Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blueberries, Anyone?
















We have a blueberry farm out here in Temecula, not far from the house. We met my son, his wife and their two boys, my grandson’s Ben and Luke one lovely Sunday afternoon. Ben’s three, and Luke’s fourteen months. We had a great time picking blueberries, and there was a tractor which suited the boy’s fine. One of Ben’s first words was “tractor.” I made blueberry coffee cake with some of our blueberries and it was a hit. A good time was had by all.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cancer Schmancer!



Bonnie says, Cancer Schmancer! So what if I don't have my fluffy hair anymore, so what if I have a melanoma on my eyelid, so what! I still feel good, I still play with my toys, I still LOVE FOOD!

I don't know how long we'll have Bonnie but we're enjoying every minute we have left. I am on the mend. I will soon be visiting your blogs, (I know I threatened this before) but this time I really will be visiting you guys.



All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Monday, April 12, 2010

When A Girl's Sick...




...she just don't feel good. (An old saying of my dad's, but of course he said "feller".) We all know that a picture's worth a thousand words, so I put up a picture of what got me, C. Difficile, nasty, nasty business.

Did you know that doctors can make you sicker than you were when you first went in to see them? Well, they can. It happened to me. At first everybody thought I was screaming in pain because of a tooth. Dentist visits ensued. Nope, not the problem. It was a massive sinus infection. Weeks later, the painful sinus infection was finally knocked back, but the third antibiotic turned out to be trouble. It killed all my good bacteria, so a nasty super bug could take hold. Lucky me.

I won't go into details. Suffice it to say, I'm intimately involved with all three toilets in my house. We might buy stock in Charmin, Tucks, and Clorox, (going thru toilet paper and bleach wipes like crazy).

Bonnie, on the other hand, thinks she's a puppy again. She's running around with a missing toe and paw pad, as if she doesn't miss them at all. Today is her oncologist appointment, they need to determine if she has to go on chemo or not. The surgery was a huge success, they got all the tumor out! Yay!

So, here I am, trying to act like a dog. Dog's have terrific attitudes. They don't let nasty melanoma's get the best of them, no way Jose. It's hard to keep a good dog down. Bonnie is a very, very good dog, everyone that meets her falls madly in love (a true story). I want to be like her when I grow up, (after all she is in her 70's and she's now running around much like the day I picked her up from the breeder when she was only 8 weeks old.

Don't worry, dear friends, I'll be back on my feet, (and off the throne), in no time, blogging and visiting you all. Thanks for your concern and kind thoughts, it means alot. Hopefully I will not be one of the casualties that end up losing their colon from this ugly bug that resembles Good N'Plenty Candies, (at least in the illustrations.) I bet they have a face. Shudder. Ick. Yuck.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What the Heck's Going On With This Here Blog?




Okay, without getting into the gory details, I was sick. And when a girl's sick she just doesn't feel good. (It wasn't my teeth but a nasty bacterial infection.) But, through magic of pharmaceuticals I'm back! Bright eyed and bushy tailed.

My little dog Bonnie, on the other hand, isn't fairing so well. Her tail ain't wagging :-(

To make a long story (and ordeal) very short, my little cairn terrier has an aggressive form of melanoma, and after having her toes amputated is not doing all that well. So I am busy nursing her. I pray that she won't have to have chemotherapy, but it's looking as if we'll have to go that route.

Give me a week or so to get my act together and I will be back up and running. Thanks for all the lovely letters and your kind thoughts, I am not all that bad off. Nothing life threatening I promise.

Check out pic of Bonnie in better days, and Bonnie, like her mama a little older, grayer, and less spry.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Friday, February 19, 2010

OUCH


Why I am MIA. Hope to see ya soon.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day



Have a great day!


All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

They Say Zed




Both sets of my grandparents were born in Canada. We’ve got Irish and French, French and Irish, and Huron (Americans say Indian, Canadians say First Nations), and God only knows what blood flowing though our veins, my big brother and me and my little sister. Mom was born in Saskatchewan, and my dad’s parents, (residents of historic Amherstberg, Ontario), just happened to be visiting Detroit, Michigan the day he was born. So, for all intents and purposes, I’m infused with Canadianess, although I’m American born and bred.

Man, they really did a terrific job with the opening night of those Olympics up in beautiful Vancouver British Columbia! I’m not about to launch into some blow-by-blow description. But, right out of the chute, when I heard a deep timbered voice from way on high begin to speak I looked at The Husband and I said, “Hey that’s Donald Sutherland. Cool, he’s a perfect choice.”

I’ll cut right to the chase, that little dude flying around over the surreal prairie like Peter Pan on crack was amazing! And with Joni Mitchell’s later version of
Both Sides Now playing to boot. I swooned. Thank God I was in a recliner!

As if that wasn’t enough, I thought I had died on the spot and had been instantly transported straight up to heaven while listening to KD Lang’s version of Leonard Cohen’s
Hallelujah. Who sings like that? Holy crap. She is beyond fantastic. I am in awe, I don’t care if she forgot to wear shoes again, or not.

I won’t start in on how many talented individuals hail from Canada. HELLO! Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Alice Munro, Neil Young, Margaret Atwood, Mike Myers! Anyway, I’ll save all that for another time. This is meant to be a short post and I could go on all night long because so many truly talented people are Canadians.

I have all these memories and impressions and feelings about Canada all bottled up inside me. One of these days I’ll do something with all that. I really will. Until then, all I can say is: sit back and enjoy the show (The Olympics). And if you get the chance, do yourself a favor and get your butt to Canada.


All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Make My Day, Please





My daughter is a fashion designer. She graduated from FIDM and now works for a stylist in L.A., learning the ropes and working on TV commercials (Nike, Pizza, Crackers, Laundry Detergent, you get the picture) and rock videos (most recently Zooey Deschanel's band!) Please follow this link and vote for her entry in the Lifetime Project Runway red dress contest. The dress she designed is gorgeous, and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mother.

Click Here ~~ Alexis Please!!! When you get here up in the left hand corner is a box with X1, click until it is X 64, the pen will draw the dress quickly. Thanks all!

See Alexis in photo above, with a rap star Christmas Tree, Zooey Deschanel, a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes I set on the pool table and snapped a pic of, (she was dressing the winner of Britain's version of American Idol and brought them home the night before the photo shoot, sorry, I downloaded the pic and it was sideways and I'm too daft to fix it.) And Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, (I adore Tim!)

By the way, thank you Kathryn in Ohio, my Internet pal, for bringing the contest to my attention! Love you, Kathryn!



All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stuff I Love






In honor of upcoming Valentine's Day I am posting pictures of random stuff I love.

My granddaughter at a Super Bowl Party, way out in Colorado where she lives now :-(

Oliver, one of our four dogs, as a puppy.

Gluten-free double-chocolate cupcakes.

Wine, this pinot is affordable and delicious.




All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Suicide




Someone close to me just lost a friend. This friend hung himself during a party. Can you imagine? His dad found him.

I have a character that's somewhat obsessed with suicide and I have to decide if I am going to try to stop her when and if the time comes.

Did you know that the number one place people choose to end their own lives is The Golden Gate Bridge? The number two place is The Aokigahara Forest in Japan, a very spooky place that has something to do with demons, or so I've heard.

Below are the lyrics to the theme song from M*A*S*H. Robert Altman's son Mike Altman wrote the lyrics. His dad only made $70,000 for directing the movie, but Mike earned upwards of a million bucks from this song. Check out Lady and Bird's rendition, it's very good.




"Suicide is Painless" by Johnny Mandel) - M*A*S*H Lyrics


Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see...

[chorus]:

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it's too late, and...

[Chorus]

The game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.

[Chorus]

The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I'm beat
and to another give my seat
for that's the only painless feat.

[Chorus]

The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn't hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger...watch it grin, but...

[Chorus]

A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
'is it to be or not to be'
and I replied 'oh why ask me?'

'Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
...and you can do the same thing if you choose.



All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

On the Right Track


There are days when I could swear I hear strings playing in the background as if some heavenly orchestra in the sky is keeping time with my life. I bask in the harmoniousness of it all.

But then, there are those days where there is no music. Dead silence. Wait, that’s just not true, there are the voices, the nagging voices. These voices have been around for a very long time. Almost from the beginning. I remember hearing their dire warnings and harsh reprimands as a very small child. And, just when I think the harassing choir is at last dead and buried, they are somehow mysteriously resurrected. I won’t bore you with specifics, but in a nutshell, they say, “Who do you think you are?”

It’s important to go back at them with all I’ve got, I’ve discovered. It’s hopeless to pussyfoot around with these incidious influences, negotiation always proves futile. Direct confrontation is the only way to drive them away. “I am ME!” I shout, (usually telepathically because I don’t want to scare the real people, or the dogs), “Keep your negativity to yourself. Buzz off. I am worthy. I am on the right track. I am over a half a century old now, in case you haven’t noticed. I’ve earned the right to strangle you all dead. Go away, for once and for all. Don’t you know? You’re useless to me now? I’ve decided to be wise. Wise people don’t listen to the likes of you. Goodbye cruel voices. If you ever want to interact with me again you’d better turn into music.”


(Photo above: Tres Grandchildren playing the piano, for Grizzy.)


So, just after I wrote this earlier, I read my horoscope. A bit of serendipity, perhaps?

Powered by Astrocenter.com
February 4, 2010
Daily Virgo horoscope:

Things should be going extremely well for you in general today, dear Virgo, so don't miss this opportunity to pursue your dreams in every sense of the word. Do things with passion, and don't hold back. Remember that your own mind and will are the only things stopping you from getting to where you want to be. There is a great deal of magnetic power at your disposal today, so enlist others to help you along the way.



All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Very Short Post


Sometimes Tuesday feels like Monday. This is one of those Tuesdays. Today, an ordinary cup of coffee feels like a reward. I got so much work done yesterday but I didn’t tend to certain paperwork. So that neglected paperwork is waiting. A menacing stack. To be honest, two menacing stacks. So this is a short post. A very short post.

It’s not just the paperwork. My dogs are acting crazy lately. They tear up the grass, they bark like maniacs. A big loud dog just moved in behind us. We share about twenty feet of fence line with the top of the hill of a neighboring yard and it was bad enough when the little Jack Russell terrier used to traverse the hill and bark at my dogs, but now we have the big dog too, and it’s practically deafening when they all launch into a mass tirade. I’m thinking of buying shock collars, nothing else works!

I bought this ultrasonic gadget that goes off when any dog within a certain distance barks, but this neighborhood has so many dogs that goes off all the time and it doesn’t end up teaching my dogs a thing. Oliver cowers pathetically when the device is on, and he won’t go outside at all, the sound hurts his sensitive ears so bad. And Duncan, my oldest cairn terrier, is deaf and he can’t hear it so he barks anyway which hurts Oliver and Bonnie and Lita’s ears. (Oliver and Lita belong to my two daughters but I am raising them for the time being.) I never thought I’d have four dogs. Lita is a three pound Chihuahua, she cannot wear a shock collar, but Lordy does she have a diabolical bark, it sounds like a demon screaming straight outa hell!

There are safe shock collars. I looked it up. Eighty-three bucks buys you a collar that only goes off if the wearer is barking, it detects not only sound but vibration too. I don’t know. The jury’s out. I worry about putting a shock collar on Duncan, he’s so senile it just might piss him off and he’ll keep barking just to spite the collar. (I guess it turns off after so many shocks, they’ve factored in stubborn animals.)

We’ll see, in the meantime I am chasing them away from the fence with a broom.

I need another cup of Joe.


All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happiness 101




I won the Happy Award again! Ann Spollen saw fit to choose me this time. She's an incredible writer, pop over to her blog and pre-order her upcoming novel "Light Beneath Ferns". Her wonderful novel, "The Shape of Water" is available now.

I'm not going to list 10 things that make me happy again, but I will write about my visit yesterday with my grandson Ethan, as promised in a previous post.

Ethan is brain-injured. For the lengthly explanation click on my post of a couple of days ago, titled, Heartache 101.

I am HAPPY to report Ethan's congestion is improving. He is babbling, and when his "other grandma" makes certain sounds he tries to mimic them. He listens intently to Sesame Street, especially Elmo, and when Elmo sings with Nora Jones he gets very quiet and grins. (I'm going to buy him a Nora Jones CD). He knew I was coming and got very excited. If you mention "school" he starts laughing and expects to go "be with the kids". His teacher, Miss Monica, is an angel on earth and Ethan is madly in love with her. She was trained to work with blind kids and the family's happy that he's with her, at least until he has to move on to kindergarten.

I'll share something with you: some find this weird, but they don't get it. Before all this happened to Ethan, when he was learning to talk, he spent quite a bit of time with my niece's children, and they call me Aunt Lizzy. This was right around the time when we were trying to get him to say Grandma, so he started calling me Iz, or Izzy, and then Izzy became Grizzy. So, I will always be Grizzy to Ethan, and consequently, to all my grandchildren. I love the name Grizzy and feel privileged to be the only one that I know of! Thanks to Ethan.

Above is the award, (thanks Anne), a picture of the little guy with his "other grandma", and below is a video of Ethan's Mama giving him a bath! Have a terrific weekend everybody!!!

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley. video

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hey Neighbor!







Join me in my neck of the woods for a spell.
Pretend I’m a Mr. Rogers clone.

The Husband woke up for a “very early” business call, stepped out on the balcony off his office this morning, and immediately spotted a hot air balloon off in the distance. He was too busy trying to sound brilliant while half-awake to bother locating a camera. So the photo above is a publicity shot of one of the many hot air balloons that often fly above Temecula. Judging by the hills and mountains, we live a tad Northwest of where this particular balloon is.

We fully intend to go up in one of these things this Spring. Well, I’m afraid of heights, and I say I want to go up now, when it’s all very abstract and fun sounding, but we’ll see if I ever really do.

The skies around here have been particularly gorgeous lately.

Last night I decided to jazz up some leftover mashed potatoes. I chopped up a mess of four kinds of peppers, garlic, and onions. Lightly wiped a casserole dish with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil, slammed the spuds in evenly, sprinkled generously with a five cheese blend, (I used the Mexican variety but any would do), and topped with the pepper mixture. Popped in a preheated, 400 oven and took it out when it was all bubbly and slightly brownish in spots. Lordy mercy, were they good! This is the kind of side dish that can really make a mundane meal sing. My pork chops were very jealous of all the attention the taters got. I roasted some squash as well, coated with a bit of aforementioned ever-versatile olive oil and a little fresh rosemary, pepper, and sea salt.

I've been writing like a maniac. When I’m not working on this project, I’m thinking about this project. I dream up solutions and wake up in the middle of the night and I have to go jot down these brilliant ideas. Thank you muse, but could you whisper in my ear when I’m awake!

Anyhow, that’s all I got for today. Better get back to work.

What’s happening in your neighborhood, anything worth mentioning?






All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Heartache 101






Meet Ethan Conner, my first grandson. Pictured in his wheelchair (I'm holding his hands), as a baby, and in his Halloween pirate costume.

At two years of age Ethan had a seizure and stopped breathing in his daddy's arms. He was clinically dead for several minutes. They got him breathing again in the ambulance. They lost him once more at Children's Hospital but brought him back. He was in a coma. I was there when they told his parents he would be a vegetable if he ever woke up. The brain damage was too severe.

I am doing my best to make a rather involved and tragic long story short.

Ethan had been misdiagnosed. After making so much progress he had another seizure after he had been home for a few months. He was rushed to a different Children’s Hospital. This time they got it right. Funny, this new group of doctors knew what the problem was straight away. The ventricles of his heart weren’t working, so they installed a defibrillator. Which was akin to closing the barn door after the cows had gotten out. The poor little guy had suffered even more brain damage. All the progress he had made was virtually erased. When it comes to writing about my grandson and what happened to him I am reduced to a puddle of emotion. It’s beyond difficult, trying to express the heartache of watching a child you love go through so much pain and agony. Not to mention the suffering of his mom and dad, and extended family members.

He can’t sit up on his own. He has a permanent feeding tube and has to wear diapers. He’s going to turn five in April. He loves to listen to Curious George and Sesame Street, as his vision is impaired. They really can’t determine just what he can and can’t see. Therapy has been cut off because of the budget cuts in California. He does go to school five days a week.

He has problems with extreme pain in his legs due to atrophy, and mucus is a constant problem.

But he’s here. With us. Now.

I don't suppose it's surprising that I’m fed up with shallow people, people that complain all the time about trivial matters, people that are self-centered and petty. When I'm exposed to such people I can’t help but think about Ethan’s mother and his maternal grandparents. You see, my son, and Ethan’s mother had a fling, they were together a very short while. In fact, she didn’t know she was pregnant. Seemed she was on some sort of experimental birth control and it took the doctor’s several months to figure out why she was so sick, that she was actually growing a human being inside her. My son didn’t find out until she was eight months along. He offered to marry her, but she didn’t want to get married. She didn’t want him to have much to do with the process at all. Later on, after Ethan was born and a few months old, she eventually consented to let him take the baby at regular intervals. I think it dawned on her that it wasn’t going to be so easy to raise a child on her own.

The reason I have come to admire Ethan’s mother and her parents (until all this happened to Ethan I didn’t know them at all) is because I have never met such selfless, wonderful people before. Taking care of Ethan is a twenty-four hour a day job. And the entire family accomplishes this without protest, with love in their hearts. As he gets older it becomes more difficult to manage his needs and they never complain.

I’m driving up to see him this Friday. They live about seventy miles away. I’ll post a new picture and you’ll be able so see how big he is now. Their whole family is made up of super-sized people, on both sides, so he’s getting huge! I can't even pick him up and he doesn't fit on my lap.

Until my late forties, tragedy had never really found me. Then all hell broke loose. I had to take care of my father as he deteriorated from heart disease and Alzheimer’s. My stepmother was a juvenile diabetic with myriads of health problems, and she could no longer drive so I had to take her numerous doctor appointments several times a month. As her illness progressed, her own kids were conveniently MIA, so I had to take care of her, and she eventually died in my guest room of breast cancer. I was holding one of her frail hands and Dad was holding the other, when she went. It was not a pretty death. Then came Ethan’s calamity. Dad died a little over a year ago, and that was not a pretty death either.

I have become intimately acquainted with sorrow and loss—and it’s changed me immensely. For the better. I wake up and I am happy to be here. I strive to see the beauty around me. There is no time for whining. I strive to be like Ethan’s family when I grow up.


All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Success and Suckiness





I bought some fresh basil and some buffalo mozzarella and some pretty red tomatoes at the Farmer's Market. I thought of making a salad last night, but longed for something warm and substantial. I thought I might find some nice white fish. But they didn't have any suitable fish at the market. So, I settled for chicken. I decided to improvise and make chicken paillards with a garlic lemon sauce. I would serve the paillards over basil infused creamy asiago polenta and top them off with roasted tomatoes, improvising all the way. And what a success the dinner was. I should come up with a name for this dish. (I made The Son put down his knife and fork so I could snap a pic of his plate, so that's the real deal pictured.) The Husband, and my youngest son and daughter were singing my praises. Our lovely meal was worth getting burnt in the eye. I was busy sauteing the chicken in olive oil and a bit of butter when I heard a PoP, but didn't get out of the way quick enough, and got struck in the eye. Ouch! I immediately ran over to the sink and doused my eyeball in cold water.

It's such a good feeling when we put out a lot of effort and see that effort pay off. It's not so good when we work our butt off, and things don't pan out. Ah, the tough get tougher, (or so they say), and if we practice stick-to-it-tiveness we will prevail. I try to teach my kids this. But, once in a while we attempt to accomplish something we really don't excel at. No matter how hard we try. There's a lesson in learning just where our abilities lie.

Everybody knows somebody that thinks they can sing but they can't. This particular delusion seems to be awfully common, after all the tone deaf are just that, tone deaf. And being a terrible singer is no big deal, if all you do is lock yourself in the car and try to keep up with Lady Ga Ga. Who ya gonna hurt? Lady Ga Ga can't hear you, and as long as you pipe down at traffic lights and spare the pedestrians in the crosswalk, you won't offend a soul.

On the other hand, if you behave like Ernesto, you will rupture innocent eardrums. Ernesto Ruiz worked for my father at his appliance store. I was working there too, setting up the kitchen design showroom, and after the store closed Ernesto would fire up one of the many stereos, (he favored Barry Manilow), grab the intercom microphone, and belt out Copa Cobana, or Mandy (God help us) at the top of his lungs. He sounded beyond pathetic. Ernesto truly believed that he had missed his true calling. (Ernesto's a family man now, owns a string of furniture stores. My brother told me this recently. I wonder if he makes his employees listen to him sing. And who's he singing with now, Michael Buble?)

I'm not in the least bit mechanical. And I'm terrible when it comes to understanding electronic anything. I can't program our complicated (they lie and say it's simple) remote for our cable, let alone operate the darn thing. Which my drives techno-savvy family bonkers. They expect that I should be able to record a movie, or fast forward through commercials on my own, and I just can't!

For some reason I can run my Mac just fine. Of course I've been working on Apple computers for twenty plus years, I guess if I couldn't operate one, that would make me quite inept.

We all have our long suits and our short suits. Name one thing you've got going for you, and one thing you wish you could do, but suck at. We'll all get to learn more about each other ;-)

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Terrific





Oh Mercy! A day of shopping on a glorious day! First, we stopped at the Apple store. The Husband is looking for a car charger for his I-phone, but of course I'm lusting after a new laptop and he's drooling over a system, (you know you're in trouble when you're looking at a system!) I grabbed him by the arm and got him out of there, just in time. Whew!

Williams Sonoma. What a store. You can spend 18 bucks on a jar of jam. I saw a double-sided omelette pan that caused me to have lust in my heart, but I got a grip, after all I've been rustling up omelettes with a regular non-stick pan forever--did I really need the double-sided one? Not really. I spotted one of those nifty silicone-coated paring knifes. I need that! Don't I? Not one of my paring knifes is coated in silicone, surely they're defective? What about the giant-sized electric paella pan? That could come in handy. The Husband grabbed me by the arm and got me out of there, just in time. Whew!

We were walking along and I said, "What a sky! I gotta take a picture of that." So, I took the picture. All last week we had rain, rain, rain, so I had to take the time to celebrate the mostly blue sky.

And do I have to say more than TJ Maxx? I am a bargain lover and man oh man does TJ Maxx give good bargain. My eyes were rolling back in my head.

On the whole it's been a lovely day. We came home and I made dinner and now we're going to watch a movie. This is one of those, this is what I did today blogs. Terrific is my word for the day. If you're in the mood to leave a comment, tell us what's terrific for you, right now.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.