When I grow up I want to be a crossing guard

It takes a certain type of person to be a crossing guard. 


First of all, you have to look good in orange.  Check.

Gotta like kids.  Check.

Gotta be reliable.  Check.                         

Gotta be willing to get up early, and then leave your afternoons free.  Hmmmm….                                       

Most importantly, you have to be willing to throw yourself out there in front of five thousand pounds of hurtling , caffeine-driven, steel,  plastic, and glass, armed only with a wispy little stop sign on the end of a stick.  I could do that.


I have a favorite crossing-guard.  Twice in the last month I have parked my car near her cross-walk with the intention of asking if I could take some pictures of her.  Twice I wimped out.  OK, one of those times it was raining.  Plus, I’m shy.          

So I’ll paint you a picture.  She’s in her sixties at least, probably older.  She wears a baseball cap over what appears to be a wig.  Either that or she has some unnaturally thick hair of an  indescribabe color.  Ok, it’s the color of tuna fish.  The cheap kind.  Not albacore.

She has jowls that would make Walter Matthou jealous.  But they look good on her.  She’s plump, like any respectable grandma.  She wears sneakers.  But my favorite thing about her is that she often wears pink pants.  And they look amazing with the orange vest.

What can I say.  Every time I drive past her spot, early morning or mid-afternoon, rain or shine,  she’s there.  I wonder what her name is.  She looks like an Edna.  Yup, definitely an Edna.  Or Dora.

She must have seniority among the crossing-guards because she has the best spot, with the public library on one side and a beautiful old church on the other.  Warning lights flash when someone wants to cross.  Good back-up.  She has a folding chair set up on each side.  This morning she was sitting propped against a telephone poll, lost in thought, umbrella at her side.  Across the way she sits beside a huge planter that is currently in bloom with yellow daisies and purple rosemary, the church towering behind her.  Go ahead and picture it. 

Someday, hopefully not too soon, Edna will get a promotion and find herself guarding that big cross-walk in the sky.  By then I should be ready to wear pink pants.


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Thursdays are my Friday

Good Lord!  I’m out of town for one night and I come back to an overflowing in-box.  You people are maniacs. 

Two hours later I’ve caught up on my fav-o-blogs and I’m ready to fill your in-box with wit.  Right back at ya.

Yesterday the Spring semester began, and tomorrow we have mid-terms.  Whoa!  Where did the last 8 weeks go?  I don’t even want to know…

Anybody wanna come into the city with me tomorrow?  San Francisco?  I have to visit an art gallery there and view some photos for my photography class. 

As long as we’re in the city, we might as well visit the best bakery on the planet, Tartine, stand in the line that inevitably winds it’s way out the door and down the block, and then gush with mirth and disbelief as we sink our teeth into pillowy pastries and sip steamy, creamy lattes from bowls.

Come with me.   I’ll take a picture of you with a latte mustache, then we’ll walk over to Dolores Park and people-watch.

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study, eat, delete

Rainy Sunday passes quickly.  Been sitting at the keyboard for most of the day so far, moving pictures around, deleting the dumb ones, pushing the old ones onto the external hard drive to make room for more….

Walk around the block in the drizzle.  A slug is crossing the road.  A worm is crossing the road.  Why?  They’re probably wondering the same thing about me.  No doubt they too are just out for a little fresh air, some exercise to keep their wormy-sluggishness in order. 

Leftover Chinese take-out in the microwave.  Roof of my mouth tender from last night’s too-hot-no-patience pizza fest.  Immediately after warning the teenager to let it cool before scarfing, this wonderful role-model sat silently cursing herself.  Granola for breakfast was a bad choice.  May need to medicate myself soon with some ice cream.

Join me.   

Posted in daily Life, food, Not-so-amazing stories, teens, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Beware The Cake Personality Test

Whaddya think, peeps?  Is it safe?  I have recently received comments from 2 people who suggested I take The Cake Personality Test.  Excuse me?

devil's food cake with coffee buttercream

devil's food cake with coffee buttercream

I’m suspicious.  I clicked on the blog address of the commenters and both of them had blogs that contained only jokes that seemed very un-original, like they’d been copied from elsewhere,  which made me go back to my blog and unapprove their comments so that none of y’all would click on the links.

Whaddya think, my worldly, blogospheric and internet savvy friends?  Is it safe?  Am I being silly?  Or is this a trap cleverly baited with buttercream?

Do we really need to take a test (bleck!) to know what kind of a cake we are? 

Should the words “cake” and “test” even be allowed in the same sentence?

Let’s keep our computers safe so we can continue to enjoy each other’s company, and if we want to mix cake and computers, I say nibble a little devil’s food cake with coffee buttercream while blogging, being careful not to let any crumbs hit the keyboard.

ps.  The photos are of a cake I made for a birthday party last month.  And yes, it was even better than it looks.

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If you were a cake I would eat you

Just for the sake of argument, let’s say you were a cake. 

What kind of cake would you be? 

Would you be a pancake or a cupcake?  A cheesecake or a cream cake?

A tiramisu cake or a blue cake?  It’s up to you, cake.

I’d be a pineapple upside down cake.  With chopped pecans sprinkled in with the pineapple, and fresh cherry halves (not maraschino) stuck in the holes of the pineapple rings.

What kind of cake are you?

Posted in daily Life, food, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

Got gas?


Four hours before the guests arrived I decided to check the propane level in the big avocado-green propane tank that dominates my back yard.  Below E, it said to me.

WTF?  Normally I fill the thing twice a year.  I just filled it a couple months ago.  I use propane to heat the house, heat the water, and to cook.  I guess my mom being here for 3 weeks kinda sucked it up quicker than usual.  And I’ve been home non-stop, not running off to Marty’s every other weekend when I would turn off the heat and set the water heater to vacation mode.  Plus, it’s been extra chilly so I leave the heat on all day for my mom, and she’s been cooking up a storm.  Two things that don’t often happen around here.

I’ve got $25 dollars worth of chicken to cook, plus cornbread and potatoes and carrots and a cake to bake, and 12 guests on their way, and I’m worried that I’ll run out of propane in the middle of it all.  Stress! Stress! Stress harder!

Then I remembered:  I have neighbors.  Hooray for neighbors.  An hour earlier I had invited Sylvia to join us, my next door neighbor, a virtually housebound 70-something English woman who had a stroke a few years ago, a retired travel agent who has visited more than 50 countries in her life.  Sylvia has an oven.  She’s awesome. 

I speak to a neighbor on the other side.  We all live pretty close together in duplexes, and she offers not only their brand-new barbecue gas grill, but her husband to run it, if necessary.  I love my neighbors.

I make the batter for the cake and pop it in it’s pans and run it over to Sylvia’s.  Don’t want the propane running out in the middle of the cake baking.  That would be bad.

We get everything else ready and stuff it into my 400 degree oven at a quarter to five.  Every ten minutes I get down on my hands and knees to pray see if the oven is still lit.   Miraculously, all the food gets plenty cooked and we still have enough propane to make coffee and tea, and run the dishwasher afterwards. 

Today there are three bouquets of flowers, including a dozen perfect, pink, long-stemmed roses, adorning my humble home.  Plus some leftover chicken, and baked beans, and coleslaw, and yummy cake.

My mom had a great time and felt loved and was surrounded by friends, even though she was thousands of miles away from her usual playmates.    Mission accomplished.

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hello, goodbye, crazy quilt

My mom is still here.  She has cleaned every inch of the house, except the garage.  She’s saving that for last.  I am so lucky to have a full-time housekeeper and cook.  She’s going back to Maine next week. 

Tomorrow is her 74th birthday.  Some of my friends are coming over for dinner and cake and ice cream.  They are saints.  They like my mom.

Oven-barbecued chicken, Boston baked beans, brown rice, green salad, corn bread.  Feels like summer, though there was a chance of snow predicted for today.  Highly unusual.  Never did snow today.

She wants a yellow cake with whipped cream frosting and strawberries, and so she shall have it.  I will make it because I am the resident cake-baker and because my mother wants it.  Anyone who cooks and cleans for me can have anything they want.


I saw Marty this week.  I gave him a box of his stuff and he gave me the bouquet of preserved, dusty, crispy, long-stemmed roses that have been sitting in a clear glass vase on the desk in his living room for the past year and a half.  They were huge and beautiful and fragrant and red when he gave them to me in July of ’09, the day he took me to the beach and asked me to marry him. 

Today I put them on top of the compost pile and cried a little.   It’s been one month since we called it off…

back to the earth, back to square one

In happier news, my mom and I, but mostly my mom, finished a quilt we started back in April of 2009.  For many years my mom would visit only once a year, and then only for a few days, ’cause she had to take care of my father who was always suffering from one ailment or another in his old age, and he did not like to travel. 

He died a year ago this month.  Actually, he died on her birthday, the greatest gift he could have given her, in the words of one neighbor.  So yeah, tomorrow is my mother’s birthday and my father’s deathday.  Weird.

So this year she’s staying for longer than three days, more like three weeks.  We finished the “crazy quilt”.  One of my friends had dozens of bags and boxes full of scrap fabrics, so we took some off her hands and created this wacky quilt.  My mom is an accomplished quilter, you should see some of the quilts she’s made…..hmmm…..there’s a blogpost in there.


A cozy colorful quilt.  Must be time for bed.  Have a happy weekend everybody!

Posted in daily Life, food, housework, posts with photos | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments