10 Tips for California Adventure Alone


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I recently spent the day at Disneyland’s Resort California Adventure and Downtown Disney. As mentioned in a previous post on this blog, I grew up in the Midwest and watched Disney’s Sunday night program faithfully, watching Tinkerbell light the fireworks or color splashing over Cinderella’s castle, wondering if I’d ever get to visit Disneyland. It seemed so far away. I never thought I’d end up living about 45-minutes away as an adult. I think about that every time I visit, and it makes me smile.

Here are my ten tips for doing a solo day trip to the Disneyland Resort, specifically for a visit to the California Adventure theme park.

Disney CA Adventure Entrance - 2018-2

Entrance to California Adventure on a February morning.

On this particular visit, I chose to go alone. I got to decide what to do and when. No compromise. Pure entitlement. Feeding my selfish dark side. Yes! This was the day!  The night before, I made my list of what I wanted to do there. Making lists makes me happy. Perhaps you are a list maker, too. I went prepared to check things off that list. As an introvert, doing things alone is often fun for me.

Image - Disney Lamp Post Scene - 2018-2

Alone in the crowd, but not lonely.

If you ever go to such a great place by yourself, these ten tips may be of interest to you.

Tip #1: Take a book or your Kindle and plan to do some reading.

My first attraction for day was Soaring Around the World, one of my most favorite things to do at Disney’s California Adventure, formerly Soaring Over California, also a favorite. I chose the stand-by line with a 45-minute wait. Standing in line can be especially tedious when you are alone with no one to chat with, so I came prepared and brought a book.

I passed the time reading and standing and reading and standing for a while, when the cast member made an announcement. One of the two theaters was having technical difficulties. The guests in that line were moved into the other theater. That would add a five to seven minute delay. OK. Whatever. I was reading.

I love to read. For some of us, extra free time to read is a luxury, so that was my perspective. The long time of reading was great. But the standing time, and standing still, became tiring. Finally, I got seated on the ride, loved it as always, and was relieved to be sitting down for a few minutes.

Tip #2: Choose to do those things you want to do that those who love you and normally go with you might not care about missing.

For me, that included going to see Frozen. The park information states “The dazzling theatrical interpretation of Disney’s global film phenomenon Frozen…at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park!” My husband would not typically agree to do this, unless he could tell I really wanted to go or it was my birthday. I’ve wanted to see this for a while. I was looking forward to the 2:00 performance, according to my carefully crafted plans for my day.

I walked over to the theater at about 1:15, casually early, anticipating a line. I rounded the corner and what did I see? No line. I could only assume something was wrong. In spite of the obvious, I still asked the cast member the same question, “What?” Sadly for me, the 2:00pm performance had been cancelled. I’ll have to wait to another day.

I also went to the the Animation Academy, and learned how to sketch Piglet. (Photo below with ice cream) [Note: Glen actually would do this one.]

Disney Animation Studio 2018-2

Tip #3: Take advantage of the “single rider line” at Radiator Springs Racers, and get on the ride with less waiting time.

“Zoom through the desert landscape of Cars Land, inspired by the Disney•Pixar movie Cars,” the online information proclaimed.  I do like this ride, so I made the hike over to Cars Land to take a ride through the Disney Pixar desert.

Disney Cars Land Scenery - 2018-2

I got to the single riders line and approached with a spring in my step, all smug that I’d avoid a long wait. The cast member greeted me with “It’s a one hour wait.”

“What? Really? For single riders?,” I gasped in disbelief, all pride in my brilliant strategy fleeing.

She nodded yes. I crossed that ride off my list, walked away, and decided that was not going to happen that day either.

Tip #4: Enjoy having the whole side of a ride vehicle to yourself.

Mid-morning, I picked up a “fast pass,” a ticket for a shorter wait in line if you return later in the day, for Toy Story Midway Mania. The park information describes this as, “Ride and take aim at moving objects during this midway-inspired, 4D game starring popular Disney·Pixar Toy Story characters,” and it is another favorite of mine. No skill required.

I went over to the ride at the designated time, about 4:15. I got the whole side of the car to myself, of course. So fun! But that car tosses and spins you around a bit. It is much more fun to sit next to some one you love to bounce off of in the competition. I definitely have room for improvement, and maybe some competition (a.k.a. Glen) would help motivate me.

Tip #5: Choose when and where to stop to eat your favorite foods, because you are in charge. And all alone.

I stopped for coffee and something with cinnamon in the morning. I ate a not-on-any-health-food-list corn dog for lunch and completely enjoyed it. A little birdy sat nearby (see photo) watching for crumbs to drop. I took an afternoon break for ice cream and people watching. It was fun to pace the day my way and choose foods that I don’t usually include in my day-to-day meals.

Disney Corn Dog & Bird 2018-2

From the Corn Dog Castle — bird not included

Disney Animation Art & Ice Cream Break - 2018-2

Mint chip ice cream & my Piglet sketch

Tip #6: If you like to take photos, take all the time you want to stop, observe, find, and photograph anything that catches your interest and your eye.

You will not be slowing anyone down. If you like to take photos, you will know what I mean. It’s bliss. I was fascinated by clouds, pines, and lamps on this day for some reason. No need to explain. No need to apologize to the group for taking yet another photo and dragging out time.

Image - Pines & Lamp - CA Adventure 2018-2

Image - Disney Lamp Post & Clouds 2018-2

I also photographed some of the humor I noticed in Bugs’ Land. Now I know what lightning bugs do for a living and where candy corn grows.

Disney Lightning Bug 2018-2

Disney Candy Corn Patch - 2018-2

Tip #7: Beware of people who do not understand how to properly stand in crowded lines.

I experienced two different groups that missed that day of Disney Park Etiquette orientation. There is really no such thing, but evidently we are not all born with an understanding of cooperating in lines. Both groups violated these unspoken rules of crowd behavior in line:

a. Always stand as close as possible to the person in front of you to prevent people from crowding in and cutting, seeing a gap. And to give a better sense of how long the line truly is.

b. Do not stand single file with your group, one behind the other, making the line extend back another six or seven feet unnecessarily. Come on, people. Clump together. Move as a pod, like an advancing amoeba. We are not waiting in the drinking fountain line in kindergarten.


c. Don’t all freeze in place in line to watch the baby being cute, bringing forward progression to a halt of the rest of us. Baby stare and maintain a shuffle toward the front. It can be done.

Tip #8: Don’t go in the off-season like February thinking the parks will for sure be low in attendance without checking what conventions and big activities are happening in Anaheim.

Check online to make sure Anaheim is not in the midst of hosting a national high school cheer competition. Or else be prepared to spend the day surrounded by multiple small mobs of enthused teen girls on the move all. Day. Long. The park will be crowded. However, on a positive note, you will leave the park with new fashion and make-up insights. And can possibly photo bomb all sorts of selfies to entertain yourself.

Tip #9: Dress warmly.

A sunny California day is not necessarily always warm. This is a whole different version of California cool!

Anaheim Temp - 2018-2

Tip #10: Need a quiet moment? Stop and rest in the Disney Grand Lobby.

Located next to Downtown Disney and California Adventure is the Disney Grand Hotel. I love drifting through the Disney Grand Hotel – the decor, the ambience, the charm, the fireplace, and the beautiful piano music of Disney classics.

I have a secret place in the small lobby on floor three. I stop at a little desk, open to the lobby. I catch my breath, charge my phone, read, plan, journal, while listening to the wonderful background music wafting up from the main floor. The arts & crafts decor is perfect for the historic time period style of this hotel.

Disney Grand - 3rd Floor Desk 2018-2

Disney Grand Hotel -3rd Floor Desk - 2018-2

Glen met me for dinner at Downtown Disney. We enjoyed dining at La Brea Bakery Cafe restaurant, which got us validated parking and made parking free. We ended the day sharing a bag of beignets from Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express. Glen had dropped me off in the morning on the way to work, so I hitched a ride home with him, tired but happy. And I had over 11,000 steps on my pedometer.

Disney Beignet Bag - 2018-2

Beignets come with enough powdered sugar to fairy dust a small forest!

I do enjoy living so close to the Disney Resort. It comes in handy any time I’m feeling like I need to wish upon a star. By myself or with family or friends. Would you ever go alone? What are your best tips for the day?

Stay charming, my friends!





And the Winner Is….


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The Academy Awards, also known as Oscars Night, happens this Sunday, March 4. I’ll be watching. How about you?

The Oscars

Photo Credit: The Indian Express

Since I now live in the Los Angeles area, award season events, especially the Academy Awards, are annual TV events to watch at our house. The entertainment industry is big in our area, and that’s part of why I watch. Plus, I enjoy movies and TV programs. They tell stories, educate, and entertain, taking me out of my own busy life for a time. We also watch to stay culturally relevant.

The hosts, the openings, some of the speeches, and many of the dresses add to the interest of awards events. The red carpet entrances are also part of the fun. I become a critic of it all from my viewing vantage point.

We enjoy voting for the various categories. If you are looking for online forms to print for home use, here is one option: In Style Oscars 2018 Ballot

My friends and I have had parties over the years to watch together, as have many of you. After all, it is more fun to talk and share it all with others. The voting added an enjoyable competitive nature to the gathering. We shared appetizers and desserts.

One year, we dressed up representing our favorite movie of the year. We saw some very clever outfits. My friend and I both came as Shrek, not knowing we’d chosen the same movie.

We oooooohhh and ahhhh at beautiful dresses or raise our eyebrows in criticism over other dresses. Remember this dress (below)? And the “What Was She Thinking” Award goes to…

If I had to pick a dress, I’d prefer a soft pink dress. Modest. Flat shoes. This would be perfect.

Find your Oscar dress style with this fun little quiz: What Is Your Oscars Red Carpet Dress Style? 

The night does get complicated. The hosts, presenters, and winners’ speeches often voice opinions on politicians or express points of view on controversial issues. That has taken the enjoyment out of watching for people. I still find it interesting to hear the different perspectives on current topics, leaders, and passionate causes.

Some celebrities walk right up to the line of decency in their comments. Some march right through that line. Some celebrities give amazing speeches that are touching, sharing about their journey and growth, meaningful work and relationships, and words of appreciation. I have really enjoyed many acceptance speeches over the years.

Some friends work hard to see nominated movies before the Academy Awards. We go see movies that interest us, or watch them at home. We like to see movies nominated for Best Picture, if they sound like we’d like them. I also like to see Best Animated Features, though I do some of that viewing on my computer.

Some nominated movies are just too dark, edgy, and troubling for me, so I skip those. I’m sure I’ve missed some outstanding performances. That is OK with me. Images I put in my mind are tough to get out, so I choose carefully. There is wisdom in wimping out for me, anyway.

Since December, we’ve seen and enjoyed…

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Not many have been nominated for Best Picture, but they are all Best Pictures for us. And that’s what really matters to us anyway.

Whether you go to the theater or not, watch the Oscars or not, I hope you enjoy something that is fun for you this weekend.

And stay charming, my friends!

Best Picture

  • Call Me by Your Name (didn’t see it)
  • Darkest Hour (hope to see it)
  • Dunkirk (didn’t see it)
  • Get Out (didn’t see it – but thinking about seeing it)
  • Lady Bird (saw it)
  • Phantom Thread (didn’t see it)
  • The Post (saw it; I hope it wins, but doubt it will.)
  • The Shape of Water (didn’t see it)
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (didn’t see it)










Capturing Stories from Life and the Week


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It has been an exceptionally busy work week, so this post shares a few quick thoughts on recent life. I hope something will be of interest  to you or something you can relate to as you read.

School Shooting

I am sickened that yet another tragic shooting has occurred. As a former classroom teacher, I would not agree to carry a weapon.

God help us.

Reflections from a Mother’s Heart

I want to recommend a tool to you, if you still have parents living and relationships you treasure. This past fall, a friend of mine shared that she’d used a book, Reflections from a Mother’s Heart, to capture some of her mom’s stories. I ordered the book from Amazon. I also got the similar book for fathers, A Father’s Legacy (now unavailable, sadly). I took both books home with me for an October 2017 visit with my parents. It prompted great conversation which unfolded stories of their lives, some of which were new to me.

Some parents complete the book on their own, but I used pages that appealed to launch the conversations and jotted down notes as they answered. I’m so grateful I did, for my father passed away a month later. His stories from that October weekend keep him close at heart.

Now, once a week, with my mom on the phone, I talk through some of the prompts in the book. She may not always have an answer, but the prompts always lead somewhere to great memories of her younger days. Those stories keep the young, vibrant woman clearly pictured, though now in her 90’s.

I’d discovered this book makes it easier and fun to continue to get to know my mom, and helps trigger memories from her past which honors her as a person who had a full life. Those are precious times. We live about 2,000 miles apart, but our friendship is strengthened through this book.

The great thing about these books is that they can be used with any older friend or family member that is important to you, whose legacy you want to keep. I do need to mention it has sections that are religious, so if that is not part of the life of your loved one, you can pass by those pages.

Winter Weather

The southern California weather has been typical this year. That means some hot summer days, and then some cool winter days. We’ve not had much rain this winter, which bothers many of us because we need that rain. However, in the areas ravaged by fires, no rain means no mudslides.

This week is particularly chilly. I have to laugh as I write that. I grew up in the Midwest and survived bitter cold. So now when the temperature is down in the 60’s, and I feel like I’m freezing, I know my blood has thinned. I’ve adapted to my California habitat. That temperature would feel like spring when I was living through winters in the Chicago area!

Last night, I checked the weather app on my phone and I could not believe my eyes. My town was the coldest, compared to Chicago and Akron – cities where I’ve lived in the past. Crazy! Hopefully you are not visiting in southern California this week to escape from the cold midwest.

temps 2018-2-20

The Olympics

My husband and I have spent some time recently watching the various events of the Winter Olympics. The sports capture our interest during these weeks. I just love the Olympic theme played so often during the NBC broadcast. Here’s an interesting little article on the theme and a silly video I found on the KUSC website. I wanted to share these if you are teaching a unit on the Olympics. Or maybe you are an Olympic fan, too.

The Olympic Theme Explained

Here is the silly rendition of the theme, described as “Shaun White and Michael Phelps play the Olympic Fanfare on melodicas. Get your melodica here at http://www.melodicamen.com.”

Stay warm and charming, my friends!

Valentine’s Day Your Way


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Happy Valentine's Day card

Happy Valentine’s Day, friend! How do you celebrate? Do you celebrate? This is an interesting holiday. Complicated for some. Ignored by others. Celebrated in various ways by many. I didn’t date much growing up, and didn’t marry until I was thirty-seven. So I spent many years, at least from my perspective, feeling I was on the outside looking in on Valentine’s Day, feeling a bit left out. Lonely for a day. Turns out, my husband and I celebrate Valentine’s Day in a no stress kind of way. I discovered, with no disappointment, that it’s not a big deal in our house. Simple and so our style. What’s your Valentine style?

camilla close-up 2018-2

At Valentine’s Day, for me, it is all about love in our lives, not just one romantic relationship. I celebrate my friendships, family, co-workers past and present, students, and more. In my heart, I feel such gratitude for loving people in my life through the years. That’s what I truly celebrate at Valentine’s Day. Not romantic love, but love shared in knowing one another well and caring for each other.

In 1990, I became a school teacher. That made Valentine’s Day fun. Seeing the decorated bags and boxes. Watching the kids come in with fists full of tiny envelopes, some with names on them, some not, when remembering everyone became daunting. We’d take time to pass out the greetings, eat sweet treats (it was a simpler time – less food allergies and sugar limits), and energetic moms filling the room with memory making decor and party fun for a group of almost ten-year old children.

I would always hold my breath, hoping every child would get cards. Over time, I liked to observe cultural shifts communicated in the card themes. Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, Winnie the Pooh, Smurfs, Garfield, Barbie, and many various super heroes. The homemade valentines were always beautiful. I’d open and read each card with delight and appreciation.

Valentine LCMS 2000

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s day without mentioning the chocolate. As a teacher, I got gifts of chocolate from students. Let me tell you a secret. I did not care for chocolate. I would give it away. I became quite popular in the teacher’s lounge offering my boxes of chocolates to others who appreciated it, wishing I could trade for a donut. [Side note: I did try dark chocolate in 2005, and discovered I do like dark chocolate. Still cannot tolerate milk chocolate to this day, with the exception of peanut M&Ms, which now come in dark chocolate, thankfully.]

In 1992, I finally explored the romantic side of Valentine’s Day. At the time, I was dating the love of my life and now husband. We went out to dinner that first Valentine’s Day, thinking that’s what you do. We learned that restaurants are crowded on Valentine’s Day evening. They often have a special menu, meaning higher priced meals. That was a let down. We do occasionally go to dinner for Valentine’s Day, but we do it on another calendar day.

This year, we ate garlic everything this past Saturday night at The Stinking Rose – A Garlic Restaurant, Beverly Hills. Nothing says I love you like garlic breath. Who’s with me on that? We hadn’t been there for a long time and decided to go this past weekend. And since it was February and a nicer outing than normal, we decided to use Valentine’s Day as our excuse to go, not our reason to indulge.

Bagna Cada

Bagna Calda for spreading on bread. Divine.

So many ways to celebrate! We are not into gift giving to each other. Are you? We prefer sharing an activity together, like a train ride or visit to the beach. We do enjoy exchanging cards, always one sweet and one funny. We also enjoy cooking a great meal together at home, if our schedules permit. Including dessert, which is a rare treat. We don’t do flowers. Too predictable and pricey for our taste at Valentine’s Day. We stay rather practical. I don’t care about jewelry, so those seasonal diamond commercials are wasted on us.

I do enjoy decorating a bit for the holidays throughout the year, and this is no exception. Many of you do, too. It is fun to see your photos on Facebook and Instagram. I like to keep it simple. We have white lights strung on our kitchen window all year round. That provides a type of clothesline for some fun Valentine cards I’ve collected over the years from Paper Source. They have some great ones!

Valentine Windoq

valentine - just my type

you salsa chips me card

death is for quitters card

butter and popcorn

I also use a February mug for my coffee. Here is my Waechtersbach mug, popular in the 1980’s. I get it out each February. I know some of you have Valentine traditions, decorations, and mugs, too. Make sure to share on social media.

heart mug

In recent years, “Galentine’s” parties have become popular. That’s a great idea! This HGTV post explains all about it. Sounds so fun!

How to Throw a Galentine’s Party

This Valentine’s Day, I hope none of you feels left out, alone, or sad. Don’t let this be a grass is greener day for you, looking at what you don’t have instead of what you do. Valentine’s Day isn’t the big deal. Find a loved one – family or friend – and tell them what they mean to you. See the beauty around you, if you live in a climate where flowers are blooming or the beauty of winter.

white flower poof - succulent - front yard 2018-2

Splurge on simple things, like a great cup of hot cocoa, a cookie, a cupcake, and/or good coffee.

hot cocoa close up

Buy yourself flowers. Remember a new widow or widower with heart shaped sugar cookies. Make a quick call to a far-away friend. Be a loving person and enjoy the good people around you. Find the simple joy in life and use Valentine’s Day as your excuse.

I hope everyone can think of at least one person in their life that brings them love, romantic or simply a caring relationship. Celebrate all that the person has added to your life. For all of you that enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day, that’s awesome, too! Be you! Do what’s meaningful to you and feel wonderful about all the elements. Do Valentine’s Day your way and don’t compare yourself to others. Let me know your Valentine’s traditions or special things in the comments below. Thanks!

Stay charming the Valentine’s Day, my friend!

A Valentine for 2017 from Paper Source

The Noise That Annoys: Smart Phone Stupidity and Social Manners

In our smart phone world, is it just me? Or does it bug you, too, when people seem totally clueless that other people around them do not want to hear whatever is happening on the phone? Recently, I had several experiences with people unaware, and I was ready to scream. Instead, I just shook my head and took notes for a blog post. Each day brought a new annoying phone behavior by someone located near me, mostly noise related, mostly involving a smart phone. So I’ve reviewed some phone etiquette guidelines for the uninformed, though they are not reading this post.

Guideline #1: Use discernment when putting a call on speaker in a public setting.

Or, to put it another way, never put your phone call on speaker in a public setting.

What is it with people? Really? You (not really you, but the general you) take a personal call using your speaker feature in a public setting. Did you miss that day in smart phone etiquette school? Come on, people. We don’t find your phone call in the coffee shop, or anywhere, of value or interest. In fact, it is annoying. One does not need to use a speaker phone in public settings, unless it is a meeting or group call.

Guideline #2: Resist taking a call in the public restroom.

I’m sure the following situation has happened to others. I was in the women’s restroom, in a stall, taking care of business, so to speak. Someone in the next stall took a call (we call that a stall call) using the speaker. Maybe I flushed during the call on purpose. Maybe I didn’t. I don’t recall. Speaker phone features pick up a lot of background sounds, though. Be aware.

Guideline #3: Bring your headphones, and use them.

I was at the doctor’s office, waiting in the waiting room where we have to wait. And wait. Waiting to be called back to see the doctor. Another person in the waiting room decided to watch a video. Of course, the sound was on. There she sat, watching the video, and all of us could hear the dialog and soundtrack. How did she not know how annoying that was? So I went and got popcorn, came back, sat down right next to her, and said, “Hey, friend, what are we watching?” That last part did not happen, but it was tempting. Just then, I got called in to see the doctor. As I passed, I turned to her and said, “You know that character dies in the end, don’t you.” Again, I didn’t, but I felt like spoiling the plot. Silly me. I need to work on an appropriate response for next time that happens. Or maybe I’ll just start watching a video, too, only louder. Passive aggressive much?

Image result for waiting room

Use your headphones when listening to a video on your phone in public. Don’t add to the suffering of others at the doctor’s office.


Guideline #4: If you are disrupting others from the main activity, stop it.

Then Sunday came along. I was seated in the worship service. A young man was seated behind me and a few seats toward the outside aisle. He, too, was watching something on his phone during the service. A lecture or a stand-up comedian or something with one male voice. Maybe he was streaming the exact same sermon, but had a time delay. Maybe he was watching another pastor. Who knows? Did that matter? Did the content of his viewing matter? Not really. It was totally disruptive to me. I did not say anything, though. I just focused more intently on the service. After the service, I was going to say something to him, but I changed my mind.

Guideline #5: Remember, when watching a movie in the theater, different behavior is preferred to when watching a movie at home.

This has nothing to do with a smart phone, except for the woman’s last comment to me. But since I’m on a roll, crying out against noisy behavior in public settings in general, and courtesy on the planet overall, let me to add this one.

We walked into the theater and chose our seats, partway up, center. Two seats. Side by side. The theater was practically empty. I set my purse down on the theater chair to my right. Soon, a grandmother and two girls came up the steps. You’ve probably just guessed what happened next. With plenty of empty seats throughout the theater, they decided to sit in our row. Of course, the grandmother asked me if anyone was sitting “here,” in the seat right next to me, my purse’s seat. Naturally, I said no, and moved my purse to my lap, thinking to myself, “What’s wrong with all the other rows around us?”

Eventually, the mother joined them with the popcorn and drinks. And the movie began. They were quite chatty before the movie started. They continued to process every plot twist and share every thought in response all the way through the movie. I was exhausted after blocking it out for two hours. It was the movie Coco, which is loud and fun, so that helped drown out their conversations.

After the movie ended, they were looking around their seats. The grandmother turns to me and says, “She [the mom] thought she lost her cell phone.” I hadn’t asked. I hadn’t even looked their way. But I managed to say, “That’s great she found it.” What can you do? Be grateful it doesn’t happen more often! Maybe you are more patient and understanding than me.

For more on good manners with using the speaker phone feature, here is another article: Speakerphone Etiquette

Stay charming, my friends!

January Daze


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Here we are at the end of January! Time really flies some days, doesn’t it? January is a fresh start, though I don’t make resolutions. Take a moment to scroll through the photos on your phone. Mine often summarize the month for me. As I look back over those photos, I recall many moments that made up January life. I am grateful for the growth in unexpected places, a moment to pause and reflect, and the joy of good times with good people. Here are a few very random highlights.

Craig Wright's Group Quote

This little item above is from my kitchen wall. It reminded me of this important truth for many years. I’ve started (again) to purge my belongings, beginning in January. I chose to part with this and placed it in the donation box.  I want less to mess with. Decorations change, but the truth remains beyond the stuff. Being with those we love is enough.

Cinnamon Rolls

One January morning, the house filled with the smell of baking bread and cinnamon. Isn’t that just the best aroma? I popped open a can of cinnamon rolls to bake just to have the house smell wonderful. And, of course, we got to eat them, too. Homemade cinnamon rolls are far superior, but this will do! I made them at home, right?

Coconut Oil

My January routine includes a visit to my skin doctor for my annual skin cancer screening. Although getting thoroughly checked is rather awkward, walking away with peace of mind that there are no surprises is worth it. I asked her to recommend a skin lotion for my dry arms and back, something without harmful chemicals. She recommended coconut oil. So I got some and have been using it. It is too soon to tell the results just yet. But I can tell you this, I end up smelling like a piña colada!

Braces Off Kate Cropped

A milestone moment! My good friend, who is in eighth grade, got her braces off this January! I remember what an exciting day that was for me when I was young. We celebrated with her.

Good-bye Steve

I said many good-byes this January. Learning to let go is a well repeated life lesson. I said good-bye to:

  • Two co-workers who left for other great adventures in January. For one, we all wore ties to work on his last day, something he was famous for in our more casual work world. A little bit of silly to soften the parting sadness.
  • A beloved school secretary from a school where I worked in the 1990’s who passed away.
  • To my car battery, stolen from right in front of our house. Shocking.Stolen Battery

January has been a fun time of year to be a Purdue University basketball fan. Purdue continued to build its winning streak this weekend to 17 straight wins and 12 straight Big Ten wins. This breaks the school record in both categories. That is exciting for this Purdue graduate and my friends! Go Boilers!

Purdue Button

Coffee is a good part of any month. One fine January day, I was introduced to the most delicious sweet coffee drink I’d ever had, a horchata latte from Tierra Mia. What a great mid-day treat to spice things up!

Tierra Mia Horchata Latte

And I love using this coffee mug in January, thinking back on the glorious snow days of my past when I lived in the Midwest. As long as I didn’t have to go to school or drive to work, it was a good day! All the snow made for picturesque surroundings. And an occasional snowman or snow fort.

Snowday Mug

One of several January birthday celebrations included ice cream sundaes at The Habit for a celebration with my sister-in-law. So good! Ice cream, even in January, is always a good idea!

Sundaes with Audrey

Speaking of winter days, we did have some winter chilly temps this January. Today, however, reached 87 degrees. It’s confusing to almost everyone and everything, but the January roses remain stunning! I’ll close with this beautiful photo of some I passed on a recent morning walk.

Beautiful Pink Roses

Hope January went well for you. What’s captured in your phone photos?

Stay charming, my friends!


It’s About the Food, Not the Patriots


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Super Bowl 2018

If you are a pro football fan, I hope your team made it into the Super Bowl. Now that the playoffs are over, we have two teams recently suffering defeat and disappointment, and two teams watching game films to prepare for the big game on Sunday, February 4. The New England Patriots and super hero, Tom Brady, will be facing the Philadelphia Eagles. For me, since I don’t have a favorite team in the mix, it is all about the food while watching the game. But more on that later.

My Team

I’m the football fan in our house. In fact, I applied to work in organizational management with the NFL after college, but got nowhere on that career path. My husband enjoys the social aspect of watching the sport with friends. I am a mild fan of the Los Angeles Rams. Here’s the history on that. If history bores you, move on to the food section of this post. I grew up in northeast Ohio. I began my interest in football in tenth grade, and became a Dallas Cowboys fan, as did most of America. I am not sure why. It was the Tom Landry/Roger Staubach era. Legends in my mind to this day. I never did attach to the Cleveland Browns, my local team at the time.

One negative thing about being a young football fan in the Eastern Standard Time zone is Monday Night Football continued late into the evening. I never got to see who won the game. I had a bedtime that came about the middle of the game. So I selected a college in the Central Standard Time zone to remedy that dilemma. Just kidding. That was not part of how I selected a college.

I spent many years living outside Chicago and took the Bears as my favorite team during that time. I had become disillusioned with the Cowboys once the Jimmy Johnson era came along. The greater Chicago area seemed to all be Bears fans, which added to the momentum. If you went to work on Monday and did not know how the Bears did over the weekend, you would be isolated from many conversations. The hype was especially extreme during the 1985 season, with the Super Bowl XX win in 1986. And this little video beauty, which is so dated now, brought such joy. We all knew it by heart at the time!

This brings back great memories of the days of feeling like we were a part of something magnificent! As a fan, my friend and I managed to get tickets to endure freezing winter weather, bundled in multiple layers of warm clothing, to watch a Monday Night Football game outdoors at Soldier Field. Dedicated, but crazy, really. Great memories.

And then I moved to Southern California. I left the Chicago area in 1990, and lost interest in the Bears. I was an NFL orphan without a favorite team for about 23 years. Now that the Rams are in town, I’m giving that a go. This is my second year as a Rams fan, and I was pleased with their decent season.

However, it is the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl. I have no friends as far as I’m aware that are Eagles fans. Of course, I have many friends that are Patriot fans. So I might root for the Patriots on their behalf. But I still wish new teams would get to the Super Bowl instead of the Patriots again!

Now on to the food….

The Food Fun

For the Super Bowl in recent years, my husband and I select food to enjoy featuring typical things the team cities are famous for when it comes to food. It makes the game more interesting. This year is no different. We are considering the following menu items just for fun:

New England Clam Chowder

Image result for progresso new england clam chowder

I will heat this up from the can and not try to make it myself.

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

Philly Cheesecake

The link above the picture includes the history of this famous sandwich.

Boston Baked Beans

We may make the sandwiches and the beans at home, if we are feeling ambitious.

And for dessert, perhaps cheesecake made with Philadelphia Cream Cheese, which actually originated in New York, or so I read. So does that really count for a Philadelphia dessert?

Or should we bring home a Marie Callendar’s Boston Creme Pie, if they still offer it?


Martha Stewart has a recipe for individual Boston Cream Pies. Of course she does, right?

Or maybe we should just take off and go to the Cheesecake Factory for dessert and skip the second half of the game! There may be no line to wait in, since millions will be watching the game!

Image result for cheesecake factory original cheesecake

I guess it is a good thing we have two weeks to decide. Do you have a favorite team? Or a favorite Super Bowl snack or food idea?

And stay charming, my friends!

“The Post” – Movie Review


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Important Story Well Told

The Post Poster
The Post is a story of the Pentagon Papers and the politics, set in the early 1970’s. The movie about this complicated time made accessible and engaging. The many layers, well produced, illustrate what a pivotal moment this was. To give us a picture of this historic time, this thought-provoking movie is well worth seeing. I had just entered high school at this point in the past. I have vague memories of this event, so I was motivated to understand it better. I really enjoyed the movie.

Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Sarah Paulson, along with the rest of the cast, did a remarkable job portraying the characters. Spielberg worked hard for historic accuracy, even using the recordings of Richard Nixon.

If you are interested in our political system, accountable government, the First Amendment and journalism, the changing opportunities for women and gender roles in the workplace and politics, you would also enjoy this movie.  This is also about weighing out values, priorities, power, and consequences in making decisions along the way. It is a suspenseful drama. I recommend the movie, and I recommend seeing it in the theater for some of the newspaper printing press scenes are impressive on the big screen.

Additional Notes:
  • I support holding the government accountable to the people represented and see the press as an important part of that. If you see that differently, you may not agree.
  • If you are uncomfortable with women taking their place in the world of work outside the home, you may not agree.
  • It is long, but it didn’t feel long. An intelligent, fast paced film.
  • For family viewing: No sex scenes; very little salty language; plenty of cigarette smoking and social drinking as was typical at the time.
  • As an educator, I would say high school students and up would enjoy this brilliant, character driven, suspenseful story.

House Full of Cute


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Well, here we are, off and running in 2018, with our hopes and dreams fresh and new. Or familiar and rolled up with additional determination. I hope you enjoyed the holidays and now we are back together here on the Wild Chin Hair blog! I appreciate all of you who stop by when you get a chance to read the latest post.

Back to this week’s post, House Full of Cute. Let me explain.

Did you know we share our home from time to time as the right opportunity comes along? When we bought this home in our early forties, just the two of us, we felt it was important to be generous with it. It is a two-floor home with four bedrooms. That is too much house for only the two of us to rumble around in.

In the twenty-one years we have lived here, we have opened our doors and our hearts to eighteen different people in various combinations and life situations, two of whom were young children with their parents. A teacher, a nephew, a couple whose home was being remodeled, grad school students, undergrads, some raising support to go to the mission field, and some just working on figuring out their next step. Short term housemates leave us with great lessons and memories.


Sharing our home is part of who we are as followers of Christ. We believe we have enough to share in order to support others in pursuing a dream that will contribute to better the world through creative generosity. The four rooms and a bathroom upstairs become a welcoming home sweet home, and we share the kitchen and laundry room located downstairs.






View from the south window

Now on to the cute. Currently, we have friends living upstairs, returning after several years as missionaries in Sweden. They lived here five years ago as newlyweds. They are working on finding meaningful work and settling into life back in the United States.

This time, they came to Milton House with their young son, Oliver. He will be two at the end of January. He has brought a whole new level of joy and cute to Milton House. I smile the minute I hear his little voice or the literal pitter-patter of little feet. He is a happy guy.


We did not have children, and welcoming some young ones into our home has been a great gift. Peter, who lived here from 2010-2012, shortly after his birth until he was just over two years old, trained us well in this respect. We were his first neighbors and had such fun getting to know him. We learned that “boo-babies” were blueberries, and so much more.

Ollie will be two in a few weeks. He as brought more sweet experiences to our lives that we will never forget. We are privileged to see these children and watch them develop day by day.  Sometimes, we even get to help out by playing with them or watching them while they sleep so momma and dada can run out for a cup of coffee or to rent a movie.

Ollie helped his mom bake muffins this past week. I just melted just like butter from all the cuteness. This toddler lives life in grand ways.

2018-1-5 Ollie Baking Muffins 1




And of course, there’s also our sweet dog Sam rounding out the house of cute.



Notice the tiny Chewbacca slippers.

Stay charming, my friends!

Happy New Year 2018


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I wish you all a wonderful 2018 filled with special moments, great experiences, and precious times with those who matter most to you. I’m taking the week off from writing a blog post. I’ll see you next week. I hope you have a fun New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! And if you are a college football fan, I hope your team wins, unless of course your team is playing my team!

Stay charming in 2018, friends.

January 2018 Calendar Photo

A new start! January in my Sierra Club calendar