Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas Trees

     Yesterday on my way to work I noticed a change in the corner lot where Hoppers set up their tree lot every year. The ground had been leveled and there was a white cargo trailer sitting on the back of the lot. Could it be? Are they coming already? And then I realized that this is the week of Thanksgiving and they always come before the holiday for those people who get their tree the day after Thanksgiving.
     This morning as I drove by there were two, and maybe more that I didn't see, workmen out in the back portion of the lot setting up the big tent where they have their cash register and a small store for tree stands, etc... They also display a small amount of flocked trees (beautiful but messy) and serve free hot popcorn and cold cider. They are nice people; a family from Oregon. They spend their Thanksgiving on the road so that we can have Christmas trees to buy. It's a sacrifice that goes above and beyond.
     Every year we go, around the middle of December and pick out our tree. They always have a good supply. I like Douglas Fir but have bought some other types of Firs over the years. I sometimes even splurge for a Noble Fir because I do like the stiff branches. They are usually a little more pricey than the rest of the selection but my ornaments look so nice on them. 
     I just can't believe they are here. There is a certain amount of comfort in their presence. I caught myself smiling all the way to work.

Friday, November 16, 2012


     Today is  Friday. I am so glad today is Friday. The weeks seem to be going quickly but not quick enough. The weekend are going too quickly. I have way too much to get it done in two days. I am working on several projects right now. One is a quilted bedspread for my neighbor. She has wanted one for awhile now and I finally found some fabric that speaks her name. So I am cutting squares now and am anxious to get it into blocks and get it together for her. She is so sweet. The doctors have told her that she has stage 4 COPD, so, not to be morbid, I feel I must rush and get it done as soon as possible so that she can enjoy it as long as possible.
    I am working on a back for another large quilt and 2 backs for baby quilts. Then I thought I would do a small fused project for a friend for Christmas. But that is proving to be harder than I thought it was going to be. But I will persevere because it will be really pretty if I can get it to look right. And I would like to get this all done this weekend. Saturday I pretty much have to myself and I am hoping on Sunday to go and sew with my Friendship Group. One of the members is very good at art quilts so I may ask her advice on the fusing project. It is so good to have the talent of others to fall back on.
     Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


     O.K. Here it is. I am getting rather ticked off by the way people drive. Is it just me or has anyone else out there noticed that people are not using their turn indicators? I don't understand this. When I was taught to drive, while in high school, I was told two very important things: #1 the car was not going to do anything you did not tell it to do and #2 if you plan on moving the car from its present position you MUST use your turn indicator to let people know what you are doing! Other drivers cannot read your mind so it is common courtesy to use your blinkers. Done. Period.
     In the past couple of days I have had people change lanes, almost into the side of my car, without signaling, make left turns in front of me without signaling and make me wait at a stop sign to cross a street while they merrily come down the road and at the last minute I realize they are talking a right hand turn which means I have wasted 2-3 minutes out of my life I will never get back. This is just inconsiderate and also downright dangerous.
     In talking to some others about this topic I have also heard that the librarian in our school has been told that she shouldn't quiet the students that come in for tutoring, as the noise they make is a "productive noise." I hardly think that screaming and making so much noise that she goes home with a headache almost every single day, is not productive. It is just inconsiderate and rude. It's a library for heaven's sake! When did the rules for being quiet in a library change?
     While I'm ranting here I should also mention that most of the students on my campus have no manners. They don't excuse themselves when they walk into you, no less when they cross your line of vision or conversation. They throw their food containers on the ground, not in the trash can which are conveniently located around the lunch area, when they are finished eating and opening doors for anyone other than themselves is a pipe dream. Oh, they also spit on campus, anywhere they like: sidewalk, playing field, ramps to class rooms etc... I suppose I should be grateful they don't spit indoors...yet. Our sidewalks on campus are littered with old dried up wads of gum that can only be removed with a special concrete buffing machine; too expensive to rent.
     Where is the civility we are supposed to extend to other human beings? Are we so caught up in technology that the human factor, along with the manners of polite society, is being lost? These children we teach are the voice of tomorrow and we are letting an entire new generation grow up without the manners to conduct themselves properly in society at large. It is too large of an issue to just be a random act of poor up bringing. We are not, at least some of us, setting good examples.
     Use your turn indicators. Throw your trash in a waste can. Say "excuse me" when needed. Come on, people. Step up and do the right thing so that our children can live in the polite society we all grew up in. Don't make all our parent's efforts be in vain.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thrift Stores

     This past Saturday I went to Thousand Oaks to meet my sister and participate in our 2nd Annual Thrift Store Tour. We hit upon this idea last year about this time in looking for something, not to strenuous, to fill a day when we could visit and talk and eat and just spend the day together. She mapped out the thrift stores she could find in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Moorpark and Westlake. I loaded the addresses into my Garmin and off we went. Last year was such a success that we decided to repeat the day this year. She had kept and updated the grid of stores with notations about hours, etc... We found some nice little places to eat (where the locals go) and some deals in our shopping.
     I love this activity (really any shopping, buying or just window shopping or better yet going shopping with someone and helping them spend all their money!) But it always leaves me to wonder on the long drive home at the variety and items in all these thrift stores. You have to remember that most of the items in a thrift store were purchased new by someone at a previous time. Much falls under the category of "What were they thinking?" And I firmly believe that many of the items were bought as gifts for another person whose tastes and preferences were not known. Some of the items are so old that they are certainly from an estate where the last of the older generation died and possessions were cleared out. Maybe a yard sale was had, maybe not. Whatever the reason, the balance of the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, utility rooms and storage sheds were given away in hopes they would fill a need for another person. And probably, in many cases, the items do find new homes and serve another life purpose.
     As we search through the goodies we come upon, I have to wonder about the amount of "things" we fill our lives with. What will happen to all my beloved "things" when I pass on?
     Several years ago I was invited by my cousin to come up to the Bay Area and go through my Aunt's house after she passed. She was fairly well off and had some lovely items in her house. I was able to collect all her silk clothing for a quilt I plan to make some day. And I took some other items that struck my fancy at the time. A wooden pencil box with an attached green ribbon, a Japanese parasol, her old sewing machine (which I have since donated to a young person who needed a sewing machine). There was a household full of items, "things" to look at and decide if I wanted them. But after a time, it all became just "stuff." She was not my mother so I didn't hold a lot of sentiment for any of her things. but I spent the day looking and visiting with my cousins, which was a nice way to occupy a day.
     During the summers I like to go to Estate Sales when I can find them in the neighborhoods. Estate sales are better than yard sales because at yard sales you only get the choice of what the seller want you to buy but at Estate sales, everything is up for grabs if you get there early enough. I found one in a small town next to us two summers ago. I had not gotten there as early as I had wanted to but I was early enough to get a look at what was left, which was still quite a bit. I happened into a back bedroom. At first glance I noticed it was filled with dolls. The previous owner of the house obviously had had a doll collection. Since I am not "into" dolls I almost passed that room up but I caught sight of a decorated lidded box sitting on a love seat. I had to see what it held. Inside were pictures. Wedding pictures, baby pictures, family pictures from generations of this family. You could tel by their looks they were all related. I stood there awhile, flipping through them and admiring the poses and dresses of the older photos. And as I went though the photos, I wondered why they were there. Where was the family in the pictures? Didn't they want these for themselves? Why were they for sale? How could a family sell its memories like this? I found it all to be very sad. I softly closed the box and left it sitting on the couch.
     Did the doll collector think about what would happen to her things after she passed? I think she did, but either didn't have a say or was so sick it  may not have mattered at that point.
     With all this in mind, I began, 2 years ago to go through my "stuff" and have yard sales or give it to the Goodwill. Oh, don't get me wrong. I still have plenty of "stuff" that will have to be dealt with when I die, but I hope what is left at the end will be well received and not become a burden to my family. And, unlike that box of photos, my things will mean something to my family and be passed on.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


     Wow, I haven't blogged in a whole week. Time just flies, especially around grade posting time! I refuse to take it home to post so I am stuck spending every spare minute doing grades. But it is my choice so...
     Well, the elections have come and gone. In a way I am thankful that we don't have to listen to or watch the political ads any longer. Every commercial, really? It was reported that between the Presidential and Congressional campaigns, 6.5 billion dollars were spent in advertising. Couldn't and shouldn't that money be better spent? I can think of a ton of things to spend that much money on. And the sad part is that we really don't have anything to show for it. Our current president was reelected. Other than the title and 4 more years of work, what does he have to show for all the money he spent? Why would someone spend 2+ billion dollars to get a job that pays so little a year. I'd have to look up exactly what he makes but it isn't any where NEAR  even 1/2 billion dollars a year. Seems like such a waste.