A Petaluma360 Blog

Disparate Housewife

Colleen Rustad: wife, mother, entrepreneur

The pumpkin spice of life

Back in the dark ages when I was growing up, if you heard the word “pumpkin,” you could be quite certain that the next word would be “pie.” Everyone bought a can of pumpkin once a year for their Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Or if you liked experimenting and wanted to make something “healthful,” you could make pumpkin bread and amaze your friends that pumpkin – a vegetable! – could be incorporated into a quick bread recipe. But these days, the… Read More »

I’m sorry, I’m an American

Our youngest daughter Jennifer Lynn has been in Shanghai for about 10 days now; she will be there until next May for her year-long study abroad program. She hasn’t Skyped with us yet because it’s a little awkward to carry on a video call when your roommate is trying to sleep. So instead, she finds a hallway in the Jia where she can get Internet and calls us. Jia means “home” and when I Googled it, it said that the Chinese character for… Read More »

Keep calm and carry on

So the first text message I got from Jennifer after she arrived in Shanghai on Thursday for her year-long study abroad program was “I finally have Internet” and “I’m not dead” – always reassuring information for a parent. The second text message was “Do you have a copy of my Fudan University application? Why didn’t I bring it! Aaargh! Please get back to me as soon as possible.” Yes, I did have a copy of her application for the Chinese… Read More »

Summer makeover

One of the wonderful things about being a college student is being able to reinvent yourself over the summer.  During the three months that you’re separated from your college friends, the opportunity for transformation exists – to return to school in the fall as a new and improved version of you. We certainly saw this happen with Jennifer Lynn this summer as she did a “makeover” on herself during the three months she was home. Even though she and her… Read More »

Countdown to China

What seemed so far off at the beginning of summer is almost here. Next weekend, we’re driving our youngest daughter Jennifer Lynn back down to school in Southern California. On the following Wednesday, she’ll fly out of LAX to begin her year studying abroad in Shanghai. Why China? Steve and I joke that one of Jennifer Lynn’s life goals is to be as far away as possible from her AARP parents and the possibility of having to live out her… Read More »

A very cultured event

There is a growing interest in fermented products. As evidence, last Saturday the Finley Center in Santa Rosa bubbled with energy as practitioners of the ancient art of fermentation shared their knowledge and sampled their products with a huge crowd of Sonoma County residents. And it wasn’t just wine and beer that folks were interested in tasting. All sorts of fruit and vegetables strutted their pro-biotic best at the 6th Annual Farm to Fermentation Festival – the brainchild of Jennifer Harris, self-described bacteria… Read More »

Cat Cafe

Our middle daughter Valerie loves cats; she gets teased by her siblings about turning into a crazy cat lady when she gets old. In the five years since she left to go away to college, we’ve never been sure who she misses more…us or the cats. Many, many photos of our obnoxious orange cat Nigel have been texted to her. Since she can’t have a cat in the townhouse that she shares in Southern California, maximizing her facetime with cats when… Read More »

Pod people

I guess it was about five years ago when I got my first Smart Phone and one of my daughters introduced me to the joy of listening to podcasts. At first I didn’t get the concept. Hadn’t video killed the radio stars? Wasn’t YouTube the source for all on-demand entertainment? But with her encouragement, I downloaded a podcast app (I use Podkicker) to my phone and subscribed to the Freakonomics podcast. I discovered how much I enjoyed the intimacy of… Read More »

China is where she wants to be

A couple of Saturdays ago, when we were driving through the city from Hayes Valley to the Golden Gate Bridge, we happened to go past the Chinese Consulate on Laguna Street. I was pretty excited – not quite as excited as when we were driving through San Francisco and I saw a naked guy (except for cowboy boots) walking along Market Street – but excited nonetheless to have accidentally found the Consulate. You see, visiting the Chinese Consulate has loomed… Read More »

Time share

In about six weeks, our daughter Jennifer Lynn leaves for her year-long study abroad program. She will be spending her entire sophomore year in Shanghai; we’re excited for the adventure ahead of her but my stomach knots up when I think about not seeing for more than eight months. I wish I could take the time that we’re spending with her this summer and “bank” it, so we could withdraw it over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and weekends – times that I… Read More »