Monday, August 07, 2023

Concerns for Our Future

 I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I am really fearful of what the future of this country is.  The Right is saying and doing things that I thought I'd never see.  From the supreme court voting to abolish Roe and taking away a right to a woman's own body to what is being done in schools.  I thought book banning went out decades ago along with burning witches at the stake.  And for Rhonda Santis to say slaves benefitted from being slaves is outrageous.  He is crazy but worse he is dangerous.

I am in Texas and totally ashamed of the governor.  He is a trumpy wannabe and is harming as many people he can with legislation he has signed.  He made ordinary citizens bounty hunters who could turn in anyone seeking an abortion or anyone helping that person seek an abortion and receive a huge reward. Among many other things, he removed any restrictions for owning a gun, including assault type rifles and now you can open carry a weapon anywhere you want.  Even as young as 18.

I backed Beto O'Rourke in every election. In my opinion, he lost because Democrats didn't want to get off their butts and vote.  It is one of the few things you can do to determine the direction of YOUR country!  School Boards are being filled with right wingers who want to control what your kids learn, what they can wear and which restroom they can use.  These are different times than even the last 10 years and being involved with every single election is important.  It's important because those people move up the line from the school board to mayor and on to bigger and more powerful positions.  Be active in your local elections because those people may soon be making decisions for more than just your kid's school and if you don't like them, vote them out!  The ballot box is your voice.  Use it!

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Embracing The Gray

 I am the proud owner of 73 years of life.  I own every minute of those 73 years and am proud to say I have little or no regrets.  I hope I'm around to post the same at 80!

My heritage is Greek & Turkish on my father's side and French and Scotch Irish on my mother's side.  When I was young, my hair was very dark brown, almost black with red highlights when I was in the sunshine. My father told me he had a sister with the same color as my hair.  

Here is my high school graduation picture with pretty dark hair.  

At around 27, I started seeing gray hair making its debut.  At that age I wasn't ready to see it, so I started coloring my hair to hide it.  The only problem was that with such dark hair, the roots showed up horribly.  So my hairdresser suggested we lighten my dark brown hair to a lighter version.  And we did and the gray roots weren't so prominent.  And we added highlights sometime in my 40s or 50s.

Fast forward to age 73.  I've reached the point of being oh so tired of every 4 weeks going to get my roots touched up and covering the gray.  Heck, I'm 73 after all and I should finally embrace the gray, right?  I tried it once before at age 65.  I did it cold turkey and just let the gray grow out.  I was going to Brunei on a TDY assignment after retirement and would be there for about 5 months. I just didn't want to mess with coloring my hair myself.  Well, my advice is to never try this cold turkey! After letting the gray grow out about 5" I saw that it was a beautiful silvery platinum gray.  There were many strands that actually sparkled in the sunlight.  But I wasn't ready.  Back to the hairdresser to bring back the brown before I was wheels up.  So.  This week after much searching online for "best ways to go gray" and "popular gray hair color" I decided to take the plunge.  My hairdresser listened to me and looked at the pictures I saved on my phone.  She got it.  And the result.....

It does look a little blonde but she did confirm she used gray/silver dye.  Now, as my roots grow out, they will blend in with what I now have.  Once the gray grows out to the length I want, we stop the highlights.  If the color needs to be adjusted, she can do it when I go back in 3 weeks.  I'm now a 73 year old with gray highlights in my brown hair and I really love it.  In the light it looks blonde. I never wanted to be blonde but apparently I am slightly blonde now.

My advice to anyone thinking about quitting the 'cover up' is to talk to your hairdresser.  Take pictures of the end result you are looking for and DO IT!  As I sat for the 30 minutes with foil all over my head, my brown hair turning some form of gray, I was actually scared.  Scared that I might have made a mistake.  But when the foil came out and I got to a mirror and removed the towel, I loved it!  It was even better than I hoped for once it was dry.  It's a big deal to finally let your true colors show.  I'm glad I finally did.  

Friday, January 29, 2021

Long Time, No See

Yes, it's been a while!  For some reason I wasn't able to log into my blog but after trying yet again, I was successful! Hoorah!

I'm really bummed out on how this country has become so divided, so angry and seems to have just lost its way.  I am hopeful that things will look up soon and the hatred and anger will subside.  It was so painful to watch the crazed rioters storm the Capitol.  I never saw that coming and was just in shock.  Hopefully, things will calm down and cooler heads will prevail.

It's been 6 1/2 years since I retired and oh boy, do I love it!  But it seems I'm busier than ever.  I'm still selling on Ebay and have 2 spaces at a Marketplace near me and sell both vintage and current day items...whatever I know will sell.  My friend Delta and I go to estate sales every Thursday and Friday and load up the car with treasures.  Once home, things are cleaned and the research begins on their worth (or not so much worth).  

I am religious about wearing a mask (double masking now) and use hand sanitizer and wash frequently.  There is no way I want to die from this awful virus, so all precautions are taken.  I just wish everyone would be as mindful of the simple things they can do to stop the spread.  *sigh*

That's all I know for now. I was surprised to finally get to my blog so I just wasn't prepared to write much, even though so much is on my mind.  

More later!

Monday, March 18, 2019

New Knee

It's been a while since I've added anything to my blog, but I guess there's not been any earthshaking news to report or I've just been so busy in retirement that I haven't had time to sit and think about what's been happening.

That said, a couple of things have taken up lots of my time.  One is the political posture of late and the other is...I got a new knee!  I finally decided I had had enough of my sore, bone-on-bone knee and took my doctor's advice and had it replaced.  It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  It was done January 7, 2019 and I'm progressing just fine.  I was off the strong pain medicine after one week and just taking Tylenol.  My advice...if you need it, get a GOOD doctor and get it done.  Quality of life is important and mine has improved.  It will take another 10 months or so before my body fully becomes accustomed to my new part but in the meantime I am noticing improvements all the time.  I still have stiffness and occasional discomfort but I am definitely 'on the mend.'  Lovely photos of my new knee!

The other thing that has taken up lots of brain time and emotion is the political issues going on.  I am not/not a Trump fan...he needs to go.  The garbage he spews is hurting this country, dividing this country and most certainly is his effort to change this country.  I support Beto O'Rourke for President and am thrilled that he finally announced.  I campaigned for him when he ran for senate against Ted Cruz, but was mildly happy he lost so he could run for President.  He is for the people and I have seen how he brings people together, unlike our current president.  So what if he was in a rock band when he was young...good for him!  So what if he has a DUI on his record.  Who can say they have a perfect record and did nothing in their youth that was wrong?  I am proudly wearing my BETO 2020 hat and will do what I can to gather votes for him.  My hope is that everyone will look at each candidate's platform and then make a decision.  We can't afford to have another trump in charge.  We don't need a president who resorts to name calling, alienating our who feels he does not need to receive briefings from experts and makes decisions "from his gut feelings."   We don't need a president who has had so many of the people he surrounded himself with serving time or under indictment.  We need to return honesty and integrity to the White House.  

I know many of you may disagree with me but I hope you will take a hard look at every candidate running for President.  We owe it to our children and grandchildren to be more careful who we put in charge of their future.  I welcome comments and am happy to discuss my feelings.  But any that use profanity or resort to name calling will be deleted.  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

My New Tee Shirt Quilt

In my 7 years serving in the Foreign Service, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel the world. I bought quite a few things, probably too many things, to remember each place.  Since I like to wear tee shirts, I tried to buy one from different places I visited.  It was a way of getting a souvenir that I could actually use and not just put on a shelf. 

A couple of years ago, I went to a craft fair at a local high school and ran across a lady who turned tee shirts into quilts.  I fell in love with her work!  It took me 2 years to finally have the shirts together that I wanted made into a quilt. I know…life gets in the way of great plans.

I contacted Melinda and made an appointment to meet with her and go over my future quilt.  What an amazingly nice lady!  I spend about an hour or so going over different fabrics, colors of fabrics that would go between the panels of my shirts, the backing, what I wanted stitched along the border and what I wanted stitched across each of the shirts from different countries.  The result was much more than I expected!  I knew it was going to be beautiful based on the quilts she had on display at the craft fair.  Around the border, she stitched the different countries the tee shirts were from. Across each shirt, she stitched something I said about it or a design.  On the back, which is dark blue, you can see more detail on what is stitched over the shirts on the front.  And because she stitched the design over each tee shirt, there will be no shrinking or shifting of the shirt.  

I know I’ll be using this quilt this winter and many winters to come.  One friend said “You aren’t going to use it, are you?”  I said “Hell yes!  Why wouldn’t I?”

If any of my Foreign Service friends wonder what to do with their tee shirts from their travels, contact this wonderful lady. She will Skype with you!

See the camel stitching?

I grew up in Coronado.

I love the plate of pasta for Italy!


First Turkey Trot in Oman with shell stitching

Had to include my tee shirt from the Foreign Service

Sally and I did have an adventure in Sri Lanka!


On my way to Retirement I made a short stop...the reference to "Thanks Dad" is because he was born in Greece.

If you think you might want one of these quilts made with your shirts, below is the contact information for Melinda.  It's not cheap, but it is something you'll treasure forever!  And it doesn't have to be just travel. She does beautiful quilts with your son or daughter's team shirts or vacations, like what is on her card below. She went with her family to Disneyland.  What a great way to remember a special trip!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Coming Out Of Retirement – Take 3

Retirement. Sometimes it’s a permanent thing and other times it’s, well, temporary. For me, as a retired State Department employee, it’s an on again, off again thing.  When I retired in 2014, I signed on to be called for temporary duty assignments worldwide.  In 2015, I spent a week in Singapore, in 2016 I was in Brunei for 4½ months, and now I’m in Kuala Lumpur, commonly called KL, for 1½ months.  I do enjoy the travel, meeting new people, using my skills again and earning a bit of cash. 

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia as well as the country’s largest city. The weather here is that of a tropical rain forest climate from March to October. It rains nearly every day so you always have your umbrella with you. Temperatures year round are pretty constant, 75-90 degrees.  The city is very lush with plenty of green space and modern architecture. 

Last weekend I went to the Central Market. I’ve been to many market places around the world and this one was as fun as any other I’ve visited.  It was quite calm compared to Istanbul or Muscat, where you hear a constant chatter from vendors and the smells of food, incense and who knows what fill the air. This market had wonderful shops and at times, I felt I was back in Muscat!
Pashminas, paper mache camels and ornaments and rugs were everywhere.  And then there was a shop that had the beautiful painted ceramics from Turkey. I left Istanbul with a suitcase filled with them! I also came across a shop that sold the coconut bowls from Vietnam, I think…polished on the outside and painted on the inside and decorated with mother of pearl or crushed egg shell. I’m going home with plenty of these!  I’ll definitely make another run at this market before I depart KL.

Last night I had dinner with a co-worker at an open air restaurant, Fuego, with a spectacular view of the city skyline. It was cloudy so we missed a great sunset but the surrounding buildings provided a beautiful blend of colorful lights that more than made up for the lack of a golden sunset. The Petronas Twin Towers were lit up like diamonds, as was the space needle-like building. It had jewel tone colors changing every few seconds. Unfortunately, we could only see one of the Petronas Towers because there’s another very tall building under construction, blocking its twin.  The food was delicious, the company perfect and the views spectacular.  It was the first time I’ve had a margarita with no ice, a grilled lemon slice as garnish and served in a martini glass. But it was tasty.

Unlike Brunei last year where I lived in a very large house, while in KL, I’m living in a hotel room with a kitchenette.  It’s quite comfortable and I am able to do some cooking on the 2 burner cook top and the microwave. Fortunately, there is a restaurant and the food is pretty good…and quite cheap.  I can get a great teriyaki chicken breast, roasted potatoes and a salad for about $9.00US. Not bad at all.  Last week, at about 9:00 pm, the fire alarm went off in the hotel. It was an alarm like none I’ve ever heard…sounded like a very loud motor with the noise rising and falling. It turns out there was no fire. Someone was frying something in their kitchenette and didn’t turn on the overhead fan and the smoke set off the alarm.  The last time something like that happened, I was in Karachi. Someone in the apartment building started frying bacon and then decided to take a shower.  The bacon burned, smoked like crazy and set off the fire alarm.  The entire building was evacuated into the very hot sun outside. Marines were in full gear and no one knew what was happening…just that we had to get out of the building fast.  Not a fun experience, especially in Pakistan!  I doubt that person will every leave the frying pan while cooking bacon again.

As much as I enjoy these infrequent working trips and travel opportunities, I do think I’ll make retirement permanent when I get home. I love the travel, the money and the opportunity to see things I wouldn’t otherwise see, but I love being retired even more. I love that every day is Saturday.  I love doing whatever I want, whenever I want.  I have enough airline miles to travel to Europe if I want or make several trips to Oregon to spend time with my 3 grandsons.  Life is too short and at my age, I need to be enjoying it every day.  I’ve earned it.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Differences...They Make The World Go 'Round

In the Foreign Service, I had the privilege of serving in Honduras, Oman, Pakistan and then, after retirement, I was asked to go to Singapore and now Brunei. During my years of service I had the chance to observe how things are done differently in every country, many times with the same or very different result.  It's not that one way of doing things is right or wrong, but just different. The following things happened to me or someone I worked with at one of my posts overseas.  For those of you who follow me on this blog and are members of the Foreign Service, I'm sure you can relate and probably have many of your own examples!

·        You're driving and you need to change lanes.
o   Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei - You put your turn signal on. The acceptable culture is that the car in the lane you wish to be in slows down and allows you to enter their lane.
o   U.S. - Hell no! You can't come in my lane! I'm going to speed up and close the gap. So there! Often you end up passing your turn and making a U-turn to come back to it. Or you bully your way into the lane.

·        You are pushing your basket down the aisle in a grocery store.
o   Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei - There is a clerk sitting on the floor stocking items on a lower shelf. She has several boxes on the floor and there is not enough room for you to pass. You end up turning around and going back the way you came. She never looks up.
o   U.S. - The clerk quickly stands up, moves the boxes and apologizes. Often nothing needs to happen because the aisles are nice and wide.

·        Security has told you to vary your route driving to and from work (the embassy) to avoid being predictable.
o   Tegucigalpa, Honduras - One route is pot hole-free as you know it. You change your route and hit 4 pot holes large enough to have their own zip codes. You also drive into a hole in the road that is missing its man hole cover, probably being used as a cook top somewhere.
o   U.S. - No need to vary your route to work unless you hear a bulletin on the radio about a wreck.

·        You need to buy some chicken for a fried chicken dinner.
o   Bandar Seri Begawan,Brunei - You wander back to the meat department, following your nose. Chicken is in open cases, self serve style, each one with differing chicken parts. You pick up the tongs and pick your pieces. You also have chicken feet, tiny chickens and oddly chopped pieces to choose from. You shoo away a fly. The man next to you moves a few pieces with his hand, looking for just the right piece.
o   U.S. - You look at packages, carefully sealed with 'sell by' dates printed on them, all marked USDA Inspected and monitored carefully by the people in the meat department. You can also choose from chicken in a glass enclosed case. No fly is seen.

·        You and your friend want to go to the mall to do a little shopping.
o   Karachi, Pakistan - You request a vehicle from the Security Officer, making sure there is a driver and body guard available to go with you. Once at the mall, you must stay together and not more than 6 feet from your body guard. Fortunately, you can go in the fitting room by yourself.
o   U.S. - You drive to the mall.

·        You decide you want to go to the beach for a swim.
o   Muscat, Oman - It's June and a great day for a swim. You drive to one of the many beautiful beaches.  It's 115⁰.  You park the car and start walking toward the water. OMG...the sand is blazing hot! Half way to the water, you begin to run and by the time you get there, you have 2nd degree burns on the bottom of your feet. But the water is gorgeous and feels so good on your feet. You enjoy swimming in your shorts and tee shirt.
o   U.S. - It's a great 86⁰. You walk to the beach, lay down your towel and ice chest and stroll toward the water in your ittsy bittsy bikini.

·        You aren't feeling well, probably need to take something.
o   Tegucigalpa, Honduras - You go to the drug store and choose from any number of antibiotics, anti diarrhea meds or strong pain killers.  You choose 3 different medicines that you think will help it and pay the $5.00 for all.
o   U.S. - You call your doctor and find out they can't see you for 3 weeks. You try the neighborhood clinic in the neighborhood drugstore and after 45 minutes of paperwork, they tell you that you really need to see your personal physician. You grab a bottle of Advil and hope it helps somewhat while you wait the 3 weeks to see your doctor.  Three weeks later, you see the doctor and his $275 bill is all applied to your deductible.

·        You need to drive your kids to school.
o   Tegucigalpa, Honduras - You pile all 3 kids in the car and head to the school. Due to the security risk, you have your emergency radio with you and hear a warning that demonstrators have blocked the road to school. You struggle with an alternate route but end up having to go back home due to the threat of violence.
o   U.S. - You pile all 3 kids in the car and head to school. You arrive 5-10 minutes later and pull into the drop off lane. Kids kiss you and head into school.

·        You need a new pair of black pants for work.
o   Bandar Seri Begawan - You go online, find a pair at a Big Box Store and place your order. You get an email confirming your purchase. You immediately get an email cancelling your order. For the next 2 weeks you exchange emails with Big Box Store with no one able to explain why your order was cancelled. Extremely angry, you search for an email address for Big Box Store. You find one in New York and fire off an angry letter. A week later you receive an email thanking your your business and patience and oh gee, we just can't explain why your order was cancelled. Please place the order again. And by the way, we will give you free shipping on your next order. Six weeks later you get your black pants.
o   U.S. - You head to any Big Box Store near you, find the pants, try them on, pay for them and head home.