Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ah, yes- this is more like it

As a gift for myself, I have decided that I will no longer be just plain old Mary (yes, that is my actual first name- meg is an acronym nickname); henceforth, I decree, in a most regal manner, that I will only answer to the following title:

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Viscountess Meg the Dissolute of Piddletrenthide on the Carpet
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Isn’t that a hoot? (Thanks, Tammy) I think every woman should receive their own noble title; it helps one to disregard the myriad of new lines on her face & the additional white hairs that keep showing up (can you tell who just had a haircut?)

My dentist appointment went well, with the possible exception of the right side of my jaw popping loudly for about 4 hours, & I’m now sporting the latest in dental fashion, a silver-colored metal crown, which unfortunately clashes with the gold jewelry I normally wear.

Afterwards, it was off to the salon to have a trim; I credit it to my semi-medicated state, but I allowed my stylist to *gasp* color my hair. The jury is still out (& won’t be home until Friday)- it’s a couple of shades lighter then my natural dark brown, with lots of gold strands (guess I have fairly resistant grey), but seems to be pretty subtle- no one at work has even noticed! The real test will be if my delicate sensibilities & wallet can stand it- I cannot abide seeing different colored roots showing & this treatment was not cheap- $40 (on sale, not including haircut) & my hair is only 1-½ inches long!

So then, in keeping with the “sprucing up the old gal” theme for the week, I headed over to Dress Barn & purchased some new clothes- a pair of tan slacks, some dark blue crop pants, a pink camp shirt, 5 knit tops (4 solid, 1 print), pantyhose, knee hi’s, & a bra (the girls needed a boost, too). All I need now is a couple pairs of shoes- my light colored sandals & flats are looking worn, which is not surprising since they are quite historic- I think 10+ years old.

All this to commemorate the return of my husband & my 44th birthday on Saturday; I serve notice now: Chris best not decide to sleep for 15 hours when he gets home on Friday morning- after a quick “get reacquainted nap”, Mama expects to be taken out on the town to make use of all this costly frippery!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Do you see what I see?

I was out in the garden, watering & clearing out debris after all the wind this week, & look what I found peeking out of the ground:

I’ve planted a couple dozen lily of the valley pips over the past couple of years & this is the first one I’ve ever seen come up. Actually, this is the first real one I’ve ever seen- I didn’t realize how tiny they are.

It’s been a typically full weekend here in the Garden. Friday turned into a rather stressful day; Sam’s school was on lock-down for nearly 5 hours, because a number of threatening notes were found taped on buildings around campus. Sam called me from class, filling me in on what was going on & asking if I could come get him; after talking with one of the staff in the office, I decided it was safer for him to stay where he was. They were finally released around 1:30, after one young man was taken into custody; Sam’s best friend’s mother picked up the boys & took them to her house. (I will not do a rant on the utter stupidity of this nimrod- it goes with out saying) After work, I dropped by the knitting shop for a little help with my sock & stayed to visit for an hour or so. Then, I collected Sam from Gino’s & we drove into Livermore for dance class- we had a dress rehearsal for our demonstration on Saturday.

We drove into Fremont to Ardenwood Historic Farm for the Tartan Day Clan Gathering, our first performance of the season. This is a very pleasant one-day event, small & family oriented; our group contributes here every year, usually with one performance & a session teaching Ceilidh (Gaelic for “party”, pronounced KAY-lee) dances.

I took a busman’s side trip & toured Patterson House, which is on the grounds & is a member of our House Museum association. The house is quite nice, with quite a few of the family’s possessions, & the grounds are just beginning to bloom. After our performance set, Sam & I wandered around to the barns & blacksmith shop then had a lunch of bangers & chips (mild sausages & fries). I’ve added pictures of the grounds to the “Historic Houses” album here.

Today, I was out at Ravenswood, covering for another docent who had a family commitment. We had an unpleasant surprise while opening up- sometime in the past two weeks, bees have taken up residence in the Main House. My partner for the day is allergic to bees & she was pretty jumpy most of the time, so I took most of the tours, giving the house a wide berth. Fortunately, we weren't terribly busy, since the weather was cool & cloudy; there is a call in to the park district office (who own the property), so I’m certain everything will be cleared up by the next time we are scheduled to be opened, Memorial Day weekend.

The coming week is looking as eventful as the weekend; Sam has a tennis scrimmage on Monday & a tournament Thursday & Friday (BTW, the West High tennis team won the TCAL title this past Thursday- the second undefeated season in a row); Saturday is our turn to host the House to House gathering, so evenings will be spent doing the little last minute fixes & cleaning; Tuesday, I have my next dentist appointment to start my new crown for the root canal 2 weeks ago, & a haircut appointment; & Friday, Chris is finally returning home around 9:00 am- I’m taking a half-day off so we’ll have a little time alone before another busy weekend is upon us.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I would have never thought of that!

My mother-in-law emailed this helpful hint to me; I don’t know who originally wrote it, but they have my heartfelt thanks for brightening an otherwise dreary task.

How to Clean Your Toilet

  1. Put both lids of the toilet up and add 1/8 cup of pet shampoo to the water in the bowl.

  2. Pick up the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the bathroom.

  3. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids. You may need to stand on the lid.

  4. The cat will self agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from the toilet; the cat is actually enjoying this.

  5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a “power-wash and rinse”.

  6. Have someone open the front door of your home. Be sure that there are no people standing between the bathroom and the front door.

  7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.

  8. The cat will rocket out of the toilet, streak through the bathroom, and run outside where he will dry himself off.

  9. Both the commode and the cat will be sparkling clean.


The Dog

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Guess what's coming up

Your True Birth Month Is July

Fun to be with
Has reputation
Not revengeful
Easily consoled
Very emotional
Wary and sharp
Waits for friends
Likes to be quiet
Witty and snarky
Caring and loving
Loves to be alone
Overly concerned
Loves to be loved
Treats others equally
Puts in effort in work
Takes pride in oneself
Moody and easily hurt
No difficulties in studying
Strong sense of sympathy
Forgiving but never forgets
Quiet unless excited or tensed
Not aggressive unless provoked
Concerned about people's feelings
Temperamental and unpredictable
Judge people through observations
Easily hurt but takes long to recover
Guides others physically and mentally
Dislikes the nonsensical and unnecessary
Difficult to fathom and to be understood
Sensitive and forms impressions carefully
Always broods about the past and the old friends

What's Your True Birth Month?

Your Birth Month is April

You are trustworthy and highly ethical in all facets of life.
Helpful and steady, you are able to solve any problem.

Your soul reflects: Bliss, playfulness, and curiosity

Your gemstone: Diamond

Your flower: Sweet Pea

Your colors: Yellow and red

What Does Your Birth Month Mean?

We're winding up our Spring Break "adventures" & have hunkered down from the blustery weather to watch movies. Just talked to Chris & the Texas tornados missed his area; they have just been dealing with wind, rain, & a brief return of the cold. I'll be by later to chat~ ciao!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

See- I do to know how to relax

va·ca·tion (noun) break from work- a period of time devoted to rest, travel, or recreation


Despite my “Energizer Bunny” image around Blogville (wholly & truly undeserved- see here), I have been markedly non-productive on my first two days of vacation, per the directive of my many friends who come to visit. I suppose “non-productive” is not really precise- “pleasantly occupied” would be more accurate.

Saturday started slowly- I’d been up half the night due to a loud party next door (the second in as many days). I kept hoping they would knock it off, but at 3:30 am, I finally called the police & within 15 minutes all was silent. I managed to sleep until after 8:00 & puttered around the house, doing a little cleaning & straightening, watering the plants front & back, then read the paper while enjoying some tea (my new favorite- Harney & Sons “Bangkok”, green tea with coconut, lemongrass, & ginger). After Sam got up & received his assignments for the day, I took advantage of the pleasant weather, walked over to the gym & had a decent workout (as my arms & legs will attest to today). I spent the afternoon doing some shopping for fun; I brought myself some new clothes, looked around for some shoes (no luck, but I’m pretty picky because of the arthritis), picked up a new book at B & N, & wrapped up at the garden center, picking some plants for out front & more potting soil. I picked up some fried chicken & fixings for supper, & we watched PBS for the evening, turning in before 10:00 pm - thankfully, blessed silence from next door!

Resurrection Sunday was pleasantly low-keyed. We didn’t do a big Easter production this year; instead, three people gave their testimonies about God’s work in their lives, interspersed with four songs by the choir, all following the theme “Some People Change”. I sang lead through both services, so I was able to absorb the words being spoken; I found myself in tears, hope flickering in my heart that my prodigal will return to the Lord. You know how I fear for her, but I have to consciously put thoughts & worries about her problems aside, daily handing them over to the Father, because there is nothing else I can do. I had to decide a while back to let it go, to the point of avoiding her company; otherwise the enemy will use my concern to rob me of joy & peace.

Anyway, the rest of the day was relaxed; Sam & I went out for dinner at Texas Roadhouse- I had the biggest chicken-fried steak I’ve ever seen; it completely filled the oval platter & hung over each side by an inch! After we managed to make a dent in all the food, we strolled over to Sears to poke around & left with some clothes for Sam. I took a nap with the girls for a couple of hours, then called Chris in Texas. He spent the day with the shop’s general manager & his family, going to church & then having dinner at their home. He says it’s a really nice location, with a brand new, fully equipped facility- they just don’t have any employees. He’s been working 10 hours a day, trying to get enough units ready to fill the bookings for the rest of the month, while they hopefully hire & train some staff. Other then the extreme cold, which was completely unexpected, & the ongoing drought situation, he says he really likes the area; I reminded him that we are not going to even consider a move anywhere until Sam is out of high school! (His family has been after us for two years to relocate to Oregon- I finally had to decree, in true Queenly fashion, that the subject is forbidden until the end of 2009).

Well, the neighbors are having another party- but as there are children present this time, I have great hopes that it will wrap up at a reasonable hour. Tomorrow morning, I’m off to the Bay Area with a group of Ravenswood docents for a meeting at Shinn House, another period museum in Fremont, & then maybe a bit of antique shop browsing- then again, I may just come home & put in my new plants, or do a little sewing, or maybe I’ll just sit on the patio in the sun, reading my book. Ahhh- see, I do listen on occasion.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Lowdown on the Hoedown

Whew! The travelers have arrived at their respective destinations (Chris in McKinney, Texas for two weeks- Kenta back home in Kagoshima, Japan) & peace is settling upon the garden like the down from the dandelions on the lawn. Wait. Dandelions? We’re not suppose to have dandelions on our lawn- Chris will have a fit- I’ll add it to the list.

What list, you ask? The list of things I’ll be doing on my “vacation” next week. Yes, three more days of work & I’ll have Spring Break off for the first time since high school. Around here, Spring Break = Spring Cleaning, so Sam & I will stay busy completing projects that keep getting put off during the year. Top of the list was “Clean out the garage & have a Yard Sale” but since that is Chris’ domain, I figured I’d best wait until he is back & can make rational decisions about getting rid of stuff. Heck, all that stuff looks like junk to me- I’d rather not end up in marriage counseling because I threw out his Great-Grandfather’s antique bean-can label collection worth thousand’s of dollars.

Anyway, it’s been the usual whirlwind around here, with varied & disconnected events filling our days, so I will resort to the tried-and-true “Bullet Entry”

    v My daughter is again trying to single-handedly turn my hair white- it’s a long story (& I don’t know how much is true) but it boils down to she got fired from the job she’s had for 1 ½ years. There goes her health insurance, not to mention a steady income, & her with overdue medical bills & back rent still owing on her old apartment. Fortunately she had never taken any vacation, so her separation check was pretty decent- enough to cover her expenses for a couple of months. After dropping that bomb, she told me she’s headed to LA for a week to visit friends. Wait a minute- didn’t you just lose your job? Her reply- “Don’t worry about it.” Yeah, right- I’m not going to worry. While she was down there, she blew through more than half of her money- she bought a surfboard for crying out loud! Why? Because she was bored & there was nothing else to do. To top it off, she lost her cell phone (uninsured, of course) & had to buy another one. The only bright spot was on her return, she ran into a friend who was able to give her leads on two part-time jobs- she started last week at a hookah bar & will start this weekend at a Mexican restaurant, both of which are walking distance from her new place.

    v On the “Hope for the Future” front, my son Robb started his new job with the utilities district in Orlando. It’s not his dream job (he’ll be working in the motor pool), but it is a foot in the door for other opportunities. Besides, the money is better then wrenching at a dealership for flat rate, & he gets full, paid benefits right off the bat, including matching contributions into the 401K. He is quite happy- he’s been after this job for nearly a year- & is planning on moving in with a friend until he finds the place he wants to buy.

    v Lest I forget about my youngest (like that is really a possibility), Sam played his first varsity match yesterday. He & Gilbert beat the #2 doubles team Monday at practice, so they were bumped into league play on Tuesday, against Edison High School. He was pretty tightly strung Monday night & all day Tuesday, thinking through his game & praying he would completely embarrass himself or his team. There was a pretty good turnout of spectators, including two of his favorite teachers, his best friend, & his new girl friend (haven’t met her yet- I’ve only had her pointed out to me from across the track, amongst a crowd of 12 girls). Oh, yes- they won- 6-0, 6-3! Needless to say, he is quite pleased with the outcome (even got their names in the newspaper this morning, along with the score & mentioning their “match debut”) & has hopes to play again soon.

    v We had lovely weekend weather, which we put to full use. Saturday was spent doing the regular weekly house-caring duties, which is finally including mowing lawns (I love the smell of fresh cut grass) & weeding the beds. I thinned the carrots, caged the tomato, & trimmed the sweet herbs to dry for tea. The leaf lettuce was ready to begin picking, so we made small salads & sandwiches for lunch. That evening was the second “House to House” dinner, with the theme of “St. Paddy’s Day”. The hostess made up a proper dinner of corned beef, cabbage, boiled potatoes, & soda bread, & the guests brought salad, appetizers, & gingerbread for dessert (that was mine). It was a nice evening, though I’m having a little problem getting to like this month’s hostess; I know she’s a godly woman & committed to serving our church family, but something about her rubs me the wrong way. For example, as we were gobbling up the dinner, each of us saying how much we liked corned beef, she kept saying (not in a joking manner) “Really? I think it’s just gross! I don’t know how you people can eat that stuff.” She chose the meal & theme, & I felt it was rude to disparage something her guests were obviously enjoying. I don’t know, I suppose I’m being overly sensitive- not every one has the same idea of what is polite. The next dinner is at our house on the 28th; I’ve chosen the theme “It’s Your Birthday” (hint, hint) & plan to do a picnic in the back yard, so hopefully my would-be friend will be nice.

    v Sunday, we took the day off of church & headed up to Sacramento. First stop (after Jamba Juice, of course- Kenta & Sam are as addicted as I am) was the Ikea store- I needed to pick up two more chairs & cushions for the dining room table; besides, it’s a fun store. We ended up with some kitchen gadgets, a set of drawer organizers, & a portable campstool to take to the Games, then hit the prepared food area for picnic goodies. We went downtown to Sutter’s Fort & spread out on the lawn for a light al fresco lunch, before touring the Fort & the nearby Indian Museum. Later, we went down to Old Town by the river, poked around in the shops, & watched the steam engine train carrying passengers up & down the line. ( If you ever make it to Sacramento, a must see is the California Railroad Museum & adjacent Discovery Museum of Gold Rush History; they have wonderful exhibits, many hands-on, & it’s real easy to spend an entire day there.) We drifted home around 4:00 & the boys promptly headed to the mall for a souvenir-buying excursion. Chris & I took advantage of free dinner tickets at the new Chili’s that is getting ready to open near our house; they were doing employee training, so the menu was limited & service a little slow, but, hey, it was free!

I’m looking forward to a relatively quiet couple of weeks; besides Easter services & Spring cleaning, I don’t have much in the way of plans other then 1) finish the last border on the church quilt top, & 2) attend the monthly Garden Club meeting next Wednesday. I’m hoping to swing a day in Golden Gate Park, but if it doesn’t happen, I won’t be heartbroken. Toodles!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Well, I'm normally not much of a joiner, but this group of bloggers really appeals to me, so I decided to join the Chicks. I have been having a great time exploring all these great blogs & hope to meet some new friends to join the wonderful group I've met so far; besides, I wouldn't mind seeing a little more traffic coming by this site. Please explore the blogroll that I've posted below "Fences I Like To Peek Over"- you might even see my name!