Monday, March 29, 2010

Happily Lost in the Stacks – Memories of Me Monday

Redondo Beach Civic Center Library{Redondo Beach Main Library}

TODAY’S MEMORY JOGGER: “Describe how you feel about libraries and talk about some of your experiences surrounding them.”

I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love libraries.  I learned to read at an early age, influenced by my parents and my big brother, Mike.  My dad especially read a lot; I have many memories of him reading a book at the breakfast table, or on Sundays in between Sunday School and Sacrament meetings. 

I was read to as a child, every day and, even after I learned to read on my own I often sidled quietly into my little sisters’ bedroom to listen while my mom or dad read them a bedtime story.

Somewhere along the line I discovered libraries; most likely my mom took us kids to the neighborhood library when I was small.  I was in awe that there could be an entire building devoted just to books!  Shelf upon shelf of books, and I wanted to read them all.

In elementary school my favorite days was library day.  The entire class trooped down the hall to spend an hour or so inside a special room set aside to hold what seemed like a million books.  And we could choose any of them that we wanted to borrow, and we could actually take them home for awhile.  I have a specific memory of discovering “Caddie Woodlawn” and “The Wheel on the School” at the Franklin Elementary School library.

In the fifth grade I was chosen to be a library helper.  I got to straighten the books on the shelves, making sure they were aligned perfectly with the edge of the shelf, and that they were in the right order.  This is when I learned about the Dewey Decimal System.  The following year I learned to use the card catalog and yet another world opened up to me.  I could choose any topic I was interested in and look it up in the card catalog and find all the books in the little school library on that topic, or all the books written by a specific author.

I also discovered the Encyclopedia Brittanica and made the goal to read every book in the set from cover to cover.  (No, I didn’t accomplish that goal, though I held onto all the way through high school!)

During the fifth and sixth grades, at Franklin Elementary School, we also had a visit, I believe it was every other week or so, from the Bookmobile.  It would park on the street next to our playground and we were allowed to go out the gate and up the steps into the library on wheels.  There, we had the choice of even more books, books that were not available in our small school library.  I remember clear as a bell one day in the bookmobile, coming across a book called “Brighty of the Grand Canyon” and it was also in there that I discovered and fell in love with “Misty of Chincoteague” and went on to read every book I could find by Marguerite Henry.

My best friend, Judy, loved libraries as much as I did, and in her family reading was as important and loved an activity as it was in my own home.  Sometimes I was invited along when Judy’s entire family piled into the car, on a Saturday afternoon, and headed to the large main branch of the Redondo Beach library system.  It was located near the beach, on Pacific Coast Highway, and it was such an adventure to go there.  It was huge, especially in comparison to our little neighborhood branch library or the school library.  I felt I could get (and stay!) happily lost among the ceiling-high stacks for days and not be lonely or bored.

I still feel that way when I go to a large library but I must admit, I love the little libraries the best, the more snug and personal the better.

As long as there are plenty of books.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Smitten with Kittens

The foster kittens are growing fast.  These photos were taken last Thursday and I can see a huge difference between the way the kittens look then, and they way they look now, just over a week later.
IMG_2282One of the most noticeable things is their ears.  When they are born, kittens’ ears are folded forward, and flat against their heads.  The ears gradually stand up more and more.  In these pictures the ears are about halfway up.  This morning I noticed the ears are all now straight up!  (I’ll post more recent photos very soon so you can see the difference!)
IMG_2241They are also walking around a lot more, and a lot less shakily.  Sometimes I see two or three in a very unsteady wrestling match.  It’s pretty funny.  They haven’t started chasing things, like a ball or piece of string, but I expect it won’t be long.
Yesterday Mike and I moved them into a large mesh-style cage loaned to me by a friend.  They have a lot more room in there and, when they aren’t napping, will be able to watch what’s going on around them.
They absolutely charm everyone who sees them.  My friend, Susan, brought her daughter, Jenny, and granddaughter, Maggie, to see the kittens.  Maggie was especially enchanted!
She was very gentle when we let her touch the kitties, almost like she was in total awe of them.
IMG_2246 Kitty, kitty!
IMG_2253 They are nursing very well now, even the brown-striped kitten (center of photo, above), who was the slowest to catch on.  Kinda strange since she’s always been the biggest of the bunch and the very smallest kitten, the little calico, was the first to catch on to the bottle.
IMG_2277 Ozzie
IMG_2269 Isabel
IMG_2270 Mindy
Of course, they are still spending most of their time SLEEPING!
{Thanks to Susan & Jenny for these great photos!}

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

He was once a Little Green Ball of Clay – Memories of Me Monday


TODAY’S MEMORY JOGGER: “What do you think of television?  Describe a few of the shows you have liked or disliked, and why.”

The earliest t.v. shows I can remember watching were The Mickey Mouse Club (of which my brother, Mikie, and I were both card-carrying members), and Howdy Doody (“Say kids, what time is it?”  “It’s Howdy-Doody Time!”).

Yikes, that was in the late 50’s!  Makes me wonder whether I truly remember watching them, or were just told about it.  I’d have been less than three years old.

Here are some of my fave shows during my growing up years, in no particular order:

The Wonderful World of Disney
Dark Shadows
The Flintstones
The Jetsons
GumbyI Love Lucy
Mr. Ed
My Three Sons
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett
Father Knows Best
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Leave it to Beaver
The Twilight Zone
The Brady Bunch
The Red Skelton Show

I know there were many more, but I don’t want this post to be simply a list of t.v. shows from the 50’s, 60’, and 70’s.  There are lots of websites where you can find a list like that; click here for just one of them.

I have special memories of some of these shows, though.  For example, The Flintstones.

The Flintstones came on shortly after I got home from school in the 5th and 6th grades.  We kids would watch it while we had our after-school snack, usually home-baked chocolate chip cookies and milk.  Often my mom, who sewed most of what we three girls wore, would be in her sewing room (which was really just a tiny corner of the laundry room) just off the den where our t.v. was.  Whenever she pressed the foot pedal to run her machine it interfered with the t.v. signal and the picture would get staticky.   Before we could even groan she’d call out to us, “I’m almost finished!”

Funny, the things you remember!

Then there was Dark Shadows.  This soap-opera type show about vampires came on at 4:00 p.m. when I was in junior high school, and the memory of watching it is linked to the memory of my mom in the kitchen getting dinner ready.  It was a double happiness kinda thing; I loved the show ( it was dark and moody and romantic and what jr. high school girl doesn’t like that?), and while watching it I also had a yummy homecooked meals to look forward to.

The Wonderful World of Disney was a family favorite for years and years.  We all gathered around the t.v. every Sunday evening to watch this show, hosted by Walt Disney himself, and which featured documentaries, cartoons, and educational shorts, all original programming from the Disney studios.  It was a much looked forward to hour of family time, a great show, and a last weekend pleasure before a new school and work week began.

Finally, although I’m currently focusing my Memories of Me posts only on my childhood years I can’t resist including this last little anecdote which occurred only around 10 years or so ago.

My sisters, Denise and Lisa, and I went to San Francisco to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Orpheum Theatre.  We had a fantastic time and, on our way back on BART, for some reason that I can’t now remember (maybe we were talking about the t.v. shows we’d watched as kids??) we burst out in song:

“He was once a little green ball of clay. . . GUMBY!

You should see what Gumby can do today . . . GUMBY!

He can walk into any book, with his pony pal Pokey, too,

If you’ve got a heart, then Gumby’s a part of you . . . . GUMBY!”

Then we collapsed in laughter while all around us other passengers grinned and smiled.

Isn’t it great how the theme songs from favorite childhood t.v. shows stay with you for the rest of your life??

FOR NEXT WEEK: “Describe how you feel about libraries and talk about some of your experiences surrounding them.”

Friday, March 19, 2010

Is Your Life in Balance?


Orphaned kittens, five of them around 2-3 weeks of age, are consuming my life right now.

Interestingly, it reminds me of having  a newborn in the house.

It’s very similar; there’s the mixing of formula four to five times a day, the bottle feedings (including the 3 a.m. shift), “diaper” detail, endless loads of laundry (towels and blankets used as bedding and for keeping the kittens clean), the snuggling, the kissing of sweet little heads, the not being able to plan any significant time away from the house, and the working all my other activities around the little ones’ schedule.

And completely postponing some of my other, less important activities.

It has occurred to me that the balanced life I’ve worked so hard to create for myself has, well, slipped out of balance.

But I’m ok with that.

In looking back over the years of my life I’ve realized that a “balanced life” doesn’t mean that every day is balanced; instead it means that over the course of my lifetime the overall net result is balance between time spent doing what we must, and time spent doing what we want

Perhaps that’s why we talk about working to achieve a balanced LIFE instead of a balanced DAY.

In a few weeks I’ll re-devote many of my days to job-hunting.  I’ll also spend some entire days just creating digital scrapbook products and layouts, gardening, or trying new vegan recipes.

But for right now, I’m all about kittens.

~ Deb

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Job Hunters: Please Absolute your Bacon Requirements

Holy unemployed, Batman!!!  Why do I have the feeling Chinese scammers using an automated (and poorly performing) language translater are now targeting the desperate job-seeker?  Check out the following job posting on craigslist:


Opes Advisors, Inc., an apart endemic Mortgage Banking and Investment Administration close is currently gluttonous a abounding time Receptionist for their Palo Alto accumulated office.

Job Responsibilities:
* Greet clients
* Answer admission calls and absolute appropriately
* Assist in accident planning/preparation
* Clerical abutment for Investment Administration Division
* Provide aback up authoritative abutment to President's Executive Assistant
* Report to President's Executive Assistant

Job Qualifications
* Superior accounting and exact advice skills
* Knowledge of MS Word, Outlook and Excel a must. Powerpoint a plus
* Ability to multi assignment in a active ambiance with little supervision
* Project oriented
* Prior acquaintance in appointment administration a audible plus
* Excellent chase through is a must

*** This position will activate as acting with the absorbed to catechumen the acknowledged and advantageous applicant to a abiding employee.
By allotment Opes Advisors, Inc. you are allotment to be allotment of a aggregation apprenticed by arete and committed to success! Also included in this agitative befalling is a aggressive bacon and allowances package. Please absolute all resumes and bacon requirements to: or fax: 650-319-1610.


Um, I’m really not interested in becoming an “allotment to be allotment of a aggregation apprenticed by arete and committed to success!”  What’s “arete” anyway or, for that matter, “catechumen??”  I will admit that the “aggressive bacon and allowances package” sounds great!

Is this kind of job posting just a LITTLE discouraging?

Nah.  I have no intention of looking for a job on craigslist, of all places, craigslist being one of the premium websites for scammers to hone their skills.  This posting came up in a Google Alert that I have set up and I looked at it just out of curiosity.  And I did get a rollicking laugh out of it!!

Job-hunting is harder than ever these days.  Even setting aside the impact of the current high unemployment numbers (aka lots of competition), the fact that most of it is done over the internet with very little feedback from potential employers (seldom even a “we received your resume” auto-reply (what’s up with that?), just equals a very lonely task.

It’s discouragingly clear that it’s totally an employer’s market.

How I miss the days when you could simply walk into a company, freshly printed resume in hand, and ask to see the hiring manager!

Monday, March 15, 2010

When Air Travel was FUN – Memories of Me Monday

2009-09-Old-Photos-0362 copy copy

{approx. 1966; me, Mike, Denise, Steve and Lisa at LAX}

TODAY’S MEMORY JOGGER: “What is your favorite form of travel (plane, car, etc.)?  Describe one vivid memory of a car trip you’ve had, and one vivid memory of a plane trip.”

Airplane travel was a Big Deal when I was a child.  It was expensive, a luxury that most families couldn’t afford, and people dressed up to fly.  In the photo above I am about 9 years old.  I have always thought that we 5 kids (in our Sunday best, notice) were at the airport waiting for my dad to return from a trip, but my mom recently told me that, no, we were waiting to board the plane ourselves; we were returning to Minnesota after a trip to California to visit my grandmother.

I don’t remember any of that which is amazing; you’d think I’d remember my first airplane trip!

I do, however, remember my second.  I had gone to Washington state to visit my best friend from 5th grade, Teri Fiscus.  Teri’s family moved there the summer between 5th and 6th grades.  I think I was about 12 when my own family, on our way back from a trip (to Canada?), dropped me off there to spend a month with Teri’s family.  At the end of the visit Teri and her parents took me to Seattle where I saw the Space Needle and boarded an airplane for home – ALONE.

All by myself at 12 years of age!

That’s what makes the trip so memorable.  I felt very grown-up, yet at the same time a bit terrified.  I wasn’t afraid of flying – I’m not sure I had enough smarts to even realize that airplanes sometimes crash.  I was only nervous because it was all so new, and strange, and exciting.

After I first boarded I sunk down into my seat, put on my seatbelt and gripped the armrests tightly.  Then I realized that other people would notice and know that I was scared, and new at this flying stuff.  So I relaxed, sat up straight, crossed my feet neatly at the ankles and took out a book.  I think I may have even put my nose up in the air, just slightly, as I impersonated a worldly young girl who, oh, goodness, travels all the time by air!

I loved every minute of that flight, from the stewardesses in their matching outfits (dresses and heels and hair swept up), to the compartmentalized (metal!) lunch tray that held a breaded chicken breast, a ball of mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed vegetables and a square of yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  The grandmotherly type lady in the seat next to me gave me her cake and I ate it, too!

I’m pretty sure I only flew on an airplane four times while I was growing up.  The third and fourth times were the summer between my junior and senior years of high school.  I flew to Utah and back. 

2010-01-Old-Photos-0459-enhanced copy

{I’m at the top of the stairs, just behind the guy in the grey suit; Salt Lake City airport – amazing – we boarded from the tarmac!}

While there I spent about two weeks attending a medical laboratory class at BYU.  It was a blast.  I stayed in the dorms, learned about how to type blood, run tests on urine (we used our own), and made a lot of new friends.  At the end of the course we travelled by bus to Sundance Canyon where we had a picnic and listened to the bus radio as Richard Nixon resigned the presidency.  It was 1974.

FOR NEXT WEEK: “What do you think of television?  Describe a few of the shows you have liked or disliked, and why.”

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Toy Story Birthday

Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0059-cropped Last Saturday was my great-nephew, Ryan’s, second birthday.  His mom, Heather, threw him a “Toy Story” themed party.  The cake was awesome, and Heather made it herself.  Here is a close-up of it (before the candles were added).  How cute are Buzz Lightyear and Woody laying on the pillows??

Apparently, Ryan was totally primed for some gift-unwrapping action that day because when my mom and dad and I got there we were the first guests to arrive and when we put down the gifts we’d brought, Ryan ran right over and began to tear into them!  Ha ha!!  We decided to let him open one (mine) and it turned out really cool because I got to see him open it and even get a few photos before the house filled with people, kids, confusion and dozens of brightly-wrapped gifts.Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0006

Great-grandma Hansen helping Ryan get the truck out of the box:Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0009

A little help from great-grandpa to figure out where all the pieces go: Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0013-cropped

Heather had a nachos bar; popular with both adults and kids:Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0029-cropped

There were cupcakes in addition to the Toy Story cake:Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0020 copy Sucker treats as a party favor for the kiddies:Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0021 copyAND, a full beverage “bar!”Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0022 copy Mother Nature didn’t cooperate and the party, which was planned to be held in the backyard had to be moved indoors.  Still, the kids had fun with face-painting in the bedroom, clay at the child-size picnic table, Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0056 copy a fabric tube to crawl through:Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0033-enhancedand lots of riding toys.  It was bumper-car heaven {except for the adults whose toes were at great risk}!Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0036

Ryan got lots of gifts:Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0063 Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0065

and lots of attention from some of his favorite people . . .

Grandma and great-Grandma Hansen:Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0071 copy

Auntie Megan and Great-Grandma Hansen:Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0024 copy

Great-auntie Debbie, and Great-Grandpa Hansen:Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0027 copy

Auntie KiKi:Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0066 copy

Auntie Jessica:Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0062 copy 

And a whole houseful of other family and friends!Ryan's 2nd Birthday_0046 

Everyone had a great time.  Well done, Heather!  {Um, your grandma and I were wondering, though, how are you gonna top that next year??? LOL!}

Happy Birthday, Ryan!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Check, Please! Memories of Me Monday

Today’s Memory Jogger: “Where do you like to eat out, and what do you order?”

Growing up in a family with 5 kids and a stay-at-home mom we didn’t eat out much.  In fact, I really can’t remember a single time we all went to a sit-down type restaurant together until I was in my mid-teens and then my mom, shocked at the unexpectedly high San Francisco prices (we were on a trip and passed through the city), whispered to us kids, “Don’t you dare order anything!”aw4aLast weekend, when I mentioned to my mom that I remembered going to a neighborhood A & W Root Beer drive-through for root beer floats she said, “You must have been with your dad.”  My dad loves root beer floats! 

During the years we lived in Minnesota we sometimes went to Dairy Queen for dilly bars – a disk of vanilla ice cream on a stick, dipped in chocolate and adorned with a cute little curly-cue on one side.  dairy-queen-dilly-barAnd, of course, there was McDonald’s, every kid’s dream dinner.  In 1968, when I was 11, a hamburger at McDonald’s cost 18 cents!  Even in the mid-70’s you could still get a hamburger, fries, and a Coke for less than a dollar.  Sounds great until you take into consideration that minimum wage then was $1.60!2128311024_b99b1dae4dOne of my FAVORITE restaurants in my early teen years was Bob’s Big Boy:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         My best friend, Judy, and I were obsessed with going to Bob’s Big Boy – on our own.  We were probably 12 or so when we began doing this.  We’d save up our money and when we had enough we’d go there for lunch on a Saturday.  We always had the Big Boy Combo; Big Boy hamburger (huge, with cheese), fries (tons, dripping with catsup and sparkling with salt), and a chocolate shake (which arrived in a stainless steel .  It was heaven!

(I can’t remember for sure but it seems our combos cost us each around $3.99.  I think!  Do you remember, Judy? I’m pretty sure we waited until we each had $4.00 so that we’d have enough to also cover tax and tip.)

As much as we loved the food, I think what we enjoyed even more was how grown up we felt, dining a a restaurant unaccompanied by adults.  We loved being waited on, giving our orders, having the food delivered piping hot and creamy cold, we even loved leaving the tip.  That grown-up feeling lasted for hours afterwards, too.

It was so worth the 16 hours of babysitting at 25 cents an hour!

FOR NEXT WEEK: “What is your favorite form of travel (plane, car, etc.)?  Describe one vivid memory of a car trip you’ve had, and one vivid memory of a plane trip.”

Monday, March 1, 2010

Snow Days – Memories of Me Monday

1966-02 Minn Winter Kids & House copy

{February 1966 – Hopkins, MN}

TODAY’S MEMORY JOGGER: “Did it snow where you lived as a child?  What kinds of things did you do in the snow?”

I grew up in southern California so, no, it didn’t snow there.  However, as I’ve mentioned before, my family spent two years in Minnesota where it most definitely DID snow.

In fact, the snow is the very reason that those two years stand out so sharply in my mind.  And the tornadoes.  We didn’t have either one in our California beach city!

. In the photo, from left to right, Steve, Mike, Denise, and me.  I was nine.  That’s our house in the background.  You can just make out two very dirty cars in the garage (from driving in the snow) and I think that might be baby Lisa peeking out of the living room window.

We kids loved playing in the snow.  We loved “snow days” even more, when the schools were closed and, if it snowed hard enough, so were many companies.  Sometimes my dad got to stay home, too!

We did all the usual snowy things; built snowmen, dug snow forts (although that was discouraged due to the danger of cave-ins), rode disks and sleds down the back hill, I seem to remember ice skating on a pond but I may have either dreamed that, or made it up!  My brother, Mike, did a little skiing, mainly down our back hill.  And of course we had snowball fights!  I don’t remember ever doing any shoveling to clear the walks or driveway; Mike might have, but it was probably mainly my dad.

My dad also made us a toboggan out of a long narrow piece of plywood curved up in the front and, much to my mom’s dismay, he’d pile all of us kids on it, climb on himself, and off we’d go down the hill with no way to steer.   It was AWESOME!!!  {Thx, Dad!}

There was a pond across the street from our house that always froze over in the winter.  This is where I think we may have ice skated.  I know for sure we ran across the ice and slid around on it in our boots.  I also remember standing at the edge of it when it was newly frozen over, with my little brother, Steve.  I told him to try walking on the ice and see if it would hold his weight.  “If it’ll hold you, it’ll hold me,” I told him, “because I’m bigger.”

I’ve always had a talent for backwards logic.

FOR NEXT WEEK: “Where do you like to eat out, and what do you order?”