Thursday, November 11, 2010

Me and Isaac...

Hi, my name is Karen and I admit I watch QVC. Whew! OK - I'm outed now and I feel better for it. GRIN. Mainly it is part of my morning ritual to have it on while I get ready for work. There are other times, too where it is just comforting to have it on in the background while I am crafting, sewing, cooking, etc. I feel like some of these hosts are friends of mine since I've watched them for so many years. Oops, this confession is probably best saved for the therapists couch! Most importantly - I'm not one of those kooky compulsive buyers so it's not a financial problem for me to watch.

One day recently I got a note on Facebook saying Isaac Mizrahi would be doing a show and there was an opportunity to submit a fashion question - Isaac would pick one and answer it on air. Well, don't you know I submitted a question but then forgot to watch the darn show - probably went to work. Ha! He selected my question and then apparently gave his answer from a drawing table on-air, sketching as he explained. A few days later QVC contacted me and told me they would like to send me the drawing he made and signed. Fun, fun, fun!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On Kitchens And Husbands

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen these days. Yes, I do have that full time job taking up the better part of my day but since Hubby and I have committed ourselves to 'the healthy life' I'm in the kitchen lots cooking fresh food. I have to say it's not bad. I like being in the kitchen creating delicious and nutritious things to eat. The current obsession of my Hubs is to demolish, renovate, remodel, redesign, update, etc., our kitchen. I don't have a fancy kitchen and I don't seem to require one since I'm turning out some pretty decent fare despite the lack of chic design or fancy & feature rich new-ish appliances. Having recently downsized to this house a year ago it wasn't in the cards to find a less expensive home with a better kitchen than what I was leaving behind. We ended up finding a great house in an excellent location that had what we thought was a crappy kitchen. That didn't deter us - we bought it anyway - making wise-cracks about the kitchen cabinets resembling those you'd find in an RV saying ... That there is an RV, Clark or I can't believe this is a trailer. Ha ha ha! We felt it was crappy, yet serviceable, and not anything that needed immediate repair. The house had other more urgent repairs / updates needed simply to enable us to move in and those took priority. A diamond in the rough - that's how I like to think of it!

Stay tuned for more on the kitchen and our remodeling plans. Hubby has his creative juices flowing (yes he fixates on things!) and is doing all kinds of research finding very interesting appliances, cabinets, islands and such. I think it's so funny that a guy who spends almost no time in the kitchen cooking is excited about designing and building the new and improved kitchen. I love his energy and drive to collect and organize the data; and I also know he wants me to have a nice kitchen. He loves me and he never stops showing it. How lucky am I?

So enjoy these functional and dated before pictures - I have no time line for the after pictures.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Somewhere in Texas There Is A Blueberry Farm With My Name On It!

Okay - maybe Arkansas. Ha! Don't look so surprised. Yesterday was the mid-term elections here in my home state of California and the results have sunk me low today. I would never wish for my employer to discover this blog because I have devoted far more time to that dream and this post than I have to my real job today. Well, what's a fiscally conservative Cali girl to do in these politically divided times? Back in the day I'd just move on. I'd stew a bit over my morning tea and then get back at it and do my J O B. But now we are expected to do our job amid depressing election results and a SF Giant's World Series victory parade, available to view live on-line - grin. Generally speaking we have the world at our fingertips via the Internet to carry us away from our woes. Yep, chalk this day up as lost somewhere near Mountain Home, AK on a 24 acre berry farm that is, of all things - For Sale.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

15 Things I Learned on a 15 Day Cleanse


And when I say WE I mean the hubby and me. Yesterday we concluded our 15 day cleanse mainly brought to us by Arbonne. No, I don't sell Arbonne but I do think their products are A+. I have some nutritional education behind me and I investigated with a sceptical mind before we embarked. I mean, I was looking for an excuse not to do this - you know how it goes. Ha! So if you don't have time to read further but are interested in getting your system back on track and your eating under control, email me and I'll give you all the details and contact info.

Now what did I learn during this process?

  1. Chocolate is better than vanilla
  2. My hubby is still crazy about me!
  3. The man I married is still my best friend :-)
  4. We adapt to our situation and get creative within those limits
  5. This is a perfect activity for restless or apathetic empty-nester couples
  6. Broccolini, raspberries and vanilla shake mix - yuck! Broccolini, orange and vanilla - Yum!
  7. I'm competitive
  8. We're not cheaters!
  9. I finish things (man, do I love that feeling!)
  10. We like doing things together, we just didn't remember that
  11. You save a lot of money by not eating out
  12. Yes, you can invite people to a delicious dinner while on this cleanse
  13. Yes, you can go to social events and have fun - even without alcohol
  14. Water is life and the solution to pollution is dilution!
  15. Hey, I'm a HOT 40-something grandma married to one HOT grandpa!!
Where do we go from here? Hubby feels so good about the program and got such great results that he is continuing with 2 protein shakes with fiber boost twice a day (breakfast & lunch) for ongoing weight loss goals. I am cautiously returning to chewing all my meals but with a new level of control on quantity and content. I don't want to lose the benefits of the last 15 days. I'll stick with food, not too much, mostly plants (as Michael Pollan says).

What have you got to lose ...might as well jump!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Going to the Ball at Willow Manor

I've got my date for the Willow Manor Cyber Ball and not a moment too soon since the much anticipated Ball is today! I'm so excited that Donald Trump will be in town after all - whew! - that guy is B U S Y and it was touch and go for a time. Yes, of course I had other escorts lined up, but he was my first choice. I find Donald anything but boring, plus any man who looks good in a pink tie alredy has and edge with me. I can't wait to run my fingers through that hair - it is his hair they say!

He's picking me up in his new car - the Mercedes-Benz SLR McClaren. Luxury!!

I'm baring skin shoulders - in the iconic black "cold shoulder dress" by Donna Karan. Darn, but I should have taken a photo of it for you. Both Liza and Hillary have worn a version of this dress in the past. I'm head over heels for it. Donna knows a woman's shoulders never get fat - it's the one place she says - show it off. Ha! My tootsies will be stuffed into the most amazing pick patten leather stilleto's I could find. Of course I expect these will go wonderfully with Donald's tie.
Mr. Trump is pretty excited about the networking opportunity the Ball at Willow Manor offers. He's a work-a-holic and so even when he is being social I'm sure he'll have an eye for a deal. I may be witness to some real property transactions - oh my!
The night is young and if you didn't get an invitation this year please do stop by Willow's Cyber Ball and check it out so you are sure to be on the guest list for next year. The champagne cocktails are simply divine!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First Day of Fall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love Fall! What is it about Fall that draws us home? Certainly there is a change in weather - is it all because of the weather that we settle in to our homes and apartments?

Football is back and on the TV (which means Hockey is soon to follow. Yay! - Go Sharks!) so we call friends to share food and cheer on the teams. Darkness arrives sooner - already even before the time change I noted darkness at 7:30 p.m. now. Time to come in - the streetlights are on.

The vibrant but fleeting flavors of summer fruits, so fragile and short lived, as in peaches and raspberries, give way to comforting farm favorites sturdy to endure storage needs like sweet potatoes, broccoli, potatoes and apples. We dig out our favorite comfort food recipes for pies, cobblers, soups and stews, dips and snack foods and venture to try something new for company. Mother Nature - ahead of her long winter rest - puts on a final show of vibrant colors bursting in yellow, red, orange and finally brown.

When I was a young girl we lived in San Lorenzo. It was a village and not a town or a city. I always liked that - though not all that certain of the distinction. Anyway, it seemed special. The streets of our village were lined with tall sycamore trees (pictured above) and such fun we kids had when the leaves began to fall. We would pile them up and jump into them! We’d kick them up in the air, press them in heavy books to try and save a special one, crunch them up in our hand and feel them shatter under our strength, hide in a pile of them only to pounce and startle a passerby (we were snotty, what can I say?), and we would rake them. Many of us had to rake our own lawns as a regular family chore. Yes - we had chores! Since we were already out there we became inspired to rake others – for a fee. My brother, my friends and me would go door to door offering to rake the neighboring lawns for 50 cents – 1.50 depending on the size and the accepted offer. This was great entrepreneurship and how I loved feeling that money weighing my pocket down. The best part was that you only had to get them to a nice even row in the street and then the street sweeper would come by and suck them up leaving the street like new. I’m not so sure we would have loved this job if we had to bag those jumbo sized leaves!

FYI - A hybrid developed from the American sycamore, called the London planetree, is the urban tree of choice in North America and Europe. When David Bohannon built San Lorenzo Village between 1943 and 1950, he chose the venerable sycamore as a street tree.

Cuddle up with something or someone soft and enjoy this new season. <3 Be blessed.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

That day we will never forget

It's been 9 years and it still hurts. I was getting ready for work at PeopleSoft and usually have the TV on in the bedroom as I get ready. We were all home - it was still very early in CA. As soon as I turned it on they news guys was reporting the shocking news of the accident in New York - a passenger plane had hit a WTC tower - unbelievable! Then quickly and as I was watching a second plane struck the other tower - what? The talk had turned to hijackings and an attack on our nation. A third plane was still out there under the power of more hijackers. I called my boss Neil on the phone - Neil is from NY, born and raised. His daughter is a nurse in Manhattan, son-in-law a firefighter (at least I think that's right). He was curious why I had called him at home before work - so early. My voice was already breaking up as I tried to ask if he had seen the news. He hadn't. We've been attacked, I screeched! Planes...crashed in the WTC, I croaked. What, he asked? I'm sure he thought I was mad or he hadn't heard me correctly. I then told him all I knew and he turned on his TV. My own family gathered together and my husband - from New Jersey - and I tried to explain what we knew to the kids. We agonized about what to do next - do we send them to school? Do we go to work? It's hard to recall the details but I think they stayed home with him and I know I had to go to the office. We had to gather an executive team and they included me to represent Telecommunications. We had to locate all our employees - we had many "road warriors" and some were surely in NY at this time, some in Boston, many on air travel. It was an intense day, a day where we all worked together regardless of position or title. We learned of the heroes of Flight 93 who forced the plane down in a field and gave their own lives to save thousands of others and to not let the terrorists succeed in their mission - not on their watch. How courageous is that (tears still stream when I think of this). We did not loose any employees but a young lady who worked for me lost her dear uncle at the Pentagon - it touched home.
I will never forget this attack on our freedom and I will never understand the hatred that lives within the likes of those that want us gone. They truly do want us gone - imagine that.

This week there was a terrible fire and destruction in the Bay Area as San Bruno exploded with a tragic gas line break. A friend of my son - a lovely girl who visited him in the hospital recently, a girl whose god mother was his nurse several of the days, is missing her family. She is in her early 20's and has an apartment in Sunnyvale - her mother was at work in Sunnyvale when the explosion occurred but her father brother and grandmother were likely at home on Claremont in San Bruno. They have not been found - there has been no word. I pray for this family today and I am reminded that life is precious. We are very blessed and we should not wait for tomorrow to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us. God Bless.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's a God Thing

No, the post title is not a typo. I didn't intend to say - it's a good thing. That's what Martha often says and Lord knows I love Martha. Ha! Today it was a God thing for sure. I have been dealing with some annoying back and neck pain. It's not new; it comes and goes. I've been in some agony for about a week now and the discomfort has been such that I have not been sleeping the past 2 nights. All day today at work I was just hyper aware of my neck and my lower back. I knew I needed to get to the chiropractor after work. So after 2 blah days at work and a general down feeling (poor me) I arrived at Dr. Mora's office expecting nothing more than a distracted Dr. giving me his full 3 - 5 mins. of attention / adjustments and out the door I'd go hoping for the best. The visit went like this:
Dr. Mora: Hi, how are you?
Me: Fine, well, er, my back and neck are killing me.
Dr. Mora: Have you been busy?
Me: Well yeah - Patrick had that surgery - it was big - remember? His whole chest got opened up - huge deal? I went through that with him. Thinking...As if I had the surgery myself - poor me. Don't you feel bad for me? I've been stressed.
Dr. Mora: Let's see! Lay flat on your face...twist, turning of the neck, ah, yes this is a difficult place to adjust...oh you are doing so well that was a great are going to feel so much better! Now lay on your side facing me. Folds my arms this way, my hips forward my knee bent - you know, like a pretzel basically...
Me: Realizing I'd done all the talking and he was so upbeat and cheerful I say - How have you been?
Dr. Mora: Great! Thank you so much for asking! I am just so blessed!
Me: Just before the big squeeze, smash, pressure adjustment I exhale - well that's a great attitude!
Dr. Mora: We all are. You know? So blessed.
Me: Breathing normal again - post adjustment - you are so right Dr. I was just thinking that very thing! 'Doh!
That my friends is a God thing! God knew exactly what I needed today and put me straight on a path to visit Dr. Mora - who, by the way, I have never talked to in such a way before. As we walked back to the lobby he told me he had been to Haiti in July and it had a profound affect on him.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back to School Finale!

It's that time of year again - back to school. This is the last year that back to school will really apply to me - as a Mom. Oh, I'll never forget those "first day of school" photos of the kids in a new outfit, holding a new lunchbox, a new backpack, sporting a new haircut and bright smiling faces taken in front of the house, the classroom, the car, etc. These photos are among my very favorites! What I mean is this year my youngest child of the three will return to college for his Senior year. That's it for me - the grand finale. I remember feeling a loss when he completed high school - the last one through the K - 12 era. Before I could get too sad we were helping him buy all the supplies kids think they need to move away and live in a dorm, packing him up, driving him to college, shipping care packages, responding to emails about laundry questions, cooking questions, banking questions and supplying the credit card to buy all those books each term. I was right back in Mom mode - albeit part time. I liked part time!

This summer has been one of great emotion for our family. The daughter got married and we put on a beautiful wedding celebration for her and her husband and then this youngest son had a very major surgery. He was in the hospital for 6 days. It had a positive outcome and we did know he'd need it this year but still it's a tough thing to take your child - of any age - to the hospital for surgery. He's been with us while recuperating and so unlike last year, when he trouped around Europe and we barely saw him; this year we got attached to him again.

Tomorrow we go to his college town and we will move him into the apartment he will live in for his Senior year. I bought him some new jeans for back to school - ha! I'll see if he can get someone to take his picture on the first day of class and email it to me so I can file it with all the rest I love so much.

Now what's this mid-life momma going to do next? I bought a book and might see if some of my friends in a similar situation might like to do a discussion group around it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

L's wedding - fun, fun!

Don't forget to notice the cute Spiegel gold jacket I blogged about on July 3rd! It worked for me. :-)

How do you pick just a few snap shots to share from such a special day?

On July 24th our only girl was married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony at a local winery. We enjoyed every minute of it. In fact the wedding was a culmination of several days festivities. The groom had many out of town relatives and we had some ourselves. Thursday evening we hosted the groom's mother and her family at our home for a nice outdoor dinner. They were lovely people. After dinner it was the local wine bar for a family & friends "Wedding Jam"! so much talent in this group. We loved it!
Friday brought flower arranging, bouquet making, mani-pedi's with the maids and wedding rehearsal followed by a huge rehearsal dinner that included out of town guests hosted by the grooms parents. If that wasn't enough there were about 40 of us who spontaneously hit the local pub for Karaoke - they love to sing & dance this group.
Finally Saturday was here and the 11 bridesmaids (yes, 11!) started arriving at the house at 10 a.m. to get ready and help the bride get ready. I was so thrilled to get to be a part of all that. The photographer even came to the house as did the hair stylist. Can't wait to see the photographer pictures someday soon.
It all came off without a hitch and everyone said it was a great wedding! We think this couple is really blessed with wonderful family and friends. Life is good!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Vagabond Dreaming

I can't help it; my mind keeps bouncing back to this idea of jumping in a vehicle, specifically a VW Westfalia Vanagon and hitting the open road. I want to break free from the normal day to day grind, the land of grey..cubicles, and see the coundtry, see the world. Hats off to these adventurous folks who took that notion to the extreme .

I'm sure I'll have to start a little closer to home but now I know what is possible. Once you know what is possible you've then got a spark; and it only takes a spark to get a little smolder going, and then, with enough of a breeze, a real blaze can break out.

I haven't posted in a while and that's because life was all about the wedding of my daughter. The wedding was a huge success and took place last Saturday. I'll post more details (yes, with pictures) very soon. Maybe it's this post-wedding lull that has me back in that Westy, truckin' down the highway, looking for adventure. Now to convince big D. Ha!

Monday, July 5, 2010

zucchini season...

It's that time of year again - the zucchini is coming in droves. My friends and I have a subscription to an organic farm delivery service - Farm Fresh To You. We've been trying to push our different zucchini breads off on each other and come up with new and different zucchini recipes. I love going to Tasty Kitchen over at the Pioneer Woman blog.

P.S. This is my first link to another site. Hey - I might be figuring this bloggy stuff out. Ha!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Looking good - for a mom

Well the pieces are coming together with regard to the MOB outfit for L's big day. This Spiegel, deal of the century jacket, arrived yesterday by mail and I could not be more pleased. When you order on-line it is a bit "chancy" especially when considering the fit. You can get the feel for the style all right but the models have nary a bump or curve and you know they are all wearing it in a size 4, right? Ha! I plan to wear this for my entrance to the ceremony atop my royal blue satin fitted shift dress. It has tasteful ruching (sp) and hits at the knee. Let me just say when I tried it on I nearly cried - so hot - so cute...for a mom. Actually I think I better be prepared for L to borrow this down the road - it's that cool.

Well the Mr. and I have the whole long weekend at our feet and no official plans. The family is all busy with other plans and so we'll take it day by day. There's plenty to do around the yard to get ready for out of town guests and entertaining. Today he promises we'll start with a nice long walk before it gets too hot. Now to just get him out of bed. GRIN. I am thinking again about making plans for the 12.5 mile fund-raising hike at Westminster Woods in September. So beautiful - such a great challenge and accomplishment. Can I do the work outs leading up to it? Stay tuned...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cherries at last...the last cherries

Somehow I nearly missed cherry season this year. I guess if you blink - they are gone. :-) I did receive a nice basket of them in my organic food delivery which comes every Friday, so on Sunday morning I decided cherry cobbler for breakfast sounded divine. I give a hat tip to Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks (love her site/blog) for the clean & delicious recipe. Her recipes never disappoint!
On the subject of food - I went to the county fair yesterday to watch the horse races and while there got a chocolate covered frozen banana - rolled in nuts. OM-gosh - yummy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

How fast can an old -er woman pedal...

How big is the dog chasing her? Har har har! I just got back from a solo bike ride - huf, puf - been a long time but it felt (mostly) good. I had a rough day, what can I say. I really did. I have no explanation based on my situation or surroundings. And so I think, I just think, I might finally be feeling the effects of my surgical hysterectomy in my crazy hormones.

Dear God,
Is this menopause? What were you thinking? How are we supposed to survive if we no longer recognize our own personalities or dispositions? OK, I get it...something good will come out of this season in my life. I'll somehow be stronger and wiser on the other side. But today, God, really stunk!
Karen L.

I do thank God for amazing friends, who, here at the end of my week will welcome me - in any disposition - to their friendly Friday Night gathering where everything is all right. :-)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

30 day count down

Yes, I am the MOB (Mother of the Bride). My beautiful daughter will be married on July 24th to a really loving and fun guy. We are very pleased - they seem quite well suited for each other. But, yikes - 30 days. The lists abound. My brain really swims when I try to get a grip on the details between now and then. Thankfully "the girl", as her father affectionately calls her, has a sharp mind for details. Well, I like to think I did too, when I was 25. GRIN. Today we paid the DJ and went again to alterations on the dress - the bustle has been a challenge but I think we have it licked now and we'll pick up the dress Saturday.
A bocce ball outing with my work was a fun diversion from my normal 8 - 5 grind today. Isn't it odd that I have worked at this place for more than 3 years and I could not name half the people there - not by looking at them. Technology has really isolated co-workers which is so odd because I work in Information Technology and one of our main strategies is driving collaboration through new technologies. We design and deploy the stuff that actually allows people to be so productive they no longer have to leave their cubicle, office, home office, Starbucks, hotel room, etc., to work on the same team, project, solution, etc. FANTASTIC! 'Doh!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I start things...

Here we first blog post ever. :-) One wonders if I am the last person to begin a blog. I have all these thoughts and ideas that come and go. Why is it when I was younger the vivid engrossment's of the day were much easier to identify? They had staying power. Now firmly entrenched in my middle years I find I'm chasing them down at the end of the day. What kept me fully and gladly occupied? Did I really "think" about anything or just float on the surface? Here, in this space I plan to sort it all out for myself - if others care to follow along - if anyone can learn anything from me or be entertained by my words, so be it. Ha!