Saturday, September 23, 2017

New Orleans for Our 39th Wedding Anniversary & My 64th Birthday

I planned this trip for 3 months before we left, to insure a good time was had by all. Our 31 year old daughter who is an environmental lawyer for the State of Texas, joined us for the trip, at our request. It just happened to be the weekend of the Halloween Parade, which turned out to be a blast of fun. Yes, and I am thoroughly behind on my Life Updates.

I rented a beautiful house through Home Away/VRBO that was located 3 blocks from Frenchman St. and 6 blocks from the French Quarter. Luckily, it was right next door to a friend-of-a-friend, who was having a party for the Halloween Parade, which was starting just blocks from their/our house. It was all very exciting and had a  bit of a Mardis Gras feel to it.

We arrived in NOLA on a Thursday and quickly settled in to our lovely house. We had reservations that night for Dickie Brennan's Steak House and it did not disappoint. Old World charm and New Age cuisine meet in the middle. The Escargots & Bone Marrow appetizer is to swoon for. We took Creme Brulee in *go boxes* back to our house & ate them on the patio. We stopped briefly to watch this tap dancer/jazz singer who was totally entertaining.

Friday morning we were up and out early, having grits, eggs, bacon & toast at a corner breakfast spot just blocks from the house. Yum. Afterwards, we went back to the house and got ready for a day in The French Quarter.

We ate lunch at the legendary Acme Oyster House and were not impressed with the fare. The grilled oysters were dodgy at best. Afterwards, we walked to the Starbuck's on Canal St., which is the largest one I've seen, to date. Frappucino with caramel. YUM.

Next, we walked around the Quarter until I yelled *Uncle*. I needed a break. With no place to sit outside, we hailed a female driven Bike Taxi and had her give us the Grand Tour, for which we paid her nicely. It was great and we ended up at the Cafe' Du Monde, looking out at the Saint Louis Cathedral. What a fabulous sight to behold!

Our daughter was arriving that day so we ventured back to the house to await her arrival. Once she arrived we all got ready for dinner and eventually took an Uber to Muriel's Jackson Square, in the French Quarter. It was the absolute best dinner we had in NOLA this trip. Supposedly haunted, we never saw or felt any ghosts at Muriel's.

On Saturday we had reservations for brunch at Brennan's in The Quarter, at Noon. After waiting, we were seated and offered champagne for our anniversary, which we happily accepted. After excellent people watching, Eggs Benedict, and lovely cocktails, we were all ready to expire or at least retire for an hour or two. It was an amazing brunch experience.

After brunch we went back to our house to get ready for the Halloween Party that was to be next door later. Since we had no costumes, daughter and I wandered down the street to an open costume market and found cat ears & tails to wear, for a mere song & dance. Once we decided and paid for our purchases, we walked on to Frenchman St. where floats were readying for the Halloween Parade that was to come. We stopped in a jazz place called Mouton (I think) and heard some of the best jazz I've heard in ages. There were also musicians playing outside in the street that were equally as amazing.

The party turned out to be fabulous and the people were all quite interesting. Costumes were amazing and we felt humbled, at best. Still, I felt quite adorable as a cat. Just sayin'. When it was time for the parade to start we all walked en masse down the street (Elysian Fields) to the start of the parade. It was all very exciting and we spent the next hour enjoying the whole of it all. New Orleaneans love any excuse to have a parade or a party. We were happy participants.

Sunday was my 64th birthday and we had Noon reservations at Commander's Palace. Not only was the food to swoon for, it was a total party. Afterwards, we walked around the cemetery where Marie Laveau is buried. Although damaged by Katrina, it still stands, much in ruins. Still it's all quite intriguing. We loved it!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Snooty's Marvelous Reality Cooking TV Show Audition Experience... Or Not

Well, I did it. I finally decided to audition for a reality cooking show in Dallas, Texas in early 2016. It was for a show that is on mainstream network TV. I'd like to say it went well but since I'm writing this, it means I didn't make the cut. On the other hand, I learned a lot more about what the producers are looking for in an audition. I was not in that category(whatever it was) this time.

                                        This is the actual cheesecake I took to the audition:

Honestly, I was not approaching the audition as I would have approached a casting call at the local Community Theater. That was my first mistake because it's really just that... On a Hollywood scale. I thought I would be judged and praised for my cooking expertise so I brought my *A Game*. Only it's not about the food. Not even a little. The dishes other potential cast members brought to the audition were downright disgusting. I know this because toward the end of the audition we were all tasting others dishes, left and right. After the first two samplings, I stuck to my own culinary offering. I seriously had to bite the bullet calm down my gag reflex to keep from spitting it out or throwing it up. However, although I felt ancient among all of those fresh, shiny faces, my dish was as delicious as ever.

I discovered that the team of amazing people that oversees the *whole audition process* teaches each contestant to cook before the competition actually begins in Los Angeles. They teach you the skills you need to be good and it's up to you to perfect those skills. That's when the show begins. So, the show has evolved since its inception, just like any reality show. They aren't necessarily looking for *you* on a plate which is what I was told to bring. What they are looking for is your personality on a plate. And youth. They are looking for youthful personalities to sparkle youthful fairy dust on their show. They are not looking to cast someone who is old and can't remember what she walked into a room for. I've always entertained the idea that I was born too late or too soon, in time. This experience confirmed that theory.

But that got me thinking... Wouldn't it be a hoot if they had an old farts reality cooking show? Baby Boomers would howl with laughter like insane asylum loonies at the Senior Moment Antics, right? It would make the millennials implode from rolling their eyes so much. Just a passing thought, really. It's gone now.

                                This is the extra cheesecake I made in case of emergency:

Anywhoo, while standing in line to enter the audition room (in numerical order), we (those of us who were there to audition) began to talk and get to know each other. In our time slot there were about 22 of us. I found out that most of the other people auditioning had already been to several auditions. I was in awe. They will travel as far as is necessary and everyone has *a story*. The young woman in front of me was a Dallas nurse and part-time yoga instructor, married to a Peruvian whose family had taught her to cook their native dishes. The young woman behind me was from Baton Rouge and was a struggling single mother just reaching for The Golden Ring. Behind her was a 59 year old woman who had lost 100 lbs., learned to cook healthy, and reversed her diabetes 2. The stories were as diverse as they were compelling. I wanted to hurl after tasting their food but they had great stories. I realized I was out of my league and out of my age group, which is 60+.

So. I made my Green Chile Cheesecake, which is to swoon for. Apparently, it confused the Millennial producers (tasters and interviewers) but those auditioning loved it. The taster kept asking me if it was a mousse. If it's baked in a spring-form pan then I call it a cheesecake. Period. Trust me when I tell you it was the best dish there. The taster stabbed a chunk out, tasted it, gave me a look, and moved on. I knew I was toast until I tasted the other dishes presented. At that point I was actually naive enough to think I had a chance. I didn't. I didn't have the story or the presentation they wanted. I wasn't bouncy and/or enthusiastic enough, nor was I funny. I was a nervous wreck. First time jitters I suppose.
                                                       Our rental condo in Dallas:

The call back never came. Fortunately, I was too busy eating my way through Dallas cuisine to care much. By Sunday it began to dawn on me that I was apparently not their girl... Umm, woman. After much contemplation I realized how silly I felt. I guess most artists feel like this at some point, for one reason or another. The feeling of total inadequacy was overwhelming and it intensified my feelings of being too old to be good enough for anything. Don't worry. It was just a passing mood of sorts.

                                               Our Rental Condo in the SMU District:

Because we spent a great deal of money getting ready for this and on the rental condo and the gas to get to and from Dallas, the ingredients to make the test cheesecakes, and the final entry cheesecake... It hardly seemed worth it. Except that I got to do something I had wanted to do since the inception of TV reality shows. So, that's a good thing, right? I still had fun doing it and might even do it again, although probably not... I'm no spring chicken. My time in the limelight has passed me by. I was busy raising kids during a time when there were no cooking reality shows or anything else for that matter... My *hey-day* was before cell phones and digital cameras, so yes, I believe I was born too soon or too late. I would have been a jazz singer had I been born earlier. Like the Roaring Twenties. No lie.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Fox Family Is Back In The Hood... With 4 Fresh New Faces

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you already know about our love for the
resident foxes here. So even though we don't see them on a regular basis throughout the winter, we are always filled with excitement when we find that they have returned in the spring. This year we've been seeing Mama Fox and Papa Fox on a regular basis.

Mr. Snooty was taking trash out to the dumpster yesterday evening, so he had to go to the alley through the garden (AKA The Fox's Lair). He caught some movement out of the corner of his eye and 4 (perhaps even 5) baby foxes were wildly playing in our garden. By the time he told me about it and I raced out with my camera, all but one of the babies had been shooed back into their den by Mama Fox. However, I did manage to get a quick shot of one baby playing on top of our covered lawn mower.

We have never been so privileged to see them this small before so we figure yesterday was the first day she really let them out of the den. You can cup one baby in two hands.

So, fast forward almost two months. The Fox Family took some sort of sabbatical and we didn't see them for awhile. Not sure why, but they are mysterious little creatures. Nonetheless, they seem to be back and the kids kits are, like always, wild injuns. Mama Fox looks spent and almost emaciated. Poor dear. She really is an attentive mother. It seems that all is well with our beloved Fox Family.

And, a nice shot of Mama Fox and her baby girl (we think). She sticks like glue to Mama.

Oh and here are two pictures, each one showing the different looks of Mama and Papa Fox. She looks sweet while Papa has a very intense gaze.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Checking In One Year Later... The Kitty Chronicles

I can hardly believe it's been almost a whole year since I began the mad search for the two kitties I didn't know I wanted. Sure, we had a bit of a rough start with The Black Beast Trouble #3 using me for a scratching post and teething toy. She also claimed Mr. Snoots as the sole person she would allow to show love to her. I was a mere toy in her Kingdom of Many Toys.

Upon the advice of others I started my second search for a young female cat or kitten that would fit with us. I had to drive many miles (okay just 30) at night to pick up our new girl. She's a Manx Rumpy and she is such a love. The woman I got her from demanded $100.00 for meeting me halfway, which completely freaked me out so I just gave her the cash, jumped in the SUV and drove off before she tried to rob me. Oh wait. She basically did rob me. Even though I had new kitty in the carrier she was scared all the way back. Once she got inside our house she found her way back to the master bedroom and stayed under the bed for 5 days. We named her Pepper. I know. We're idiots with no imagination.

I finally removed all of my cookbooks from the kitchen windowsill shelf so the girls would have a place to watch birds, flies, anything that moves, really - whatever - while they bask in the morning sun. It has been more than a success in spite of the fact we seem to have cat hair everywhere. Yes, we both brush them nearly every day.

Finally, T-3 brought Pepper out of her shell and she slowly adjusted to the sounds and goings on of our lives. Pepper and Trouble were getting acquainted and life was good. Then something unusual happened. It became very apparent that T-3 was no longer being a brat. The two romped and played together and all the biting and scratching came to a sudden halt. It was also revealed that Pepper was the dominant (or alpha) female and I think Trouble was more surprised than we were. Pepper rules the roost. The reason it's funny is because she's much smaller. Go figure

When the holidays rolled in and out they were in awe of everything so doors had to be closed and locked. Thanksgiving and Christmas brought our kids who always come in like whirlwinds, with dogs in tow. It was immediately decided by *The Girls* that dogs weren't their cup of tea so they both hid under the bed until the holidays were over.

After surviving the holidays things settled down and we all fell into an easy pace and comfortable existence, learning to live with 2 indoor cats for the first time. Believe me, it is a huge adjustment for us since we've always had outside kitties. I honestly have to stop and think before I move to let one of them outside. Then I remember. I've also had to adjust to not yelling at kitties when I hear scratching that sounds like rips in the universe. All of our other cats have always scratched the furniture but these two love their scratching posts.

Pepper likes to play fetch with her many mousies and is better than most dogs because she brings it back to your feet. If you don't notice, she'll let you know. She also loves to play soccer/golf balls in the living room with Trouble. Yes. The ones we use for putting.

Trouble is a master soccer player with golf balls. Nothing has been broken yet but she can really wallop those balls and she picks them up with both front paws to hurl them across the room.  She also caught a mouse in the house that was alive. Good girl. Save mommy.

Then came April. That's when we made the decision to replace the 60 year old brass faucet and stopper in the guest bathroom sink. Anyway, it took the plumber 3 long hours just to get the damned faucet out, while we suffered through the loudest removal ever. Loud. Loud. Loud. Both kitties stayed under the bed almost a whole week. They were clearly traumatized by the incredible amount of noise for an unbelievable amount of time.

As traumatizing as that ordeal was, the guy had to come back the next day for a couple of hours, making new loud noises before charging us an eye popping $900.00. The faucet set itself was only like $150 so the rest was labor which traumatized me. That was two months ago and the girls are still scared and they run when the doorbell rings. They still are slow to warm to strangers so they hide.

List of Scary People Who Come To Our House & Ring Doorbell:

Mail Carrier (who is always talking on her phone)
Housekeeper (who is always talking on her phone every Wednesday)
Wednesday Night Dinner Delivery (usually the same guy)
Lawn Guy (comes early every Thursday)
Friends (sometimes we have friends over for dinner)
2 Grown Children (one with a dog)

I swear the girls were fine before the blasted plumber came.... I've now noticed that The Black Beast is shedding profusely and has signs of dandruff. WTH? Maybe it's just easier to see because she's so black. I'll keep telling myself that. Right.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Truth About Bacterial Meningitis... Part Two

After Mr. Snooty found me laying on the floor of our bedroom, babbling unintelligibly and unresponsive, the ambulance came and delivered me to the same hospital where my children were once both born. After arriving, at some point, I had a grand mal seizure. Hubby looked over at me thinking I was just yawning then suddenly realized I was seizing and alerted the nurses. I was out (or in some parallel dimension) and have no recall of what actually happened. I only remember my wonderful dreams. Well, most of them. All I know is what has been relayed to me by Mr. Snoots and others.

Apparently, the doctors did not know what was was wrong with me because bacterial meningitis has the exact same symptoms of a great number of illnesses. That makes it very difficult to properly diagnose in a timely manner. At one point my vitals were so bad (?) they believed I only had a couple of hours to live. Which, of course, led to the decision to put me into an induced coma... To buy them some time in trying to diagnose. I'm still not sure if I had the two strokes before or while in, the induced coma.

I guess somewhere along the way someone decided to do a spinal tap (or something like that) and soon they discovered the bacterial meningitis and after one week brought me back from LaLa/Wonderland. The first time I sort of *came to* the doctors asked me if I remembered anything and I said, "Remember what?" My precious husband was there every day as often as he could be, as was our son, giving me whatever strength they could. 

My most precious daughter was on spring break at the time, from SMU law school (she was also doing an internship for a Dallas law firm), while also studying to take the Bar. She stayed all night with me every night for a week, Bless her heart and soul. Evidently I spoke to her many times while I was in the coma and then when coming out of the coma. I could neither hold a thought nor play a hand of gin, which really made me mad for some reason. I had to be bathed by a stranger, had a catheter in, the tube I'd had down my throat had irritated it to the point I could barely swallow anything but ice or Jello, and apparently I was not at all nice. To anyone. That is just not me.

When I was slipping in and out of the coma, I thought I was at my brain doctor's house with he and his family and I was ready to go home. So I thought I called our daughter to come and get me (because I knew she was in town) and she refused to, saying that spring break was over and she had to go back to finish law school and graduate. The truth is that she had been asleep on the uncomfortable little *window seat* in my hospital room when I demanded that she take me home. Of course, I don't have a solid memory of this. But, it did happen and I was mean to the one person I could not and have not, ever hurt. Luckily, she has a nurse friend who warned her of what I would be like so she was at least prepared. I won't even go into the time I thought there were spiders all over the ceiling and started freaking out. It took everything she had in her to calm me down while trying not to laugh.

Anywho, Snooty Daughter went on to graduate, moved back to Austin, passed The Bar, was sworn in by a Texas Supreme Court Judge and got a fantastic job with the state as a lawyer for environmental issues. I wasn't able to go to graduation because although I was by then out of rehab prison, I still couldn't walk. I've never in my life been so proud of her. She knows I would not have missed it but for the doctor forbidding me. I was still taking physical therapy every day, but on a walker. I had no physical strength and used our extra computer chair (with no arms) to maneuver my way around the house, using the walls to move faster with my hands. I kid you not. It was a real laugh fest. Not.

So anyway, once they transferred me to the rehab hospital I saw many roomies come and go. I think I was there longer than anyone and got to know all the workers and patients by name. Once my mind began to return I had many late night talks with many nurses and students of nursing. I can't remember any of those conversations but they helped to pass my sleepless nights while there. I was STILL on the crazy IV antibiotics so it's entirely possible I didn't even have those conversations. I was still having to take breathing treatments twice a day (those really hurt) and to go PT (Physical Therapy) and OT (Occupational Therapy) every day. Those really cut into my nap times because Lord knows you can't sleep in a hospital at night. They wake you up every hour or so to check your vitals. I wonder if my vitals revealed I was sick of being awakened. Sleep heals you, right?

I was overwhelmed with determination to make it back home (sooner rather than later) so during my nights of insomnia and interruptions I began to shuffle up and down the hospital halls with my trusty (not really) aluminum walker adorned with golf tennis balls on the two front legs. My ultimate goal every night was to reach the communal fridge where free ice cream was available to all who could walk there and get it. I'm pretty sure there was only one other person who roamed at night, like me, but she was on the other side where they had their own fridge. I might or might not have raided theirs on the down low a time or two. Everyone else was either bedridden or needed assistance with a wheelchair. The ice cream was ALL MINE! Time moved like an ailing tortoise but I SURVIVED hospitalized captivity because of that ice cream. It was not easy.

There were many other crazy dreams and things that happened but I've said enough. For three years now,  I've slowly been coming back to life and good health. I'm also older and wiser now. I know that if you always put others needs first, you will suffer in the long run. I still take care of everyone else but now I also take time for ME. It's just part of surviving this world as long as possible. I also see life differently now. Trivial things that once mattered to me are no longer important and those I love are more important than ever. I can't really explain it, but the way I see everything is different now. It was one helluva a way to learn a lesson but I was given a second chance and, I've gotten it right this time.

Be well, my friends!

Don't forget to take care of YOU! Truly love and appreciate every single day of your life... It's such a special gift that can be taken away so swiftly...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Truth About Bacterial Meningitis... Coming From Someone Who Knows

For the last three years, since my near-death experience with bacterial meningitis, I have done extensive research about it and how you contract the disease. You don't *contract* it in any way. It's like a sleeping dragon that lives within your body, only awakening when you neglect to take care of yourself. Good Grief! I've been doing that for years. The cold hard truth is that even the most seemingly harmless illnesses can cause what we would know to be the *Perfect Storm* inside our bodies. Frightening though it may be, we all have the very bacteria that causes it in our bodies. Normally, they are dormant as long as we take care of ourselves. We don't all always do that, do we?

I spent a week (or more) in an induced coma until the doctors could figure out what was wrong with me. I don't remember a thing. If I had, I'd have gone stark raving mad. Thank God they finally deduced that I had bacterial meningitis which meant 24/7 I.V. antibiotics and a catheter which is oh so comfortable. I also had a small stroke, a medium stroke, and a seizure, almost like a cherry on top. Mr. Snooty thought at first I was yawning then realized I was seizing and alerted the nurses & doctor. Again, I don't remember a thing.

After being in CCU for over a week I was slowly coming around and moved to the ICU where they let me eat mounds of ice cream. Thanks so much for that new addiction. Every single day they would asked me annoying questions like my name & date of birth & who was the president. I was foggy on all answers at first. I damn sure didn't know the date. I said the president was Osama Bin Laden, then cried. The I.V. antibiotics made me completely nutso while they worked their magic on me. Oh, the stories I could tell of my Alice-In-Wonderland-bacterial-meningitis-induced antibiotic stupor.

I still (3 years later) have a scar on my lower lip where the whatever-it-was tube was during my induced coma (like they couldn't have occasionally moved it around... whatever). There were many other atrocities I cannot speak of but they were humiliating and degrading none the less. No matter how great the hospital, you will feel degraded... More than once.

I was *restrained* (tied down with straps) numerous times because of the IV going into my neck. It leaked constantly because it had not been properly inserted, which made it itch beyond belief (and yes, I scratched like a kitty with fleas). Before I was moved to the rehabilitation hospital (Hell South, where I was the only person under 80) they inserted a Pic Line (while watching its progress on an ultrasound). I never had a moment of trouble with it beyond that point. I still despise the nurse that repeatedly tied me down. Learn to properly insert an IV, idiot. You really get paid for your ineptness?

My brain doctor, my heart doctor, and my regular GP were the ones who saved me as well as the nurses. I literally owe them my life. It happened the first night of Spring Break, when most doctors take vacations with their families. Hubby found me on the floor of our bedroom, babbling and coated in sweat. Great visual memory for him, huh? He called the ambulance and the rest is history. I have no recollection whatsoever.

I spent nearly 2 additional months at the rehab place, which made me very irritable but I did ultimately survive. Bad roomies (no private rooms), bad food, no one to take me to the bathroom (after they said I couldn't go alone), freaking wheelchairs & walkers, shower seats, and canes. The atrocities of the elderly are only a breath away, my friends. Take care of yourselves, be well, exercise often, love hard, and laugh always. Growing old is not for pansies.

What I've told here is merely the  tip of the iceberg, as it were. My life, as I previously knew it, is over. But you know what? It's not so bad. I like being alive...

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Pebble Beach Wedding To Die For... Carmel-by-the-Sea

I had no intentions to miss attending this wedding, although Mr. Snoots was scoffing at the mention. Yes, it was far away. Yes, we had to leave here at 5:30 in the freaking morning with 6 hours of flight and layover time. Yes, we also had to drive more than an hour from San Jose in an unfamiliar rent car searching for an unfamiliar destination. And yes, we were only able to reserve a room at an old cottage style Inn in Carmel that was pretty much a dump (for $200.00 per night). I'm pretty sure the Art Deco carpet was original to our cottage. The only thing that attracted me to this particular inn was that our daughter was staying there (w/ friends) as well. That upped the place a few notches or a hundred. Their garden was very pretty and well kept though.

At any rate, I was so mesmerized by Carmel that I was hardly able to do a competent job at driving. Curvy little streets, most with names but some maybe not. Actual numbers of places seemed to have been entirely ignored long ago. Very few traffic lights seen. Most everything seemed disguised in the thick forage and trees.

Of course I've seen Carmel-By-The-Sea and Pebble Beach on TV and in movies. Who hasn't, right? But none of that prepares you for how delightfully beautiful and quaint these places are in person. I really have to give Clint Eastwood major snaps for all that he accomplished in Carmel over the years (20+) he was mayor of Carmel. It is still quaint and unspoiled by fast food restaurants or anything that is part of a "chain". It's almost as if you have stepped back in time, to a less complicated world. Still, whatever you can't find in Carmel can be had in Monterey, a mere 4.5 miles away (or 12 minutes). I couldn't even find a pair of stockings in Carmel. Not joking. Thank Heaven I took along my Garmin GPS. She served me well.

Clint Eastwood also rescued (saved it from becoming concrete condos) a 22 acre parcel of land called Mission Ranch, which has a lovely restaurant/bar and guest rooms, as well as wedding/party venues. Friday night we co-hosted a party there after the Rehearsal Dinner, with a live band and Open Bar that was truly great fun. We didn't have to do a single thing, other than pay for it. My kind of party hosting.

On Saturday, we wandered around Carmel, exploring, shopping and eating. We walked down to the ocean and beach but found it necessary to call for an Uber to take us back up the 6 vertical blocks to our cottage.

We ate lunch at a wonderful little bistro called A.W. Shucks, where we dined on delicate little oysters, fresh salad with bread and of course, cocktails. I highly recommend the place if you can get in. It seems to stay busy but the wait staff is as polite and savvy as you can find..

Since the wedding was being held at the "Old Fifth Tee" on the Pebble Beach golf course, it was set to happen at 4:00 PM (before the sun set and it turned cold). Rather than walk straight uphill for two blocks in my brand new expensive satin heels to take the bus they provided for wedding guests, I suggested hubby try that uphill walk in my heels if he thought it was so easy. He declined and gave in to my demand of taking an Uber to Pebble Beach. It only cost us $8.00 + tip. Uh-Huh. No blisters and shoes that still look new... Priceless.

Upon arrival at Pebble Beach, the scenery literally took my breath away. I've never seen a lovelier wedding venue. A group of musicians played soft, soothing classical music as the guests anticipated the arrival of the wedding party. Staring out at the gorgeous Pacific Ocean, I was in no hurry to be done with such an intensely beautiful sunset.

The bride was one of the most stunning brides I have ever seen, wearing a full length hand made lace dress that fit her perfect figure like a glove. They had 12 bridesmaids and 12 groomsmen plus a rather large House Party, which our daughter was part of. After the ceremony all the wedding party and guests (150+) walked *en masse* (barefoot, I might add) to the club house, for the reception. However, not before a toast of champagne to the newlyweds as they left for the club house in a golf cart.

We initiated celebrations on the outdoor deck of the club house with champagne and cocktails and then the hors d'oeuvres started to roll out. The staff had by then turned on all the heaters because it gets cold there at night in November. We had tiny little lamb chops, demitasse size cups of a delicate artichoke soup, smoked salmon canapes, some kind of small fritters, and the list goes on.

The real surprise happened when we were then herded inside and treated to a brilliant 4 course sit-down dinner that even had dinner napkins monogrammed with the bride & groom's initials. We were served a fabulous dinner of locally grown, raised and prepared salads, beef tenderloin, stuffed flounder, dreamy potato stacks, assorted desserts, wine, champagne, cocktails, and finally, The Cake The picture tells the story better than I. The meal was absolute perfection, as was the service. There was also a fabulous 8 piece band that could play everything from Bach to ZZ Top. We even danced a few times.

 The cake was among the prettiest that I've seen.

Being the *Old Farts* that we are, I believe we missed the slicing of the cake because were the first to leave, around 10:30 PM Pacific time. I think the bride's parents were thankful to us for starting the trend. I wasn't able to snap a picture of my friend, the Mother of the Bride, but I can tell you I have never seen her look more divine, with the grace of Jackie Kennedy/Onasis.

I'll tell you more about our day in Monterey, CA another time...

Monday, November 2, 2015

What A Difference A Little Rain Can Make....

We've been in a drought for so long I'd forgotten what a difference rain can make with the yard. Having been under watering restrictions for the last three years, in the throes of a horrid drought, we were beginning to think we should switch to Xeriscaping. We lost a total of 7 trees and endless amounts of landscaping plants. I should have taken pictures of the carnage but it was just too depressing. And so the adventure began to find the right plants to work for us. This picture was taken standing on our front porch on August 7th of this year.

Even though we slowly and methodically planted ornamental grasses and other drought resistant plants, nothing seemed to really take hold and flourish. Still, we planted away hoping something might someday take root enough to last. At least a year. But with water rationing at 2 days per week, triple digit heat, and no rain, severe winter ice and snow storms... it just wasn't happening.

Thankfully, this year, we have received flooding amounts of rain since early spring. It doesn't mean we're off the water rationing. The City says we'll never go off water rationing again. Water is too precious in our part of the world and like ours, many wells have gone dry, at which point you have to wait for the City Works to lay a new line for what was once watered by your water well. For us that meant the entire front and back yards. We had to wait 12 weeks which means we lost a lot of what we'd previously planted. We tried to take it all in stride but we lost trees too. It's been devastating.

Thankfully, Mother Nature occasionally blesses us with massive amounts of rain. In two months (August and September) our front half-circle bed has tripled in size. This year she is my new best friend...

Even some of the ornamental grasses we thought were long gone dead, are back. To think I almost had our yard man remove them, but here came a rainy late summer and autumn and I love the results. Perhaps the larger grasses are from 2014 summer planting. I never have a plan in mind because you can never predict which ones will survive the brutal seasons. It also depends on what is available at local nurseries. I tell our yard guy to plant the new ones in the holes of the formerly living ones but he never listens. He just plants a new one beside the one that appears to be dead. Helter Skelter. However, now I'm thinking he might be on to something. Hmm.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Introducing My New Best Friend...CloSys

For approximately 40 years my dentist has been patching me back together because I've never been very good about taking care of my teeth. I forget to floss most of the time. And, over the years I've had countless tooth abscesses, often resulting in loss of that tooth. Sometimes he was able to bond the tooth to its neighboring teeth but that can only work for so long.

Because I'm a major teeth grinder at night, he made me a mouth guard to wear while I slumber. Unfortunately, I would almost always awaken to find it somewhere in the bed or on the floor.

Finally he was forced to remove two teeth which ultimately became tooth implants. Twelve months and $10,000.00 later I eventually emerged with the two implants. What a nightmare that was! I dread ever having to go through that ordeal again, which has made me slightly more conscientious about caring for my gums and teeth. Slightly.

Then, about two years ago my dentist attended a conference where he ran into a colleague he had not seen for some time. The other dentist told him about a product he'd had a great deal of success with called CloSys and that the success was astounding. So he began to tell his patients (us included) about this wondrous new product, which we immediately went out and purchased.

CloSys is an alcohol free mouth rinse unlike any other. We now use it to rinse about 2-3 times per day and neither one of us has had a moment of problems concerning our gums or teeth for the last two years, which is a miracle unto itself. This stuff really works! It does come with a little flavor packet you can add or not. I chose not. I like the clean water taste of it with no flavoring.

It is available for purchase at grocery stores, Walgreen's, CVS, etc. and I usually find it on the bottom shelf of the mouthwash section. Also, it comes in a box and has an easy-pull safety cover on the opening. I'm sure they sell other products as well, I had just never heard of them.

I wish I could say this company was paying me for this sterling review (it seems no one ever does) but they are not. When I find something that actually really works, I like to share it with family and friends. It's especially important for people who smoke to use it as it prevents many mouth problems that result from smoking. Anyhoo, give it a try. You are welcome to check out their website HERE.You can thank me later.

Friday, October 16, 2015

How Did I Not Know This About Where's Waldo?

After watching an episode of Millionaire w/ Meredith a few years ago, I discovered that there was apparently a tiny hidden woman who was topless among all those crowds of tiny people my kids had to search through to find Waldo. We had so much fun searching for Waldo *back in the day*. How did I not know about this sinister secret?

Certainly, other parents across the world must have the same feeling of ineptness at this disclosure. Of course, we didn't discover the internet at home until the mid 90's, so it's entirely possible that we simply weren't privy to such pertinent information. It's not like it was the front page news, okay? It was long before information streamed daily at your fingertips. That was around the time our kids learned to lock us out of our own computers by their computer teacher at their private school. Yes, she was immediately bombarded with calls from irate parents that day. But, it taught us to pay closer attention to what our kids were doing on said computer. That was then.

Still, what recourse do we have as parents? Tell our kids we're sorry for having missed this strange addition to an otherwise wonderful way of focusing our children's attention to tiny details? Seems a bit late through the gate to me. "Gee honey, you're 30 but I'm sorry for that bit of exposure during your formative years. I should have been more watchful." However, I'm further convinced that our son hid *Find Waldo* under his bed along with my Victoria's Secrets catalogs, for future use.

That said, we fought constant battles against the porno spam, which was abundant in those days. I mean, they did start the internet, right? Right. Click the wrong link and your child was inundated with multiple windows showing porn. Those were NOT fun times. It was a constant stress. Today, they have controls. Back then, we parents were the controls and we often failed due to sheer ignorance.

The truth is, we were being exposed to a whole new world of information at that time and were just barely able to process even a portion of it. We didn't even have cell phones then. We had car phones, at best. They were large, cumbersome, and we carried them in enormous bags and had wires that plugged into car lighters. No one worried about their conversations being monitored unless they were drug dealers, for crying out loud. Although not quite in *olden times*, we were living in soon-to-be-antiquated technological times, for sure. Boy, were we ever naive.

The threats are even greater today. Parents must monitor their children's use of the internet if they want to provide protection for their most precious gems, children. I shudder to think what kind of darkness awaits future kids on the internet. And we also have to navigate through what they read. Is there no end? It's little wonder today's parents are stressed to the max... You have my sympathy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A New Backporch For The Snooty Household.... After 35 Years

I was the first one to admit that the wrought iron patio furniture we'd inherited was many years past its beauty and functionality. For years I'd watched longingly as friends updated their outdoor furniture, dreaming of the day I'd be able to replace our own. Over the years I had spray painted the old furniture countless times but by the next year it would all look shabby again. Also, the squirrels had completely eaten my outside linens so much that they were in shreds.

I did everything I could to make it look less shabby, all to no avail. I'd buy new pillows, new tablecloths, more plants, new chair cushions, outdoor candles, you name it. Nothing really helped hide the fact it was all slowly falling apart, wired together in many places. I didn't really want any one to see it. I didn't even want to look at it. The picture right below was taken in 2009 when things still looked pretty good.

Finally I found a deal that we just couldn't pass up. I was browsing at Sam's Club online and found a deal for a square dining table w/ 4 chairs along with a living area set that included a sofa, 2 matching chairs, 2 side tables, and a cocktail/coffee table. The side tables can be slipped under the coffee table for storage and all sitting pieces had nice, thick pads that tie on. All this for a mere $1099.00 and yes, FREE DELIVERY. It also came with lumbar pillows, which I did not like at all so I gave them to a friend who did. Honestly, I couldn't find a better deal anywhere. Below is the picture I took after all the new goodies arrived and were assembled by Mr. Snooty. I already had the chaise lounge which matches nicely with the entire set of outdoor furniture.

Next, I went to and searched for the pillows I knew I wanted. Found them. I got 4 square Sunbrella pillows, plus 4 matching seat cushions I wanted to use as backs for the dining chairs. They were a bit uncomfortable without something soft to lean back on, so these were just the ticket. I spent a total of $82.00 (including shipping). They are really well made and just what I had been looking for. This is a picture of everything BEFORE adding the pillows.

Before it all arrived I also went to and ordered the outdoor rug I'd had in mind. It's reversible and you clean it by hosing it off with water. Sweet. $129.00 on sale with FREE SHIPPING.

Don't the pillows add just the right touch? Mr. Snoots had to, of course, put almost all of the pieces together but we are thrilled with how our new patio looks. I can foresee spending many long hours out there with friends and family. The cushions are soooo comfy! As soon as the 90 degree heat goes away it will get us outside more often, which is a good thing, right? And, no sore feet or aching backs from going everywhere to look.

Next, I'm off to shop online for outdoor furniture covers that will be delivered FREE...We have brutal winters here and this year is predicted to be the worst yet. Really? It can get worse? Heaven help us...

Blog Designed by: NW Designs