A deal with the devil and Christmas is collateral

The fate of Christmas rests on my thighs. Or rather, my ability to make them smaller.You see, I struck a deal with the devil last night. And the devil's name is Scrooge.Feeling restless, I plopped down between Mr. T and a project he was working on. (Dangerous, yes, but I'm a risk taker.) Sensing a mood, he asked what was up. "I need an incentive to lose weight," I said. "And I need you to help me."...more

Guess who's a Wildcat?

I was a good 25 minutes up the road when I realized I'd left my cell phone on the bathroom counter. After some self-condemnation (and swearing), I considered whether I could make the 90 mile journey from Sacramento to Chico without GPS*. I'll admit, it was really the opposing bumper-to-bumper traffic and not my navigational prowess that made the decision. If push came to shove, I could stop and ask for help, right?...more

Six years in the blogosphere: The Blue Muse in review

Seems like just yesterday that I typed my Maiden Voyage post, launching the Blue Muse on August 3, 2009 as a mechanism to share my split-state doctoral journey. Now 882 posts later, I'm reflecting on where I started (sweet, picture-less commentaries on life between Sacramento and Cactus Land) and where I am now (diversifying into not one, not two, but three separate blog spaces)....more

You took the spot, now stay in it.

In formation flying, there's an important skill called station keeping. This means staying in the correct position relative to other planes in the group. It's critical for safety as well as the symmetry of the formation....more

Anniversary the fifth

We'd just parked by the fuel pumps after an hour of Bonanza flight training. We'd gone out to get me comfortable in the high performance, complex airplane before our long trek to Oshkosh in it the next day. Sacramento's 100+ temperatures and mid-air bumps got the best of me though and I ambled down the ramp in search of water to splash on my face....more

On birthdays and brain mortgages

"How old are you going to be this year?""34?""34? Are you sure? How old am I again?""What year is it?"Yeah, those are snippets of actual conversations from around the Redden abode as my June birthday approached. Apparently we've lost all track of our middlin', non-milestone ages as of late....more

The mailbox clam shell mystery

When I found the first clam shell in the mail box, I chalked it up to a fluke passerby. It was small with dirt crusted on one side, not very pretty.A few days passed. Between birthday celebrations and work, I forgot about the mollusk remains. That is, until Saturday rolled around and sitting in front of the red Netflix envelope was a new shell, with a small shriveled flower poking through....more
TheHerbLady Absolutely!more

The definition of magenta

Happy Saturday, all!"Where flowers bloom, so does hope" --Lady Bird Johnson xoxo,shawna...more

Sun lovers

It felt like a near-death experience. Me. Turbo kickboxing after eight months away. Burning chest, raspy breathing, nausea. And my chipper instructor was happily babbling about the weather. While I glared, I somehow absorbed her information: Low 90s this weekend. No way! Too soon.But it's almost June and in Sacramento that spells summer heat.The only thing good about it? The (five month) burst of hot sun will be fabulous for my burgeoning tomato garden....more

Saying goodbye to Sac State

I found a parking spot without circling. The elevator was waiting on the first floor. My flip flops echoed in the deserted hallway. A few days after graduation and I found Sac State in full mellow summer mode this afternoon....more