Posts Tagged ‘California’

Was visiting my Mom this summer.

One day, after her shower, she says to me, “Gosh, as short as my hair is I just hate to dry it.”

I replied, “Me, too. I don’t think anyone likes to dry their hair.”

She laughed and said, “I thought it was just me.”

Nope.

Had same conversation with my husband when passing by “Drybar” a week later.

He said, “Good for her!”

Meaning the woman who started this booming business.

No cuts. No color. Just blowouts. They are in the business of drying hair. Yes, drying hair.

She’s making beaucoup bucks.

I said, “No one likes to dry their hair.”

He replied, “Wished I had known that.”

As in “Maybe he would have started that business before her??”

I remember laughing with my friend in California about the “missed opportunity” that can present itself when you use a towel.

I never dry my hair right away. Goes up into a big, white towel. And it could stay there. Minutes, hours and maybe even days.

Seriously though. When you have your hair up in a towel it’s like a clock (or bomb) ticking. If you leave it too long? Missed your opportunity! Have to start process all over again. Wet and wrap up in a towel once more!

Good for that lady. The Drybar dame. She didn’t miss her opportunity. She actually seized it!

There are always opportunities out there.

 

 

 

 

 

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Some years ago my husband and I were invited to a bookclub dinner with two other couples in California. The wife of one of my husband’s employees came up with the idea and thought it would be fun.

I was used to my Dallas bookclub that was comprised of a half dozen, wine-guzzling, loquacious females.

My friend, Karla (Dallas book club) told me that her husband said, “What kind of granola is Mary eating out there in California?” After he found out it was for couples.

Or something to that effect. Equivalent of “What’s Mary smoking out there?”

The book was “The Last Lecture” written by the late Randy Pausch.

I recommend it. Or at least watch his video. Inspiration from a man who knew that he wasn’t going to be around too much longer.

Hubby didn’t finish the book but I shared the finer points with him during the car ride.

It was a good book. Focused on the important things in life and unrealized dreams.

Had dinner and wine.

So far, so good.

Then the woman puts a pot on the table and asks that we all write down our own unrealized dream on a slip of paper. Without our names.

The six of us complied.

Then she pulled out each one and read them. We had to guess who wrote each one.

So far, so good.

First one was “I always wanted to be a veterinarian but didn’t get accepted into the program.”

Uh oh!

A little guesswork determined this was from the hostess who was currently working as a pediatrician.

Who knew medical school was easier to get into than a veterinary program?

Next was, “I wanted to be an airplane pilot but couldn’t due to an eye injury.”

That was from my husband who was a CEO at the time.

Geez. I was starting to sweat. Maybe I didn’t put too much thought into mine!

Can’t remember the others. But I’ll never forget mine.

“I always wanted to learn how to whistle.”

A lofty goal from a lofty girl.

Well, that certainly lightened the mood although that was not my intention.

I realized (after I mentally berated myself for such a simple answer) that I was the only one who had written down a goal that I could actually still achieve. If I pursued it.

No, I still haven’t learned how to whistle.

But I will devote some time to it. Right after I devote the time to training my overly enthusiastic, five year old Jack Russell named Thumper. LOL.

Hadn’t even thought of whistling for a couple of years. But discussion was prompted at a family gathering a few weeks ago when someone mentioned meeting the best whistler in Ireland.

Led to some chatting in the room. Who can whistle?

My father’s side? Apparently not so much.

But my mother’s side is a different story. My grandfather was always whistling. And his kids could whistle.

Got me thinking about it all over again. 🙂

 

Have a wonderful week while you are thinking about what you would write on that scrap of paper.

Big or small.

Then go and make it happen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I love books. Some more than others.

I remember reading John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” and not being able to put it down once I got past the the first chapter or two.

It was supposedly based on his family’s history.

Loosely or not, I do not know.

But it was a fascinating story. Started on the East Coast. Ended on the West Coast.

There were so many times when I thought, “Oh, this person will marry that person.”

Or, “This is likely to happen.”

No, it didn’t work that way.

Maybe because it was based on a family history. And if we look at our own family history it’s not always all nicely tied up with a bow.

Life just happens.

I suppose that is one of the reasons I liked the book.

It gave me a snapshot of American history.  A family. Immigration. Westward migration.

Also a reality check.

When it comes to families nothing comes neatly packaged.

The girl from the neighboring farm does not always marry the boy from next door.

Lots of times, yes.

But not always.

Life is not predictable.

Sometimes it can be.

Other times it is not.

I loved that Steinbeck kept me guessing and always wanting more with each chapter.

If you haven’t read it I suggest you do. Makes you really think.

 

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In my last posting I stated that we were waiting for an email reply from our friend and neighbor in California.

My husband had sent an email to him Sunday morning. Saying that we were reminiscing about the good old days. When Jim tried to make a golfer out of my husband! And how we had the best neighbor.

That evening we still hadn’t heard anything back.

I figured he was away. We can’t expect everyone, a world away, to respond immediately. No matter how prompt we consider them. Can we?

But I had a weird feeling. A sinking feeling.

And I googled our friend’s name.

His smiling face popped up immediately.

In his obituary.

I just said, “Oh, God!”

Jim passed away at the end of June. I had no idea.

I had emailed him in April about my father’s passing. He replied how sorry he was for our loss. Said my father was a great guy. He had met my Dad on two different occasions and they enjoyed chatting about golf and other things.

He also said he was sorry for the delay in responding since he had been in the hospital for a week.

He wrote, “But I am okay now.”

I responded with an email including a “Hope it was nothing serious.”

That last time was the end of May and the next month he was gone.

My eyes kept tearing up all evening. It was the shock of it. And the loss of a truly wonderful person.

It’s telling that I had at least four postings about him in the past. Which I will soon share.

He was brilliant and an inventor. We wouldn’t be sitting here on our computers now if it wasn’t for the likes of him. A pioneer in Silicon Valley. And yet he was one of the most down to earth fellows you would ever want to meet. He was kind, generous and humorous.

He set the stage and paved the way for all of the Scottish folks I would meet in my travels. I would have to immediately like them if they were like Jim, right?

But he raised the bar for them. And for everyone else.

Rest in peace, my friend. We will miss you.

Jim McDiarmid

1940-2015

 

 

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This past weekend my husband and I were chatting on the patio. Talking about this and that. And the conversation veered toward that hot topic that comes up now and again.

Where will we live next? Where should we buy a house? Texas? California? East Coast?

Not owning a place in our home country causes us a bit of agita when we get thinking about it. We try to keep the heartburn at bay by thinking about the insurance, taxes, maintenance, etc. that we would pay in absentia.

But we lobbed the pros and cons back and forth across the table just the same.

Texas makes the most sense. California beckons.

He says, “I’m going to call Jim.”

This is after we reminisced about our place in Dana Point, California and our beloved neighbor Jim.

We did a bit of googling also.

Husband says there’s a house for sale on our old street. It looked like Jim’s.

Jim had been talking about downsizing in the past. He has another place in Arizona.

If we bought Jim’s place it would be in absolute pristine condition because he is a bit of a neatnik and a fanatic about everything being just so. Maybe that’s a Scottish thing.

If it wasn’t Jim’s place for sale then we’d have him as a neighbor again and that would be even better.

He ended up sending Jim an email telling him that we were reminiscing about our fabulous neighbors.

In the evening my husband said, “Jim hasn’t replied to my email.”

It just so happened that Jim had been on my mind all week.

My neighbor Nancy, here in Malaysia, had a rat in her kitchen the previous Saturday. She called me. And I ran over to her place. Not knowing what I would or could do. Laugh out loud.

When we lived in Dana Point, the city had cleared an embankment of brush to avoid the infamous California wildfires. It resulted in roof rats/Norwegian rats losing their stomping grounds.

Yup, we soon had those furry visitors in the attic. And Jim was my man. The neighbor I called. My go to guy.

And he always responded promptly.

My first thought? He was most likely visiting family or spending the weekend in Arizona.

Second thought? Jim is going to be absolutely thrilled that we are even considering buying a place in Southern California.

Good neighbors are a true blessing. And even better if they are your friends.

 

 

 

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I’ll admit it. The beautiful photos that my friends and family are posting this time of year are sort of making me homesick.

I miss the changing of the leaves.

I miss wearing sweaters. I miss wearing boots.

I once tried wearing a sweater here in Malaysia. It was an evening gathering by the pool area in our community. I’m not crazy (all of the time) so I wasn’t going to go full on heavy wool sweater. But I had donned a nice, light cotton, button down cardigan that I thought I could handle.

Ten minutes into the occasion and I was sweating bullets.

I said to my friends, “I’ll be right back!”

And I ran home to change into some sleeveless, cotton thingy. It was that bad.

I tried.

Some people can handle the humidity here. I am not one of them. I guess it’s my DNA. My ancestors hail from a temperate climate and I was born in an area that experiences seasonal changes.

I’m seeing beautiful photos of changing leaves, football games and family gatherings.

And I miss it.

My visits are usually during the summer. And sometimes Christmas.

So I miss out on those absolute perfect days and chilly evenings of Autumn. All the apple picking and Halloween/Thanksgiving activities.

I get that these same people will be complaining and posting photos of the long winters.

And I also miss that.

It is interesting to live in a climate that is predictable. But not interesting enough that I want to spend my entire life here.

So, if you are currently experiencing the changing of the seasons, appreciate every moment.

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Here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, there are quite a few places that require you to get “buzzed in” at the door. You hit a button. Person behind desk hits their button. And you’re in the place. When you leave you need to hit a button to exit.

Doctors and dentist offices. Privately owned shops.

Half the time I forget and I am tugging on doors trying to get in and out. To no avail. Almost slapping my palm against the glass doors. Let me in!!! Almost propping my foot against the door about to give it the ultimate tug. Sort of like a challenge. I can get that tight top off the pickle jar even if you can’t. I will open this door. I just need to use my muscles.

But then I realize it’s one of those locked up places and I search everywhere for the button to push. Once found, although slightly sweaty by this time, I push it, the lady behind the desk hits the release button and I am in the joint. Whew!

I was at a Doctor’s office the other day. I wasn’t really happy. Not feeling well and there was a situation where my credit card wasn’t working. So I am leaving and do my usual tugging on the door. Not budging. I want out. I search frantically for the button. I find one and press. Too bad for all of them that it was a light switch and that I left them all in the dark.  That’s just too bad.

It reminded me of the time, a few years back, when I was at Mass in Orange County, California with my two girls. It was standing room only inside the church. Of course, Rory, being a teenager, was leaning against the back wall.

Started to get so cold. I was wishing I had a sweater. It was not usually so chilly in the church. I know they want you to pay attention but I never thought they wanted us to freeze.

Might have been my imagination but I thought I saw chattering teeth in the congregation as they grouped closer together for additional body warmth.

At Communion there was usual movement and shuffling of bodies. People lining up to receive. And I just happened to notice that the place where Rory was leaning also held a small thermostat. With buttons.

I thought it was hysterical. I was just glad that her leaning resulted in cooler temperature. Imagine if she leaned on the “up” button. There’d be folks fanning themselves, gasping for water and thinking they were in the fires of Hell.

Now, you all can say that when I (and my family) arrive or leave someplace everyone knows it.

But my thought is this. If everyone just removed all of these easily manipulated buttons, just hanging on their walls for all the world to push, not a soul would ever even know we were there.

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