Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Wishing one and all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Little Women

I have loved to read all my life and have several favorite books. Among those, Little Women, is perhaps my favorite. I read it for the first time when I was about 10 years old. I think it was a Christmas gift from my mother, who was also quite a reader whenever she had the time to devote to it. I loved all the characters in the book - prim Meg, rambunctious Jo, the baby Amy, but my favorite was the gentle, frail Beth. I cannot count the tears I shed when she quietly passed away and was so sorely missed by one and all. I have read it several times since then, the latest being this past weekend, and Beth remains my favorite.

About the same time I was given the book, my mother was expecting her third child. I wanted her to name a girl Beth in the worst way and we had many discussions about the name. She finally said she really didn't care for it. But when my sister was born, she was given the name Lorna Bethany. I was overjoyed.

My sister was a lot like Beth - quiet, gentle, and longing to please. As an adult she was quite devoted to her Lord, Jesus, and gave off a childlike radiance to all around her. She, too, was somewhat frail as she became a diabetic at the age of 25. For 30 years she tried to tame the disease with intermittent success, only to have several serious complications over the past few years. She, like Beth, seemed to become more transparent as the disease claimed more and more of her strength. She passed away this past July.

As I reread a library copy of Little Women, I couldn't help but feel that I was given my own Beth in my sister. My tears stained the pages when Beth died. And I realize too late that I did not appreciate the goodness and the gentleness that was my sister.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Christmas Tree Tale

In 1968 we were in Southern California for Christmas with Eric who was about 6 weeks old. Steve was still in the Navy attached to the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton. We had not been there long enough to make friends so Christmas was looking pretty lonely.

About a week before Christmas we received a large package. It was a tube about four feet long and about 8-12 inches around. It was from Carl, my father-in-law. Now Carl is quite a character and worked in the woods as a timber cruiser. He knew the whole Umpqua Forest like the back of his hand and could find his way out if he had been plunked down blindfolded anywhere in the thousands of square miles. Of course, he got lost in the city, but he knew the woods well. He had never been to Southern California but knew it was not the forest and that Christmas trees were trucked down from Washington and Oregon weeks before the big day. So, he SENT us a Christmas tree from the Umpqua National Forest in that large tube package. It smelled just like home. We put it up that night and decorated it with the few ornaments we had. I don't think I have ever appreciated a Christmas tree before or since as much as I did that little tree from home. Thank you, Carl

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Post Office Adventure

A couple days ago I received a notice that the usps had tried to deliver a package to me but no one was home, except Freckles who was unable to accept said package. The notice stated that I could pick up the package at the main post office on 12/16. A trip to the main downtown post office is never a treat and especially dicey at this time of year. There is parking only in front of the post office and it is angle in parking - it's a fairly busy street so backing out of a parking space, especially when at least half of the vehicles are full sized pick-ups, is an adventure. So I decided that since the package was from one of my Japanese friends, I would try it after work yesterday.

We finished up with the last patient about 4:00pm. As I was clocking out one of the receptionists asked me if I had heard about the bomb scare at the post office today. WHAT? A BOMB SCARE ON THE ONE DAY I WANTED TO GO TO THE POST OFFICE? Yep, she looked at the news on-line and said.....oh, it's over and the post office opened back up about an hour ago. So.....I headed out. As expected, it was busy and there was a line almost out the door. But, people were in a holiday mood and no one was griping and the lady in front of me jabbered on about how she shopped sales all year long to get gifts for her family who was scattered far and wide. Finally, it was my turn and I got my package, backed safely out of the parking place and got home.

The news paper reported that a suitcase was left in the lobby of the PO and since the bomb scare with the blow-up and death of two policemen in Woodburn had happened only a few days before, the police were taking no chances. It took 3 hours and the evacuation of the post office and an adjacent bank for them to discover that it was just a suitcase. They notified the owner who came and picked it up and rolled it away. How can someone forget a suitcase in the lobby of a post office?

I'm just glad it wasn't a bomb and that I got my package from Japan.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Dinner

My father's family is English. His father came to this country from Liverpool as a young adult. His mother grew up in Wales in the home of her grandparents. She joined her mother in NYC when she was only 17 or 18. So, our Christmas menu was a typically English one prepared by my grandmother.
First, there was the most marvelous roast beef - that according to my father was purchased from the same butcher in New York and had hung until there was green mold on the outside. I think I'm really glad I didn't know this as a child or I might not have eaten it with such relish. With the roast there was always Yorkshire Pudding - a light egg batter that was baked at high heat in some of the fat from the roast. Mashed potatoes, gravy, a couple vegetables and crisp carrots and celery rounded out the main meal.
The crowning glory of the feast was dessert - a plum pudding, which is neither made from plums nor is a pudding in the truest sense. It was made in early November of suet, candied citron and other fruit, currants, white raisins and spices which were steamed for several hours and then saturated with brandy and wrapped in white linen. It was stored in a bowl in a cool place where it was regularly moistened with more brandy. On Christmas Day it was placed in a pot with water in the bottom on the stove to steam until heated through. When it was time to serve it, there was more brandy poured over it after it was placed on a heat resistant platter and brought to the table in flames. When the alcohol was burned out of the brandy the flames subsided and the pudding was served with hard sauce (which was not hard but was also flavored strongly with more brandy). The sauce was made of butter, confectioner's sugar and vanilla flavoring. As a child I really didn't like the plum pudding but would eat it because I LOVED the hard sauce. Later I developed a taste for it and really enjoyed it's fruity texture and flavor. I have never tried to make it so the tradition died when my mother was no longer able to make it using my grandmother's recipe and adding some touches of her own.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Best Christmas Present Ever

I must have been about 8 or 9 years old. The only gift I remember wanting that year was a Bride Doll. I don't have any idea how I even knew that such a doll existed. But I wanted one with a veil and a gorgeous full length gown. It would have beads and pearls on the front and down the full skirt. Her hair would be curled just so and she would be exquisitely beautiful. I just knew that Santa (or my grandmother) would provide me with my dearest wish.

Christmas morning came and my brother and I could hardly wait to look under the tree. But first we had to check to see if Santa found the milk and cookies we had left for him. And then we found our stockings that had to be dumped out and all the treasures gone through. At that point we were bursting with anticipation. That was always when my father decided he had to have a cup of coffee and we had to eat a piece of Christmas bread and have a glass of juice.

Finally, we were able to check out the presents under the tree. There was a box for me that was just about the right size, oh, the joy!!!! I tore into the paper and squealed with glee when I found the PERFECT bride doll inside. She was everything I wanted her to be and then some. She was given a place of honor in my room and no one was allowed to touch her without my permission.

I don't remember what happened to that precious doll. Perhaps she was passed on to my little sister years later. But I think I still had her when we moved to Montana and she was lost in the moving van fire. I don't recall receiving any other gift as a child that was as special.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Visit with Santa

Since my grandmother, Mimi, was employed at A & S department store in NYC, we visited with the santa at the store each December. The date on the back of this photo is 1950 which means that I am 8yrs. old and my brother is 6. My mother wrote on the back that this was our last visit to Santa. We must have decided that he was a nice fantasy by the next year.
It was really magical to visit the city at Christmas. The decorations in the big department stores were fabulous. Each window had animated displays and there were lights strung outside in swags, and trees and santas. And the Santa at A&S was the real deal - no fake beard for him. At least, that's the way I remember it.
We also went to the automat to eat - no it wasn't a place to wash clothes, but was a bit like a cafeteria. Each item of food was behind a little door and you put your change in and you could open the door and take out a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a salad, dessert......whatever was behind that particular door. It was so much fun.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Peeking at Christmas Gifts

No, not me, but my brother did. Well, maybe I did once.

My mother was a very uber organized woman. She would buy a Christmas gift, wrap it and then hide it in the basement on a card table covered with a cloth. Of course, this was never in the basement except in the weeks preceeding Christmas so it was hard to ignore. Not that I spent much time in the basement - it scared me and I was afraid of mice that would nibble at the wax on the jelly jars.

My brother was not afraid of mice and could NOT wait for Christmas morning to see what was in the wrapped gifts. He would go down there when our mother was busy teaching other kids to play the piano. He carefully took off the cloth and found gifts that had his name on them. He was extremely careful about lifting the tape and peering under the gift wrap to try to see what was under it. By Christmas he knew what every package held. One year he talked me into joining him in his clandestine activity. I was so disappointed to lose the surprise of opening gifts on Christmas morning. I never did that again. Plus, I was riddled with guilt for doing something that I knew was wrong. Not one of my finer moments.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tail of a Christmas Tree

No, I did not spell tail incorrectly. This is a story of two dogs and a Christmas tree. It's a rather short tale but one I want to remember and share.
The house we lived in when the children were growing up was a two story 'salt box' style with small boxy rooms. The kitchen was as big as the living room and the utility room as large as the room in the front that was supposed to be a bedroom. The bathroom was an afterthought and was only big enough for two people if one of them was in the tub. So....when we bought the house and before we moved in, Steve opened up part of the wall between the living room and the kitchen - made the cook feel less isolated and was the perfect spot to place a Christmas tree. Steve was rather anal about protecting the kids from harm and would use fishing line to attach the tree to the ceiling so it wouldn't fall. Good thing......
We moved into the house when Eric was five and promptly got him a black lab mix pup from the shelter so he could lose his fear of dogs and have a pal. It worked like a charm and Smokey was the perfect family pet (aside from a couple habits which should be the subject of another post). He would even lie on the floor in front of the wood stove and let Sara crawl on him when she was a baby - that's another story, too.
When Sara was about 4 or 5 , she decided that Smokey was too big for her to play with because he would whack her with his tail. So.....we got another shelter dog for her - a Cairn terrier, poodle, doxie mix. Muffin was the perfect pet for Sara and was a wonderful buddy for Smokey. They would race across the fields where we lived - the little white dog keeping up with the strides of the big black dog.

All this is necessary background for the tail of the Christmas tree. One year the tree was put up, secured with the fishing line, decorated and enjoyed by all. The dogs were not happy that their raceway for playing chase was partially obscured by the Christmas tree. day they got playing - egged on no doubt, by wired children - and started racing around the house. Muffin safely scooted under the tree from living room to kitchen to doorway into the hallway back into the living room and around again. When Smokey tried to chase her under the tree, he got too close to the tree, flew under a branch and set the tree to spinning and tilting badly. Held up by the fishing line, the tree never fell and only a couple ornaments bit the dust. I have to admit with chagrin that I never questioned Steve about the necessity of the fishing line again. And enticing the dogs into racing around the house was forbidden during the Christmas season.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Caroling, part 2

When I was probably middle school age, I was very involved in the musical offerings at my church. We had a fabulous minister of music who formed choirs of all ages and forms. I was in the youth choir and the handbell choir. We practiced regularly and sang compositions of some difficulty. One Christmas we were part of a gathering of youth choirs from all over the area to present a choir program at The Brick Presbyterian Church in NYC on Park Avenue. I remember that there were TV cameras set up outside to record portions of the program. My choir was assigned a spot on the balcony overlooking the congregation seating. It gives me goosebumps even now to remember the grand sound of hundreds of young voices singing some of the ancient chants and carols. Brick Church is also well-known for it's organs, and there is no more stupendous sound than a grand organ playing in a great church with excellent acoustics. What a wonderful background for all the voices that were raised in unison and counterpoint that evening so long ago.
We traveled on a bus from my home in NJ to the city. And I'm quite certain that we sang '100 bottles of beer on the wall' on the way home until most of us were sound asleep.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Lights

This memory is one I owe to Becky and her lovely photos of some Christmas lights in her hometown. And the photo is one I got off the internet. Now that I have done the credits, let's move on to the story.

When I was quite young - probably elementary school age - I remember a yearly trip to Glen Rock, the town next to mine, to see Christmas lights. Obviously it was long before all the premade decorations that are now available to decorate yards of every size and shape. I remember the house as being something of a fairyland castle style, made almost entirely of rocks - not bricks but rocks, with a turret of sorts. The yard was large with lots of walkways throughout. And the lights.......there was Santa and his sleigh with the reindeer, there was a fairytale princess and elves, there were candycanes and trees. Each year the owners added something new. People would drive from all around, park their cars and walk in front of the house, oohing and ahhing. My whole family would make quite an outing of it - even my mother would go with us, which was unusual as she was often too busy to leave home at that time of year. There was certainly something magical in the viewing.

Thank you, Becky, for jarring this long forgotten memory to the surface for me.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Caroling, part 1

My father had a beautiful tenor voice and he loved to sing. As a child he was a choirboy in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC. Later he sang in various groups - he met my mother through one of those. I remember him singing with the Men's Downtown Gleeclub in Brooklyn one year when they gave a concert in Carnegie Hall and I was old enough to attend. And he loved to go caroling about the neighborhood when I was growing up. My brother and I caroled with him. We must have been quite a sight all bundled up against the cold - two children and a man in an overcoat, scarf and hat. Some of the neighbors invited us in for something hot to drink and some Christmas cookies. My favorite carol as a child and for many years after was O Little Town of Bethlehem. And I loved to sing the high part when we did The First Noel. I never had the beautiful voice that my father had, but I loved to sing - and still do in church. I think my early love of singing began caroling with my father.

Friday, December 5, 2008

O Christmas Tree

And why, you wonder, would I post this unretouched photo of my naked little artificial tree? Well, because this is as far as I have gotten with the decorations and I want to write about
Christmas trees.
My childhood memory of our trees is mainly one of putting tons and tons of tinsel on, one strand at a time. It was magical when finished but tedious, I'm sure, in the application. When I was old enough to practice this task, I think I was assigned the tinsel because I could put it on for hours while I listened to Christmas music, especially that played on the piano by my mother. I also remember heirloom ornaments from Europe that were the mercury variety. They were all lost when we moved to Montana and our moving van burned. Sad that all the photos were lost as well, so there is no way to see them now, except in my mind's eye.
When my children were growing up, we started a tradition the first Christmas after Eric was born of adding one ornament to our collection each year. Over the years friends added to the collection as well; and we started giving an ornament to each child every year - a collection that they were able to take with them when they started their own Christmas traditions. Our tree was never a special theme or color over the years, but was very eclectic and homespun. In fact, I regularly sought out handcrafted ornaments at the local Christmas fairs.
Recently, I have started purchasing star, snowflake and angel ornaments from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's yearly collectors' offerings. Eric receives the star one, Sara has the snowflake and I save the angel ones for my tree. They are beautifully crafted from actual art that the Met has in its collections. The angels come from a nativity set the Met puts up in its lobby every year.
I will try to post the completed tree at some point before Christmas.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Sorry there will be no photo today as this is about cookies my mother used to make each holiday season. She made them before Thanksgiving and set them aside to 'age' - in a metal cookie tin with a slice of apple that she changed every couple days. I don't have her recipe - I think Sara has it in the cookbook that belonged to my mother. Her lebkuchen were bar cookies....mine were rolled ones, so that's the recipe that follows. It's from a Betty Crocker's New Picture Cookbook with a copyright date of 1961.

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2-3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup cut-up citron
1/3 cup chopped nuts.
Mix honey and molasses; bring to a boil. Sir in sugar, egg, lemon juice and rind. Blend dry ingredients. Mix in citron and nuts. Chill overnight.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll small amount at a time, keeping rest chilled. Roll 1/4" thick; cut into oblongs, 2-1/2X1-1/2". Place 1" apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 min., or until no imprint remains when touched lightly. While cookies bake, make Glazing Icing (below). Brush it over the cookies the minute they are out of the oven. Quickly remove from baking sheet. Cool; store to mellow. Makes 6 doz cookies.
Glazing Icing
Boil together 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water until first indication of a thread appears (230 degrees). Remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar and brush hot icing lightly over cookies.
These cookies smell heavenly and strongly of the spices they contain when they are baking - much better than a scented candle from Pier 1.
Baking cookies was a happy memory of Christmas's past. My mother was a superb cookie baker and made the best cut-out cookies ever, called sandtarts. They were buttery, very thin and crisp shapes that we decorated with frosting, and candies. When my children were small, I baked several different kinds of cookies every year and was part of a cookie exchange group for several years. I'll have to post a couple other recipes in the time before Christmas.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mimi and Uncle Cortland

Mimi and Uncle Cortland came as a pair. They lived together all her life and he was rather lost after her death at 95 years old. I never really knew what had happened to him to cause him to be somewhat disabled, but remember hearing something about a fever soon after his birth.

This photo was taken in 1966 when they had moved to Roseburg, OR to be close to my parents and they look alot the same as I remember them during my childhood.

One Christmas is very clear in my memory of when they were at our house. Really they weren't part of the memory, but because of their visit my brother Kent and I were sleeping together in my room. Kent must have been about four or five and I was a couple years older. He still firmly believed in Santa and we were watching out my bedroom window at the sky in the hopes of seeing Santa and the sleigh. Suddenly, Kent whispered loudly, "there he is!!!" and became very excited. I wasn't able to see what he thought he saw, but quickly told him we needed to duck into our beds so Santa didn't see us and fly over our house instead of stopping. Santa must have stopped that night because the cookies and milk were gone in the morning and there were LOTS of presents under the tree for each of us.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


This is my paternal grandmother. She is very much a part of all my childhood memories of Christmas as she always came to our house. We were her only family because my father was an only child. She was a wonderful cook and was the preparer of both the Thanksgiving and the Christmas Feasts. Her plum pudding was legendary and her recipe was scribbled on a scratch piece of paper that my mother tried to duplicate for years before she got it right. I can still see her in my mind's eye as she walked down our street from the train station with her suitcase in her hand and her hat with the veil on her head. It wasn't a long walk from the station and my mother didn't drive until many years later. Grammy always had little treats for us in her suitcase so we loved to help her unpack. She had lots of time to play and read with us. And her hugs were warm and enveloping. I hope I can be the kind of grandmother to my grandchildren as she was to us.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Angel Ornament

Every year I treat myself to the angel ornament of the year from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each year the design of the ornament is based on one of the angels in the Museum's collection of Neapolitan creche figures. This angel is from a design by Giuseppe Gori (ca 1770-1810). I love hanging the angels on my small artificial tree and noticing the details that set each one apart.

My tree will probably not go up until the weekend so I will not have long this year to enjoy my angels.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Over the River and thru the Woods, to Grandmother's House we go....

Well, maybe in the song that's how it happens, but for this grandmother-to-be it's more like over the rivers and up the freeway to my kids' houses I go. For Thanksgiving I drove up the freeway about 190 miles to spend the holiday at my daughter and son-in-law's home. But first there was a stop at my son and his family's home. Eric and Jannaeah both had to work the next day and chose to stay at their own home for Thanksgiving. Jannaeah made a butternut squash pie for me to take with me to Sara's...yumm. So here they are: About an hour later I arrived at Greg and Sara's home. They were expecting 7 guests in addition to me and the cooking was in full swing when I walked in the door. Everything smelled heavenly. Each guest was assigned a category of food to bring, but the specifics were left up to the cook. We had a wonderful savory apple/bacon tart appetizer from Kim; three delicious appetizers from Kristen - a shrimp one, an artichoke one and one of cream cheese with a cranberry/orange chutney, and some yummy green beans; Alexis's famous brussel sprouts, delicious rolls and a wonderful squash risotto; and I brought an apple pie. The hostess cooked the turkey, stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes and giblet gravy, a caramel toffee cheesecake and a chocolate peppermint three layer cake. Wine, beer and juices were also available. This is a bit blurry and does not show everything but it was my plate as I started to eat.

Before eating each person got a chance to say what they were thankful for this year. It's always a moving experience as some people wax poetic. After eating our fill we played a couple games that created much laughter and playful banter. What a wonderful day spent with family and friends.

I headed home the next day after being able to grab a rare photo of Greg and Sara - who do not like to pose for the camera.

Thank you, my dears, for a wonderful couple days, for the hospitality, the fun, and just being able to spend time with two of my favorite people.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Scrapping time

Yesterday I spent about six hours at a crop at a local church. We meet once a month and usually have about 20 people attend each time. It was a perfect day to be inside as it poured off and on all day. It was so grey about 2:00 we thought it was closer to 5 pm. Thought I would share my favorite layout that I did.

While Halloween is not my favorite holiday, I do love all the fall decorations that seem to peak in time for trick or treaters. So here's my tribute to the holiday. The small photo is of my little neighbor girl, Zoe, who was a black fairy - with pink hair. One of the larger photos was of a home other than mine, and other one is of my little pumpkins lining my front steps.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Quilt for my Son

My son celebrated his 40th birthday yesterday. In honor of this momentous occasion, I made a rag quilt. I am famous in my family for starting homemade gifts and not finishing until months or years later, or not at all; so the fact that I have finished this on his birthday and will mail it to him today is also momentous. He loves to fish, so I was able to find a fish printed flannel and several other bolts of masculine looking flannel to coordinate. Here is the finished product after being washed and dried twice to get most of the bitty strings of fabric out of it.

Happy Birthday, Eric!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day and a playday in Eugene

It's been an historic year with a woman almost getting the Democratic nomination for president, a black man winning the Democratic nomination, the oldest candidate ever running as thCocoa e Republican presidential nominee and another woman being chosen as the vice presidential nominee on the Republican ticket. Record numbers of Americans have already voted in the early voting process. And personally, I have never been so engaged in the process since JFK ran for President when I was a first time voter. So, whomever you support, get out and vote today - be part of an historic election.

On another topic, I drove to Eugene on Saturday to be part of the play time Eugene event sponsored by Cocoa Daisy.This is the second time I've been part of this fun time of crafting, laughing, sharing and learning from Ali Edwards - this time about the construction of her December Daily Album. Jill is a wonderful hostess and taught us how to make a really easy project. Shopping in the creative boutique and eating Ali's delicious raspberry cobbler filled out the rest of the 3 hour event. We take a group photo every time - in front of a neighbor's colorful tree this time.

And here's a photo of my finished project. Everyone's was different as we cut the chipboard to suit our photos. Some people left them all 4 X 6, some cut them as I did, some taped them together, and one gal was going to run a ribbon behind them all with spaces in between each panel.

So that's it for today. Hope you have a good one. And don't forget to vote.

Friday, October 31, 2008

5 Favs Friday

Guess it's about time I did an update here. I have a few things I can share as favs this week.

1. A new craft room: finally am moving my tiny craft space to what used to be the guest room. It wasn't used often enough to waste the space. So I've gotten countertops and lights put in so I can sew, scrapbook and stamp all in one place. Here's photo taken last night before it's completely finished.

2. I picked up some of the Basic Grey Wassail line when I was in the Book store that also carries some scrapbooking supplies. I love the muted colors and designs that are not obvious Christmas patterns.
3. Dena's stew. Yes, she invited me over for dinner earlier this week for stew. The beer was a tasty addition to an old cooler weather standby. Thank you, Dena and Zoe.
4. Standard Time returns tomorrow night. I never have quite understood the necessity for DST as I've had to go to work early for so many years that I couldn't take full advantage of the extra hours of light in the summer. I'll be glad to have it light a little earlier in the morning.
5. This one is more of an UNfav. Halloween. I have a love/hate relationship with the trick or treaters. I love to see the little ones all dressed up, but really dislike the older boys who travel in packs with minimal costuming and who are just after the candy. I also don't like having to take my pumpkins in when I turn out the light so they don't end up smashed in the street. fav for this one is that it will be over by this time tomorrow.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Baby Stiles

I'm going to be a grandma sometime around May 6th. Baby Stiles has now officially become a fetus rather than an embryo. That happens at 12 weeks and that is today. The photo below comes from A Child is Born by Nilsson and Hamberger. Fascinating that these kinds of photos can be taken of a developing fetus in utero.
You are beautiful and I can't wait to meet you.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Questionaire

Two posts in two days must be some kind of a record. I read my friend Becky's blog this morning and she had a questionaire that was interesting, so I decided to answer it. So here it is:

1. What do you add to your coffee?
Coffeemate either Crème Brulee or Hazelnut

2. What are you reading at the moment?
I'm between books

3. Do you own a gun?
Yes, and I know how to use it

4. Are you registered to vote?

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Not usually.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
Never eat them, but think they are the feast of the county fair

7. Favorite Christmas Song?
What Child is This?

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?

9. Can you do push ups?
Yes, but only girly ones
How many?
Haven’t tried lately

10. What was the name of your first boyfriend?
Jim Clow in the 6th grade

11. What’s your favorite piece of jewelery?
My wedding and engagement rings from my last marriage. And a necklace my father gave my mother on their 50th anniversary.

12. Favorite hobby?
That’s a a tough one. It’s a toss up between scrapbooking and gardening.

13. Do you work with people who idolize you?
I don’t think that’s the right word, but I work with a wonderful group of people who work together well

14. Do you have ADD?

15. What’s one trait that you hate about yourself?

16. What’s your Middle name?
Jean, after my grandmother

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment…
a). I hope I get everything done on my to do list
b). I hope we get lots of rain today
c). What am I going to fix for breakfast.

18. Name 3 things you bought yesterday.
Nothing, nada, zero

19. Name 3 beverages you regularly drink.
coffee, water, milk

20. Current worry right now?
concerns about my daughter’s health

21. What side do you dress to?
Don’t know

22. Favorite place to be?
the beach

23. How did you bring in the New Year?

24. Where would you like to go?
The SW US, England, Switzerland.

25. Name three people who will complete this.
Have no idea.

26. Whose answers do you want to read the most?
See above.

27. What color shirt are you wearing?
Wearing jammies

28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
Never even been on satin sheets.

29. Can you whistle?
30. Favorite colors(s)?
31. Could you be a pirate?

32. What songs do you sing in the shower?
I don’t

33. Favorite girls name?
Sara – my daughter’s name

34. Favorite boy’s name?
Eric – my son’s name

35. What’s in your pocket right now?

36. Last thing that made you laugh?
The boxers across the street playing in their yard

37. Best bed sheets as a child?
Only had plain white ones.

38. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
I’ve been incredibly lucky and haven't had any serious injuries. But the worst was being hit by a vending machine van when I walked across the street (in the crosswalk with the walk sign). I spent several days at home on muscle relaxants with back pain. Had no long term effects.

39. Do you love where you live?
Yes. Good thing, too. I’ve lived in this area for over 30 years. I do love my little house that I’ve been in for several years.

40. How many TVs do you have in your house?
One, and it’s seldom on.

41. Who is your loudest friend?
Can’t think of a friend who is loud, but a former co-worker is the loudest person I know.

42. How many dogs do you have?
Just one.

43. Does anyone have a crush on you?
I hope not.

44. What are the most fun things you ever did?
Going to Charleston with my late husband for a reunion of his SeaB buddies. Almost anything we did together.

45. What are your favorite books?
The Anne of Green Gables books, Little Women, Cold Mountain, anything by Amy Tan. I could go on and on.

46. What is your favorite candy?
anything dark chocolate

47. Favorite Team?
don’t have one

48. What songs do you want played at your funeral?
haven’t even thought about a funeral - too busy living

49. What were you doing at 12 AM?

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?
What time is it?

Congratulations if you made it all the way through this.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Five Favs Friday

WOW! I can't believe it's been three weeks since I've posted. September was a killer month for being busy.

Here are my favs for today:

1. Purging excess scrapbook supplies. I had a garage sale today and moved alot of things I either forgot I had or didn't like once I got them. Now I can actually see the top of my table. Maybe I can scrap again soon.

2. Rain. As a 40 year resident of rainy Oregon, I get really antsy when it gets to be fall and we don't get rain. Finally yesterday and today we've had some measurable precipitation. About time is all I can say!! Check back with me in March or April and see how I feel about rain then. he, he.

3. BPS classes: specifically Cathy Zielske's Design Your Life. This class just started yesterday and it's great right from the get-go. I love Cathy's work and want to be like her when I grow up. She and Ali Edwards can make photos + words and some cardstock look fabulous.

4. Garlic chicken and rice from my favorite Thai restaurant. Had this for dinner last night with a friend as we watched the vice presidential debate. It is so yummy and had lots of veges in it. I think there are enough leftover for dinner tonight, too.

5. Odwalla Mango Tango. This is a fruit smoothie blend and has NO artificial ingredients - and NO straight sugar in any form except fruit juice. It's a little spendy for every day but is luscious as an occasional treat - had one this morning before the garage sale.

Well, that's it for Friday. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Five Favs Friday

Yay, yay, yay. I'm really behind the eight-ball with posting my five favs. But here goes:

1. A free kwik sew pattern to make a cute bag. I'll be in Portland in a couple weeks and will be at the Fabric Depot so hope to find something fun to use for it.

2. American Crafts thickers. I just can't seem to get enough of them. Love them for titles. I like the foam ones, and the vinyl ones, and the chipboard ones. And I love all the different fonts.

3. Parking in my garage again. Last spring I started a total redo of my front yard. My driveway became the staging area for rock, stepping stones, wall building stones, and fert rich (better known as dirt). All the stuff got used up over about 6 weeks except the dirt. I used about 2 yards of it when I replanted the berm, but had 3 yards left. I finally got that last shovelfull moved to the backyard today. So NOW I can part my car in the garage again.

4. Frozen fruit bars. I LOVE ice cream and could probably eat a 1/2 Gal in 2-3 days. And the body I had until this past summer showed it. Well, with all the replanting and dirt moving (see #3) I started eating better and losing weight. So I gave up my ice cream for frozen fruit bars. They are only about 50-90 cal. and really satisfy my cravings for cold and sweet.

5. Clothes that are too big. See #4 above. I'm bagging up a lot of slacks that are way too baggy on me and donating them to our local Sunrise Enterprises store. I anticipate hitting Ross soon for some new winter clothes. :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Corn Chowder

Tonight I made the best corn chowder that was super easy to make. I followed the basic receipe for Alicia's Corn Chowder with just a few deviations. Instead of the butter I used olive oil, and I added a bit of curry powder and a small clove of garlic, chopped, with the onion. Because I only have 1% milk, I added a little 1/2 and 1/2 to the milk. That was it. I think it took about 25 minutes to chop and dice and cook and then it was ready to eat - YUM. I had a few pre-cooked shrimp with cocktail sauce and fresh tomatoes and lemon cucumbers from the garden. It made a very satisfying meal.

My photo is not as appetizing as hers, but I'll bet it tasted every bit as good.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Five Favs Friday

Just read Dena's 5 favs for this week and have to agree that the journaling circles are the cutest.

Here are my five favs for this week:

1. spending time scrappin' and talkin' and eating with Dena and Tina yesterday. I think I was the only one scrapping, but we sure did a lot of the talking and eating. Thanks to Tina for the yummy soup and to Dena for the salt water taffy.

2. My dog Freckles. I took her to the vet this morning for her annual checkup and she was delighted about the whole thing - loves to see all the other animals, and even loves the vet.

3. and 4. 6 X 12 pages and page protectors; and BPS Have More Fun class. I'm taking Stacy Julian's Have More Fun class on BPS and this month we're working on 'present moment' scrapbooking with a scrapbook devoted to each day and what that day includes for us. I love working within the 6 X 12 format for this project - the pages go together really quickly and look so nice. And I find that I'm gradually becoming more aware of my present moments. I'm one of those people who is at least one thing ahead of myself all the time. This month I'm working on slowing down.

5. These apples. I don't remember what the variety is but I bought several at the Farmer's Market last Saturday. They are juicy and just the right mix of sweet and tart. And are nice and crisp. Love apple season.

So that's it for this week. I'm already thinking of what I can post next week. See....I'm already ahead of myself.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Five Favs Friday

I don't believe I've done this before but will make a stab at it today.

1. Los Napitas: a fairly new Mexican restaurant in my little town. It serves authentic food - not the stuff that's drenched in melted cheese and fat calories. The Sopas are to die for and last night I tried the enchiladas in green sauce - yum.

2. Basic Grey's new lines. Love the Eva and Ambrosia.

3. Ali's blog: yesterday and today she's answering readers' questions. There is a ton of info there for the taking.

4. CSA boxes: CSA is community supported agriculture. In my community there are a couple farmers who offer this service. I pay an amount up front for a certain number of weeks of a box of fresh organic produce which is harvested from the farm. If the season is good, I get a full box each week of luscious goodies; if it's not so good, I don't get much. It's a shared risk with the farmer - they have a guarranteed market and income and I have local delicious fruits and veges all summer.

5. Square punches: love my new Marvy 2" square punch. I had been using my cutter to make the squares until last week when I finally found the punch at my local Michael's. I just want to make squares of everything - photos, pp, embellishments for cards and layouts.....

Have a great Friday, I'm off to punch some more squares.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Have More FUN

I signed up for the 3rd part of the year long class at BPS that Stacy Julian is teaching. It's billed as a way to have more FUN and let go of perfection. Both are things I want from this scrapbooking hobby. Over the weekend I made a 6 page mini album that was so easy and a great way to use up photos from a vacation 25 years ago. Super FUN, and I'm so glad to have those photos someplace other than a box. We've also had two super easy and fun single page assignments. The first was last Friday and took me only about 45 mintues to do - unheard of. And the second was called Funday Munday. Here it is:
The instructions were to take a scrap of patterned paper, cardstock, ribbon, buttons, flowers, chipboard alphas and tiny alphas. My design is made according to the instructions. It took me a little longer, but I used some ribbon I've been hoarding for months and a photo that has been waiting for about a year to be scrapped. Margie Romney-Aslett is the guest designer for this week and designed this page and the mini album Each week this month we'll have a guest designer, and then Stacy will teach for July and August.
Check it out if you want to have more FUN.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Charlie Chaplin

This is Pema. She's my daughter's Llasha Apsa and is staying with me for a couple weeks when dd and her husband are on vacation. Isn't she just the cutest thing?
When she arrived at my house she hadn't had her summer haircut yet so I took care of that first thing. It ended up waaaayyy shorter than I had expected and I hardly recognized her. She didn't seem to mind and wasn't the least bit embarrassed at her sudden near nakedness.
She's the happiest little thing and I've been calling her Little Pemie Foofoo as she bounces through the yard as if on springs. At least, that's what I've been calling her until today. Her little white mustache is growing out and she now bears a striking resemblance to Charlie Chaplin - right down to the short little bowed legs. All she needs is a cane and a bowler hat! Surely that is perfect fodder for a layout.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July. I'm so grateful every year for all the lives that have been lived and have been cut short to protect the freedoms that we enjoy living in the USA. There has been much written about the multitude of freedoms that we have so I will not talk about that now. But will just be very grateful.
I do have so many happy memories of the 4th. When I was growing up we had a big - to my young perceptions anyway - parade and lots of fireworks. I can remember lying on a blanket on the grass near the city pool were they were set off and watching them explode overhead. One year I remember my father taking us to a road overlooking the city and watching the fireworks from there.
The year my daughter was only a few days old, we had a HUGE thunder and lightning storm. My husband and young son were 20 miles away at the fireworks show, but I got a much more dramatic show than they did. Lightning hit a transformer about a block from our house so we lost electricity. I could see bolts of lightning coming down very close to our house and the thunder was almost simultaneous with the lightning. In those days I was terrified of the storms and sat at the bottom of our stairs with my daughter in my arms. I trembled while she slept through the whole thing.
Now I sit with my dog in my arms while she trembles and I try to soothe her. She HATES the noise - especially the ones that whistle.
So, I hope your 4th is filled with memory making fun and that we will all spend just a few moments being grateful that we live in a land of the free and the home of the brave.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Birthday

One of my scrapping friends is on the design team for Paper Trunk. Today they are celebrating their 1st birthday on their blog with lots of fun challenges. So hop on over and help them celebrate.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Finished for Now

The front berm soil enrichment and planting is complete for now. I have a day lily that is ready to bloom and is currently too close to the weeping Japanese maple. When it finishes blooming, I will divide it up and plant it about a foot from where it is now. But that will be the last planting. So this is what it looks like from the corner of my driveway and the street, looking East.
I will add some more small rocks on the East end to create a little walkway to a stepping stone that is next to the top blueberry bush so I can pick it - in a year when it will be old enough to produce berries. But other than adding a few little ground covers and sedums when the temperature gets out of the high 90's in a few days, I AM DONE. I'm pleased with how it looks right now.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scrap Your Day - JUNE

It's almost the 25th of the month and time to take photos to place in your year long album. If you don't know what I'm talking about check out this. My album is partially assembled, my photos from the past two months are taken and downloaded into my PSE5, but that's as far as I've gotten. Guess maybe tomorrow I need to spend some time and get something done besides take photos.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Progress Report

I haven't been around lately because I've been busy in the front yard almost every day, and planting a bit in my shade garden, and working at my part-time job, and volunteering my time for the Master Gardeners', and sleeping. That's it for the past week or more. So here's a progress report:

Remeber this from May 3rd? Bare ground view from my front steps.

By May 15th it looked like this:

Note the large shrubs out by the public sidewalk - they will be gone in the next photo. And now this is what it looks like as of noon today.

It's been a huge amount of digging, amending, planting and mulching. I should have the last little patch done in just a couple more days. I'm really happy with how it looks. By next year it should be filled in quite a bit. Here's another view that shows most of the planting.

so that's it, for now. The next post should show the finished front yard. And then I can get back to work on the back yard.......

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Planting the Front Yard

After a marathon plant shopping spree with a friend on Saturday, I finally started putting some of my front yard plants in the ground. But first I planted up two containers for the front. The first one is for the porch where there is no direct sun. The cement urn is from a neighbor who no longer wanted it. The pinkish leaves are a fushia calico, sport of Gartenmeister; with a fern pellaea rotundifolia otherwise know as a button fern, and there are several pink impatiens that are too small to see yet.
The second pot is for a spot in full sun. The main plant is Heuchera Dolce Creme de Menthe, with some Perilla Magilla purple, and Dicondra Silver Falls, and my favorite, Millions of Bells. I've usually not put so much in my containers, but have learned from my Fine Gardening magazine that they look much better when planted really full. So I guess I'll see.
For about four hours on Sunday and another two today I double dug the first section of the front new garden space. It's located at the corner of the driveway and the sidewalk, and is the point of the berm. The soil in my yard is awful - sand and black mud which are totally lacking in all important nutrients and have a 5.4 pH according to the soil sample I had tested a couple months ago. So as I dug the trenches, I amended with lime, biofish fertilizer and an organic compost. What a pleasure it is to now dig in that area to plant.
My plan is to have this garden be as drought tolerant in the summer and moisture tolerant in the winter as possible. So plants were selected with that in mind. In the photo you will see a small, reddish Japanese maple tree that will get about 5 - 6 feet tall and will be primarily upright with a bit of a drape, 3 carex that will have lovely brown tipped seed stalks, coreopsis - tickseed, a Phormium 'Maori Sunrise' that will get about 3 feet tall, and a day lily 'Stella d'Ora'. There are also a red creeping thyme and a draping ice plant by the wall. The mass of bright green to the bottom right is my purple scented violet that spreads all over my yard. It's easy to pull after it's bloomed so I just love it and encourage it to naturalize freely. In the right rear you can also see an established bed that has a red barberry, iris, calla lilies, pulmonaria, Asiatic lillies, a huge daphne, yarrow, and penstemon in it. I've been adding to that one for many years and it's really well filled in now.

Hope you enjoyed this garden tour as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Favs and Another Card

This week I've been spending a bit of time on inspireMe which is the new official website for websterspages. It's a cool site - check it out.

Also always love Ali's blog and like the weekend creative idea she has this week.

I'm a great fan of Cocoa Daisy and love her kits. Ali has designed the kit for July and I'm sure it will be excellent.

Gardening: this week has been rainy until today so hope to get out in the yard and do some weeding.

I've made another card - this time for Dena's challenge at inspireMe.

Sorry for the white background, but with the flower going off the side, that's how it needs to be scanned. For this I used some older Daisy D's paper and Bazzill cardstock. Cards are so quick and easy to make - satifies my instant gratification.

Have a good weekend.

A Card for Amanda

My step-granddaughter graduates from high school next week. When I first met her grandpa, she was a long-legged seven year old; now she's a six foot tall young lady who's headed to culinary school in the fall. Where does the time go?

So, it was time to make a card for Amanda. I can't remember the last time I bought a card....I'd much rather take the time to make one so it's special for the recepient. So, here's Amanda's card.

(cardstock: Bazzill, PP and rubon: Basic Grey)

The inside reads, "Congratulations" "Spread your wings and fly." Hope she likes it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Finally Scrapping Again

It's been over a week since I got in my scrap room and did anything. I feel like it's been ages.

I have a kit from PersonalScrapper that came the first of the month, filled with Chatterbox papers. I looked at it and thought, "what I am going to do with this?" as it was filled with pp that would be good for doing kid photos. Since my youngest kid is in her early 30's, I was stumped. So today I took it all out again along with the idea sheet that came with the kit. One of the ideas struck a chord with me and I remembered that I had several goofy photos of my wonderful son-in-law Greg. It didn't take long to put a page together after that.

Greg is/can be a very serious person when it comes to his job with The Energy Trust, but he has a wonderful sense of humor and is often seen being ridiculously funny. These photos capture his child's heart perfectly. Don't ever lose that childlike quality, Greg. Be yourself - you are an original.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

25th Day Photos

I've signed up for Shimelle's free class to take and scrapbook photos on the twenty-fifth of each month for a year. It seems like a cool idea to document changes and slices of life over a period of time. So far, I've got several pages prepared for the photos in an album I made, I've taken photos for the 25th of April (they are not in the album yet), and I've been taking photos today. Since it's Sunday of a 3 day holiday there is little going on around here, but that's OK cause that's what's happening today.

You can join anytime, so hop on over to and get started.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Good Day in the Garden

Another warm day here - 90 degrees. And my roses are blooming. I think they are blooming earlier than usual because of the sudden warm spell. The first one to bloom was one called Happy Child - it's a beautiful sunny yellow. The next is one of my favorites - Secret - that was given to me after Willie's death, so it brings sweet thoughts of him. And the most recent one is Portlandia (named after Portland, OR) and was a gift from the Japanese visitors I hosted last summer. This is the first year it has bloomed and it's a beautiful orange-pink with lots of gold at the base of each petal. Here's a photo of the Secret and the Portlandia. You can see how small the Portlandia's blooms are, but it's a climber so you would expect that.

Recently I noticed that the majority of flowers in my front yard are pink, blue and lavendar with a little white thrown in. So, I decided that I would use that pallette in the window boxes that sit below the two kitchen windows in the front. They get only a little morning and very late afternoon sun. Got them planted today - a hot pink tuberous begonia in the center with some coleus on either side and a millions of bells in a bright pink/lavendar on one end with white bacopa on the other. They are mirror images of each other. It was too hot to put them out this afternoon so I'll probably do that either tonight or in the morning. I'll have to rephoto them later in the summer when they are full size.

Here's a close-up of the hot pink begonia. I think it's a real stunner.

Happy gardening.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A New Front Entry

I've been wanting to do something different in my front yard for a long time. Finally, this spring my friend who is an interior designer suggested that I hire a couple young men she knows and get my project done. We drew up the plans, and I hired the two who work in the housing industry and who are only sporatically employed right now. In just two weeks, my yard has gone from total 'ho-hum' to 'WOW' with planting still to be done.

The old front walk to my house was a narrow (28") concrete walk right next to the house. It was not very inviting and impossible for more than one person at a time to walk along it. Here's the view of the front yard from the little porch by the front door.

You will notice that there is no grass - I covered it with cardboard and shredded leaves last fall in an attempt to kill it. I had originally planned to put in raised beds with bare gounds between them. Instead, this is how it now looks. I still have planting to do on the berm.

The following photos show the yard where the new walk is planned and the final result.

On the left side of my house - looking at it from the street - is the gas meter, so I have to retain access to that side with the new design. So, the following photos show the before and after of that.

The final two photos are taken from the street looking toward the front of my house. Keep in mind that that pile of soil will be double dug and amended with fertilizer and compost and will then be planted with an upright Japanese maple, grasses and euphorbias. Will probably plant some spring blooming bulbs and some flowering perennials. Whatever goes in there has to be somewhat drought tolerant as I don't want to be watering all the time. That's why I got rid of the lawn in the first place.

So, there you have it. My new front yard. I can't believe it's done after wanting to do it for so long. I've owned the house since 1993 and have dreamed of this since then.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Five Friday Favs

Ok, Dena, I'll give this a whirl

-Sunshine, even tho it's officially 103 degrees today. Earlier in the week it was barely 60 degrees and cloudy. Gotta love Oregon weather.

-Homegrown baby leaf lettuce. I planted several plants in an old window box that is not longer sitting under a window. Every morning there are enough little leaves to pick for salad that day. I love that I can move my lettuce patch to safety each night so the snails don't feast on it, and can move it from sun to shade as needed.

-Grey's Anatomy. My daughter got me hooked on this a couple years ago. Thursday nights just weren't the same during the writers' strike, so now it's like welcoming back an old friend. I like how the characters are developing or disintegrating (Yang) this spring. Looking forward to Thursdays each week.

-Basic Grey. I have loved this manufacturer from the very first release. Lately, I've been looking at it rather than buying (can you say too much hoarding going on?). But Tina showed my some of the new Boxer line yesterday that she had bought on a trip up north. Any resolve I may have had dissolved at the first glance at this beautiful paper. So, I went on line and ordered some from Rocky Mountain Hobbies. Now I'm going to be checking on the mailman until it arrives.

-CSA. That's Community Supported Agriculture. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this hot new trend, consumers prepay for a designated number of weeks of organic local produce. The consumer then assumes some of the risk with the farmer, and the farmer has a guaranteed income for the season. It's a win/win situation for me. Fresh local, organic produce every week and I don't have to weed, water, worry about insects or drive all around town looking for good food. I got my first 'box' last week. Yummy baby greens, butter lettuce, cilantro, broccoli, rainbow chard and radishes were inside. Because of the wet cold weather earlier this spring, there was no box this week :(. Opening that box is like Christmas every week. I can't wait for the next one.

So that's my favs for this week.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Portland's Chinese Garden

I visited my daughter and her husband this weekend in Portland. My one request for this visit was to make a trip to the Chinese Garden in the Chinese district right off Burnside. It's in the heart of the city for those of you who are unfamiliar with Portland. It was a superbly beautiful day for our visit - 60-70 degrees and sunny. One of the kind of days that makes Portland such a showplace.

It wasn't particularly crowded, although there were quite a few visitors there. We were priviledged to see a Tai Chi demonstration in celebration of national Tai Chi Day. The teacher was an older woman with beautiful form - graceful and powerful at the same time. How I wish sometimes that I lived in the city to be able to take advantage of lessons with such gifted teachers.

The gardens are beyond description. Everywhere you look there is beauty and small vignettes of stone, plants, water and structures. Windows or openings in the walls provide a glimse of subtle beauty. Within the city block that the garden occupies is the feeling of such peace and solitude, even tho the city activity is right outside the walls.

Water and structure portray a sense of restfulness. And the sound of the waterfall drowns out the noises of the city. I could have stayed there all afternoon, but we had several other stops in the downtown area and had to move on.