Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Another Rite of Passage

This was the first year Bob gave Mr. Rosenberg and I gifts without our help or presence and with his own money. Bob told me he went to one of my favorite stores, told the clerk his budget, what he was looking for, and that my favorite color is green. From what she showed him, he picked this beautiful bracelet out for me, handmade by a local artist. Mr. Rosenberg received a pair of dress socks with a drawing of Dwight Shrute on them. He was enamored with his gift also.

Gift of Guys

Jeff commissioned this painting for me of the guys, from an artist he met at the park. He even paints them on, and frames them with, reclaimed/repurposed wood. I'm in love.

One of My Favorite Views in the World

Including pajamas.

The Sun Peaks Through the Clouds

So blustery and windblown, there were even too many leaves for the gardener.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Smacksy Sunday Links

Choose joy.

The $100 billion reason not to return gifts this holiday season.

100 years of friendship. I love them.

Plan a reading day.

The emotional lives of animals.

Vintage snap shots of mid-century women matching their Christmas trees.

And wild and elegant horses.

Happy Sunday. 

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Just the One Antler

"Someone" nibbled the antler off of this reindeer/Teddy bear ornament and reindeer/Teddy bear does not seem pleased. (We're all looking at you, Levi.)


A few of my girlfriends and I got together to make these garlands out of oranges, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves for the holidays. I originally planned to hang mine inside the front door but I got carried away and it's way too long. It now adorns the piano. It smells delicious. And that's my garland story. 

Reporting In

Update on the single lemon growing on our new tree. It's happening. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Tree leaning in a jaunty (alarming) manner? Check.
Lower third of tree left in the nude? Check.
Two glittery, low-hanging ornaments on tree eaten by dogs? Check.
Garland applied to tree in crazy pattern? Check.
Best tree ever? Check.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

It just baaarely fit.

April 8, 1944

Irene Manning
April 8, 1944

Dear Puss,
Irene Manning was the latest of the pinup gals put out to stimulate the imagination, but now I have a pin up that I have wanting. O' course it is the picture you sent a few days ago and it looks very nice here too - but sometimes I have to take it down because I get to thinking how very swell it would be to be on a bus entering Borger and then getting off. I would know that it wouldn't be too long 'til I passed through the white fence, open the door, and once more I'd be where I belonged. We'd stay there not for long so the three of us would go and find a spot to call our own where we could build our nest and watch the rest of the world go by. You are so nice to come home to and love. And it would be tea for three.

Big hugs and kisses galore. Save them for me, Puss, 'cause I'll be there to get them one of these days.

I love ya, Puss.


Some of us are workin' here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

10th Annual Bob's 99 Cent Store Holiday Shopping Trip (*spoiler alert for immediate family)

Bob's Annual 99 Cent Store Holiday Shopping Trip has now taken place for ten years running, folks. No, I can't believe it either. Here's what the list looked like this year. 

Me - A mug of unknown decor. "Mom! Don't look! Are you looking? Don't! You'll totally ruin the surprise of your present!"

Mr. Rosenberg - Large Reese's Peanut Butter Cup package. 

Bajan (Mr. Rosenberg's mom) - Package of chamomile herb tea. "This doesn't have caffeine, right? Bajan always likes things that are decaf."

Aunt Jill - Pink notebook decorated with silver polka dots. "I think Aunt Jill probably has to right down a lot of stuff at her work."

Aunt Jen - Green ceramic serving dish. "Hello? It's green!"

Our Friend Dawn - Glass mug in the shape of a snowman with a built in straw cap. "Does she like snowmen? I bet she does. And she can take it in the car."
Pops - Mega Twix Pack. "Pops loves sweets so much. And all of the other food."

MeeMee (my mom) - 6" Reindeer figurine covered in red glitter with white glitter antlers. "Mee Mee will totally put this on her mantle. It's a great decoration. Super sparkly. Like Christmas."

Friday, December 6, 2019

april 3, 1944

sorry. still don't have capitalization capabilities.

april 3, 1944

dear puss,
the letter and pictures of yours came and they were plenty okay. i have definite hopes of receiving a good deal more similar to those so don't quit writing. and when you get the roll of film developed after taking the pictures, send me a print of each. i certainly don't want to wait 'til i come home to see them for it is liable to be a few months yet.

believe me there is no one anyplace who can hold any candle to you and i do believe that is has been proven. you can't imagine how i long to be with you and how very much i need you. one doesn't miss the happiness until he has known it so well. i do love you so much.

thanks a plenty for the promise of sending the cigs and blades 'n such. plan to see gone with the wind again when it comes here but it's awful lonesome going to the show by myself.

love and a couple of bear hugs,

on the ferry

it's pretty breathtaking

this castle

this castle is made of sugar. you heard me.

ted bread

you've probably never wondered if bread can have personality, but now you know anyway.

little boats

like a little boat
anchored near the harbor
roll with the current
dark and bright
if you capsize
or lose your mooring
like a little boat
roll on to your back
float again

Sunday, December 1, 2019

smacksy sunday links

my friend just showed me some of the work of artist malcom liepke. divine.

well. yesterday i dropped a cup of coffee on my computer keyboard. i currently can't capitalize anything but i keep hoping it will all work itself out. until then, i'm a lower-case lady.

german lessons - a lovely and poignant essay

winter is the season of my childhood

alison roman makes thanksgiving dinner in her very small kitchen

ew's top ten books of the decade. i agree with a number of these. the rest are sitting unread, next to my bed

if slim aarons came back as a painter

a murmuration of starlings - one of my favorite things

happy sunday

smacksy saturday photo - tangled

mr. rosenberg's current holiday task

Friday, November 29, 2019

March 28, 1944

March 28, 1944

Hello Sugar Puss,
Not much has happened here to me is particularly interesting except that we have seen the sun for about three days straight which is unusual. Took a walk into the country to look at the city from the side of the mountain but the mist was so heavy that I couldn't see much. On the way out to the hill I saw a number of hot houses where they have flowers. The were so many that I asked about them. They said that a great many people who live in town do not have enough room by their houses to grow flowers and plants, so they rent a small hot house at the edge of the city. They say that the plants are well cared for by their owners, and like most everything here, they appear to be immaculate.

They use a lot of bikes here and have quite a few of them built for two. The boys dress in corduroy gym shirts and the girls quite often the same for cross country travel. When each rides their own, it is quite polite to ride rather close together and travel slow so they can talk all the while they are moving. And of course they ride with the fellow on the side next to the middle of the road. They all carry a rather large repair kit with them and some of them no doubt come in pretty handy from the way they sound when they go by you.

Sandra's picture came all right but there was none of you and Puss, that will not do so in  your next letter, be dern sure you have one of yourself in it and then send it by air mail just like the other. I'll get a box off to you if possible with some things I have purchased here for you and Sandy. The 31st of this month is the main reason. Happy Birthday, Puss.
All my love,

That Weird Thanksgiving When We Had The Bed Bugs

We traditionally host Thanksgiving every year at our house with a crowd of friends and loved ones. Tuesday night, we found bedbugs in the house. The exterminator can’t come out until next week because of the holiday weekend but warned us not to have anyone over for fear of sending them home with bugs, nor could we leave the house before following an extended protocol. We cooked and had a quiet night with just the three of us. It will always be remembered as That Weird Thanksgiving When We Had The Bed Bugs. And we have so much to be grateful for.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

A Perfect Turkey

The perfect turkey is one I no longer have to make myself.

A Very Busy Coffee Table

If every picture tells a story, this is the story of a coffee table with:
My books
A $50 parking ticket from the City of Pasadena
Bob's school books
My book of lists
Jeff's mini-recording studio
Medical tape for taping up an injured toe
Cup of coffee (duh)
Baseball cards
And Levi

Monday, November 25, 2019

It's Mademoiselle Magic Stuffing Time!

It's the return of a perennial favorite. That's right! It's Mademoiselle Magic Stuffing Time! Cut your celery! Dice your onions! Drive all over town trying to find a store that sells that most crucial but elusive of ingredients, dried currants! Use all the exclamation points! You can do it and it will all be worth it! Click this link and travel back in time to meet up with your favorite recipe.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Smacksy Sunday Links

Partial View of Spelunking by Christ Fraticelli, Mixed Media, 2019

Understand your values.

Solid financial advice.

How to be kind to yourself and still get stuff done.

An introvert's tips for loving the holiday season.

Tiny house bookstore on wheels, in France.

Declare it art. 

And baby penguins.

Happy Sunday.

Smacksy Saturday Photo: At Bat

In Southern California, the season lasts all year. Thank goodness.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

March 23, 1944

March 23, 1944

Hello Puss,
The Air Mail letter with Sandra's picture came. Gee, she looks like a butter ball sure enough. It's no wonder at all that they make over her so much. If they don't spoil her now, I will when I get back. But there sure is someone I'm longing to spoil a great deal more and I'm going to do just that when we move into our new home. Hope that you are able to get the film there in Amarillo 'cause those snapshots are the things that carry you half way around the world in a second or so, leaving some dern nice memories. They are of the kind you don't forget ever. It's just like dreaming in your dreams. Everything is perfect.

Certainly would be grand if Ford was right the other day when he said that the war would be over in about two months. He said he could give no reason for saying so now but he did have something to back his opinion on.

Have been looking in shop windows for trinkets and such but they are so scarce. But I know that I'll have something by the 31st even if it will be a bit late getting there. All this of course means Happy Birthday from this lug across the pond that loves ya gobs.


He doesn't love thunder.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Waiting For The Rain: A Holiday List

The rain was supposed to start at midnight and last until the late afternoon. It's morning now with dark, heavy skies and not one drop has fallen. It will, they say. It probably will. The world is balanced on the edge of her seat, waiting for so many things to happen.

Because Thanksgiving is on the last day of November this year, we get one less week of the holiday season. It's up to us to plunge in, maybe earlier than we usually might, and make things merry. Like, rock the hell out of merry. Even if you're not feeling it. Especially if you're not feeling it. We need merry makers right now, regardless of the facts.

Play Christmas music in the car. Feliz Navidad and Carol of the Bells are irresistible.

My friend Anna swears by serving supper and snacks on fancy holiday dessert plates. Now.

Watch a holiday movie. Maybe one of the new ones streaming on Hallmark or maybe an old fave like The Grinch.

Get a little something-something for the house. A cranberry scented candle or a little ceramic house with a light inside. A trip to Tarjay or the 99 Cent Store will do nicely.

Decorate an orange by sticking whole cloves straight into the peel in a pattern and hold a little holiday magic in your hands. And nose.

Tie a bow or piece of tinsel on the dog's collar. This situation will only last a few minutes until he pulls it off so take a quick photo and use it as the wallpaper on your phone.

Call your Aunt Sophie in Texas just to check in. If you don't have an Aunt Sophie in Texas, you already know who you should be calling. (Whoever popped into your mind first.)

Bring the Christmas cactus inside.

Sit still for a minute. Just one. Concentrate on your breath. It helps us in our interactions with others. It helps with interactions with ourselves.

What's your holiday go-to food treat item? Fudge? Pomegranates? Gingerbread? Dark chocolate with almonds? Eat it.

Send a few seasonal cards early. My mom sends them the day after Thanksgiving. That will work. If that sounds hard - even just one card. Or letter. A quick note. (She also likes to have her Christmas shopping done by August but that's another story.)

Send a little something to your favorite charity, or donate some time. Hand a few dollars to someone who asks for it and don't worry about how they will spend it. (That's none of your business.) Do whatever works best for you. Giving is magic.

Do you traditionally hang holiday lights outside? Put a decorated tree in your window? Hang a wreath on your door? Don't put it off. Decorate your place. Let your home share the season.

Two words: Hot Chocolate

Read, perhaps for the hundredth time, Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."

Sit still for a minute. Just one.

Monday, November 18, 2019

March 20, 1944

Another letter from my grandfather to my grandmother.

March 20, 1944

Hi you and little you,
Several evenings ago I tried my luck at bicycling and like a good bit of other luck, it wasn't as good with English bikes. The front brake was broken and the back one broke while I was riding it, so I just rode around a bit without any brakes. The chain jumped off a couple of times also - more fun.

Had tea last evening. This time they served tarts and maids of honor. The tarts are a bit of jelly placed in the center of a bit of bread dough. The maids of honor are about the same with a small sponge cake top. The crumpets are something like a biscuit. All of them are swell when served with tea. The pictures I told you about are finally ready. They are definitely not good - they look too much like me. Going to send to you just to let you see what your old man looks like sometimes when he is looking over the situation.

How nice it would be to hear a jukebox again with a bit of American jazz pouring forth in its sentimental manner. Just think, to be able to go down across the street from the bus station and play some music, eat a sandwich, and drink a cup of good coffee. Many is the time I have though of it.

Time for me to get some shut eye so bye for now.
Love and kisses,

Saturday, November 16, 2019

6 Years Ago

Bob was seven. My mom's dog Sam was a few months. Time is mysterious. Also, Facebook likes to squeeze my heart with these memories.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

March 18, 1944

From my grandfather, stationed in England to my grandmother in Texas. From the address it seems that she was visiting her Aunt Bernice. At this date, my mother (Sandra) was just two months old and he had yet to meet her.

March 18, 1944
Hello Puss and Little Puss,
Another week has just about passed into oblivion with but little to write and tell you in my Sugar Report. Did receive two letters from you on the same day, dated February 14 and February 24.

Sandra seems to be causing quite a commotion all across the country. From your letters it seems she has received so many nice things from so many widely scattered people and it does seem they all make such a fuss over her. It's no wonder though, just look who she belongs to. I'm not going to bust the next to last button off my vest - they are too hard to sew on. Too bad I can't come to the States to spend my time off with you. A bit later perhaps we can solidify our dreams and I do pray for that day.

I accepted an invitation to tea and had quite a nice time. The fellow is a merchant and has a shop in the middle of town. His family is quite nice and I have very nearly adopted their little girl. Sweet she is, but what should I do with two now? May go back at some other time to see them again. Really do like the tea but that's about all because of the lack of seasoning in the English food. The "chips" are French fries and that's about all you can get in the restaurants too, outside of fish and tea. I don't eat fish so I drink the tea.

Be sure to keep me posted on things and let me know how you're doing. And do take good care of yourself and the chick, 'cause I love my gals with a capital L. I'll try to look after this funny looking guy for you too.
All my love,

I Know What I'm Getting Him For Christmas

Sleep mask!