What did you do this weekend?  I went to a swine auction in Fallon, NV.  I literally could end this post right there.  That sentence alone is enough to give you a good enough laugh for the day.  But you just know my San Francisco self has something more to say.  And it starts with the nose.   This was my first view of a swine auction.  Call it a hog or pig auction if you want.  It’s all the same to me.


What you don’t get from the picture above… is the smell.  Oh my lord!  It’s like walking into a wall of cobwebs.  It literally makes you recoil at first contact.  I live on a ranch.  Cow and horse manure are common place in my world.  Pig shit is another story!  It’s like no other smell I’ve ever smelled.  It literally assaults your nose.  It stopped my feet in their tracks.  It made my brain wonder if I could really enter this room.  Fortunately, like other smells, it passed… but not 100 percent.  You know how Thanksgiving dinner smells so good when you walk in the door, but after 30 minutes you can’t really smell it anymore?  Well pig shit stays with you.  It never completely dissipates…. but at least it did enough to get me in the door.









The day was quickly made better with these little guys.


Some were just 16 pounds… others were about 70.


Several 4-H clubs from northern Nevada attended this auction.  The kids buy their pigs in a real auction type of sale.











Then the dads had the fun of putting the purchased pigs into the trailer.  Oh this video makes me laugh.  Keep an eye on the pigs right hind leg… priceless!

Once loaded up, the pigs were taken home and will be raised by the kids until the Nevada Junior Livestock Show in May.


Last year, our kids raised lambs.  We made the jump to pigs this year because… well, I have no idea why.  But for the time being, our family has now grown by 8 feet… 8 little pig feet.








20131127-165620.jpgI bought a tennis skirt this weekend. That’s weird because I don’t play tennis. Yes, I’m a member of a tennis club but that’s just so my kids can swim on the swim team… not play tennis. It’s like when you go to a Mexican restaurant and the bartender throws in an extra shot of tequila into your margarita. You’re glad it’s there. But it’s not the reason you went to that restaurant. That’s tennis to my family.

So there I was at Kohl’s in the 80% off section… which I’m a sucker for… checking out the clothes that are all crammed together so tightly it’s tough to tell what’s in there. I grabbed what I thought was a running skirt. When it finally came free from it’s 80%-off-rack prison, I realized it was a tennis skirt. It was just a simple black skirt with two knee-length black tights attached to it. Perfect for cool weather tennis… if you played tennis… which I don’t. But then I started to rationalize it. Maybe someone will ask me to play tennis. And if they did, I’d be able to play because I’d have a new snazzy tennis skirt. To be totally honest, I’ve been at this club for more than a year and no one has ever asked me to play tennis. So the chance of that happening is like a bartender giving you TWO extra shots of tequila. But the skirt was only $7.80. How could I not buy it?? Yes, it’s worth two lattes which I would actually use. But still, it’s always better to be prepared for any invitation you might get, even if the invitation is as likely as getting drunk for free at a Mexican restaurant, unless the Mexican restaurant happens to be IN Mexico in which case it’s pretty likely. AAAAHHHHH, are you starting to see how my brain works?? I have these types of conversations all the time! And this one is over spending seven dollars and eighty cents! Imagine the back and forth in my head over buying a new car!! Which I haven’t done in more than 13 years and now you know why! My brain is still arguing the pros and cons with itself over that one! But last weekend, I finally threw caution to the wind and bought the damn skirt! And now there it sits. In my closet. Untouched. Which it will likely stay for the next 15 years… because I don’t play tennis.

I hope this brought a smile to your face on this Thanksgiving Day!  I’m thankful for all of you who read my blog, support me in my desire to be a true blogger and for those of you who nudge me when I stop blogging!  All your comments and support keep me going and for that I’m truly Thankful!  Have a beautiful day!



When I was 22, which I assume is the age of the person who came up with “hashtag”, the symbol “#” was actually called “pound.” It’s the pound sign, right?? It’s on the bottom right corner of every phone in America. Thousands of automated messages have told us for decades to hit “pound” 5 to return to the main menu. My mom used it in her hand written recipes. 1# of butter. Because “#” meant POUND! And now one whipper snapper has totally changed what we call #. Yes, I just used the word whipper snapper… and I meant it. Mr. Hashtag makes me feel old. Because, Mr Hashtag, what you’ve created is CONFUSING! And most of us 40-plus fogies, don’t really get what you’ve done with our “#” sign. You’ve totally stolen a perfectly simple symbol and given it super powers. I now understand my parent’s consternation when trying to conquer the TV remote control!  But since I use social media, where this hashtag thing lives and multiplies like rabbits, I had to educate myself. I read a great article in the Reno Gazette Journal where Abbi Whitaker of The Abbi Agency explained it like this. “I think hashtags are going to become the new dot-com. They’re like the new www because it can connect everything on a particular topic.” And she thinks hashtags are the future of marketing. Here’s an example. Instead of going to Reno.com to find out about Reno, you will go to #biggestlittlecity or #thisisreno or #renofoodporn where you will find thousands of pictures, posted by regular old people like you and me, enjoying everything Reno has to offer. So where do you “enter” all these hashtags? Honestly, this is something I did for the first time for this blog! This truly is a new frontier for me! You enter the hashtag, for example #biggestlittlecity, in your search lines in Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I’m sure there are other social media platforms out there that support hashtags, but this blogger is ALREADY OVERWHELMED!!! So now, let me take you to my dinner table last night. My husband was asking me what a hashtag was, I was trying to explain, and then I took a good close look at him. His hair was brushed completely straight back. Think Dracula with a duck dynasty beard. I said, “What in the hell did you do to your hair?” His reply?? “You love your husband even when he does this.” And I said, “NOW THAT’S A HASHTAG!” We all love our husbands, but they all drive us crazy, right?! So I explained to my husband that #ilovemyhusbandevenwhenhedoesthis would be a hilarious hashtag because wives could post all these funny pictures of their husbands doing things that only we could love them for. Like this:


The cat can’t even look at him! So let’s give this a try shall we? Go to your favorite social media site and tag your favorite hubby photo with #ilovemyhusbandevenwhenhedoesthis  I will check them out and pull the best ones and put them on my blog. But you have to participate! Please don’t leave my hashtag hangin’! That, Mr. Hashtag, is a term from the 80′s meaning to ignoring someone… leave your grubby paws off it!

And for an even better description of hashtags, including their history, go to The Abbi Agency blog.





You know what I hate about Halloween?  No, not the candy.  Really.  That doesn’t bug me that much.  It’s the small pieces of wrapper that drive me insane.  My kids will eat a Snickers one day and even though it comes in ONE wrapper, by the time they’ve devoured the candy, the wrapper is in 16 little pieces all over my house.  Even when they stand over the garbage can, tiny pieces of candy foil end up on the floor because they’ve fluttered right past the damn waste basket.  I don’t get it.  Kids and candy don’t mix in my house.  Not because of the candy but because of the wrappers.  So imagine my excitement when this came across my desk at work.

The Switch Bag is BRILLIANT!  And what’s even better?  Two Reno gals wrote and illustrated it.  These two geniuses are both architects.  When times were slow in their office, they got busy putting together a book to help save my sanity.  The gist is that kids get to keep a couple of pieces of candy but the rest goes out onto the front porch in The Switch Bag.  The next morning, presto, a little gift is in the place of all the candy wrapped in wrappers that would have otherwise ended up all over the floor of my house.  LOVE IT!  And what’s even better… it’s one day!  Unlike its cousin who comes in December and stays the whole damn month, this little super hero comes just once, not to return until the following October.  Did I mention these Reno gals are BRILLIANT!  So hurry, get your copy here:

So come post Halloween, you can actually vacuum your house without ruining our vacuum on those tiny pieces of wrapper.



I was “that mom” this past weekend.  “That mom” who walked sheepishly up to the local haunted house with her elementary school age children in tow. No, I probably shouldn’t be taking them to a haunted house called Frightmare for at least a couple more years. But truth be told, I’ve waited long enough! I love haunted houses. They scare the crap out of me and IT’S GREAT! I’ve been dying for the kids to be old enough to go with me.  Well, I might have jumped that gun just a tad this year. Eva is 10.  Come on! 10!! Domi is 8. Make that 8 and a half! 8 and a half!! My God, how old do they  have to be now-a-days to scare the crap out of your kids??  Back when I was a kid, my Mom took us to the Walnut Creek haunted house starting at 5 and 7. Of course she’s the same woman who took me to see Jaws IN THE MOVIE THEATRE at age 3. Now that’s crazy. My parents didn’t have a child rated filter… for anything. We went everywhere with them. “Hey Honey, I want to go see Jaws tonight.” “Great idea! Throw the kids in the back of the Pinto and let’s go!” So that’s why I had no problem bringing my kids to Frightmare. Yes, I did take note they were the youngest kids there. And yes, I should have heeded the warning when a teenage girl right in front of us got out of line and left. But I really wanted to go! There, I said it. I was the one who wanted to go. Not my kids. I was the driving force behind this Saturday night activity. And I couldn’t wait!! At Frightmare, there are 4 houses you go through. We went into the Black Hole first. It was a mind tripping experience. You walked a plank while the room spins around you. We all wanted to throw up afterward.  Next up… Zombie Farm. Now it gets real people. Real creepy! We entered a run down shanty and all hell broke loose. Zombies popped out from behind doors. A bloody girl zombie with extra long zombie arms played the piano… until she got up and chased after us. Something horrible and bloody happened in the bathroom and every zombie in there went after us. At one point, I lost Eva because she just flat-out started running.  I couldn’t run after her because Domi was now clinging to my leg. And honestly, I was scared to death! Frightmare is a total understatement. This is living hell on Elm Street on Friday the 13th with Jason and Jaws coming after you.  And what’s worse, this house was huge!  We kept turning corner after corner and entering worse and worse torture chambers.  It just wouldn’t end.  Finally, Eva darted left, hit a black curtain and Praise Jesus, we were back in the parking lot.  As we stumbled to safety, I murmured, “I nearly peed my pants.” Domi replied, “Nearly??? I did pee my pants.”  Needless to say, we skipped the last two houses. Frightmare, you killed it this Halloween season!  Nice job!



This past weekend, with the kids in tow, I drove down an unfamiliar ladder of switch-backs that ended in a shooting range in Carson City, Nevada. I was meeting a man I hadn’t seen in 30 years… and I was terrified of him.

The year was 1981. After church, my mom took Jer and me to sign up for the St. Mary’s CYO basketball teams. Jer signed up for the 5th grade team. I looked around for a 3rd grade team. There was only one. The all boys team. I looked up at my mom and shook my head. She looked down at me, shrugged her shoulders and said, “Give it a shot, Wendy.” So I did. I was 9 years old and to be honest, I looked like a boy. At Macy’s, whenever I asked a sales person where the bathroom was, I always got directed to the boys bathroom. So quite honestly, I figured maybe no one would notice I was a girl and I would fit right in. That was until day one of practice. The coach’s name was Bill Picton. He was an ex-marine and we were his new recruits. If you’ve ever seen the movie Great Santini, Coach Picton was our Great Santini. I was terrified of him from that first practice. He had these steel blue eyes that pierced through you with intensity. He yelled and slapped his hands until they were red when we didn’t set the right screen. He made us run endless lines as punishment for not making free throws. Once, when I didn’t block out boldly enough, he blocked me out so hard I flew off my feet. I was a girl playing in a way too tough boys world.  But my parents wouldn’t let me quit.  Bill Picton coached with the same passion he lived his life. With 100 percent of his being, he believed in integrity, hard work, dedication and fundamentals. And if you practiced the way you wanted to live, then you would be successful no matter what. And successful we were. I don’t remember exactly how many wins and losses we had, because those aren’t the things that stick with you later in life. It’s the moral lessons that do. And without warning, Coach Picton instilled in all of us 3rd graders life lessons we still carry with us today. One went on to be a NBA great. Another formed his own company to recruit the best corporate leaders in America. Another had the strength to survive the passing of his beloved dad at a young age and grew up to be an amazing father to 2 beautiful daughters. Sometimes your hardest experiences in life are the ones that teach you the most. Those were our days together on the basketball court.

And last weekend, I was just moments away from seeing Coach Picton.

I pulled up to the shooting range and, even though he was wearing dark glasses, I could tell it was his same steel blue eyes looking back at me. I got out of the car and was enveloped by a warm hug from a man I rarely touched in the three years I played basketball for him. Age had done amazing things for him. Although he still wore a Marines hat, his tone had softened. He was still a coach, helping my son and daughter shoot everything from a A-R 15 to a 40 caliber handgun. But he was a softer, more patient coach. And I got to sit and watch and observe a man who taught me so many lessons at age 10, teach my 9-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son new lessons. It was a beautiful circle completed.

Coach Picton told me one of our other teammates had found him online and sent him a message years ago. It said something like, “I’ve just watched a special on John Wooden’s teams and how special they were.  It reminded me of our team.  Thanks coach for making us the people we are today.” Coach Picton told me this story as he quietly held back tears. They were tears of pride someone can only feel from knowing they truly helped others in this world. Bill Picton’s “others” was a group of 10 year old boys and one girl who had no idea of the treasure who was coaching them. In the words of John Wooden, “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” Thanks in part to Coach Bill Picton, we all became that… the best we were capable of becoming.  And that’s what defines the world’s best coaches.   














I wear glasses. I didn’t used to. But a year ago something happened that pretty much sealed my fate. I turned 40. Apparently we were created to die at 40 because that’s the age when our wheels start to come off. First the soreness getting out of bed. Next the constant desire to nap between 10am and 3pm. And now this. Glasses. It’s like our bodies are screaming at us, “Hey YOU! Ya, you in the glasses. You should have kicked the bucket by now! Why do you insist upon waking up each morning??” Well, we do. And honestly, when was the last time you listened to your body anyway? But back to the glasses. I have a plan. I’m now working out my eye muscles so in one year from right now, I will be glasses free. Honestly, I think it’s possible. An optometrist once told me to hold up my finger in front of my face, focus on the tip of my finger, then focus on something about 30 feet away, and back to the tip of my finger. Repeat 30 times. So last Monday, I started doing that in my car while sitting at red lights. Up goes my finger, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth go my eyes until the light turns green. I get to rest until the next red light. By Tuesday, I remembered my gynecologist suggesting I start doing kegel exercises. This is to prevent incontinence which is rampant in women IN THEIR 40′S! In fact, I’m one of the few people I know who can still do jumping jacks squirt free. OK, trampolines are out of the question. But jumping jacks are still good. But really, what’s next to go? A good hearty laugh? I’m not willing to lose that ability to LOL and remain dry. So I decided to add kegels to my red light workout routine. I now pull up to a red light, and the workout begins. My finger goes up, my eyes start doing 30 yard sprints and now I squeeze my kegels and hold until the light turns green. I once read in a book you know when you’ve engaged your kegels when you just feel weird. The book is totally spot on! You start to clench those muscles down there and then you feel… well… weird. I can’t put it any better. So there I am, at the 6 red lights between my house and work, working out my eyes and my VaVa. By the time I get to work I’m exhausted!  It truly feels like a full body workout.  My next great idea is to quit my gym.  Seriously, who needs a gym when you have your car.


20130925-213326.jpgDid you hear the AMAZING NEWS????????? Team Oracle USA won the American’s Cup!!!!!!!!!!!! Had you told me that during the last time they raced, I would have said, “Oh neat. What sport are we talking about again?” But this year is different. Because we went to the America’s Cup. We saw it with our own eyes. We cheered for America.  And let me tell you what…nothing’s better than cheering for America! It was a fluke that I took the kids down to San Francisco. Darrin was out of town and we didn’t have any plans so I put everyone in the car and just drove. And the weekend was so great, so easy and so totally doable, I wanted to share it with you all so you can do it too. Ok, here’s what you do.

Get out of bed early Saturday morning. Throw everyone in the car and drive to Truckee. Grab a coffee and pastry at The Coffee Bar at 10120 Jibboom Street. It’s fabulous and a perfect potty stop to make sure you make it the rest of the way. You then drive to Walnut Creek (2 1/2 more hours) where you are staying at the Embassy Suites. It’s important you stay there… I’ll explain why in a moment. Now, you go to downtown WC and shop till you drop.  As you can see, my kids went to town!


Seriously! Walnut Creek is now known as the Rodeo Drive of the north. It has everything. And it’s beautiful. When I grew up in Walnut Creek, we had a Bullocks. Then came Nordstrom… and Neiman Marcus and Tiffany… truly, the list goes on (except for Justice which I think is totally weird and my 9-year-old daughter thinks is totally ridiculous!) And then, you eat. Just take your pick, people. There are more restaurants in Walnut Creek than there are bars in San Sebastián, Spain. Just drive down Main Street and pick the one that looks good to you. There are literally dozens to choose from. If you want old school Walnut Creek, eat at Sunrise Bistro for breakfast (http://sunrisebistrocatering.com/). Enjoy Lark Creek for dinner (http://www.onemarket.com/larkcreek/walnut_creek/index.html) And if you want to check out one of my favorite hangouts for cocktailing stop by Crogan’s (http://www.crogansbarandgrill.com/) After a fun night on the town in WC, you’ll head back to Embassy Suites (about 2 miles outside of downtown WC) where you are perfectly situated to catch BART in the morning.  Literally the hotel is in the BART parking lot.  The train schedule is online at http://www.bart.gov/schedules/bystation.aspx  You are actually at the Pleasant Hill Station.  20130925-213314.jpg It looks like this:









 You can also figure out how much your BART fare will be here http://www.bart.gov/tickets/calculator/index.aspx  For most places in SF from Pleasant Hill it’s $10 round trip per person.  Once on the train, you will go through a long tunnel (which is actually the train going under the water of the bay… that freaked my kids out!) and you will pop out in San Francisco.  We got off at the first stop which is Embarcadero.  This took us to the piers where the America’s Cup was happening.  It also is your stop for Pier 39 if that’s your style.  Get off at Powell if you want Union Square and SF shopping.  We stayed at the races…


meeting the teammates for both New Zealand and Team USA….


and of course chanting USA-USA-USA…


until 3 in the afternoon.  After that, we caught BART, now heading toward Pittsburg/Bay Point, got off at Pleasant Hill and picked up our car and headed east to Reno.  After a stop at Ikeda’s in Auburn, we got home at 8:30.  Really, a perfect get away for a family or just you and your honey.  Even without the American’s Cup, San Francisco is fun to hang out in for a few hours and now that I’ve given you a glimpse of the town I grew up in, I hope you go check out Walnut Creek too.  And hopefully, just hopefully, Oracle Team USA will decide to host the American’s Cup in San Francisco the next go around!  If so, I’ll see you down there!


When Darrin and I married 13 years ago…


we promised to grow old together.


Since when did “growing old” start at age 41??? Don’t people know 40 is the new 20?  Allow me to explain. We recently went to the optometrist for our annual eye exam. That’s your first clue we are becoming geezer.  We went to the doctor together! My grandparents didn’t start doing that until they were 80. And only then because one of them could no longer drive.  But there we were, Pearl and Earl, driving to the eye doctor.

My eye exam went fine. I rested my chin on that thin little bar and said “first, second, horizontal, horizontal, diagonal, yes the red dot is on the house, the last line says k-b-z-o-n-w” … you know the drill. The doctor then typed away at her computer and just like at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, the printer produced a golden ticket that read, “Congratulations! You need reading glasses!!” I was less than thrilled. So the kind doctor walked me out to the room with glasses lining every inch of all four walls and who should be sitting there trying on spectacles? Darrin!!!!!!!! “What are you doing in here?” “I need glasses for when I drive at night. What are YOU doing here?” he smirked. “According to my golden ticket I need reading glasses.” I was so convinced I didn’t really need them, I grabbed the first pair off the wall and bought them.


Well, here we are.


I tried reading my book and dammit! The glasses helped! I should have taken more time picking out my new specs!


Darrin is pretty happy with his new set of eyes as well. So, hate to tell all of my 40-year-old friends, but…


The shit hits the fan in this decade apparently. What happens at 50? Walkers with tennis balls??









What can you buy for 30 dollars? A super cute new fall sweater at Old Navy. 7 lattes at your local coffee shop. A full day kids lift ticket at Soda Springs Ski Resort. You know what I got for $30? Two loaves of bread. Paleo bread is apparently made with edible gold. One was coconut, the other almond.


Here was Darrin’s reaction.  Eva felt the same way.


Domi gave it a weak smile, but that’s just because he loves me and my crazy Paleo antics.


Apparently, I had to master my own Paleo bread. And thanks to my fellow Paleo pal, Lisa, I did just that! She gave me a recipe for banana bread and it’s FANTASTIC! Honestly. I do add walnuts but that’s the only change I make to the recipe. And it makes amazing toast. Darrin and I eat it for breakfast all the time. Let me know what you think!


And thank you Elana for this great creation!