Tag Archives: travel

A Unusual House Guest


It’s been a couple of weeks now, the peace in our home is defining since my long time friend Ruthie and her two doggies left here for destinations north to Salt Lake City, Utah.  You see Ruthie decided after working several jobs for many years, that it was time to retire and put a bucket list together.    She is a baker and a cook of just about anything you can think of.   She arrived at my door as a birthday surprise to me, with an ice chests of baked goods and lots of love.

My friend Ruth has the biggest heart of anyone I know and she is among  my oldest friends.  In time not age!  The lemon bars are to die for.  I say that  because I froze them so they (I) wouldn’t wolf them down.  I now have a freezer full of fresh peaches right off the tree, and as you can imagine,smoothies are in my future.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the rhubarb cake that disappeared before I could share with the rest of my family.   Ruthie has been Aunt Ruthie since my kids were little.

What did Aunt Ruthie bring them?

Uh,  herself!   I haven’t any idea what happened to the fresh-baked rhubarb cake, but if I’m in a good mood, maybe I’ll share a lemon bars with them…..

How about Zip and Snap?

It was a little crazy at first…Daisy, Zip and Snap got along fabulously so we didn’t have problems there, but our home is under 1000 sq. ft. and everywhere we stepped there was a dog. After a couple days the dogs were bored with the whole situation and removed themselves to a quiet corner.  See you can have lots of dogs in a small space, and it works out just fine.

It now seems very quiet and maybe just a tad lonely.  Daisy is still looking all over the house for her furry friends.  We had so much fun and ran around (almost) like we use to, checking out all the thrift stores and having lunch at the most unusual places.  What were we looking for? We didn’t know, just a treasure with promise….  You never know what you’re looking for until you find it!  It was a fabulously fun visit with promise of more get togethers.  Ruthie lives a mere five hours from us, and not an impossibility for another visit.   Being exhausted is part of having fun, and I’m exhausted!  But….

My heart is full!







Vacationing in Lake Tahoe

Our car covered in snow

Our car covered in snow

Lake Tahoe is a beautiful place to visit, and it’s been many years since I’ve been here. That being said, there isn’t enough snow to ski, and it’s much too cold to spend very much time outside.   Now the thought probably crossed your mind that either one of us would break our necks playing on the water or on the slopes!  You’d be right!

Chili & guacamole with chips

Chili & guacamole with chips

Saturday we were caught in a downpour while out walking.  As it turned out, there was a very inviting sports bar named Azul that called to us, and we ended up having lunch there. A bowl of chili, a burrito , some chips, and guacamole put us in the right mood to take a beautiful drive back to our resort. As we headed to our car after lunch, it started to snow…  the pics of our car was taken after we arrived back at our room, and had changed into dry clothes.  I took several pictures of not much of anything just to document snow!  We don’t see snow in Southern California let alone rain, and my first thought was to get  rain barrels and save the water.

Today, Monday just to keep busy we found a TJMaxx to look through, then decided to drive to Carson City, Nevada. As you might imagine, there wasn’t much there….except a CostCo.  There isn’t much here either, wait this trip is for relaxation and creative energy!  Like most people would do, we were looking for a CostCo just to get gas!  Sounds crazy doesn’t it?  Well, it really is except gas was $2.25 there, and that was exciting in itself.   Let’s see, we drove an extra 25 miles over the pass from Tahoe to Carson City to save maybe $5.00. Yep, that’s sounds about right.

Interestingly each time we travel, I notice the need to check out all the stores we have at home. Why do you think that is? My husband thinks it’s to make ourselves feel more comfortable, and more at home. I think it’s to see if they have the same thing or something different..to purchase.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know it will involve driving, hopefully walking, and probably eating. Maybe we’ll discover a familiar store to nose through in hopes of finding something different.

I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween as we slide into the eleventh month, with celebration of Thanks Giving and Gratitude for those in our lives.

Half of the Whole…Part 1



Dad grew up in Michigan, as an only child.   His mother never worked outside the home, and his father was a machinist.  They had a nice home, one that I don’t really remember, but they also had a summer cottage in Nova Scotia, Canada.  This I do remember because ever since I was born we visited every weekend during the summer months, and my parents took many pictures. Throughout the years they would talk about neighbors, and neighborhood dogs at the cottage.   How could I not remember!Unknown

Dad only had one real job in his lifetime….he worked for General Motors.  This was what he always wanted to do, and what he went to school to do.

Mom and Dad married on Friday the 13th, in the month of December.  Dad felt he could not take time off from work, so they spent one weekend  on their honeymoon in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Who would go to Cincinnati  for a honeymoon?  Mom told me later, she wasn’t impressed with a honeymoon in Cincinnati!  I can’t imagine why!  Like most young women, I’m sure Mom had visions of a romantic honeymoon in someplace like Niagara Falls.


In 1947 Dad was transferred from Flint, Michigan to the General Motors Plant in Van Nuys, California.  Our family was still small with only Mom, Dad,  my sister and myself.  I was about three and a half, my sister was about six months old when we moved.   Sure it was an adventure for me, I busied myself by serving pretend coffee and tea on the airplane to all the passengers.  They thought I was so cute, they were partially right.  Little did they know I was a cute princess!

Dad worked long hours, especially in the summer, and fall.  Being a General Motors man, he was busiest when the new models of cars were being produced for release in the fall.  It seemed to never end!

GM Flint, Michigan

GM Flint, Michigan

I remember him telling me that GM wouldn’t promote him to Plant Manager because he didn’t go to a University, only a trade school.  That must have been a tough pill to swallow, because he was very conscientious about his work, and was known for being very fair with the people who worked for him as well.  But he was a perfectionist, and  he expected the people who worked for him to  be as conscientious as he was with their work.   Everything had to be perfect!
I once was told by a peer of his that he was well-respected, because of his work ethics, he always tried to work things out for the betterment of his employees.

Dad being a hard-working GM man, would come home after a long day, and step into whatever was going on at home. Usually we were bickering, or Mother was deep into disciplining one of us. He would hear part of an argument, and immediately one of us was in deep trouble!  There wasn’t necessarily any trouble, it could have been just a discussion, but someones head would roll!  I can only think Dad must have been very tired or stressed over his work.

His fuse was short, and it wouldn’t take much for us to annoy him.
This one time I remember Dad getting really upset about something we did, probably bickering.  He stormed into the bathroom, turned on the bathtub faucet, and proceeded to fill the tub with water.  Before my sister, and I knew what was happening, we were grabbed by the ankles – at the same time – and dangled over the tub of water. This was presumably to scare the bejeebers out of us so we would stop fighting!

OK  –  so it worked, we stopped fighting, and the bejeebers were gone!

My sister and I thought we were goners, and marched like good little indians!  At least for a couple of days!   I don’t think either of us will forget!  Usually the day was pretty quiet, and unless something upset our mother, Dad usually  stayed out of the adventures of child raising.  He also never used those tactics ever again!

Each summer we would take a vacation. Mom and the three of us kids would pack up and take the train to Indiana, or Michigan to see our Grandmother, or Great-Grandmother, and after we’d been there for a few weeks Dad would take three weeks off from work to pick us up.    That was always a fun trip, and we looked forward to it all year!
After we visited with our Grandmother, we would pack up and go visit our Great-Grandmother in Indiana. After we’d been visiting for about three weeks, Dad would fly back to retrieve us, first   checking into GM in Michigan, and picking up a new car. We’d drive back to California, and have a fun family road trip.

The family traveled all over the United States seeing many  wonderful places our beautiful country has contained within its borders.  We’ve been north, south, east, and west, but never south of the border into Mexico, and never into Canada.  Dad was terrified to travel outside our boarders.


We started out camping in a tent, and slowly worked our way up to a tiny trailer.  One time I remember camping  in the woods, and it was snowing.  Now, I was a princess, I didn’t camp, let alone camp in the snow.  But, we were camping in the snow regardless of my status in life.  Apparently neither of my parents paid much attention to my status!


Another time, we went camping in bear country, and my parents warned us not to take food to bed with us, or have any food in our tent.  They even explained to us about the bears, and their passion for eating everyone’s food regardless of where it was or, who was there.

In the middle of the night, I was awakened by something outside our tent, and I was sure it was a bear.  I tried to stay quiet, not wake anyone up, but I just knew we were going to be eaten by a bear.   Soon I had the entire family awake, and searching for the food.  I  was positive there was food  in our tent.  Sure enough, my sister had taken cookies to bed with her so she wouldn’t starve in the middle of the night, and sure enough, there had been a bear outside our tent that night.  We awakened to tracks, and a rip in our tent.  Some kids (my sister) never listen!

By the end of this camping trip, we were all ready to go home, and were finished trying to convince my sister she wasn’t going to starve in the middle of the night!  That was a worthless endeavor!

Shasta Trailer

Shasta Trailer

I think that was the end of our tenting days, and after that Dad had purchased a small trailer to do our camping in.

Chevrolet all the way!

Chevrolet all the way!

Thank you for taking time to read a day in my  life.  Karen

Stay tuned for more later…..

Cruising the Baltic Sea…



This year we were privileged to be able to take two vacations, and they are much different from what I had imagined!  Friends of ours asked us to join them on a cruise to Russia this year, and after much thought, we decided it would be fun and interesting.  My husband didn’t have any desire to travel to the Baltic Sea, and I can’t say I’d given it much thought either, but after looking at the itinerary, we decided it was an adventure of the “Happy Accident” kind!

We flew into Amsterdam, then on to Stockholm Sweden. The cruise left from Stockholm, and for seven days we were fortunate enough to have smooth sailing on the Baltic Sea!  Smooth enough that my husband who never leaves home on vacation without his trusty sea-sick patches, didn’t even use them.

He what?

Les’  not using the sea-sick patches came about because our luggage was lost, and the patches were in the luggage.  I did however see a moment of panic in his eyes when he realized the patches  were in that particular piece of luggage.

After the realization of not having the two bags that we never wanted  to lose set in, we started gathering the most needed of necessities such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and…….sea-sick patches.  Of course since the patches were a prescription, and not easily replaced, we found the sundries department on our ship.  Fortunately, they had wrist bands that put  pressure on specific points on the inside of the wrist.  Once on, they squeeze so tightly that I’m sure it’s convincing that they are working.  The fact is….not only did they work, they worked well!  This I say because my husband,  Les  never once threw up on anyone, or anything.  The real truth is,  the sea was so calm, we couldn’t believe it.  I have never been on a cruise like it before, and probably never will again!  At the end of the cruise, even my husband didn’t bother with the wrist bands.  This is an act of bravery on his part for sure, because in the past all that needs to be mentioned is boat, and I have a green husband.  So to not wear the bands was a huge leap of faith for this man!

Les the Brave

Les the Brave

Pride shot through me as we walked into the dining-room for dinner on that  last night.  Everyone asked why I looked so different?  I wanted to shout it out from the balcony in the dining-room that my husband wasn’t wearing any wrist bands, but I contained myself if only for the sake of our traveling companions.  This was  a huge gift Les had given me, the gift of knowing how brave my partner in crime was on our trip cruising the Baltic sea,  and Russia.

Thank you all for your interest in the ramblings of our adventures.


We Are Now Simply, Daisy’s Mom & Dad!

We Are Now Simply, Daisy’s Mom & Dad!

Previously, I blogged about the beautiful Dichondra lawn we had years ago living in our first home. My husband spent hours trimming, fertilizing, planting, pruning and, anything else the yard required. People would stop me in the grocery store and ask if I was the lady that lived in the “Yellow house on the corner with the beautiful lawn?” I was known some fifty years ago as the “Lady with the fabulous lawn!” Oh goodie, at a time when I’m looking for my own identity, I’m the lady with the lawn!

The other day my husband Les, and I were shopping in Trader Joe’s when a familiar looking lady stopped to ask us, “Aren’t you the parents of Daisy?” “Why yes,” we replied with curious expressions on our faces. “Sheryl” introduced herself as Charlie’s Mom! Charlie is a large Airedale Terrier we often see on our morning walks. Our dogs always greet each other, and act like they would love to just this once, romp and play together.

We rescued Daisy about four months ago from The Barking Lot Rescue in El Cajon. Our list of must haves were lengthy, and they were very patient with us. We had seen a picture of her online, and had previously looked at many other dogs that were either too big, not gentle enough, or didn’t like kids or cats, so we decided to check out just one more dog. Our list included being dog friendly, kid friendly, crate friendly, people friendly, cat friendly, not aggressive, and our list continued. They had many dogs up for adoption, but none were able to check all the boxes, and I was determined not to settle on this!

As we were introduced to our soon to be dog, she was a little ambivalent about us, and we realized how she had not only been abused, but shifted from a shelter to foster home just to get to this point in her life

“Daisy’s friend Charlie”

. We took her on a walk, and she walked perfectly next to my side – good sign! We double checked to make sure she had all the attributes we insisted on, and the girls assured us she was “NOT AGGRESSIVE!” Since she was a Staffordshire Terrier/Pit mix, it was really important she be a good role model, and easy for me to work with! It turns out she is gentile, smart, fun, has a cute personality, and a loving companion. We go to obedience classes every Tuesday, and we have had her camping with us over this summer. Daisy camped like a pro, and I’m pleased to tell you she continues to learn her commands!
So here we are in Trader Joe’s being asked if we were the parents of Daisy. We have officially lost our own identity! Les no longer is known for being PaPa to our Grandchildren, or his Fabulous Trumpet playing, and I’m no longer known as Karen the artist, or Grandma, Peek-A-Boo, or Nama! We are now simply Daisy’s Mom, and Dad!