31 December 2008

I am resolute

As a child I heard the statement "Can't never tried" more than I ever wanted to. It was a response from my mother when one of us said something was too hard, or that we couldn't do something difficult.

In church we have a scripture that says "The natural man is an enemy to God". For the longest time the hippie chick in me said, what??? What is wrong with being natural. Finally I got it. There is nothing wrong with embracing nature, or going green or however you want to phrase it. A natural man is (as I interpret it) one who falls back on the excuse of "being born that way" and not being able to overcome difficult traits or habits we currently bear as humans.

I have resolved, this year, to embrace my mother's voice and attempt to put off my natural self. For too long I have wallowed in behavior unbecoming of me. I am more overweight than I want to be. I am less task oriented than I'd like to be. And, I'd like to be able to be more fun.

I can do it. I can be in better shape. I can combine work and life in general. It does not have to be all or none. I can extend myself and become a better self. A less natural self, a more refined self. I'm going to like this paradigm shift.

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30 December 2008

Stocking Swap 2008

Okay, so I lied. I didn't get to the pictures until this morning. We had a family party meet-up with family members yesterday in Vegas.(not my favorite place at all, but it was in the middle) We had a great lunch and a fun little party, gifts were exchanged and tears were shed. But on to the stocking swap!

christmas stocking

This little swap was so fun! I knew it would turn out great, because hey - mom's are professional stocking stuffers! My stocking was stuffed by Cindy of at The Babbling Brooks. WOw what a stuffer! She had me pegged very well and I got all sorts of neat, stuff!

The picture shows my stocking - my red and white reindeer - and all the stuff! Not in any particular order I found all these things inside: Protector sheets for the viewing window of a camera, a lens cleaning brush that is so cool because it has a brush end and then a spray end filled with cleaning solution - it also came with a nice lens cloth, suncreen (banana boat), hand lotion, a cool bookmark with a bird on it, a compact mirror with a little brush - which is the coolest thing ever! Some m&ms, some bath and body gel, a cute set of highlighters that look like cats, a mini frame, the must have chapstick - isn't it everyone's stocking always?!, a small photo journal scrapbook that is personalized and some trident. Neat!

Cindy obviously took the time to go through my blog a bit and learn some of my obsessions. I think the only thing she left out was the airplane ride and free weeks stay in Montana!

Thank you Cindy. It was so fun to wake up to such a thoughtfully filled stocking! Thank you Tara for getting us all together to do this. I'm definitely in for next year too!

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28 December 2008

2008 Stocking Swap

I know many of you are wondering how the stocking swap went. FAB U LOUS!!!

Come back after 7 tonight and I'll have the full post. With pictures!

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25 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Remembering the real reason for stopping, and pausing today. May youfind Joy in this message too. Merry Christmas to all of you, my readers.

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21 December 2008

The stockings were hung... 2008 Stocking Swap

Tara, of The Well Rounded WOman put together the neatest thing for Christmas. I read about it and decided to join in the fun. The premise was that Moms usually stuff their own stockings at Christmas. On occasion, someone else will get the job done, but that is a rare thing indeed. Tara asked if we wanted to stuff someone else's stocking? And then someone would stuff yours.

That sounded like a good thing to do, so I signed up and waited for my swapper's name. I got Jane, frome What About Mom. If you haven't read her blog you should! I spent about three days stalking her and reading up so I could get her some neat stocking stuffers. I put together a few niceties and sent it off on it's way to her home.

Last night, I arrived home to this: A package just for me. I instructed the husband that the contents of this package would be put in my stocking on Christmas eve and I would have a full stocking on Christmas morning like everyone else!

His reply: "I already put stuff in your stocking". Bonus!!!!!

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18 December 2008

Work, it's why it's called work.

Work is kicking my behind! Who would have thought that taking a year off would have such an impact on my feet! Aaack, they are crying the blues of not standing 8 hours a day for the past year. Wowzers.
Break from work

I spent the last week in a seaside town at an outdoor mall. Fun. The people watching was the best. My feet killing me was the worst. The above picture is during a break.

Well, tis the season and all my packages are wrapped and under the tree. Well, not all some are still in the mail. I tried as I might to purchase all handmade items this year. However, the electronics portion of the purchases would have been hard to obtain if I stayed true to that hard and fast rule.

So instead I did give Amazon some of my money. A good deal of it was spent at Etsy though. So do you all want to know who I'm working for? I asked my trainer if it was okay, and she said as long as I wasn't divulging corporate secrets it would be okay.

Godiva. Yep. Godiva. A week ago I couldn't afford their chocolates and now, I'm selling them. They are very good. I especially like their dark dark chocolate. It is wonderful. So for the next few months I'll be sharing corporate secrets with y'all! Not really, but that should make them wonder! Work will take getting used to again, but maybe I'll have some fun along the way too. It can't always be work!

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10 December 2008

And so it begins...

I finally got all the paperwork cleared for the new job. I begin tomorrow. I will be training in a store on the coast!!!! How fun! They have reserved a room for me at a local hotel, given me a per diem quantity for food and told me to be there at 10:30 sharp.

Working is work. I'm not going to fool myself. It kind of gives me the willies to think I am going to be a slave to "the man" again. But then again "the man" is going to give me money. Yep, I get paid to be in a room full of superb chocolate everyday. Well, and the fact that I am going to be managing the place and people around me too. It should be a great place to work.

I'm not sure I'm ready to tell y'all exactly where I'm going to be working quite yet, as I have not seen the employee handbook and all. And before I get "Armstronged" I better make sure I can talk about where I work before I do.

It will make Christmas a bit more, what's the word, hmmm. complicated? That is about the best way to put it. I am not even sure how many days off I'll have between now and then, thank goodness I did the full court press and ordered just about everything I need for the celebration. If I still need to pick up a few things, I'll be working in a nice outdoor mall. So there should be plenty of opportunity to arrange a quick shopping excursion.

Here's to work! Here's to chocolate! Let the games begin!

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08 December 2008

American Girl

Friday, I got to go to the most wonderful place. It was at The Grove. You see Little Miss is looking forward to receiving a baby doll for Christmas. So Bri decided that the best place to go get a baby doll would be American Girl. There is a store at The Grove.Molly I blame it all on Molly.

In 1987 I had been working at a brokerage firm and passed the series 7 and became a stock broker. I was now making a decent amount of money and decided to splurge as Santa that year. I had stumbled upon this new little company that had the cutest dolls. They were wholesome and simple. They had cute stories that went with each doll. Each was from a different era. The stories were so compelling they were hard to resist! And Molly? Molly wore glasses. That was the clincher for me. As our Bri had to wear glasses.

My two younger daughters would get a doll. The oldest, well, she was too big for dolls, she would say (I should have bought her one anyway). So Molly and Kirsten joined our family. Kirsten

Wowzers! The store is just beautiful. I took a bunch of pictures (they don't mind) and could not believe how the line has expanded. What a wonderful store for little girls, and little girls at heart. The store is a plethora of pink! Everywhere you turn are shades of red, pink and white. Each doll has her own "room". The room is filled with the story of that doll. Each doll is from a different era in time, mostly divided by decades. They are portrayed as strong, wholesome girls who've endured trials in childhood. Kirsten moved to another continent. Molly was a girl during World War II.

YOu can now have a "Just Like You" doll made for your. There are 20 different characteristics that can be customized for a doll with dreams, hopes and aspirations, Just like You! I love where this company has taken the dolls. It is a good way for girls to play and learn. I applaud the American Girl company for its wholesome dolls.

The store was filled with little girls, their mothers, grandmothers, and the occasional dad. There are so many things to do in the store. You can read about the dolls. You can take you doll to the hair salon and have her hair fixed (what girl doesn't need some pampering now and then?) or you can get your photo taken with your doll int heir photo studio. There is a cafe where you can have lunch, a movie theatre to see one of the American Girl movies. There is a bookstore filled with stories of each of the historical characters. From history to contemporary, you can find a doll that meets the needs of a little girl you know.

I thought back in 1987, when I purchased our dolls, that they were very expensive. Woo, I had really splurged. Well yes I did. But these dolls have seen they're day and still look new. They were played with a lot! And yet, there in their boxes waiting for bigger girls to get them out and begin new play times they look almost new. I am sure they will be joined with others from the collection and will spend many years making believe with little girl dreams and hopes anew. It was worth every penny.

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05 December 2008

Fire Scrambles, fused glass and cover-ups

Just your average day here at the 1963 remodel. I have been fusing ornaments four at a time for this seasons ornament. The design is nice, I like it a lot. Most people have used the design for plates (have I already said that?, possibly.) But I like the ornament idea, it is heavy though. Definitely a lower branch ornament.

What has really taken my time though is the fire scramble.

I had a friend of s'mee's call me wanting some vinyl cuts for a Relief Society project. I did those, and she called and needed more. She also mentioned she had a Christmas project to do and coudl I help her with it. I always like to help, can you know, I'm a giver! (well and the fact that she's paying me doesn't hurt either - amazing how that works) She asked if I could cut a fire scramble. A what? The picture above is what she tells me is a fire scramble. It's cool. You can see the hook, the ladder, the horn, the axe, and of course the helmet. My nephew is a firefighter, and so it is neat to learn a bit of the lingo.

Wendy wanted them cut from vinyl that looked like frosted glass. I did them and they are really cool. Other than the fact that they are seriously difficult to see! Hmmm clear frosted vinyl against a white background, could that be hard to see? Yep! But I got them weeded (that's cutters talk for removing the unwanted vinyl in the picture) and sent off - none too soon - yesterday afternoon. S'mee caught wind of what I was doing so asked if I could do one for her, and since she's my sister I sent her one too. Hopefully, she'll take a picture of her finished project and we'll all get to see how it turns out! (ball definitely in s'mee's court!)

And, then, I decided that the four year old and I have to come to a meeting of the minds. She can watch cartoons in my office/scrapping/vinyl cutting all purpose room, if and it's a big if four a four year old, she doesn't get into things. Well remember she's only four. Curious and curiouser makes a four year old mind develop the forgetful bug. After too many hours of saying "you shouldn't be into that" I decided to make it easier for her to enjoy herself and not get into what grown-ups call trouble. First thing I did was make this: Pretty eh? Well, it was some left over fabric, and it goes so well with the chocolate colored walls who could resist? (yes I'm being cheeky!) But it now covers up the vinyl cutter. 1 temptation down! Then I put away my things, and will get them out when I need them. Put the scissors up high and cover the computer with a towel. I think we're making progress. Well, for a few days anyway.

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02 December 2008

House remodeling - 1963 architecture.

We have spent many hours thinking, pondering and wishing for the opportunity to remodel our current home. It is the only home on our street that is a two bedroom home. We took the opportunity a few years back to downsize from a four bedroom with few regrets. The added bonus of going from large home to smaller was the yard size. In our other home, we had very little yard. This house came with a large yard, so large that if we do decide to add a third bedroom, it will still leave lots of yard for outdoor fun.

We are seriously adding the room. But the fun part is the fact that there isn't a foundation. We have a crawl space under the house for plumbing repairs and other fun stuff. That's where we are hesitant to move forward with the remodel. However, Thanksgiving brought another reason to be thankful.

Yes. Another reason! Wednesday evening, well pretty much throughout the day we replaced the dishwasher. Yes, amongst the other things happening in the kitchen, Tuesday was the day we discovered the dead dishwasher. It had been installed by the former owner (who should never be allowed to purchase items from a do it yourself hardware store) without much knowledge of electrical or plumbing standards. This is a picture of how he chose to get electricity to the dishwasher!
Yeah. He just drilled a hole through the tile and fed the wires through to take up a plug on the counter side. Arrgh! In 1963 there wasn't a lot of things to plug in, coffeepot, mixer on occasion so you didn't need a lot of plugs. By taking this one out for the dishwasher, it has made using a food processor, a crockpot, an electric knife, an ice cream maker and many other appliances kind of difficult.

Sigh. But alas here is the newly installed dishwasher. I had wanted to wait to do the complete kitchen remodel (which will begin in January 2009) before installing a new dishwasher. We are relocating it to a different wall and taking out a bank of cabinets. But, for some reason the rest of the family didn't want to wait for a new dishwasher until then. It is a pretty basic model, but it does have the sanitize option. I like that option. As you can see, the stainless steel front is going to fun to keep finger mark free.

All in all, I am glad we did have the money available to just go out and buy a new dishwasher. Thankfulness abounds here!

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27 November 2008

Happy Thankgiving all

I too, like many others, are thankful for the usual things like family, friends, and home and hearth. You know those things that make life livable - people, pets, full tummies on a daily basis...

As I sit here in the early morning, VH1 is running a Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd special. I'm thankful for those guys too. For the talent and music they've given the world. A simple melody can take you back to good memories and make more along the way.

Musicians in general are truly reason to be thankful. What would we all do without Mozart, Beethoven, Handel or Ravel? Or John Denver, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and Alan Parsons. Megadeath for those times when you really need to relieve some stress. And Rammstein. Eddie Arnold, Clint Black, The Four Seasons and many many others that can take you on a journey in your mind.

Even the small sound of a flute playing a familiar tune can fill you up in an instant. I hope your day is filled with wonderful melodies with reminders of good days long past.

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26 November 2008

2008 Fused Glass Ornament

2008 Ornament

Yes, there is actually going to be glass at Christmas again around here. With al lthe changes around here I have just not had a lot of time to do glass work. But then one of my husbands co-workers asked what kind of ornament I was making this year. I thought I better get myself in gear and get one made.

I have seen this design for plates and really thought they were cute. But then again I love bows. Not to wear, unless it's a piece of jewelry though! I thought they'd work out to be a cute ornament and here's the finished project:

2008 Ornament

I am not sure if I am going to add them to the website or just take orders from here. I'll let you know. If you are interested leave a comment!

Type rest of the post here

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25 November 2008

Martha Stewart Holiday 2008

Oh yes, I'm a sucker for a holiday magazine. I saw this one and just had to add it to the cart. (Then I saw it on eBay for $3 more than I paid - do people really not get out?) So flipping through it I found some really neat things to round out the holiday and add just the right touch for the 4 year old.

The issue covers keepsake for everyone, gifts from the kitchen, handmade gifts and wrappings and cards. My favorites include, the beaded star ornaments, the glittered candle holders and the painted china.

We will definitely make the beaded start ornaments. Of course, we'll have to watch those little fingers - that they stay out of ears! - but I think she'll have a fun time making these.

Also the glittered candle holders I think we'll do but use embossing powder instead of glitter. I've done it before and really liked the results. And, you don't have glitter everywhere when you're done!

I've been wanting to try the simple version of china painting for a long time. Maybe we'll start with some cocoa mugs and work our way up to plates!

What is nice about this issue is that they have included all the templates need to finish a project! I'll post pictures of our results as we get them done.

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20 November 2008

Proof that 4 year olds have more fun

This morning when Dad went to get his shoes. This is what he found:
Barbie and dads shoes

My response was to take a picture of course. Then to caption it. "I'm not sure what dad was doing last night, but his shoes sure had fun!"

The four year old is such a blessing around here. There is very little she does that makes you want to holler. Mostly she just add a dimension that you find yourself smiling and laughing at the simplest things.

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18 November 2008

Fundraiser and Christmas shopping in one!

If you have made the handmade pledge, meaning you will buy handmade fro Christmas and other gifts, you must go over to The Ruefners blog. Abbie is holding a fundraising auction to help defray the cost of a heart transplant for Baby Mia. There are all kinds of neat things to buy including Swiss CHocolate, Christmas cards, and a really neat doll made by Liz Hanson (using a Black Apple pattern)! If you haven't begun or finished you shopping, go take a look and make a bid. You know you'll feel great about being a part of this fundraiser!

I'm bidding on a couple of items, see if you can outbid me!

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17 November 2008

Firestorms a great metaphor

The fires have taken their toll on everyone around SoCal. The internet is suffering. The connection time is so slow, this post will be picture-less. The fires, after spending like um two seconds to think about it, are a rgeat metaphor for the U.S. right now. It's like we are stuck in this horrible place with only one way out, and it's scary, and hot, and frightening, but we have no choice but to soldier through it. Hopefully things will be better on the other side. But it will never be the same.

That said, I like very few other people in the IE, have just gotten a real full time job. Yep. I decided rather than suffer through this financial meltdown quietly hoping for a miracle, I could get a job and do something about it. Easier said than done for most people. I know. I have two sons-in-law, both fresh out of a university education, brand new shiny and ready to go to work who can't find a decent job. Aaack.

So what do I do? I waltz into a local corporate environment, on a dare mostly, and land a really good job. And, it involves chocolate. It's the best of both worlds, they pay me to work, I work hard, and then they pay me to be around chocolate all day long. Oh. my.

I figure that since no one is going to bail me out, you see I'm not three months behind on my mortgage, I still need to pay my credit cards off before I have one chance in hades to build a house in AZ, so I better do something about it. Contrary to popular belief not everyone in SoCal makes money in real estate. In fact, every single real estate transaction I've ever made in SoCal has been timed so well, that it is fight or flight. We've flown a couple of times and now we're going to fight. Probably around the time sit gets turned around, I'll be ready to go to AZ and then the fires will hit this neighborhood. Just keep moving forward.

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13 November 2008

Elton John, my Hero

Last evening Elton John was in NYC. He was hosting his Annual AIDS benefit. Of course, the press wanted to get his take on the whole Proposition 8 issue. Well, Sir Elton caught a few people off guard. And I loved it.

This is what he had to say: In December 2005, John and Furnish tied the knot in a civil partnership ceremony in Windsor, England. But, clarified the singer, "We're not married. Let's get that right. We have a civil partnership. What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage. Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word marriage. John and Furnish, and their two cocker spaniels, Marilyn and Arthur, were in town for Tuesday's annual benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

"I don't want to be married. I'm very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership," John says. "The word 'marriage,' I think, puts a lot of people off. You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships." as quoted from this article.
Now can we all just listen to him, if we won't listen to reason any other place?

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10 November 2008

Sunrise, Mogollon Ridge

Mogollon Ridge sunrise

When we started out toward California yesterday morning it was dark. As we drove through the Mogollon Ridge the sun was rising. We had to pull over to take this photo. It was breath taking.

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09 November 2008

The American Way of Life

For the recent past, I have been doing my best to hold my tongue and not say something I will regret as I have a long history of speaking first. But enough is enough. Sometimes you just have to say something.

I grew up in the Cumbaya era. Free love. Sex, drugs and Rock-n-Roll was the mantra of the day. Loving our Mother. One Way. Set it Free...blah blah blah. All a bunch of poetic rhetoric that as soon as most of us had a big bunch of money waved in our faces we decried our "love is all you need" attitudes and jumped on the "me first" band wagon.

It is hardly unexpected. We didn't want to be our parents. We were told to question authority and question ourselves, our values and everything we came in contact with. However, we also needed to pay the bills, have a few kids, buy a McMansion, and then grow a new conscience (as defined: the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one's own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good).

A conscience to return to the earth, to recycle, to love the earth and take care of it, to allow the actions of another - as long they didn't interfere with our own. To be socially responsible. However, some people thought that writing a big fat check took the place of actual action on their part. But still a conscience is good, it moves people to action.

Then the big one. To love without abandon. Even if it meant abandoning everything you had been taught about being moral. And you know what? It has made life more burdensome for everyone. The "if it feels good do it" lifestyle hurts a lot of people. I know from personal experience. My real father chose to worship at the alter of alcohol. Others in my family have made choices that put some of us in danger at times, all with the excuse that they couldn't help their behavior and that they were born that way. You know what, that is the worst possible excuse for anything. What you are saying (and please spare the emails in explanation - I've lived this) is that you matter more than anyone else. You care more about yourself than you do anyone else, because you won't even realize that this trial you've been given is too hard to overcome. Yeah. I know how much you love me, you've shown it.

Now all of this has spilled over into politics. In America we all have the right to vote. Each votes our conscience. Each goes into that little space we're given to vote in and casts a ballot. Let the votes be tallied and there are winners and there are losers. Someone's choices are not given the go-ahead and others' are. Some people are told they have to take better care of the animals they raise for food. Others are told it's okay that a teen-aged girl can have an abortion without her parents consent. Others are told that a woman and a man are the only people that can be joined in "marriage". And so on and so on.

What bugs me is when people think because the vote doesn't go their way they should find the people that voted the opposite way, hunt them down, scream at them, four inches from their faces, riot, wreak havoc in the streets of cities across the nation and generally acting nothing like the people they say they are - loving people who just want to love. Rioting at another person's spiritual centers is not a way to get them to change their way of thinking - have we forgotten 9/11 and the attacks on mosques in America - did that work? Does it work ever?

Maybe we should all recognize what it means to be an American. We get to vote. We get to disagree. We get to bring forth new proposals and vote on them. Let the chips fall where they may. We do not have the right to make life miserable for everyone just because we didn't get the results we'd hoped for after we voted. And remember, Cumbaya folks.

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07 November 2008

I love technology

I am in the middle of the desert traveling at 80 m.p.h. in my husband's truck. We are headed to the ranch this weekend. We cannot get a radio station on the radio that's how far we are away from civilization. However, I did say I love technology...

That's because if it were twenty years ago, posting on my blog while driving would be an impossibility. But I'm not just writing a post, I'll be publishing it in a few minutes all courtesy of a Sprint wireless card my husband has just received from work. Yahoo!

I think of how much our lives have been made convenient through technology. A mere 20 years of progress in the field of computers and electronics is amazing to me. I think of my brother a lot when I experience these things. He was the ulitmate Star Trek fan. He embraced music on every level. I even remarked the other day to my daughter about how much he would have loved an iPod. The boy at 15 recorded music off the radio for his cassette player! He was a record club member at 13. I think of him and music and technology combined and I miss him and the possibility to experience these things with him. My husband and I will go to movies are sit and watch a DVD at home and he'll say to me "you know, Mike would have loved this". I know babe, he would.

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06 November 2008

Ozzy came to visit!

Ozzy in dress up mode
Yes, and can I tell you how fun he is? His "parents" came too. They were down to attend a Rise Against concert Friday night. So we got to take Ozzy with us trick or treating.

We first tried this costume on him. Pig?
No. Ozzy just looked well, um, the youngest one said "like he's being raped by a pig", and I guess that says it all. So we decided to go with the orange shirt stating "this is my costume" on it. He was the hit of trunk or treat. Everyone just loved him.

Saturday was spent at Balboa Park with a group of English Bulldog owners. Lunch was at El Indio's. mmmm. Next time they come, they'll probably join us in Arizon. Time for everyone to be at the ranch!

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04 November 2008

Voting 08, observations

I went to vote this morning at 8 a.m. The lines were a bit long, but not too much.
Lines at 8am
Lots of voters

The parking lot was full of voters on one side and school parents drop off on the other. The polling place was at a local church, that also housed a Christian school.
Voting day It was nice that they had a bit of reserved parking this time. What surprised me though was the rain! I didn't know it was going to rain today.
Voting day 11-4-08 rain
I now know for certain that all I should do is wash my car and it will rain in SoCal!

A few interesting observations about the vote this year though.

1. For the first time ever, my polling place had black precinct workers. I live in a predominantly white community (historically), I've never seen a black person at the polling place, much less black workers. It seemed odd.

2. A mexican man was trying to vote. They could not find his name on the rolls. It was finally decided that her would be allowed to register and vote today. He was given a form to fill out (He filled it out on a table right next to me as I waited in line) with a 1 inch banner across the top in english stating something about falsifying a registration record being a felony. I noticed the form also had spanish translation on it. The man filled out the form with great difficulty. He was copying what the driver's license he was carrying had on it for information. He was not sure at all about putting the info in the right places and had to ask twice about what should go where. When he got up to ask questions he left the license at the table. Would this be classified as an abnormality at the precinct?

3. The lady, who seemed to be in charge, handed me my ballot and said she had mistakenly torn off the verification barcode and handed me both the ballot and the bar code strip. I asked her if it was a spoiled ballot, she emphatically stated no.

4. The poll worker that checked me in did not have a good command of the alphabet. I told him my name, and then stated my address. He began looking up my first name and told me I was in the wrong line. I told him no, he needed to use my last name to look me up. I gave him that name and he proceeded to look in the wrong portion of the alphabet, I told him the letter was between this letter and that letter. Oh. He then asked me if my name was x. I told him no. It was x. and pointed to my name on the list. aaaaccckkk!

5. I think it is weird that polling places, where I live, are always at churches. I guess there is not a problem for the separation of church and state when you need a free place to vote. I do wonder if there are people that vote by mail because they won't enter a church building.


Just some random observation for this day in November, history making or not.

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This is how I feel about Hollywood, and celebrities

No other words needed.

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29 October 2008

Frank Capra's John Doe

Okay so I know I told you all about being insignificant when it comes to voting. Then, we had a free evening from TV; nothing on Wednesday's now that Project Runway is over... So I pulled a DVD from the shelf and we decided to pop some corn and watch a movie together. We decided to watch Frank Capra's John Doe (1941). I love Frank Capra, and think he did a good job of showing the common man on film. In the movie, times are hard and people are struggling. People are losing their jobs, politicians are self serving and newspapermen are manipulating the vote. Sounds familiar, eh? In the movie there is a speech. It gets me every time I watch the film.

John Doe, played by Gary Cooper, gets talked into doing a radio speech. The speech is written by a desperate journalist trying to keep her job so she can pay her bills and take care of her widowed mother. Her mother gives her father's journal to her to inspire the speech she's been asked to write. This is the crux of it.

"I am the man you all know as John Doe. I took that name because it seems to describe...the average man - and that's me. (He clears his throat.) And that's me. Well, it was me before I said I was going to jump off the City Hall roof at midnight on Christmas Eve. Now I guess I'm not average anymore. Now I'm getting all sorts of attention, from big shots too, the mayor and the governor, for instance. They don't like those articles I've been writing...

(he's then heckled from the audience and the heckler is rushed from the room) he continues:
Well, people like the governor and that fellow there can stop worrying. I'm not going to talk about them. I'm gonna talk about us - the average guys, the John Does. If anybody should ask you what the average John Doe is like, you couldn't tell him because he's a million and one things. He's Mr. Big and Mr. Small, he's simple and he's wise, he's inherently honest but he's got a streak of larceny in his heart. He seldom walks up to a public telephone without shovin' his finger into the slot to see if somebody left a nickel there...

He's the man the ads are written for. He's the fella everybody sells things to. He's Joe Doakes, the world's greatest stooge and the world's greatest strength. Yes sir, yes sir, we're a great family, the John Does. We are the meek who are supposed to inherit the earth. You'll find us everywhere. We raise the crops, we dig the mines, work the factories, keep the books, fly the planes and drive the buses, and when the cop yells, 'Stand back there you,' he means us - the John Does. We've existed since time began. We built the pyramids. We saw Christ crucified, pulled the oars for Roman emperors, sailed the boats for Columbus, retreated from Moscow with Napoleon, and froze with Washington at Valley Forge. Yes sir, we've been in there dodging left hooks since before History began to walk. In our struggle for freedom, we've hit the canvas many a time, but we always bounced back because we're the people - and we're tough.

They've started a lot of talk about free people goin' soft, that we can't take it. That's a lot of hooey! A free people can beat the world at anything, from war to tiddlywinks, if we all pull in the same direction. I know a lot of you are saying, 'What can I do? I'm just a little punk. I don't count. Well, you're dead wrong. The little punks have always counted because in the long run, the character of a country is the sum total of the character of its little punks.

But we've all got to get in there and pitch. We can't win the old ball game unless we have teamwork. And that's where every John Doe comes in. It's up to him to get together with his teammate, and your teammate, my friends, is the guy next door to ya. Your neighbor - he's a terribly important guy, that guy next door. You're gonna need him and he's gonna need you, so look him up. If he's sick, call on him. If he's hungry, feed him. If he's out of a job, find him one. To most of you, your neighbor is a stranger, a guy with a barkin' dog and a high fence around him. Now you can't be a stranger to any guy that's on your own team. So tear down the fence that separates you. Tear down the fence and you'll tear down a lot of hates and prejudices. Tear down all the fences in the country and you'll really have teamwork.

I know a lot of you are saying to yourselves: 'He's askin' for a miracle to happen. He's expecting people to change all of a sudden.' Well, you're wrong. It's no miracle. It's no miracle because I see it happen once every year and so do you at Christmastime. There's something swell about the spirit of Christmas, to see what it does to people, all kinds of people. Now why can't that spirit, that same warm Christmas spirit last the whole year round? Gosh, if it ever did, if each and every John Doe would make that spirit last 365 days out of the year - we'd develop such a strength, we'd create such a tidal wave of good will that no human force could stand against it. Yes sir, my friends, the meek can only inherit the earth when the John Does start loving their neighbors. You'd better start right now. Don't wait till the game is called on account of darkness. Wake up, John Doe, you're the hope of the world."

Maybe we should all rent a copy of this movie and send it to their favorite politician, and two to their least favorite. We're the people. They work for us. We're not insignificant! We need our voices heard. It starts with our neighbors. Truly.

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The name meme

This meme is making it through the blog world in lightening speed! It's fun, but I kind of wish I didn't have to just limit it to one child o mine. Each of them have great names, that I think they like, a lot. But s'mee has said she wants to hear about my youngest one. I give you The Youngest One!

Name and meaning: Gillian Heather. Gillian from Gaelic means St. Johns servant, the latin meaning youthful. Gill's name was given to her like our other daughters. We knew that as they married each of our daughters would have a new last name. We wanted to make sure their names would define them no matter what last name they had. Their names were chosen to represent their heritage, while also making sure they were strong names, giving them self identity and confidence. We also tried to make sure their names weren't common. We succeeded with Gill's, the other girls' became very popular while they were small. Gill's name remained pretty obscure throughout her school years. She also shares her name with a cousin's given name, althought the cousin has never been known as Gillian!

: 26 man I'm young, I had her when I was 15!

: Bean, a derivative of Gillibean. We all refer to Gill as Bean.

Favorite activities
: Gill is a true driver. I think she likes driving more than anything! Winding in and out of curves and speeding on the straightaways really puts a smile on her face. She not only drives fast, but she knows how her car works, and how to, if need be fix the car too!

She is also a great nurturer. She had recently become the mom of a new puppy and I am amazed at how she has learned what needs to be done to make sure he is healthy, disciplined and loved.

Gill is very creative also, she loves beading and has made several necklaces and bracelets for friends and family.

She also loves to cook. When she was younger she thought she would go to culinary arts school. Instead she fell in love and moved to potato land.

Favorite Foods: hmmm. can we say chocolate? But then again, Gill is a great cook. She has studied and learned on her own and can cook really well. Yahoo! Chicken and Dumplings are a real fave, not Gill's alone in that, we all love them!

Least favorite foods: Gill can not stand pizza! Yep the all American girl can't stand the stuff.

Favorite music: That's a tough one. I know for a fact that without Kevin and Bean podcasts, life just wouldn't be the same for Gill. But music, favorite? hmmmm. Gill has been raised with music as a soundtrack, all kinds. She's probably have to pick alternative/punk, just like her dad. To me she'll always be Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl.

Favorite toys: Her GTI! And now her new Rabbit!

Favorite Books: The Jolly Postman. She also is liking the Twilight series. Gill loves to read.

Favorite item of clothing
: Right now, probably her work out clothes. She spends a lot of time at the gym.

What makes her happy
: Her Tall Guy. The beach. The two of those combined! oh and Ozzy, can't forget him.

What makes her sad
: Being far away from her sisters (and us too). And snow.

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28 October 2008

Bathroom remodel anyone?

Oh heck. Today started off so good. There was a list of possibilities. They quickly turned into "Oh my Heck!"
bathroom remodel on it's way

The middle daughter drew the short straw evidently this morning. She went to pull the lever up to take a shower and is now responsible for a total bathroom remodel! The house hasn't been touched since 1963 and that faucet connector (called a nipple - just for the blog traffic thank you!) is fused with the main pipe and will not budge. See photo below:

h in a handbasket This picture is evidence of what facilitated the remodel. The tool, a nipple extractor - yeah guys name tools (forged steel) broke off inside the pipe (nipple, there I go again!) so now the entire pipe will have to be removed. That means taking out the tile. The tile is cemented on the wall. Those pesky 1963 builders! They've built this house to last through the millennium. Just not the plumbing.

We have been planning this for months actually. But we were waiting to see if we were going to expand the bathroom, and add a master bedroom onto the house. We are fortunate to own a house in the county so the building fees are reasonable. The only thing to be considered is the fact that this house was built in 1963. It has no foundation and a crawl space. So do we add on behind the other bedroom and expand the bathroom or do we use the patio already in and build on a room behind the garage?

The answer to that is if the patio is the correct thickness to be classified as a foundation. If it is the bathroom will stay the same size and we'll just add the room on the back of the garage. It will be the most cost effective room and we can make our other bathroom a full bath without too many difficulties. Worst thing? The middle daughter still hasn't been able to take a shower, fun.

Son Alison, have any tips for me?

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27 October 2008

People watching

A favorite pastime of mine is people watching. I guess it's why I enjoy blogging so much. Not my blogging but other peoples. But mostly I love going places and sitting and watching and eavesdropping and generally enjoying being there with everyone.

Recently we went to lunch, in San Diego, at my favorite bread bakery, Con Pane. I've talked about it on the food blog - Catherine's bakery is THE BEST bread shop in all of San Diego! It is located at Cajon and Rosecrans streets in Point Loma. We were there Saturday. I sat and had the best sandwich - Roast Beef on Kalamata olive bread, with goat cheese Yum! - and watched people come and go.
Con Pane

There was a family of five. 3 boys. One attending UCSD obviously. They were having a sandwich together exchanging stories and chatting. There was a man with a broken leg with a woman. They left via the front door, and I just knew they were driving the Jeep Cherokee for some reason (I had parked in front of it), and it would have been simpler to go out the side door. But he had a broken leg with a cast to the knee, so they must have decided going down the ramp would be simpler than maneuvering through a double door.

You could tell the regulars from the tourists. The tourists always stared in awe at the menu of available sandwiches, wondering which to choose. The regulars, simply stated, a round of Pt Loma Sourdough or the favorite of the day - a Gruyere with sun dried tomatoes or a Walnut Whole Wheat (which had already sold out) or a couple of bagettes. Quickly as can be a sandwich was prepared, delivered, and on to the next customer. I was hoping to get a chocolate brioche, but we were too late!

We finished lunch with me apologizing for the silence while we ate as I hadn't been in public much lately and I was too fascinated by all the people coming and going. The husband responded that I needed to get out more. Maybe I will. We have a day planned for the Grove.

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26 October 2008

Can I blog a bit on the future?

I'm just thinking about how glad I will be once this election takes place. Most of us have hard lines written in the sand about what we will and won't do with regard to voting. Then we make some off the cuff statement to a loved one or a person we really care about and offend them. Yeah, describes a lot of us currently.

What I'm saying is how happy I will be when it's done. (don't get me wrong I still have certain convictions) I think it is very important though to realize who really controls this country. It's big money. And if you're not big money, don't go around offending those people who love you, just because you think you're right and they're not. We all are entitled to our opinions. We just don't need to buy into the I'm right/you're wrong mentality.

Songs have little trite titles, but they do express what I am saying. "Love is all you need", "Love is all around", or any number of other love songs. Love is what keeps us together, yeah another one! We have very little bearing on what really happens in this government, I think they let us vote to give us the illusion of being a part of it all. But really, it doesn't work that way at all.

So go vote, get it out of your system, and let's all go back to working and paying our bills, and buying a few trinkets along the way.

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24 October 2008

No here's something we can all agree on...

I was over at Slice of Pink and she had a link to Pundit Kitchen. I didn't know what it was, but I do now!

Pundit Kitchen is a website filled with pictures of politicians, celebrities and random places found in the news. What you can do to those pictures is where the fun begins. You get to add your own caption to the pictures. Now that's something we all can agree upon. We all have something to say, witty or not, about celebrities or politicians. My favorite was this photo of Alan Greenspan. I was flabbergasted, and that is not a word I use often as I reserve it for phenomenal things like the current collapse of our financial markets at the hands of "professionals", at his comments to congress this past week. "I didn't know, I couldn't imagine it would turn out like this..." Please!

What picture will you caption?

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20 October 2008

Snowflake Arizona!

Yay. I get to go here, this weekend! woohoo!
AZ ranch

Isn't that a beautiful shot? And, It hasn't been altered (well, that I remember). It is only one of the thousand pictures that I have of the ranch that make you just want to drop everything and run there now! Here are a couple more:
Moon rise over the ranch
See what I mean? The rocks are on the property next to ours. The moonrise is from a trip we took a couple of times ago. Soon, this will be our permanent dwelling. We are fact finding on this trip to see if we can somehow rangle a way to be there sooner than later. It should be fun.

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19 October 2008

Guess the picture

I went with the family the other and took some pictures. What is this?
what could it be

I took some others too. Guess what they are.
texture 1
texture 2
texture 3
texture 8
texture 9

Clue: My life is being run by a four year old currently. And, I love it.

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17 October 2008


For years, I have been subjected to all the bird jokes. Yes, I've heard just about all of them. I chose to embrace Rocking Robin and her boppin all around as my favorite. Well, I have a new favorite! Perch is a lovely little blog I've been keeping to myself for some time now. Justine, the author, has the best taste around. I have drooled at her posts and snagged a few pictures to put in my "house" file for when we build our home. Justine is also a good friend of my daughter's I've come to find out recently.

Tomorrow Perch is going to spotlight Over the River and Through the Woods.... We are very excited to have Justine review us and have a giveaway. Yes, a giveaway! All you need to do is go to her site and make a comment on her post spotlighting our new venture! We're giving away a few goodies to give your parties the perfect pizazz!

Go, quick! You'll have a week to sign up, but you have to do it!

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16 October 2008

Oh what a night, and a day...

Last night I couldn't sleep. Aaaack. I got up three times because I was processing. My mind was going a hundred miles a minute. I was filled with self doubt, and questioning every single thing I am doing. bleh. Finally, about three a.m. I went to sleep.

You know that Pink Floyd song that begins with all those banging gongs and ringing bells? I think it's Time. Yeah. that's it. At five thirty six, that's what happened to start my day. Yep. The M-i-l was calling to let us know she was having another panic attack. I think I joined her. Melty gel

I went full on melt down. I felt just like my jello experiment from years ago. The husband came home from work, we were discussing all the events of the day and suddenly there I was a pool of melted me sobbing away. Not a pretty sight.

My plate is a bit full and I am a control freak. Not a good combination. But I have a nice shiny stove to thank for all the frustration. I clean when I can't control anything else, or when everything is chaos. So, I'm changing course and going back to my business mind. I will return to my list making. All those years ago of listening to Hyrum Smith tell me my Franklin planner was my friend and Stephen Covey (love ya stephen!) ingraining win-win into my every motive, I've decided it must be. Lists and endorphins will accompany my every move.

I've added yet another blog. Watch me grow, along with my new partner, Bri.

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13 October 2008

Knit Two, Kate Jacobs

I was given the opportunity to read an advance copy of Kate Jacobs' latest book. You may remember me giving away a few copies of her book "Comfort Food" a while back. As I stated, I have a ton of things going on here currently and the thought of setting aside time to read weighed on me. However, Thursday afternoon she drew me in.

I am not sure which character actually snagged me. Was Darwin, with her odd name and lists? Dakota in her youthful zest to taste life and leave everything behind? Or Catherine? Oh Catherine. I found myself telling her to just live life, intead of trying to manage every second.

I must admit, I'm jealous. Flat out jealous. Not of Kate Jacobs, but of the circle of friends she created in this series of book. They are just a group of women, ordinary women who have knitting in common. But I have walked through the door of knitting shops, many times, to find an eclectic group of women gathered round chattering about this and that, only to fall silent at the presence of a stranger. I always felt as if I was intruding. Not until I read Knit Two did I come to an understanding about those groups of ladies. It wasn't that I was intruding at all. I only had stumbled upon a group of knit together women, trading stories of their past week. And last year, and five years or even possibly ten together. I just wasn't part of their afghan, so to speak.

I've not been a part of such a group. My heart fills with envy as my sister speaks of her book discussion group, and her great Christmas party each year. Over the years these groups have grown together and apart, sharing their triumphs and joys, the trials and hardships, and all things in between with each other. Kate Jacobs has captured those group in her book so well, I feel the need to find one!

Knit Two is a delightful read worthy of the few days it may take you to read it. It is predictable in parts and surprising in others. In the end, I'm glad I picked it up and now am going to go purchase the first book The Friday Night Knitting Club in the series to see where this all began.

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09 October 2008

Photography, m&ms, color

I've had snippets of time here and there. And I always take pictures of m&ms.
Black and White Colored M&Ms

This one of my favorite shots ever. The black m&ms were in a Halloween package I purchased. I took some shots in color, then I decided to take a color black and white image. Cream and sugar. I love it.

Here are some other shots using the colored m&ms.
m&ms in crystal
Good but still my fave is the B&W one. I am obsessed with the little round candies. Not for eating, mostly I can't eat them, until they've been photographed. Don't ask me why. There really isn't an explanation. Just a bit of a meander through memory lane.

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08 October 2008

Vineyards, grapes and growing

One of my favorite things about living in this area is the opportunity to take a drive and see the countryside. June 1st we were out driving around I was enthralled with the beauty of the Temecula Wine country. So much so that I had to stop and take some pictures. The grapes were just tiny little grapes at that point, I filed it away and told myself I needed to go back later in the year to check on their progress.
grapes on the vine

The are acres and acres of grapes growing in the valley that will ripen on the vine to the perfect ripeness, then harvested and made into wine. I don't enjoy the wine, but the beauty of the full vine is something everyone should enjoy.

ripe grapes

Isn't that picture just gorgeous? I can see it framed and hanging on the wall in my kitchen. Well, that is if I had a wall in my kitchen that I could hang a picture on. But alas I don't, so I'll share it with you.

September 1st I got up really early. I decided it was time to go check the grapes. The valley was filled with men harvesting grapes. Still, as I stopped, parked and took pictures, they paid me no mind. It was peaceful and cool, no one but me and the harvesters doing their work. I love the solitude of exploring with my camera. To my amazement, the grapes were ready to be picked. Full deep color, bursting off the vine. The dust covering their deep purple flesh, until touch by a harvester. They'll be cut off the vine with a sharp knife to be laid with other bunches into huge bins. Then off to the processing room to be made into wine. Makes me thirsty for some really good chilled grape juice right about now. hmmm.

As I posted the pictures it was startling to me that these two pictures were taken exactly three months apart. I wonder what I could do personal that would accomplish those kinds of results in so quickly a time? I could exercise, like my friend Scarehaircare and get great results. I could read a few good books and set some goals. Or I could tell myself that I couldn't get anything done in so short a time to make any real effect.

I've been thinking a lot about my oldest daughter and her husband. Almost three years ago they started off a new adventure in their lives. He was headed for law school far across the country where we didn't know anyone. My daughter was apprehensive about being so far away and wondered out loud if they'd survive this adventure. How would they ever do it? And have a child to boot? Now they are just about done and it seems to have only been a small time that they've been away. Not only have they gotten through it, but they've done great things too. They have one little boy and are adding another child to the family just in time for graduation! Son-in-law has secured employment, daughter has learned she is a good mom, and wife, and party planner and a few other great things. It has been a good experience for them.

Maybe instead of thinking about things so much, and what the outcome will be, we should all just go do something and be surprised with the results! Give away the fear and do as they say "keep moving forward". You never know what they harvest will be until you plant a few seeds.

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06 October 2008


I took this photo Saturday when we were in Redondo Beach.

There's just something about a seagull. He sat on the pier post allowing me to take his photo for about five minutes.

We walked the pier area and then drove through the city. Redondo Beach was the first city my parent lived in when they came to California. I was three months old. Could they not have freaking bought a house???!! Well, I think they did, but all the fighting and drama that was their life, the house was quickly wrestled away and we began our nomadic life I came to know so well. I love Redondo and wish I still lived there. Well, it was not to be, and I need to visit more often I guess. Maybe the whole financial mess will collapse and I 'll be able to pick up a house cheap. Yeah, that's going to happen! I can dream.

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05 October 2008

Projects keeping me busy

I never realized how much time could be consumed with a four year old in the house. The girl runs circles around me! With a hundred questions at a time. It is incredible. It is wonderful to have her here. She has such a positive attitude, I love being with her.

She has made me more responsible with my time. I have begun making my lists again, and things are getting done. I am half way through making new stroller pads and covers for the stroller we purchased for $25. It will be as good as new by Wednesday.
New Stroller cushions

What other things am I working on? New items for a new etsy shop coming soon. I must keep it a secret until the launch, then you can all see!

I've been working as a video assistant for my husband on a project for his works website. We have been filming nurses - telling their stories - about what it is like to work as a hospice nurse. It has been extremely interesting.

I've begun a small quilt. I saw a picture of a quilt on a website a woman had done. I loved the quilt, it's a tree with leaves surrounding it. I fell in love with it and am beginning to work on the applique process tomorrow.

Percolating in the background are some ideas for a few YouTube videos my sis and I may make. They will be funny, informative and all about cooking and homekeeping. It looks as if it might be great fun.

Tomorrow is the husband's birthday. He joins me in age! Yay. I am no longer the old woman! We will have a nice dinner and a few gifts he doesn't know about. We'll finish off the evening installing a new garbage disposal. Whoopee!

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02 October 2008

A new addition to the family!

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd post about adding another member to the family so soon! But the Youngest One has given us the opportunity to brag once again!

They have made a committment and paid their dues, now ready to add to the family! Let me introduce our newest to you. Ozzy!



We are not dog people. Both the husband and I had dogs as kids. When we got married we decided dogs were not for us. I love dogs, especially when they belong to someone else. I've always been a cat person at heart and we've run through that genetic line like crazy! Now the girls are on their own and each has decided sometime in the future dogs would be joining their families. I look forward to spending time with the dog and sending it home!

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23 September 2008

Digital Photography School - Lomo Cameras

A few days ago I stumbled upon an online tutorial that seemed very interesting. It was on how to change a digital photo to look like it was taken with a Lomo camera. I was intrigued to say the least.

After reading through the tutorial I thought I'd give it a try. This photo was taken (by me) at the LA Auto Show a couple of years ago.:

I ran through the tutorial and this is the result (I did crop it a bit):

So, if you're wondering how some photos look so good, and others are just so so, try giving digital photography tutorials a try. You may surprise yourself!

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