Friday, August 31, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, ordinary, moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I arrived home shortly after noon today.  As hard as it was for me to leave Erika, it is really good to be home.  My  dogs-girls were happy to see me; I think Glenn was, too!  (smile)

I have a few nice photos to share later in the week.  Right now, I'm tired -- I've been up since 4:00 am Eastern time...I think I'll be heading for bed before the sky is fully dark tonight!

But, I just had to share something. 

You may remember that the main reason for this trip was for me to attend The Kennedy's Center's LEAD conference in Boston.  It was a great conference -- as it always is -- and my colleague and I were re-inspired and we'll be bringing some new ideas to our workplace.  The conference made me more aware of my surroundings on each of my six trips to/and from an airplane gate this last week and I found myself thinking how much more difficult my traveling would be if I had a disability (beyond the self-imposed one of being a bit out of shape!) 

What if I couldn't hear the gate change announcements, or couldn't see the monitors or had to maneuver a wheelchair through throngs of people and wait for elevators because I couldn't use moving sidewalks or escalators?  What if the noise and commotion in the airport was more than I could mentally process easily and quickly and it either paralyzed me or made me inconsolably frantic? 

None of those things are the end of the world.  Many, many people live very rich and wonderful lives in spite of difficulties like that -- but it isn't easy and often, it's quite difficult.  Traveling certainly isn't as easy for people with disabilities as it was for me this week.

We, as a country, are (finally) getting better at making public places throughout the United States more accessible. Something for which we shouldn't be overly proud given that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted more than 20 years ago!  But, still, any progress is good progress.

I saw signs of that progress today when a woman who is deaf boarded my Delta Airlines flight with her hearing service dog. 

Wanna guess what kind of dog it was? 

Did you guess "A tri-colored Cardigan Welsh Corgi who was born in Arkansas and looks a lot like Pumpkin"?  Well if you didn't, you should have!  Because look:

Isn't she a cutie? Her name is either Hershey or Snickers and she is carrying on now that her 13 year-old predecessor (another tri-colored Cardi, named either Hershey or Snickers!) has retired to a life of leisure.   The dogs helps her owner by doing things such as alerting her when the doorbell or phone rings, when the smoke detector goes off and when someone speaks to the owner so she knows to turn to the person so lip-reading can augment the help she gets from a hearing aid.  I only had a few moments to talk with the owner and I learned that the younger dog (pictured above) came from a small town in Arkansas, but she couldn't remember the name of the breeder.  Now wouldn't that be the strangest thing if it turned out that the hearing service dog is a Coedwig and a relative of one of my girls?  Leda, if you're reading this, let us know if you think this slightly-more-than-a-year-old girl could be one of yours!

So, progress is being made -- service dogs such as this little Cardi are now readily accepted by (most) public accommodations, theaters are captioning movies and live shows, pools are being outfitted with lifts so that people who use wheelchairs can enjoy them just like everyone else and architects and builders are incorporating prinicples of universal design when designing and creating public spaces.  There is still a lot to be done, but progress is being made.  I feel so fortunate to have played a very small part in that progress.   

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Last day

Today is the last day of my visit with Erika. I can't lie--I'm looking forward to getting home to Glenn, my dog-girls and my house, but it's always so hard leaving my human girl knowing that it could be months before I see her again.  On the last day before I leave her, I always think of Laura Ingalls' grandparents and the parents and grandparents of all the pioneers and explorers who expanded and built this country of ours.  When they said goodbye to their precious children and grandchildren, it was usually with the almost certain knowledge they would never see them again.  How did they stand it?  I know I can see Erika again as soon as my work schedule allows and as soon as Christian's reserve for tolerating his mother-in-law builds back up!  That's not as good as knowing I'll see her for Sunday dinner would be, but it is far, far better than what Ma and Pa Ingalls' parents knew on their last day together. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday morning was wonderful

This morning, my human girl and my grandchildren-dogs started my day off right by piling into my bed where we spent a lovely time conversing about all sorts of things.

Bailey started Bonnie's day off right by cleaning her ears!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I really like both of my grandchildren-dogs. But, there is something about my granddaughter dog!  I just love this Bonnie-girl!


Now, when you read that title, what did you think I would be talking about? Be honest! I'll bet vintage laboratory, "Ajusto Equipment" stools was not the first thing that came to mind.

I arrived here in Virginia early yesterday afternoon, after a wonderful LEAD conference in Boston.

Erika and Christian were proud (justifiably so!) to show off the wonderful kitchen island project they just finished.  They were in need of some stools to cozy up to the counter so after a quick lunch, we drove out toThe Copper Fox antique shop in Sperryville, VA (where I think I would love to live).

You'll see what they found below, along with a couple of shots of my grandchildren dogs -- whose stools are, as far as I know, just fine.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


If you've been reading this here blog for very long you know I love weather -- because we never have "weather" in the San Diego area. 70 degrees with blue skies year-round is not weather. (I'm only exaggerating a little.)

I spent the first five of my 59 years in Michigan or on the East Coast and I truly believe I was imprinted with a love of weather (and trees) that has been frustrated by the last 54 years in San Diego!

I'm in Boston for a conference and haven't had much time for sightseeing. But I've seen more weather (in the form of beautiful clouds) in slightly less than 48 hours than I would see at home in slightly less than 48 days!

Here are just a few photos I've managed to take (from my balcony.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Retirement income

I think I've mentioned that I am planning to retire on July 3 next year after 40+ years at the same organization.  While I have every reason to believe Glenn and I will be just fine with my retirement income, because I am retiring young and healthy (I think; Please God!) I do have second thoughts now and then that maybe I should just keep working and earning income.

But, yesterday I realized I had an untapped source of income.

I think the TSA might be interested in leasing Darby and Pumpkin.

Of course, I would have to teach them not to leave nose and slobber marks on the contents of the suitcases they inspect, like one of them did on that little black case.

And I'd have to teach them to be careful about burrowing in up to their ears in case there were sharp objects in the suitcases. 

But, aside from a few small issues I'd need to iron out, I think I just might have a good plan for picking up a little retirement income.  Don't you agree?

I'm off this morning for a wonderful conference in Boston.  The Kennedy Center has been hosting LEAD -- Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disabilities for more than ten years now.  One of my colleagues and/or I have been attending for seven of those years.  A couple of years, I took part in presentations and in 2010 we co-hosted the conference at the San Diego Zoo!  It was a lot of work but a lot of fun, too.  This year, I get to attend and have no responsibilities at all!  Well, of course, I need to bring back information that we can use to make the Zoo and Safari Park as accessible as possible to people who have disabilities, but that's all I need to do -- soak up information.  That will be easy to do at this fun and informative conference.

After the conference, I'll fly down to visit Erika, Christian, Bonnie and Bailey in Virginia and will be home next Wednesday.

Glenn will be holding down the fort and taking care of the girls while I'm gone.  I asked him if he'd like to do a few guest posts and he said, "No."   There are usually a several dogs at this conference, but they aren't Corgis and they are working service dogs and it isn't always appropriate to take their photos, so I'll be posting when I have something interesting to show or tell -- which is SURE to be the case when I get to Virginia.

"Oh, One Who Feeds Us!  Say it isn't so!  You aren't leaving us again, are you?"

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wrong kind, but I don't care!

I don't know HOW I forgot another one of the fun parts of this past weekend.

My niece brought souvenirs from the weeks she and her family spent in Paris and London while her husband taught classes there.

In addition to this really pretty tea towel, I also received a tote bag with a similar logo commemorating the Queen's Jubilee! (The Corgi is the "wrong" kind, but I like the towel and tote bag just the same!)

Glenn received some yummy Cadbury Eclair candies that taste so much better (in my opinion) for containing real sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup and he is even sharing with me!  I'll let him use the tea towel if he asks nicely, but he'd better keep his mitts off my tote bag!!

Weekend -- nearly no Corgi Content

I love weekends. Especially when a weekend means a visit from family that have been too far away for awhile.  My niece and her family recently moved back to Phoenix after living on the east coast for a year, and they drove over for a quick visit with us this past weekend.

While they were on their way, Liz and I sent photos of the summer thunderheads from our respective sides of the mountains between San Diego from Phoenix.

From my side (taken while safely stopped at a signal) :

From her side outside Yuma (taken while safely riding shotgun): 

When they arrived at our house we all headed out for frozen yogurt and the kids got to take turns riding to and from  Menchies with Glenn in his cute little, totally re-modeled by him, Porsche (with the top off, of course!)

Saturday morning after breakfast out, the guys headed to the Lego store and the girls to Jared's Real Food for some watermelon and green beans.  And guess what we did with the beans?  We made Dilly Beans using the recipe from the Food in Jars cookbook.  This little missy trimmed the ends off two pounds of green beans all by herself!

And, then she took the scraps out to the compost bin and announced to her mom that she wished they would get a compost bin!  (She learned all about composting at school a couple of years ago.)

Her mom and I sterilized jars, made brine, packed the jars with beans, boiling water processed them then stood back and looked at our work!  While we didn't discuss it, I was thinking how hard life must have been for a  pioneer woman (not this Pioneer Woman!)  While we were working, the dogs, my sister and the men were watching TV and some of them were snoring!

Later, when it had cooled off a bit, my nephew helped Glenn with grilling dinner. 

Then a water-balloon fight followed by root-beer floats and a viewing of "Tangled" brought the evening to a close.

My niece and her family had to head back to Phoenix Sunday morning and we miss them already!  The dogs were in Seventh Heaven with all the attention and I know for the next few mornings, they'll be checking the guest bedrooms doors each morning to smell if there are small people on the other side of the doors! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, ordinary, moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

One Word Wednesday


P.S. Upon further reflection, other good words would be "wrinkles" and "jowls."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our Turn

So, for many weeks now the news has been filled with stories of the terrible heat that has afflicted just about every place in the United States except the very far left edge.   We here in that very narrow strip of coast from Canada down to the Mexican border have had a lovely summer.   Well, maybe people in places like San Francisco, Portland Oregon and Seattle might take exception to me calling the fairly chilly weather they've had at times this summer "lovely" but it's true that it hasn't been HOT.

So, we've had a lovely summer -- until last week, that is!  And now some of us -- particularly those of us from Los Angeles south -- are experiencing a little of what most of the rest of the US has been living through for weeks and weeks.  It's HOT.  And it's MUGGY.   Well, maybe people in places like Washington, D.C.,  Orlando and Charleston might take exception to me calling 35-40% humidity "muggy," but that's muggy for us out here where more typical humidity is in the teens and 20's and sometimes even as low as single digits!

Even if I didn't go outside and feel the heat first hand, I'd have lots of signals to tell me the weather has turned hot.  And here are a few of them:
Heat clouds. Driving east on I-8.  
The same cloud a few minutes later from my backyard.
These clouds form over the mountains east of San Diego most days in late summer.  Sometimes they bring torrential rain that results in flash floods and sometimes they bring lightening with no rain -- and that can mean fire, something we here in Southern California fear.
On both Saturday and Sunday, more than 500 lightening strikes were recorded in our county.  At least one fire was started and it is now under control. 
The Iceberg roses in my front yard don't melt in the heat -- they love it!
Dogs with jet black coats are good at finding whatever shade they can -- in this case, my shadow!
Cilantro bolting before we really got to enjoy it.
Green peppers turning red, seemingly overnight.  I've made three batches of green chili stew with the green version of these peppers.  I'm looking forward to tasting them now that they've ripened further.
As if rolls and puffs of dog hair weren't enough, the heat brings drool drips from panting dogs just in from the heat.
I realize that we have nothing to complain about with our relatively mild summer heat, especially because it isn't accompanied by damaging rain, a derecho and days or weeks without power (and its blessed gift of air-conditioning and cold drinks.)  But, for us this weather is HOT and after a week of it, I'm ready for our turn in the summer oven to be over! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Well, maybe not the coldest winter... (no corgi content)

Have you ever heard the saying "The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco"?  It is widely attributed to Mark Twain, but according to Snopes, he never said it or wrote it.  Whomever did say it, had good reason for doing so!   San Francisco in July and August is often very foggy and very, very, chilly.  That was true 30 years ago this month when Glenn and I were there on our honeymoon and, it was true this past weekend, when I made a quick trip to The City with my dear friend Betsy for a wedding shower for her soon-to-be-daughter-in-law.

We flew up from San Diego on Friday night and after a leisurely Bart trip from the airport, headed for the famous Fisherman's Wharf restaurant Scomas.  Not the trendiest restaurant, of course, but a real nice, San Fransisco tradition.

I guess bibs are a tradition, too -- at least when one orders crab in the shell.

 (I hope the poor guy didn't notice me taking his photo!)

Earlier in the evening, when we landed in SFO, the sun was shining and it was comfortably cool.  But, by the time we finished dinner,  I found myself wishing I had packed something more substantial than a lightweight cotton, 3/4-sleeve sweater! Even though I knew better, I hadn't come prepared for the winter August in San Francisco can often be!  Betsy was a little better prepared with a jeans jacket she threw into her bag at the last minute, but we both were happy for the warm-up that came from a couple of these: 

Irish Coffee at The Buena Vista where the drink was born! (Bless their hearts, some of the waitstaff looked like they might have been on the job back in 1952!)

The next morning, before it was time to head to the bridal shower, we shivered our way around the Fisherman's Wharf area for breakfast and a little sight-seeing.  

Then we took a quick street car ride out to the market at the Ferry Building.

We saw so many wonderful foodstuffs that Betsy suggested we should buy a small cooler and load it up!   We talked ourselves out of that idea and instead left the market with a couple of small, non-edible souvenirs.

Before we knew it, it was time to head for the St. Francis Yacht Club for the shower.  Several times that afternoon I wished I had felt comfortable pulling out my cell phone to take photos -- not of the bride-to-be, although she was lovely, and not of the many wonderful gifts she received but, rather of the view just beyond the yacht club windows: the Golden Gate bridge peeking in and out of the fog, pelicans diving for their lunch (and, just like Olympic divers, making very little splash!) the sun glinting off the water, and lots of sailboats and parasailers.

Later that evening, we retrieved our bags from the hotel and after a harrowing ride through (UP and DOWN) the streets of San Fransisco in the back seat of a Towne Car, arrived at the airport and a flight that was delayed by a little more than an hour -- the only glitch in an otherwise fun little get away. 

Yesterday morning, when I stepped outside into a sultry (for San Diego) 75-degree morning, I found myself thinking wistfully of the lovely winter-in-August chill of the previous morning!

Next time I visit San Francisco, no matter what the calendar says, I'll be going prepared for winter!