A Collection of Random Thoughts

La Farine Fruitvale

Photo and text by Gabrielle.

I present to you another installment of random thoughts that have been on my mind and don’t quite merit individual blog posts. : )

1) Yesterday morning, my wonderful mother-in-law, Julia Blair ended up in the ICU. Reports are that she is stable now, but will be in the hospital for several more days. Apparently she is in very good spirits. My sister-in-law Margaret said that when the nurse came in for the necessary tests and asked Julia the normal questions (“When were you born?” “Do you know where you are?” “Do you remember what happened?”) Mom answered all of them well, and then said, “Now, tell me about you.”

2) The other day, my friend Karey posted a quote on Instagram and it instantly plunged me into all sorts of emotions. I love it so much! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it:

I hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere and when something is about to end, it shines brightly so you know it’s about to end.

And if you’re never going to see someone again, it’ll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say, “It was nice to have you in my life while I did, good luck with everything that happens after now.”

And maybe if you’re never going to eat at the same restaurant again, it’ll shine and you can order everything off the menu you’ve never tried. Maybe, if someone’s about to buy your car, the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. Maybe, if you’re with a group of friends who’ll never be together again, all your lights will shine at the same time and you’ll know, and then you can hold each other and whisper, “This was so good. Oh my God, this was so good.”

— Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You

3) On Thursday last week, a small dog showed up at our house in the late afternoon. She had a collar and tags. She was hungry and scared, so we fed her, but she was shaking hard and wouldn’t let us get close to her (close enough to check her tags) for a couple of hours. Eventually we were able to get her name — it’s Chiqui! — and her owner’s number from the tags. We called and left a message, but didn’t get an answer back. So we made a little bed for her and she stayed over. According to her tags, her home is about 4 miles from our house. The kids were over the moon to have such a cute little sleepover guest!

The next morning, we sent the kids to school, we left another message for Chiqui’s owner, and Chiqui wanted to snuggle with me on the sofa while I worked. But the poor girl was filthy dirty. We could smell her from a mile away and when I petted her, my hand would turn black from a layer of city grime all over her. I wanted to get her clean, but had never given a dog a bath before! So I asked my Facebook friends for advice and happily, the bath was a success. Chiqui was a total champ. Afterwards, she settled right down on my lap.

Shortly after the bath, we heard from the owner! She is traveling in Italy, and her friends, who live just a few minutes from us, are taking care of Chiqui. They came right over to pick her up, and they brought another dog who lives with Chiqui as well. Chiqui was DELIGHTED to see them. And I was glad we were sending her off in good hands.

When the kids got home from school that day, and Chiqui was gone, little June was absolutely broken hearted. I didn’t realize how attached she had gotten in such a short time. In June’s head I think she figured Chiqui had been fully adopted by our family.

It ended up being a happy little adventure in our week, and it has me wondering if it’s time to get a dog. But that’s a topic for another time. Hah!

4) Today marks the 28th day I’ve gone to the gym since August 29th. Which means this is the most consistent I’ve been about working out since high school! So I’m feeling the need to give myself some high fives. Woo hoo!

5) As I mentioned on Friday, one of my weekend goals was about mums. But I did some shopping and can’t seem to find good-looking ones anywhere. Is it just my neighborhood? Do mums not do well in the Bay Area? Or maybe I just need to find a better nursery.

6) I added Halloween links to my sidebar if you need some inspiration. And costumes have mostly been decided. It sounds like June is going with mermaid, Betty with Pippi Longstocking, and Oscar wants to be a pillow monster. I don’t know he’s picturing when he says pillow monster, but I’m sure it will be fantastic. How about your kids?

That’s all for now. As usual, feel free to respond to any topic above, or introduce an entirely different topic. I like it when these posts become an open thread!

P.S. — Find other random thoughts posts here.

37 thoughts on “A Collection of Random Thoughts”

  1. I was thinking about that the other day – how we never know when we’re doing something or visiting somewhere or seeing someone for the last time. I was travelling in Vancouver, a city I’ve never been before, and I have no idea if or when I will ever be back. (Hopefully someday!! Such a gorgeous city) And I have a good friend who lives in the UK, and while we have plans to visit each other this year & next, when will those plans stop? (Hopefully not soon!)

    I guess it’s part of the wonderment of life, this not knowing. I love that light idea – so beautifully put! Now I’m off to ponder some more :) Hope you have a great week!

  2. I found myself choking up at that quote! Thanks for sharing. I love the idea on the flip side too, so that when the light doesn’t shine bright you know you’ll see that person again or visit that great place again. Good thoughts

  3. As a redhead who’s been Pippi Longstocking a handful of times in the last 30 years, I can say the best way to get the best pigtails is to:
    1. Put hair in pigtail ponytails
    2. Bend cheap wire hanger to fit head (but don’t trim ends).
    3. Put wire in hair by sliiping under hair & out ponytail elastics.
    4. Braid ponytails around hanger. (This keeps them much nicer than slipping hanger in pre-braided pigtails.)
    5. Elastic the ends & then carefully trim the excess wire sticking out. (Trimming earlier makes it too tricky to guess length & harder to braid.)
    6. Hairspray really well & enjoy! Watch out for narrow doorways & nearby friends.

  4. I think it has been hot in the Bay Area for mums this year. I had a couple of plants overwinter from last fall and they bloomed and got straggly in July! However, I did see some pretty ones at my local garden store last weekend (I’m in Santa Cruz), so they are out there!

    I love Kirsten’s Pippi hair tips above, but I’d add a bit of masking tape to the ends of the wire. I gouged someone’s cheek the one year I tried that costume!

  5. I feel like I’m a failure at the Halloween Costume department this year. Toby loves the idea of our entire family dressing up as specific characters from a video game called Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. (If you’re familiar with it, he wants to be Link, he wants his two-year-old sister to be Saria, he wants me to be Princess Zelda, and he wants his dad to dress up as the bad guy, Ganondorf.)

    He told me this repeatedly on the first week of October. So far, I’ve gone to two huge clothing swaps and an acquaintance’s garage costume giveaway (she’s a costume designer), and have reminded myself to look for stuff for said costumes, but completely forgot to look once I got there. Gah! There’s also an unexpected out-of-state funeral on Saturday of this week and two auditions fpr pur local community theatre this month.

    To make it easy on myself, I’ve decided to concentrate on finding stuff for the kids’ costumes first. The adult costumes are much more complicated than the kids’, and we can both find alternates—I’ll just find a simple Princess outfit, and Just’In will just walk around with a video game controller. But the costumer in my head is just smacking her forehead against her palm repeatedly.

  6. A dog?! Yes!! I can’t imagine our family without our pooch. Olive (yep, Olive) brings such joy to our home. (Also a lot of sand and so very much hair. . . but she’s totally worth it.)

  7. We have one dog one cat and two Peking duck’s and I cannot more highly recommend ducks as a family that will sit on your lap the imprint on you and their little they are also just find a leave with a feeder that will last all weekend. They do poop a lot but we have a little pen and kiddie swimming pool where they stay when they aren’t free in the backyard. Totally easy, fun and sweet let those ducks. They run up to my kids for feed and sit on laps. We love Ping and Ming Ming. (And our cat and dog, too.)

  8. I hope your mother-in-law has a speedy recovery. I sometimes see her comments on your posts and always note how unfailingly supportive and loving they are. She seems wonderful!

  9. Poor June!!! When I was five, a stray dog hung around our house for a day or two. It waited for me when I came home from kindergarten and walked part way home with me. My mother called the pound while I was at school. I, too, was heartbroken. Painful to learn that loving someone/something could hurt.

  10. How fun to consider a pet! One thing I’ve realized–there’s never a “perfect” time to get a dog. Then again, there’s almost never a perfect time for anything.

    I have five kids and two months ago, Max–a big friendly black lab–joined our family. Admittedly, there are days when having a dog is just one more thing to worry about (he sheds soooo much). However, I was unprepared for some of the unexpected blessings that having a dog has brought to our family. I’m glad I didn’t wait for a more perfect time to get a dog–we’d talked about it for five years and could easily be talking still…….

  11. Maybe I’m just a horticultural curmudgeon but there are so many gorgeous flowers that bloom in fall that aren’t mums. I REALLY hate mums. Maybe it’s your year to branch out with some fabulous grasses, sedums or amazing echinaceas.

  12. thinking about your mother-in-law, she sounds like such a wonderful human. your story made me smile. and that little light? i wish i had one too.

  13. I wish I could post a picture of my dog Bono, the bichon. We are leaving tomorrow for a week. Yes, I had to find a young married couple to care for him and stay here with him, the big baby (he’s 4 human years old). But so worth it. He’s our baby. It’s been crazy with five kids, but since they are started to leave the nest, it helps to have him here. And he provides endless laughs for us all.

  14. Get a dog. (unless you are gone from home all day, then maybe a cat). Get something that ends in “oodle” or “poo” and it won’t shed. I was against getting a dog for so long, but I’m glad I caved.

  15. Mums….do need cooler weather…..it is best to purchase mums that have been raised in your area because then they won’t go through major stress. Several years ago I shopped at a wonderful little nursery in Half Moon Bay it was on the road on the left headed to HMB from the Redwood City Area. It was local and they were very nice. When picking mums as with all flowers you want to pick ones that are just “cracking color” so that you will get the most bloom for your buck. If you end up planting them in the ground you can cut them back to a few inches above the ground about the 4th of July and you should have beautiful blooming plants by fall another year. Remember those plants that are so”Big and Beautiful” have been fed huge amounts of fertilizer! Best wishes with your search.

    1. Sorry for my long long rant about mums….I was a wholesale mgr at a huge nursery back east…..in another life!

  16. the quote reminds me of an article i read about not knowing when the “lasts” will be with your babies, the last time they ask to be picked up, the last time they mispronounce a certain word, the last time you sing to them before bed. You are not often aware this will be the last time. As a mama these “lasts” break my heart the most.

  17. I held out on getting a dog until my last child was potty-trained, then we went for it and I was SO glad. Our pup is the best. Sadly, we couldn’t bring him on our overseas move, but he lives with my parents now and is my Dad’s new best friend, so we still get to see him on FaceTime. Dogs are the best.

  18. I was wondering where all the instagram love originated! Should’ve known! And that quote STILL guts me. I can’t seem to shake it…are we getting old or something?! xoxo karey

  19. Never thought I would be a dog owner but here I am- four kids and a mut. I truly think my kids and my husband and I have benefited from having him in our lives. It is so precious to watch the kids with him, as if he is more than a dog- he’s family.

  20. oh, nice post, but when I saw the picture with the baguettes, I thought this would be about France (update from your house perhaps)! I really liked the dog story.

  21. Get the dog! We have a 170 lb dog and she was called by a stranger today: “A big fluffy Christmas bear!” This was a man who I initially thought looked kinda tough. Almost everytime we leave the house she “makes” someone’s day and of course “makes” our day everyday. Bless yourselves and get a dog.

  22. Your photo – La Farine!!! Morning buns!!! We lived in Berkeley for years when my husband was in grad school, and Thursday morning coffee and treats at La Farine were our weekly splurge. We’re in the midwest now and sure do miss it…and Acme bread…and Cheeseboard pizza…and Cactus crispy chicken tacos…I could go on and on! :)

  23. Ugh that quote! My dad died last month very unexpectedly. The last time we spent time together we went to a museum which we used to do a lot together before I had my son. So the last time was special and I will forever cherish it but I still can’t help to feel like I wish I would have known. The things I would have told him. I would have hugged him a little tighter, a little longer. If only the light would have been there.
    High five on the consistent workouts! I never worked out until I had my son. Then I became obsessed and turned it into my career! I love helping people find the motivation. So fulfilling! Keep sweating! Like I tell my people, just showing up is half the battle. Once you get that far the rest is easy once you get your groove.

  24. Maria Ortiz-Cintron

    Gabrielle, you’re so wonderful that even your random thoughts are interesting and on point. Such a great post, please post more random thoughts, I love it. I love your blog, for me, it’s the Cadillac of blogs.

  25. Hi!
    I was wandering through some of your Halloween posts and came across your awesome Mummy costume!! I’d love to know if you have a tutorial or tips/ideas on how you made it? I think my older son would love this and it looks doable in the time frame we have since he’s struggled to decide what he wanted to be this year!


    1. Hi Natalie! I didn’t make a tutorial at the time (if you can believe it, I created it before blogs were really doing tutorials – hah!). But this is what I remember:

      1) I started with a pair of pants and a turtleneck as the base. Both were off-white, found at Goodwill.

      2) I took white fabric — it was either a sheet or some cheap broadcloth — and ripped it into 2-inch wide strips.

      3) I used a 5-gallon plastic bucket, and filled it with super hot water and big box of cheap tea bags. The fabric strips were dyed in this bucket, and after the strips were done, I put in the turtleneck and pants bucket too. After the dyeing, I did a short rinse and spin in the washing machine and dried everything in the dryer.

      4) All that was pretty easy. The only tricky part comes next. I added the strips to the clothes one at a time, overlapping. Some I sewed on with big stitches, for others I used a glue gun. Take your time here, because this is where the costume gets awesome. On some of the strips, attach them, but leave 12 or 18 inches loose at the end so it looks like the mummy is unraveling.

      5) I didn’t use every strip. I set aside a handful to wrap around the head. Put the turtleneck on first, then do the face makeup, then wrap the head in the strips.

      I hope that helps!

  26. Flori Christensen

    My husband was one of the first Baltic missionaries to serve under Pres. and Sister Blair. That story about her is awesome and is a great example of her unfailing cheerfulness and enthusiasm for life and those around her. I have met her a few times and she always made me feel like I am her favorite person and someone she thinks about often! What a wonderful woman–I hope she is well soon!

    I LOVED that quote too–oh, how I wish I had a light like that! I just love your blog and agree that even your random thoughts are interesting!

  27. If you’re liking your gym I would love the recommendation. As a 40 something wanting to get back into exercising, I’d love to try a gym that someone else who isn’t a gym rat likes! I live nearby.

  28. Funny to read all the encouragement for getting a dog as we’ve been mulling this over for the past few months. I’m particularly taken with the idea that, as with kids, there’s no perfect time to get a dog. Maybe our “perfect” time is now. :)

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