter with my case of quarters (you get 7 minutes of parking for each quarter) and was ready to stuff them into the machine to get a couple of hours worth of parking time. But this NEW machine read ERROR and would not take any money.

There was a phone number in small print, so I called to pay by phone (just like it says). After going through the phone tree several times, it was obvious there was NO option to pay by phone. It was just for those who are curious about what that thing-a-majig is.

Since parking tickets are a minimum of $66 per incident, I did NOT want to once again help pay for the policeman's ball. I wanted to make sure I was legit and protected from another fine. So I got online and registered my name, car, license number, parking spot, and preferred payment method with the account info. Phew, I thought! Maybe I made it and I won't get a ticket! But then a message displayed on the computer screen;


"So why the hell did you offer me PayPal as my payment option?" I yell at the computer.

Sometimes I hate technology. But more deeply, I hate poor system design. And in the Bay Area, where technology is everything and everywhere, there should be no excuses for this kind of malarky.

So, City of Oakland, next time, please don't go with the lowest bidder. Go with a company who is not offshoring everything, because CLEARLY, THIS company didn't test their damn system and didn't know how users would use it.

But since I didn't get a parking ticket, I'll ignore this faux paux, Oakland, but please, do a better job next time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Horehound Candy

As a kid growing up, there weren't very many sweets readily available, except if we went to Grandma's house. She always had a stash of horehound candy.  You could also get this same little treat at the end of a tour at Brigham Young's house in SLC, UT, too.

Horehounds are a dark brown bittersweet piece of candy made from the horehound herb and then brushed with dusty sugar.

This treat really was primarily used to help sore throats, but when you are a kid, something with a hint of sweetness seems like a prize.

When we became older and wiser, we have all moved away from horehounds and on to much better sweets.  Horehounds became a thing of our past.