Category Archives: Uncategorized

A life worth living.

The husband of one of my Facebook friends passed away this last week from a sudden heart attack. Death happens. It’s an inevitable part of life that we’re known to understand from the very beginning. But when it happens so quickly, it’s a really hard truth to swallow. 

In the case of my FB friend (who I don’t know IRL, but have met through my writing), both she and her husband just celebrated their retirement. Both are teachers, and judging by comments made from students and parents alike, they’re dedicated to what they do. They have two sons, one who graduated from college last year, the other just last week. And after so many years of work, this past week was supposed to be the first of many years of relaxation in their joint retirement. 

It was their first, and last. 

While I don’t personally know this woman, my heart is so heavy for her as she prepares for a memorial for her husband instead of celebrating with him in a time well earned. And as my own life feels incredibly blessed, I can’t help but feel afraid that I, too, could have something this tragic happen to take it all away. 

It’s funny (or not really, maybe just strange), there was a time when I didn’t care about death. Let it come. Life is so hard, and maybe with death things will be easy. But now? Life is good. It’s more than good. And if I think about it too hard, I become fearful that my life will end too early, my children’s and Mr W’s life will come to an end, that God’s purpose and my purpose for life is drastically different, and he’ll take me or the people I love before we’re finished with what we intend to do on earth. 

In the end, life goes on with or without us. And what we do in our lives will determine the mark we leave after we’ve gone. This man touched the lives of many in his teachings and surf-easy lifestyle. He also lived his life knowing he had a limited timeframe to do it in, aware that his heart disease might take him early. So he lived his life to the fullest. 

Am I living my life to the fullest?

Sometimes that answer is ‘yes’. Many times, however, it’s ‘no’. There are things that I keep putting off that I want to accomplish, claiming I just don’t have time. And yet, there are things taking up my time that don’t qualify as worthwhile. While I am watching TV or playing on my phone, I could be talking with a friend, spending time with my kids, or editing my book. 

Because time is precious. 

I am sad for this woman and how suddenly life has changed for her. And I hope the memories of a fulfilling life with her husband will carry her through. But I find hope and inspiration in just the mere glimpse I received of his life to ride the wave upon a life worth living. 

Go with God, Sandy Kronick. 

NOT FOR KIDS childrens books

Why let kids have all the fun? Here are some bedtime stories to tuck you in at night. But you may want to keep them on the top shelf when you’re done.

1. If You Give a Kid a Cookie, Will He Shut the F–K Up?, by Marcy Roznick
The kid spent all night screaming, then they want breakfast, and then they’re all “hug me Daddy!” Can’t they see the game is on? Give that kid a cookie and shut them the f**k up!

2. Go the F**k to Sleep, by Adam Mansbach
And then, of course, is our very favorite bedtime story and perfect companion to #1. If Junior is asking for another glass of water, bedcheck for monsters, and complaining that he’s hungry, maybe this will help him get the f**k to sleep.

3. The big coloring book of vaginas, by Morgan Hastings
Hey, guys get a cool name for their junk. The least we ladies should get is a coloring book. Full of big, beautiful, flowery images, you may even want to get out the glitter pens.

4. That’s not your mommy anymore: A Zombie Tale, by Matt Mogk
Mommy has been acting strange, and you swear her arm just fell off. If mom has fresh brain casserole on the mind, it’s probably a safe bet that isn’t mommy anymore.

5. Goodnight iPad, by Ann Droyd
“Goodnight remotes and Netflix streams, Androids, apps and glowing screens”….. This peaceful book allows you to say goodnight to all 150+ electronics you must play with before going to bed.

6. I hate everything., by Matthew DiBenedetti
Whimsical musings of pessimism, prettily decorated by drawings of unicorns and music notes. Your must-have companion to every Monday morning. You’re welcome.

7. I Hate Everyone., by Matthew DiBenedetti
You can’t really have a book about hating everything without a follow-up mentioning how much you hate everyone, right? This includes those annoying people sporting stick-figure families on their minivans, people who start long stories with “long story short”, and anyone who enjoys their job.

8. Why is Daddy in a Dress?, by Amanda McCall & Ben Schwartz
Have an awkward topic to bring up? Lighten the load by using cute, cuddly animals. If you’re wondering if last night’s date went into overtime but aren’t sure how to ask the sleeping body next to you, an adorable baby duckling can make the compromising question seem kind of sweet.

9. All my friends are dead., by Avery Monsen & Jory John
If you’re still lamenting the fact that dinosaurs have come and gone, you’ve killed yet another houseplant, your milk has expired long before you drank it all, and you just found out what “Fluffy went to live on the farm” meant, this feel-good book about dead things is just for you.

10. Raising the perfect child through guilt and manipulation, by Elizabeth Beckwith
And for all you new parents out there, this helpful guide will get you through the childraising years with the greatest of ease. After all, why should we do it any different than our own mothers?

Make your own baby food

Once your baby starts eating solids, things get pretty expensive. It doesn’t seem like much, but those little jars and cereals can add a hefty price to your food bill.

What if you could utilize what you already have on hand to feed your baby, skipping the prepackaged food altogether?

The Northern California Center for Well-Being will be holding a class on “Infant and Toddler Food Made Easy” November 30th from 6-7:30 pm in the Ginger Grille at the Santa Rosa G&G Market (1211 W College Avenue, Santa Rosa). Instructor and registered dietician Nora Bulloch will teach how to use fresh fruits, grains, and meats for your baby’s delicate diet, how to change up foods you feed your child as he or she grows, and the proper nutrition for your baby or toddler as you learn new menu ideas. Along with learning how to make your own baby food, an exciting raffle will be held that include prizes like $50 gift card to My Baby News.

Cost to attend this class is $35. There are a limited amount of seats available for this class, and past classes have filled up fast. You must pre-register by November 23 to attend.

Register online at, or register by calling Center for Well-Being at 575-6043 has a pair of tickets to give away to this class for a lucky mom and friend. To enter, CLICK HERE. 

(contest has ended)

Who are the bullies now?

I am going out on a limb here and fully admitting that this might be the scariest post I have ever written.

Last week, I posted a story about a 5 year old boy who wanted to dress like a girl for Halloween. I’m not talking about your average teenage boy who is doing it for kicks. I mean, this 5 year old wanted to dress like a girl in as serious of a way you can be about a costume for Halloween. To be specific, he wanted to be Daphne from Scooby Doo.

His costume was pretty awesome. He was decked out in glorious oranges and purples, complete with a scarf around his neck like the Scooby fashionista Daphne is. But several moms at the child’s Christian preschool didn’t see it that way. They questioned the mom about this choice, and were not private about it in front of the boy. The mom felt bullied, and felt that these moms were also bullying her preschool aged son.  In her own blog, she described the actions and called them out. That post she wrote was circulated across the nation, including in this blog. And the general consensus was that these moms were horrible people to have infringed their opinion on a little boy who only wanted to be someone else on a day reserved for just that.

This was the shared opinion over here too, save for one. A woman wrote her reasons for believing that there was another side to this story, citing her religious beliefs for thinking along those lines. “It’s not his responsibility at 5 years old to be some sort of freedom fighter for the transgender community.”

Well, let me tell you all something. As someone once quoted to me: “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.”

But before you assume I am referring to the above stated commenter as an asshole, let me correct you. The asshole would actually be ME. The conversation that continued after this woman gave her opinion turned from the article, and instead focused on slamming this woman. Some did it just as agreeably, politely disagreeing. But several others turned downright nasty. And it took the last commenter on the article to finally shed some light on what exactly was going on.

“If you missed it, here’s a thought: You’ve proven yourselves no better than the bullying Moms described in this article…”

So why am I the asshole? Because I allowed the conversation to continue. I fully admit that I disagree with the statements provided by the bullied commenter. And because of my disagreement, I was unable to see the mob mentality that was going on as anything unfair. I was swept up in the mob as well. And it took a clearheaded individual to actually point out the absurdity that was going on for me to be able to see this for what it was.

We were no better than those bullying moms.

But here’s one further. How about those bullying moms? On the actual blog entry by the mom of the 5 year old, there are currently over 42,000 comments. Quoted on her twitter: “Can we all agree that predicting something will go viral is virtually impossible?” Thanks to sites like,, this site, and every other family site that shared this story, countless people are badmouthing these moms. She was even on the Today show, sharing the story with the nation about these moms. They are now the enemies of the nation, as their actions are no longer a single action that took place in a small classroom, but are instead the focus of discussion among millions of people.

Who are the bullies now?

I stand by my opinion that a little boy can dress like a girl if he wants to, whether it be Halloween or not. I stand by my opinion that every person is entitled to their own opinion, whether anyone thinks it’s right, wrong, misinformed, brilliant, or outdated. I stand by my opinion that disagreeing with another human about their opinion is totally fair – if done so without abusing the other person or their own personal rights. I stand by my opinion that people who judge others scare the bejeezus out of me, because I am one of those annoying people who actually value the opinion of others in regards to what they think about me. I stand by my opinion that writing this is one of those scary things that will leave me open for judgment. And I stand by my opinion that in this scenario, I was wrong, I judged, and I was no better than those who pick on others, strengthened by the mob.

To that bullied commenter, I am so sorry. To the commenter who put everyone in their place, thank you. Sure, let’s end the bullying of others. But let’s also check ourselves and be sure that we aren’t guilty of the very thing we are fighting.

Westside Little League Bat-a-thon

On Friday, June 4th, Westside Little League held their 2010 Bat-a-Thon Awards Night and Ice Cream Social. The Bat-a-Thon, held May 1st, is their annual fundraiser that raises money for things like uniforms, the snack bar, scholarships, equipment, and more, plus allows the league to keep their membership costs low. The kids prepare for the event by collecting either a flat donation, or a donation for how many points their team receives. At the event, points are racked up by how many balls they hit and how far they are able to hit them. The Bat-a-Thon is one of those “can’t miss” events, because other than the actual batting there is a mini carnival going on. The kids get the chance to drop their favorite coaches in a pool of water at the dunk tank. They can bounce off the walls in the jump houses. They can show off their skills at the Pitch Speed booth. They can enjoy food from the food shack (some of the best hot dogs around!). And they can decorate themselves with face paint and temporary tattoos.

The room was packed at the Stony Point Christian Fellowship Church where Westside held their Awards Night. It started off with their annual Ice Cream Social, ice cream donated by the folks over at Clover Stornetta. And then everyone gathered in the auditorium to watch a live video intro that raised the energy levels to sky high. And in between awards presented, the players won mini prizes and gift certificates donated by Westside’s many generous sponsors.

Last year, Westside was able to collect $24,000. This year they challenged the kids to raise it even more. And the kids went “to bat”. The 2010 Bat-a-Thon brought in $30,074! Congratulations Westside players!!!

Here are a list of some of the awards given out at this year’s Awards Night:

Top 3 Individual Batting Points

Dustin Currin (Padres) – 92 points
Dustin Pienta (Padres) – 84 points
Jackson Gerren (A’s) – 80 points
Aaron Sey Klaut (Tigers) – 80 points
Ryan Taylor (Tigers) – 78 points
Ian McGee (Astros) – 72 points
Sierra Shanoff (Yankees) – 84 points
Chui Suarez (A’s) – 78 points
Bailey Gray (Yankees) – 76 points
Joseph Christenson (A’s) – 103 points
Dylan Currin (Cubs) – 91 points
Lane Bassignani (Orioles) – 89 points
Geno Vanucci (Cubs) – 131 points
Alex Martinez (Cubs) – 124 points
Obi Powell (Cubs) – 102 points

Top Teams with Highest Batting Points

Padres – 757 points
Giants – 378 points
A’s – 691 points
A’s – 832 points

Top Teams with Highest Donations

Padres – $1,271
Giants – $1,241
Angels – $1,938
Cubs – $7,041!!!

Top Overall Donation Earner

James Raftery (Major A’s) – $1,600 (for his efforts, James was awarded a Wii!)

Top Overall Batting Points Earner

Joseph Christensen (Major A’s) – 131 points

And for wrestling with the many varmints that plagued the various Little League fields….

The Golden Gopher Award

John Perry, Coach for the A’s

Cheer on local students at the Horse Show this weekend


52nd Annual All Arabian and Half Arabian Show
March 26,27,28th 2010
Held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa
Free Admission
Time: 8am till its over

We have several local girls all coming to compete, and they are hoping to have lots of fans cheering them on, especially since this is their only local event.

Here is a list of who’s competing:

Else Stuart – Santa Rosa High School
Taylor Kyse – Santa Rosa Middle School
Jayme Mitchel – Slater Middle School
Devin Thompson – Penngrove Elementary School
Laurynn Malilay -Liberty School in Petaluma
Hannah Feldman -Liberty School in Petaluma
Shelby Tischbern-Maria Carillo High School Santa Rosa
Emily Klick -Parkside School, Sebastopol
Acacia Wright Pine Crest, Sebastopol
Danielle Cole – Slater Middle School Santa Rosa
Erin Garlock Brookhaven, Sebastopol
Tatiana Ziemer and Karli Dannewitz – Sebastopol (Home Schooled)

The show offers classes in Western, English, Hunter, Native Costume, Sidesaddle, Halter, Sport Horse, Reining etc.  There will be a silent bid auction for miscellaneous items ranging from Horse Gear to Art to Jewelry to Wine.

This is a great family event. Hope to see you there!

Weekend Family Fun, Dec 5th – 6th

You know what I love about the holidays?  It seems like everyone is in the holiday spirit as they decorate their homes and businesses, and the reasons to get together and celebrate multiply.  As the weather turns a bit crisper, breath comes out in puffs of fog against the chilly air, and cheeks are a bit rosier behind wool scarves and hats, the smiles are contagious as each town celebrates this festive time of year. 

Do you know what you’re doing this weekend?   

Wolcott Family Light Show  Remember the Halloween display on Jose Ramon Ave? Well, the Wolcott’s have done it again for Christmas. Their lights are sequenced to Christmas music, and are sure to wow the crowds that are on a hunt for Christmas lights around town. The show starts this Saturday, and goes on until the end of the month. This year they have even wirelessly included their neighbors in the show, rigging their lights to blink and shine with the music. The shows last 35 minutes apiece, and are a must see on your journey for Christmas displays in the area!
Starts Saturday, Dec 5th, and goes on till Dec 31st.
Sunday – Thursday 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
472 Jose Ramon Ave, Santa Rosa

Guerneville Parade of Lights   Colorful floats and live music will rock Guerneville’s Main Street under the theme of Rockin’ Holiday. Residents of Guerneville won’t want to miss the traditional lighted parade Saturday night. If you want to see what the parade was like 2 years ago, here’s a link to Farmtube’s video on YouTube.  Fun for adults and toddlers alike!
Saturday, Dec 5th, 7pm – 8pm
16209 First St. Downtown Guerneville

Mrs. Grossman’s Warehouse Sale  Can I just say that I am a little more than excited about this event??? I remember my mom taking me when I was a kid. There were tables upon tables, filled with every kind of sticker you could imagine at extremely discounted prices. We would load up on stickers, bringing them to the checkstand by the armload. And then after, we’d go up to the storeroom to see what was new over at Mrs. Grossman. If you are a scrapbooker, or you have a child that loves stickers, or if you are just plain human, this event is one that can’t be missed. Mrs. Grossman’s stickers are known for their great quality and originality, and they are acid free, so they won’t ruin your pictures. Get there early, because this event is anticipated by everyone in the know.
Saturday, Dec 5th, 9am -5:30pm
Mrs. Grossman’s Warehouse – 3810 Cypress Dr. Petaluma
Join their
Facebook page for more info.

Merchants’ Holiday Open Houses   Various merchants in Downtown Petaluma will be taking part in an Open House that kicks off the annual “Shop and Crawl” in Petaluma. The event includes Horse & Carriage rides as well as Rickshaw rides, caroling by the Petaluma High School Choir, Fairy Dust Face painting, dancing, balloon animals, and lots of activities and discounts/freebies at all of the participating stores. See site for a list of participating vendors.
Sat, Dec 5th, 10am – 6pm
Downtown Petaluma

Lighted Boat Parade, sponsored by the Petaluma Yacht Club. After the Holiday Open House, come down to the Petaluma River and watch a fleet of decorated and lighted boats make their way from the Petaluma Marina to the Turning Basin. The boats will remain docked there as folks gather in Downtown Petaluma for caroling, and to enjoy entertainment and food at the surrounding shops. Santa will be there too, handing out treats to all the kids.
Saturday, Dec 5th
Boats leave Petaluma Marina at 6pm, and dock at Turning Basin at 6:30pm

Ways to Give

This Saturday is the Winter Whiskers & Wine Event at the Sonoma Humane Society, open from 12noon – 5 pm. While there, you will have the chance to help animals with a sponsorship of $5, $10, or $25. There will be hot cocoa, sparkling wine, a bake sale, and a drawing for a prize. Dogs are welcome also, and you can get a holiday picture taken of your pet for a donation of $10. See the website for more details on this fun event to support a worthy cause.

Letters to Santa

Every Christmas, my mom’s piano is covered in pictures with Santa. There’s the one of me as a baby, cradled in Santa’s arms. There’s the one of all three of us girls crowding Santa. There’s the one of us holding onto our youngest sister to keep her from bolting. There’s the one of us and our cousins as teenagers, all sitting on Santa’s lap while he was either grinning widely or grimacing from the pain of our weight. There are probably 16 or more pictures of us at various stages of life with our friend, Santa Claus. And then, to finish off the cycle, are the ones of my own kids with Santa. My favorite is the one when my daughter was 2. On her face is a smile that tells a story of fear and trepidation. It was the best smile we could get. Each time the camera flashed, she had been frowning, or grimacing, or looking at us to see if she was done yet. The elf at the booth would ask me each time if that one was acceptable, and true as a mom of a toddler that wants the perfect picture (despite the growing line behind me), I would ask her to take one more. I was about to ask her to take one again, sure that she would smile this time, when a little voice piped up.

“Moooommmmm?” she said in a wavering voice, begging with her eyes to please be taken from this strange man’s grasp.

“That first one we took is the best. We’ll take that one,” I told the elf as I scooped her up.

Santa was always a huge part of our holiday. My sisters and I were faithful in writing him letters and setting them by the fireplace to be whisked away by the wind to the North Pole. We’d start writing our letters in July. We’d make promises of being good all year, and helping our mother, and then, once December hit, we’d make good on those promises.

Truth is, I’m sure Santa was aware that we weren’t exactly good as gold. Every Christmas morning there was a little fear in the pit of my stomach that he would only leave me coal, or worse, skip our house altogether in favor of moving on to a house with well-behaved children. He never did skip us, though. And he never did leave us coal. Instead he left us presents like the pink bike with streamers and clackers on the spokes, or the stereo with the CD player and the remote control, or the socks with a space for each of my toes. And he never failed to leave us a letter, thanking us for the milk and cookies and the sweet cob we left for the reindeer. And just to make his presence known, he’d leave crumbs in the bottom of the glass and a boot print in the fireplace, and occasionally bells from his sleigh or some other cool memento.

This year, the Press Democrat would love to have your child’s letters to Santa before they send them off to the North Pole. The annual Holiday Gift Guide will be publishing on December 10th, and they plan on publishing letters to Santa from kids aged 0 – 102. Letters can include anything they want – pictures, what they want for Christmas – anything! At the end, have them sign it and include the town they live in. We’re looking for letters from all over the county! If chosen, your child’s letter will appear in the Gift Guide, wrapped in the newspaper on December 10th. Make your child a star!

Please see the forums on where to send letters to Santa by CLICKING HERE.  Entries must be mailed by Friday, November 27th, or dropped off by December 1st, so the window to do this is small. Start your letters today! We’ll be sure to send them off to Santa once we get all the letters. Happy writing!

P.S. If your family has a different tradition for the holidays, please feel free to share that instead of a letter to Santa.

Weekend Family Fun, Nov 14th – 15th

There are several great events going on this weekend.  But since we are officially in the holiday season, I want to urge everyone to do what they can to help others who are in need.  I have included a couple of very easy ways to give of yourself and not break the bank.  Our children benefit when we make community service a habit in our households.  What they witness of us is something they will carry into their own lives.  Use this season to start a trend that will benefit your soul as well as the lives of others.

Go Dog. Go!   “Big dogs, little dogs, red dogs, blue dogs, yellow dogs, green dogs, black dogs, & white dogs are all at a dog party! What a dog party!” Come on, read with me! You all remember the book, now you can see the play. Actor’s Theatre for Children will be performing their version of P.D. Eastman’s book, “Go, Dog. Go!” for kids of all ages!
Dohn Theater, Steele Lane Community Center, Santa Rosa
Friday, Nov 13th at 7:30pm
Saturday, Nov 14th at 1:00pm & 3:30pm
Sunday, Nov 15th at 2:30pm
$5.00 per person

Note: Tickets go on sale 1 hour before the performance in the lobby.

Santa Rosa Doll Show  Ask any little girl what’s on her wish list for the holiday season, and one of those wishes will surely to be a doll. At the Santa Rosa Doll Show this Saturday, doll collectors of all ages will be able to see dolls of every kind, from antique to modern, and accessories. This event is hosted by The Redwood Empire Doll & Study.
Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave, Santa Rosa.
Saturday, Nov 14th, 10am – 3:30am.
Free parking. Admission is $4.50, under 12 free.

Wild Cat Adventure  It’s not every day your child can see wild cats like cheetahs and leopards and tigers up close. The folks over at Wild Cat Adventure put on a great show with wild cats such as these, and also teach the audience about the cats. This is definitely something that kids and their families will want to see!
Sunday, Nov 15th, 3 PM
Sebastopol Community Center 390 Morris Street, Sebastopol
$10 adults, $5 children under 12.

Easy ways to help

Holiday Craft Bazaar
This event is being put on to benefit Project Linus, a non-profit group that gives homemade blankets to children who are facing illness or trauma. Items for sale include homemade crafts, baked goods, quilts, beaded jewelry, and more. Plus there will be a quilt raffle. Frank Simpson of the Petaluma Spectator on Petaluma 360 gives an even more detailed description of this event.
Saturday, Nov 14th, 10am – 2pm
304 Maria Drive, Petaluma (Across the street from Learning to Learn Pre School, Maria & Professional Drive)
Cash only, please

Feed a Local Senior
Meals on Wheels is starting their campaign to encourage everyone to donate $3.50 or more to help provide a healthy meal to seniors in our area. Council on Aging  has served close to 300,000 meals to 3,000 seniors since they first started in 1976. Only 45% of their funding comes from Government funding, so they rely on our help to feed those seniors that are unable to cook for themselves or drive themselves to the store. Their program allows seniors to be able to continue living in their homes and maintain their independence. Participating grocers are Big John’s, Molsberry, Oliver’s Pacific, Petaluma, and Skyhawk Village Markets.

Other People's Junk….

After the rains at the end of the week, the weekend’s sunshine made the whole world seem new. While still holding that autumn chill in the air, the sky was a promising shade of blue that beckoned to us to be outdoors and soak up some rays from the sun. Our kids were gone, staying with their other parents until Sunday afternoon. Mr. Wonderful and I were left to enjoy some peace and quiet, and do anything we wanted without having to worry about complaints from the kids. So what better way to spend a Sunday morning than to peruse the garages of other people’s homes, making their junk our treasures? Mr. Wonderful has been in the market for a certain piece of furniture. Last weekend it was antique stores. This weekend we thought we’d try our hand at garage sales.

We grabbed the newspaper and went out on our treasure hunt. The first house proved to be a bust. The one drawback of garage shopping on Sundays is that all the good stuff gets taken on Saturdays. We were left looking at old drinking glasses in the ugliest shade of green imaginable, and a lamp that made us question what they were thinking when they bought it brand new. We stayed for only 5 minutes before moving on to the next. This one happened to be located in a barn, and we were like kids in a candy store. Old chalk board? Sure! Cook books for a buck? I’ll take two! Tennis rackets and a vase? Absolutely! We walked out of there with our arms full and our wallets barely touched. But still, we hadn’t found what we had been searching for. So on we went to the final house. This one we only had to drive by to see that nothing was there. And we knew that we might not come across the desired piece today. But still, we were determined to at least find some more treasures out there to feed our shopping bug. Our last stop was the Goodwill.

I have a love/hate relationship with Thrift Stores. Plenty of people find joy in coming to Thrift Stores to get things much cheaper than they would if they got them new. And truth is, if you look carefully, there are plenty of barely used items that deserve a good home. Some things haven’t been used ever and still have their original price tags on them. There is an overabundance of good quality kitchenware that would have cost hundreds bought new, and are now selling for under $10. There are racks of shoes and clothes that, if weeded through properly, can produce treasures in your closet, or at least scraps for the quilt you’re making or for patches in those jeans with holes in the knees. There is a room dedicated to dressers and tables, TV stands and beds. The whole store is filled with diamonds in the rough, just waiting to be discovered. And I feel that after 10 minutes of perusing through other people’s castaways, getting caught up in the moment of discovering something that someone else didn’t see before me. But those first 10 minutes are filled with trepidation, the smell of musty clothes bringing on memories that aren’t so fond to me, a time when shopping at a thrift store was not done for fun, but out of necessity. It was back in my married days, a time that I often look at as if it were another life just to keep it seperate from where I am now.  Food was bought with a benefits card, something I would bring out discretely only to have the checker ask loudly, “Will this be Cash, or Food Aid?”.  The PG&E was shut off more times than I can count.  Dr’s visits were at crowded offices, waiting in a room filled with screaming and crying children for hours.  Dental exams were the same way, yet we were filed in and out like cattle, and not allowed to be by our young children’s side while they had their teeth examined.  School shopping was done at the Salvation Army with hope that some kid grew out of their clothes before they wore them out.  Being poor rendered us invisible and of a lower class.  And after my divorce, I worked as hard as possible to get out of that life.  When I walked away from poverty, I also walked away from “free” medical insurance, government aid, bounced checks, and Thrift Stores….and I never looked back.

Until this Sunday. It had been years since I had stepped into one of these stores. And the smell, no matter what, never changes. But this Goodwill had been kept up to impeccable standards. Everything was placed in an orderly fashion. Even the clothes were arranged by their type, and then sub-categorized by color. One quick glance around and I was quickly brought back to how fun “Thrifting” could be. The first thing I came across was a black suede jacket without a price tag. The fit was perfect, and exactly what I had been looking for to replace my own beat-up coat. I picked up glass after plate after cooking pan, imagining the possibilities with each as if shopping in a department store. I took in my fair share of eye candy before joining Mr. Wonderful in his quest.

And that’s when we saw it.

No, not the piece of furniture we were looking for. We had given up on that already. But a trivet for bread with glass Pyrex loaf pans. To be fair, Mr. Wonderful saw it first. But my eyes opened so wide and I swear he caught me drooling, and Mr. Wonderful lived up to his name. He told me he’d buy it for me on one condition. The evening before, I had been nearly impaled by a frozen banana that leapt out of his freezer and missed my head by inches. Mr. Wonderful’s son was not one for overripe bananas. Even one spot on them rendered them disgusting. So Mr. Wonderful froze the bananas and used them for banana bread. But his freezer was overflowing to the point that these frozen pieces of fruit were attacking anyone who opened the door. Mr. Wonderful promised me he would buy me the trivet, but only if I made him my own banana bread.

Consider it done.

My final bill came to around $13. I got three movies, the suede jacket (it was $7!), a fan, and some light bulbs. It was a steal! And the rest of the evening was spent over a hot oven to create only the best tasting banana bread. I used my favorite recipe that includes a secret ingredient (be sure to check the forums for the recipe). The result? Something I’m going to have a hard time keeping my hands off of while it exists in our home.

You’ve gotta love weekends.


Speaking of weekends, if you know of a family friendly event coming up, be sure to let me know so I can include it in my Weekend Family Fun blogs. And if you are looking for something to do over the weekend, every Friday I have a new list of fun and inexpensive things to do over the weekend.

And a reminder, this is the “Season of Giving”.  Thrift stores are a wonderful place to donate your gently used items for folks that could use them.  Food Banks have barrels to donate food at most grocery stores.  Secret Santa is being set up as an annual tradition by the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County to help brighten the holidays for families in need.  And if money or items are not possible for your family to donate, your time is just as valuable.  Please consider giving this season, and help those families in need.