Posted in family, humor

Lemon cucumbers, squirrels and water guns

Looks like my sister arrived at her remote destination in Wyoming . . .

Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 7:58 PM, Mary to me:

Hey, wanted to let you know that I have internet access from this place, but  not cell coverage.  I’ll check it a couple of times a day and when I’m out and about, check my cell phone just in case you need me!

Wed, Jul 25, 2012, at 10:53 AM, me to Mary:

You may have internet access but it is waaaaaaaaaaaay slow getting out of there. I just got this. I tried your cell phone this morning . . . where is the dust pan? Laundry detergent? I’m about to go buy them.

Lemon cucumbers. Good for target practice. Look pretty in a basket. That’s about it. Image from

Everything here is fine. Tahlia follows me everywhere and sleeps with me. I brush her daily and she says to tell you she doesn’t miss you. Don either. Carmine is like Max. He talks to me and flops over until I pet him. Then he gets up, moves and waits until I go to him and pet him some more. Then he moves and waits for me to go to him again. I’ve seen every square inch of your house. The Zack is a bit more stand-offish but is being really good about his medicine. By the way, they both say they don’t miss you and that you shouldn’t bother to come home. They like all the extra treats I give them and Zackie especially likes the fresh ahi I buy him every day!

The garden is doing well. I am using the cucumbers as targets for the water gun. I have cut down the lavender and the crepe myrtle. (Did I tell you I hate crepe myrtle, too? Why does everyone in the Sacramento Valley plant crepe myrtle??) I’m making friends with the squirrels. They let me know their feeders are empty by banging the wooden lids at 5 am. So cute. Not. I am going to use the back fence they run along as an arcade. You know, “run, run, run, duck!” I am filling the water gun now and will be ready at 5 tomorrow morning.

Precious little buggers! They are an institution in Sacramento. Lots of trees equal lots of cute squirrels. Image from animalcontrolsacramento

I am not laying by the pool. I am not reading. I am not sleeping. I am not watching TV. I am not having fun. And, I am not seeing my friends. There is too much work to be done. I can’t find anything. I don’t miss my husband think I will go home.*

Please have fun. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be here watering, feeding cats, taking out trash, looking for cotton balls, breaking fingernails, calling you names, singing camp songs to the walls, deleting programs from your computer, drinking all your wine, draining the pool (since I don’t have time to use it), driving your car to a mall and leaving it with the doors open and a sign on it that says “strip me, please” (by, the way, what’s the worst section of town these days?), and selling all your stuff on eBay for $.99.

Your sister

Bring it! Image from

PS. Send chocolate

*The last person who house sat for my sister for two weeks called her about three days in and said she missed her husband too much and was going home. Personally, I think the unreasonable work load and the cucumbers drove her away.

Posted in family, life, musings, people, places, wellness

I’ll fly away . . . it’s better than ironing pillow cases

Californians and their cars. *shakes head* But that’s another post.

Guy West Bridge on the American River Parkway at California State College, Sacramento. It was modeled after the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Image from

I took a wonderful walk along the American River Parkway this morning, which, oddly enough, runs along . . . you guessed it, the American River! It’s also known as the Jedidiah Smith Memorial Trail and is apparently one of the best paths for serious bicyclists. It covers more than 32 miles along one of Sacramento’s two famous rivers, the other being . . . the Sacramento. Gee, isn’t this easy? But, this really isn’t a history lesson, although with the discovery of gold near here in the mid-1800s and the pursuant gold rush, it could easily become one.

Nope, this is just a thought bubble about the little differences between my sister and I that came to mind this morning during my walk. It’s been about 40 years since we left home and at least 35 since we shared living space for more than a couple of weeks. We learned the same ways of doing things as kids but I’m always surprised to discover how we’ve changed as we’ve grown older and led our separate lives. The little things. Silly things.

I use a sponge at the kitchen sink. She uses a cloth. She rolls her toilet paper from under, mine rolls over the top. She dusts with one of those fluffy things. I use one of those magnetic cloths. I have a box of Kleenex in every room and a waste basket in nearly every room. She has tissues only in the bathroom and you need GPS to find figure out where to dispose of a used one.

She feeds her cats Science Diet (dry) and metes it out like it’s gold to keep them in shape. I put out a mix of dry food (some healthy, some not so) and leave it out and full 24/7. Her cats were skinny as youngsters and are fat oldsters. Mine were chubby young ones and are skinnier as they get older. (Her cats are disciplined, like she is. Mine are, well, like me!)

She has every hair in place at all times. She irons her sheets. I fall down laughing when people iron pillow cases and my hair is still looking for a “place.” *Please send a map.*

These and other tiny little things only come into focus when we’re with each other or in each other’s space, like now. I’m house sitting for her while she and her husband are off to see friends in Wyoming for a couple of weeks. I’m responsible for keeping her cats and garden alive. The first is easy — her cats are so easy and I love them. They have their demands, of course, what cat doesn’t — meds for one, rules for another, drinks of water from the bathroom sink every night for the other.

It’s the garden that is hard. I have a whole new respect for the woman I so gleefully dubbed the Tomato Witch even as I devoured her heirloom tomatoes. Now, of course, I know why she has such beautiful produce. She spends at least two hours a day watering and tending her vegetables, fruit and flowers. Whew. I promised to keep it all alive except for the lavender (which makes me sneeze) and the cucumbers and bell peppers which hate me as much as I hate them!

Time spent with my sister is always special. Having lost a sister, we treasure our time together even more. Being alone in her house (my husband stayed home for work) — snuggling her cats, looking at her things, tending her garden, browsing her book titles, seeing her framed art work, looking at her photo albums, enjoying the secluded sitting areas she’s created in her yard, discovering hidden statues and treasures in her flower beds, laughing at her refrigerator magnets (yup, she has tons) and just taking the time to feel my sister like this is a special pleasure.

It tells me, too, that the little things don’t matter at all. Even if she irons her pillow cases and her jeans, she’s still the kid I tried to ditch when my mom made me take her out to play with me, the one I cried to when Tommy broke my heart, and the one who was such a nerd in 7th grade that she wore a white turtle neck under everything, everywhere — even to bed — for a whole year, because she thought her collar bones stuck out and were ugly. Man, I’m glad she can’t read this blog.

Just to leave you with a beautiful tune, here’s one of my favorite tracks from the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack, my walking music this morning. Loved the movie and love the music. I know the words are actually kind of sad but the harmony and music are lovely. Sorry that I don’t know how to download just the music. Still, enjoy the movie clips.

Posted in friends, humor, people

Fourth of July and crazy friends, mostly about crazy friends

Image from

First of all, let me do a little flag waving for the Fourth of July! It’s a holiday to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the British. According to Wikipedia “Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States.” What they failed to mention over-consumption of beer, an increase in drunk driving and domestic violence, and shooting guns into the air without regard as to where the bullets land. Ah, independence! And, forgive the snarkiness, it’s just that the older I get the less tolerance I have for stupid people! That said, Happy 4th of July, fellow Americans! (We do have some rockin’ good fireworks!)

Secondly, let me share with you an email I received this morning from a friend you’ve heard about here before: Ginah, the Coach princess. I will be spending about three weeks house sitting for my sister in Sacramento, this summer. She’s the tomato witch, and also has three great cats and a pool, which I’ll need given Sacramento’s intensely hot summers.

Did someone say coach? Image from

Anyway, my former employer, where I worked with Ginah and my other diva friend, Janna the shoe princess, asked me to write a procedures manual for a client while I’m down there this summer. I’m thrilled because they love me, they still really love me! That, and I’ll earn a few bucks while hanging out at the pool, and writing while getting paid is always very cool! Also, Ginah will “supervise” the project which I take to mean she’ll be hanging around the pool with me.

For some peculiar reason they have to hire me as an instructor so I turned in my instructor application and will now have a phone interview with someone down there, someone I don’t know. So, here’s where Ginah comes in. She emailed me the following this morning.

So it looks like Robin has everything she needs.  She is going to schedule an interview per our policy but it will be via phone or Skype if you can do that.  Of course I cannot interview you but I did want to pass the interview questions on to you — even though I am not supposed to — so you can prepare.  Here they are:

1. Which is smarter, the cat or the dog? (And if you answer cat, you are wrong.)

2. Rank these luxury handbags in order of most expensive to least expensive:  Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Hermes Birkin. (I can provide a visual sample if you need it.)

3. Name all Kardashian children in order from oldest to youngest.  (Hint: they all start with a “K” except for the boy.)

“A Kardashian Khristmas” (no kidding) image from

4. Since the project is writing a procedures manual, are you capable of writing a Cliffs Notes version of what you write … and a Cliffs Notes of the Cliffs Notes … perhaps a wallet size cheat sheet?  Some people don’t like to read.

 Good luck.  I am looking forward to bossing you around on this project. 

My response:

Well. I see that you finally got out of bed. Unfortunately, you seem to have left your brains behind.

Image from Psychology Today but don’t bother to read the article. Its conclusions are incorrect.

Dog? Really?? Everyone except you and your spoiled dog knows cats are smarter. Everyone, but everyone, also knows the Kardashian kids’ names (easy peasy, you can’t escape them). With you as a friend, of course I know which purse is “better” but I will have to will assume that you buy only the most expensive of anything and go with Coach. We will address your anathema of reading when I see you. (How can I possibly have a friend who doesn’t like to read??)

Thank you so much for the questions in advance. I promise to tell everyone I know that you shared them! (At least I’m going to post them on my blog. I have only about a hundred followers — low by WP standards — in five countries, so that shouldn’t spread too fast.)

PS. I will be the most obnoxious, lazy, whiny, cat-loving, obtuse employee you ever had. I promise to make your life hell.

We’re going to have a good time with this, I can tell!

Posted in family, humor, life, people

Wishing mom a happy Mother’s Day as only siblings can

This is for my sister and anyone else out there with siblings. Still my all-time favorite Mother’s Day wish, it’s brought to you by the ever cheeky Luke and Joe at Barats and Bareta. Feel free to copy it and send it off to your mom!

Posted in edibles, family, humor, life

My sister the tomato witch

As per usual, I’ve been Googling, this time for some new ideas to replenish or replant my baskets. I have limited gardening area, which is actually good for a lazy bones like me. I like to shop for new plants, get them into the ground, water them and watch them grow — all for pleasure. I keep it small because otherwise it can overwhelm my two-year-old attention span. I have a small patio with enough room for a few pots and some in-ground stuff and that’s just enough.

Completely unlike my sister. She’s one of those grow-your-own-vegetables and feed-the-entire-neighborhood types. She lives in Sacramento and has all the heat and sun she needs for multiple varieties of heirloom tomatoes, plus a ton of other vegetables and fruit. She taunts me (and others) with pictures of the abundance. Her tomatoes are to die for and she makes me sick.

My sister and her tomatoes. I hate her.

Continue reading “My sister the tomato witch”