Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wild Animals

My husband is really clever, very creative and can be quite funny when he chooses. Tonight's offering is about his "Herd" in Montana. Check out the zebras:

Every year my husband goes up to Montana to spend time on the "Ranch"--28 acres 50 miles outside the East Gate of Yellowstone Park and 20 miles west of Livingston, Montana, in the Paradise Valley. Emigrant, Montana is a sweet place to land. There is a post office, a monument to Mary (as in Mary who is Jesus' mother), a resort, and a bar. The property lies along the Yellowstone River. You can look across the river as you are driving down the highway and gaze at the house.

Last year my husband and his friend, Paul, went up and made a giraffe out of wood that stands in the grass and as you drive down the highway, you see this giraffe grazing. One lonely giraffe. As all really intelligent people know, giraffes live in families of three--not one. Our giraffe is lonely. While I don't have a picture of the giraffe, I do have pictures of the friends who will be joining him this year. Look at the zebras joining the herd. Now they aren't giraffes, but they are two more wild animals. Do you think the giraffe will notice???? The zebras are only paper now, but in August will make their debut after being made of wood, just like their giraffe friend. The paper images are up on our garage wall--you can partially see the bear.

The bear is real, although it is now a rug mounted on our garage wall. That darn bear prevents us from going to one of those electronic garage doors that everyone else has. If we changed the garage door, where would we put the bear???? It is a genuine black bear, protected here in California. Our cousin, Debbie, was married to Steve, the sheriff. He went out hunting and shot the bear and had it mounted on brown felt. They got a divorce and Steve moved to California (from....Montana--how did you guess??) where he couldn't find a job and was running out of money. Steve decides to sell the bear. He put an advertisement in the newspaper and someone called. It was a guy from the Department of Fish and Game who shared the information that the bear, while being hunted everywhere else, not only couldn't be hunted, the poor bear couldn't be sold here either. My in-laws inherited the bear, Steve got a job as a prison guard at Pelican Bay Prison and we all lived happily ever after, until my in-laws sold their cabin and had no place for the bear. My husband was overjoyed to have the bear. I know from experience that bears are not soft--their hair is really coarse.

The only "problem" with all of this is that we will have to wait another year to see what else might pop up!

Monday, June 20, 2011

It is really HOT

I'm melting................

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

My husband always tells me that he isn't going to do anything special or lift a finger on Mother's Day as I am not his mother. I suppose I could go down that road on Father's Day, but I usually get him an appropriate gift--tools that he needs. This year he told me to do nothing. I was going to do just that, except the daughter convinced me to do a special dinner--rib eye steaks, mushrooms, camp potatoes (on the grill in foil makes them "camp" potatoes) and corn on the cob. If I get around to making a dressing, we will have salad, but that isn't exactly special since we have salad every night here. I love salad loaded up with nuts and vegetables (peppers, broccoli, peas, onions, whatever is in the fridge). I just have a thing about homemade dressing.
So we will be eating well tonight.

I bought corn grilling baskets for my father-in-law. He likes to grill and he loves corn, so it seemed like a great idea. We shall see. He is impossible to shop for. He wants nothing, has everything and enough money to buy it.

I'm off to pick up the daughter. Have a great day.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Do I have too much time on my hands today???

Just an update re the refrigerator. I eventually reached the place where our broken fridge came from. There is a one year warranty and we have had the fridge for one year and three months.
After a few negotiations, it turns out that this particular fridge has had issues and we should have been told. The fridge is being replaced at no charge. Pays to be nice and sound concerned...The real issue is that we now have excess furniture pieces and we are having trouble putting it all back. So, no sewing is going on.

Now to traveling. My friend Kim is on a small getaway in Pismo Beach. You might have been following her adventures there ( She had some quite rude neighbors and it reminded me of a trip we took to Alaska.

My brother got his degree in geophysics from UC Santa Barbara and ran as fast as he could out of California to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. He LOVED Alaska. After a lengthy time getting his masters degree there, he finally got it together and agreed to change one tiny thing in his maters thesis and graduated. He gets a job in Virginia and off he goes. The problem (or really good thing for me) is that he has a ton of miles on Alaska Airlines. Somehow he gets these miles transferred into my name and my husband and I are off for free to Alaska!

We landed in Anchorage and had a lovely time. We ate dinner one night at a "Mexican" restaurant that served everything swimming in gravy. I don't know where this place learned to cook Mexican food, but that wasn't it. We were both sick the next two days. Unfortunately, we (and I mean me) drove to Fairbanks where we were supposed to be staying at B&B run by my brother's friend. I drove while my husband slept in the back seat occasionally waking up to moan and complain. I have to admit I felt okay i the car, but wasn't so keen on standing up and walking. We didn't see a single place to eat the whole way up, mistakenly taking the scenic route. It was very beautiful.

We find the B&B and the first thing I did was throw up in the bathroom. I was mortified and tried to clean up as best I could, but the woman never did warm up to us. We spent as little time as possible there and then drove back to Anchorage to fly home. I discovered at one point that I left my favorite pair of shoes under the bed and I just couldn't bring myself to ask that most unfriendly woman to send them to me. Remember me, I am the one who really messed up your bathroom and you couldn't even be sympathetic.....

Now we are really, really tired. It is June in Alaska--the time of year when it is day time 24 hours a day. The sun never sets. Our last night there we were in the same hotel we stayed in the very night of our Alaska stay. That night was fine. This last night we a nightmare. All night long, and I am not making this up, a bunch of kids sang the "song" From Shari Lewis and her puppet, Lambchop.

This is the song that never ends. Yes, it goes on and on my friend. Somebody started singing it not knowing what it was and they'll continue singing it forever just because this is the song that never ends. Yes, it goes on and on my friend...........

The kids sang it all night long. Combine this with total sunlight and just try and sleep! Impossible! We did call the front desk, but the kids belonged to them and they didn't seem to see a problem with this. It was June 16, 1994--17 years later and I still can sing the song. Up to that point, I had never even heard of Shari Lewis and this "song".

On a last note, I am on the 4th book of the Spellman series. The first book is The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. It took a bit to really get into it, but I gave it more of a chance than I moght because it was recommended by my mother-in-law and her book choices are often in line with mine. I ended up liking it enough to start the second book, Curse of the Spellmans. At this point the author goes back and forth between the present and the past. She presents a problem and then goes back and forth to clue the reader in to what is what. Then I found out that my mother-in-law, who loaned me the 4 books in the series, wanted them all back by the time she and most of the family make the trip to the family place in Emigrant, Montana. She is giving them to her friend, Jan, who lives in Sparks, Nevada. I figure I will have them done by Tuesday.

Maybe one more thought.....A while back I had a book my mother-in-law loaned to me in my work bag. I thoughtlessly tossed my coffee thermos in and there was a bit of coffee that leaked out and put an ugly brown coffee stain on the book, but it didn't really ruin the book. It was mostly unsightly. I showed her the book when I returned it and did offer to replace the book. She didn't think it was worth replacing so no harm done. Tuesday I was given a cherry flavored Dr. Pepper soda from my friend, Simona. I don't really drink soda very often, so I thought I would save it for later (it wasn't cold and I am notorious for needing my soda to be ice cold). It was so hot that on the way home it sprang a leak in my bag and, surprise! There is a very unsightly red stain on the book I was reading at the time (book two of the Spellman series). This time I just couldn't confess that I did this twice in less than a few weeks. I immediately reordered a new copy. It will come before the big trip as that isn't until July 20th, so all will end well. I really felt bad as it was going to another person beyond me. I will have to confess because we have this little code to show who has read the book. I will never be able to duplicate the handwriting. I am thinking I get stars for replacing what I destroyed. Does this mean there will be a number three as everything comes in threes?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Refrigerator

Sad news. Our freezer died on Friday. To be more truthful, it probably died before that. Do not try to bake Pepperidge Farms apple turnovers that have defrosted. It was pretty ugly and the daughter ended up throwing the pan away because it was just too much. I guess we can afford a new pan.

I was supposed to call about getting the freezer fixed on Monday. I am thinking it is under some kind of warranty since it is only a year and 2 months old. I called home Monday afternoon on my way home from work to ask if I should get some ice and we could just put it in an ice chest and have cold drinks. My son answers and says, "Mom, I think you should hold off on that and ask Dad when you get home. He bought a refrigerator." Pretty amazing since he had no money in his pocket and he isn't a "charge big things" kind of guy. Turns out he bought this monster refrigerator from the Salvation Army. It is a side by side refrigerator/freezer. Very clean inside too, but I of course scrubbed it again.

So far my husband has had to cut down the cabinets in the kitchen because this refrigerator is about an inch and a half too tall. There was the painting--he paints everything-- of the inside because I found out he doesn't care for contact paper. He tore the old stuff off and threw it to the floor and walked away.....Hint! Then we have no place to put the trash compactor. I really liked having it. Last night, after two days of this, I finally said stop. Every time I turned around something new was going on. I cannot sit at my diningroom table (where all my sewing happens), I am spending hours putting things back, having to suddenly decide what should go back and what should be kept--all when I am exhausted from the heat and being at work.

Okay, this is a bit whiny, but I am a person who needs to process. I feel like I can't breathe for all the commotion. If it had been planned, it would all be different. The worst part is that all the decisions are being made by not me! And, my husband is a spur of the moment kind of guy and I am not. 99% of the time this isn't a big deal, but I like to be consulted, not barraged with stuff.

I am writing this at work and am wondering what is waiting for me at home today. Thank God it is Wednesday and I will be drinking wine and having snacks with my next-door neighbor tonight. At this point, a little breather is a good thing!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Am Always In Trouble....

My daughter insisted that everyone know of my very bad deed. On Friday, I poured coffee in my black coffee cup and then took it outside in the backyard to drink while I listened to the birds, watched my dog play in the tree branches that were falling as my husband cut them down and chatted with my husband. I left the cup there and later asked the daughter where it went. She denied any knowledge of my coffee cup. So, I got another out. Simple.....

Today I was out in the backyard and I noticed the cup. Opps. If you have ever met the daughter you will know that she is not happy when things are out of place and when you bring in stray coffee cups a few days later. I had already received a lecture because on the dining room table there were TWO coffee cups--one from last night and one from this morning. So, because my son was out in the backyard, I waited until he was ready to go in and then told him to take the coffee cup in and tell his sister that it was his fault. It was perfect, the cup gets in the dishwasher, I am off the hook and the son is good at taking the blame in cases like this.

It didn't work. She knew it was me. Sigh. I can't get away with anything! :)

Have a lovely week!

You Want to Go Where????

I missed a day with a group of quilting/stitching friends because I had to go to a funeral. You know that saying where if you are gone from a meeting, all the best jobs (read --jobs no one else wants) will land in your lap? I get home and find out we are taking a trip to the Bay Area. Hmmm. What could I do but go with the flow cause who else is going to keep this group out of trouble?????

We had the best time! There is a wonderful shop in Livermore, In Between Stitches. If you are ever there, you MUST pay them a visit. Completely worth driving up just to go there and check out what they have--even if you don't go anywhere else. There were quilts all over the store that I wanted to snatch up and take home. I bought a piece of a really beautiful fabric and a pattern called "House on Edgewood Lane". My idea is that I will use the colors of our own house and name it with our street name. I am willing to wait until my husband paints the trim on the house. Possibility of a new quilt could help me spur him on!!

We also went to Thimblecreek in Concord. I have a little history with this shop. I have tried THREE times to visit and have found it closed on all occasions. I am from Concord and used to visit my friend from high school, Kim, who still lived there. When I heard the store had moved there from Walnut Creek, I was so happy--elated came to mind. I had gone to visit the store when it was in Walnut Creek with two friends, Tricia and Sandy, and loved it. It was also my one and only sighting of Alex Anderson. She came in to purchase fabric while we were there.

So, there I was in Concord and so close. The first time, there was some reasonable reason to be closed with an appropriate sign that I have since forgotten. I was disappointed to be sure, but understanding. The next time I called to make sure the store was still there. I didn't say I was on my way, but who imagined they would just close without a sign this time. More disappointment, but thought it was a coincidence. Little did I know that I am a Thimblecreek jinx! I went to Concord for a going away party for Kim who was moving to Colorado. I CALLED THE STORE and TOLD THEM I WAS ON MY WAY THERE! Were they open? Nope. They had a sign that read, "closed due to lack of business." What did they think I meant when I said, "I am over by Concord High School and am leaving right now."????? I was really angry and vowed never to go there again. In fact, I was passing by the shop and even ate a late lunch at a restaurant close by the first Saturday in April (refer back to paragraph one referencing the funeral....), but refused to be lured by the scent of a quilt shop....... I must admit that my daughter, who has been with me for every visit, blatantly refused to go there for a fourth time.

So where do you think my quilting friends wanted to go???? Thimblecreek. I was holding my breath as we drove up. I really expected it to be closed--even though I did call this time also, but not the day of......It is a cute shop--lots of great fabric, patterns and a lovely block-of-the-month. I bought a pattern, but loved the shop. I might point out that there were no other customers there when we came strolling in after 4pm (they are open until 5pm). We shopped. It was to their benefit that they stayed open this time. In fact, I am thinking that perhaps it is the daughter who is the jinx. She was with me all the other times and she was absent from this visit......Hmmmmm.

As we left Thimblecreek, our last stop, we stopped for Starbucks coffees. This is becoming a tradition as we have done this every time we have ventured out (trip number two if you go back and read "Obsessed" posted on March 14, 2011). I ordered a grande coffee frapacchino with whip cream. When it was pushed over to me, there was no whip cream. I asked the guy for the whip cream (I like just a little and usually ask for light whip cream meaning not so much, but I didn't go there as these people don't know me and wouldn't know what "light" meant). He seemed surprised that I didn't know that Starbucks doesn't put whip cream on a plain-jane coffee frapacchino. On what planet???? It isn't like I have ONLY ordered this in Sacramento. Since Starbucks appeared in our part of the world there has been whip cream!!! Granted the guy did put on the whip cream, but he didn't seem happy about it. What was it that makes me think I should go back to Concord? Am I just remembering a place that existed 32 years ago when I left and it is really a much different place now? There is a lot more traffic and it seems faster somehow. I think I will stay here in Sacramento.....

We did have a really great time, but I always do with this group of women. I am lucky that they want to be my friend...

Bay Area Tour:
Stop One: Sew Many Quilts in Tracy, CA
Stop Two: In Between Stitches in Livermore, CA
Stop Three: Wooden Gate Quilts (formally Quilter's Inn) in Danville, CA
Stop four: Thimblecreek in Concord, CA

We ran out of time to check out Mainstreet Quilts in Martinez, CA, but I'm sure there will be other opportunities.......

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rainy Days

I just couldn't make myself go out in the rain. According to my daughter, I am made of sugar and will melt in the rain. We had to have homemade pizza for dinner since I refused to go to the store.

I found these blocks that I began years ago. You cut out pieces for flowers and sew a large piece on, then a smaller piece and then a small piece on the top. You sew them raw edge so when you wash them they fray and resemble flowers. I have gotten bored by the idea and the pieces have sat around....until Saturday. I had 31 of the squares. I made three small quilt tops for our community service group with my guild. I have four ready to be quilted and three ready to turn in to our esteemed leader. So, I was busy working for others.

I am on edge over a meeting I am part of tomorrow. It was good to think of others instead of myself.

Have a lovely week.......

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It is going to be a 3-day weekend

I am so happy. I have tomorrow off. I have extra vacation days and I have tried to take Friday's off because I get up really early and take the daughter to work. This makes me tired at work and so it seems like a great day to take off. The daughter fooled me this week by going to work really early on Wednesday instead of Friday. The trade off is I get to sleep in and the daughter is making me waffles in the morning for breakfast.

I am thinking that I should get out a project that is almost finished and just bite the bullet and finish something. Now that I have made this public by putting it here, I have to do it. I plan to not leave the house and drive any where tomorrow. I need to clean out the hallway so my husband can walk thru it (I have some fabric stacked there) and I somehow got myself caught up in three separate books. I began a series called the Spellman files. I am reading an autobiography about Robert Clary and I am halfway thru the 2nd in a tea series Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs.

Stay tuned.....