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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Never Said I Was A Poet

Back when I was young and frilly, I wrote down poems some thought were silly,
But persist I did and to some degree, my friends learned more about the real me.
Now we're heading to another year, so I've decided to put aside my fears 
To write in rhyme when the feeling hits, and find pictures that might even fit.
I'm glad to see this year end, with promises of one to commend;
2012 was just all right, though I reached some goals-- looking in hindsight.

I did my art almost everyday--knit and weave and with beads did play;
Two open studios this year for us, though chairing twice was too much fuss.
New CoCA goals this year we'll set, and some new members I know we'll get
More shows we'll do to strut our stuff till everyone feels they've sold enough.

Some things came to an end this year, like my tenants left and my condo's clear. 
That's not good news-- meant much to be done, I worked on it without much fun. 
New frig, new paint, new light,  new stove....but no new tenant has come to Cove.

Instead of stress and worry and squeal, I went out and bought new wheels.
I've joined the hybrids on the road, the color's sea glass I am told.

The Prius isn't too unique, but individuality (this time) I did not seek.
Driving now is such a joy--I like having my new toy.  
Good thing for me since husband dear unable to drive at the end of the year.
An ankle sprained, a fracture as well, if he needs surgery, I'll know I'm in hell.
Not just driving will I have to do, but me in the kitchen will just never do.
The good news is, we just might lose a pound or two.

We did less travel than in the past, three weeks in Malaysia we did last.
Hotter than hell, but lots to see, next time a trip that's easier on me.
Maybe to Paris and more of France, good food, and wine, and the can- can dance!  
Our list for travel is still long, plus for 13's holidays, we'll be gone...
Some place warm with fewer Christmas songs.

One hope I have for the coming year is I keep blogging with less fear,
And get more people to read and write--respond  to me when the feeling is right.  Add your comment, if you dare, to me me know that you've been here. 
Oh, and have a Happy new year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


 I know I'm not the only one who dislikes the holidays, so don't give me any crap about my attitude.  
 What I hate is trying to get anywhere in December--all the roads are clogged with people who seem to only drive once a year and that's to the mall.  Speaking of the mall--the stores start trying to sell presents as soon as HALLOWEEN is over!  They don't even wait for Thanksgiving any longer.  And how about making their employees work all night so they're ready for the crowds at midnight?!   That's the holiday spirit.
 And not everyone wants to hear Christmas carols on every radio station and in every store.  Enough already.  Stop presuming we're all Christians celebrating one holiday.
 What I DO like are the decorated houses!  I think it reminds me of my childhood when we'd all climb into the car and travel around looking at them.  I saw a great one on Eaton in San Carlos last week.  I imagine their electric bill is like the national debt this month.
 I decided to decorate myself for our annual guild's holiday event tonight.  We're supposed to bring something for the potluck that goes with our ethnicity or heritage.  Matthew was heading to Costco today, so I asked if he could find a German chocolate cake for me....and if not, a tart would work.
  Ah, for the good ole days...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

'Tis the Season for Selling, Eating, & Avoiding the Crazies

 After many months of work to get ready--both in creating, which I love, and organizing as coordinator, which I don't love so much--Open Studios as come and gone.  I opted to do OS at home this time and invited Connie Andrews to join me.  Connie does mixed media, which works well with what I do since we don't conflict, plus we like each other's work.
  We set up the room downstairs and moved some furniture around to highlight my weaving on the large loom and allow for movement within and around what we make and do.

   This is one of the blankets being warped onto the loom.   I don't use this one as often as the upstairs 4-harness loom, but have been making small blankets lately, so it's a better choice for wider weaves.
  I used my new earring display Annette's son made--love how the earrings show on here:

  The display is now at Savvy Skirts with 90 pairs on it, including the 18 pairs of clip-ons.  I wouldn't be heartbroken if it is returned with a lot fewer pairs.  I'm already making more, though many of them will be taken to a Burlingame store.
  I used the textiles displays Aubrey made years ago and I just inherited.
They worked well, though I've been told someone mentioned we were overloaded with how much work we displayed.  Well, we have a lot of art!  This is the time to let it all show!
And then my display became a place for a cat-nap!  Farwell is anything but shy.  My first customers were there, and he wanted to make sure he was noticed by all.  No, I didn't even consider selling him.

Then, two days after cleaning up, the house was readied for 15 of us at Thanksgiving~!  Matthew started cooking Wednesday afternoon...and instead of serving sweet potatoes for a side dish, we opted for sweet potato pie.  Good, but too similar to pumpkin pie to really make a statement.  

 I didn't take many pictures of the evening--just a few candid shots of the family and extended family.  I also got out an album of my oldest nephew's baby pictures for his girlfriend and her parents to see.  He gave me permission ahead of time, and I was glad they got to see my sister with her first baby almost 31 years ago.   They were able to see where Jeff comes from and connect with his past.  Even Mom/Nana took a look at the old pictures.  The album starts with a shot of his dad holding him right after he was born and goes till he's about 5 and Garret is 4.  Nothing blackmail worthy...
Blogging is much more fun when we're traveling, but we have no plans for a trip at the moment, so I'll just have to go with what I'm doing locally.  
One more show only coming up on Dec. 8 in Montara.  I am once again doing Gathering of Women at Tracey's house from 10-4 at 565 Fifth Street.  I won't have jewelry, but all my textiles--yes, all of it--will be there (along with bookmarks and shawl pins, just so some beads are with me).
But in the earrings (mostly) for the unpierced:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fond Memories of the Condo Waiting for New Ones

 The condo is finally finished--the new giant refrigerator arrived last week.  Everything looks pristine, if you like white and beige.  It killed me to paint everything white and buy beige carpets, but tenants (and maybe most people other than my artist friends) like neutral colors.  It reminds me of when I worked in the Women's Tailored department at Nordstrom's in 1990, and a woman came in to buy a gray suit and wanted a white button-down shirt with it.  I kept trying to sell her a colorful scarf to add to the ensemble....I could never understand or relate to being so colorless.
  I took new pictures of the condo when I was there and have had a couple of responses from Craigslist, so here's hoping I find a great tenant soon.
I'm still looking for someone to buy the microwave that didn't fit here...

 I used to love sitting out here reading on sunny days.  The trees have really grown, so it's a beautiful setting and fairly private considering it's ground floor.
 Hard to see how large the master bedroom is--I had a platform king-size bed with attached nightstands and two large armoires in here and still had plenty of room!
 View from the entry into the living and dining rooms.
 Fountain right outside the entry.  The fenced-in patio on the right is off the master bedroom.
 The landscaping has been well maintained.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Customer Service How It Should Be

 I had the most remarkable experience recently and was prompted to write about it.  Once upon a time, we bought items and if they weren't satisfactory, we could return them and get a store credit or even get our money back.  But lately it seems (as in the case of my microwave from Pacific Sales via Best Buy which was too large for the condo even though I'd been told they were a standard size), many companies do not honor or stand behind their merchandise.  They didn't even explain I wasn't buying from Best Buy, so when I tried to return it to another BB, they said I had to go to Pacific Sales.  Then they told me I had to return it to the store where I actually bought it, and they told me they would not accept it because that was their policy.  No, I wasn't told about that either when I bought it.
Oh, this is the perfect chance to tell my why-I-no-longer-recommend-or-buy-any-appliances-from-Sears story.  We bought a new refrigerator from them several years ago--one with French doors and the freezer on the bottom.  After a couple of years, the seal on the door wasn't working well, which caused the door to not always close tightly, which then warmed the freezer and cause it to stop working all together.  We removed everything, called a repairman and was told we should call Sears.  We did, but that repairman said he could not fix it because in order to reprogram the freezer, he needed the code, and there wasn't one inside where it should be.  We hadn't removed it--obviously the paper with the code was left off at the factory.  After many frustrating calls to the company and speaking to umpteen people about the problem, including going to the store and talking to a manager about replacing this one, we gave up.  They could not fix this one and would not replace it.  They offered us nothing.
Oddly enough, once the doors were diligently kept closed, the freezer returned to normal, and it's worked ever since.  But we already know that once it stops working, it's probably a goner.  Anyone blame me for not wanting to deal with that company ever again?
So on to this month's customer service story.  We bought a Tempurpedic mattress and box spring from Sleep Train in 2006.  I find it too warm during the night, but what I really disliked was how it rippled where we slept.  I mentioned this to a sales rep in June at the county fair, and he printed out my information/receipt and said to call them because it's under a 10-year warranty.  I put it off and let it slide to the bottom of the to-do list for 3 months, but finally called the company.   I said I needed someone to come and take a look at it and explained why.  The guy had me write down the names of 5 mattresses, said to go to Sleep Train, roll around on those, and call again after we decided which one we like (they no longer make our original one).  He said they would then start the claim process and I'd be asked to take a couple of pictures of the mattress where it rippled and send that along with a copy of the receipt--via email, if I preferred.  I questioned him about them coming out and his reply was, "You paid a lot for this mattress, and we want our customers to be completely happy with them.  We trust you when you say there's a problem."  Huh?  No third degree?  No one coming to show us where in the fine print it says our problem isn't covered?  Oh no, that was my mother's long-term care insurance claim recently....
So we did all that--the guy at Sleep Train was excellent.  Even though he knew he wouldn't be making a sale that day, he spent lots of time showing us each one and asking me what I don't like about the one I have--too warm and hate that sheets don't fit because the mattress is short--and he directed us to one where those problems are eliminated.  He's at the San Mateo store on El Camino near 17th Ave if you need a mattress--his name is Greg and he's from Trinidad.
Still, I wasn't a 100% believer.  I sent the pictures and receipt copy to the email address on a Sunday.  I got my automated response that it was received and would take 2 business days to process.  Yesterday, Wednesday, I got another automated email saying they'd reviewed our claim and to expect a call in 7-14 days for the delivery of our new mattress AND box spring.
And that's what customer service can and should be!  Nice to know it still exists somewhere...

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Confrontation that Could Have Gotten Ugly...if I Wasn't a Lady

 My friend who was visiting from out of town and I went to the Strawflower shopping center for yogurt, had not even passed the woman's  place of business when she burst out of her door and said hello then continued past us.  She asked if Ingrid--blondish, blue-eyed Swede--was my daughter.  Oh, she (Ingrid) just turned 64 on Thurs.  I was so stunned by the question, I couldn't even answer.  Anyway, I went into the bathroom at Brazzleberry, and when I came out, the "business woman" was walking in the door saying, "Oh there she is."  Came up to me:
 A:  Will you do my a favor?
 P(me):  What's that?
 A:  Take me off that list.
 P. Okay.
  A:  I don't know any of those people; I don't know if they come into my shop or not and if they're members of that group.  And YOU JUST WALKED RIGHT BY AND DIDN'T EVEN COME IN!  I don't need this--I'm in this alone here.
 P:  Okay, fine.  I'll do that.
So for one thing, we hadn't even passed her shop, so how could she know I was going to walk right by.   She doesn't even know how many stories I've heard about how she cries and complains and carries on to her customers, which is one good reason I haven't returned.  Mostly, however, I just don't get down to HMB to shop at all.  
We do know I won't be going to her store ever again.  I was happy to take her off the artists' list.  I have supported her by introducing her to people, recommending her store to knitters I know, and even buying beads I didn't need when she was at the farmer's market.  Nice thanks I got with her in my face crabbing at me.  
I can't believe I'm now up to THREE stores I boycott on the coast because of bad businesswomen...thank goodness for online books and yarn shops.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Living with Addiction and Bees

  I am so good about posting when we travel, but as soon as we get home, I find many other things to do instead.  I weave, I knit, I make jewelry, but mostly I am addicted to these damn computer games!  I spend hours playing, and now that I have an iPhone...more games!  I know I'm not alone because I find others just like me and now we can play against each other.  I make no apologies and refuse to feel guilty about my addiction--it's better than many others and sucks time, which is mine to suck.
  I took this picture this morning just outside the back stairs from the window:
 Yesterday when gardening, I came upon the buzzing garbage can and immediately got Matthew the bee master outside to inspect it.  Apparently our bees swarmed once again, but this time found a home for their queen inside the can, where the lid had a very slight opening.   Matthew got a box and dumped the majority of the bees into it, put several small air holes in it and taped it shut.  They can last like that for a couple of days, but no longer.  Since it's best to work at dusk when they're the calmest, he's putting them into the hive this evening.  Meanwhile, however, they've started biting through the cardboard to enlarge the holes, and are now slipping in and out.
I wanted a more up-close picture so the air-holes show, plus you can see the bees trying to get inside through the slit in the bottom on the side. 
  They've been buzzing around the house all day in a frantic sort of way.  I seem to be the only one concerned since Matthew's outside working in the yard about 25' from the box.   I'm staying inside.    Playing games.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Slinging Along in Singapore

Forgot to mention how the bathroom in Kuching had a window between it and the bedroom...with a see-through shutter that didn't close more than what you can see in this picture.  Talk about togetherness....together for 24 hours a day and no privacy even in the toilet!

   We landed in Singapore for our last two nights. I was a bit anxious because some reviews of this hotel that came out after I booked it were less than favorable. We took the MRT—rapid transit from the airport into Chinatown and then walked to our hotel. It actually was a fun adventure to do that, even though the bags loaded one on the other were heavy to pull. We had to change trains twice, but Matthew had it all figured out, so that wasn't difficult. At times it was crowded, but still we made it without incident and only got a little lost finding the hotel by missing the street and walking an extra 2 blocks. In the meantime, we were forced to walk through the shopping stalls that lined the streets—oh, too bad, right?
  Our hotel was in a great location with the desk on the bottom floor, then an elevator that only has 3 floors. The second floor is a restaurant and the third has all the rooms, including the breakfast area. Our room was small as expected, with enough room for a bed, one nightstand, an armoire on the other side, a small desk and a lamp. Oh, and a fancy red velvet chair with gold arms. And red drapes. It was a funny little room, but worked out all right. Since I knew it was going to be tiny, I had packed one cube just for the two nights, so didn't have to get anything else out of my suitcase and kept the rest intact.
   The bathroom was the kicker though. About 6' square with a toilet kitty-corner to the pedestal sink and a shower in the other corner with no walls, just a drain in the floor. It was easiest to shower together since the whole floor flooded and the toilet and sink got wet. We removed the toilet paper from the room so it would stay dry. It was really fine for 2 nights though....
     We spent about 2 minutes in the room, then went out to shop and find food. There's lots of both right outside the door, so we made our way around. After being in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, we've been spoiled by low prices for everything, especially silks, so these prices seemed high to us. That didn't keep me from caftans for sleeping! I tried it the first night and was hooked. They're luscious to sleep in, though I can't imagine using my beautiful batik ones for that.
     We ate at a local place where they had air con, since once again, we were overheated. It definitely wasn't as bad as Malaysia, but still humid for us. It was Chinese (no, that's not redundant in Singapore...they are known for their international foods) and had some spring rolls and fried coconut prawns. It was just enough to get us by till the next, not losing weight on this trip.

  Walked around some more and enjoyed the sites and sounds, got information for the next day, and had a beer in a local place where we met two couples from Colorado enjoying chili crab.
  We rested in the room awhile to regroup and cool off, then went out in the evening and ate our way through the food area just outside our hotel. They had many stalls, so we stared at one place with 2 vegetable dishes, which were just okay. We had pumpkin and sweet potato, but both were fried and we didn't care for them much. But then we went to the pork bun place we'd eaten at during the day—they also had a booth with just dim-sum buns, and those were great. Matthew had siu mei and I had the pork bun, which we shared. This was one of our progressive next we headed to the German guy for sausage sandwiches. I figured I'd honored my sister with dim sum, which she loved, so now it was time for Dad's favorite—bratwurst. He only had mini ones left, which was perfect for the progressive dinner theme. Then we walked around more and looked at things, and later ended up at a Vietnamese place. I had cafe sua da, which is an iced coffee with evaporated milk, which makes it sweet. I had those all through Vietnam and loved them. We also ordered two different salads—beef with greens and pomelo prawn. We were about done by then....portions weren't huge, so even though it sounds like a lot of food, it was manageable.

    The next day, after Matthew mentioned how Singapore is known for their cuisine, I checked online and found a restaurant owned by Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Nancy Silverton called Pizzeria Mozza. We decided to spend the day taking the hop-on hop-off bus and go there for lunch. We hopped off right around noon, so that was perfect. It turned out to be in a very upscale exclusive mall that was seriously beautiful architecturally. They also had a casino that was on the ground floor where you had to pay $100 just to get in the door! No, I did not.
But we did eat. We had the most fabulous meal...and of course, I have pictures. We paid about $140 for lunch, which was something we rarely do, but Mario is Matthew's food idol—everything he cooks from his book is great, so we really had to try this.
Envelope with silverware and napkin inside

crispy peppery crackers brought in a brown bag at the beginning

raspberry mint drink

gorgonzola cheese and date salad

fried squash blossoms stuffed with cheese

I know it's blurry, but I was in food heaven

goat cheese, bacon, and leaks, and chives...

plum butter tart with sweetened mascarpone cream    

sorbetti and gelato....coconut, passion fruit, and espresso

Random photos of the mall and surrounding area:

Have I mentioned how much I love Singapore's architecture?

After lunch, we hopped back on the bus and continued to explore. We had to see the famous Raffles hotel 

where rooms start at $400 a night. Turns out they don't let you in the front door unless you're staying there, but we could walk around and go into the shops and museum. We skipped the latter and didn't do much other than look at the over-priced items. Stayed on the bus and made it back to Chinatown, so it was a pretty full day. Left the hotel around 9:30 and returned after 5.
I love Singapore! We walked around the India area, Chinatown, upscale downtown, almost made it to Arab street, but it rained, and saw much of the city through the bus tour. It has the most magnificent architecture I've seen in one city...huge buildings the likes of which you're never seen.
In the evening, we went to a Chinese restaurant we'd seen earlier because Matthew wanted chili crab. We told them low on the spicy, but it turned out to be too hot for me to get near—even Matthew thought it was very spicy, so I got no crab and settled for rice and beans for dinner.

Today we got ready to head home. We're always happy to return to our foggy town and our kitties. I have many more pictures, so will organize them and start adding them by category later. You know many many many will be FOOD!