The Dreaded Temecula

One of my girlfriends called me at the end of last week to chat about something or other. After a moment or two of conversation, she seemed rather alarmed at my croaky voice and persistent cough.

“Are you all right?” she asked.

“No,” I told her. “I’m pretty sure I have a severe case of Temecula.”

“Temecula?” My friend asked. “I haven’t heard of that. Although, I’m pretty sure there is a coastal town in California with that name.”

Hmmm…My friend may be on to something. The truth is, while I felt deathly ill, there isn’t really a dreaded disease by that name. Well, at least not that I am aware of. Most people call what I have, the Common Cold. What a boring name for something so completely miserable.


It all started just a little less than thirty years ago. Shaun and I would drive up from San Diego up to Los Angeles to see my aunt and grandparents every month or two. Keep in mind that this was practically back in the cave days. There were no cell phones, no DVD players, no Spotify or iTunes or any of the wonderful stuff we have today to keep ourselves entertained. All we had was a car stereo with sketchy reception in the areas that hadn’t been developed between those two major cities yet. Oh yes, and each other to talk to.

Shaun and I have a love of word games. We often will say something that sets us off on a rhyming contest to see who can come up with the best rhyme in a sentence. Or maybe we will see a random word or name and instantly launch into some elaborate, yet highly plausible story up about that word. It was considered a win if we could actually convince the other to believe it. Of course, we had gotten rather skeptical of each other and were rarely convinced.

One of the words that we played with was the name of a town we saw on the freeway signs. “Temecula, next 3 exits.” Play with that in your mouth. Tem-ehhh-cuuuu-la. Draw the c out in the back of your throat. Do you see how it could sound like a horrible disease? We did. Somehow, this one word, and the silly meaning that we invented behind, it has stuck with us…and our children.

So whenever we have a miserable, yet harmless illness, we claim that we have the Dreaded Temecula. We are allowed to moan and groan and fully embrace our horrible fate until everyone else in the family is sick of us. Somehow, that makes it a little less miserable.

Don’t worry, it looks as though I will make a full recovery. I just hope I didn’t make anyone else sick…I don’t want to listen to their whining about having Temecula.

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It’s Time

Shortly after I posted my story about last year’s New Year’s Resolution, you know, the one about how it took me an entire year to make a simple apron, Shaun started asking me what my resolution for this year was going to be. He wanted to know, and may have been strongly hinting that it was to start blogging again. I just smiled and told him I hadn’t decided yet.

The fact was, that I had already decided that I was going to write every single day this year. It didn’t have to be a blog post. It could be something in my journal, a letter, a list…anything as long as I got myself in the habit of writing again. Sadly, my secret writing streak only lasted about two weeks. Apparently, I just wasn’t ready to start writing again.

Yet, I wanted to write. My imagination would take a simple little happening, a Slice of My Life, if you will, and started spinning it into a little story. My fingers would start to twitch and I would reach for the composition notebook that I haul around with my at all times. Somehow…the words would never quite make it onto the paper. The more times that happened, the harder it got to be. Writing was no longer flowing out of me.

I started to notice that every time I made the firm decision to set aside my keyboard, pen and paper, someone would come along and ask when I was going to blog again. Or even mention that they missed my stories. It amazes me how many people enjoyed and miss my writing. People that I had no idea were even aware that I had a blog. So, for them, I would buck up and decide to write something. Still, the words always felt choppy and just stayed in my notebook.

Although my poor blog is sadly dusty and neglected, I still enjoy scrolling my blog feed page. I enjoy peeking in on the world of my blog friends that are still posting, as well as several other interesting blogs I have found along the way. This evening it dawned on me that the month-long Slice Of Life challenge started today.


Something in me surged up, “It’s time!” my soul sang out.

I have a lot of stories that I have been wanting to write. Yet…just didn’t. This month I’m going to write them down. I won’t worry if the words seem wrong or don’t flow the way I want them to. I’m just going to write them down. Only this time, my main audience will be myself. This month, I’m writing for me.

And you, Dear Reader are more than welcome to tag along to see what I come up with.

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Waiting Until the Last Minute

New Year’s Eve should have found me leisurely creating a new and tantalizing appetizer and getting ready for a party I was excited to attend. Instead I found myself hastily throwing together a tried and true version of stuffed mushrooms and running a brush through my hair in-between alternating bouts of sitting at my sewing machine, and trying not to burn myself at the ironing board.

This was all because of a decision I had made a few months ago. Twelve months ago if we are going to get precise. You see, I had been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. I wanted to come up with something that I would actually follow through on. I have journals and scraps of paper going back to the time when I first became aware of resolutions. Fourteen year old Susan had the same resolutions that forty year old Susan had. We (along with the rest of the world) resolved to get organized, to go running every morning, lose weight…you know, every cliché that’s out there.

My sweet husband Shaun argued that it was silly to make resolutions. New Year’s was just another day of the year, goals could be set at any time. I just looked at him and shook my head. He simply didn’t understand the power of traditions. So I thought and played with different original, yet useful ideas I could make as resolutions. I finally came up with an idea while we were on a short getaway. I was going to make an apron.make an apron.


I have no idea why I have wanted to make an apron. I have aprons…lots of aprons…that I rarely wear. Yet still, I needed to make one. I thought about my apron all year long. I gazed at every apron I saw, I pinned them and I drooled over them. Heck, I even bought a couple. Yet…I didn’t do anything about making one. At least not until I had only hours to make one on December 31st.

I quickly decided that I would throw one together from one of Shaun’s old button down shirts like I had seen on Pintrest. A few snips here and even fewer hems there and I would have fulfilled my goal. I stood, poised with my scissors, and realized I couldn’t, in good conscience take the easy way out. My apron needed to have a skirt, bib, long ties…and a chicken.

A chicken? I asked myself why on earth I thought I needed a chicken on it.  My over-active imagination simply specified that the chicken had to be made into a pocket.


I pieced together most of bones of the apron before my ride for the party picked me up. I’d never made an apron before, and didn’t have a pattern so I was crossing my fingers that my ideas would work. 

The next morning, after I had recovered from my festivities afternoon, I set to work creating a Chicken Pocket.  I dredged from the corners of my mind everything I had ever read about applique, found a coloring page of a chicken I liked, and gathered up some colorful fabric. I definitely need more practice as it’s far from perfect. However, after a bit of trial and error, I came up with a chicken that simply makes me beam for all of it’s colorful silliness.


It only took me a year, but I managed to complete my 2014 New Year’’

Posted in Crafty, It's all about me!, Traditions | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Thanks For The Memories

I was late calling my parents for Thanksgiving. The day had has been a non-stop whirlwind of activity and had just gotten away from me. So I called them on Friday hoping that they weren’t upset that I was behind in calling them. They weren’t. Their Thanksgiving had been a busy one as well. They are currently on the east coast and had celebrated with my brother and his wife’s family.

I talked with my dad for a bit before he ran out of things to say and handed me over to my mother. Mom and I chatted about this and that before the holiday was even mentioned. Then Mom wanted to know all the details. Who did we spend the holiday with, which house was it at, and what my favorite part of the day was. Then she wanted to know what we ate.

“Did you have Glorified Rice?” she asked.

“No” I answered. “I don’t think there is anyone that really likes it. Besides, I can never get the rice to stay soft.” Glorified Rice was the one dessert that my grandmother absolutely had to make for family gatherings. It was a strange combination including white rice, heavy cream, marshmallows, pineapple chunks and maraschino cherries. As a child, it was my absolute favorite. I remember eagerly helping Grandma slice the cherries in half and being allowed to use her ancient hand-held mixer to whip the cream until my arm ached. After Grandma died, we tried to recreate the heavenly treat using her recipe card from her trusty recipe box. It was never the same. The flavors were there, but the rice always turned into little pebbles no matter how long we cooked it or what we tried.

“Well, how about 7-Up Jello Salad? Did you make that?” Mom asked.

“Yes, of course we made that. It’s Mimi’s very favorite.” I answered. My youngest daughter, Mimi, had come over after work and then again first thing in the morning so she could help make her favorites. One of which is 7-Up Jello Salad. This is another odd traditional dish in our family. I always think of my aunt who found the recipe originally. Of course I have no idea where she found it, possibly a magazine, a church cookbook or given to her by a friend. Who know? Regardless, the combination of 7- Up, lemon Jello, pineapple and cream cheese is always at our holiday table.

“I bet you had Cherries in the Snow, didn’t you?” Mom sighed. All I know about the origins of this layered concoction of angel food cake, cream cheese and cherry pie filling, is that my dad used to give out recipe cards when he was a realtor, and this was one of them. In fact, I still have a “Hometown Realty presents” recipe card with Dad’s name on it. For some reason, it always make me grin.

I’ve always felt that Thanksgiving was the one holiday dedicated to our friends and family. We are supposed to think about all the things in our life that we should be thankful for. What I hadn’t quite grasped was that the warm feelings associated with this special meal wasn’t because I was thinking about how grateful I was. Nor was it because the food was so amazing. The most remarkable thing about this meal was the memories and the love behind each and every dish sitting on our table.

I thought of all the dishes we made and the stories behind them. I smiled at the thought of my dear friend Susan teaching me how to make the Cranberry Orange Relish when our kids were tiny, Jeanne’s famous pies, the Spiced Cranberry Sauce that Sue introduced me to just last year, the Green Bean Casserole my friend Kathy always included, the stuffing Mom taught me how to make, and the turkey (cooked in a bag) that Grandpa got out his electric knife to carve each year. So many people have made their indelible mark on what I always thought was merely a traditional meal. I truly am thankful to have had all those people in my life.


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Beautiful October

Hello October. I’m so glad you are here.  It seems as though you have only just arrived, but in truth, you are nearly gone.  As they say, time flies when you are having fun.  I’ve been enjoying you so much. 


There’s something about the transitioning seasons that appeals to my heart.  As much as I love the summer, it’s time for something new.  Autumn brings a welcome nip to the air. There is just enough to cool the air and make it crisp, but not yet cold. The leaves are just starting to change colors and fall to the ground.  I’d say that they were wonderfully crunchy to stomp through, but the reality in the Pacific Northwest, is that they usually just create a colorful, yet soggy mosaic on the ground.


To my delight, pumpkins have sprung up everywhere. You see them outside grocery stores, decorating businesses, on porches and even on my dining room table. As much as we like to decorate with pumpkins, we love eat them even more! The heady scent of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg fills the air as we nibble on pumpkin muffins, soups, scones, oatmeal, and let’s not forget the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte. 


Seemingly overnight everyone has dug out their scarves, fuzzy sweaters and boots.  Dressing in layers is a must, as the weather has become even more unpredictable then usual.  Yesterday started out overcast and chilly. By noon it was sunny and warm. The blue sky contrasted so beautifully with the yellows, browns and russets of the turning leaves.  It was simply breath taking.  Today brings glimpses of winter with it’s gloomy grey skies and heavy rain showers.  Despite what the weather man will tell us, each day is a secret surprise, ready to unveil itself in it’s own time.  

It’s quite possible that after a few more weeks of this, that I will long for those long lazy days of summer. Yet, for right now, I’m more than content to curl up in my favorite chair with a cozy blanket, a good book and my pups and just enjoy this glorious fall. I hope you are enjoying it as well.

octobers           Image stolen from Facebook. Original source unknown.

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The End of a Chapter

Yesterday morning Shaun loaded up the car while I ran around the house turning off lights, jotting a quick note to the house-sitter and hugging the hounds goodbye.  Within moments we were joining the masses headed across the pass for Memorial Weekend.  A quick glance at our fellow travelers, those towing boats and campers, or loaded with kayaks and bikes were off for a long weekend of fun.   We intended to have fun, but of a different sort.  You see, this weekend, after four very short years, our girl will be graduating.

I was getting sad thinking to myself that we would never head over to KT’s college again, when Shaun decided to play, “Reminisce.” (He actually likes to play this quite a bit) He began regaling me with all the anecdotes I’ve heard a zillion times before. His voice was growing horse by the time he got to seeing “Toy Story 3” a few weeks before KT headed off for school. It just so happens that Andy, the main character is the same age as our girl. In the last “Toy Story,” Andy headed off to college. I’m sure many people were confused as to why our entire family was sobbing as we headed out of the theater.

Then the day came that we had to actually leave our KT outside of her dorm.


It was almost more than we could bear.  Yet we were happy to see the smile she gave us as Shaun asked her to pose for this one last shot. 

When I look as this photo now, I see a very young girl, just starting a new section of her life.  Her fist is clenched tight as though holding in all of her thoughts and anxious feelings.  I look at my confident girl of today and can only wonder what the next chapter will hold for her.  This is so exiting. 

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Sweet Basil Dreams

As I peeled apart the clear hard-plastic container, I got my first whiff. A small trickle of nearly forgotten memories started to slowly twirl around in the farthest reaches of my mind. The scent intensified as I pulled the crumpled leaves out of their packaging. I plopped them down on the cheap Ikea cutting board, and admired their greenness against the red. Then I peered out my kitchen window. There, on the railing of my deck, sat a squat brown pot with a shriveled branch defiantly standing up.

I know I should have composted the lifeless plant back in the fall and tucked the planter away for the winter. Yet, somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to do that. In a strange way, I actually liked looking at the dead branch. It reminded that the seemingly endless gray Seattle winter would someday fade away. It gave me hope that our glorious summer would soon return.


I turned back to my task. Grasping the knife tightly, I sliced the sharply honed steel across the store-bought herb. The cut leaves immediately released the most heavenly aroma. As I inhaled deeply, I was instantly catapulted to the middle of summer. I was outside playing fetch with my dogs as the pungent scent drifted from the deck to where we romped below on the lawn. I was dining outside with friends enjoying the sunshine, good conversation and laughter. Not only could I smell the light fragrance wafting over us, I delighted in the sweet peppery taste it added to our meal. I was sitting in a comfortable Adirondack chair, sipping wine and giggling with a friend all while breathing in that heady perfume.

Smiling at the awakened memories, I scraped the chopped leaves into the waiting saucepan. I laughed at myself for having such uncharitable thoughts toward purchased produce. No, they weren’t the lush, hand harvested leaves that I had spoiled myself with all summer long. They may actually have been even better. At the end of a long winter’s grip, they brought the dreams of summer back to me.

Yeah Write

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Blame It On The Time Change

Shaun came home from work and we sat chatting about everything and nothing for a few minutes. Then he asked me if I had blogged yet. I gave him one of those sideway looks that told him that I thought he was nuts. Then glancing out the window and seeing how light it still was outside, I told him that I had plenty of time.

It was my turn to get one of those looks that told me exactly what he was thinking about my thought processes. (We are very good at giving each other meaningful looks.) He nodded knowingly and suggested that I had forgotten about Daylight Savings Time, and told me I only had an hour and a half left to get something brilliant posted. Plenty of time.

I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. But…well…it wasn’t dark and I didn’t have to start writing yet. Then suddenly, I realized that there was no time left. ACK! So much for brilliance.

I’m going to blame it on the fact that I had to get up so much earlier than I was meant to, (let’s face it, an hour isn’t very long unless, of course, you are trying to sleep, and blearily hit your snooze for as long as you possibly can!) after staying up way too late the night before.

(Imagine from Facebook…I have no idea who to credit)

Tomorrow has got to be better…


Thank you for reading A Slice of My Life. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you liked this post, why not consider “liking” my Facebook Page, subscribing by mail (at the upper right) or signing up in a reader. I’d be thrilled and you would never miss a post. Oh…and I love comments!

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A Parent’s Worst Nightmare

My girls and I often communicate by text. It’s simple to shoot something off and respond at your leisure. The last I had heard from my youngest was that she and her best friend Michele were going to hang out at The Bluff. I had no idea where the bluff was, but I assumed she was fine and would tell me about it later. My response was for her to be safe. It seems that I’m always telling them that. I can only hope that they know how much I worry and decide to make good choices.

An hour or so later, I got another text from Mimi. It merely said “I’m at the hospital…”

My heart started pounding and I tried not to let my panic show as I sent back a series of frantic questions asking what happened and how bad was it. I jammed my shoes on and started hunting for my keys as I waited to hear which hospital she was at. Just as I started to call her, I got another text. It said that Michele’s mom was in the ICU. I let out a huge sigh of relief. I was so grateful that my baby girl was okay.

The immediate panic over, my concern switched to Michele’s family. Once again, I asked what had happened and started wondering what I could do to help. My daughter must’ve had pity on me at that point, as she reminded me that Michele’s mom was a nurse and that they were just visiting her.

And I wonder where these gray hairs keep coming from…


Mimi and Michele…partners in crime!


Thank you for reading A Slice of My Life. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you liked this post, why not consider “liking” my Facebook Page, subscribing by mail (at the upper right) or signing up in a reader. I’d be thrilled and you would never miss a post. Oh…and I love comments!

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Define Interesting

Shaun and I were out running errands this afternoon. He was listening to the classic rock station and giving me a mini-lesson about some obscure band that I was largely ignoring. We came to a stop light and he turned to give me his full attention. Apparently, I didn’t have very pleasant look on my face because he was suddenly very concerned and wanted to know why I was scowling. Of course I denied that I was scowling. I informed my husband that I was just thinking, and was also wondering when he was going to do something interesting.

“Interesting?” he asked. “What do you mean, interesting? I’m always interesting.” I told him that while I was very happy with his confidence level, I needed something more from him than his vast knowledge of the band MouseRat or whoever.

“Wait a minute! This is about your blog isn’t it?” he shouted and began waving his arms around in agitation. “This is too much pressure, I can’t do this!” I explained that he was all I had left now that the girls were rarely home. I needed him for some good blog material…especially as I had committed to blogging every day. And besides, I mollified him, he was the most interesting person I knew.

As we pulled into the Sushiland parking lot for lunch a short while later, I asked Shaun if he thought the waiter was going to ask to pet his beard again. (OK, to be honest here, I’m not sure it that is an interesting thing or a weird thing to happen to someone.)

“My beard!” Shaun said, “You can write about my beard, that’s interesting.”

“It’s not interesting.” I answered, “You know how I feel about that thing. I will write about it when you shave it off.”

Hmmm…I do find it interesting that somehow, the beard is still there and I’m writing about it.


At least I get to post an interesting snapshot of Shaun wearing wax lips….


Thank you for reading A Slice of My Life. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you liked this post, why not consider “liking” my Facebook Page, subscribing by mail (at the upper right) or signing up in a reader. I’d be thrilled and you would never miss a post. Oh…and I love comments!

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