Monday, June 30, 2008

As the month ends...

woman reading


For Today, June 30, 2008...

Outside My Window...


I can see patches of blue sky pushing their way through the layers of smoke haze that have blanketed the Valley & glimpses of the hills to the West for the first time in nearly two weeks.


I am thinking...


about my presentation for Garden Club next week; my theme is “Home Composting” & I’m trying to decide on either a general overview of options, or an in depth focus on one type (my new research has been on vermicompost- aka, Worm Farming)


I am thankful for...


meg’s garden, my little corner of this cyber neighborhood. For two years as of today, I have been given the privilege of glimpsing into the lives of creative, generous, caring, & inspiring people, while sharing the things that are important in my world. I can only hope that I have been able to give back a portion of what I have received to those kind enough to visit & encourage me.


From the kitchen...


I’m trying something new- a Moroccan dinner of spiced chicken, couscous, & grilled zucchini


I am wearing...


A brown short-sleeved tunic, a patterned skirt in red, peach, & brown, & brown leather slides


I am creating...


An apron for a summer swap, a pair of toe-up socks for my MIL (Christmas is coming), & my first attempt at recreating my favorite slip.


I am going...


to replant my “Salad Bed” this week~ the lettuce, radishes, & carrots never took. We’ve tilled up the smaller raised planter, added a bag of chicken manure & some fresh soil, & hung some shade cloth, so I’m going to reseed with leaf lettuce, spinach, radishes, green onions, & carrots.


I am reading...


Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility for the Ravelry read & knit along, Slay Bells by Kate Kingsbury (an Edwardian mystery), & Moving On by Sarah Ban Breathnach


I am hoping...


the temperatures stay reasonable for the Holiday~ last year, it was over 105°, which discouraged all of us from doing anything beyond sitting inside all day


I am hearing...


David Russell’s Renaissance Favorites for Guitar, the laser printer cranking out month-end reports, & my boss chatting with her daughter for the 6th time this morning


Around the house...


The house is rather tidy, since Sam hasn’t gotten around to finding a job this summer; my portable sewing machine has taken up residence on the kitchen table- I believe it’s time to rearrange the study so I feel more comfortable working up there; I was excited to “find” two forgotten sprinklers in the front lawn- the guys have put in new pop-up heads, so now maybe my ferns won’t need hand watering.


One of my favorite things...


The smell of alfalfa- fresh or dried, it doesn’t matter


A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:


A mercifully quiet week ahead- no meetings, no classes, no appointments; I need to have my car smogged so I can send off the registration; I was considering spending the Fourth in San Francisco- we haven’t been in 2 or 3 years & it appears we will all have the weekend off.


Here is picture thought I am sharing...



Summer 08 004 

This is what the morning skies have looked like for the past couple weeks; fortunately, the air is beginning to clear as the winds change & the fires are being controlled.

Please drop by The Simple Woman blog, to visit other ladies sharing a glimpse of their day- maybe you could even join us!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

And he has all his fingers

Once again, my annual support of public broadcasting has reaped unexpected dividends.
Two weeks ago, I received a postcard from KQED, one of the local PBS stations we sponsor, inviting me to a reception & book signing at their broadcast offices in San Francisco.
The guest of honor?

Martin Yan, legendary Chinese chef, PBS icon, & Sam’s personal cooking idol~ Sweet!
We’ve been watching his shows for nearly 20 years, & it is not uncommon to hear this phrase, ringing through the kitchen~

“If Yan can cook…so can you!”

Chris had the day off (first one in 2 weeks) & I left work at 3:30, so the three of us arrived in S.F. in plenty of time. Let me tell you~ this was a class act all the way around; there was complimentary valet parking, docents on hand to give tours of the station (which broadcasts both television & radio), & the “light refreshments” were a major misnomer-

grilled veggies, steamed pork buns, mini takeout cartons with stir fried noodles, planks of salmon, bowls of curried shrimp, beef skewers, & stacks of almond, coconut, & fortune cookies, washed done with a choice of 4 wines.

We bought two of Martin’s new book, Martin Yan’s China- one for us & the other for Chris’ Mom, who is a huge fan- as well as his signature Chinese knife set, with chopsticks & seasoning booklet. We were able to have the books autographed & take a photo with Martin, a funny, charming, & gracious gentleman.

After a quick tour of the facilities, we settled into the studio for a cutting & cooking demo, followed by a preview of the new program series. Martin is a stitch~ we laughed for nearly the whole hour

As we left the building, the docents literally filled our shopping bag with fortune cookies, & chocolate truffles, & we were met at the curb by our car, nice & warm on the slightly foggy evening.

Oh, did I mention~ it was all free?

Once again, it’s good to be me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Back to the regularly scheduled program



Stick a fork in me~ I’m done!


Well, maybe not exactly done


More like “Buried at a reasonably manageable & familiar level, lower than in the past 8 weeks.”


You know, ankle high instead of neck deep.


At least until October- but I’m not going to think about that right now.


So, what have I been up to, since I have obviously not been investing much brain activity around the Garden?


Work, mostly~ you know, that J-O-B one is forced to attend, in order to write legally negotiable checks for bills & such. The chi around the office got seriously out of whack- right in the middle of some heavyweight state-mandated reporting deadlines (which naturally fall on me), we lost three employees in as many weeks, one of them from my already minuscule accounting department (& no replacement on the horizon- ugh). Workload has trebled while we try to regroup, so I’ve been putting in late days & several weeks of Saturday work time to get on top of things. This past one was brutal- we were in the midst of triple-digit temperatures when the A/C in my office either couldn’t keep up anymore, or simply gave up; since I needed access to all the programs & files on my computer, I ended up working for 6 hours in +90°, with an ice pack on my neck & frozen water bottles under my feet.


It wasn’t a pretty sight by the end of the afternoon- but I’m done with Saturdays for a while.


So, why didn’t I come by to write you all in the evenings or on the weekend (what was left of it, that is)?


Because I couldn’t face any more time in front of the computer.


Because I didn’t seem to have the ability to string together cognitive sentences.


Because I was looking at a backlog of home projects that really needed my attention.


Because I was feeling lazy & unmotivated.


However, I am done with that also.


Well, maybe not the backlog of projects- that never ends.


Oh, and the lazy part- that’s pretty constant, too.


Nevertheless, as I am creeping up on my second Blogversary this week, I feel a renewed need to invest part of my self- my time, my creativity, my personality- in this little cyber-garden of friends.


Okay, enough mushy stuff~ read a fortune cookie & I’ll catch you later.



My Fortune Cookie told me: Tomorrow will be an excellent day for putting Slinkies on an escalator. Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Whiskers on Wednesday

Today is my first contribution to a new weekly blog group- Whiskers on Wednesday. I found them thru one of my Ravelry Groups, "Under the Spell of an Orange Cat" (Poppy is my Redhead) & couldn't resist the urge to spread some "cat love", since you know how goofy I am about my girls :-)


This is Dahlia, the youngest of our bouquet (all our girls are named after flowers); she was adopted from a local rescue group three years ago to be a companion to her older "sister" Poppy. The woman in charge warned us that while she was clean, healthy, & litterbox trained, she was a little too wild & high-strung to ever really be a "people cat".

Piffle. The woman knows nothing.

You can tell by her face that she's a real little character. She also sports a number of nicknames: Dilly-Dal, Dog-Cat, Pickle (as in "always getting into a"), & Boo (short for Boo-Boo Kitty). Her stories of mayham & disaster are legion, but her most endearing traits are her terminally sunny disposition, her crazy gap-tooth smile & baby "mew", & her utter devotion to "her people".


Drop by Whiskers on Wednesday to visit some of the other "Crazy Cat Ladies", or even join in yourself- Come on, you know you want to...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pen in hand...




Outside My Window...

I see more than a dozen bunches of grapes slowly forming on the vines, my potted hydrangea blooming in vibrant pink, & the lemon cucumber plant climbing toward the sun.


I am thinking...

About ways to swing the cost of a road trip up to Oregon next month & a possible stay-over at Crater Lake


I am thankful for...

A whole month off from choir commitments- I’m beginning to feel burned out & unmotivated to practice


From the kitchen...

Homemade spaghetti sauce with lots of veggies, grilled zucchini, & fresh fruit for dessert


I am wearing...

Navy knit capris & a sleeveless white shirt- just got back from a walk


I am creating...

More blocks for the Church quilt & working on Chris’ pullover vest


I am going...

To try making some new slips- it is getting harder & harder to find the kind I like (split skirt, like culottes, with no lace)


I am reading...

Still working through Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber & Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskill


I am hoping...

To be caught up on my backed up work at the job & back on schedule by this weekend


I am hearing...

The guys discussing seasoning for the sauce, Modern Marvels on the television & the floor fan humming


Around the house...

It is pleasantly cool inside after a hot day; Dahlia is napping atop the newspaper stack & chasing ghost birds; there are entirely too many bags sitting by the front door (& only half of them are mine)


One of my favorite things...

Classical Guitar music, especially Baroque


A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:

Haircut on Wednesday (my stylist finally sent me a postcard announcing her new place); at least two visits to the gym (must get back up to 5-6 days a week); lots of carting Sam around to classes & lessons; & another dentist appointment to cement in a new crown & start the replacement on another


Here is picture thought I am sharing...



Lavender Hollow Farm

Please drop by The Simple Woman blog, to visit other ladies sharing a glimpse of their day- maybe you could even join us!


Friday, June 13, 2008

What does meg do on a day off?


Guilt can be a wonderful thing.




My boss has felt soooo badly about all the late days & weekends I’ve had to work lately to meet state regulated deadlines (& I suspect a huge amount of relief that she hasn’t had to take on the responsibilities herself). Really awful~ as in “a very generous gift certificate to the LYS” awful (which appeared on my desk Tuesday morning after her return from vacation).


Also, last week, when I told her I would be in late on Wednesday because Sam had an out-of-town doctor’s appointment, she insisted I take the entire day off.




If she was expecting an argument, she was sadly disappointed.


Serendipity being what it is, Wednesday was a Garden Club day meeting, & they were taking a field trip to a lavender farm. Even better, Chris ended up having the day off & offered to take Sam to his appointment. Yeah me!


So here are some pictures of our day at Lavender Hollow Farms:



Lavender Hollow Farm 025


Lavender Hollow Farm 027


Lavender Hollow Farm 031




We were given a tour,


Lavender Hollow Farm 030


Lavender Hollow Farm 035


Lavender Hollow Farm 016


and a class on making “Lavender Wands”, a traditional Victorian craft.


Lavender Hollow Farm 011


Lavender Hollow Farm 017


Lavender Hollow Farm 018


After lunch (which we brought along), Alice shared a peek of the Tea Room (no pics, sorry) & what the family calls the “Chicken Tree” (because this is where the chickens would roost occasionally)


Lavender Hollow Farm 042


It is a Weeping Fruitless Mulberry, over 50 years old, & the favorite hangout for their children, & now, grandchildren.


We did go on to another farm, Lorina’s Edible Gardens, which specializes in herbs. While there wasn’t anything particularly photo-worthy, it was very informative & I came away with some new herb plants & seeds for my new box.

Lavender Hollow Farm 003


I know Chris would hate this picture, but if he knows I’m taking a photo, he gets a really silly expression on his face.

Lavender Hollow Farm 005


Poppy approves; in fact, I’m going to have to watch her & Fred, our outdoor gentleman~ I don’t want them to start grazing through my plants or use it for a platform bed!


Lavender Hollow Farm 037

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer Swap Time

If you have been visiting Meg's Garden for very long, you know how much I love, love, love swaps; now one of my favorite sites, The Simple Woman, is hosting one with a summer theme!

This one is super easy-peasy: choose one new thing, one gently used thing from your home, & one thrift store find- all with summer in mind & costing no more then $12.00 before mailing. If you are interested in joining, or just want to lurk while the rest of us have fun, drop by Peggy's to learn all the particulars.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Just zipping through...


Still no time for a real blog entry (not if I want to visit a few people, eat supper, & sleep more than 5 hours), so here’s a cheater meme, courtesy of these lovely folks:



 Friday Fill-in


1. Idle hands are either sleeping or waiting for the pain meds to kick in.
2. I love
just standing under the hot water in the shower.
3. My favorite time of the day is when
I first get home- I can put on some comfy clothes, & relax in my chair with something to drink & my feline kids.
4. The last tea I drank was
iced Ceylon with lemon peel & spearmint.
5. I like to
go to the Concerts in the Park during the Summer.
6. My mother always said,
Let me be the Mother” (I was the oldest at home & in charge of my siblings too often, apparently).
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to
an evening home alone, finishing projects; tomorrow my plans include going in to work, farmers’ market, dentist, & Sam’s golf clinic; and Sunday, I want to stay home & nap, but it is my weekend to docent at Ravenswood!


Monday, June 02, 2008

Looking forward, not back...




FOR TODAY June 2nd...


Outside My Window...

Blue skies, bright sun, and Old Glory flying proudly in the wind


I am thinking...

about ways to cut our fuel expenses; Chris commutes to work everyday & with gasoline topping $4.00 a gallon, we’re looking at a $600-$700 monthly gas bill


I am thankful for...

my husband’s willingness to trust my judgment, & the regional transit district that provides a (relatively) convenient commuter bus for only $112 a month!


From the kitchen...

hamburgers, green beans, & some homemade ice cream.


I am wearing...

navy slacks, royal blue knit top, & navy loafers


I am creating...

the Notting Hill Vest for Chris, since I haven’t bought replacement yarn for his kilt hose.


I am going...

put in for a few days vacation in July- not only am I ready for a break, I think it’s time to take a road trip up to Oregon to visit the in-laws


I am reading...

Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber, Murder on the Mauritania by Conrad Allen, & All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew


I am hoping...

to finish up these reports for work, so I can have my Saturdays free again.


I am hearing...

the sound of the laser printer kicking out pages of month end reports, the fax machine ringing, & J.S. Bach’s Suite in C Major


Around the house...

I’ve been sorting through the magazines & stacked papers on the desk; Sam is doing his semi-annual room rearrangement, clearing out the end-of-school debris; & the growing pile of shoes by the front door need to be addressed



One of my favorite things...

Kettle Brand Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper Chips- yum! (Plus, it gets us to drink plenty of water J)


A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:

Sam starts a second weekly tennis lesson (Tues & Fri) & a four-week golf clinic on Saturday; I have a dentist appointment to have a crown replaced; working on the new church quilt & mending a cut in the living room curtains (someone was practicing with his new sword L)


Here is picture thought I am sharing.



Spring 2008 004



this is the new quilt I’m working on; it’s called “Almost Cathedral Windows” & is pieced & quilted at the same time!


Please drop by The Simple Woman blog, to visit other ladies sharing a glimpse of their day- maybe you could even join us!