Sign Goddess Sunday – Bassets and Blooms


BAGS Basset Rescue had their spring fundraiser last weekend, Bassets and Blooms. The Sign Goddess designed the logo for it. They just sent me the t shirt and super cool mug.

I know you must want one! You can get your own at and read about tne good work Maribeth has been doing since 2000 for sweet old special needs senior hounds.


Thanks for stopping by!


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Happy Mother’s Day!


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Updating the Charles Shaw Wall Sign: Sign Goddess Sunday


This is the bright new updated Charles Shaw sign requested by our Regional, replacing the 2007 sign I made shortly after our store opened.


Old sign here and still one of my favorites.


It started with a little idea sketch. My Captain wanted a bright more substantial sign filling up a larger area.


The sketch grew a little bigger and more complex. He liked it.


Next was figuring out the sizing of all the pieces from a grid over the sketch and putting them together accurately in my teeny art nook.  I used our clear trash bags flat to make the pattern template for the pieces. The base piece is an old endcap blackboard, all the other pieces are foamcore. Everything was gessoed first then painted with acrylics.


Brilliantly installed by my Sign Team Six partner Caleb.



Elements of the old sign: Charles Schwab, That wine everybody’s talking about etc. were added on hibiscus flowers.

I’ve been refreshing several big signs in our store Trader Joe’s #280 in Henderson, Nevada and there’s always fun projects I’d like to share on Sign Goddess Sunday.  Thanks so much for stopping by!


Pam Tanzey – Sign Goddess

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Where the Magic Lived – Writing 101 Day Twenty


Where the Magic Lived

Fred knew. From the moment I plugged him in above the stove in front of that wall of windows so black at night, life would never be the same again. He lived all those years, a warm glowing sentry. The welcomer, witnessing all.

Mice skittering along window sills, jumping out of cupboards, shrieks of fear and laughter so often the city girls weren’t afraid of them anymore. Wisteria wafting through the kitchen in the evening, Red tail hawks call, ravens, mockingbirds, night songs. Doberman toenails echoing on hardwood. Rusted bits and horseshoes, treasures from archeological digs in the pasture.

Cows, honest to God cows, peeking in the windows in the morning on their way from the sleeping cove behind the house down to the stream that ran across the rolling two hundred acres. The horses followed walking with their friends, a parade of colors through the mist, a carnival of enchantment for the girl who dreamed of them all of her life. No one else understood. It didn’t matter.

Fred my friend, little nightlight in the kitchen, listening, sheltering, soft shadows, ginseng tea, anger and ecstasy, first kisses, heart wrenching tragic goodbyes. Loneliness and friendship. Moody Blues, Elton John, YoYo Ma. Full moon over the avocado grove, toast with cheap wine, glass hummingbird in the window. Grease, Andy Gibb, Donnie and Marie, giggling from the back room. Barbeques, new friends, walks on cow paths, weed growing like Christmas trees, so much weed. School, always school.

My tendency to live in dreamland, to feel what the house feels, the imprint of happiness. When it was new eighty years ago, maybe more. When it was loved, before we loved it. When the new bride was carried off to the back bedroom…that’s still there. When the windows sparkled with life, reflecting baby hands reaching out to touch the fat spiders just outside. When mice were happy in the kitchen garden not the pantry.

Equal parts of wild and sad, foolish choices and bliss so pure it still calls when I least expect it, grabs my heart and I can close my eyes and feel warm hardwood under my feet and smell the damp earth outside. My sunshine California, my Last Chance Ranch.

We were so young, perched with our hearts on the edge of tomorrow, waiting to step forward.

-Pam Tanzey

Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure

Today’s Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession.

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If Mrs. Pauley Hadn’t Been So Mean – Writing 101


If Mrs. Pauley Hadn’t Been So Mean

If Mrs. Pauley hadn’t been such a mean old bat to everybody, including me, since before time began, then I’m thinking somebody might help her. Nobody is.

“Ray Lynne get your butt in here.”

Just because I happened to have a handful of rocks when I bent down to pet her fuzz head dog, did not mean I was going to throw rocks at him, sheesh. She was jumping to wrongful conclusions, when she yelled at me.

“Ray Lynne.”

Everybody who is anybody is sitting out on their stoop too, just watching so I don’t feel bad. I wonder what she did to them. I’m surprised Grandma isn’t sitting right here beside me cheering on the Police. Throw her mean old butt outta here. Drag all of her crap out on the curb.

“Ray Lynne.”

Oh, here comes the ice cream man. Darn, I don’t think Grandma will give me another quarter for ice cream. Daniel and Mia are getting ice cream.

“Ray Lynne are you hard of hearing?”

I wonder where all of her sons are, she had a bunch of them. Why aren’t her sons helping her? I haven’t seen any of them in a long time. I don’t think they even came for their Dad’s funeral. She must have been mean to them too, run them all off.

“Ray Lynne, don’t make me come out there.”

Nobody here came to my mom’s funeral. It was just me and Grandma sitting there all alone at the funeral home. Everybody sat on their stoop watching the ambulance take her away.

“Ray Lynne!”

Mrs. Pauley brought over a casserole and some cornbread muffins… She was the only one.

“Grandma, I think you outta come out here. Mrs. Pauley is in trouble.”

-Pam Tanzey

Writing 101  Day Eighteen: Hone Your Point of View

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

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Today I Found… Writing 101 Day Thirteen


I Found Today…

I found today I can look back at

The people I let break my heart, those people

I loved so dearly

I find I can say

Hmm isn’t this interesting

Today they don’t matter

Today I’m not mad anymore

Not hurt anymore

I can even let go

And wish them a good life today

Tomorrow…we’ll see

-Pam Tanzey

Writing 101 Day Thirteen: Serially Found

On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today’s Prompt: write about finding something

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Dear Monster – Writing 101 Day 14


Dear Monster,

You’ve always been out there beyond the mists of where I could see

You were the one that slowed traffic

Hiding behind the crest of Del Mar Heights hill and

Every wide sweeping curve of every highway

Eyes in the dark

Footsteps in the hallway

I tracked you to your birthplace

Where you changed me

I came with my sword but you’re not there anymore

Not a ghost or even an echo

Just some broken concrete in a wide sea of grass

I won’t miss you

-Pam Tanzey

Day Fourteen: To Whom It May Concern

Today’s Prompt: Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration.

The book : What Happened Here by Bonnie ZoBell the word on page 29: monster

Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.

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I Made Brownies – Writing 101


I Made Brownies

I made brownies with the Beatles playing in the background, Rubber Soul on Mom’s maple stereo. It was the upstairs apartment by Silverado and the hockey field of the Junior High we both went to. It was full of light from big windows, and it felt safe, like a home.

Mom had a new boyfriend. A nice guy for a change. I still slept with a knife under my pillow that nobody knew about. It was because of her last man, the one that she married.

I made brownies the season that Grandma stayed with us, after the breakup, to make sure Mom was okay. The recipe was from the back of the Hershey’s cocoa can, but I knew it by heart.

I made brownies for the first time when I was ten years old after Mom lost the baby we didn’t know about. It was in Kansas City and no one checked on us that week she stayed locked in her room. When her husband was gone and Grandma was busy and nobody came to make sure we were okay.

I made brownies and we ate them for breakfast all week watching cartoons. She wouldn’t answer when we knocked on her door. We lined up our stuffed animals on the sofa. So we wouldn’t cry anymore I made it normal. I made brownies.

-Pam Tanzey

Day Ten: Happy (Insert Special Occasion Here)!

Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

– Anne Lamott,

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The Lanai Apartments 1963


Steve, the Manager’s assistant has turned off all the overhead lights just now and turned on floodlights that illuminate the big Tiki and the palm trees in the front, the swimming pool and all down the long parking driveway. The whole place looks like a movie set or what I imagine Disneyland must look like at night. A full golden moon is crowning the Car Wash sign next door making all of the white gravel between the palms look as if they are pools of cream. I want to drink it all in.

I am following behind him with my little garbage grabber, he calls it, and a trashcan picking up cigarette butts and pages from the Penny Saver that have blown in from the Santa Ana winds this morning. I have been twelve years old for three days now. This is my first job. Don’t call it a job, she said, you’re only twelve, but it is a job, an important one and I get paid.

The Lanai apartments where we live and where I work are furnished with tasteful Danish modern living room sets, comfortable beds, the latest appliances and streamlined dining tables with four matching chairs.  All you have to do is put your clothes in the closets, sheets on the bed and wonder bread in the toaster oven, which is also provided, and you are home. That’s exactly what we did when we arrived after a three day drive following the same nice truck driver that practically held our hand all the way from the dark Kansas City night to the Santa Monica pier, where we saw the ocean for the first time and Mom had her picture taken wearing new huge sunglasses.

There is something about California that I haven’t experienced anywhere else I’ve been, it is beautiful. Even a long apartment building next to a car wash and little mall is beautiful. It is not what is on the land, it seems to be coming from the land itself, under the ground, from its heart. California seems to have awareness of how special and beautiful it is, and it seeps up through the earth to your feet and right into your soul. It expects you to meet it halfway and be beautiful too. I think people feel it but then they get the wrong impression. They think they have to look beautiful. They go to extremes on looking beautiful with plastic surgeries and outrageous clothes and hairstyles but it’s not the outside it is the inside. I get it. I feel it just by being out under the sky and feeling the sun on my skin. It’s in the air all around, that magic stuff I felt back in Kansas City in the woods only more, so much more. Life sparkles here.

-Pam Tanzey

Writing 101

Day Eleven: Size Matters (In Sentences)

Today’s Prompt: Where did you live when you were 12 years old? Which town, city, and country? Was it a house or an apartment?

Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences

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The Visitor


The Visitor

In my world it’s the horses that come and go, the overnighters passing through from way out there to way over somewhere else, to the big show, to the rodeo, or from up in the cold north to winter where it’s warm. I rarely see their people. It’s Las Vegas, they go to a buffet and do the Vegas thing then are back by their rig in the morning with coffee in hand. I wave as I leave for work. They wave back.

At dusk when the gate is locked and everyone’s gone home I go out and meet their horses. They tell me their names, the real name that their Mama gave them, and sometimes late at night on dark moons they tell me their secrets.

I live here on this quiet acre and a half with the stable out in front of me and the desert beyond. The horses who live here are my little horse family. I’ve known them a long time, two of them are mine. Visitors stop by throughout the year, some breeds I’ve only read about. We had a Gypsy Vanner once. He was all thunder on the ground and mischief in his eyes. I’ve never met one in person.

There have been colors I’ve only seen on charts in old library books or in the Breyer horses I gave away when I thought I was too grown up, then bought them all back again from thrift stores or eBay, a dark golden palomino with big lacy dapples, a chocolate palomino, cremellos, and a champagne Tennessee Walker Stallion with kind amber eyes.

On a rare night last fall a cloud covered the whole valley and kissed the ground like fog does in San Diego. I walked out to turn on the big yellow light in the arena and noticed a visitor in the mare barn. He was a silvery white fairy tale in the dark with a long rippled mane patiently dining on the hay they brought for him. The other horses were eating quietly or already asleep. I leaned on the rail for a while watching him, hoping he would talk to me. He didn’t say where he was going or where he had been but in the tickling mist that night he looked up at me and shared his secret.

-Pam Tanzey


Writing 101 Day Six:

A Character-Building Experience

Today’s Prompt: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

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