When your traveling experience has been limited to the United States certain aspects of life outside the cushy bubble of western civilization can be jarring.
Despite many women's claims that the male gender of the human race is comparative to the canine species, I don't claim to have any great insight to the innermost thinking of dogs - just my observations and beliefs.
A year ago at this time I was in the throes of pulling together final details for my wedding. My husband and I became engaged just before the holidays, which didn't leave much time for actual wedding plans until after the first of the year, resulting in a shorter planning schedule than I had dreamed about.
After some awful luck in the past week or so, I should have known that my first pick of horses for the Kentucky Derby - Animal Kingdom - was destined to win.
There are a couple of things I can always count on at the Oakdale edition of the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life.
Recently, I participated in the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce job shadow event as one of the mentors to a high school student interested in a writing career.
I owe much credit to my predecessor in this position, Craig Macho, for recruiting me into becoming a staff reporter for the Leader, Times and News. For those who don't know, Craig and I worked in law enforcement as beat partners and detectives together for several years in the Bay Area. When Craig heard of my service retirement, he urged me to join him in the field of journalism.
At the risk of sounding self indulgent, I've recently found myself partaking in a little retail therapy. Shoes and jewelry have been a recent focus. It started with me needing them for an upcoming special event. But then I found my eye wandering to other shoes and jewelry items that aren't currently needed instead of just focusing on what I went shopping for in the first place.
People warned me this would happen. Either I didn't really believe them or just didn't think it would be a problem but now the dilemma has set in.
Yes, I know I wrote a column about the weather last time and that was only a month and a half ago. But you must agree the weather has been unusual this winter and is probably worth another column. What else is there to talk about? The weather affects everybody. It sometimes seems everyone is cowering indoors for shelter from the rain, cold and wind and nothing is going on outdoors. Everything is on hold awaiting the long delayed spring, one that lasts more than a day.
I have an itch.
In a few weeks the start of baseball season begins and I will commence my 44th season of being a fan. Since following the National Pastime at age eight, I long ago reached that journeyman status and can classify myself as what I consider "a real fan."
Over the past few weeks I've felt especially overwhelmed by my amount of "busy-ness." I deal with bouts of this at different times throughout the year. Work commitments requiring longer hours and late nights as well as home commitments with important business to tend to, evening appointments, and events have left me feeling a little burnt out. There are no signs of this relenting any time soon.
Saturday morning dawned bright, clear and very cold, but without any snow on the ground, despite predictions from forecasters that we might see a dusting of the white stuff.
There comes a time when you just have to part with things.
Whether you are an ardent sports fan or just a casual observer you really can't go wrong taking a few minutes out of your schedule to sit down and watch the Olympic Games. Chances are, you get one of the many channels that are carrying them, with nearly nonstop action all day, depending on where you turn.
It's bedtime at Villa Paloma and as I make my way upstairs after turning off the lights and ensuring doors are locked, comes the time where I need to make my claim on what's left of the real estate on our California king as the TV flickers the nightly news.
All right, I can tell on myself. This column and the ones our reporters periodically provide for this page are due on the Friday before the next Wednesday's paper. Typically, a 5 p.m. Friday deadline, though I have been known to let people email them to me on a Saturday as long as I know it's coming and can still get it proofread in time for the page to be built. But it has been an extremely busy time for me so I gave myself a break and put the deadline off until – yikes! – Monday. Besides, I ...
What did I get for Christmas?
Some people just aren't meant to wear heels.
It's the middle of December and I still have pumpkins on my front doorstep.
I'm taking a chance by voicing an unpopular, politically incorrect position on a contemporary issue, but from me, this shouldn't come as a surprise.
November is such a busy month, leading right up to an equally hectic December, that it literally feels like a lifetime ago I wrote my last column.
Some people may not realize it, but there are actually two ways to get Medicare benefits.
Another year is coming close to an end. Every year seems to go by faster and faster. I have heard after a certain age everything starts rolling downhill. I don't believe that is entirely true, but I do believe the speed has increased each year.
DEAR DIDI: I am hoping you can help solve a disagreement that my husband and I have been having. We love your column and your answer will be our 'tiebreaker' of sorts. My husband thinks our dog should spend nights outside in the yard to protect our home. I feel sorry for him and want him in the house but my husband says I baby him too much. What do you think? Caring Mom in Manteca
Timewise, we have fallen back, hopefully taking advantage of that extra hour of sleep over the weekend. Daylight Saving Time has ended and we have, incredibly, entered the final two months of the year with major holiday celebrations fast approaching. Halloween is over; recent windy days have kicked up swirls of leaves and the possibility of rain has returned to the forecast.
They say you can never go back. Well you can. But it will have changed and nostalgia will be all that remains. On a recent trip to England which I left for the United States more than 50 years ago, I got to visit the primary school that my sister and I attended when we were seven or eight years old.
There's something special when the leaves turn, days start to get shorter, the weather cools, and you start to feel a tingle of a nip in the air.