Thursday, April 30, 2009

Going Home Again – Manhattan Beach (Jan-Sep) 1964

With our UCB days behind us, Dick's first job out of college was with Mattel Toys. In January 1964 we rented this little house on 16th Place in Manhattan Beach, just three blocks from the beach. We didn't live there but a few months but a lot sure happened there. Within the first month I was pregnant, something we had put off during our struggling college days in Albany. In February, Susan and I were rushed to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning, it seems the landlord failed to reconnect the heater vent after painting the place. But we survived the experience just fine.

However I can't say the same for the kid's two goldfish. I got this great idea that they needed some sunshine on this particular day and placed their bowl on the window sill in the living room. Well, I went out for the day and forgot all about them – if they had been shrimp, dinner would have been ready when I got home. This was probably the first pet loss for Susan and Mark. I'm not sure how I explained the missing fish, maybe that they went out for a swim and never came back.

I can't remember exactly how long we were here, six to eight months I would guess. The job was going well for Dick so we thought it would be the right time to buy a place for our growing family. We found a nice little place just a few blocks away, but that is next week's story.

Life’s a Learning Curve

It's seems there is always something new to be learned in this old world. Don't you love it? One can never get bored really. Now I have discovered that I can write my blog using Word. Just get it the way I like it and then I hit the 'publish' key, sounds simple enough so we shall see. I just installed Word 2007 after using some version of Word for a zillion years. When I first encountered the latest version at my volunteer OPPORTUNITY I almost fainted. After I just passed myself off as some sort of mini-expert in all things computer I found myself staring at a computer screen and not having the faintest idea of where to begin. Well, maybe I knew where to begin but that was about it. But I managed to get the task completed that I was assigned but I sure didn't feel good about it.

I decided I would get up to speed on my home computer so I wouldn't feel like such a fool. Since then I have been taking the on-line course that Microsoft offers and I can honestly tell you that I love the new version so far. And I am enjoying the learning process too. Maybe we 'old folks' should continue to learn something new, then we would have less time to talk about all our aches and pains and all the medication we are taking, just a thought.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100 Days - April 29, 2009 Arnold, MO

Well you don't meet a President of the United States very often let alone get a chance to talk with him. There is no way I can tell you how excited I am. Can't wait to get the official White House photographer photos. Why the heck was the President talking to me you ask? Actually I am still scratching my head on that one, but I can honestly say I am pleased as punch to have been chosen. There were four of us selected to meet with the President prior to giving his 100 Days speech at Fox Senior High School in Arnold, MO. All of were from the volunteer sector, a Peace Corps volunteer, an AmeriCorps volunteer, a Retired Senior Volunteer Organization member and myself, Wings of Hope volunteer. Actually I was picked because I signed up for volunteer work through the group and apparently they liked some feed back that I sent back to the White House on my involvement. All in all it was very exciting, so you never can tell who you might meet if you get out there and volunteer your services. Got to go and pinch myself again.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy 18th Birthday

Happy 18th Birthday, Kendall!!!
The Duck's win, now that's a great way to celebrate a special birthday.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Going Home Again - Albany, California 1961-1964

Married Student's Housing - UCB

Well here we are, my little family of four, all settled in to our cozy 500 square foot, two bedroom, one bath apartment that we shall call home for the next two and a half years. Actually the picture is of some of the newer built units.
Our unit was part of the original U.S. Navy military housing built during World War II, at that time it was called Veterans' Village. Later it housed ship builders and even later became a Federal Housing Project for workers coming into the crowded Bay Area. The University, which was also growing at this time, purchased the Veterans' Village of Albany in 1956 that contained 420 units and it became University Village, or as we all called it Married Student Housing.
I guess the architectural styling could best be called barrack-style. The building were two story, four units up and four units down, all placed neatly in rows with grass and sidewalks between each building.
In one bedroom the two kids slept in a bunk bed, which gave them a small space to play in their room, when they were not outside running and playing with the hundreds of other children that lived in the Village. We had a king size bed which took up much of the ten by ten "master bedroom". But hey, the good thing was once you stepped in to the room you were in bed.
The kitchen/eating and living room were kind of one room really with no wall or door separation. But it all worked. There was space for Dick to study and me to type up his papers. The kids seemed happy and not wanting. We had plenty of room for the frequent bridge games we had with other married students.
And the really great thing was the rent was only $46 a month. After are six months in Oakland paying the high rent this was fantastic. We could actually afford to go to a movie or go bowling occasionally.
The village itself had some nice extras. Just across the street from our place was the Albany Rec Center, kids a bit older than ours could wander over on their own to play basketball or do crafts or just hang out. For me having the Albany Day Care Center located just down the street was an extra benefit. I had a job for awhile and I could leave both of the kids there for about $5 a week, which included a hot meal along of tender care. Before we left the village Susan reached school age and the day care center would see that all the children got to and from school safely.
Many times in our lives we would look back on the Berkeley years and would remember them fondly. These were some of the best years of our life. And until 9/11 those memories would also evoke also one of the saddest times.
I remember dropping Dick off at the campus and returning home to the Village. I was getting ready to do my ironing. When I turned on the television I discovered a very distraught Walter Cronkite trying to tell us what had just happened in Dallas. President Kennedy had just been shot!
But some of the happy memories I keep from our time there is the one of Susan becoming a Brownie, the Albany Easter Parade were Mark and Susan won first prize (a shiny silver dollar each), me arguing about the theory of relativity with a soon-to-be PhD. candidate in Physics .
Hm-mm seems some things never change.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day - Everyday

Some ideas are pretty simple if you just take the time to think about it. This Earth that we inhabit is one made up of finite resources. That's a fairly simple statement, now think about it. What are the ramifications if you don't take care of and use wisely these resources? We don't have to come up with difficult theories on the subject, it's pretty simple -- they eventually will be gone. Just because it won't happen in my lifetime or our grand kids lifetime doesn't mean we should ignore it. Now is the time to act, now is the time to set a good example. All we have to do is to think. Those of us who belong to Gen-A can remember a time when clothes were hung outside on a clothesline to dry. Simple. Those of us who belong to Gen-A can remember a time when it was cool to save newspapers and magazines and keep them all tied and bundled up for the next school or scouting paper drive. Simple. Those of us who belong to Gen-A can remember a nickel deposit on our glass coke bottles that we were more than happy to lug off to the grocery store for our cash refund. Simple. We refilled ink pens instead of tossing out ballpoint pens. We replaced razor blades instead of using disposable razors. Simple things that can make a difference if you just take time to think about it. Enough of nature will change and disappear on its own in time, we shouldn't have to add to the problem unnecessarily. So do me a favor will you? You don't have to join a movement, march in a parade or spend your spare time running around hugging trees. Just take time to think about the simple things in your life that can and will make a difference. And after you have given it some thought, act on it. Simple.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring in California

The beautiful flower photos posted to the left are from my BFF in California taken in her garden. Under the white trellis her Koi children reside. She had that structure built to provide shade for the fish to protect them from sun damage that could lead to cancer. I have known Mollie all my life. She lived just a few blocks from me growing up in California. We went to the same schools from kindergarten all the way through high school. We played sports on the vacant corner lot, we climbed trees, rode our bikes all over town and even tried to build a car once. She was my best friend forever (BFF) even before those letters had been discovered yet. After high school, Mollie went off to Texas (UT) for college. She became a very valuable volleyball coach, but that will be a story for another day. We have seen each other on and off over the years, despite the miles that separate us. Now it has become so easy to keep in touch with emails and pictures sent over the web. We would never have thought of these things back in the 'old days'. I'm glad we have them and I'm especially glad Mollie is my BFF.

Lord Stanley Comes For Tea

My west coast sources tell me that the last time Lord Stanley was in town he really enjoyed himself, especially his day at the beach. I wonder what 2009 will bring, aside from the usually play-off excitement. Don't you just love it? I become an avid hockey fan this time of year, there is no way to describe the intensity at which the game is played. I am literally on the edge of my seat. I root for the Ducks and the Blues, but I will watch any team play now, all the games are exciting. Good thing I don't have a day job, last night's game in San Jose was a late one for this mid-westerner. Yawn! (not the game... lack of sleep.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Going Home Again - Oakland (Jan-Jun ) 1961

In January 1961 we moved to Northern California while Dick attended the University of California at Berkeley. We were on the wait-list for married student housing or The Village as it was called, so we had to find somewhere to live during that six-month waiting period. We found a nice little old house located on Shafter Avenue in Oakland which wasn't too far from the Berkeley campus and all the picketing student "radicals". Exciting times. The rent was $110 a month. Not bad, you say? Well, except for the fact that our total monthly income at that time in our life was $175, so after paying rent we had $65 left over to take care of Momma Bear and Poppa Bear and our two little baby bears. The Co-op grocery store was a life saver for struggling students. For $5 dollars you bought a membership, received good prices on groceries and at the end of the year would get a profit sharing payment based on how well the C0-0p did the past year. What ever happened to those stores? I'll have to check that out.

I wonder if we were perceived as homeless to some? On occasion we would walk around and collect tossed out bottles and return them to the markets to collect the deposit refund. Today maybe we would be seen as being on an ecological mission. The reality of course was that we did have a home, didn't care that much about the environment, but we were broke and just looking for a little coin to buy candy or go to a movie or maybe out to dinner at some hamburger joint.

June is coming soon and we will be making our short move to Albany, CA. I guess I should be thinking about packing up again!!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 15 - Tea Party Day

"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice very earnestly. "I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone, "so I can't take more."
Lewis Carroll (1865) Alice in Wonderland, Chapter 6
I got nasty habits; I take tea at three.
Mick Jagger, "Live with Me"
Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.
Billy Connolly
"Poor Mrs. Benefer," Heather murmured, "Well, a nice cup of tea and she'll be right as rain." "Oh, puh-leeze, Heather. A nice cup of tea, indeed. A nice cup of tea, two Prozac, and sleep for a week, maybe..."
C.C. Benison, Death at Sandringham House

Monday, April 13, 2009

One Day Without Shoes

Get Barefoot for a Day
Today I am going to share with you Blake Mycoskie's story of TOMS shoes. Last year while on vacation I stumbled upon these cute shoes in a little boutique. I loved them and then I read the little tag attached; they would donate one pair to a child for each pair sold. I was hooked on TOMS and not only are they the cutest shoes you have ever seen, they make you feel really, really good when you wear them.
Yes, I will be barefoot on April 16th. Read all about it at and better yet while you are scurrying about barefoot stop by your favorite store or on-line even and buy a pair of TOMS. You will love them and so will the little kids.
Here's Blake's letter:
Hello, my name is Blake Mycoskie.
I am the Chief Shoe Giver at TOMS Shoes and am humbled by the chain of events that has brought you here. I started TOMS three years ago with a simple promise: For every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair to a child in need. One for One.
Two months ago AT&T approached us wanting to feature TOMS in an ad campaign. We could not have been more excited and grateful, but to find out weeks later that the ad would premiere as part of the Masters telecast was truly an honor.
Golf has always held a very special place in my life. At the age of 12, my dad taught me the game, and some of the greatest days of my childhood were spent battling my brother Tyler and my Dad for dollar skins as the sun would set. Being golfers, I don't have to tell you about the smell of freshly cut grass and the sense of possibility standing on that first tee. Celebrating good bounces, accepting bad ones, believing in the club you have chosen and committing to the shot are lessons golf has taught me that transcend all aspects of my life and business. And the greatest part... the 4 hours away from reality we experience after that first tee shot. I have always made it a priority to get away to a place where I can relax and have time to think. For much of my life, golf has provided that opportunity. In 2006, that same quest took me to Argentina where, for the first time, I was introduced to often overlooked inequities that lead to the idea for TOMS Shoes.
It was there where I first met some children so impoverished that they had no shoes to protect their feet. Besides the health implications, I learned that some of these kids were not allowed to go to school without shoes (it’s required for their uniform). Wanting to help but concerned about the sustainability of starting a charity, I decided instead to start a for-profit shoe company that would match every pair of shoes sold with a pair given to a child in need. One for One. Since then, TOMS has given over 140,000 pairs of shoes to children in need around the world. And we plan to give over 300,000 pairs of shoes in 2009.
My hope is this is just the beginning. I envision a future where our One for One model is expanded through partnerships with other great companies and opportunities which allow TOMS to truly create a better tomorrow for our customers and the children we serve. Our commercial debut on the Masters telecast will prove to be a landmark moment for our One for One movement and, without a doubt, a memory everyone at TOMS will cherish forever. Thank you AT&T!
I want to close by dedicating this special weekend to those people with whom I have shared precious memories on the links over the years. To my mentors Carl Westcott and Jack Crosby, two men sharing an incredible love for golf and entrepreneurship. And to my longtime golfing buddies Joseph Robertson, Steven Patak, Jimmy Leach, Art Ryan and Andrew Palmer. To my mother Pam and sister Paige, who come along just enough to remind us it’s only a game. Finally, and most importantly, to my father Mike and brother Tyler, who are the greatest golfing partners a man could ask for. Each ball struck, bet won or lost and 20 foot putt made is a blessing we all share.
Carpe Diem,
Blake Mycoskie
Chief Shoe Giver

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

Easter In Chesterfield


I heard the funniest thing on NPR today. You know that P & G product Olestra which is used in products like potato chips to reduce the fat content? Well it is now being used as an industrial solvent!! I kid you not. No wonder some people experienced BMF (bowel movement frequency) after plowing down a couple of bags of potato chips. It guarantees to keep your gears moving smoothly as well.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Going Home Again - Covina 1959-1961

Ashton Drive, Covina
Well my bags are all unpacked once again and here I am back in Covina. Of course that is not my truck in the driveway, but the home looks pretty much the same as when I lived there. It was my first own home and I was a lucky young girl.
This house had been the model home for the development and came complete with wallpaper in all the bedrooms and those all important window coverings. It was the perfect size with three bedrooms and two baths. I remember that one bedroom was decorated for a little girl, all cute with pink accents. Susan was just two and moving into her big-girl bed when we moved in and she was delighted with such a nice room. Mark had a cheery room for his crib all bathed in nice sunshine shades of yellow.
The living room looked out onto the backyard and the kitchen formed an L-shape into a dining area and an additional smaller sitting area. The washer and dryer were hidden in the kitchen area behind two folding shuttered doors.
The best part was the view. The home was surrounded on two sides by orange groves and from my kitchen window I had a perfect view of Mt. Baldy. Well, I should amend that just slightly to say on smog-less days I had a perfect view.
In checking out Google Earth for a picture of the Ashton Drive home I noticed now that all the orange groves have been replaced with more development and Badillo Avenue, which was the street we were on the corner of, has now been realigned somewhat. But is sure is nice to see the old house still standing and looking so good after all these years.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Do You Remember?

Powder Puff Derby
Do you remember the Powder Puff Derby? Well now it's called the Air Race Classic, still all women pilots who travel to nine states, ten airports and fly over 2700 miles. The race will begin June 23.
I mention all of this because a gal named Marijke Unger will be participating this year for the first time. She has designated the Wings of Hope as the charity that she will be raising money for in her flying effort.

I would love to have you check out her story on her website and then read her blog entry for March 24 where she tells of her impressions of Wings of Hope. You can click on her blog link on her website or go directly to

I just started doing volunteer work for Wings of Hope and I am so excited about this organization and the people I work with. I had my official orientation last Saturday and I wish I could put the speech here on my blog that the president, Doug Clements, gave us. I was so impressed with the organization's mission and how it is run. I have their website listed here on my blog page. Check it out if you haven't yet.

It's Next Year!

A new year, a new season. Don't you love it? Freshly mowed grass, hot dogs, beer... the sounds of the crowd... cheers, boos, ohs and ahs. I love baseball and I'm not exactly sure why I do. It's not fast paced like hockey and it doesn't have as many fights. It doesn't show as much skin as basketball and there aren't any positions called tight ends. But there is something so innately American about baseball. The fans seem more like average people. You've got the bums in the bleachers and the high-rollers in the sky boxes and everybody else in between. Singles, marrieds, families and drunks. Sunshine and rain and on occasion snow. If your a Cub fan you dream and pray and dream and dream and dream. You learn to live with disappointment but every year you show up and you take your seat and say, "This is the year."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Springtime in the Rockies

I just received this photo from my son while he was snowed in in Denver. Isn't it beautiful? Now I am craving a hot chocolate and my Ugh boots.
Can't wait to get the skiing pix. I will share when they arrive.

Going Home Again - Temple City 1958 - 1959

You know you are old when you go back to find maps or photos of where you lived fifty years ago and all the caves have been cemented up or bulldozed to make room for a shopping center. This is the best I can come up with for this historic time in my life.
The property was located off of Temple City Boulevard at the back of the property. It was an unusual site. I think the property was own by the State of California and they ran an agricultural plot there, testing various plants and their growth. The facility was mostly housed in this large domed greenhouse. Included on the this site were three small houses that were rented out. The rental was totally cheap and you almost had to be on first-name terms with the pope to get a place there. We lucked out in that my best girlfriend has just moved in when they received news that her husband was transferred to San Diego. This dove-tailed with our new apartment owner wanting all families with children out asap. So in we moved. I wish I had a picture of this cute little box house. But imagine a square where you would go from room to room via a door in the wall. There were no halls, it was all close and compact. The front door opened into the living room, to the right was an area we curtained off as bedroom for little ones with those folding accordion doors. Straight ahead and across the room from the front door was a door leading to the bedroom, and once in that room a door leading to a small bathroom. There was a door off to the right of the living room that led to the kitchen and dining area. I even had room for a washer and dryer in there. The back door led to a nice grassy yard. My Dad went to Sears and picked a roll of fencing and installed it so I could let Susan play safely in the yard. I was small but it worked. In fact it would be perfect for me today. Truly affordable housing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Electronic Age

I like to read, mostly fiction, and mostly just for entertainment. Much the same reason I watch movies. Every now and again I am required to read something more meaty and it always seems to go at a much slower pace. I blame this on all those required reading books back in my English lit. classes in high school. It did nothing to stir my interest in books. At some point however I did begin to like to read. I'm guessing this came some time after the children were all grown and I could sit down uninterrupted and engross myself in a good book. I remember reading The Godfather and actually reading in the market check out line or at a traffic light. It was a real page turner, which gets me to the point of today's blog. There is this new gadget out the Kindle, an electronic book that appears to be the next greatest thing since sliced bread. Now I haven't ever seen or used one but I won't let that stop me from having an opinion. I don't think I would like it, but I can seen the convenience of its slimline design that is easily tucked in a purse or briefcase. For me the joy of reading a book goes beyond just the words on a page. It is the tactile experience of my fingers poised on the corner of the page in anticipation of the words that lie ahead. It is the feel of paper under the touch of my fingers. There are other intrinsic joys of a good book. Those wonderful leather bound editions the age so wonderfully with time. And ever so often you get a book printed on this paper stock that is thicker than the norm and has like a torn edge quality to it. I love that. I already spend way too much time staring at a computer screen or television, so I am going to pass on the new electronic book concept and just revel in my plain old fashioned real page turning books.