Sunday, November 26, 2023

HIGH RECOMMEND! from (robert! & sandra!)

 robert wasn't already familiar with her name or life story; but i was...       very definition of inspiring! 

i have this book in my library, and had no idea there was also a movie; came out quite a while back, but i find it very thought-provoking  -and stellar cast.   and is that? .. you know who that looks like..

sure enough, a cameo appearance by taylor swift.    -fun. 

and now!    -some more football...    we love sundays.    xoxo   amen & amen

Saturday, November 25, 2023

My favorite KARAOKE Cerebral Hyperlink! (me!) ~topps, aka: SHE, sandy cheeks, writeousmom...

 last night,  -enormously blessed to be invited, along with karl and valerie, to richard and fancy nancy's for a HOT POT PARTY!

and just so you know, with fancy nancy involved, this was not a 'regular, or traditional' hot pot party.  it is not an example of what anyone elses hot pot party might be or look, or taste like, 

rather, what we got to enjoy, is more like a fine art, extra-ordinary, hot pot experience!   fancy nancy not only dresses fashionably 365; she sets her table with creative flair too!

   what was on our gorgeous plates?  mushrooms, oysters, shrimp, scallop, a cute edible ribbon tied coin purse looking item filled with fish eggs..   some tofu squares, some noodles, fish balls..

         richard bringing laughter to the table:   i didn't know fishes have balls... 

and what are these?    -and these..?    -some cute round fish cakes..      -two hot pots; one which was spicy (my go-to);

and then, beef, lamb and shrimp..   and! the wonderful peanut butter sauce..   plus the bowl of beautiful fresh greens..   bok choy, coriander..  

i might not be remembering every detail, but you get the picture, yes..    a wonderful, flavorful, meal with a spectacular variety of textures, seasonings, shapes, sizes..

delight for the eyes and palate.      sake "cheers!" and "thank you!"   wine "cheers!"  and "thank you!"

and the conversations are always engaging, educational, entertaining...   we've all come to know each other better over the past several years,  -friendship growing over each driveway happy hour, friendship growing as mutual protestors during NOTonNOBLE; a dinner at our house, their house; always taking turns...  meeting each others families..    visiting wineries together, going to plays together..   movie nights, ted lasso nights, football games.. baseball games.. pool parties, sushi parties..  

  -life long friends we have become.    this makes the night pretty awesome too! that kind of unconditional love feeling that allows you to relax and be yourself 

or did that relaxed feeling, 

i say with a smile,  come from the sake, wine, -a full stomach?

in any case, as the meal and conversations winded down..  the fun started winding up!   richard had recently purchased a karaoke machine for his son, his daughter, -their friends

but why should kids have all the fun   -write.

so we moved to the tv room, and everyone (save me); but everyone took a turn with a microphone and a familiar and/or favorite song..

i LOVE being an audience to karaoke!   i LOVE MUSIC!  and it is a great JOY! and education, really, to READ THE LYRICS to songs i've been singing incorrectly for my entire life..

  -some incorrectly, 

and some where i had the chorus locked in, but the entire rest of the song was an utter unknown

   what variety of songs/artists did we re-enjoy?   radio head, amy winehouse, carpenters, beegees, kenny rogers, chris stapleton, elvis, 

/this is not an itemized list to be sure, just some highlights from memory..

valerie sang valerie..    easiest to remember..

karl sang gimme three steps..

and that was another lesson if you will..  sometimes it is the name of the song that is locked in,  -sometimes the artist, but not the song..   and sometimes both

but who knew, among us, who sang lady in red?   everyone knew the song!  none of us could name the artist..

i know the song creep was played,  richard sang it -and i have solid memories of the song being covered by my former alden lane rock star co-worker's band..   /along with 'paris oh la la'  another personal favorite.. but what else?

fancy nancy!   she sang some celine dion in english.. and then sang a chinese song, in chinese

          -had something to do with a buddah warning a young man against dragon women, but the young man doesnt regard women as dragons.. and falls in love?   -something like that.. 

my sexy..  he sang some elvis.. beegees..  country, and i got to feel serenaded.

there was some irish bar christmas song..


"PIANO MAN!"   -billy joel...  

and it is here that i want to "Thank You!" ever so much, because that is a favorite and cherished CH (cerebral hyperlink) for (me!)!

this is a song i changed the lyrics to, to celebrate my blogger friends 60th birthday.

and now,  i can't sing, but i think its pretty well established that i can write..

so i re-wrote the lyrics, and had someone who can sing, debra knox, sing it for me, to share with him on his birthday, and i am ENORMOUSLY grateful for youtube, because

it's still there!

   -here's the lyrics i wrote, 

originally posted 04/27/2009:


 i heretofore would like to creatively thank leonard stegmann for reposting the bright red spot between my eyebrows

 by writing new lyrics to billy joel's famous hit song, "the piano man"

 feel free to grab a beer for breakfast and sing along

 "it's five o’clock on what~ever day
the regular crowd’s all logged in
 & there’s squidmann posting just for me
cut n’ pastin’ again and again

i said, squid, can you repost that story?
 i'm not really sure how it goes
 but it's funny and sweet and i read it complete
 ~ spit coffee all over my clothes

 la la la, de de da, la la, de de da, da da...

spin us a tale, you’re the blogger man
post us a good one tonight
'cuz we’re all in the mood for a laugh or two
~ & your woe’s get us feelin’ alright

now most in the sphere, they are friends of mine
we all share our stories for free
we love a good joke
 ~laugh, drink n’ choke
and there’s no place that we’d rather be

 we say, squidmann, your stories are killing us!
you’re a gift to the sub~human race
& we’re sure that you would be a rich man

                  if not for that angry red spot on your face

oh! la la la, de de da, la la, de de da, da dum

now squid, he’s an american blogumnist
 loves the Beatles, the movies, his wife
he stopped bloggin’ like crazy,
but don’t call him lazy
 he can cut, paste and repost for life

and she, she’s the pre~famous writeous mom
wearing her dreams up her sleeves
fell from the ladder of success 3 times
but just keeps wipin’ the dirt from her knees

spin us a tale, you’re the blogger man
post us a good one tonight
 ‘cuz we’re all in the mood for a laugh or two
~ & your woe’s get us feelin’ alright

it's another great day in the blogosphere
 “let’s post!” she says with a smile
 'cuz we need to connect, let humor protect
our brains from real life for a while

squiddy, you’re my favorite blogger man
 i thank God our lives have crossed path
we need bread in our jars, and gas in our cars
so, “dear Lord,
may we get paid to make people laugh!”

oh!, la la la, de de da, la la, de de da, da dum..


AND! performed for his birthday in 2011. -this thing doesn't seem to want me to link it for your convenience... but type "bloggerman, debra knox" in the search bar at youtube.      -also, debra was the awesome director of the summer drama camps taryn attended; and a great creative collaborator for a few different gigs        " THANK YOU!"             -brief research suggests she is going very strong!  award-winning filmmaker; writer, actress, musician, artist...    "CONGRATULATIONS!"    


these are the real treasures of life!  great friends/family, great meals, great times

great memories!

"Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!"   We love you very much.

hallelujah & amen

.... sandra... you have a lovely voice...  give it a go.. you can sing..  just talk out the lyrics..

no.  i can't sing.  but i'd win a lip sync contest..  i can emote!

..which does, i notice, elegantly open a creative door for my upcoming performance...

Friday, November 24, 2023

which is all about giving thanks...

Cause for investigation for (me!) ~topps

 at first i was like, look how pretty that tore!
  i couldn't do that again if i tried...

but it happened two times in a row.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Passing of the Velcro Baton (grandma sharon! to granddaughter taryn!)


 December 2022 

my daughter agreed and accepted the baton from my mom at last year's Christmas Cookie Exchange & Brunch

so, 2022, became the last year my mom would host her cookie exchange & brunch 

and 2023 is the very first year my daughter (her granddaughter) will host this holiday celebration; very steeped in grandma's traditions

my mom has been doing some album hunting..   and while we've been guessing she's been hosting these cookie exchange brunches some 30+ years, 

turns out she has an album dating back to 1982!

so, "Congratulations! & Thank You Mom!"  for your cookie exchange & brunch that has helped kick start the holiday season for your friends and family for 40! years...     -awesome!  -fantastic! -wonderful!


the handing over of the baton from grandma to granddaughter, however, has not been quick or easy..

taryn reached out with an open hand, and my mom, as if the baton were wrapped in velcro, had to kind of tug and pull the baton out of her own hand..

and then she did hand it over to her granddaughter; but struggled to actually let go...


so, it was fun for me to eavesdrop on their conversation during our drive to valley fair recently for girls shopping day (mostly at macy's);  my daughter was driving, my mom front side passenger, me in the back

and i heard my mom "honey..   i asked you to host.. and now i just need to let you do it... i keep telling you how to do things and i need to just let you do it your own way..."

i was very impressed to hear this confession, but who can blame my mom..

40 years!

the changes my daughter is daring to make, are changes all of us, born anywhere from the 1940's to the 1970's have been forced to make

changes we've all tried to stop, slow down or totally avoid;  unsuccessfully. 


let us start with the online invitations...    online.  via text.  digital.  computers.  phones.

one of the biggest (but certainly not only) changes is that my daughter is not sending beautiful paper invitations through the united states postal service.    -no pretty holiday stationery...  no cute holiday stamps... no handwritten, personalized addressed envelopes..

as a matter of fact, i am staring write now at the cutest holiday stamps from usps, that my mom gave me money to purchase specifically for taryn to use; but that will not be used (for this party).

my mom hoped  (and, as did i) that in addition to the online invite, there could be pretty paper invites..

    -going paperless in general is a huge challenge; but for invitations!?!

and going paperless, for someone like myself, who loves paper..       ouch to the sting from this paper cut! 

this is the way of her generation however; we must bend and not break...   or, in paper lovers language; score but not tear

in any case..

my daughter is highly gifted and enormously talented at graphic design; she is a natural.  self-taught on canva, and she created very beautiful and very elegant online invitations

and it is fun that you can see online, when you rsvp by clicking..   who is attending.. what cookie they are baking..

what do you mean you have friends 

that aren't baking cookies!?!  

the fact that her granddaughter was allowing anyone to come to a cookie exchange without having homemade cookies to exchange...

   what's my best analogy..

well, that would be like,    -going to a gift exchange without a gift to exchange

  -the best way i can describe this changing of the guard, if you will, is this:

for 40 years my mom hosted a Christmas Cookie Exchange & Brunch

but what her granddaughter will be hosting is: 

"A Christmas Party!" where some cookies will be exchanged.


so, my mom is in a reluctant and slow surrender.. 

   -my daughter has been trying to explain that her friends, the 20 somethings, relatively fresh graduates, do not all live in places conducive to baking 14 dozen cookies; there is a general lack of the necessary accoutrements;  the cost, the space, baking experience; baking tools, the availability of time itself...

all valid..  

but still,  

-there won't be paper invites anymore; and not everyone invited is required to bake cookies.   --with grandma, this was mandatory; with granddaughter this is optional.

a phone call here, a text there, a suggestion here, a compromise there..

all in all, 

it started awkwardly progressing, this passing of the velcro baton.

then i got a call.

from my daughter.

she was counting on me to immediately understand what my mom was having a hard time figuring out..

but i was like, 

-i don't understand either.  

what?  dozens of cookies by two's? three or six what?  are you grouping people together in smaller groups or not, i'm lost..   i already prepared my creative packaging!  you can't change this is on me write now..

is this new math?"

  -because this was another change my daughter was making.

        /and if you are keeping track, that's a lot of changes from 40 years basically the same to different now

  -some history:

let's say my mom invited 12 people.  the RULE was... you bake 12 dozen of the same cookies!  12 dozen!  the same number of people attending.  easy math!   and you package by the dozen; creatively!   but everyone bakes a different cookie... so that:  the exchange part of the cookie exchange means that you leave the celebration with 12 different types of cookies!

now this new change started messing with my mind too..  " i'm confused..."

   -because just a few days before, i thought my daughter had a brilliant idea:

if 15 people were going to be baking (skipping here the ones allowed to come who are not baking..);

but if 15 people are baking; rather than have to bake 15 dozen cookies;  -everyone bake 5 dozen, and then she would sit people in smaller groups of 5.. and each group of 5 would exchange..

     -my mom:   i don't understand.. what group am i going to be in?  

     -me to mom:  i think this might be easier actually..   if you think of it, as like, 5 individual exchange parties but all under one roof kind of thing..


but at last...   not only does taryn have exquisite design skills; but excellent written communication skills..

let me show you:

so, now.. it all makes sense!  

and, this might be the least amount of baking anyone has had to do in the last 41 years..

but this has certainly been the most entertaining passing of the velcro baton. 


robert & i share our favorite pre-party saying with taryn:

"this is going to be the best Christmas Party/Cookie Exchange you've ever had

     -but not the best Christmas Party/Cookie Exchange you'll ever have!"


                 -what do you mean you are not playing LCR!?!   

AS recent as today,  during our Thanksgiving Dinner, my mom, my daughter and i were re-discussing the upcoming Cookie   Christmas Party with a Cookie Exchange

and there is going to be a fairly large number of people in attendance...  LCR works well for 8 to 12 people, but double that, and...    

so, my daughter didn't include LCR in the invitation..

this became a loooong conversation, where my mom was gently trying to persuade...    maybe you can break it into two groups...   there sure is a lot of laughter and fun...     

and to tell you the truth, i don't even remember how the conversation ended, but i never did hear my daughter 100% agree..

so, made me laugh again, because when my mom packed her bag to take home..   with the albums from previous years and a few other goodies for the upcoming event..

    -if you look close; she placed the LCR game in the bag too.

i'm really proud of my mom.  she started a great tradition; kept it going for 40 years.. she crazy loves her granddaughter,  and even though she is grateful, that doesn't make this easy.

and i am really proud of my daughter.  she willing accepted the velcro baton; she is going to host a blast of a party.  she crazy loves her grandma, and she doesnt want to disappoint, but is going to hostess her own creative, and more modern way.      -many companies have to make these transitions:  from decades of basically the same to the new now.  i am very impressed with how my daughter has been navigating all this; i think she'd make an awesome CEO. 


this space saved for 2023 pictures.

Merry Christmas Everyone!  and Every Generation...   

sample pictures from the more recent archives:





plus photo albums that date back to 1982.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Spotting the Super among the Stars VOICE CH=

 taped/recorded and watching the voice..    -this song,  river  is permanently linked to one of my favorite dancers and favorite performances of all time.  

giving thanks   -from my archives:


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Congratulations!! Eva Igo!" -from (me!) Sandra, tvgp the time I heard and noticed her, her face was only a few inches away from mine, and her tone and volume all indicated that this was probably the 4th or 5th time in a row she had said my name to try and get my attention


"Oh,"  I said without a smile, "Thank you for bringing me back to this world"

It is why I never text and drive.. or use my phone while trying to do anything else simultaneously. It has a way of consuming your attention, high jacking your brain..    blinding you to visual and deafening you to auditory peripheral stimulus..

It hyper-focuses you

But I was passing time in a waiting lobby at a rent a car place, by researching online via my cell phone whether Eva Igo won the one million dollars and title of best dancer in the world...

I did not get to watch it live and had not had time to even see the recording.

And really, I was not checking to see IF Eva Igo had won, but rather just verify that she had...  

I mean I already knew she would win.  My observations of her performances removed any doubt..

And so..    "what?!?"

and some of the first online postings were all saying pretty much the same thing..    there is a large population of people like myself, who believe she should have won..

And as I've had an opportunity now to watch the recording ..   I know she deserved to win

But, let me get hokie here, and say the cliche, because it is in fact true:

Most importantly:  dance itself has won.

This level of dance, the cultural and stylistic diversity, the choreography, the music, the storytelling,  emotional communication, passion, energy, athleticism,  risk taking,  innovation, creativity,  unique individual and collaborative team expressions...    -the convenient televised access to something so dynamic, entertaining, fascinating, so evolved.. and continuing to evolve write before our very eyes..

Count it among my greatest blessings.. just to be audience to it!

It is to witness one spectacular performance after another; much like the voice..     everyone at this level is already a star
It's spotting the super among the stars..

And for (me!) the light shines brightest..  and so intensely, undeniably, radiantly, consistently through Eva Igo..

I will follow her career.   Way to go Eva!!    Xoxo. Dance on!

In Jesus knows the very source of light's name..   amen!

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

"BIG YES!" -from (me!) ~topps

i had ZERO idea the idea was even on his radar!  we literally never talk marriage.  we already regarded ourselves as married; already introduced each other as my husband, or my wife..

we both understand an authentic life-partner commitment is a matter of the heart;
not contracts or rings

and so, we've been married for 6 years now; unofficially.

and when people inquired   "you two got married?"  we would light-heartedly tease, 

well, we identify as married

but now, 

it's official, official


and i've shared before, how hard it is to pull off pleasant surprises

but i have to share, i was utterly and completely surprised!

nothing out of the ordinary to visit flemings steak house for a celebration..

we crazy love their steak! service! ambiance! wines! 

and it was our 6 year anniversary..

and when you let them know in advance, they do some celebratory extras:

heart confetti on the table, a card.. complementary champagne toast..

and we toasted to our six remarkable, wonderful years together

reviewed pictures of our hikes, walks, bike rides

family visits, drive-way happy hours, yard art

family milestone celebrations..   great times with long time, and newer friends

enormous amount of experiences to be grateful for!

and we do always sit next to each; not across from each other..

-nothing unusual..

and when robert moved his jacket to the seat across 

i thought it was just to create more space on the seat we were sharing..

but he didn't just put the jacket down and come write back to sit next to me


he went down on one knee, with an open box and beautiful ring, and proposed to me

write there

and i had a  -is this really happening?  is this real? experience

processing, processing..

started crying..

and eventually got out a "BIG YES!"  that we sealed with a kiss or three..

and it was as if we disappeared in that moment, into our own world..

-then were suddenly brought back- 

by the precious applause & "congratulations!" from people sitting at tables nearby us

"Thank You!"

and the steak, which is always stellar, was the best it's ever been

-same with the champagne; same with the wine..

-dessert however, 

was waiting for us at home

cheesecake, more champagne

our favorite romantic music

and the rest to your individual imagination.


best six years EVER!  "Thank You Jesus!  Thank You My Sexy!"

 special memory notes

i love, love, crazy love that he chose a heart shape diamond for me!  the ring is so beautiful!

      he did the rose arrangement at home himself..  and a great job he did!

and we were at table 12, with kendra's exceptional service.


i have no other explanation outside of divine intervention and guidance, because for our anniversary dinner i did want to get a special occasion inspired manicure/pedicure

my go-to place was closed, 

went to nearby 'impressions' salon as a walk in.   -my hair was wet, i had no make-up on.  my plan was to take care of those things when i got back home from the mani/pedi

but the lovely lady, tina, that did my toe and fingernails..   "i can do your hair too..    i can do your make-up too.."     -not in my plans at all!  but i said yes, thank you!   yes, thank you!"

with no idea, that trend would continue write into our anniversary turned proposal dinner.

Christians interpret these types of experiences as being blessed & favored

and that is certainly how it feels!

hallelujah & amen again!

    we're getting married....    oh my goodness....    -married....    i am the luckiest woman on the planet..


heart necklace...  heart rock...  heart ring....      love, love, love


 let laughter fill your house on Thanksgiving by watching nate bargatze host SNL..   "encore!! encore!!"

we sure are grateful for YOU! 

/and grateful my daughter brought this to our attention...      amen

Saturday, November 18, 2023


marilyn slade is shining down upon me write now as a matter of fact...  i keep this newspaper clipping on the ceiling of my studio 213.   -energetic, entertaining, radiant...  fun!  a literary talent; always bringing the light and laughter..    honor to present with her at the laugh out loud poetry event in (2010!?!)


 started with a visit to see my dad at the stanford/valley care hospital in pleasanton  (he is home now, many answered prayers.. thank you Jesus!);

but crossed paths at the reception desk with a former bible study friend, from my time as a member at centerpointe church in pleasanton   -diana mendenhall, who shared her husband howard had died 7 weeks ago..        my eyes filled up..    sorry to hear it, i'm crying on your behalf...   and she said,  oh, please don't, that's all i've been doing..   they were married 60 years.   she is wearing the wedding ring he wore, and never removed for that 60 years.     -and i know them as Christians,  strong in their faith, in word and deed..  but even when you know someone you love  -is in a better place; went home to be with our Lord; is in heaven..    -still hurts.  the spirit knows the truth;   -all love.

and am inspired here to share a quote i heard recently from charles stanley about faith:  "best thing you could ever pass on to your children; a faith money can't buy and death can't take away"


and when we got home, i did look up howard's obituary..   there's been a few times now, where i've come to know someone enough to say i know them, but i learn more about them in their obituary than i ever learned in passing conversations.   -especially true of a childhood friend's mom; helene hillyard

    -but especially when you are young, and playing with your friends..   never think to ask about the parents, their lives..    the adults carry on their conversations, and the kids play..    parents are just parents; they all seem the same age...   mostly they supervise on an as need basis..   discipline; cheerlead; provide snacks...  and transportation...


and without intention, i clicked on something that landed me on a whole list of obituaries from the pleasanton area, where i lived for 20+ years

and "i had a dream!" that included this architect

what i can say about these three individuals with the little i do know  -they certainly did not let life pass them by..   they made such a positive difference for so many...    -inspirations

 pain is temporary; Love is eternal

God shine!   xoxox 

CH @ Jim's in Pleasanton