Category Archives: The world and my place in it

On the subject of haircuts

Judy Miller had a lament about haircuts and finding a hairdresser to cut short hair.  I sort of agree. It seems that young hairdressers aren’t being taught how to do short haircuts. Maybe because everyone seems to wear their hair long. In looking at my hairdresser’s Instagram I see all long hair styles. When I asked her about her clients with short hair, I found I was about the only one.  Well no wonder she had difficulty getting my hair cut correctly and to suit me. She tries, though, bless her heart.

I had a really good hairdresser for about 10 years who could cut and color. She was amazing, more so than I knew at the time. You never appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone. About the time I retired, she up and did likewise, moving to the other end of the state. She said I inspired her. Hmmmph. She turned me over to another hairdresser who was good at coloring and okay at cutting. She always wanted to style my hair with a brush and blow dryer. After two years she too retired. She said she  liked the sound of my lifestyle.

The next hairdresser to whom I was handed over,  is also a fine colorist and young enough that she is not going to retire any time soon. But she has long-haired clients. She also likes doing skin care, facials, and makeup. I think hair may be the “back burner” part of her business. She also moved to another salon, across town, in the very la-di-dah part of Fresno. Although I pay her $120 each time, I’m feeling it’s probably not enough and I should be leaving more. I’m hearing that some stylists at a nearby salon are charging $300 for color. But it’s long hair and mine is short.

I have been so busy that I put off getting my hair done until this weekend. It has been six weeks. Here are before and after pictures.


It’s the berries

One of the activities of this past week was going to lunch with my retired teacher friends. Due to travels and illness there were only five of us Ladies Who Lunch. We drove to a nearby town, ate good Mexican food, then drove a few miles to one of the major berry producers in our area. We got blackberries and blueberries by the crateload.

The next day, after dropping off my car to be serviced, I made four jars of blackberry jelly. It turned out more like blackberry syrup, but it tastes delicious. Good on toast and also to use with gin and lots of ice to make a blackberry martini. The freezer is full of blueberries which Terry likes on his cereal each morning.

Here we are at The Berry Lady Farms:

A lull in the action

It has been a very busy time around here, so much so that dirty clothes have filled the laundry hamper to the top and only with some force could any more items be added last night.

“I will stay home tomorrow and do laundry.” That was my proclamation, and with that intent I awoke and started my morning at six o’clock.

My car never left the garage. The yards got watered. Dirty clothes were turned into clean ones. I redid all of the essential oil cotton balls so as to continue to dissuade the bugs from entering our house. I read books, blogs, and articles on childhood trauma.

Since Terry was gone for most of the day, the house was silent except for the constant whir of the fans and the on and off of the air conditioner. Yesterday was 104 degrees, today only 102. The sun is bright, brilliant, and fills the rooms with light as it travels around the house.

Our daughter sent photos of the grandkids enjoying their county fair yesterday. The school gave them early release along with free fair passes. Who could resist such an invitation. It was hard, though, for small children to get up this morning and go back to school. They have another week before summer break at which time we will go get them to spend a week at our house. We will goof off, eat and sleep when we please, and take a few local trips. Or, that is the plan for now. Who knows what will actually take place when they arrive. It’s summer. It’s hot. Let’s be spontaneous.


When I was working full time, and only had the weekends to do my shopping and errands, I swore that upon retirement I would not shop or run errands on Saturdays, leaving the parking spaces and aisles to the working people. So far, I do pretty well keeping that promise. Today was an exception.

This past week was supposed to be an open, free week with NO PLANS. I looked at my blank calendar and smiled. I could stay home. I could go out. I could do anything I wanted. I especially wanted to work in the yard as the weather forecast was for nice temperatures. Then I got a phone message on Monday morning, early, before 10, asking about the use of the Calvin Room at our church. When I returned the call I learned that a member whom I have never met had lost her mother the previous week, and although the funeral service would not be at the church, they would like a memorial luncheon be served after the services. Yes, we could do that. And with that phone call, my previously open week filled quickly with tasks leading up to the lunch on Friday for 75 people.

Due to a change in plans, I never did any household shopping for Terry and me. Next week, starting on Monday, I have a full week of plans. One day I won’t have my car as it will be in the shop getting its 3000 mile checkup and making sure it’s ready for another hot summer on the road. I would have to renege on my pre-retirement promise and shop on Saturday.

Terry did the driving and came along to help me remember all that we needed as well as gather the items. It only took a couple of hours and we were done. We started fairly early–9:15–so the crowds weren’t too big that early. We quickly found the items we needed, checkout lines were short, every cashier super gracious. And I hope we didn’t get in anyone’s way, especially anyone who just finished a hard week of work and wanted to quickly get their shopping done and get home to do chores. Like I had been all those many years of working.

’tis the season

High school graduations are here. At least here in Fresno. The school where I taught for 21 years had their ceremony on Monday. It’s the eighth one I’ve not attended, participated in, and deliriously ran from when it ended. Great feeling to get another class finished and on its way.

Seeing all the photos and comments on Facebook today made me realize that next year will be the school’s 130th graduation. I think that’s a big deal, and I hope the school does some major celebrating. I also realized that the Class of 2000, which I sponsored, has been out of school for 18 years which would make those “kids” 36 years old.

This came to mind when I saw one of my former students posting about his daughter’s high school graduation. I’m not sure when he was in my class, but I think it was in ’90s. The first class of the Marketing Academy graduated in 1993 and it shocked me to realize those “kids” are now 43, older than I was when I was their teacher! I was especially shocked to see that the “kid” I knew could have a child old enough to graduate from high school, and yet it’s quite logical. My brain has a hard time processing this.

It’s also the beginning of melon season in California. I bought my first cantaloupe today, grown in California. The melons from Mexico have been in the markets for a few weeks, but I will only buy “local.” Today’s melon came from southern California, not very local, but it smelled so good that I couldn’t resist. We haven’t had a hot spring so fruit is coming in later this year. The melon I bought was okay, but not as sweet or juicy as later melons, that sit out in the heat, will be. July is the month for good melons.

Since it is fruit season, I’ve tried my hand at some small batches of jam–strawberry, peach, apricot. Just a few small jars of each. Nothing major. Next week The Ladies Who Lunch are making our annual trip to the berry farm to get blueberries and blackberries. I’ll freeze the blueberries for Terry to eat on his cereal each morning and make jam with the blackberries. I tried to make raspberry jam one year and it turned out so bad that I had to throw the jam and jars away because I couldn’t get the jam out of the jar!

My worlds collide

Or, another way to put it, it’s a small world…

Friday turned out to be one of those days that was over-scheduled. In my retirement life, that rarely happens, but when opportunities come, I like to take advantage. I had a lunch date with an old friend, a parent of a former student. This woman helped me so much when I was doing the yearbook for that large, inner-city high school. Because she loves to take pictures, she did a lot of sports and other event photos and I always rewarded her with each year’s yearbook. We laugh at the same things and have high expectations of everyone and everything.

She took a half day off on Friday and met me downtown for lunch at a place I just knew she would love. It’s an old 1880s newspaper printing office that was turned into a men’s club for many decades in the mid 1900s. Now it’s reopened as an upscale restaurant and event venue. The architecture is amazing and the newspaper’s printing press still sits in the main dining room. The bar from the men’s club days is still in place. Great place to wile away a couple of hours over lunch.

I would have loved to continued our time together, walking around downtown and checking on renovations, but I had to get home to finish up some chores because I had a second event in the late afternoon–a retirement party for two of the teachers in whose classrooms I read stories as school chaplain. Both are amazing teachers and both had moved on to other schools for this past year. I had missed them and was immensely pleased to be invited to their joint party hosted by another Columbia first grade teacher.

The party was on the other side of town, a 30 minute drive from my home during the best of times, but during commuter traffic, even longer. Because I’m not good with late-day events, I wanted to arrive just as the party was starting, hug the ladies, say my congratulations, and head back across town. I only took a couple of pictures which is unusual for me, but time was fleeting.

I posted the pictures of one of the teachers to my Facebook page and immediately got a response from the friend with whom I had lunch earlier that day. The retiring teacher is her cousin! None of us knew how we were connected until I posted that photo. I’ve known Delores for 18 years, Patty for 4, and just learned how our worlds overlapped, all because of a Facebook post. That’s the value of social media.

Clear the way

One of the two kitchen carts at church disappeared. As one of the members commented, “it’s not something you can slip in your purse,” so where did it go? The carts are vital for the operation of the kitchen and all that goes on there through the week. One would not know a church kitchen could be so busy, but it is. A number of organizations use the facility, and on Sunday, we have coffee fellowship which requires us to move coffee carafes and treats from kitchen to the Calvin Room in cool months and out to the gazebo in warm months.

Last Sunday was my turn to do coffee fellowship. I spent the week baking a variety of goodies. I knew the weather would be delightful so planned to serve everything under the gazebo, but wondered about getting everything out to the garden area without that second cart that had gone missing. Then I remembered a cart we have.

We bought a very attractive brushed chrome, open weave cart for the San Francisco apartment, using it in the kitchen there, and when we returned to Fresno, making it the printer stand for the inkjet printer. I also store a picnic basket, recipes and books on the cart. I could take that cart to church as it would easily load and unload from the Subaru as well  as carry all of the treats out to the gazebo. But first I had to unload the items from the three shelves.

I like clear surfaces in my life. No matter the room, or wherever I am working, I don’t want any clutter. I don’t like a lot of knick knacks that must be dusted. Nor piles of papers or books.  I want free space so I can set down the work I’m currently doing.

I house sat for a week for a friend in San Francisco a few years ago as a trial-run for what might later be a two month house-sitting stent. There were no clear surfaces in her apartment. Every flat surface was piled up with stuff. I had to reconfigure the kitchen just so I would have a small space on the kitchen table to eat my meals. The job was made hard because every surface had something on it so no room to put anything. That one week made me realize I could never spend two months in such a place.

Unloading my cart so as to take it to church was not difficult as there was an end table with nothing on it in the room that could hold the picnic basket and books. The printer would sit on the floor in the family room, next to the cart’s usual place. I didn’t even have to unplug the printer. I was grateful for all the clear space.

As I had baked during the week, I had packaged the goodies and placed them on a counter in the kitchen, an empty counter. All the tupperware containers annoyed me sitting there, but I knew it was short term annoyance. On Sunday morning I loaded baked goods, paper products, and the cart into the Subaru and drove off. After parking in the church parking lot , I piled all the stuff onto the cart and trundled off to the kitchen. Upon arriving, I found the missing cart, right back where it had always been. No one knew where it had been or when it had been returned. I used my own cart, though, since I had cleared the way.