Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Greetings from Israel

I arrived in Israel last Friday afternoon after a very pleasant 15 hour flight from Los Angeles. I lucked out on my flight by being one of only two people on the ginormous 777 that scored a row of seats all to myself, which translated into "I get to lie down across the row and sleep!!" for the bulk of that long flight. YAY!!! That, coupled with very nice service and quiet and polite passengers, made my flight much more enjoyable than I had anticipated. I arrived in Tel Aviv feeling rested and thus was able to stay alive and coherent enough through most of the rest of the day and evening.

Nothing warms a mother's heart more than to see her smiling child with arms outstretched as she spots you walking through the customs door at the airport. It's as if the whole world stops for a moment in time - freezes - while the two of you hug, and all seems right and well again. I think that if everyone could and would hug someone they love, every day, we might have a happier and dare I say, safer world. Who doesn't like a nice hug?

It was so nice to see Ari, too. He's going to be my son-in-law soon - May 22, 2011 to be exact. I could not have asked for a nicer, sweeter, smarter, more personable young man than Ari to be the one Sam chose to love and marry. I give a big thumbs up to this match!

On Saturday we drove to Binyamina, where Ari's parents live. It was great to meet them and we enjoyed a delicious lunch and a visit to a beautiful garden/park after. Since Sam is working part time, I hang out in the mornings with Jack, their dog, and I amuse myself until she comes home in the early afternoon. On Sunday, we went to the local market. Yesterday we drove the short distance to the beach for awhile. Last night we picked up Ari after work and went to the gym to work out. I liked that, since it had been several days since I had had a chance to exercise. Since starting a serious workout routine in late September, I have toned up, and thinned Dow, losing 10 pounds in the process. Slacking off too much will only reverse my progress, so the visit to the gym was a welcome thing.

Today, when Sam gets home, we are going to make pasta from scratch. I brought her a pasta roller and cutter set to use with her kitchen aid mixer so we're going to test them out!

Later this week, the three of us, sans Jack, are heading down to Cairo for 3 days. Ari and I have never been, but Sam has. We have made arrangements to have a tour guide, driver and an Egyptologist to show us the highlights of the area, including the pyramids, the Egyptian museum, Memphis, egypt's oldest capital, Sakkara, the city of the dead with the famous step pyramid Djosser, a day trip to Alexandria to see the catacombs, amphitheater and the library. On our last day we will visit the citadel of Salah El Din, the Mohamed Ally Mosque, old Cairo,several churches and finish the day off with a visit to Khan El Khalili which is the oldest bazaar in Cairo. I am very excited to go!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Girl's Getting Married

Sam's engaged!!!! My little munchkin. College graduate. Self-supporting adult. Dog owner. Cook. Blogger. Engaged.

I'm really happy about it. I absolutely adore Ari, my soon-to-be son-in-law. And of course, Sam loves him and he loves her - they make a really good couple. Ari will make a good husband and a great father. He is respectful, optimistic, practical, smart, hard-working. And he has a killer smile and fun-loving nature.

In just a few short weeks, I'll be in Israel. I fly on Thanksgiving and arrive in Israel the day after. A long-ago planned trip - and now there will be even more to celebrate! I'm looking forward to seeing them both.

And I'm looking forward to some time away from work. It's been a busy year - fairly unrelenting - and I'm tired and ready for a break.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rainy Sunday - Is Winter Peeking In?

This weekend has been awesome. It began raining Friday night and hasn't really let up much since then. Yesterday, as part of my routine housecleaning chores, I washed the sheets from the bed, but this time, when I made the bed up again, I added a newly purchased, soft as whipped cream fleece blanket, to the bed. It was one of those spur of the moment, don't really need it, purchases from Costco a few weeks back. I slept better last night than I have in months. The slider to the patio was open, and I lay in bed all snuggled warmly under my clean sheets and soft blankie, with my down comforter on top, cat purring next to me, Molly on the floor below, snoring softly. The sound of the rain hitting the patio, the wind chimes tinkling from the light winds made it all just PERFECT.

I also did some cooking, something I usually do most weekends. I don't eat out much, and I almost always take my lunch from home to work. I save lots of money this way. Money which goes to my traveling budget!!! Anyway, Sam had posted a picture of some garlic confit that her cousin had made for her, and my mouth had started watering the moment I saw it. I dug around in my veggie bin and found but one head of garlic, but that was all I needed to try some confit of my own. There's not much more to say about that. It was easy, and the house smelled divine, with garlic simmering in olive oil, bay leaves and peppercorns. I also made a big batch of quinoa with vegetables, and a big pitcher of fruit smoothie - rasberries, orange juice, fresh plums.

Well, now I'm ready for a snack and a nap.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I am at Day 11 of Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred exercise program. You all know Jillian, right? The maniacal but soft-hearted trainer on Biggest Loser? Anyway, she has this DVD called 30 Day Shred and it's all about doing 20 minutes of intensive cardio/strength exercises every day to grow stronger, leaner and more fit.

The DVD has 3 levels - and you start with Level 1 and work your way up (hopefully) to Level 3 at about day 20. Today was day 11 - and my first day on Level 2.

One would think that kickin up some exercise for a mere 20 minutes a day would be a piece of cake. WRONG-O!!!! This workout video will kick your butt in more ways than one!! I have never dripped so much sweat in my life - and I thought I was in decent shape!! Again, WRONG-O.

Anyway, I've noticed an improvement in my stamina since day 1. I'm a bit stronger. Day 1 I could barely do 5 pushups. Day 11 I'm doing 20 with little sweat. Go me. I've lost a whopping 2 pounds in 10 days!!! It's not so much the pounds I'm looking to lose - it's the being in better shape that I'm after, goal-wise. I think I'll get there.

Monday, October 4, 2010

No Hoarding Allowed

Every time I watch an episode of Hoarders, I have this massive compulsion (yeah, don't go there...) to go find something in my house and throw it away.

Tonight is no different. 10 minutes into the show and I'm in the kitchen during a commercial break, tossing out 1/2 my plastic ware that's stuffed on the bottom rack of my dishwasher (no, I don't use my dishwasher for washing dishes - due to the lack of enough cabinet space in my kitchen, I store plastic and glass ware in there instead). I mean, I've lived here for 10 months now and I rarely use any of the plastic stuff. I almost exclusively use the glassware instead - I don't like putting plastic in the microwave to heat up my leftovers for lunch at work - so why not just get rid of that crapola?

Go me.

October already?

Excuse me, but what the heck happened to September???? It flew by so fast, I can't hardly remember it. Wow.

Well, some minor news. Molly started her first day at her new day care place today. About midway through the day, I got a picture message on my cell from the owner of the day care. There Molly was, my cutie patootie sitting in the sun on the grass by the fence, her trademark big smile on her face. How sweet!!

At the end of the day, when I went to pick Molly up, she was in great spirits, tail wagging, full of Molly kisses, just happy and content. Can't ask for better than that!!! Right now, she's "retired" for the evening - she's had her dinner, and has plotzed herself down on her pillow bed next to my bed - and she's snoring away.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Freak then Seek

When I went to pick up Molly from day care yesterday, they told me that Wag is closing down as of October 1st! It seems the Roseville location (where Molly goes) is not making it financially, so it was a business decision to close down.

That put me into a big emotional spin, because Molly NEEDS daily dog care at a day care place. She cannot stay home alone. This is no luxury for her, it's a necessity. So, of course, I freaked. Cried. Ranted. Raged. (all in the car, by the way, not in public....). Then, true to my nature, I calmed down and decided I needed to act, not react.

So, today, with the help of a couple of the great people at Wag, I found another doggy day care for Molly. It costs a little bit more, but it's close, the place has been there for 8 years and isn't going anywhere, and the owner and her facility come very highly recommended. I visited there after work today, and liked it. I think Molly will be happy there.

The place is a lot different than Wag. First of all, at Waggin Tails, the dogs hang out on a 2-acre spread, outdoors. They have covered areas providing shade and shelter from the rain. There's lots of grass and straw, so Molly will be able to run around (or walk, more likely) without worrying about slipping, as Wag is an indoor facility. I am a little concerned about the winter, when it can get cold out, but we'll play it by ear. There's another dog that is 16 years old and deaf who hangs out - in fact, he's been coming for 7 years, so I think Molly will be just fine.

Well, another crisis averted. Now I can go off to New Mexico for my mini-vacay without worry.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Miss that chit chat

I called Sam today. She's had a rough couple of weeks - and she finally made a decision about something that I fully support, not that she needed that, but I'm hoping she appreciates my being there for her.

Anyway, even though we chat by gmail and email each other pretty often - nearly every day - I really miss talking "live" with her every day. Not even to talk about something important, just the normal daily chatter - "hey, what's up, nothing, how're you". Just hearing her voice makes me feel like everything is a-okay.

When she lived in New York, going to college, she used to call me at night, late for her, when she was coming home from either work, or the library, or from some friend's dorm or apartment. We'd chat while she waited for a bus or in a taxi if it was really late, until she got back to her dorm. I miss those chats!

I know it sounds dumb, but I watch tv shows and see kids coming over/dropping by their parent's homes and I secretly wish to myself that I could have that. That we could share shabbat every week, or Sunday brunch, or just a glass of wine and a whine session!

I'll keep hoping. Hope springs eternal.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I'm in love with my car

It's been one month - since I fell in love------- with my new car!!!!

I have spent the better part of this year thinking about, then researching, the purchase of a new car. PURRRRRRRchase. PURRRRRRfect.

I found her at the Toyota dealer. My Bluebell. A 2010 V6 4WD Pacific Blue Metallic Limited Toyota RAV4.

She is everything I dreamed of and more. Sleek. Shiny. That beautiful intoxicating new car smell. The thlunk sound you hear when the doors shut you inside of her, making the outside noise of the world go away. The keyless ignition - just touching her button makes her engine come to life.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just 77 days to go

77 days of summer officially left. 77 more days of possible 90+ degree days. Sigh.

Just came off a nice 3-day weekend. Love the whole holiday thing. On Saturday, I drove out to Sonoma to pick up Lucas, my friend's parents' ginormous standard poodle. I'm dogsitting the Lukester for 2 weeks while his mom and dad visit Jimmy in New York.

Lucas is a good boy and while it took him a little bit of time to settle in, he's done very well. On Sunday, I got him up (he's quite a good sleeper!!!) at 6 AM and loaded MOlly in her stroller, and Luke hooked up to his leash and off we went on a 2 mile walk. Luke got a good workout and when we got home, after drinking a bunch of water, he promptly plopped down on the living room floor and took a 3 hour nap. LOL!!! What a party animal.

On Monday, we got up at about 6:15 and we headed out again. But this time, it was a 3 mile walk. Lucas was not expecting that extra mile! But since it was his 3rd birthday, I felt we needed to honor that by walking 1 mile for each year of his life. Seems right, don't you agree?

Today, back to work. Dropped Molly off at doggy day care, as usual, and I left Lucas' paperwork so that he can be cleared to attend day care too. Lucas was left at home alone, all day, and he did fantastico! I left the tv on for him - I suppose he was treated to a number of home improvement shows since the channel was on HGTV. He was happy to see both me and Molly return. Tomorrow he gets to go to doggy day care too. He's going to really enjoy having other big dogs to play with all day.

So, for the first time since the end of March, when Sam was still here, I got to go out by myself for a few hours and not worry (too much) about leaving Molly home alone. I was gone for about 3 hours on Monday afternoon. I started out by getting my eyebrows waxed and a pedicure at my local nail salon. Ah, that foot and leg massage is always a welcome thing. Hot pink color on my toes and it was smiles for Sherita.

Next, I went to Target and lollygagged around for nearly an hour. I picked up some toiletry things that I needed, and found a cute tunic top that I just "had to have". Smiles again.

Finally, I went to the grocery store and lollygagged there for about an hour, too. Now, normally I run to the market or store or wherever I "need" to go in between work and picking up Molly from day care, or I rush out at lunch and run my errands. So, having Lucas here to keep Molly company is such a blessing. I'm hoping to get out to a movie this coming weekend!!! Wow!!1 Fresh popped corn and maybe even a soda!! That is bliss. Simple bliss.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Time to Travel

Things are looking up. I booked my flights for my visit to Israel later this year. Considering how far away Israel is, the cost was pretty decent for the round trip. I was expecting to pay several hundred more than I did. Yay!

I'm leaving via LAX on Thanksgiving and returning on 12 December. It's a good long trip, but I don't think I'll wear out my welcome. I think I make a decent houseguest, plus Sam and Ari will be working during most of my time there, so I think that their dog Jack and I will become best buds.

We're also setting up a little 3 day trip to Cairo while I'm there, to visit that magnificent (crowded) old city as well as the pyramids at Giza. We'll do that over a long weekend so Ari and Sam will only need to take one day off from work. I've got a tour company almost arranged - I'm still doing some comparison shopping, but hope to get that nailed down soon. Internal flights to/from Cairo we'll be doing on our own. It's only an hour flight from Tel Aviv, but it shaves tons of time off the trip from the driving alternative.

Other travel plans also include Adrienne's and my annual birthday trip - this year we're going to New Mexico. Our flights are booked for that too, so I now need to make hotel/B&B arrangements, car rental, etc. This trip is in late September. We will visit Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Next weekend, I'm going to Sonoma to pick up Lucas, who will be staying with me for 2 weeks, while his mom and dad (Jim and Mary) fly to New York to visit with their son Jim, who is one of my long-time close friends. Jimmy recently returned from a 10-year stint in London and is now living and working in New York City. He's excited to have his folks come to New York to visit. Jim (elder) had a pretty serious stroke 2 years ago while visiting his other son, Greg, in Rhode Island. Jim's now mostly paralyzed on his left side, but let me tell you something - this man has found ways to get around, move about and do things you'd never believe, given his condition. I know he scares his kids by the things he does, (including driving....) but I'm in awe of him. This man does not let anything get the best of him. God bless him. Oh, Lucas. Well, Lucas is a 3 year old (or is he 2?) standard white poodle. He's HUGE. And he's a good boy, likes Miss Molly, and I'm excited to be able to have him come stay with me. I'm also hoping that by having Lucas here, I'll be able to sneak out of the house once or twice and maybe go to a movie, or visit a friend. See, not being able to leave Miss Molly alone, due to her significant separation anxiety, has me pretty much house-bound over weekends and evenings. Most of the time it's not a big deal, because I love to putter around the house anyway, but I think that having another dog to keep Molly company will put the kabash on her anxiety. When Roxanne was still alive, this was never a problem, so I'm hoping Lucas' being here will bring the same results.

We shall see.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June Gloom

Well, my cousin emailed me and suggested I might not want to disclose such personal info about my neighbors, so, I took his comments under advisement, and have decided to remove the info etc. The likelihood of my weirdo psycho neighbors coming across my blog are pretty much slim to none, but just in case, I've removed it.

Thanks, cuzz.....

The week at work is not shaping up to be much better than last week. For me, things are a bit slow, but given the fact that I've been crazy busy through most of the past year, I don't feel too bad for the slow tempo at the moment. I've done some housekeeping kinds of things to neaten up my files and records, that sort of thing. But, I'm still daydreaming a lot. Thinking of better things to be doing with my ever-decreasing life span.

I'm considering, post-work, and definitely post-pets, to join the Peace Corps for a year or two and go do something really meaningful. Although I've helped to create and raise a most awesome child, there is more to my life, in terms of contributing to the greater good, than that. I want to make a difference!!! I want to change something for someone or somebodies, in a positive way. I guess I have my work cut out for me.

I'm also considering trying to do my world cruise before I retire, rather than after. It's only 4 months, and most of them begin in January, so I'm thinking a short leave of absence might work. It's a slower time of the year for our business, and I could pretend it was maternity leave!!! Ha!! I could go away to "grow a travel baby." Wow, that sounded dumb. Well. Whatever. It's an idea that is germinating....

Molly continues to do well at doggy day care. But she is slowing down a lot, and she is, increasingly, having trouble walking, standing, that sort of thing. I have been taking her to a specialized vet who does acupuncture, so far, we've had 3 sessions. I don't think Molly is showing any signs of improvement, but I'm going to see it through for 1 or 2 more sessions and then will probably stop that. I want to try as much as I can to see what can make Molly feel better. I don't want any "what ifs." I don't want any "coulda, shouldas".

Summer, my cat, seems to be sinking a bit too. She's losing more weight, albeit slowly, and she seems to be more talkative - in the middle of the night - meowing as though the world is coming to an end. I'm not sure what to make of it.

Not much to do but carry on.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day weekend

I decided to take an early day on Friday and left the office at noon, picked up Molly from day care and headed out 80 west towards Carmel. My dad has always referred to their home here on the Monterey Peninsula as "paradise". "Welcome to paradise!" he always says.

There is something to be said for that. It truly is a beautiful place here. The U.S. Open is taking place here at Pebble Beach this weekend so there are plenty of people about. The weather is foggy and cool but I think that makes for great golfing. Or maybe not. My dad said the golfers are having a tough go at the course because the people that oversee the courses have worked really hard at making the course tougher. I don't really know what that means but I think it has something to do with the modifying the courser landscaping-wise.

The biggest news around the neighborhood here at my folks was the spotting of a decent size mountain lion the other morning by their next door neighbor. Apparently the guy walked out onto his back patio and came face to face with the beast. Obviously alarmed and panicked at the same time, our smart neighbor backed up slowly, rounded the corner and then ran back into the house. He then called 911 who told him to call the Department of Fish and Game. They never even bothered to call him back. Well, perhaps when someone or someone's beloved cat, dog or horse is attacked then, perhaps, someone will call back. In the meantime I will be escorting Molly outside for her potty visits, a rme with a broom and a cardboard box with which to make lots of noise, should we be faced with our own encounter. I have to admit I am a little spooked.

I am having lunch with one of my friends today but other than that I plan to just hang with my mom and dad. Tomorrow I will head back to Roseville, land of pretty trees and massive allergy attacks. Oh joy.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Sam's been gone - back to Israel to live - for almost 2 months now. It seems surreal. I miss her a lot, but I've been so used to her being away that it sort of seems normal. Until I think about where she is and how far away that is. I miss her. I can't tell you how great it was to have her stay with me earlier this year, for as long as she did. I cherish that time and keep it close. She's turned into such a great young woman and so responsible, so loving, so amazing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What Can Happen In A Day

Yesterday I was so freaked out about Summer's newly diagnosed condition of CRF. I knew I was going to have learn how to give her daily sub-q fluids via an ICKY needle. Today I had an appointment after work with the vet tech to learn how to do it. Cassandra, one of my co-workers, was so kind - she offered good encouragement and brought me an IV pole to borrow as long as I may need it. God Bless Cassandra!!!

Anyway, I went home and got Summer, put her in her cat carrier and rushed off to the vet for my 4:30 appointment. 45 minutes later, I was a newly indoctrinated giver/administrator of sub-q fluids in my kitty! I took to it like a duck to water. An entire day's worth of angst and fear now completely gone. I CAN do this!!!

And Summie seems to be feeling better already. She came home and ate her dinner, and now she's sitting next to me in bed and swishing her tail around like she owns the place. I am so grateful she feels better. It gives me hope that she can have some continued good quality life for quite a while. Joining a list group on yahoo for people that have cats in CRF has helped me a lot too, there is tons of good advice, lots of info and I don't feel so alone.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pet woes

I am reeling from news from my vet today that Summer, my 16 year-old cat, has CRF. That means chronic renal failure - not a good thing for a kitty, or anyone for that matter.

I adopted Summer from a cat rescue group in 1994, a few months after the devastating Northridge earthquake. Summer was born to a feral mom by Dodger stadium and as such has always been a very shy and skittish kitty. It's only been the past 4 years or so that my kitty girl has calmed down and come out of her shell. After Roxanne's passing last September, Summer has been elevated (a self-proclaimed elevation, I might add) to that of alpha pet in my house.

She sleeps in my bed with me, meows and purrs around my feet when it is feeding time, walks all over my head in bed after I've been away from home a few days, and generally makes me laugh and smile on a daily basis.

I thought that Summer would live a really long time, since she's been so healthy all her life and she's an indoor kitty. Now, at 16, she's still a really senior cat, and I guess I should be grateful, but I was hoping she'd make it to 20+, even though, in cat years, she's like, 80 years old today. One can hope and dream.

I just didn't want this kind of news so soon after losing Rox. Well, it is time to buck up and do what needs to be done. The vet wants me to give Summer daily sub-q IV fluids. Every day until the end. She also says Summer might make it 1-2 years. Part of me hopes so, part of me is thinking right now - OMG - am I going to be able to give my cat daily IV fluids, with a needle and the whole thing? What do I do when I have to go out of town? When do I know that it's not working anymore? Will I be able to make those tough decisions when the time comes?

I have an appointment with the vet tomorrow afternoon. I'm going to be taught how to give the IV fluids.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A New Beginning

Happy 2010!

It's always about a 50/50 chance that I'll be able to stay awake until midnight in order to "ring" in the new year. This time, I made it to 11 PM before calling it quits, turning off the tv after watching 3 episodes of last season's '24' on dvd, rolling over and falling asleep.

I'm not one to go out and party till the cows come home. Never have been, most likely never will be. I had not been feeling 100% anyway, I'd come down with a moderate sore throat earlier in the week, which developed into a minor head cold. I say minor, because Sam made me some awesome matzo ball soup and I am positive that the soup healed me. I felt better the next day - sore throat gone, very little congestion, just a small dry cough lingering about.

New Year's Eve, we made a tofu stir-fry to dinner, opened a bottle of our favorite dining wine - a fume blanc from Grgich Hills, and finished off dinner with a red velvet cupcake from Icing On The Cupcake, a place I discovered a few months ago in nearby Rocklin. OMG is all I have to say about their cupcakes.

I woke up on January 1st, early, the day was gray. A light rain was falling. I stood at the door from my bedroom looking out onto the patio, watching the rain make plip plops and spreading rings in the pool. I thought about where I was exactly 12 months earlier, on 1/1/09. On that date, I was in a deep depression, very unusual for me. I was living at my parents' home in Carmel Valley, I had been laid off from my job of 13 years, my farm in Oregon was up for sale, my daughter was living far away in Israel and, for the first time in her life, we had been apart at Christmas. I had no idea what 2009 would bring for me. No job, little hope, given the state of the economy.

One year later, I stood in my own (rented) home, was 10 months into a wonderful job that I enjoy, my daughter (and her boyfriend) was asleep in the spare bedroom, and my farm had been sold. I reflected on all of this, and knew that my deep and abiding faith in God had supported me during this past year. Even within the depths of despair, depression, whining, moping....I keep my faith and know that things will always work out. And so it does.

Sam is leaving again in a few months. She's returning to Israel to start a life with Ari there. I hope and pray that they will come back and live in the U.S. I cannot deny that is what my wish is. But regardless of where she lives, I want her to be happy and so I hope and I pray for this for her. Happiness. Joy. Love. Peace within.

I am excited now. I can't wait to see how 2010 unfolds. There are new adventures ahead, I feel it!!