Archive for June, 2010

On a Serious Note

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 27, 2010 by drycreekherbs

I have just finished taking the very long Defensive Driving Online course. I whined about it in an earlier entry. I am going to review my notes then take the exam–of course, I am nervous about taking any kind of exam and especially now because there was so much information covered and frankly it was all very sobering…no pun intended. The content was really what I needed and I think it was better to suffer through it because I thought so much about the content. Especially the donor information*–and the stats regarding alcohol and driving…which I do not do, thank you God. Part of the presentation made me cry. During one of the many, many breaks I took, I went in and seriously reminded Len that I want any usable organs or tissue donated. He get’s it and Scott and White does have my power of attorney and medical preferences. I am worried that my organs might be too old and tough. I hope not.

I am always so glib about my little journal and silly; I admit it. I don’t really want to bare open my soul in my journal because it isn’t under lock and key or buried in an undisclosed bunker, and obviously, it is posted on the internet! Here are some of the reasons I steer away from serious topics–

1. I have some serious character flaws that need not be reviewed even by dear friends and family! In case they hadn’t noticed them previously.

2. The flaws change from time to time…the cumulative factor could put off even dear friends and family…

3. Writing my truth today might not be my truth tomorrow and

4. Maddie Lee taught me never put anything in writing that I wouldn’t want read in court.

• Texans can register to be a certified donor at


What does a Defensive Driving Class have in common with a Weight Watcher’s Class?

Posted in Learning Curve with tags , , on June 24, 2010 by drycreekherbs

images.jpegPPPPPPPunishment for sins. The Catholics should have a look at the format for these two sessions for penance. This defensive driving class is almost as mind numbing as writing sentences in 3rd grade….

  1. I will not talk in class.
  2. I will not talk in class.
  3. I will not eat cookies.
  4. I will not eat cookies
  5. I will not eat cookies.
  6. I will not speed.
  7. I will not speed.
  8. I will not speed.
  9. I will not speed.
  10. I will not speed.
  11. I will not speed.
  12. I will not speed!
  13. I am soooooooo sorry I talked in class, ate cookies, and speeded. Is that evan a word?

Musing on Magnificent Monterey

Posted in living to the hilt on June 23, 2010 by drycreekherbs

Len and I drove to Monterey from San Francisco on Wednesday–by way of THE official Apple Campus in Cupertino. Len was frenzied with desire–2 hats and 3 shirts later we tore out of the parking lot for a hilarious misadventure at the Cupertino Soap Company. I DSC06119.jpg  saw this advertisement online and thought I knew what I was looking at and what I was doing! I thought it was the Whole Foods supplier of fine goat milk soap. My first tip that I was in the wrong place was that the facility was a house at the end of a cul d’ sac not a farm with goats!!! So we made the best of it and bought a bunch of soap from a nice lady and her little boy who once had eczema. No goats nor their milk were involved with the production. However, there should be a cairn erected in the front yard of the soap maker whose son is now cured.

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What can I write, how can I sum it all up, what are the highlights of our 5 days with Tanya and BIll? There is no way to do it all justice. We had such a fantastic time…both of us…Len and Bill are two peas in a pod, could they be twins separated at birth? Tanya is divine, a Home Economist, to show the depth of her capabilities….we know how to make the most of opportunities. We rocked.


  1. Talking, talking, talking
  2. Dinner with Tim (One of Len’s and Bill’s work associates) and his talented and cute wife, Mo
  3. Multiple divine meal preps and equipment demonstrations (Tanya works part time for Williams-Sonoma)
  4. Multiple trips to the post office for shipping newly acquired lootCalligraphy demonstration
  5. Lavender wand production
  6. Glorious ‘field trips and walks with precious Zander and Savannah (standard poodles)
  7. Luscious meals out (Tanya, Zander, Savannah, and I had cream tea at Doris Day’s Cypress Inn. It really is pet friendly.)
  8. Golf, golf, golf, golf at the US Open for Len and Bill, also known as Frick and Frack
  9. Shopping, shopping, shopping in Carmel-by-the-Sea and Monterey

Here is what I know. I am meant to live on the Monterey Peninsula..even more than Santa Barbara. I will be fully satisfied with Monterey, Pacific Grove, and to show how really tough I am Carmel-by-the Sea…ok, regular Carmel too. I adore the weather including the fog. I must figure out a way to do this. I mean it, I am MEANT to live in this magical area.DSC06136.jpg DSC06142.jpg




Napa Valley Outing

Posted in living to the hilt on June 15, 2010 by drycreekherbs

That little GPS can do anything…she just whipped us right out of SF and up to Napa . We were out of there in no time and with no congestion–Len had never been been to Napa before so he was oooing and aaahing all the way. Of course, I acted very ho-hum about it…seasoned traveler that I am…but of course, I was still, DSC06089.JPG albeit internally, wowed too. I stretched emotionally and rode a cable car up to the Sterling Winery for wine tasting. I never screamed and I almost liked it. Len had to sit perfectly still and chant, “Susan is very brave”. Someday he may tire of this required procedure. The weather was perfect and most of the wine was pretty tasty. We bought three bottles…never thinking about how we would get it home..DSC06092.JPG The best of the day was a lovely visit with my 2nd cousin, Trish…Her dad, Larry, my first cousin owns Darms Lane Winery….small and exclusive. It was fantastic sitting there with her sharing family stories. Mom will really want every detail. WE BOUGHT MORE WINE AND A WOODEN CRATE! Ah-oh. Then back to the Marine Memorial Hotel for dinner—maybe the best steak I have ever eaten. Tomorrow we head south to Monterey with a few pit stops along the way.DSC06121.JPG DSC06091.JPG

Len Arrives and the TOUR de San Francisco Begins!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2010 by drycreekherbs

Len arrived safely with his golf clubs, and my suitcase as well as his….slight issue….he had to pay $100. 00 to get his clubs here even though he was 1st class because I had asked him to bring my steamer trunk with him so I wouldn’t have to lug it around. I will pay for this kindness, of this, I am sure.


We made it to the Marine Memorial Hotel with no difficulty at all. This is big. I am not kidding, what was life like before Ginny GPS? This hotel is not swanky at all, but it is very spacious, very clean, very well located, and very generous with amenities. A huge breakfast is included daily to ‘members’ and a totally free open bar happy hour on 12th floor with spectacular view is also included. I think we may join so we can come back or I can come back. It is literally around the corner from Union Square. Oh, it is only $159.00 a night. This is very reasonable. Our friend, Bill, generously reserved the rooms with his membership for us. Admittedly, I am a hotel snob. I am happiest is something posh…but I am being a good sport and I DO appreciate value on occasion. More money to spend of stuff.

Day 1: Fisherman’s Warf, De Young Museum of Fine Arts (the newest), cable car, Golden Gate Band Festival, and Wicked. We bought a MUNI (?) transportation day pass at Wallgreen’s so we could get around without the car. It was nice and predictable. Len agreed to miss the Impressionism is Born exhibit at the De Young–opting to listen to music at the band festival. We got back in time to spruce up for Wicked. I think Len liked it almost as much as I did…and he didn’t intend to like it either!

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DAY 2: Up early for a breakfast feast fit for farm hands (and hearty girl, Suz). We took the car to Muir Woods as Len had never been there before.  DSC_9803It is exquisite — too shady for great photos although Len won the BIG prize for getting this adorable photo of petite ground vermin….I think it is a ? But oh so cute. Would make very attractive lapel pin if one was an evil taxidermist….

Now this is BIG. After the woods we took a terror-filled ride down into Sausalito. Len had to promise to be hyper-vigilant, but he cheated. I would open my eyes and see him with only one hand on the steering wheel AND looking over the edge. I hate that. So, into Sausalito. Len was out on the street taking photos and I was in shoppe looking at hats, of course. I came out, Len and I walked down the street and some one said, “Susan!”. DSC_9820 DSC_9821 Jumpin’ Jinny, it was Sally H., friend from San Miguel de Allende, who lives in Dallas….tell me it isn’t a small world? We sat with them while they had their lunch. I just love these kind of coincidences. I did know they were going to be in the Bay area, but never could have arranged such a roundevoux. I was nice for Len to meet Dick and just the “Who could imagine?” kind of moment.

Then off to Golden Gate Bridge and Presidio quickie tour before heading back to the hotel. DSC06040 Len humored me, kind of, and let me drag him off to China Town. He feels about China Town like he does Laredo. Zero tolerance, especially when one could be enjoying free happy hour at the hotel. Ok, I am sick and weak, weak and sick. I love things that say, Made in China or Made in Japan or Made in Mexico. I found Mah Jongg jewelry AND a rosary! How’s that for having sharp radar? I am very curious about netsuke carvings. Len won’t have any part of a collection of this nature. I scare him.

We did make it back in time for a relaxing happy hour and now turning in very early. Off to Napa tomorrow.


The Weanie Index According to Susan

Posted in Uncategorized on June 12, 2010 by drycreekherbs

I am in charge of the World Weenie Index. I do not go by anybody else’s fear standard. My Weenie Index is universal and should be accepted like the Greenwich Time Zone or the Metric System or the Dewy Decimal System.


A few of my fears:

Threatening signs about falling rock, gusty winds, sharks in area, trucks with no brakes, and scorpions; water snakes; flying unless you are in 1st class with Sulley as your pilot and sitting next to a hefty air marshall carrying taser; poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac; fire ants; demonstrations of public math and occasionally public speaking; heights*; electricity, especially with wet feet; jumper cables; propane tanks; bridges with an elevation exceeding 5 feet; zealots (Nazis and terrorists especially); infirmity; bungee jumping; swinging foot bridges; narrow trails on sides of cliffs; ringworm; chiggers; mosquitos; shingles (as in the medical condition); some children; and hurt animals.


Things not to fear:

Germs; staying alone at night; homeless people; foreigners if they aren’t terrorists; dogs and cats in general; social embarrassment; medical personnel; strange men & women (all my friends and family members are strange); the dark; sounds at night ( I never hear them); driving; getting lost, monkeys; dolls; guns; mice; and sparklers.

Here is what I think. I believe it may be better to be surprised about all the things that can ‘get’ you instead of worrying over the impending doom. Hard to know for sure. I have a collection, of course, of danger signs that I will make into a necklace of sorts. Like a fetish necklace. Oh, and in England I took another fine photo. Danger-Elderly. Hmmm.

* I came by my fear of heights in 1st grade when I pushed my way to the front of the line for the big slide…In the end, it served me right. So I get to the front of the line and all 35 of the rest of my class clammer up the ladder right behind me. I am up at the top and look down and go totally insane with the GIANT FEAR and first ever anxiety attack. OMG, those were some mean, mean little kids. They pushed and shoved and worse still, made fun of me. I held on for dear life and wept. It was a pitiful display of cowardice. I am still embarrassed by it and have yet to get on a slide.cliffe_park_slide_400x300.jpg I believe this is the same slide…maybe not. Very similar and may still be in Shawnee, Oklahoma. There may also be a plaque: Scaredy Pants-Susie Maynor 1952.

From San Luis Opisbo to Salinas–Missions Mostly

Posted in Uncategorized on June 11, 2010 by drycreekherbs

It seems like two weeks ago that I left the Marriott Courtyard in SLO this morning…what did I do? Well, I missed the breakfast I hoped to have at the hotel…I dilly dallied around until 10…went down to find they were not serving so I went to a nearby diner and ate an obscene breakfast…but it was very good. Then I just meandered up to Morro Bay, DSC05925 Atascadero, San Miguel, San Antonio, and Trader Joe’s! I really liked my quiet drive today…I listened to Hildegard von Bingen so I was very mellow and the scenery was so Rubenesque….all those soft curves….it was like looking at huge rear ends or vast bosoms. And the texture of this state…those hills look like reindeer antlers or dried moss or brushed velvet or maybe even suede. Aren’t I poetic? Not.

I just drifted around….thank you God again for the GPS. I even went to a lavender farm in Atascadero….I was about 2 weeks short of the big bloom but it was still nice. And again, the confirmation: plant on a slope. The owner was also ‘mentored’ by Jeannie from Blanco…small world, huh? So I caught up with the Unlikely Lavender Queen’s latest news, albeit second hand.


To get to the lavender farm I drove through some mountains on route 41….once again, never ask anyone if a road is scary unless they look like Don Knotts or a human chiquaqua. Noooooo, one and all responded, not in the least spooky. Well, it really wasn’t as bad as some. Glad Len was not behind the wheel. He is too casual. Comments like, “Zoom, zoom” or “This is just like flying a helicopter” make me nervous not reassured. One thing I know, I can always turn around or go mad or breathe in a paper bag…but that seems to make driving even more hazardous. It is better to sing or chant…but in today’s driving, the Hildegarde music was perfect. It was very cool. Seems like I say this about every road.   


So on to Trader Joe’s for prosecco, crackers, and cheese for dinner. I was also was moved to buy two boxes of organic shells and white cheddar mac n’ cheese….when I get home I will try to add the roasted green chilies like they make at the Roaring Fork. Anyway, I like that store and the friendly folks that work there….seem to me that more older service people work there than in Whole Foods. I bonded with two nice older fellows–produce and dairy. DSC05950 Then off to San Miguel Mission….I like these missions….then I drove waaaaaaaay out of the way to the San Antonio DSC05952 mission. I love everything about missions. I think of one of Mom’s favorite books, Ramona …was that about a mission or just CA? What was the book by Alma ___? maybe Cather? Our book club read it ions ago. OK , back to the day.   

To get there you go through Ft. Hunter Liggett which I can tell you is a verrrrry remote Army post. Very remote.   

Here is a quirky observation: I need to live in places that are named for saints. I love San Antonio, Santa Barbara, San Miguel de Allende, San Louis Obispo, San Purisma, San Francisco, etc. etc. I am not so crazy about San Angelo. Maybe I just don’t know much about it.

I finally arrived at the next Courtyard Marriott (I sure should be a platinum member by now) around 6. While I did a little laundry, I used the fitness room then I ate up the tasty cambozola triple cream blue and the blue castello cheese and 45 savory crackers for a light meal…washed down by the refreshing prosecco. I am starting to feel a kinsman-ship with Marriott staff.

Tomorrow, Len arrives….the adventure begins. He kindly is bringing me a suitcase full of more unnecessary clothes. I hope this is a happy time for him.

POST SCRIPT: Seems that I have written about this day two times…could it have been the fine beverage I was drinking? Ah well, some details were omitted and others added!

Pretty Quiet Day — Windy Though

Posted in Uncategorized on June 11, 2010 by drycreekherbs


So today I hustled around Lompoc before heading off to San Luis Obispo (SLO). I checked out of the spartan Holiday Inn Express and did a last drive through Lompoc. It kind of reminds me of Copperas Cove only prettier. They have fields and fields of flowers that make driving with the windows down delightful…especially the fields of stock.  


I almost forgot the Mission Purismo which is fantastic. It is really a secret garden not at all the Hollywood version of a mission. I am so glad I decided on a whim to go in. It is the kind of place that you can DSC05877 feel the ghosts but not spooky…the kind of ghosts you would like to have a beer with.


Then off to a place called Morro Bay which was relatively interesting–kind of a Coney Island atmosphere. Not the high end Santa Barbara atmosphere but more like you might see Archie and Ethel Bunker in the cold water taffy shop…and me too of course! It was so windy that I almost lost my super-sized orange hat.

I bravely headed over the mountains, ok hills, to Atascadero to find a lavender farm. It was ok. With a quick stop at Trader Joe’s so I could buy some boxes of organic Mac n’ Cheese then into SLO. I made a special trip so I could visit the Thursday Night Farmers’ Market– it is/was so cool. Every single Thursday they have this 10 block market. It is sort of a fiesta atmosphere…lots of produce, flowers, zealots, food, etc. DSC05916

I am doing Marriott Courtyard Inn hopping. College graduation is happening everywhere so I can only find a room for one night then I have to move on. I kind of like it…but imagine this…each room I have or will stay in before I pick up Len is $150.00 range until the US Open or graduation…then the rooms shoot up to $350-400.00!

Always Wear Shoulder Pads or Big Hats

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2010 by drycreekherbs

This I learned at a Home Ec convention from a workshop speaker! Optical illusions matter…like first impressions! Big girls should (well, at least in the 1970s) wear shoulder pads….It is an optical illusion. Makes your buttocks look smaller. Also big hats work… Well, perhaps some hats are too big…see attached photo. One big wind and I am over the canyon. In fact, as I see it now, I sort of look like Poncho Vila or a modern, Flying Nun. Anyway, dark colors make a difference too. No ruffles if you want your bosoms to look smaller (I like ruffles, so I wear them in spite of mega bosoms.) I might start wearing starched petticoats if they make other parts of me look smaller although it might cause a bit of a stir in Salado. WDSC06088 hat can they do to me? So they talk about about the older woman wearing starched petticoats. In the course of history, worse things have happened.

I Could Live in Santa Barbara

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2010 by drycreekherbs

Santa Barbara is great. Sort of reminds me of San Antonio only better, of course…and sort of like San Diego….and sort of like San Miguel de Allende…Hey, they are all Saint places! Very weird. It took about an hour to get there over very unique terrain…rolling brown hills, farm land, coast land, and fweaky roads. More on my ‘Weanie Index’ later.

So, I did exactly what new MCEC chum, Sandy, told me to do. I went to the Mission, Botanic Gardens, Harbor, and State Street. That gal sent me to all the cool girlee places! I am going to follow her recommendations tomorrow too. I have a zillion photos.


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The mission has a very cool chalk gallery on the plaza…see above. I have a thing about cemeteries and gravestones. I get a real sense of what it really all boils down to when I am in a cemetery. ‘Gone but not forgotten’ always gets me. There is a noun, that I can’t remember of course, for those who are caught up in gravestones and such.

The Botanic Gardens were just up the road–lovely variety of several terrains–meadow, redwood, canyon, stream, etc. Also very cool gift shop where I changed clothes after buying the most brazen colors I could lay my hands on. DSC05816 Here is an observation. Never ask a robust, fit person what the lay of the land is like. They think it is all a piece of cake. Nothin’ to it. Ask a winded, dumpy, florid, perspiring, older person if possible. Therein lies an accurate assessment of what you can expect. For a while I thought MedJet would need to air evacuate me out of the canyon…and it was not like the Grand Canyon either. DSC05814 It is hard to trek when you are loaded down with packages. But I KNEW I could be spotted from the air what with my colors! Also, never ask a woman clerk wearing Ann Taylor monochromatic pale pinks what she thinks about the orange hat and periwinkle blue T-shirt combo. No, find someone who looks like Carmen Miranda. She /he will know.

Then to the Harbor for lunch. I found a very quiet outdoor restaurant overlooking the Harbor. After a yummy lunch I walked about 6 miles…and a good thing too since I had ice cream for dessert. Gorgeous architecture, cute shops, and beautiful people. The library was very Hollywood. DSC05834 DSC05843  

I love my life.