Sunday, March 28, 2010

Climb Every Mountain

Robin and I met for a hike on Mt. Diablo at the Mitchell Canyon Trail which is supposed to be a great place to see wildflowers. Unfortunately, they don't allow dogs so we walked on the edges of the park. Then I went in search of the Globe Tulip which only grows on Mt. Diablo. It is not very showy. But at least I can say I saw it before I died. It was a beautiful day and ended up being quite warm. The trail wasn't too crowded but I did end up dodging some horses (and their excrement) as well as some bicyclists (who, I assumed, used the public facilities).

We met again in Clayton for a picnic lunch at a park in the center of town. By the time we left, I had a sunburned face and allergies galore. But it's only green and pleasant for a short time so I had to do it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring has sprung

This morning I had to endure my annual teeth cleaning. Although I love my dentist and hygienist dearly, I hate having my teeth cleaned. It hurts even though I take Tylenol ahead of time and she uses a topical anaesthetic.
I have been carrying my camera with me wherever I go so I snapped some pictures of a garden on Claremont in Berkeley. The owner caught me and shared some of her favorites.
Usually, I would reward myself for a dental visit by shopping but instead, I decided to celebrate by taking some time to goof off.
I stopped at Briones Park on the way home and walked up, up, up to get a good shot of the hills. They're only green for a short time so you have to be quick. The swathes of wildflowers down the hillsides were beautiful.

Quiche me!

My efforts to become a reasonably good cook are progressing. Last week I made some delicious polenta from a Emeril recipe. I paid the price of a burn on my chin when the boiling polenta attacked me as I stirred.
Last night I made a broccoli, zucchini and cheddar quiche. It was quite tasty. Now I'm at a loss. What next? I need to find some healthy recipes that don't use any of the many ingredients I'm allergic to: beef, pork, salmon, duck, lamb.
Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bloomin' Lilacs!

I planted a lilac bush outside our bedroom window when we moved into this house 16 years ago. Finally, it is blooming for the second time ever! I love the scent and have a strong memory of lilacs outside my mom and dad's window when I was young. Although I was probably just oblivious, I remember those times as being very happy.

New Bracelets!


Chris and I went to Yoshi's in Oakland to see Zigaboogaloo on Saturday night - the late show! I had to take a nap to prepare (who am I kidding? I would have taken a nap anyway. We had dinner at Yoshi's first. Chris enjoyed his kobe beef salad and rock and roll sushi. I had vegetable tempura. Deep fried vegetables still count, right?
Zigaboogaloo is a funky N'Orleans band featuring Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste, Dr. John, Nicholas Payton, Garth Weber, David Berard and Donald Harrison.
It was a great show but there were a couple of wild groups who apparently thought that they were part of the show. And people came from all parts of the club to stand and dance in front of me. Why? Are they completely oblivious to everyone else?

Beautiful California Weather

Despite a late night at Yoshi's, early Sunday morning, I walked around the Lafayette Reservoir with Robin and Andy No-Biting. Robin got up at 5:00 A.M. to take her friends to the airport. For Robin, that's amazing! If I were her, I would have called them a taxi. 
I took my camera and shot some pictures of interesting textures. It's not really aerobic exercise since Andy insists on chatting with every dog along the path. We had a lovely breakfast at Chow in Lafayette. Andy was very good and very tired.
I spent the afternoon making more bracelets. I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Here are some fun new designs for cards. I took some illustrations from the 1920s and replaced the color with vintage fabric and wallpaper designs. The printing of the original pictures was off-kilter so that the colors didn't fall within the outlines so I was cleaning them up when I thought of doing this.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why Oh Why?

Why did I throw away a decent job with great benefits?
  1. It was becoming something I didn't want to do. With a new director and a never-ending financial crisis, my job wasn't so much the things I liked doing (like reading to kids or helping them choose books to read for fun) and was mostly homework help and administrative stuff. Okay in moderation, not 24/7.

  2. I have a lot of projects to do at home. I am the unofficial pictorial historian for the Wu family. I have thousands of photos that need to be scanned, cleaned and posted. And don't even mention the three huge boxes of slides that must be converted!

  3. I need more beauty and art in my life. I can't survive on urine decorated elevators.

  4. Work was interfering with my hobbies. I was working way too many hours and not having enough fun.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Last Day in Kansas City

We visited with Dr. Wu for a little while in the morning and then let him nap while Chris and I hunted down a Friends of Johnson County Library booksale. I got a book of 50s memorabilia to chop up. Chris bought Mike a cookbook.
Then we took Dr. Wu for lunch at Red Lobster for - what else? lobster and shrimp. We were joined by Lin and Sarina. Lin had a magazine in which Sarina has a fashion spread.
We had a nice leisurely lunch and bid Dr. Wu goodbye at his apartment. Tears welled up when he understood that Chris was leaving. We were in plenty of time for a 6:00 flight - unfortunately our flight was scheduled for 5:10. Oops. Lucky for us, our plane had mechanical problems and was delayed for two hours. Thank goodness for free WiFi in the KC airport.
Got home to find Al the cat "stuck" on the roof. He ventually figured out how to get down when he realized I would feed him.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Got up Sunday morning and worked out in the "fitness room" of the hotel which was just two treadmills and an elliptical in a hot, steamy closet. We went to Dr. Wu's apartment but he only stayed awake for a few minutes before falling asleep in his chair.
We went to Arthur Bryant's. Can't speak about the beef but the fries were great and the turkey was sooo moist and tasty. They have five different sauces now and the traditional sauce is missing the grainy texture of years gone by.
We took Mike to the train station but he refused to lean out of the train, holding onto the rail and waving. What a party pooper. We stopped by the hotel on the way to Dr. Wu's apartment and Chris fell asleep sitting on the sofa. Seems to be contagious. Dr. Wu wasn't up to going out to dinner so Chris and I went to Cheesecake Factory for a drink and salad.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dim Sum with Dr. Wu

Dr. Wu still has a great appetite and wanted to go to Bo Ling's for dim sum. He loves his jook! The rest of the meal was disappointing- our worst experience at Bo Ling's. I complained to the manager who said his chef was in China for a month so don't go until April.

The last time I was in Kansas City, we had planned to go to the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum. Dr. Wu had a dream that the museum had been taken over by Japanese invaders. But we couldn't visit because they were closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Do I detect a Japanese influence?

It is a good museum with a wide range of art. Mike was attacked by a huge shuttlecock during a game of badminton between Zeus and Apollo.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

No Nap Today

Inspiration runs rampant and I made 11 art bracelets. I really love the texture around the edges of Klimt's The Kiss. I'm also a sucker for the old photos. I made so many bracelets that I had to go to Berkeley for more blanks. Paper Source had some cool stamps and other stuff on sale. I also bought a new ceramic knife. I haven't tried it yet but I couldn't resist another cutting tool. Robin has every glue known to man; I have scissors and cutters.
Scrapbook Territory had a lot of new papers they found at CHA. I'll post the cards I make from them when I get back from KC.

Kansas City Here We Come

We are in Kansas City to visit my 99-year-old father-in-law. Last night we went to Stroud's, our favorite fried chicken place. It used to be in an old house near the airport where none of the floors were even. It was a cool place. What the new restaurant lost in ambiance, it gained in convenience. Their motto is "We choke our own chickens" although I have no evidence that the claim is true.

Michael flew in about half an hour after us. He is choosing to spend the end of his spring break with us- a long cry from his original plan to hit the beach in Florida with a bunch of drunk undergrads. Do you think the fact that we brought his golf clubs with us impacted his decision?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Deal

Since Chris supported my decision to quit my job, I am trying to be a better wife. The toilet has been "hissing" at odd times. Obviously it was possessed by a demon. Rather than call an exorcist (or a plumber), I got on the internet, diagnosed the problem and betook myself to the hardware store. A small hitch in the proceedings when the guy at Ace assured me that I should buy a part that looked completely different from the one I was replacing. Another trip to OSH and I was in business. So far so good. Food coloring in the tank fails to leak into the bowl. Score one for me.
I am listening to a lot of books on tape since I am trying not to turn the TV on during the day. As much as daytime TV sucks, it has a mesmerizing effect on anyone who might be looking for a way to procrastinate.
I went to the Lafayette Library to pick up some new audio books and they have books in MP3 format now. So much faster to load onto the iPod! I also stopped at the Friends of the Lafayette Library store. The ladies there were sooo nice! I got some cheap art books that I immediately chopped up.
I stopped at the store on the way home to get ingredients for dinner. I made chicken asparagus risotto and although it may not be up to Michael's standards, it was edible. Another way I'm trying to be a better wife.
Now I must gird my loins and face the craft room. I can't even get all the way into it right now. All the stuff I brought home from the library is forming an effective fortress. Where am I going to put it all?
It's very noisy here today. Huge machines in front of the house are tearing up the street to replace the sewer lines and some kind of riot is going on at Safeway behind us. People are chanting anti-Safeway slogans. A labor dispute of some kind?

Monday, March 8, 2010

First Day of the Rest of My Life

This blog is about changing directions and starting over with a clean slate. For 30 years, I have worked in libraries. I worked scheduled hours and was paid a wage that may not have always been what I deserved but was there when expected.

I valued that predictability. My brothers and sister have had their own businesses and I never really wanted to follow in their footsteps because I didn't trust my ability to sell my services on a daily basis or my ability to demand payment for services.

But now, here I am: unemployed? self-employed? independently employed?

This is the first time I haven't had a job since I was 16. The longest I've gone without working was 5 months when I was on maternity and bonding leave when Michael was born - and if you think that was easy, let me correct you!

And, is this the time to be on my own. Millions of people have lost their jobs and I join them willingly? Is this economy going to welcome a new small business especially one that provides non-essential frippery? All I can do is keep expenses low and be very very nice to my husband.

A Different Kind of Monday

What? No schedule? No need to be at any place at any time? Can I handle the freedom? Probably not. I did get up and to the gym before 8 a.m. and finished grocery shopping by 11.
I think I will have to make myself follow a schedule. It might be a daily schedule (like for 2 hours I'll make jewelry and for one hour I'll work in the garden) or it mught be a weekly schedule (like on Mondays I'll work on the web and Tuesdays I'll do housework).