A Petaluma360 Blog

Disparate Housewife

Colleen Rustad: wife, mother, entrepreneur

Here to stay

I am celebrating the start of a new chapter in my life…actually, it’s probably less of a new chapter and more of a sequel. Because on Monday, after working in a totally different industry for the past two years in Marin, I’m going back to work at the Petaluma Visitors Program – and I couldn’t be happier. That’s not to say that I’m not grateful for what I gained in the time I was away from the PVP. I’m coming… Read More »

Fake fir

I held out as long as I could but I finally gave in and went to the dark side…at least that’s the way my daughters see it…because I bought an artificial Christmas tree. In the past several years as the quality of a Tannenbaum in a box has gotten better, getting an artificial tree became and more and more tempting. It was harder to justify the work that goes into buying and decorating a real tree. There’s the hassle of… Read More »

Counting my blessings

God has been so good to us. Four years ago at this time, we were in the final stages of packing up our house in Petaluma in preparation for moving. The Great Recession – which at the time didn’t seem all that great – had reduced our income by two-thirds which meant a two-thirds reduction in our living space.  We had gotten to a point where trying to make our bloated mortgage payment to Wells Fargo was like trying to… Read More »

Drawn to Halloween

Starting back on October 1st, just as I was plugging in my phone and crawling into bed, I would see a notification pop up on my phone that our daughter Valerie had posted another illustration on Tumblr. The illustrations that she is posting are part of “Drawlloween” which is a month-long, online gallery for Halloween-inspired art. I’m not sure which rabbit hole of the internet you would have to dive down to find out how Drawlloween started, but every day… Read More »

Toto, we’re not in Korea anymore

In an unusual happenstance, at the same time that our daughter Jennifer is struggling to adjust to life in Asia, our son Ethan is dealing with re-acclimating to life in the US after spending the past year in Asia…Korea to be specific. For 12 months, Ethan was stationed at Yongsan Army base in Seoul. He was very fortunate to be assigned to headquarters where he worked with (as he described them), a very unique mix of personalities and experience that… Read More »

News from Nanjing

Shortly after Jennifer arrived in Shanghai, the talk among the students turned to what they were going to do when they had a few days off from school in honor of National Day on October 1st. Jennifer texted that she and a couple of friends were going to take the train to Nanjing – “Don’t worry Mom when the first thing that pops up on Google is the Nanjing Massacre,” otherwise known as the “Rape of Nanking.” Thanks for the… Read More »

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 »