Monday, September 29, 2008

Business as Usual

Well, that week simply jetted off into the blue; I could have sworn it was only Thursday, & here it is Monday again.

The usual abundance of activity around here, with a couple new adventures thrown in for giggles:


Our friend J has been by several times to consult with Chris & share a meal; he hopes to be in his new home before Thanksgiving, but is dealing with a bit of fear over taking such a big step all on his own, so we’re doing a bit of distraction therapy by putting him to work with our sprinkler system.


In a flash of unexpected maturity & insight, Sam has cut back both karate & tennis lessons to one evening a week so he can assume soundboard duties for Wednesday night Youth services- but I’m still having to drive him to & from for the time being.


I had my first appointment with the orthopedic specialist; after examinations, range-of-motion measurements, & more x-rays, she sent me home with stronger pain meds, a referral for 4 weeks of physical therapy to help with the strength & flexibility issues, & a return appointment in October. It’s looking about 90% certain I’ll be having some form of surgery on my elbow in the near future- a portion of the end of my humerus (upper bone of the arm), where it impacted with the lower bones during my fall, is deteriorating due to a lack of blood supply, so measures will need to be taken to prevent further damage.


I was able to offset the testosterone-overload of last weekend by indulging in a number of girly activities & playing dress-up this weekend; I attended the annual “Quilts in the Trees” show at my favorite nursery Saturday morning, spending three hours wandering around, taking photos, having a tea & petit fours break, a bit of shopping & a lot of planning for the next quilt project & planting season. The rest of the weekend was spent at Ravenswood, performing my docent duties; Saturday was a special event, the annual Applefest, where the public was invited to pick & taste test our heirloom varieties, press cider, play games, & tour the cottage- hence, my presence for 3 hours. I ended up returning to work the regular fourth-Sunday open house, since there were two docents unable to come; otherwise, we would have had to close for the day, & that would have been unfortunate- we had two large parties make special trips out to the Estate- a Red Hat society group from the Bay Area, & ten ladies from one of the local retirement homes on a chartered bus. They each seemed to have a wonderful time- the Red Hat ladies were particularly excited that the croquet team was there en mass, hosting their arch-rivals from Ardenwood- & made very generous donations to the Preservation League, in addition to spending oodles in the gift shop, so I count the abuse to my poor feet as naught against the vision of animated faces & expressions of appreciation.


I’m off to spend some time with my Sketchbook project; I have it clearly pictured in my mind & most of the elements completed- I just need to concentrate on pulling everything together & committing it to the page, always the hardest part for me. Help me out by doing a little brainstorming on my behalf over the next assignment: “Starry Night”, which should include something mysterious….


 Sleeping half-moonà StaràSleeping half-moon àStar àSleeping half-moon

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meet Me at the Fair


I completed the first page of my Sketchbook project, inspired by a prompt from Mrs. Stagg:



This made me think of the classic film "Meet Me in St. Louis", one of my favorites; I can trace my love of the period from first seeing this in my teens. I decided to go with the theme of the 1904 World's Fair, & searched out vintage images of the period; here is what I came up with (click the photos to see a slightly larger version):







All that's left is to cover the page with a protector sheet & add it to the Sketchbook. I have another Fair-inspired page that I'm working on, using a different era & some journaling elements, but now I need to move on to the next prompt, "A Little Needlework", which should include an element that moves.

Stop by "A Happy Miscellany" to see the links to other pages that have been created; it's fascinating to see the different visions of the same idea- who knows, you might find a little inspiration yourself.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Testosterone Overload


humorous pictures
more animals

 I need a break- a quiet, male-free block of time to recover my sense of humor. There were entirely too many bodies of the masculine persuasion in & out of my house this weekend, eating, drinking, stinking, & banging around at all hours.

It all started Friday; I was looking forward to going to the dedication of our high school’s brand new stadium & watching the first real varsity home game. But Sam had to teach both the Friday night classes (his sensei was ill), followed by a dress rehearsal for a Flipnotics (his mixed martial arts tricking team) demo, so they had to have an adult chaperon with them at the gym. Chris got home early enough to take that shift, & suggested that I could go to the game, but I didn’t want to go by myself, so I picked up take-and-bake pizzas & drinks for the guys to have at our house afterwards.

Chris had the whole weekend off- only the second one since May- but I had to go into the office for a couple hours; he got ferrying duty, since Flipnotics was performing at a local church’s Fall Festival- three trips across town for water, athletic tape, & getting eight kids, with their equipment, to the stage in time for a last minute walk-thru. I was able to walk over from my office to watch & I must admit, they did a pretty good job, though everyone seems to end up with some sort of (minor) injury.

We wandered around for a bit after the demo & ran into our friend J, who Chris has been seeing a lot of lately- J helped him finish up the work on the rental house side job, & Chris has been looking at fixer houses with J, who is finally taking the plunge. Since J has been living in temporary quarters with a friend after splitting from his long-time girlfriend, Chris invited him over for dinner; fortunately, I was standing there at the time (no, he didn’t check with me first), so it wasn’t a complete surprise, but now I really needed to go to the store.

Two hours & a half hours later, I arrive home with a carload of groceries…& no one around to carry them in (you might remember I’m on a 5 lb weight limit with my left arm); I made a quick phone call, succinct & to the point: “I don’t care where you are or what you’re doing- I have a trunk full of food & it needs to be inside now”, & then hung up. Within 5 minutes, the guys pulled up; once everything was inside & I had started the potatoes cooking, Chris had J on the phone, told me that he was bringing along a buddy they had run into after I left the Festival, & asked me what time dinner would be ready- I looked him straight in the eye & said, “Whenever you finish cooking everything”, & went to sit down in my recliner. I was obviously not real happy at that point- Mama doesn’t do Caveman’s little woman & he was suddenly making a lot of assumptions about my role in this little party. Then Sam piped up, reminding me that he was invited to a birthday party & it started in 30 minutes- so it was back in the car for a trip to the next town, leaving Chris to deal with dinner.

It was a pleasant enough evening- we had boneless pork ribs, mashed potatoes, green beans, grilled mushrooms, garlic bread, & salad- but the conversation quickly degenerated into a gross-out fest. J is a mortician & his friend is an EMT, so they began trading stories, which naturally egged Chris on- the language turned rather blue & there was more blood, gore, death & dismemberment than the worst B-movie horror flick. I again retreated to my chair & knitting, but good manners (mine, not their) kept me from turning on the TV to drown them out & they didn’t call it quits until nearly 10:45 pm.

Sunday was more of the same; after church, Sam had another demo at the Fall Festival, & wanted us to drop him at the practice park, go home to get his uniform out of the dryer, drive back to the park & then ferry everyone back over to the Festival. This is where I had my meltdown; I reminded him that I had already given up most of my weekend to his activities & that my sole purpose on earth was not to cart all & sundry whenever he made plans (without my input, in particular). Chris wisely dropped me off at the house, so I changed clothes, crawled into bed with the cats, & had a long nap.

When I woke up, the living room was again full of men; the demo was over, so Sam & his friend were eating leftover ribs, J had come back by to say thank you & replenish the beer that was decimated the night before, & they had got caught up in the various football games. Thankfully, the language had cleaned up & the volume was a bit more manageable- the cats even came downstairs for a while. At 5:00, Sam had youth choir rehearsal, so I drove him over, dropping off his friend on the way, & then stopped off for pet food & supplies. When I got back, Chris was telling J that I make a good pesto sauce- they looked at me hopefully, but as luck would have it, I was out of parmesan- oh, darn!

At that point, J got a call that his offer on a house was accepted, so he wanted to take me over to look at it, since “you’re going have to fix the garden- I don’t know what to do”. More Caveman assumptions. But he was so excited, I didn’t shoot him down, & we spent an hour peeking in windows & looking over fences at his home-sweet-home-to-be. Afterwards, we stopped off for a pizza before picking Sam up & heading home.

It wasn’t until 9:30 that I had my living room to myself, which means I stayed up too late watching Masterpiece Theatre & working on the sweater vest. I’m hoping the testosterone levels have dissipated by now & the Cavemen gone back into dormancy, or I might have to apply a liberal dose of “Pride and Prejudice” to balance the whacked out chi in my house.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


In my last post, I mentioned the sketchbook project I’m working on, thanks to the prompting of Mrs. Staggs at A Happy Miscellany. The intent behind this venture is to create a personal book, with elements of a journal, an art pad, & a scrapbook- something akin to the Fairyopolis books, with interactive elements & pleasing images. Each person chooses her own theme, & Mrs. Staggs will help spark ideas by showcasing her own work, as well as offering weekly prompts.

I have decided to blend the real & the fanciful elements of meg’s garden, my personal corner of the world & in many ways, my alter ego (or maybe my authentic self); I am a city girl, spending my days in an office in front of a computer, squeezing in time for old fashioned pursuits & ideals- a modern woman with vintage yearnings.

So, here is my first entry~ creating my own book & decorating the cover; I started with an inexpensive binder



covering it with paper



and fabric



I added some trim to blend & cover the seams




and then built a “garden” from a variety of elements



pre-made papercuts & trimmings from a autumn floral stem



This fence just called to me



and every garden needs butterflies

Tahoe Trip


In the nameplate area, I was going to hand write “meg’s garden”, practicing it several times, with different pens, but the final execution wasn’t too successful;


Tahoe Trip 039

so now, we punt~ I pulled out another papercut to put over the handwriting. This is one of my favorite terms~ I have a little sign hanging on the wall of my cubicle at work that says “La Dolce Vita”, to remind myself that I’m working for a purpose.



The cover is finally done,



except for a bit of sealing and the brain-storm I had this morning;

I want to hang a tiny “meg’s garden” sign somewhere~ maybe hanging on the fence, or on a post in the field~ what do you think?


Now, I need to finish up my first pages~ I know what I want to do, have most of the elements, but need quiet time to put it all together; make sure you drop by next week to see what’s next! 



Monday, September 15, 2008

Autumn Pages



FOR TODAY September 15, 2008...


Outside My Window...

Acrid smoke from a nearby grass fire has cloaked everything in a fog-like haze; I also see dozens of “paratrooper spiders” (aka- black widows sailing on web strings) looking for new homes  


I am thinking...

“What a dope!”- I forgot to mail in Chris’ car registration, which needed to be postmarked by Sept 14th, so now I have to pay the penalty; it’s only $17.00, but I’m aggravated because it’s been sitting in front of me for 4 weeks & I had it in my hand Friday evening.


I am thankful for...

a couple upcoming long weekends- just for me!


From the kitchen...

It’s been a while since I’ve made meatloaf, so I’ll try that, along with some rice & stir-fried veggies.


I am wearing...

A patterned skirt in autumn colors, ivory short-sleeved cotton top, & brown slides


I am creating...

A Beatrix Potter inspired sketchbook, along with my friend Mrs. Stagg in Merryville; I have the cover art nearly completed & my first pages planned, but not executed.


I am going...

to be signing up for some classes at the upcoming Stitches West Convention in February; the class schedule was released this weekend & we had a the best time pouring over the 14 pages of class selections at knitting group. I’m really intrigued by “Fair Isle Tams”, “Celtic Cables”, “Intro to Entrelac”,  “Switch to Continental Knitting”, & “Complete from the Top Down”


I am reading...

At Home with Beatrix Potter, a lovely photo book with some biography woven in; Masterpiece of Murder by Mary Kruger; & Stealing Lumby by Gail Fraser- the second in a series that I’ve really been looking forward to reading.


I am hoping...

Chris’ work schedule lightens up soon; I had three people come up to me at church yesterday, asking if everything was all right between us L While I assured the nosy Parkers that (A) yes, he really is working that much- it is the busy season after all, (B) no, he has not taken up with some hussy, & (C) no, I have not fed him rat poison & buried him in the zucchini patch, I could still see a flicker of doubt.


I am hearing...

Strains of Quando m’en vo’ from Puccini’s La Bohème, & my boss instructing her husband what to put in the macaroni salad.


Around the house...

It is fall planting time again- must dig in some compost to get ready for lettuce, carrots, radishes, & peas; the sofa table & desk are piling up with paper again- must address that this week; the cooler temperatures mean we can start opening up the house at night.


One of my favorite things...

Pumpkin pie spice- I use in all sorts of things, like oatmeal, peach cobbler, even pancake batter.


A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:

I have a long-overdue haircut appointment Wednesday, work on my sketchbook & Chris’ vest (which I’ve brought out of hibernation), supervise the Church Quilt silent auction Sunday morning, & possibly meet up with a blogging friend in the afternoon.


Here is picture thought I am sharing.

 Tahoe Trip 013

Chris meets a friend at Lake Tahoe


Please stop by Peggy’s place “The Simple Woman” to view other Daybooks form around the world- maybe you would like to join us!



Friday, September 12, 2008

Want to be a Company Girl?

In honor of the first "Company Girl Coffee" meme, I'd like to share one of my earlier experiences with trying to tame the clutter & make my home into the Sanctuary we all need.
From July 2006
"How to Spend a Sunday Afternoon"
I am not a Domestic Diva. I do not possess even a passing resemblance to a Neatnik. For the most part, dust & I peacefully co-exist. Don’t get me wrong- my house is clean; it’s simply messy. Not on the scale of “Clean House” chaotic- just cluttered, rumpled & lived-in. All of which makes yesterday afternoon stand out as somewhat unusual.

One of the tenets of Simple Abundance is Order, obviously one I openly struggle with. Since I’m serious about living an authentic, peaceful life, I’ve been convicted to eliminate the clutter in my home. I made a checklist of things I’ve put off doing for years & were REALLY bugging me. I made a good start while I was on medical leave for 8 weeks after my surgery. Well, actually the boys made a good start; I was suppose to be taking it easy, so every time I’d see something that needed done (dust on the ceiling fan, dirty curtains, cobwebs in the corners, etc) I’d call Chris or Sam & they would clean it while I supervised. When I went back to work the end of April, I let things slide a little, but I keep working on the list. I even cleaned some bookshelves & got rid of a lot of books- most were donated to the library, but quite a few were pitched out- Hey! Don’t yell at me, unless you want a 12-year-old set of Principles of Accounting or Survey of Calculus for Business!!

Which brings us to Sunday afternoon. Thru a blogging friend Cara, I learned about FlyLady, & I’ve been working thru my baby steps. One of my assignments for the day was to clean off one my Hot Spots- areas that seem to collect crap. Mine is the dining room table. I walked in after church, ready to BBQ for lunch, & saw the standard mess on the table. Being a good Fly Baby, I put things where they belonged, until I came to a covered aluminum cake pan left over from Friday potluck at work. I decided to put it on top of the fridge until I needed it next week. There’s no room, so I pull out the step stool to see what I can get rid of or rearrange. All I can say is YUCK!!! (Before you judge- look at the top of YOUR fridge!)

Now begins a classic case of “One Thing Leads To Another”- involving the whole family. Before I can put anything new up there, I need to clean off the dust & trash- I hand each thing to Sam to wash off & start dumping stuff into the trashcan. A bread wrapper (with moldy bread in it) falls behind the fridge, so I call Chris to pull it away from the wall. This reveals a pile of cat toys, macaroni, & giant dust bunnies, not to mention the cobwebs on the walls. So out come the vacuum & the mop- Sam gets stuffed back there to scrub the floor, while I spray Orange Glo on one & all. Meanwhile, Chris scours the walls, and then decides to do the surrounding cabinets as well. I finish cleaning the ENTIRE outside of the fridge & move on to the inside of the doors, the hinges & seals- well, if the outside is clean, so should the inside! We finally finish & push the fridge back & see the floor in now disgusting. So, Sam goes outside to fill the mop bucket, whilst I sweep the floor. Now, the kitchen & laundry room are right next to each other, so I start sweeping in there- hey may as well do both rooms now! That’s when I notice the amount of grunge under the washer & dryer. You know, if it’s clean under the fridge… Chris gets out his tools, & the machines are moved out. Back goes Sam with vacuum & mop, while Chris cleans the shelves above & I scrub the appliances themselves- I mean, it’s just bad karma to wash clothes in a dirty-looking washing machine. That task completed, Sam can now mop the floor… but lets just scrub out the corners real well first, & maybe the floorboards, oh, & the lower part of the walls & the doorjambs of course, which means the doors need to be wiped down, too. At last, we all leave the kitchen 2 hours later to let the floors dry… & go out for hamburgers!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What is on the horizon

Greetings to you, my dear, patient, blog-friends; I am embarrassed by the severe lack of significant content to my site lately, yet you still come by to visit, encourage, & bless me in so many ways. Thank you for not shrugging off the fluff & wandering to greener pastures~ my fragile ego couldn’t take the rejection Wink

I find myself at the threshold of a long anticipated, but somewhat disconcerting, phase in my life. All the signs are there: age-wise, I’m likely halfway through my journey; I’ve managed to stay married to the same man for two decades; my eldest child past the quarter-century mark this past weekend, the youngest will turn 18 in a couple of months & is plotting his escape planning his journey into independence. I’ve reached middle age with most of my faculties & the majority of my relationships intact, so now I’m looking forward to…Life Without Children. Rainbow

While I will always be a parent, I am essentially done parenting, my career for the past 25 years. They’ve been brought from conception to adulthood; taught to dress, feed, & clean up after themselves; been shown right from wrong, the importance of honesty, fairness, integrity, & a good work ethic; been corrected when they screw up, cheered when they do well, & admonished to not run with scissors, share their toys with others, & don’t pull the cat’s tail. What happens from here on out is up to them- we are here to listen, encourage, & offer advice when asked, but the responsibly for their wellbeing is out of our hands. Plans & choices made or discarded throughout my adulthood have been based on the needs & schedules of the children; in the future, it will be about what I (okay, we- I do intend to keep Chris around a few more decades) require, fancy, or dream. This is some heady stuff & it will take some practice to not feel like I’m forgetting something. Embarrassed

We had a little dress rehearsal of LWC last week, when Chris & I celebrated our anniversary. He actually had three days in a row off work, including the 2nd, so I did a bit of last minute arranging (including calling in *cough-cough* sick) for a getaway to Lake Tahoe. Since Sam had just started school (& I had no intention of taking a child along), I began to wrack my brain as to where he could stay overnight, when it came to me: he is 17 years old, levelheaded, & reasonably trustworthy - he can stay by himself. Chris blinked a bit when I told him, but- Lord love him- he’s a trusting soul & bows to my judgment. So, off we toddle, leaving Sam with a list of chores & reminders to call if he goes anywhere & to set his alarm clock, since Mom won’t be there to make sure he gets to school on time. Clock

We had a restful couple of days in lovely weather, wandering & napping, looking thru windows & staring at the water, having a little adventure & then wandering home by way of Apple Hill for supplies & a gift. Our friend Keith, a chieftain of the Caledonian Club, not only arranged for Games tickets all weekend, he even scored us front-and-center box seats for the closing ceremonies Sunday evening (oh, how I would have loved those seats last year, when I was trying to get video of the teens performing with the masses pipe bands!), so I wanted to get him something special by way of thanks. Gift with a bow

We arrived home to find the house intact, the animals fed & watered, & Sam ready to leave for his tennis lesson, so I believe the experiment was a success. It was only the fourth time in our marriage that we went away without the children- & the last time was seven year ago! With Chris’ busy season winding down at last & little extra in the bank thanks to an extensive side job, I think we will attempt another retreat in the near future- maybe the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite or a B&B in San Francisco. Auto

That’s another facet of LWC to work through- we have to get accustomed to it being just the two of us, something we’ve never experienced for more than a couple of weeks at a time. I think (I hope) we have stayed fairly connected over the years of “Us versus Them”, but in all honesty, beyond sharing a private bedroom every night (no co-sleeping around here- adults only!), we haven’t logged much couple-time over the past twenty years. My greatest concern is that we will find ourselves sitting silently in the living room every evening, or leading completely separate lives, more like roommates with benefits, then partners in life. I don’t expect us to be joined at the hip; heaven forbid~ I need regular solitude to be even remotely pleasant to be around. No, my goal is more to enjoy the next half of my life with the man of my choice, to share some of those adventures we’ve dream about, instead of simply sharing quarters through mutual affection & commitment. Left hugRight hug

Grand ideals & lofty goals, you say? No, self-preservation, really; I’ve seen souls shrivel up & marriages drift into apathy once the children moved on. We’ve weathered too many storms, invested too many years & tears, to let that happen to us. I look forward to the day of our Golden Anniversary celebration, surrounded by friends, family, grandchildren, & probably great-grandchildren, & our son bragging in his speech that Mom & Dad are not only best friends- they still only have eyes for each other. Red lips

Yeah, I can see that. Red heart

Friday, September 05, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Happily Ever After Does Happen...



Once upon a time…



She said “Should we?”





There is so much at stake





He said “Take the chance”





They plunge into the future





With little more than faith, hope, and love


September 2nd, 1988