Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Chat with Jack

In August of 2007, I sat down with my Dad and interviewed him about some of the events in his life. Below is an excerpt of the interview. Over time, I will upload the complete interview and place it in the side bar. You can listen to excerpts of the interview by clicking on the little sound pictures. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed conducting the interview!
P.S. The picture of Jack in the side bar was provided by Alex Sirugue-MacLeodBlank

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fashion Statement

Yesterday we pulled down the boxes of hand-me-downs that have been stored in the attic for a few years. Joey was in seventh heaven as he purused the garments from his new clothing line.
This morning after he picked out an outfit for the day, he called to me, "Look Mom, I match! See, stripes, stripes and stripes!" He was so proud of his new outfit that he even suggested that I take a picture of him in front of the Christmas tree.
Move over Ralph Lauren, Joey Burns is the new fashion designer on the block!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thanks George

Well okay, so, you and I are opposite sides of the fence on every issue facing our society today. But, we came together on this issue. Thanks George.

P.S. I'm sorry for cheering on the shoe throwing guy. That really would have hurt!

P.S.S. This still doesn't change my overall opinion of you...I won't reflect on that here, you are well aware...................and if you are really curious about the details, well, just listen to John Prine's song, Some Humans Ain't Human. He sums it up very nicely.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

California Colors

As the weather turned cold, the evening colors created a new version of warmth.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Apology Accepted

My darling brother, Mark, left me a message the other day apologizing for a childhood mishap. His daughter, Gabrielle, will soon be taking the test for her driving permit. This milestone encouraged him to reflect on his own experience while obtaining his driving permit. Mark did not perform too well during his driving test. He failed.

Apparently, Mark decided that he could not take responsibility for this failure. He decided that the fault should be placed on a second party....ME! Luckily, I do not have any recollection of this finger pointing scenario and I do accept my brother's belated apology. Quite frequently, I see history repeating itself in my own household as the older child is constantly blaming the younger for her failures.

Interesting. Maybe there is a genetic connection. I'm wondering if Claire will be placing a call to Joey in about 30 odd years to apologize for her misguided blame? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Welcoming the Rain

California has been in desperate need of rain. So today, as the sky opened up and the rain fell, we welcomed the rain with open arms.

Uncle Pat's Winery

Views at Kenwood Winery are stunning.

Trimming the Tree

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just Some Thoughts...

I am so irritated that the auto industry loan was not approved. It just really irks me. I find it really unbelievable that we can hand over 700 billion dollars to the financial sector and bail out other white collar businesses (AIG), but, our lawmakers can't find it in them to help the auto industry. Yes, I understand that the auto industry made a lot of bad choices and I realize that the executives were pompous asses when they first asked for the money (corporate jets, etc.).

I read this morning that one of the sticking points was that the union didn't give enough concessions in their contracts. So now, they are making this a union issue? BULLSHIT! Maybe we should take a look at the congress men's salaries and their health insurance. Maybe they need a pay cut!

Angry and irritated thoughts such as these swirled around in my head this morning. They were the thoughts occupying my mind as I left my volunteer stint in my daughter's classroom and walked to my............PRIUS! As I sat in my car, the Grateful Dead song "Victim or the Crime" started pounding in my head. Wow, am I the victim or the crime? Did the purchase of my beloved Prius somehow lead to the demise of the auto industry? YIKES!

Okay, buying a a foreign car may have contributed somewhat but, whose fault is it that I bought a Prius in the first place? It's Ford Motor Company's fault, that's who! Our first family of four vehicle was a Ford Windstar minivan. I loved that minivan (never thought I would admit to loving a minivan, but I have and I did). We were being good Americans and we bought an American car. Hooray for us!

The minivan worked well for a while. However, after it hit a certain number of miles, it started breaking down (should have bought a warranty plan!). And, it was expensive to fix. After a couple of times in the shop at prices that were unbelievable, we decided to trade it in and buy a new car. We took our little minivan into the car dealership, they made us a deal and we walked off with a brand new Toyota minivan (with a warranty plan). I loved that minivan too.

When I started commuting to work everyday and when it started to cost $60.00 to fill my gas tank, John began hinting that we should look into a Prius. I resisted, saying that there was no way we could all fit into a small car. Eventually, I caved in and I've been very happy with the change. We are the proud owners of a Toyota Prius that gets 47.5 miles to the gallon. We also purchased a warranty plan and a really cool service plan that rolls the cost of servicing the car into our monthly car payment -- we pay monthly for the servicing and don't have to cough up the payment at the time of servicing. That certainly takes the stress out of getting my car serviced because I know that it's already been paid.

Whew, that's a long story and with all that being said, I am crossing my fingers for some type of aid to the auto industry. I just hope that they really take a close look at their reliability factor. In the next couple of years, we may need buy a new car for John and if the American car industry can come up with a reliable, fuel efficient car, we will give it a thorough evaluation. Until then I'll be singing another Grateful Dead song for our overall economy, "I Need a Miracle."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gearing Up for Christmas

pictures by Jennifer Burns

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Welcome Distractions

I have a 35 minute commute to work everyday. When this whole economic crisis/debacle happened, I started to become glued to my radio during my drive. I would turn on the raido in the morning and go back and forth between NPR and AM 740 NewsRadio. After school, I would rush to my car and quickly turn on the radio to hear what the stock market did that day. Not that I am particularly tied to the stock market. Well, my retirement account has certainly been affected by the ups and downs or should I say the tremendous downhill ride. In addition, my kids' college funds are looking pretty skimpy right now. Anyway, I found myself eagerly waiting for one person's analysis or this person's insight and wanting more and more to see how the stock market performed on a daily basis. It started to drive me crazy.

Finally, I have realized that I can't do anything about it. So, I have vowed to take a sabatical from listening to the "news." My rides to work will go back to being filled with music and books on CD. Most recently I have listened to a monologue by Juilia Sweeney. She used to be Pat from Saturday Night Live and she is really funny. I think it's true, laughter really is the best medicine.

A Christmas Miracle!

Ah yes, it is truely a Christmas miracle. Both kids came home from school today and did their homework without complaining. Of course right now, they are arguing. Six of one, half......I will count my blessings and marvel at the small accomplishments.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tip of the Day

If you want to get some good craft ideas for the holiday season, check out my sister-in-law's blog at http://www.artscrapandmore.blogspot.com/ .

She has some pretty cool stuff on her blog. If you want to get a taste of what it was like to be in Grant Park to hear Obama's acceptance speech, scroll down to find her pictures of that magical night. Their family attended the event in Grant Park. Pretty cool. Click on the pictures and you will see a little sample of her photos. You can also watch a video of Will I Am performing his song "It's a New Day."

BTW, she was my inspiration for starting my blog. Check it out, you might get inspired too!

P.S. Her blog is public so, you don't have to sign in. However, if you do visit, leave a comment and tell her that I sent you. It's fun to see who is visiting!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mamma Mia!

photo by Alexandra Sirugue MacLeod
Multiply those 8 candles by 10 and that's your new reality!
As your wife always says, "The truth hurts!"

How Does Your Garden Grow?

According to the landscape architect, the garden grows 3 types of lettuces, spinach, mache, carrots, beets, onions and radishes. Come on over for a salad sometime!

I am Thankful for...

California Adventures

Healthy Children