A Red Letter Day: Pumpkin Pie at Costco

I have spent the last few days in search of ingredients to make pumpkin pies. They are my ultimate favorite. When we stumbled upon them at Costco today, my search was over. Sorry pie bakers, but no one can beat Costco's pumpkin pies, 15" diameter of goodness for only $5.99. It is truly a red letter day when they appear.

I have been using the term red letter day for most of my life. When I texted it to my almost 40 year old friend, Brady, she wrote, "I don't know what a red letter day is but if it involves pumpkin pie, I'm in!"

For those who don't know, a red letter day is any day of special significance or opportunity. Its roots are in classical antiquity; for instance, important days are indicated in red in a calendar dating from the Roman Republic.

In medieval manuscripts, initial capitals and highlighted words (known as rubrics) were written in red ink. The practice was continued after the invention of the printing press, including in Catholic liturgical books. Many calendars still indicate special dates, festivals and holidays in red instead of black. So here's to more red letter days and lots of pumpkin pie.

"What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past like the rich pumpkin pie?"
-John Greenleaf Whittier

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Home Improvement Continued: Valances

A valance is defined as a form of window treatment that covers the uppermost part of the window and can be hung alone or paired with window blinds, or curtains. Valance types range from Ascot to Swag and were popular in Victorian interior design.

Our valance of choice is the Cornice, "a rigid treatment that sometimes serves as a mask for holding attached stationary draperies or for hiding window hardware or even masking architectural flaws. The cornice is typically constructed of a chipboard-style wood or lightweight material over which some kind of padding is placed, then covered with a fabric of choice. It only fits across the top of the window frame and can be a terrific focal point; usually mounted on the outside of the window frame." So perfectly described.

We wanted all of our rooms to have some added color with the least amount of expense. We have four bedrooms with only two different bedding patterns. Knowing we wanted cornices, we bought an extra comforter set to be sacrificed as the padding and fabric. We are beyond tickled with ourselves.

I only wish all our friends could come be our guests and see all our creativity. One day!

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An Outdoor Exhibit Experience...

To give us an artistic enrichment day, the Temecula Valley Museum announced a new Outdoor Exhibit Experience taking place at Sam Hicks Monument Park.

Today's exhibits featured the art of Judy Ewert, Juli Munson and Michael McCrackin. What an ideal setting for some art appreciating.
And since the Museum is currently closed for COVID-19 compliance, the staff set up an interesting display about the historic Vail Ranch and had people there to answer any questions inquiring minds might have had.

I loved this piece by Juli Munson which reminds us of simple pleasures. It's fun to find something new to do in our old hometown. Good job Temecula!

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Happy Independent Bookstore Day...

Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country on the last Saturday in April. Due to COVID-19 this special event has been moved to today!

While this celebration is markedly different this year, it is still cause to rejoice. It is our day to support the little guy, whether in person or online.
One of my favorite independent bookstores is one I visited for the first time this week on our drive to La Jolla. Warwick's has been serving Book Lovers for 124 years and counting! It is the oldest continuously family-owned and operated bookstore in the United States. From Mankato, Minnesota, to Waterloo, Iowa and finally to La Jolla, Warwick's has changed locales and buildings, but, with determination and the support of the community, remains a vibrant fourth-generation family business. How very awesome and so very worth supporting.

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road.
They are the destination, and the journey.
They are home.”
– Anna Quindlen in How Reading Changed My Life

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Flashback: 'Princess Diana' & Me...

Twenty three years ago, Monday, the light that was Princess Diana was extinguished in a dark tunnel in Paris. I was way too young to remember where I was the day Kennedy was shot, but I'll never forget the day we received the news of Diana's untimely death (she was just 36). As the mother of young sons, it hit incredibly hard and when I think about it now, the sadness of it all returns.

Five years later, we celebrated my 40th in Las Vegas with a visit to Madame Tussaud's and an opportunity to meet Diana. It gave us the chance to learn about her life as a young girl, married woman, mother, style icon and how she became the people’s princess. It was a lesson that made her feel real and very here. I still miss her unique goodness.

“They say it is better to be poor and happy
than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise
like moderately rich and just moody?”
– Princess Diana

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Throwback Thursday: The 1992 Election

With all that is happening in our world, I thought a flashback would be entertaining! Wow.

Steve and I were on our way to the San Diego airport to pick up my brother who was flying in for a celebratory birthday weekend. Because we are usually always early, we stumbled upon the opportunity to be political for one morning, 28 years ago (so not me).
We all, of a certain age, remember Ross Perot, the self-made billionaire and two-time independent presidential candidate who was called the Bill Gates of the 1960s!

Perot ran an independent presidential campaign in 1992, as well as a third party presidential campaign in 1996 that led to the establishment of the Reform Party. Though both bids were unsuccessful, they wound up being some of the strongest presidential showings ever by a candidate not of a major political party.
For us, being 30 and being in San Diego on a spectacular Fall day- this was one of those happenstances which we absolutely love. What a memory!
"Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success.
They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game
one foot from a winning touchdown."
-Ross Perot

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Save The Postal Service Day of Action

I 💗 the United States Postal Service and when I learned there was an event where I could share that love, I joined in. It was actually meant to be as the closest one was in Carlsbad and we were heading there anyway. Fate!

This mystery woman is me. My heartfelt, and very homemade sign, was voted "most indicative" of how everyone there felt.

No politics for me, just love!

This 8 second video shows the audible support we received. What a wonderful morning with like-minded mail groupies.

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Broken Neck Follow Up #8: One Year Later

I am surprised at the emotions I'm feeling as I write this. I have to ask two questions: How can it be one year already? and How can it be only one year?

When we think of what could have been because of the severity of the fracture (and the three days of misdiagnosis), it is almost unbearable. What I do think about is what I've learned (a condensed list):
  1. My husband is incredible. He is the most amazing caregiver, chef, chauffeur and all around fabulous mate. He went beyond what could be expected of anyone. I don't know if I would have been able to endure all that he did. I knew I picked well, but these last twelve months have solidified his place in The Husband Hall of Fame. I am forever grateful to/for him.
  2. They say that friends are the family you make along the way. I am so fortunate our friends were there during this healing journey. Backyard picnics giving Steve a cooking reprieve, sleepovers to babysit me when Steve had to care for his mom, grocery store runs, book deliveries, long visits from out of towners, snail mail (my friends single handedly kept the USPS in business), frequent phone calls making sure I was okay, and even an invaluable physical therapy session. There was such comfort knowing they were on our team.
  3. Our family was fantastic, giving unconditional support and being gentle with my brokenness. Compromising and adapting were their specialties. We even had cousins stepped up who we didn't know knew of my accident (I secured my bone growth stimulating machine only because Steve's cousin was insistent that it worked for her and I needed to follow up my request). Brad Henry said it best, “Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.”
  4. I now know that simple pleasures are the best pleasures. When you literally can go nowhere for as long as I was homebound, going out for a coffee or a drive in the countryside caused euphoria. Even now, those same simple delights are glee evoking.
  5. I recognized that even when I was at my lowest (and there were some pretty low times) my list of things to be grateful for was enormous. I also had to realize that I am flawed and that my actions affect not only me, but those who mean so much to me and for that I am forever sorry.

And while I will most likely never be 100% old me, new me is doing pretty darn great. While we won't find out about my healing progress until after the New Year (when I have another CT scan), I am hopeful. I have survived. I am one lucky gal.

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Our Reupholstering Fun...

When we decided to refurnish our Temecula house, our goal was to make it livable for the least amount of money.

We bought our dinette at an estate sale. Our family room drapes came from IKEA and I bought an extra set knowing we wanted to reupholster the seat cushions to make the room more cohesive (l do love things that match).
With not a lot going on, 96° heat and my neck actually feeling good, we got busy.
And how many of you remember The Bombay Company from the early 80s? My rich girlfriend shopped exclusively there. Needless-to-say, Steve and I were too poor to buy this set then but now we are the proud owners of our own Bombay Company dinette. It took almost 40 years, but score!
Here's a before (left) and after of our new, definitely more interesting, seat cushions.
According to Andre Putman, “For a house to be successful, the objects in it must communicate with one another, respond and balance one another.”

Note how the cushions are communicating with the drapes. Success! The decor is coming together.

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Our Temecula Trail...

Today we feel settled in and decided we needed to get a routine going. Due to the temps rising, we headed out for a two mile walk at 7 AM.

This Rancho California Water District road bisects the entire town. It is the perfect place to walk, away from traffic and the wideness of the path allows physical distancing when we see others.
It is also surprisingly full of nature's treasures.

"People in cities may forget the soil for as long as a hundred years,
but Mother Nature's memory is long
and she will not let them forget indefinitely."
-Henry Cantwell Wallace

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Escaping the Smoke in Tahoe...

If you haven't heard, the Tahoe basin is being affected by all the wildfires burning around it. With an unhealthy air quality index of 185, we decided to head south to Temecula where the only thing burning is the temperature (96° when we arrived in the early evening).

Smoky skies produce amazing sunrises.
We stopped at the Mono Lake Scenic Viewpoint, located 1,000-plus feet above Mono Lake. The viewpoint normally provides stunning views of the Mono Basin and surrounding Sierra range. Um, not so much today.

While we didn't get a view, we did get a history lesson about Mono Diggins. The plaque reads: 

About 1 mile N. E. of here lies Mono Diggins, the first extensive placer mining excitement east of the Sierra. Cord Norst is generally credited with being the discoverer on July 4, 1859. A town, Monoville, boasted a transient population of 500-1,000. A post office established December 12, 1859, was closed by April 2, 1862, as the prospectors moved on to Aurora.

One of the most ambitious hydraulic water projects of the time was the transportation of water from Virginia Creek to the Diggins by open ditches known as "the Mono Ditch." The remains of the system may be seen by looking easterly from the highway summit or northerly from the bottom of the grade.

Even with the truck's A/C on recycle, the smoke irritated us and we had to drive in masks for a large portion of the way.
The heatwave didn't help!
“Traveling—it leaves you speechless,
then turns you into a storyteller.”
-Ibn Battuta

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