A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Leader of the Pack

We're moving to a new house in Livermore in a month or so.  Being the OCD types that Ed and I are, we started packing a couple of weeks ago so now our current home is filled with boxes.  Very carefully labeled boxes, to be sure.  But boxes none the less.  And there is a distinct echo in the living room with so much empty space.

Ed moved to this house in 1999 and I joined him in 2000.  We merged two households which lead to the immediate construction of a 6x14 shed in one of the side yards.  It's full.  As is the garage and three other sheds we've managed to acquire.  My kids constantly deride us for having so many sheds, but we will be getting rid of a few of them.  Promise.

So part of this packing process has also been a weeding process.  We don't need two of everything.  Many of the items we have we don't even need one of!  Yesterday in packing some of the upper shelves in the kitchen (the ones that I can't reach so I have no idea what is up there) we discovered all kinds of really nice stuff that I had no idea we had.  Most of which we've never used.  So it was added to the "garage sale" box that we started in December.  Basically this is all the stuff we have that is still in good condition, but we don't want to pack and move it.  For instance we have this lovely soup tureen.  Don't know why.  I vaguely remember thinking that I had to have one and someone gave it to me as a gift.  Never used!  So now it lives in my daughter's home and her husband (who loves to cook) will use it quite a bit, I'm sure.  They also took the set of bowls in the second photo - Ed added his hand to give them "perspective" on the size of the bowls.  Don't ask.




We have started a traveling "garage sale" show with our kids.  Send photos of specific items, take boxes of stuff to their homes for them to go through or to a central location for them to come by and peek.  Managed to get rid of a lot of items this way and the rest goes to charity.

The sound of tape and the smell of boxes is starting to make me anxious.  I know from moves past that you always feel like you have a handle on it during the first phase of packing.  Then the proverbial shit hits the fan and you enter panic and "no more packing!!" mode.

That should happen about mid-February...........


Monday, January 6, 2014

No thank you!

My brother lives in Chicago.  The high temperature today is projected to be -11!  I talked with him briefly yesterday - he was taking his son to a hockey game and had just gotten a flat tire.  So there he was waiting for AAA in 15 degree weather.  On Saturday he sent me a photo of a portion of their roof with 2ft icicles hanging from it.  Beautiful - but only at a distance.  He and his wife had to go to work today.


Being a Californian who was raised in Arizona I can't even begin to imagine how cold -11 is (wind chill of -30ish).   When I lived in Tucson, we would watch the weather "back east" (which is what we called Chicago and the mid-west) or on the east coast.  Whenever they had a particularly brutal winter, we knew to prepare for the influx of new residents who were done with the cold.

So my guess is this Spring and Summer Tucson will see a rise in population.  I mean, enough is enough!  At least it might help the property prices rise which would be good.  But for all those people living through that horrific weather, here's hoping you warm up soon!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Seriously! It's 2014?!?

Hard to believe.  It seems like only yesterday we were all sweating Y2K.  What a bust that turned out to be.   Now it's 2014 - 13 years later than the movie 2001 and we still haven't made it to Jupiter.  But we do have Google Glass, iPads, and a few self-driving cars so it's not all bad.

I remember when I was young and how difficult it always was to write the new year on school papers, checks, work documents, etc.  It would take a few weeks to write the new year comfortably.  Now it takes a minute or two!  I had this discussion with my son one day and we decided that as you get older, each year is a smaller percentage of your life as a whole.  So, while at the age of 10 a year may seem like an eternity, by the time you're 40 or 50 each year seems much shorter.

At this point my son looked at me and said, "Wow!  At your age a year must feel like the amount of time it takes to take a shower!"  Did I mention that he was a punk?  But, on some level, he's right.  The years are flying by.  When I hear about something that happened in the early 90's I think "yesterday" when it's actually 20 years ago.

I think I'll write 2013 on a few checks or letters this week just to make myself feel better.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Kinda Miss It!

I'm thinking about starting up this blog again.  Over the past couple of days I have compiled all the blog posts into four digital books and in doing so I realized that I miss writing!  Damn Facebook - ever since all of us bloggers joined Facebook, the blogs have died a slow death.  Don't get me wrong, I love Facebook.  It allows me to stay in contact with so many friends and family that I normally wouldn't have a lot of contact with.


When I started this blog back in 2007, it was a way for me to tell some family stories.  Things I want my kids to know.  And my grandkids.  They missed so much not knowing the old Italian relatives.  We had such wonderful family times when I was growing up and I want my kids to somehow share in that rich experience.  Recently I decided that I would write down some of those stories and just keep them in a folder.  But then I couldn't remember what I had already written down in the blog which is why I had it printed.  Then I thought - why not just blog again!  As you can see I've been having a lot of thoughts lately.

So, two years later, I'll try again.  An update?  Well, we haven't had any weddings or new babies in the past two years.  Ed's Aunt Stella passed away two months shy of her 100th birthday.  That's the only family member we lost since 2011.  Biggest news is the changes in our business and our home.

After over 30 years Ed is no longer with Century 21!  We are now an independent Real Estate and Property Management company.  It's been an interesting and busy transition, but a wonderful one.  Moved our office to Livermore, CA (about 35 minutes from our current location) and, after a couple of months, are finally feeling settled.

Plus, we'll be moving to another home, also in Livermore, around the end of February.  With two sons in Livermore, Ed's daughter in Tracy, his other son in Modesto, and my daughter planning a Livermore move in the next year or so - it seemed like a natural progression for us.  Plus the nights are warmer in the summer and you can actually have dinner outside!  

The next couple of months will be very busy - in an exciting way.  It will be fun to chronicle things as they progress.

Yup, I'm starting this back up - just decided!  Hope someone actually reads it - but, if not, I can always print it and save it for the kids.

Saturday, October 29, 2011






Back in April of 2000 Ed took me to Hawaii.  We had been together for 6 months and this was a very special trip for us.  Also, it was the first REAL vacation I had taken since I was 21 (which is more years than you really need to know about!).  Up to that point, my "vacations" always consisted of visiting family or adding days on to a conference trip.  But a real vacation - one where you plan the trip just for fun and all your time is totally under your control?  Unheard of!

I had never been to Hawaii before and had no real desire to go.  I mean, big deal - beaches and palm trees.  I lived in California for pete's sake!  I could see those any day.  But Ed really wanted to take me there so I figured, what the heck, a week on the Big Island wouldn't be so bad.  The minute we stepped off the plane, I could see that this was a different and wonderful place.  The smells of flowers, the silky air, the sounds of Hawaiian music. the breezes.  The money and language are the same, yet you feel like you're in a foreign country.  We stayed in a condo unit at Kona by the Sea  on Alii drive and I was in love.
 The place we stayed on our first trip to Kona.
Both with Ed and with Hawaii!  Our condo had a view of the ocean and every morning we were awakened by the sounds of the surfers looking for that perfect wave.  When it was time to pack and head back home, we were both very sad.

Took this photo to freak out family and friends
Follow up photo this trip

We've been back to the Big Island four times and visited all the other islands.  The Big Island is definitely our favorite - so much to see and do and so many varieties of climate and topography.  Not to mention some truly special memories. Our most recent trip was a couple of weeks ago.  We hadn't been there for 5 years and forgot how much we loved it!  This time we stayed at Kona Coast Resort. During this trip we visited some of the spots from our first vacation there.

Photo by the ocean 2000 - back when I could still wear white shorts!
2011 ocean shot











 One of our Kona traditions is dinner at Huggos on Alii Drive our last night on the island. 
Dinner at Huggos 2000
Outside Huggos 2011










Notice Ed's Guido Bandito look in the 2000 photos!  Love it!  We'll go back to Kona again - it's a special place for us and a wonderful way to spend a week.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm such a slacker!

I started this blog in February of 2007 as a way to write down stories about my family for my kids and grandkids. There seemed to be so many colorful stories and I didn't want any of those memories to fade after I'm gone.

And I did pretty well for a couple of years! Stories about family history morphed into more current blogs about everyday life. And then came Facebook and suddenly it was easier to relay something with a few words and a photo or two rather than try to be creative with a blog post. Every now and then something will come up that makes me think, "That would be a good blog post." Then the lazy side of me says, "Nah!"

Today I was looking into having my blogs put into book form. There is a site via Blogger that compiles everything including photos (excluding comments) into a really nice 8 1/2 x 11 book. It would be great to have so all those stories that I worked so hard on in print so they don't get lost! But looking at some of them made me nostalgic for the days when I did post more.

There were so many people blogging back then - and blogging regularly. Now most of my "blog buddies" are on Facebook and we stay in touch that way. But I so miss reading my daughter's blog about her kids, the blogs of two of her friends who are very funny writers, Nikki, Maria, Beth Ann, Patti. A blog or two will pop out every couple of weeks or so, and I still have one friend, Linda, who blogs regularly. But the rest of them not so much.

So, I may try to get back to it. There are still stories that I would love to share with my kids and have in my "blog book" when I decide to print one. Now if I could just find the energy..........

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Note in the Door

Ed and I have a Dodge Dakota pick up truck - one of those small ones. Don't use it a lot, but when we need it, we really need it! And our kids and friends borrow it periodically to haul stuff so we're always glad to have it around.

Today someone put a note on our door asking if we were interested in selling the truck. No, we're not. But the note reminded me of a story about my son when he was 15 1/2 and trying to buy his first car.

Joe had his heart set on a Bronco. You know, big tires, manly, yada, yada, yada. I mean, he already had the mullet so having a Bronco could only raise him even higher on the cool-o-meter.

So, we started looking around. There was an ad in the paper for a Bronco about 25 miles away in San Jose. We drove down there - Joe, Jenni, and Joe's friend, Aaron. Finally found the address and the car turned out to be in pretty bad shape and bright orange! So we drove my and didn't even stop. Joe was feeling very deflated. As we were driving out of the neighborhood, he spotted a teal and white Jimmy GMC (which apparently is similar to a Bronco) and told me to drive by. "But the car isn't for sale," I said. Joe said, "I know, but I want to look at it." He and Aaron hopped out of the car and checked it out - even sliding underneath to look for heaven knows what. And Joe fell in love.

He asked me if I had something for him to write a note with. I said, "You can't just ask people if they want to sell their car!" He said, "Sure I can." And he did. Left a note stuck in the door asking if they wanted to sell their car and leaving his phone number. I just shook my head and drove home.

That night Joe got a call. From the owner of the Jimmy. The woman asked him how much he was able to pay for the car and he said all he had was $2000. Then she started crying. She said she was having health problems and needed a procedure done but they didn't have the money. The cost was just under $2000. She and her husband had just been to church and were praying for an answer to their problems. On the way home they talked about maybe trying to sell the Jimmy! Then they found Joe's note.

So, Joe got his dream car. And I have never questioned his judgment again. On our end the story didn't have the greatest ending. Joe really wanted a "roll bar" (I think that's what they call it) and managed to find one that was a perfect fit. They guy wanted to get it out of his yard and sold it to Joe very cheap. The car sat at the curb for a few months until Joe was old enough to get his license. And then there he went - Mullett flapping in the wind, top down and roll bar shining, shirtless (for some reason he and Aaron were always taking off their shirts), the Budweiser sticker prominently displayed on the roll bar and the "No Fat Chicks or I'll Scrape" bumper adding a touch of class. Six months and two tickets later my son was back on his bike.

But, oh, what a story about how he bought his first car - back in the day.....