Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I just love this video. A friend sent it to me because she knows how I feel about the obsessively cheerful! Don't get me wrong, I'm a pretty upbeat optimistic type myself, but I refrain from the excesses described in the video... Too funny!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Flowers

Our laurel bushes are struggling, but the weeds are doing just fine, thank you!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Franci

What better way to start your birthday than being woken up too early by two boys bouncing on top of you...and then covering you with hugs and kisses?

How about a new drag fishing rod and reel to help you bring home the bacon...er, fish?

Then the traditional birthday lunch at the local Chinese restaurant...


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Youthing Update

I know you are all just sitting there on the edge of your seats wondering...is Saretta still doing that yoga program that promises rejuvenation? Or did that glich involving a backache dissuade her? And if she is doing it, has she noticed any results?

Well, you'll be happy to know that yes, I am still doing the yoga thing. Which surprises ME more than anyone else, because I've always sort of pooh-poohed yoga. Too sedentary, too reflective for me. I'm the type that likes to run, or swim or lift weights...the kind of activity where you go, go, go until you can't go any more.

But, something has clicked with this yoga program. I get up half an hour earlier than I have to each morning to do it. After the backache passed, I cut the number of repetitions of each exercise way back and have slowly worked up to doing 10 reps of each (21 of each is the goal).

Have I noticed a change? Well, I am definitely more aware of my posture. These exercises require you to stretch your neck quite a bit and I find that I am now more aware of the position in which I hold my head. I tend to stand and sit up straighter now.

The real change that I have noticed, however, is in my sense of smell. About 15 years ago I started getting lots of bad sinus infections and I gradually lost most of my sense of smell. I wasn't very happy about that because I have always loved the sense of smell. I find that certain smells can even trigger emotions or memories of past events. I lost all that with the sinus infections. But, now it's coming back!

Which is good and bad, like all things... I can smell wonderful things that take me by surprise because I'm not used to noticing scents anymore. Plants, my friends' perfumes, the wonderful scent of my childrens' skin. But, I also smell terrible odors! On my way to work on Friday I went through a series of "odor areas." First there was the train which was extremely musty, from the station to my office I walked through about a block of dog poop smell which then, as I continued walking, became a distinct sewage stink.

Is this related to the yoga program? I think so. Nothing else has changed in my lifestyle. So, I may not have fewer wrinkles or a firmer jawline, but, hey!, I'm standing up a bit straighter and have rejoined the olfactory world. I'll keep you posted on any further developments...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Another Corner of the Garden

This photo is dedicated to my older son's passion: basketball. We are lucky enough to have a driveway with a hoop where he can play for hours until he practically keels over with exhaustion. Alone or with friends, makes no difference. He has been known to play basketball for six hours a day!

This is a wonderful thing because if there is one thing that boy has it is energy to burn. He has a big personality, with big emotions and ideas and big expressions of those emotions and ideas! If he were trapped inside, he'd probably go nuts...along with the rest of us!

When he was little he had no interest whatsoever in playing with balls. At about age six he started getting interested in bouncing a basketball and by age seven I signed him up for lessons. At first he was a very timid player. He hung back to see what the other kids were doing. He never wanted to be first in line, so that he'd have time to figure out the activity before it was his turn.

He has never had the natural athletic grace that some kids seem born with. He's not the guy making all the fancy baskets. But what he does have is passion and heart. He's a solid team player who is willing to pass the ball and let another kid score. And through practice, practice, practice he has become a valued member of his team. He was selected to play in an international mini-basketball tournament two years in a row.

The ball in the photo above looks pretty next to the flowers at the foot of the olive tree, but everywhere you turn in the yard you can see other balls lying around. He says, "you can never have too many!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Swing

After living in this house for 3 years, we finally got it together to put up a swing in the yard. Well, my husband did it all, actually. He cut the piece of wood and the ropes, but G. found the right tree with just the right kind of swing-bearing limb.

He's so happy with his swing. In the photo above, he is swinging before going to school. He swings when he comes home and in the afternoon, too. I'm thrilled because this boy is a bit too TV and Nintendo dependent otherwise. He doesn't play sports and tends to stay inside rather than going out to play spontaneously...that means he goes out just about only when I yell, "get outside and have some fun now, dammit!" Well, of course I'm exagerating, but not much!

Today he told me, "I don't think there's any child in the world who doesn't like swinging!"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mighty Minnie Mom

Several afternoons a week I have a babysitter in to stay with the kids while I teach an English class in a local junior high. Luci is very reliable, always arrives at least five minutes early, helps the kids with their homework, drives them around town if they have activities to go to and remembers their schedules (which are different every day of the week) better than I do! This morning she apparently fainted at her house. Nothing serious, but fainting is rather alarming, in any case. Instead of calling to tell me she couldn't come, she showed up this afternoon with her mother.

My kids know her mother very well because they often visit her at her home and have even eaten lunch there when both my husband and I had work conflicts at midday. The kids are very fond of Luci's mom and call her "Minnie". That's what I call her, too, although it is not her name. I've been told her name, but it doesn't stick in my mind. "Minnie" is just the perfect name for her. She's kind of a mini-person, if you see what I mean. Danny, who is not yet 12, outgrew her at least a year ago, and he's not tall for his age!

Although she may be tiny on the outside, she has a large heart full of love for her family...and mine, too! However, the fact that she came with Luci here today struck me as curious. I understand that she was worried about her. I understand that she didn't want her daughter to drive after having fainted a few hours previously. I appreciate that they wanted to respect Luci's commitment and allow me to go to work this afternoon. I just can't help but thinking that this wouldn't happen in the US.

I mean, Luci is 33.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Sign of Spring

How do you know when Spring is really here? Do you await the 21st of March? What if it's cold and rainy that day? Not very convincing... Do you await the first crocus in the garden? Not a reliable sign if, you, like me, live in a place where you have had flowers blooming in the fields since January.

No, today I received the definitive message from Nature that Spring is truly here... I found the first fly buzzing around *inside* my house! Ugh...fly season is officially underway...