Make My Monday

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I thought of the title for this post, when I ran across the clip from Dirty Harry, where Clint Eastwood utters the rather infamous phrase “Go ahead, make my day” and thought this would be an appropriate positive twist. A few posts ago, I mentioned possibly putting some of the amazing and heartwarming videos and images that I’ve run across, up on my blog to share with you.

Please note that I am not advocating for or promoting any group, etc., I just think good thoughts and positive feelings shared amongst us could make this whole planet better for everyone and everything. These images and videos come from many different sources. For example the first one below is a life insurance commercial but you’d never know it. Sometimes things are just too good not to pass around.

Okay, now for a cuteness overload. Not a video but it will make getting through Monday much easier. Promise. Here’s a sample:

Photo Source.

Photo Source. Okay, can you not feel happiness in your heart looking at this?

Keep this image in your mind and life may not be all soft and cuddly, but you’ll tend to feel happier about any so-called problems. Just remember to ask yourself, “in five years will this (problem) really matter?”

And last up…you may need tissues, but in a very good way!

Hope you have an excellent beginning of the week. :)

Heat and Drought

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This year our summer began the second week in May. Finally on May 18, after a week in the 100′s it cooled off…everyone was really beginning to wilt. The produce from Trader Joe’s wasn’t fairing a whole lot better. I opened a newly purchased package of tomatoes at the beginning of the week only to have them collapse at the slightest touch. So much for tomatoes in my salad.

Then we were graced with a period in the 80′s and low 90′s which was delightful…hot but not too bad. June normally arrives with wonderful hazy mornings that don’t clear till at least noon. Hence the nickname, June Gloom. Well, this year June had other plans. :/

So now it’s July 12 and 100F+. Temps have been in the 100′s since June. We’ll occasionally get two or three days of mid-90′s and then it’s back up into the 100′s. Oh, and I finally figured out why my thermometer outside doesn’t agree with the forecast. The weather station that reports our local temps is located on a golf course that sits high up against the foothills. Of course there’s going to be at least a 10 degree difference. Let’s see, the valley flats covered in asphalt vs. a green well-watered course? Yup, an easy 10 degrees or more.

Today, at 5 p.m. the house is only 87F (30.5C) with window air-conditioner running. For the last week it almost hit 90 (32+C) in here…aauugghh. I have become “one” with my little desk fan.

I noticed the next few days have been revised “upwards” out of the high 90′s into the 100′s (so 110+ for us). This is going to be a very long summer. As much as I love LA, I’m seriously tiring of the heat. Summers used to go from mid-July to mid-September, but now, they’ve stretched from mid-May through the beginning of November. No wonder we’re having a killer drought.

Oh, and btw, I think all golf courses should be closed and greens allowed to die in the face of a drought. I mean seriously, what’s more important, food on the table or a small bunch of boozy fat men with bad comb-overs, wandering around after a little white ball? Oh, I forgot to add,…and then retiring to their extremely well air-conditioned club house for more drinks and munchies. Just my opinion, based on experience.

To illustrate the drought:

Photo Source.

Photo Source. Rather dramatic, yes?

Photo Source.

Photo Source. Downright scary, no?

For some even more dramatic and telling images check out this short article with photos from NASA, showing the Central Valley where so much of the nation’s food is grown.

On a totally different note, my car had to go in for service since the “check engine” light came in. Sigh. Turned out the radiator was cracked as was it’s cap. The gas cap that you have to remove to put gas in the car was also cracked, requiring replacement. So there went $700.00. Could have done without that. Still it’s better than a monthly car payment. Luckily my friend S. could take me there and back, sparing me having to rent a car for 3 days. So that was great!

Have you ever noticed how your appetite diminishes in terribly hot weather? When I went to pick up my car from the shop on Wednesday, I noticed my black linen pants were a bit hard to keep up. The keys in my pocket were pulling them down on the right…rather substantially. I’m not complaining, just making an observation. Will have to dig up a pair the next size down.

Going back to my friend S., her Mom who lives in a small house on her property is 89. She still gets around great despite two total knee replacements and a hip replacement. But last week she decided to give up driving. She has a non-repairable torn rotator cuff in her shoulder and the steering on her car is very stiff. So now S. has to take her everywhere…doctors, labs, groceries, bingo, etcetera. Don’t think it’s sunken in just how much of Ms. S’s time this is going to take up.

Well, that’s all the “excitement” from this coast. I know you can barely stand it. :) I’ll leave you with the following bit of information:  did you know that many hospitals in China don’t label the fourth floors of their buildings because the words “four” and “death” are so similar in Chinese?

Born on the 4th of July

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Truth be told, July 4th and Halloween are my least favorite holidays. Used to like them as a kid, but then something changed. No idea what. Thought it was just one of my weirdnesses until yesterday when I was in CVS to pick up some meds. While waiting in line I heard one of the employees express the exact same sentiments. I was totally shocked… a fellow-holiday-hater.

Meanwhile the illegal fireworks here have already started going off. What amazes me is that with the high-drought conditions that any fiery “toys” are allowed. People drive around, light the explosives and toss them out car windows. Just hate it.

Or maybe it’s the people who think it’s funny to strap these incendiary devices to animals. My Dad once found a puppy with half its face blown off by a firecracker someone tied to its neck. Dad immediately left work and brought the poor creature to a vet to euthanize it. I remember catching a glimpse of my Dad later that night, crying to himself. I’ve never gotten over it. All you have to do is Google this and you’ll see all the horrors perpetrated by sick youths that you’d ever want to see. If you want a REALLY horrifying graphic, go here, but you’ll need a very strong stomach and steely heart. I don’t recommend going there, your imagination can do enough.

It’s also possible my feelings could have been cemented when I first moved here and the ratty kids in the house behind me, one lot over got their jollies by tossing plastic bottles with lit firecrackers into neighboring yards (this creates a very explosive device). One was tossed into my yard scaring the shit out of my Siberian. She had never been afraid of anything but never recovered from that evil kid’s act. I could have shoved a cracker down that two legged embodiment of evil’s throat and to be honest, not blinked twice.

Fortunately his crippled father was evicted along with the kid for nonpayment of rent a few months later. (Note:  don’t feel sorry, he was part of a well-known bad news motorcycle gang and was hurt when trying to haze an innocent runner with a pipe while riding with other members in circles around the runner.) And it’s not that I wished them ill but I guess I have karma to thank for keeping an eye open.

Sorry, didn’t mean to go off on a somber little rant. I think it all really came up because of an article I found today about a soldier born on the Fourth of July. First let me give you one, really sobering fact: veterans of the last two wars commit “suicide almost every hour, according to the Department of Defense”. But for some there are miracles like Axel. You can find his and Captain Jason Haag’s story here.

Photo Source:  Today.com

Photo Source: Today.com

Perhaps it’s the contrast of the senseless waste of companion animals to human malevolence and the loss of human beings to their families from the violence of war that is at the center of this post. Maybe it’s the fact that Axel was rescued from a shelter and given a new life. A life that gave life back to another, who like Axel, may not have made it out alive, were it not for him and other dog’s like him/her being on this earth as “throw-aways”. For humanity to step to a higher plain and find a purpose for those who I sometimes believe were put here for a reason, somehow balances a lot out.

To all our service personnel past, present and to come, thank you for all you sacrificed, continue to and will sacrifice. Nothing will ever be forgotten.

P.S. I would be sadly remiss not to send hugs over the Rainbow Bridge to my beloved Corgi, Blue. The poor little guy suffered through four July fourths in a shivering little ball. I loved him and miss him dearly, though this is one day I’m glad he’s across the bridge. May heaven bless all of you and your loved ones be they two, four or more footed. xo

Monday Marvels and Selfies

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According to a number of articles I’ve recently read online, apparently you’re either in the “selfie” camp or not . For those “in” the camp, whose arms fall a bit short of the task at hand (or, at arm) there’s a solution. Get ready for a laugh :)  It’s a bluetooth selfie kit. You’ll find it at ZShoppers for only $49.99. I mean, really? The website is here and there’s a photo below. You know you want it. Lol!Selfie.4

I have to ask again though, seriously?

Videos, Links, Ideas and Whatnot

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Hi and happy Friday to you! As I surf the internet, I often come across inspiring and thoughtful videos that touch my heart and on occassion necessitate the use of facial tissues (aka kleenex). I’ve collected quite a few and thought I’d possibly share them with you on a weekly basis. The thing is, I’d like your opinion and ideas on what to title these featured items…you know, like “Meatless Mondays” or “Friday Favorites” etc.  Some names I’ve come up with are “Friday Film Day” or “Films on Friday”. Or “Thoughtful Thursdays” or “Saturday Storytime”. Do the title have to have the same letters, like SS or FF? Maybe “Out of the Ordinary” or “Extraordinary Ordinary”?

Videos or photo stories would be similar to one I posted a while back:

Or it could just be something really cute like this one from an older post:

It could also be a story of redemption or inspiration like this link. It’s tales like this that move me to tears every time. But why not be moved by kindness, love and joy rather than war and hate? Random acts of faith and sharing and happiness restore my faith in humanity which is spread a bit thin of late with all the politicians and their posturing that’s currently in the news.

Or maybe only do a post once a month but have several videos/stories in it? Would such posts even be of interest to you or am I just blowing in the wind? Seriously, I won’t be hurt if it doesn’t appeal to you. Really! :) I may still publish such links anyway but would like love your feedback. Thank you so much and have a lovely spring or early summer weekend and thank you for stopping by!

BTW, we can just ignore it’s Friday the 13th, okay? Only a few more hours to go here on the West Coast. Never been a big believer in this superstition, but why tempt the fates? ;)

 

 

Budgies

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Okay, I realize that budgies are parakeets, but the name is perfect for one or two little birds that’ve been hanging out on my fence for a over a year now. I finally got some good photos. They have the sweetest little chirp. Must have had two chicks this spring so both parents were occupied feeding the ravenous little puff balls who waited patiently on the fence. That’s probably part of the reason I was able to snap a few shots and not scare them off.

Having a look at me.

Sweet.

I think this is the female. The male is a bit smaller, a little blacker and has a little angled “mohawk” on his head. They’re very small.

Having a look at me.

Oh, I seem to have company.

Didn’t the neighbors workers do a nice job of messing up this side of the fence? The people they employ amaze me, like the tree butcher a while back.

The Tree Butcher - Sept. 2011

The Tree Butcher – Sept. 2011

Viewing me from another spot.

Viewing me from another spot.

Totally ignoring me.

Totally ignoring me.

They have the most amazing flight patterns. They leap off the fence, swiftly swoop down, skimming just above the grass and then pop back on their fence-perch. Don’t know if they spotted and caught a bug or just are having fun swooping. If anyone recognizes what kind of bird they are, I’d love to know. Tried looking for them on line but had zero success. Still, they’re like little cheerful friends. So sweet.

 

 

Shrinking of Products and My Bank Account

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Recently, while changing the roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, I reflected on how much of the bar that goes through the inner core of the roll was showing. It gave me pause, because I’d swear a few years ago I was annoyed at how little space there was to get your fingers in to spring the roll into place. I pondered it for a few seconds then decided I was imagining things.

Shrinking?

Shrinking?

Well, I subscribe to “MoneyTalksNews.com”. It’s a website that has a lot of useful, informative and short articles on saving money and not just with coupons. Today, I checked it out and there was an article entitled “Americans May Be Expanding But Food Is Shrinking“. Guess what? I wasn’t imagining a thing! Manufacturers are cutting back on the amounts of product they put in cartons, bags and cans, etc. And toilet paper was one of them. For example, Charmin’s Ultra Soft rolls are now 3.92 inches wide vs. 4.27!

Hmmm?

Hmmm? Space….

So I wasn’t imagining it! I then measured the store brand I buy and found it to be 4 5/16 inches wide. But it still leaves a lot of finger space. I remember way back when it really was tough to get a full roll off (yes, I’m one of those picky people that cares about whether the tail can be pulled from the top vs. from underneath so I have removed full rolls that someone else put on the holder going the “wrong” way). The article also noted that the rolls now have 164 vs. 176 sheets.

This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed such rip-offs in recent years. I don’t have the examples because I have more important info to retain in my brain, but it does obviously show a very sneaky, underhanded trend by companies to increase profits. You can check on the link above for the whole article and more examples of shrinkage. Manufacturers must think shoppers are really dumb. So much for any loyalty to brands on my part in the future.

On another note, the week before last, my car’s check engine light went on. But my mechanic was booked till last Tuesday. Luckily my friend S. could pick me up after I dropped my car off and take me home. I really didn’t want to rent a car since it would take three days. Well, $700 later…my radiator reservoir had cracked as had it’s cap. So that had to be ordered, changed out and pressure tested overnight.

The day before the appointment, I had the car washed. I’d been shamed into it by the grocery clerk who helped me out to my car last week. She commented “ick” with a disgusted look on her face when lifting the trunk to put groceries in. Of course she’s fairly rude to most customers anyways, but still. Embarrassing. Once all clean, I noticed that the paint had a lot of oxidation which means it’s time to get it detailed. Another expense. Don’t you love how that works?

 

 

Memorial Day 2014

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Hmmm. I seem to have taken another vacation from this blog. Actually I finally figured out why. It’s that period when my parents died 29 days apart. Even if I’m not consciously thinking of the events, they seem to subconsciously sneak up on me and knock my knees out from under me when I’m not expecting it. Tomorrow it’ll be 14 years since my mother died. Time helps but it will never erase the pain. It just is. So with that, on to today’s thoughts and links.

First, Memorial Day. As in the past I’m sharing an image that says everything about this holiday. I found this on Facebook. Tried to track down the source but no luck. This photo breaks my heart. It reminds me how lucky I was to have had my parents as long as I did. My sincere thanks and gratitude to all who have served and will serve. And a special thank you to those left behind. I send you blessings and grace.

Photo Source:  Facebook

Photo Source: Facebook

And now to lighten the mood a wee bit with another, albeit still serious, image:

Photo Source:  Facebook

Photo Source: Facebook (by Gary Varvel)

Yes, the months of April and May put me in a darker, quieter place than normal. Sorry about that, but sometimes life just requires patience and being with the pain till it once again passes into the realm of forgetting. You will recall the following quote by Gabriel Garcia Marquez from this post a while back. It’s so true. “He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.”

While surfing the net today I came upon an article written by a nurse worked in palliative care. She helped people who had returned home to die. In the three to twelve weeks she was with them, she came across five common themes. Here is the link to her thoughtful article. It’s something to think about even early in life though we usually don’t till much later. So in the spirit of living in the now and taking time to appreciate this amazing life, I give you the following video which I think you’ll find remarkable. Who knew such creatures existed?

And now, even more creatures. Perfect if you need to slap a smile on someone’s face.  :) Make sure your sound is on and get ready for some fairly thick British accents and laughter. Enjoy!

On a totally different note, after having two five-day streaks where temps were in the 100′s (40C), we seem to actually be having a Spring. It’s so nice. We’ve even had a few days of “May Grays” where it was overcast all day. Loved it. I hope we continue right into the traditional June Gloom for the whole month of June. The fool individual I was married to, used to hate May and June because of the gray days. He’d complain non-stop about the lack of sunny skies. As far as I’m concerned, anything that holds our hellacious summers at bay, I’m all for. But that’s just me. Oh well.

Hope you had a wonderful holiday with family and friends. You were in my thoughts.

Cool, Hot, Cool

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI seem to have gone on vacation from my little blog here. No? Well, yes. Did you ever hit a point in life where you just shut down? That would have been me for the last few weeks or so. The amount of effort to get showered and dressed to go the the dermatologist’s light box two times per week has worn me thin. Plus I have to get groceries once a week which usually involves two stores. The toll taken on my knee has just become unbearable. I’m mentally and physically exhausted. It’s insane.

Then too, there was my upcoming birthday. You know, as the numbers rise, the fun of b-days sort of diminishes. You start looking at the end of the tunnel you’ve been unwittingly passing through and suddenly realize there’s not all that much more till you reach the end.

Maybe you’ve come across something like this in your life. You’re not alone. For four months I’ve been going through the get up, shower, dry hair, put on make up, do hair, get dressed and get out to the car more than three times a week vs. once. At a certain point, you just hit a wall. Add to that the two weeks of heat of hades that descended upon your life and you might just do what I did. Call the derm and cancel everything for a bit. It’s hard and I know I’m not alone.

Shoot, even bloggers take a break now and then. Something just kicks in and you lack the drive to “keep on truckin’”. So my birthday came and went yesterday. My friend S. surprised me with a greeting card, a little nosegay of roses and sweet peas from her rose garden and a Trader Joe’s gift card from her and my other friend FL. My brother who I didn’t think would remember surprised me with tulips…just gorgeous and a phone call. (Sorry about the messy kitchen countertop for the background of the photos)SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Have I mentioned I LOVE tulips. Even over roses. Funny the person I was married to never got that despite all the hints I dropped. If he gave me the gift of flowers, it was always roses. Okay, nothing to sneeze at but still, I was a major fan of tulips. Maybe because in So Cal, the bulbs just don’t work. Ground never gets cold enough for them.

When we lived in the Midwest, I planted a batch every fall along with daffodils, hyacinth and crocus, just to name just a few. Each spring was more and more stunning and glorious when they all popped up. Sigh.

Anyhow, I apologize for my lengthy absence. But sometimes it just is what it is. That aside, I’ve gone from sitting at my desk wearing sweats and shawls cozied up to my little desktop heater to sitting wearing as little as possible, with a fan directly on me and the window air conditioner running full-tilt 24/7 back to this morning where I’m back in sweats and thinking about pulling the little heater back out. (Sorry about the run-on sentence.) Yes, that extreme. But I’ll gladly take the cold over heat any day. Sorry if spring hasn’t arrived in your neck of the woods.

Oh, and add to that the early explosion of confused plants spitting pollen out like there’s no tomorrow an entire month and a half early. My allergies have been through the roof. In the last two weeks alone, I’ve gone through three boxes of 200 count facial tissues vs. getting three weeks out of one box. Jeesh. We’re now on the second layer of lime green pollen coating everything. And no rain to wash it all down.

I take that back. Yesterday it did sprinkle. Just enough to dot my dusty car. I figure it’ll be over in a week or two and then I can have the car detailed. Why do it when I’ll just blink and it’ll be covered with pollen and shedding sprays that the two trees will deposit.

Still haven’t gotten my container garden up and growing, so I have to plan that in the next two weeks (hopefully). It kills me to pay $2.00 for a little plastic pack of herbs which never get completely used and wither in the fridge. I know this happens to almost everyone. But it still seems such a waste vs. just cutting what you need from a plant. Anyhoo, that’s about it for the moment. Hope you’re well and happy!

Pounding

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One block North of me, a second house on the lot across the alley is going up and it’s a monster. I’m amazed whoever’s doing it received approval for it from the city. Talk about “mansion-ization”. This building fills the back half of the property almost completely. There is enough room to walk around it but that’s it and it’s taller than all the other houses in the area including the one in front of it on the same lot.

Sorry for the blur. Pic taken through 2 window panes.

Sorry for the blur. Pic taken through 2 dirty window panes.

I’ve been listening to the pounding of nails since last August when someone added on to a back house just two doors over from the current pounding. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is more metal in these two structures than wood based on the amount of pounding I’ve had to listen to. The pounders (aka construction workers) start at 7 a.m. and quit at 3 p.m. on most days. So much for any hope of sleeping in.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I guess this means the second “Great Depression” is over. Though if asked, most people would still question that. Just my opinion from what I’ve heard. Thankfully, they don’t work every day of the week. They must have several jobs going at once. But every Monday, without fail, they are over there nailing their hearts out.

The red on the right is the roof of the house in front. You're looking at the 2nd floor.

The red on the right is the roof of the house in front. You’re looking at the 2nd floor.

I’ll have to make a point of driving by the front house because from what I can see, it sure looks like the new construction is practically sitting on the front structure. Guess no backyard for people who wind up in the back house. On top of that, the building is built right up to the alley. Really can’t believe the city permitted this.

On a completely different note, I just made an appointment with the DMV. It seems I’m not going to luck out a third time and get my new license in the mail just by paying the fee. Nope, have to go in. Ugh. They want a new photo, fingerprint and vision test. Grump, grump, grump. Even with an appointment you still wind up waiting. Such a waste of time. On top of that, the DMV closed 11 offices in California for four to five months. They don’t say why but I’m guessing it’s due to budget cuts.

The extremely easy-to-get-to Pasadena branch is one of the shuttered offices so I have to go to the West Covina branch which is an unholy pain to get to. The area it’s located in has all kinds of one-way streets on angles. The street names change for no rhyme or reason. Actually that’s not true. It’s because it’s the juncture of several cities with extremely irregular borders weaving in and out of each other. So it’s very easy to get lost there.

I had to go to UPS over there to drop off a package about ten years ago and it was a nightmare. Plus the 10 freeway cuts right through the area which doesn’t help. I scheduled the appointment for 3:30 in hopes everyone will be focused on getting home for the holiday weekend  and not clogging up the DMV. Please pray for it to be a “good hair day” for me. Hopefully the nasty zit smack dab in the middle of my left cheek will be gone by Friday too, ’cause I’ll be stuck with this photo for ten years.

And now I’ll leave you with a little video. Remember laughter is the best medicine. :)

 

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