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Faded Photographs…….

Family Time, Household DIY, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, The Queen's Castle- DIY, Uncategorized

Out With “The Old?”

There is no doubting that in our lives, time passes, things change, people come and go from our lives.  On my computer, my screensaver is a constantly changing round of all of the photos stored on my computer.  I have never gone in and purged photos from the years past, so, undoubtedly, photos from past relationships show up, my children’s past relationships, sometimes family or friends who are no longer with us, or aren’t any longer a part of my life.  My daughter has expressed shock that a picture of an old boyfriend of hers will pop up on my screen. “Mom, why do you still have THAT on your computer?”  I’m sure there has been the occasional time my man has walked past my computer to see a picture pop up of me with one of my ex’s.

You may wonder why I don’t “purge” those photos from my computer.  Time. Or lack of it may be one reason.  However, even if I had the time to go through dozens of files of photos to take out those from past relationships, I probably wouldn’t do it.

This silly picture is me, my daughters, Alyse and KT. We went up to Long Beach, to see my sister who was visiting from Illinois. This was New Years Eve Day, and who could resist these glasses? (I still have 2 pairs!) It’s one of those memories of a great family day, filled with silliness!

Memories of Days Gone By

Each and every one of those photos are a part of me.  Although a breakup happened, those photos typically represent a small snapshot of time, a time that I was enjoying the day, the person, the event.  To purge those photos would be purging a happy memory.  While a relationship, in “the whole” might not have worked, the day at the beach was a good one.  The family trip may have been a special one.  The wedding we attended was a beautiful day for the couple involved, even if that couple’s relationship- or mine- may not still be intact.

Seeing those pictures from years past often give me a brief spark of memory of what redeeming quality  I did see in that person at the time, and make the “mistake” of the relationship a little less piercing.

And if you know me, you know I’m a bit vain, so seeing myself as I looked a few years back is a fun kick in the pants too!  “Damn, I looked pretty darned good at that family party, I must say!” “What was I thinking wearing that Christmas sweater?”  “Look how young the kids were there!”  “That was such a fun vacation! I remember that we did (this or that) on that trip!”

Traces of Love… And Friends No Longer With Us

If you are old enough, you may remember the song, “Traces of Love”, which had the lines, “faded photographs, covered now with lines and creases, tickets torn in half, memories in bits and pieces…traces of love, long ago, that didn’t work out right….. traces of love with me, tonight.”  Our digital photos no longer fade and crease, but our memories often do.  The constant replaying of those photos helps me to remember those days, those moments and those memories.

I love the feeling of looking at my computer, and chuckling over a particularly silly time, or feeling that little “tug” on my heartstrings when a photo of a friend who is no longer with us pops up.

My lovely friend, Sharon Freed. So gorgeous, so much fun! When we worked together, we would laugh so hard our stomachs would hurt. Gone too fast, and too young. When this picture pops up, although I look like a complete DORK in this picture, seeing my friend makes me smile every time! Yes, it’s bittersweet, but memories of our times together are nothing BUT sweet!

Life’s “Before” and “Afters”

I have photos of the first home I purchased as a single woman, about 5 years ago.  At the time, I had recently come out of a marriage to a financially reckless man who left my finances devastated, my credit score well below 500, and no credit cards to my name.  The ability to purchase this home was totally unexpected- kind of kismet, you might say.  So, as I remodeled this home, doing vast amounts of the work with my own two (manicured) hands,  not only did I build myself a new “home”- I was in the process of building a new life. Reinventing myself, and reinventing this dated mobile home into something I was proud of.  I can remember the nights I worked at that house until 2 or 3 am getting it ready to move into. I loved that home, I shared it with numerous friends, having many events there. The sweat equity I built into that home became  a springboard to purchase my second home as a single woman, the home I currently live in.

This was the “before” of my bedroom at the home I redecorated.

Here is the same bedroom after I worked on the house.

Looking at those photos when they randomly pop up- whether it is one of the “before” photos of a dated, worn out kitchen, or the unpainted 1970’s dingy, dark paneling, or the “after” pictures of the fabulous 1940’s style black, white and crystal bathroom I created, I feel a great sense of accomplishment for having made my way through what could have been a dark time.

Here was the kitchen when I took possession of the house. Yes, all of this junk was left for me!

Here is the after on the same kitchen. I LOVED that kitchen! I did it on a shoestring- pulling out the old cabinets myself, re-using the stove, and getting a refrigerator free from a friend! This picture wasn’t taken ‘staged’- so ignore the stuff on the countertops!  You’ve got to remember, many of these photos were taken for “memory’s sake.” I had no idea I’d have a blog where I was sharing them!

There is no rhyme or reason to the order my photos from my past show up.  Some pictures will have rotated 20 times through my screen, when others don’t seem to appear for months, but whatever is on my screen, there is ALWAYS a memory sparked.  Often a smile.  Sometimes a shake of the head and an eye roll, along with “What the hell was I thinking.”  But no matter what the reaction, I know that what I am seeing is a snapshot of my past. And every one of them add up to having made me the woman I am today. The unique me that I am.  Every one of them is a treasure to me, and to my ever fading memories of my past.  Will I clear out those photos of my ex, my daughter’s ex, even the “friend” who might have turned out NOT to be such a great friend?  Probably not.  Because every one of the memories that pop up before my eyes are there for a reason.

My darling grand daughter Nell and me at Disneyland. We were attending the “Princess Lunch” and you can see she was thrilled! (So was I, obviously, because I was wearing a tiara….. Once the Queen, always the Queen, and don’t you forget it!) Nell is 10 now, and she was only 4 here!

What’s the “Deal” Wayne Brady?

Productions & Concerts, Raves & Rotten Reviews, Royal Ramblings!, Uncategorized, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

Really Wayne Brady?

Really Wayne?  Is this the best you’ve got for those people who have been your fans for years? Where is the funny guy, the friendly guy, the personable guy we all think of when we see Wayne Brady? I just have to ask!

Last weekend, my daughter Alyse, her friend Liza and myself took the hike up to LA to be on Let’s Make a Deal.

Now, if you know me, I’m ALL about putting together costumes!  I have, literally, dozens and dozens of costumes in totes in the top of my closet.  If you can think it up, I probably have a costume for it.

Your’s truly, my daughter Alyse, and her friend Liza. We are pretty damned glamorous, you have to admit! 🙂

We decided to go as the Three Blind Mice.  When I do a costume, I do it up to the last detail. We had mouse tummies, mouse ears, mouse bow-ties, mouse tails, mouse “canes”, sunglasses.  Sayings printed on the back of our costumes, and great 2 sided signs, with oh-so-clever sayings……..  If that doesn’t get you chosen for Let’s Make a Deal, what would, right?

The Wait Begins………

So, if you’ve never been to one of the TV game shows, let me tell you, this is a LONG and drawn out affair!  It starts with the reservation to go up there, then when you get there, you stand in line to prove you are supposed to be in the audience.  You have to show your reservation and your ID.  Then you go through a security check and metal detector…….. after that the wait starts.

Waiting in the line that seemed to take forever. But we kept the “perfect contestant” smiles plastered on our little mouse faces!

You are handed a clipboard, with about 8 pages of small print.  You fill that in and wait. And wait. And wait.  There are various people you connect with to get your ID scanned, paperwork checked out, nametags, numbers, blah, blah, blah…….

We were aware that they are checking you out the whole time to see if you are “fun material” for TV, so we kept the fun-a-coming….. the happy attitudes in check and the cuteness factor just oozing from our bodies for every damned minute…… hour (and seemingly day and week).

The thing that amazed me was the amount of people who come into this process WITH NO COSTUME!  Yep!  You can rent them there.  Now, silly me….. the way I would do this thing would be to look at who really made an effort at a costume, made it fun, made it creative — and they would be at the top of the “people to choose” list.  Evidently, not so, as you will soon see!

Don’t get too excited about this picture. This is just a “fakey” they do in front of a blue screen! Your phone is confiscated AGES before you get to the studio. We were actually sitting behind where my left ear was when we were in the audience.

At the end of the long and tedious line, you are pulled off into a little section at the end of the room with about 20 people, where one of the producers goes around, asks your name, what you do, etc…….. then into the holding tank you go, with all of those who are going to be on the show that day.

You’d think they might give you a clue, such as, “The bus to the studio will be boarding approximately “blah-blah” time, or “15 minutes after the last contestants get through their interview” or “when hell freezes over” or “when you die of old age” or “once Bettie White is no longer the most popular female in the US.”   Uh, no.  No hint.  You are a bit scared to go off to the potty, because it’s out the door, down and around the building, and up on a trailer full of porta’ potties. (Seriously?  They can’t even give you a REAL bathroom here at the Let’s Make a Deal holding pen? Let me tell you, on a day that hovered in the 80’s with more damn humidity than is legal in Cali’- this was not a pleasant experience.)  So, you don’t know if they might call everyone while you are porta’ pottying it, and you might miss the whole damn show!  And, when you are one of the 3 Blind Mice, you miss it, and the rest of the gang is also kinda’ shit outta’ luck for their costume ensemble…..

A little information for the masses would be nice you execs in charge of Let’s Make a Deal.  Just sayin!

Me and Liza. (BTW- might know that out of hundreds of people, I’d get assigned contestant number 69! Just sayin’!)

So, it’s once you are put into the “holding pen” that those who need to can rent a costume.  These aren’t great costumes.  Not by any stretch.  A lot of “Hawaiian Shirt and plastic lei” type of stuff. Santa and Santa’s helper. With “Santa” consisting of the Santa top & hat, no beard, no Santa pants or boots…… Very basic, not-a-real-costume type of costume…

And the wait goes on…..and on….. and on……

We kept up our happy-as-fuck little effervescent attitudes, however, because we KNEW we were being judged each and every moment.  Once 3 separate people gave us our marching orders (all 3 speeches were basically the same, BTW!) We were told that, indeed, we were being watched moment by moment, both now and throughout the show, until the very last moment, and we needed to keep our enthusiasm til the end, act excited if we won a prize, even if we hated it more than our mother-in-law, don’t touch Wayne Brady in any way, unless he gave explicit consent, and don’t chew gum…… we finally were herded into buses to go to the studio.

Upon getting to the studio, we were then herded into a sort of hallway to sit until further notice. Again, a bit of information would be nice.  Information such as how long we might be there, if/when and where we could go to the bathroom, etc.  Of course, the moment my daughter wandered off to the bathroom they started us moving inside, giving the other 2 members of the “blind mice” ensemble a moment of panic.

It might be nice before they DO herd you into the studio to tell you you WON’T be able to get a drink of water, or go to the bathroom for the next 2 hours or more……… HOLY GOD, is that too much to ask?  Heads up here people, do what you have to do, and you have this much time to do it in……… NOPE!

Then the fun, and the disappointment begins.

Once they seat us in the studio, there is yet another speech (#4 for those of you who have stopped counting).  This speech reiterates the same content which was gone over repeatedly before boarding the bus.  I DO fully understand, that some of the people in said audience are not rocket scientist….. but SERIOUSLY?  This isn’t LIVE TV, and if someone really F’s up, they CAN edit it out……

“His Royal Highness” Arrives!

Then “his highness” arrives on the set.  We are all prepared for the moment.  When Wayne Brady enters, the first person he calls up is a gal who isn’t even IN a costume.  SERIOUSLY?  WTF?  She was cute, and did win a motorcycle, so we were all pleased for her.  When it’s time for a commercial break, Wayne strolls out, no interaction in ANY WAY with the audience.  Not a wave, not a smile, not a joke, nothing! We, however, stand up and, as Liza put it, “dance like monkeys” the whole commercial break, because that’s how they told us they choose people for the segments. It was like rinse, and repeat for the rest of the taping of the show.  Almost everyone chosen for the show was- are you ready?…… wearing one of the IDIOTIC RENTAL COSTUMES!

Closeup of Alyse and Liza. Once you are on the show, your contestant number comes off.

There was one costume that was UBER popular in the audience.  This was a hat type device which looked like a milk carton, and your face became the face on the milk carton.  There were at least 7 people in the audience with that clever $5.00 costume.  There were 3 “rainbow unicorns.”  90% of the costumes were easy-peasy purchased costumes We had the only hand held signs in the whole audience.  No notice of that!  We had accessories! We had cuteness!  We had creativity!  All that, on top of our sparkling personalities the whole frickin’ day!  And none of us were called!

There was one gal in our “group” who did get called up front.  We were so happy for her! She was a kind of Sandra Bullock look-alike, and very friendly.  Her costume was a slot machine, and she had personalized it with Wayne Brady phrases on it.  Alyse called it early on that she would get chosen, and we were excited to see her do well.

Wayne Brady……. Not So Much……

But the worst part of the experience? Wayne Brady. Wayne Brady and his lack of interaction with anyone in the audience.  He didn’t actually even ACKNOWLEDGE us in any way shape or form!  Other than 2 funny bits he did while the camera was rolling with guys on stage and in the audience, none of us existed.  We were simple “props”, and not worthwhile human beings.

Like mother, like daughter. Even as blind mice we look similar! Turns out, Wayne Brady is kind of a dirty rat. At least, not a very friendly one, as it turns out!

Wayne, Wayne, Wayne……. I’ve loved you since I saw the first Who’s Line is it Anyway…. but I’ll never feel the same about you.  Bummer! I don’t think a bit of kindness to the people in the audience would have been too much to ask from you. Wayne actually came right in front of us in the audience, to get to the woman they were choosing for “the big deal”.  No eye contact, not a hello, not a hi five…… in fact, I don’t think he knew we were humans he raced in front of.

Wayne, you pompous little ass! You hadn’t been standing in line all day. You hadn’t been in the holding pen for hours. I’m pretty damned sure YOU hadn’t missed lunch.  You weren’t dying of thirst and needing a bathroom.  Would a little hand wave, a few hugs, maybe a little joke or two have killed you? What’s the deal, Wayne?  Did you forget the people who put in in front making the big bucks? Our relationship is officially over now you chump!  I’m embarrassed for you and your lack of simple kindness and compassion to the people who came to see you.  Nice suit, by the way.

Tsk, Tsk, TSA!

My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, Travel and Adventure, Uncategorized, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

If you’ve done much traveling over the past few years, I’m sure you have experienced opening your suitcase to find a white card, about 3 1/2″ x 8 1/2″  to inform you that TSA has done a “safety inspection” of your suitcase.  I have had it happen.  On more than one occasion. (The picture below shows the lovely little form they leave in your suitcase. If you’ve been so lucky to have your bag inspected you will recognize this.)

TSA Safety Inspection…….You may note that nowhere does this say that TSA has been given permission to go on a “search and destroy mission.” Only that they may inspect your items………https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening

I’m the first person to vote for taking necessary precautions to keep our country, airports and aircraft safe.  By all means. I’m sure there is not another American who would want to see a repeat of the awful events of 911.

But the people at TSA obviously have no regard for your items in your suitcase, or how they handle them.

Explain to me this—- does an inspection of your bag result  in your bag looking like it was ransacked by orangutans in the jungle searching for bananas?  Or perhaps an 8 year old frantically searching for his iPad so he can play his favorite video game?  Do you remember the old luggage commercial, where they had an ape throw the suitcase out of the airplane, then stomp on it a number of times to prove its durability?  Evidently, the same apes are still employed at the airport, only they now work for TSA.  Someone told them that the bananas are stored at the bottom of each suitcase, and if they look hard enough, they may find them!

That is the condition my bag has been left on in  more than one occasion.  We just flew up to San Jose, a short 1 hour flight.  My bag was just slightly larger than a carry on size, and I had all my makeup, lotions and potions in it, so of course I checked it.  (Anyone who has traveled with me knows the makeup bag is about 18 pounds alone.  So I’m a bit high maintenance, what can I say?)

When we arrived at our destination, I quickly needed to change for a meeting we were attending.  I opened my bag, to find everything in it jumbled about.  This particular bag is very deep on both sides of the zipper, so there is a zippered panel which separates both sides to keep everything neat. On the bottom side of the bag is an elastic thingy that clips to keep your hanging clothes in place.  The zipped separator was undone, as was the elastic thingy. (In case you are wondering, elastic thingy is the technical term for this apparatus. Just sayin’….)

Believe it or not, this had previously been a neatly packed suitcase. When I opened it, the strapping was undone, the zipper compartment on the other side was undone, and my clothes spilled EVERYwhere when I opened it up. SERIOUSLY TSA? Is this REALLY the way to do things?

I was a little shocked, because I knew this was not how I left things when I packed my bag just a few hours before.  Then it began to hit me………. I’ll bet TSA has had their grubby little hands in my suitcase……… SURE ENOUGH!  There was that telltale white notification.. “Notice of baggage inspection.” While telling that TSA is required by law to inspect all bags, and that some bags are opened and inspected, it’s the second paragraph which is interesting.  The notification states, as follows: During the inspection, your bag and its contents may have been searched for prohibited items.  At the completion of the inspection, the contents were returned to your bag.”

Seriously TSA?

Nowhere in that statement do I see it stating that the contents will be thrown into a giant mixer, tossed around for 15 minutes then thrown back into the bag by gorillas.

The strangest and most disturbing time TSA “hit” my suitcase was a few years ago, when I was……. uh….. single, and going to meet a male friend (OK, a “friend with benefits” if you must).  I opened my suitcase to find it totally in disarray, as described above……. with one exception.  Evidently, Mr. TSA wanted to give his vote on his favorite garments in the suitcase.  In so doing, although he had destroyed the folding and organization of everything in the suitcase, he had layed out, EVER SO CAREFULLY, my red bustier, matching panties, garter,stockings and matching shoes!  COME ON YOU FUCKING PERV!  Really?  You have to riffle through and destroy all of my clothes in the name of “national security” and can’t take a moment to check the suitcase’s contents carefully— YET you have time to lay my lingerie out in a nice little “Flat Stanley” type of ensemble on top of everything, right along with the  card?  Seems to be going a bit far, don’t you think?

It doesn’t end there though. He had even gone so far as to go into my cosmetics bag and get out the lube and condoms. SERIOUSLY?????? They were also laid out with the outfit.

Nice touch TSA!

Nice touch TSA! Not only did he lay out his favorite outfit, but he went so far as to go into my cosmetic bag and take OUT the KY and put it with the outfit! I think he had a hard time deciding between the gold shoes and the red shoes with this outfit, so he gave me the option of deciding!

I even took the time to snap a picture of it, and send it off to TSA.  Never did get a response.  They probably have the photo of my red lingerie ensemble up in the men’s john there, with TSA agents wacking off to it daily!

My advice to you is to be careful what you pack. You just may provide the fodder for some TSA perv to get his jollys at work that day!

PS…….. Don is convinced that my publishing this article will result in me no longer getting the “TSA Pass” when I travel.  I somehow get it every time I go through the airport.  I don’t think enough people really read my shit that TSA is going to put me on the “most wanted” list at the airport.

 

 

Please Flush The Toilet!

Comedy, Mimsy Whimsy, My Humble Opinion, Pet Peeves, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

Excuse me, can you please just flush the damned toilet?

Pet Peeves

Pet Peeves, we all have them.  Sometimes, they are legit.  Sometimes, you are just plain fucking crazy.  MY pet peeves are all reasonable.  Anyone and everyone would agree with them, I’m certain.

Park on Freemont

I love the  humor on the sign in the ladies room at this restaurant (Park on Fremont in Las Vegas)!  So many signs in restrooms are ridiculous and boring…and say the same ol’ shit you’ve read 100 times!  If we don’t know by now we need to wash our hands, I think it’s just plain too damned late!

The one that is my #1 Pet Peeve-leaving the toilet, toilet seat or toilet stall a mess.  Listen bitches, when you walk out of a public restroom, before you leave the stall, look back, and make sure that anything you left in or ON  the toilet is gone once you flush.  It SEEMS like such an easy thing to me.  I do it, and never once have I been worn out from the effort. I actually don’t even remember a time I had to take a nap immediately after due to the stress of such tough work. I make sure the toilet paper has flushed, the pee-pee and pooh-pooh have flushed, ass gaskets have gone down the toilet, and no drips are on the seat.  It’s a pretty simple task, in my estimation……

Bathroom Sign

Seriously, should we have to have a sign to tell people this shit? It seems simple enough to figure out, doesn’t it?

Why, oh why, oh why then is it that about 3 times out of 4, I walk into a stall to find one or more of the above mentioned gross situations,  in or on a toilet???? COME ON LADIES!  I’m willing to bet that at home, these same women don’t have huge wads of toilet paper building up in their toilets!  They’d have a fit if their husband left a single drip of urine on the toilet seat. And yet, it’s OK for me to walk in the stall they just walked out of and deal with their filth!

 

The one that REALLY frost my ass is the person who uses an ass gasket (the little paper thing that is supposed to keep you from getting some sort of life-threatening disease) and leaves it on the toilet when they walk out. The tissue thin paper has now soaked up the water/urine/whatever from the toilet being flushed, so that while THEY have chosen not to touch a dry toilet seat previously, they have left a sopping tissue and urine soaked toilet seat for the next victim using the same stall.………

I wish this was a rare occurance, but unfortunately, it just isn’t! Come on- why do I now have to handle YOUR ass gasket?

What About the Golden Rule?

Who the hell thinks this shit is A-OK?  What about the golden rule?  I really don’t understand the thought process of these women, but there evidently are  a huge shit-load of you out there!  I’ve been known on occasion to call someone out when they have just evacuated and left this sort of mess.  “Excuse me, would you like to finish the flushing and wiping process from the toilet you just walked out of?”  Typically, all I have gotten in response is a rude look, as I decide to use another stall.

And, while we are on this shitty topic- how many people REALLY need a reminder, every damned time we are in a toilet, that all that is supposed to go into the toilet is toilet paper?  I honestly think I’ve seen the request made any number of different ways: cute, pleading, bitchy, formally, silly.  All, however said, basically say the same thing- Don’t put anything that didn’t come out of your body naturally, or was used to wipe the same part down the toilet.  Simple.  Seems simple.  Seems uber simple. Can’t we just be told this once in life, and have the information stick?  Evidently there are a lot of people out there breaking this common sense rule too, or they wouldn’t be reminding us of it every time we shut the stall door.  SERIOUSLY?  Come on people, this isn’t fucking rocket science!

Bathroom signs

Again, this isn’t rocket science. Is there any female who hasn’t figured this one out by the time they are 12 years old- and may really need to USE feminine products?

Singapore Does Things Right!  Big Brother, And Sister, Are Watching!

I don’t know if you are privy to this, but in Singapore, you can place someone under citizens arrest if they don’t flush the toilet and leave the stall properly clean and tidy.  I’d add one more layer to that rule, and make them clean the whole damn bathroom.  With their tongues.  I realize, I’m a tough task-master, but anyone who knows me, knows that I just don’t abide rudeness well.  They would remember if they did THAT shit, I’m sure.

This is the type of Bathroom PSA I appreciate. Ones that remind me what to flush and not flush seem redundant…..Club Fox has it right!

Toilets would be flushed.  Ass gaskets would be flushed down the toilet completely and neatly.  Urine drips and God forbid, blood drops would be wiped up, and the wiping tissue placed neatly where it belonged.

A word of advice, should our bathroom useage cross paths….beware, if I’m in the bathroom, and you leave it gross, and I happen to be the one walking in as you walk out….I’m calling you out in front of everyone, so be ready!

Bathroom performance sign

This is painted on the wall of Peggy Sue’s Diner in Yermo- on the way to Las Vegas. Kind of cute. I love it when bathrooms have clever signs in their bathrooms or on the door to tell whether it is a men’s room or women’s room!

If I had a Hammer…..

Giving Back, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, Uncategorized

The famous “pink safety hat” that Habitat gives out to the women who raise over $500.00 for the Women’s Build Day.  SD Habitat for Humanity

Many of you remember the old song, “If I Had a Hammer.”  After working with Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build for a day, helping to build a home for a local San Diego family, I’d definitely finish the line by saying, “I’d replace it with a nail gun or a power drill!”  Hitting nails in the old fashioned way is just not all that easy, nor all that fun!  There is a VERY good reason why, when you walk past a construction site you hear the clacking of nail guns and the whir of power drills. They are one HUGE leap up in productivity from the old fashioned pounding in of the 8 penny or the 16 penny!

Of course, there is plenty-good reason why they don’t give us once-in-a-lifetime types of volunteers nail guns.  Because society would be full of one eyed previous volunteer type people wandering around!  As it was, it was damned good we were all wearing hard hats at this event!  More than one of us was hit in the head by dropped hammers, pieces of wood and other debris!

I have wanted to help with a Habitat for Humanity build for years.   I never really knew how to go about it, until the opportunity presented itself a few weeks back.  A friend of mine from a networking group I belong to put out the word that she was trying to put together a team of women for a local build day.  I immediately jumped at the chance, even though I was already committed to another volunteer opportunity that evening.  I knew I might be bone tired for my volunteer ushering with some friends, but I wasn’t going to miss this chance.

Part 1 of volunteering for the build is you need to raise a minimum of $300.00. Raising money for these types of volunteer events used to be pretty easy.  Now that there is some sort of MS walk, Breastcancer walk, Brain Cancer walk, Alzheimers event or other needy-cause event nearly every weekend, I find it’s much harder to raise funds.  I volunteer for these events 5-10 times a year, and you can only put your hand out so many times before people just don’t even notice any more.  Therefore, raising the $300.00 in about 5 weeks wasn’t as easy as I had hoped! I knew that if needed I could donate whatever hadn’t been raised.  And my man also offered to put up anything needed, so it wasn’t going to be a deal breaker on participating in the event. The biggest chunk of donations came in over the last couple of days. We only had to kick in about $100.00 total.

Our team at 7 AM, meeting at a Starbucks to caravan down to our build site, in the Logan Heights area of San Diego. Left to Right: Darcy Wolfe, Tonya Dubrish, Lisa O’Hearn, Kim Lombardi,  Patti Phillips, Hadley Wood

The morning of the build, Saturday, May 20 was bright and sunny. Our team met up at a Starbuck’s coffee, located near where most of us lived, so that we could caravan down to Logan Heights, where the build was to take place.  We had 2 cars, because I needed to find a YMCA to shower and change at immediately after our build, to go on to event #2!  All 5 of us grabbed a coffee and piled into 2 cars to get to the build site before 8:30 AM.

The minute we arrived, we were given our tee shirts and those who had raised over $500.00 were given pink hard hats or a pink tool belt- their choice.  I was feeling a little jealous that I had neighter, but, what’s a girl to do?

There were coffee, drinks, croissants and bagels to help ourselves to, until the kickoff announcements took place.  We were all chomping at the bit to get the building started.

The site we worked on will eventually be 11 homes for low income families.  They are attached- 4 or so to a building, and our assigned unit was Unit #1, a handicapped friendly unit. (Not sure how that’s going to work, as all of the bedrooms are upstairs, but this is not my monkey, and not my circus.)

We all grabbed hammers, tool belts, safety glasses and hardhats and were assigned our 2 male “supers” for the day.  And away we went……   One of the first things I noticed was that hammering a nail is just wasn’t as freaking easy as I had thought it would be.  Then I was told, we didn’t have big enough hammers, go outside and find some bigger hammers.  Unfortunately, no one had mentioned that the buckets held 2 sizes of hammers when we chose our tools, and the big ones seemed to be gone.  I was sent to ask Dale, one of the long timers who works on all the local Habitat builds, where to get a larger hammer.  After investigating, Dale let me know that none of the large hammers were still available, and after promising I could be trusted with his own personal, FAVORITE hammer, he entrusted me with it.

Patti & Dale- Habitat for Humanity Build

Here I am with Dale at the Habitat for Humanity Build. He let me use his “big tool” that day, and let me tell you- size DOES matter! Don’t let them kid you!

Let me tell you something.  Size does matter!  Hitting in a nail with Dale’s big tool was 100% easier than it was with the previous hammer.  But now I had to shlep 2 hammers, because I had a pinky swear with Dale that I would not use his hammer to pull out any bent nails.  A girl has to live up to her word, so one hammer to put the nails in, one to take them out.  (Yes, sometimes the nails just seem to have a mind of their own, and decide to give this wet-noodle performance.  they have to go.)

And not to brag, but this lefty found out that she’s ambidexerous when it comes to wielding a hammer!  Yep, I can use the left, the right, or when needed BOTH hands to get the job done.  My abilities just never cease to amaze me!

I got to use a power saw to cut a few of the beams, and we quickly came to realize how damned heavy a 24 foot beam is!  Holy Shit, lift a few of those puppies in place and you know you’ve lifted something.

My first try with a power saw. And dammit, I want one of my very own now!

Our team of women was great. There wasn’t one whinner or wimp amongst them! Everyone worked the whole day, the only complaint was that we wanted a shorter lunch hour, and wished we could have worked a bit longer!  Team “Carlsbad Cares” rocked it, I must say!

Patti & Kim at lunch. We took a bit of razzing from our team, because neither one of us had removed our safety helmets or safety goggles while we were eating! Hey- we are professionals here, people!

It got hotter than hell out there by afternoon, I must say!  I have a newfound appreciation and respect for construction workers now, no way around it!  Geez, when you are up on scaffolding and you are so hot you think for a minute you might faint, it’s not fun!

H4h nails

I took a bit of razing about the fact that my nails matched the hard hats, and tool belts exactly. Only trouble was- I didn’t earn the pretty things! I need to raise more funds next year! The Queen needs to be decked out!

The most surprising part of the day was when we found out that this job site will take Habitat about 2 years to complete!  I had no idea that the jobs take that long. There is a good chance that we might be back here working on the same project for next year’s build! I am going to find out how I can do another day on this building.  I would love to see it when it is closer to being completed, and perhaps do some of the finish work or painting!

On site, along with breakfast and lunch, there are volunteers who give each volunteer a 10 minute chair massage.  Believe me, those were much appreciated by all! I didn’t realize that I had a few sore arm muscles from hammering, until she started to work them out of me!

At each build day there is a playhouse which is constructed and given out to different community places.  The wood is pre-cut, so it is basically assembled and painted.  This is the one that one of the teams put together. It turned out really cute!

The playhouse which was created by one of the teams on our build day. Just darling! It will go to a local playground, school or boys and girls club.

I was UBER impressed, when at the morning kick off they announced the person and team who had raised the most money for the event.  A darling, trim blonde, Kay Grimes had raised over $7200.00 and her team, “The Riveters raised over $17,000 between them.

 

Kay Grimes

Kay Grimes was the top individual fundraiser for our build day! I have to say, I was REALLY jealous of the pink tool box she got as an award! I think that looked like it was “made for a queen”— don’t you?

I was curious as to how this team got together, and how they raised such a phenomenal amount.  Kay shared with me that their team leader, Kelly Mercado, put together a group of friends who all work in the building industry.  Kay said that raising the amount she did had actually been easy.  Here is a quote from her email to me about her fundraising.  “There’s no great secret to my fundraising, actually.  My job puts me in a position the people (1) open my emails, (2) read them, and (3) want to make me happy.  That’s it in a nutshell, so I don’t have any amazing tips, other than always being very appreciative of those who support me.”

The Rivetors Team

The Rivetors! Top fundraising team! Here they are, enjoying a beer at the end of the build day! You go girls! (You’ve gotta love the girl who has tennies matching the t-shirts!

It’s great that Kay and her team both had the support they did. I’m sure a big part of the support was because of relationships Kay and her friends have cultivated in their communities. It is good to hear that our local building industry is so supportive of the Habitat endeavors.  I know that most of the supplies were donated to this site, quite a lot of them by Home Depot and Lowes.  I am looking forward to seeing Kay, The Rivetors and all of the other friends I made this year, again at next year’s event.  I know that I will be there!

So, my friends, please consider donating to the cause next year when I put out the plea for donations for this event.  It’s certainly a worthwhile event.  Not a hand out to a family, but a hand up.  The families that are able to purchase the homes give 250 hours each to the building of a Habitat home. They have some skin in the game, and they are able to achieve the great American Dream- home ownership!

The Stuff America Is Made Of!

My Humble Opinion, Raves & Rotten Reviews, Royal Ramblings!, Travel and Adventure, Uncategorized, You Can't Make This Shit Up!

Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner

Peggy Sue Sign

You have probably seen it many times if you have driven to Vegas! It is a classic out in the middle of no where! It truly is “The Stuff America is Made Of!”

If you’ve driven to Las Vegas from San Diego, you’ve seen this little gem.  I’ve driven past it untold dozens of times, but never stopped in.  In the middle of absolutely NO WHERE, Yermo to be precise, is Peggy Sue’s Diner.  The stuff America is made of.  Or WAS made of at one time.

“Happy Days” Revisited

Peggy Sue, Betty Boop

When you walk through the door, this is what greets you. Well only the Betty Boop part of this picture. Usually I am not actually there to greet people!

When you step through the door it’s like stepping back in history.  Its “Happy Days” revisited.   Back to a day when America was wholesome, when families were intact. A time when mom’s job was to stay at home and take care of the kids, and no one had to worry if some psycho was going to go into their child’s classroom and open fire.  That innocent time in America is where you are transported the moment you step through the door of Peggy Sue’s diner.  50’s music is playing.  The walls are lined, top to bottom with memorabilia from days gone by, old concert and movie posters and photos of every  movie star you can imagine, some from years ago, some more recent.  You could literally spend hours looking at this bit history from the 50’s and 60’s in our great country.

As you enter, you are greeted with a life sized statue of Betty Boop.  When you step into the original part of the restaurant, the diner portion, you’ll see a waitress wearing a turquoise and pink uniform, reminiscent of the old diner waitresses, right down to the bobby socks.  She’ll tell you, in a friendly voice to “follow the yellow brick road” and seat yourself wherever you’d like.  Sure enough, as you look down you’ll see a path of yellow linoleum running right through the middle of the floor.

Bursting With Pies, Fries and Other Treats!

Peggy Sue Pie case

There are two pie cases filled with fresh baked pies. The servers are always running top speed to take care of the customers!

As you pass through the diner portion there are two cases filled with freshly baked pies.  I remember those same style of pie cases from my local childhood restaurants in the Midwest.

Is it hokey?  Sure it is.  But somehow, you can’t help but feel happy.  Once you sit down, you will also find a menu resplendent with food from days gone by.  Burgers, fries  and shakes, of course.  Also, from “back in the day”- Meatloaf, Liver and Onions (bacon and extra $1.29), and chicken fried steak.  On the pink menu (what other color could it POSSIBLY be?) is the story of how Peggy Sue’s came to be.

Elvis, Shelley and Patti

We HAD to pose in front of Elvis! The trip wouldn’t be complete without Elvis! After all, doesn’t Elvis simblify “The Stuff America is Made Of?”

Service With a Smile!

Our waitress, Shelley (sorry you PC people, but back in the day, that’s what they were called, and in Peggy Sue’s you ARE back in the day) looked like she could have been on board at Peggy Sue’s for the past 30 or 40 years, but as it turned out, she is actually pretty new to the place, under two years.  She took care of us the way you’d expect.  Efficiently, friendly and with time for a kind word and conversation, not to mention, she took time for a picture with Elvis and me!

Peggy Sue's bathroom

This is in Peggy Sue’s ladies room! It gave me a bit of a start when I first walked in!

As soon as we were seated, I had to take a trip into the ladies room and met with a brief shock!  I rushed through the door, and did a quick doubletake!  There was a gentleman, standing at a urinal doing his business!  I quickly realized that it was simply a mannequin in front of a painted urinal! Peggy Sue had pulled a fast one on me, and it gave me a chuckle.  Once again, corny, but good ol’ fashioned fun.  Painted next to the sinks was a sign that requested you “remain seated throughout the performance.” Another corny, but wholesome joke.

Our food came, and it proved to be far more than we needed.  Don started out with a chocolate shake,  then moved on to a burger and fries. I ordered something that I seldom see on a menu any more, but do love- Liver and Onions.  Again, something that takes me back to days gone by!  I enjoyed it thoroughly!

You Can Shop Til You Drop!

Peggy Sues Memorabilia Store

Collections of all sorts are found here- Wizard of Oz, Betty Boop, Marily Monroe, Coca-Cola, Elvis……. You name it, you can find it!

Not to be missed is their gift shop, another trip down memory lane.  Coca-cola memorabilia, every  of bottled soda you can imagine, Wizard of Oz collections, tin lunchboxes, Marilyn Monroe knick-knacks, 8×10 photos of old time stars, you name it!  Fun to peruse.  My treasure for the day?  Don got me a wineglass that says “Queen Bee” on it!

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew!

Diner-Sour Park

Diner-Sour Park was an experience! Kids would love it! There was a pond with dozens of turtles in addition to the dinasour sculptures.

Exit the back door of the gift shop and you move on to another chapter in the kitschy “American Tourist” scene known as Peggy Sue’s.  They have their own “Diner-saur Park.”  An area with metal dinosaur and King Kong sculptures, a water fall and a pond with seemingly hundreds of turtles swimming around (two in the process of mating while we were taking our little tour,  I might add!) Hokey, Smarmy……. The stuff that kids never forget when you are on vacation and let them take a few minutes to enjoy.

Dino- Sour Park @ Peggy Sue's

This tall sculpture is part of the park behind Peggy-Sue’s.

Will I stop at Peggy Sue’s again?  You bet your sweet ass I will.  It will probably become a part of my “Vegas drive ritual!”  I’m just sorry that I never discovered it when we took my kids to Vegas the many times we made the drive.  Their dad’s family ran diners, and this would have been a bit of history they would have loved.

Check it out the next time you drive to Vegas.  You’ll be glad you took the time.

 

You Did the Best You Knew How!

Mothering 101, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Serious Shit, Uncategorized
Kids & Patti 1991

My kids and me, 1991 Gotta love my clothing and hair selection!  Every Day is Mother’s Day!

Mom, You Aren’t Perfect

It’s the eve of Mother’s Day.  A holiday that touches every one of us in some way, no matter our religion, our age or our status.  If we aren’t a mother ourselves, every one of us had a mother.  Our mother may or may not be alive. Some mothers did a better job of it than others. We may have a close relationship with our mother, or we may not have a relationship at all with them, but when Mother’s Day rolls around, we are all aware of it, no matter what the situation is.

A few days ago, I saw a facebook post about Mother’s Day which struck me, as it spoke to my “mother’s heart”, and I decided to share it. I have been amazed at how many of my friends shared it, and how many of THEIR friends have continued to share it.  I was also stunned at how many people took the time to comment on the post, and actually thank me for posting.  One “friend of a friend” actually posted that he was amazed at how many people cut and pasted this sentiment, and asked if our society can’t think for themselves, and come up with their own unique sentiments, posts and feelings.  Her response to him was that sometimes, someone else can articulate better than we can, and that this piece speaks our feelings as a mother rather profoundly.

The Best Gift

I’ll share the original post, before I go on with my own thought on Motherhood and Mother’s Day:

“Every year my children ask me the same question. After thinking about it, I decided I’d give them my real answer:

What do I want for Mother’s Day? I want you. I want you to keep coming around, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job and your worries.

I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don’t care. Hearing you laugh is music to me.

I spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how. Now, give me time to sit back and admire my work.

Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don’t mind. In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I want you to spend your money making a better life for yourself, I have the things I need. I want to see you happy and healthy. When you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day, I say “nothing” because you’ve already been giving me my gift all year. I want you.
If you feel the same way, feel free to copy and paste… I did!  ❤️❤️”

If you are a mom, I’m sure you can fully understand the sentiment that was in this post.  We don’t want “things” from our kids. We want THEM, their time, their presence, their love.

Jane Clark, Patti Phillips mom.

My mom, Jane Clark. What a great woman! Gone far too young.  She left us when I was only 22 years old.

A few years ago, when my firstborn was small, I met a woman in a Mommy and Me group who had a beautiful necklace.  On a simple disc was inscribed, “Always remember, you did the best you knew how at the time.”  When I asked her about it, she told me that when her first daughter was born, her mother presented the necklace to her at the hospital.

“This is the best parenting advice I can give you,” her mother said.  “It’s inevitable that throughout your parenting years you’ll look back and wonder if you did the right thing, if you should have done things differently.  This is what you need to always remember.  Don’t be too tough on yourself.  You did the best you knew how at the time.”

I’ve never forgotten that necklace. Never forgotten that sage piece of advice her mother gave her.  By the time I had my son, my firstborn, my mother had been gone  over 6 years.  She wasn’t around to give me her advice, so I adopted that wise woman’s advice to her daughter as my own belief.

50['s party 1994

My son and me at Our 50’s Party 1994.  One of my favorite things other than motherhood, is dressing in costume!

What mom did it perfectly?  Who hasn’t thought of things they could have done better, done differently or not done at all?  They say that with age comes wisdom, and when we look back, we sometimes shake our heads in wonder that we all made it quite as far as we did in life, without the whole damn thing unraveling and coming to a stop.

50's paty

Alyse & me at our 50’s party 1994.  I had fun making our skirts for this party!

But for the most part, unless we are some sort of abusive, drug addicted, psychopathic nut-case, we probably did a pretty darned good job of it. There is not doubt in my mind, we did the best we knew how at the time.

The thing we don’t have control of, so often, is our children. Years ago, I would speak to groups of young moms, and my advice to them was to not take too much credit for how their children turn out, whether they turn out stellar pillars of society, or at the bottom of the societal heap.  Unfortunately, this is the truth in the matter.  I’m sure that if you dissected any number of families, whether you looked at the immediate family of a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a president, a top athlete…….or you looked at the family of Jack the Ripper, a mass murderer or Hitler…….. if any of those people had siblings, some of them turned out average, some of them turned out well, and one sibling was outstanding and became famous.  Whether that “achievement” they were known for is for the good or the bad, those parents raised their children all with the same basic set of rules, the same parenting skills and the same environment.  Therefore, we can’t take too much credit- good or bad, for how they turned out.

I have two of my own “natural” children, and have raised many stepchildren throughout my lifetime (and some of that is another story for another day……).  The relationships I have with my daughter and my son are two very different ones.  I’m not nearly as close to my son as I’d like to be.  Why?  I wish I could say. My daughter and I are very close.  Is it that they were raised differently?  No.  Would I like it to be different?  Yes.  Just as the facebook post says, I’d love to have my kids in my life on a daily basis.

The Choice Becomes Your Children’s

The discussion my man and I repeat over and over about our relationships with our grown children is that we have to do the best we can.  We reach out.  We extend the invitation to join us in our lives, at events, in our home. We extend those invitations with love, sincerity and a desire to spend time with the people we helped create. What those adult children choose to do from THEIR end is their choice.

What I DO know, is that, as the sage piece of advice stated, I did the best I knew how at the time.  My best may have not been the best ever done in the world.  But, it also is far from the worst.  I happen to think I did a pretty damn good job of it a good amount of the time.  That’s all we’ve got to give. Our best.

Meanwhile, I get to spend Mother’s Day with my family this year.  The plan is for all of my “ducklings” to be together for the day, my own two, and my step-daughter who I had the privilege of raising for many of her years.  And that, for me, is the best Mother’s Day present a mom could ask for.

And by the way, if you want to share the Facebook post that inspired this on your page, feel free.  If you want to share this whole darned article on your FB page, I’d be honored.

If you are a mom, Happy Mother’s Day to you.  Thanks for doing the best you knew how.

“Everything, Everything”…Was Not Exactly Everything

My Humble Opinion, Raves & Rotten Reviews, Royal Ramblings!, Uncategorized
Everything, Everything Movie

Everything, Everything, the movie

Review of Everything, Everything

I was invited to an advanced screening of the movie “Everything, Everything”.  Luckily, my man is always game for anything, anything that I seem to come up with, so off we went to make a lovely date night of the whole adventure.

If you’ve seen the previews, you know that this is a new version of “The Boy in the Bubble”– only in this case, it’s a young woman who is forever trapped inside her home.  So, we combine “The Boy in the Bubble” and a bit of Blue Lagoon, and Viola!  Everything, Everything is the end result.

I’d rate this about 3 stars. The young woman in the lead, Amandla Stenberg, is beautiful.  The young male lead, Nick Robinson, couldn’t be more average looking if he tried.  The movie drags a bit, and once Maddy forages out into the world for her first time, the tale gets a bit unrealistic (to put it kindly).

To begin with, if you’ve never been out the door, nor in a car, I don’t think you’d snap the seat belt together without even a moment’s hesitation.  And, perhaps I’m wrong here, but I think that if you’d never been in any sort of moving vehicle for the whole 18 years of your life, you just might get a bit of motion sickness.

Go Jump off a Cliff…

The most far fetched moment was when, on one of her first days “out”, she jumps off a cliff, from about 50 feet in the air, and into the Ocean.  This is moments after a discussion about how she’d never seen the ocean before, nor had learned to swim.  No doubt, Maddy is a VERY brave and talented girl! As she surfaces in the water, she remains perfectly calm, no dog paddling or distress… I wish I could do as well in a similar situation.

For the love of God, tell me also – who rents a car to an 18 year old, not to mention a top of the line 5 star hotel suite?  And how in the world does Maddy, who has never been out of the house get approved for a credit card, and then board a plane? TSA just passes her through with no ID?

There are all the tender, young love moments you would expect in a “coming of age” type of movie.  The first kiss, the first time being together.  The family struggles. The defiant teen, going against mom’s will. There is a lovely chemistry between the two leads.

Another bit of “only in the movies” is the fact that the young man’s family constantly has to move, because his father “can’t seem to ever hold a job”, yet they are living in a neighborhood of upper end, multi million dollar houses.  How come I can’t afford to do that?  Is there some sort of government benefit that I am missing out on?

Every Teen Needs a Cell Phone

Maddy & Olly originally communicate through texts. However, I can’t help but wonder why a teen, who has never left the house, and has no plans to ever do so, even has a cell phone? Wouldn’t it be safer for someone uber sick to have a land line, just in case?  But, when you are a single, widowed mom in a house that would probably cost 10 mil…… what’s another few bucks a month on the “family and friends” Verizon plan?

I won’t spoil the end, but I will say, there is a bit of an unexpected twist as the movie winds down.  Or, maybe it was only unexpected to me.

It’s not the worst movie you’ll ever see.  It’s not going to be the best movie you’ll ever see.  Since it was free, I can honestly say, we got our money’s worth!