Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Today has been a day for dragging myself around. For some unknown reason I awoke after only two hours of sleep and could not turn my brain off to fall back asleep. Does everyone know that feeling? There was positively NO reason to wake up and there was NO reason to be worried enough to stay awake for the next three hours. I kept telling myself that if I would just stay really still that I would eventually be back to sleep. Who was I trying to convince? Of course since I was awake, I did all sorts of "heavy" planning. Tasks such as packing for an upcoming trip, planning my next quilt, organizing the linen closet, planting some flowers in a certain bed and stopping the mail and papers take on a special "need" during the wee hours of the night. I knew that I should simply get up and go read a book in the other room, but that was too much effort for someone who was going to be back asleep at any moment. Plus it is chilly in the house at night since we turn our heat off while we sleep. I certainly did not want to get out from under my warm covers. That would have REALLY awakened me. The last I looked, three hours had passed and I was still not asleep.

The rain has moved on past us for the moment. It is forecast to return this weekend but I will be far away and soaking in the warm sun in the Florida Keys. I am really excited about that thought. This is a business trip that we attend each year and really look forward to it. We have met so many fabulous friends over the years and it is always good to get back together again and catch up on their lives and families. We so enjoy the warm weather that the Keys provide. I often wonder about the people coming from the really cold areas of the states and imagine how excited they must be to arrive to temperatures in the 80s.

The last few days of nice weather have allowed me to get out in the yard again to check things out. The rains are so good as they leach out the minerals that the plants receive from the artificial watering. It is almost like the plants are saying "thank you." I picked a big bouquet of Calla Lilies for the table.

Spring will be here before we know it as long as Mr. Groundhog doesn't see his shadow this weekend. I am looking forward to it.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend and that your team will do well in the Super Bowl. If not, at least enjoy the party.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Meeting AJ

It has been a wonderfully fun filled weekend. As I wrote this week, our newest grandson and his parents came for a visit. This was his debut to meet all of his cousins, aunts, uncles and great grandparents.....and of course to visit with his grandparents. Everyone always loves a baby and this was no exception. No one could get their fill of the cuddles and loving of this little fellow. The children were as excited as the adults. One would think we never had babies in this family!

The parents loved the quilt and I hope that baby will too someday. Of course everyone loves to take goofy pictures of babies. We are no exception. These are the pictures that end up in high school yearbooks and the children wonder why they had to be born into these families.

And I thought "Pee Pee Teepees" were to be used elsewhere on the body! Silly me!

This is a four generation picture with son, grandson, FIL and husband.

We are very fortunate that our grandchildren live very close to us. Eighteen of the nineteen are within ten minutes of us so we are able to be very involved in their lives. This son and DIL live about two and a half hours north so this is foreign ground to us. I really want to take in every moment of him while he is here and make a memory to hold onto. The way he smells, the little moves he makes are all imprinted for the time being. He will be so different in only a few weeks time. :(

On Saturday one of our granddaughters called and asked if we could come over to their house and see something. There are ten children in the family so it is usually a very active household, as one can imagine. One never knows just what it is when they call for a request to come "see something." We have been called to see snakes, baby squirrels, rabbits, birds, lizards and even strange looking bugs. This was the big surprise.

The kids are thrilled with it. It is a mule that they have been caring for at the ranch next door to them. The couple who live next door are letting them board him at their stables in exchange for help caring for the horses. (A GREAT deal) "Rudy" is a delightfully sweet and gentle animal. The kids all enjoy riding him and he seems to enjoy it just as much. He will definitely get his share of giving rides.

It has been a wild weekend of weather again for us. After the kids left to drive home, my husband and I took a drive to check out the creeks which normally run dry around here. They were all filled with treacherous looking water. Everything is starting to green up with the rains that we have had and it is that gorgeous spring green color. The burned areas that were so blackened in the fall all have a blanket of green covering them. It would be nice to have some rain all year around to keep it green, but it just doesn't happen like that. We should be in for a nice week of weather after this storm passes through.

This was a very unusual sight for us and I had to take a picture of it while we were on the road. We never get rainbows. I couldn't find the pot of gold because the end of it kept moving!

Then when we got home it was right in our backyard -- not the pot of gold, but the rainbow! This actually ended up being a double rainbow so it was even more special. I really needed a wide angle lens to get both sides of it, but the other side was just as pretty.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Where is Oz?

I am beginning to believe that we are currently living in Kansas. The last few days have been "wicked" weather for us. This is so unusual for us so I just feel that I have been transplanted and should be searching for Oz to get back home.

Last evening we were getting rain at the rate of two inches per hour, pea size hail, lightening and thunder loud enough to shake the house. We even had a tornado warning along with our flood warnings. Now, you have to realize that we NEVER have tornado warnings here. They are generally waterspouts coming in over the ocean which die out once they hit land. Not so last night. I know that all of this sounds mild to you folks who get really radical storms with major hail, but for us it was highly unusual.

Our #1 son is in Colorado skiing so we had our DIL and four grandchildren over for dinner last night. I had made a banana cream pie for dessert, but our 9 year old grandson wanted to fix us something special. He brought all the ingredients and fixed us chocolate chip pancakes! Now....I have to admit that I have never liked any sort of pancakes. I just haven't! He did a fabulous job -- heated the griddle to just the right temperature and cooked them to a perfect golden brown. They were presented beautifully on plates, buttered and smeared with whipped cream. I was a most gracious grandma as I raved about the wonderful job and delicious taste. It's a good thing that Grandpa loves any kind of pancakes and wanted seconds, or was it thirds?

Our three year old grandson showed up with a cast on his hand. He had taken a fall at the bowling alley and ended up doing a body slam to the floor --hand, ball and then body. Ouch! He broke two fingers pretty badly and the doctors were concerned about the location of the fracture so close to the growth plate.

As it continues to pour here, I believe I will go and search for my yellow brick road. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Disappearing Act

This week I have been very busy working on my new grandson's quilt. As I was marking it for the quilting I was using this fancy pen where the ink disappears within twenty four hours. (You have to work quickly.) I started to ponder the thought of "what if." What if we could have some of the mistakes we made in our life disappear within twenty four hours or what if we had some words that we spoke disappear within twenty four hours? Can you imagine what the world would be like? Such deep thoughts for a fun activity like quilting.

Since the little baby was of the male sex I decided to do a "boy" quilt for him. The colors look dreadful in the photo so please don't look at that part. It is called "Cousins at Work." I photocopied pictures of all eighteen of his cousins onto fabric and have them attending the vehicles as drivers or cargo. I had seen the pattern years ago in the Quiltmaker magazine and had always imagined doing it for one of the kids. Each of the kids get a quilt when they are born. son, DIL and new grandson will be coming down for the weekend to introduce the baby to the rest of the family. We are all so excited! We have a BBQ planned for Saturday with the hopes that the rain will be over by then. Did I mention how excited we are to see, snuggle and love this little guy again? It seems like it has been forever. I know that the weekend will just fly past.

Like most other households, this past weekend was filled with football games. (Could you believe how cold that Green Bay game was? That glass of water froze way too quickly for my likes.) We had our #2 son and his children over for a spell. The kids were not too interested in the game but loved building dominoes. Do you remember how much fun that was? The younger one really wanted to "help" but was much too "helpful" for his older brother to tolerate. We never quite got all the dominoes set up before they took a tumbling. See that mischievous look on his face?

We have a storm that is supposed to be coming in sometime later today. We had a few sprinkles last night but the main portion will hit us later. We still need the rain so there is not a lot of complaining. I did hear that there were snow sightings in San Francisco. They can keep all of that up there as far as I am concerned. It will just be a good night to snuggle up on the couch with a fire and a good pot of stew for dinner. Guess they call it "comfort food." What does everyone else enjoy for comfort foods?

Saturday, January 19, 2008


This week I received an e-mail from a friend of mine and I thought the words to be so true as I read it. I just had to pass it on to my friends.

When I was little, I used to believe in the concept of one best friend, and then I started to become a woman. And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up, God would show you the best in many friends. One friend is needed when you're going through things with your man. Another friend is needed when you're going through things with your mom. Another will sit beside you in the bleachers as you delight in your children and their activities. Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, or just be. One friend will say, 'Let's cry together,' another, 'Let's fight together,' another, 'Let's walk away together.' One friend will meet your spiritual need, another your shoe fetish, another your love for movies, another will be with you in your season of confusion, another will be your "clarifier", another the wind beneath your wings. But whatever their assignment in your life, on whatever the occasion, on whatever the day, or wherever you need them to meet you with their gym shoes on and hair pulled back, or to hold you back from making a complete fool of yourself .. those are your best friends. It may all be wrapped up in one woman, but for many, it's wrapped up in several.. one from 7th grade, one from high school, several from the college years, a couple from old jobs, on some days your mother, on some days your neighbor, on others, your sisters, and on some days, your daughters.

The graphics with the e-mail were also very cute, but the words were what made the impact on me. I have been so blessed with a wonderful set of friends over the years, but I think that this really helps us all to realize the importance of our friendships. I hope it also helps us to be better friends to others.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and may your team win tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

People We Admire

I am sure that we all have people who we admire in our lives. I am not talking about the current super athlete or the "to die for" latest Hollywood celebrity. There are those in our lives who earn our respect by their positive, can-do attitude, their generosity of their time and their strong faith in the darkest times. They are the image that we seek as we live our day to day lives.

There is one person in particular who makes me so appreciative to have her in my life -- my MOM. Today is a day that always reminds me of what a special person she is. It is the twelfth anniversary of the day she became a paraplegic.

My father had died just three months prior to this day and she had spent several years caring for him after his stroke. Always a very active person, my mother's life was put "on hold" for awhile while she easily slipped into the role of caregiver. We all realized that this would be time that would be difficult but had many rewards.

Shortly after my father's death my mother's time was filled with returning to her walking three miles a day with her friends, traveling and remodeling her kitchen. At the age of 73 she was very active.

She had been painting the inside of her cupboards to lighten up the interior for the new doors that were to be a light colored wood. The phone call came at 5:30 in the morning that she had "a real problem." She was unable to get out of bed after a night with a severe backache. Being a nurse, my first thought was that she had possibly ruptured a disc from all the strange body positions (contortions) while painting the cupboards.

I jumped into my car and drove the half hour to her home to see what was going on. Knowing that we had to get her to the hospital, I wanted to call an ambulance. Ever my mother, she did not want the neighbors to "see" her being taken away in an ambulance. I lifted her and carried her to the car and we proceeded on our way while she continued to apologize for making me come up so early.

It was three days and many tests later that the doctor came in to let her know that, although they did not know just what it was, she would not walk again. From that very moment there was never a "Why me?" attitude, but rather, "Let's get to the rehab hospital and move on."

She was transferred the next day and started the hardest work of her life. She was adamant that she would continue to live on her own and knew she had a lot to learn. For three months she was found cheering up other patients in the rehab -- teaching them to cook and lining up bridge games. This was in between her very scheduled days. And, yes, she did go home to her own home.

It was during this period and more testing that she was finally diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis, a disease that was foreign to me and many others. It apparently strikes one in 1.3 million people. Again, as only my mother could, she announced that she had always known that she was "one in a million."

She did move closer to my sister and myself about six years ago. She still continues, at 85 years of age, to live on her own with minimum help for cleaning and showering. There have been surgeries, health issues and many adjustments along the way but she continues to challenge each one of them with grace. Her network of friends has always been fabulous. She draws people to her with her wonderful attitude, concern about everyone else and her generosity. As she always says, "My life hasn't really changed THAT much; I'm just shorter."

What an inspiration she has been to all of us.

This photo was taken at our daughter's wedding in August.....pretty lady, isn't she?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A New Try

Many, many thanks for all the advice on trying to upload my photos to where I want them. I will give it a try with this post. It is always good to try to keep the mind sharp by learning new things. I hear that it helps to delay the big "A."

I have finally finished the rose pruning task. If I didn't love fresh flowers so much I might not feel that the result is worth the effort. I always feel a bit saddened as I prune the last rose as I know it is a few months before I will have such a lovely bouquet in the house. I was able to pick three beautiful vases full as I pruned.

Wow!!! It actually worked! I moved it down. Thank you all.

The weather has been positively gorgeous this week. On Sunday afternoon we took a drive along the coast and up through the wine country, Santa Inez Valley. The coastline was so pretty and I DIDN'T have my camera with me. The USS Ronald Reagan was in port in Santa Barbara and it was a spectacular sight. There is nothing quite like and aircraft carrier anchored in the water to take your breath away. It was huge and very impressive.

We had a couple of our grandsons for a few days and had bunches of fun with them. They are brothers and the best of friends. Grandpa and the boys had to take the tractor out to the orchard to pick some lemons for fresh lemonade.

The next day we went to the park for lunch and to feed the ducks. All was fine until the ducks decided they wanted the food a little faster.

It was a quick retreat for this one. One duck is cute, but too many is intimidating.

Again.....many thanks for all the photo help. I feel that I have accomplished a lot with this post.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fabulous Friday

Isn't it funny how folks have different nicknames for the various days of the week -- the "over-the-hump" Wednesday and T.G.I.F. Friday? I suppose it comes from the days when different jobs were assigned to different days. We are all so lucky to have modern appliances so we can accomplish all the jobs in a single day.

This has been a rather busy week around our household. The weather has suddenly turned warm and has given me the opportunity to get out in the garden to do some rose bush pruning. It is a daunting task each year as I have over 100 rose bushes. I try to get to them towards the end of December but just did not get the time this year. They seem to be fine with it as they are still producing some lovely roses. I actually picked two nice bouquets yesterday. I will cherish these last ones before the bushes come back with their spring flowers.

Yesterday was a day for getting the cars in the shop for regular servicing. I took our car in, got a ride home and then picked up my mom's car and took hers back when I picked mine up. All are in fine shape now and good for a few thousand miles more before a lube and oil is due. It is a nice feeling.

Our son's fundraiser for the CHP officer was a tremendous success. All three restaurants had their busiest days since starting -- 13 years ago. The community came together and really supported this family by eating pasta!!! Yesterday the "boys" were able to present the family with a check of close to $11,000.

Our #4 son sent us a photo of our newest grandson which I must share. I have already put the family phot on the fireplace mantle. (I have to get this picture thing down better as they automatically go to the top of the page and not where I want them inserted. Any help out there???)
Midlife Mom has tagged me for a meme on eight weird things about me. I'm not sure how to pronounce "meme' or what it really means, but I think that I need to make a list. So here goes:
1. I LOVE cleaning. The dirtier something is, the better I like it.
2. I have never met a machine that I did not like. I used to do all my own engine work on my car before I got married.
3. I am obsessed that dishes must drain dry. I feel dishtowels harbor all sorts of germs.
4. I do not like sponges for my dishes -- only dishcloths which can be bleached.
5. I can't stand going barefoot. Shoes go on first thing in the morning. Pretty weird, no?
6. I am a fabric hoard. Every nook and cranny in my house has fabric stashed in it.
7. I cry for any reason -- happy or sad. I often say that I am hooked up to the local water company.
8. I have awesome in-laws. I am so blessed with my children's choices.
Now, I wish I had someone else to tag. Hopefully I will once I get this blogging thing going.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Monday's Glory

The sun is shining and it is a glorious day. There is nothing like a good rainstorm to wash the plants of all the past year's dust and ash which, in turn, makes the entire area appear to sparkle. This past storm was quite chilly for us and left a wonderful snowcapped mountain landscape all around us. The photo does not do it justice as it truly looked as though it was glowing. (I'll eventually get this blogging with photos down.)

Meanwhile the weekend was just a wonderful time to settle in with some great projects, cooking and enjoying the warm fire.

Christmas is officially over at my home. I packed away the last nativity set this a.m. and my house looks so bare. They were still singing the Christmas carols at church yesterday morning, but I am certain this will be the last week. They sang one of my favorite songs, The Wood of the Cradle. I guess I could continue to play the tunes around here but that would be rather silly in January.

We had a young CHP officer injured very severely in an accident in December. We have all been praying for him and his family. Since he was a frequent customer at our son's restaurants there is a big fund raiser for the next two days. I will include his brother's website so anyone else can follow his progress. The man that was the cause of the accident is to appear before the courts today to be charged with DUI and other charges. It is a very sad story.

This evening we are having my FIL over for a leg of lamb dinner. We were all discussing hot malasadas on the way to church yesterday. Have you ever eaten them? We used to have them from the local stands when we lived in Hawaii. I made them for the children growing up and they always loved them. Well.....I have a batch rising right now. My mouth is watering as I imagine the delicious first one -- hot and covered with sugar. YUM! It is definitely NOT included in the new year's diets.

I hope all have a wonderful week.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Saturated Saturday

We were blessed with a very wet Friday through Saturday night rainstorm. Now those of you who get a good snowstorm might not appreciate the thrill we get from a "good" rainstorm, but we did enjoy it. I must say that I was very glad to NOT loose power as so many others in the area did. It was just fun to watch the rain coming down, watch the radar on the weather channel and curl up on the couch with a good cross stitch project. I could just see all my flowers looking upwards and soaking it all in. It has been a long spell since they have seen such a dumping from a natural source.

My husband happens to be a weather fanatic. He has a fabulous weather station set up in the garden which transmits the information into the house. When it rains really hard the station, as well as listing the minute by minute rainfall per hour, states that "It's raining cats and dogs." Needless to say, this has become a common remark around the household. Thankfully I have never seen cats or dogs actually coming down.

Today remains very dark with more rain expected throughout the day. It will be a perfect day for heading into my sewing room and working on my quilt for the newest grandchild. Being that it will be for a little boy, I am making a quilt that consists of trucks and construction equipment. I will photo transfer pictures of all of his cousins to put in the pickup beds and windows of the cranes and fork lifts. I am hoping that it will turn out as well as I picture it in my mind.

Before I head off to the sewing room I must decide on a good "comfort food" dinner. It's the perfect day for some long simmering, delicious smelling cooking throughout the house.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Welcome Wednesday

This week has me a little disoriented with the New Year's holiday. The trash man came today instead of yesterday and he caught me running to get the bins to the street before he arrived. He was kind enough to wait for me to get it out...bless him! I'd hate to have to wait another whole week after all the holiday celebrating.

Today was also "the day" for dismantle-ing the Christmas displays. I always leave my Nativity sets, which I collect, up until after the Epiphany on January 6th, but all else comes down. My feelings are very mixed as I am glad to get the house back in order again but always wonder what the new year will bring. What will I reflect upon as I am putting these decorations up next year. Am I the only one who feels that way?

This year we were blessed with two new grandsons - one a Christmas baby who arrived about a month early. We also attended too many funerals of good friends who left this world too soon. So....what will 2008 bring?

We are expecting a big storm to hit over the next five days and I am getting in gear with all my "in home" projects that I can find. I must admit that our "big" storms are generally just rain (much needed rain) and not the snow that so many folks are experiencing. However, I'll use any excuse to stay inside with my sewing machine.