Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The story of the napkins...

It's quirky but not really funny.

Sorry for that. You'll have to get a knock-knock joke from someone else for a daily chuckle.


When two of our daughters got married I was insane enough to be the wedding planner. I did a good job but I looked fairly ridiculous at both weddings with half of my hair all pulled certainly didn't look like a good tease job.

When the first one got married her colors were lavender and sage green and I got the brilliant idea to make fabric napkins for all the guests and put fabric markers on the table along with a little sign inviting the guests to write a little message to the bride and groom. So in the midst of everything else I, along with anyone I could coerce into helping, sewed up a hundred and something napkins in various prints all using those colors. They were beautiful.

Afterwards I took the napkins home and made a quilt top out of them.

It wasn't a very good quilt top.

Probably because I'm not a very good quilter.

Also because some of the very drunk guests wrote some ... well ... ummm... pornographic messages on the napkins (and some even had pictures...blush, blush...and I think, but I'm not sure, that some of the things they drew were physically impossible)

But the thought was great. My execution was poor. And I ended up with a lovely leftover stack of napkins in gorgeous co-ordinating prints that I adore and use fairly often. I'm sure the bride and grooms dog appreciated the quilt top.

Flash forward 18 months and I did it again.

Although this time the wedding was in the fall and I used gorgeous fall fabrics, skipped the whole potential of pornography by not even putting fabric markers on the table, and ended up with a fabulous gift for the mother of the groom, grandparents and moi!

After the lovely event, I packaged up a set of the washed and starched fall napkins
with a lovely autumn ribbon bow, attached a little cheesy poem I wrote and everyone ended up with a lovely remembrance.

What's that?

What was the cheesy poem?

Well, of course I remember. It was only five years ago.


OK, it was something like....ahem...

Woven in this fabric
Are the memories of romance
When ____ and _____
Joined their lives
Wearing underpants.

Are you kidding? I can't remember what I ate for lunch. How would I remember what the poem was?????

It while it certainly wasn't this it was cute. Much cuter then the romance, underpants rhyme.

And I know I didn't hallucinate this whole thing in the midst of wedding chaos because my daughter and I still have the napkins to prove it.


So that is the story.

I am very clever to come up with that idea.

I am possibly brilliant.

Brilliant with a poor memory.

But I did remember this, though.

Knock, Knock?

Who's there you ask?

How do I know? I forgot that joke, too, right along with the poem.

Accck. Sometimes I scare myself.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

OK, I'm a few days late...

...and so many of you have already shared autumn quotes, beautiful pictures of changing leaves, and wonderful vignettes of your pumpkins and scarecrows.

But we live in Arizona.

And Autumn comes a bit later here.

But it has come at last and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can make my heart sing with autumnal splendor then watching fluttering russet, amber and crimson napkins catch the sunlight in jewel-like tones on my clothesline and...

...watching the kids pile them up to jump in! and...

...hearing the crispy sound they make when walk across the heavily starched ones! and...

...smelling the nostalgic scent as sparklered bonfires of burning table linens dot the country-side!

Oh, it is a joyous time.

And I am so happy to be able to share it with you.

Happy Fall, my friends!

And, no, those are not my husbands underwear hanging on the line behind them.

Would I mar a photo of autumnal beauty and grandeur with tighty-whities?

I think not.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Life lessons 101

I have come up with the theory that all the problems in my adult life stem from one childhood incident.

And I need to share this with someone. And I guess that someone is you if you are reading this blog.

And if you are that someone I apologize in advance for any pain or emotional discomfort you might experience while reading this.

But some things just need to be said. And this is one of them.


This is hard.

Wow, harder then I thought to put it onto cold, hard paper.

But here goes...

When I was a little girl I had a 45 record by Shirley Temple. It was the song "On the Good Ship Lollipop". Do you know it?

It's definitely an "oldie". And I remember it as a "goodie" but it might not have been.

I remember it was a colored vinyl record. In my mind it was pink. Google tells me it might have been yellow. (yes, I googled it, silly. I am nothing if not a thorough, accurate and historically correct blogger)

But the point is, it wasn't black. It was a color. It was very pretty.

And I loved it.

I played it over and over again.

It gave me purpose. It gave me hope for the future.

When I listened to it all was well in my world.




My mother knelt on it and broke it into pieces.

I know.

Can you believe it?

I mean one minute there was Shirley hopping around on the good ship lollipop and in the next minute the music was gone.

Just gone.

In a blink. In a speck of time. In a mere moment my childhood world was shattered.

And I know you're thinking "what the heck is she talking about? This has to be something like 50 years ago or something." .... and you'd be right.

It was 50 years ago.

And I still remember it like, well, like it was yesterday.

But I ask you...if Shirley and her good ship could not survive in this world how can any of us be expected to?

But the amazing thing about all this suffering is that I have become a stronger person because of it. It has made me tough. It has made me able to go on when I feel like I can't possibly fight through another day.

And part of that strength comes from the lyrics. Powerful, powerful lyrics.

On the good ship lollipop.
Its a sweet trip to a candy shop
Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay.

Lemonade stands everywhere.
Crackerjack bands fill the air.
And there you are
Happy landing on a chocolate bar.

See the sugar bowl do the tootsie roll
With the big bad devils food cake.
If you eat too much ooh ooh
You'll awake with a tummy ache.

On the good ship lollipop
Its a night trip into bed you hop
And dream away
On the good ship lollipop.


I know. You feel empowered now, too. And able to fight on through the ups and downs.

Hey, what are friends for.

And you are very, very welcome.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Where's the weiner?

Oskie has been undergoing extensive training with a super-exclusive Navy Seal type weiner dog regiment. He has worked very hard especially at the camo aspect of training.

Steve and I are super proud of him. And we wanted to share these pictures.

Do not be concerned if you don't see him right away.

He has masted the art of his stealth dog training so you may have to look several times at these photos to find him.

Somehow I think I can sleep safer tonight knowing that heroes such as Oskie are willing to defend home and rug with this degree of devotion.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

The world to a three year old...

Our little Morgan.

She is awfully, awfully sweet.

And intent.

Awfully, awfully intent.

And she looks so sweetly and intently at the world and everything in it.

Lately she has taken to looking for anything 'parkly (sparkly) She will come to a dead stop from a brisk walk, give a little gasp, and crouch on the sidewalk...her blonde hair falling into her big blue eyes...her mouth in a perfect little "0" of excitement.

" 'parkly," she says and with infinite patience picks up a speck of glitter tiny enough to be lost in her three year old hand.

This has been happening over and over again when I am babysitting her.

In bathrooms. Walking on the sidewalk to pre-school. In my car. Everywhere. She finds 'parkly. Absolutely everywhere.

She looks and finds these enchanting little bits that make her eyes brighter and her face light up with joy.

And each one she hands to me carefully, carefully.

"Be careful, Gamma," she says each time, "is 'parkly. Don't loose it."

And almost every single time I do.

Sadly it gets lost in my pocket or on my dashboard or in my giant grown persons hand.

But for a moment when Morgan hands it to me I see it there, sparkling in the light.

And I am enchanted, too.

And I hope my eyes are a little brighter for that moment.

And that my face lights up with joy for a brief second no matter how grim the day is feeling.

And I'm hoping Morgans vision of the world might help you, too, find a tiny, sparkly moment in your day, no matter what you are going through or what sadness is in your life.

Because I asked Morgan how she finds sparkly all the time.

And she told me very clearly ... "Gamma, 'parkly is all de places. Just look Gamma. Just look."

So I will.

And I hope you will, too.


Friday, September 25, 2009

The sad, weird tale of saying goodbye to a hardhat

So... there I am at Home Depot, again! Returning a rug for the third time hoping to find something I like better.

The return Chick remembered me from yesterday and said "third time wasn't the charm, eh?" Well, obviously not.

That's not the sad, weird thing, though.

So... I pick up some cleaning supplies and head over to rugs to find a fourth potential candidate. And I do. (and actually it's getting returned tomorrow, too, geez)

But ...I realize I better hit the ladies room before I head back to pick up our little Granddaughter at preschool and when I grab my purse out of the cart the keys fall out. So I stick them in my back pocket. I never stick them in my back pocket. But I did. OK, that's the sad, weird part. Just kidding. You have to keep reading...

OK ... so I go into the ladies room and I pull down my shorts and my keys take a little nosedive into the toilet.


I jump up!

The toilet flushes itself!

Accccckkk! Double Acccccckkkk!

There are my keys, half wedged into the back of the toilet and I know I have to get them quickly because the automatic door opener thing-y on there will quit working if they get wet.

But they won't come out.

I tug. I tug.

And finally they come free!

But I still have to potty, badly now, and my hands are all wet and ewwwwww....

But when ya gotta go ...So I go and then I realize that my keychain broke in the process.

And the little yellow hardhat that my son gave me a long time ago is what got stuck.

And I love my little yellow hardhat. It looked like this only cuter without the cheesy flash-light thing in there.
And there is a little edge of the brim of the hardhat just showing at the back of the toilet bowl.

But now I have pottied in the bowl.

And I actually debate for a second cuz I really, really like my hardhat and my hand has already been in the toilet bowl.

I like this little hardhat for two reasons. 1) If I lend someone my car I always tell them if they are in an accident to just put the hardhat on their thumb and they always look at my strangely but now I can't do that anymore and I really have enjoyed that. and 2) my son never, ever, ever gives me anything and this is one of the lasting mementos I have that he appreciates me as a Mom and recognizes my inner and outer beauty (or something like that)

So ...I debate some more. It is really worth it to annoy people wanting to borrow my car! And I do like the validation that my son adores me! And it is ridiculously cute!

But I don't do it.

I flush the toilet and then wash my hands 63 times and spray sanitizer all over my keys.

And now I wish I had just done it and grabbed my little hard hat but it is too late.

I thought about calling Home Depot to see if they could somehow remove the toilet to see if perhaps it was stuck in the pipe or something.

But that might be too much. And maybe they wouldn't recognize the sadness and weirdness in this tale and they might just hang up on me.

And maybe it's just time to let the hardhat keyring go. But consider yourself warned that if you borrow my car now your thumb could be in extreme peril.

And if you could spare a moment of silence in remembrance, I'd sure appreciate it.

Thanks for listening to my sad, weird tale.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do you know this book?

It was published in 1942 by Virgina Lee Burton and won a Caldecott Medal.

I read this to Morgan yesterday and my husband was reading the paper in our little den at the same time.

After a few moments he set the paper down and just listened.

It is beautifully written and evocative and tender and sweet and makes me yearn to move far out of the city onto a lovely little farm with crooked walls and ancient apple trees sharing their bridal finery with me each spring.

OK, actually many, many things make me yearn for that...but ... darn it! What was my point here? Hmmm...

Oh yes! The point is...if you have ever driven down a country road and imagined living in a quaint quirky house in the middle of nowhere this lovely little book should be on your bookshelf.

The book starts like so many wonderful stories "Once upon a time" and from that magical beginning it unfolds. ..." there was a Little House way out in the country. She was a pretty Little House and was strong and well built. The man who built her so well said, "This Little House shall never be sold for gold or silver and she will live to see our great-great-grandchildren's great-great-grandchildren living in her."

Read it. I think you will feel blessed. It is a magical moment in the midst of all the technology and fast-paced lives we lead.

And I think you will want to find your own place out in the country, too. Maybe we can live on the same road and I can walk to your house and borrow a cup of sugar.

And since my Mom always told me to never go empty-handed I will bring along some zinnias I just picked from the garden and maybe a piece of freshly baked cherry pie.

OK, I'm off to find a realtor.

Or probably not.

But I want to.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


...medical testing is going on.

It's icky medical testing. It involves slobber. And test tubes.


I am doing another round of saliva testing cuz my hormones are being really, really stupid.

Have you ever done this?

It's so weird.

Especially if someone comes around when you are trying to fill your test tube in private. As illustrated by this one sided conversation with my husband a few moments ago.

Steve: (walking by my office) Hey? are you OK?
Me: (hunched over trying to hide my little tube while ummm.... filling it) mmmmm...
Steve: Hey! Are you OK!
Me: (motioning with my hand - go away, go away!)
Steve: (walking into my office) What's wrong? Is something wrong?
Me: (motioning even more violently with my hand and thinking about motioning with a specific finger - leave me alone....this is disgusting)
Steve: (walking to my desk) What's wrong? Oh!!!!!! Ummm. I'm sorry. Ummm. OK, then.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's the First Day of Autumn...

...and while I could go on poetically about the scent of nostalgia on the crisp-edged air, the buttered-rum quality of the sun as it lowers from it's summer zenith or the hills being sequined in their royal garb of crimson, amber and copper...

I can't! And not only because it would be impossible to find any of those things in Arizona right now. I just can't!

Because I'm excited!

Really, really excited!

Because I got an E-mail from Susan Branch!
and it totally made my morning.

Here's what she wrote: Hi Jenny, Just wanted to write and compliment you on the darling story you submitted for Sarah's Cookbook Contest. I loved it, what an interesting experience for you! And the way you told it made me feel like I was there! VERY glad to hear chamber pots played no part of winning recipe, which, by the way, looks very interesting, I'm going to have to try it just because of your description. I don't think I've ever seen a casserole with sauerkraut in it . . . so I'm very curious! I'm with you on the use of chamber pots for vases, what are people thinking! Just wonderful, loved it, laughing too, congratulations! Happy Autumn! Susan Branch

OK, maybe I need to get out more since this just made my heart super happy.

Or maybe my heart is just super happy because I'm a super Susan Branch admirer. Or would that be a Susan Branch super-admirer? (English, schminglish)

Oh, and by the way, did I mention she e-mailed me.

So Happy First day of fall and all that blah, blah, blah...stuff.

I'm gonna go read my e-mail again.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Rise and Shine!

Don't you hate that?

Not all the time but just sometimes?

My husband always says that to me but this morning I growled at him "I'll rise but you can't make me shine!" and then he says something dumb like "you always shine!" which makes me even more irritated and then he tells me something even dumber like "I love you so much" which really steams me.

OK, I guess I might have over-reacted just a teensy bit since I think he was just trying to be nice.

OK, and I guess I do need to call my naturopath to find out if there's any easier way to phase down my bio-identical hormones.

And OK, I am kind of partial to sweet men who tell me they love me even when my hair is sticking out, I don't have my control-top underwear on AND my mascara from yesterday is kind of caked around my eyes.

But now that I think about it...what is wrong with him? Hmmm.... perhaps he feels a need to lie to me to protect me from the truth...that I am a bit unloveable in the morning. OK, now I'm irritated about that.





Number one on the list of things to save my marriage. (because even though he doesn't say so anyone who lies to protect their wife from being so icky in the morning is surely thinking of leaving her....right? right?)

1. Call Naturopath to see if she can adjust hormones.

This blog brought to you by Menopause. Not for the faint of heart.

And not for sweet husbands trying to wake their wives with happy compliments.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's 7 am. Do you know where your sanity is?

I've lost mine.

I've made that fatal error of having too many things started at one time.

Nothing is finished.

Chaos reigns supreme at our house.

Outside garden seeds await planting, roses need cut back, I need to solarize a few areas of my asparagus patch so I can put some new crowns in there soon, the garage looks like a small nuclear bomb was detonated in it.

My ZSQ storeroom (aka living room) is beyond a horror. Stacks of fabric, Fisher Price toys (Morgan plays in there while I try to work), boxes of kits and quilts half ready to be sent off to Joan in Ohio. ACCCCCKKKK!

Of course, the kitchen, dining room, family room, and my office are spotless and organized. (wow, I didn't know that nose growing thing would actually happen when you tell a big fat lie! Now I have to add "find someone to do an emergency nose job" to my list!!!!!!)

So I have a lot of have-to-do's but what I really want to do is go lay on the couch and watch Project Runway.

In fact, now that I think about it a tiny bit more I really SHOULD do that. It will make me organized and focused and probably able to work twice as fast as the speed of a designers snipping shears.

Yea. That's it.

I'm going off to my find my sanity with Heidi and Tim.

Hopefully they'll know where it is.

And hopefully they'll nominate my house for a design project. You know, kind of a broad design concept in creating organization in the midst of chaos...they won't actually have to make any designer clothes so it might take a little effort to sell the concept to the show.

But I've got plenty of time.

After all, what's another item on my list of things I mean to get to soon?


Saturday, September 19, 2009

You know how fish kinda flop around...

...out of water, gasping for breath?

I think that's me today.

I'm tired. From my droopy it's-way-too-humid hair to my needing-a-pedicure toes.

We've had our youngest granddaughter every single day this past week PLUS her two older sisters from Thursday on.

The other set of Grandparents took them this morning after the soccer game.

But in this time period we have gone to gymnastics, gone to preschool, ran back and forth from the school pretending to be a school bus, ate dinners, breakfasts and lunches, had 4,317 snacks, swam, road bikes, went shopping for a new bike for the middle one, told lots and lots of stories, read a lot of books, had deep discussions about questions such as "what is there at the end of stars?", cuddled, watched E.T., watched soccer.

And now. I am doing a fish impression.

OK, I am technically too weak to lay on the floor and flop around so I'm just gonna sit here for a moment gasping for breath.

Because after the soccer game when we became sans small children we went to breakfast with our lovely, oldest daughter and her delightful husband, went shopping for a bench (my husband even went into Hobby Lobby without complaint), dropped off a bunch of donation fabric to a retirement community here that donates over 500 quilts a year to charity (and they wanted to show us about 177 of them individually), hand watered my bean, tomato and pepper plants AND picked up a huge bag of coffee grounds for the garden.

And now I have nothing funny to say. Nothing clever to say. Nothing witty to say.





Friday, September 18, 2009

How do I love thee...

Let me count the ways... and to the end of that list I'll now have to add one more - Sharpie art.

My sweet (decidedly non-artistic husband) was helping me last night take care of our three little houseguests.

I could not find the oldest ones (7 year old granddaughter Julia) lunch box and she told me she had lost it and just took her school to lunch in a bag. That's OK a lot of places but in the heat everything gets kind of melty and nasty lukewarm.

So Steve rummaged through the nightmare in the garage and found an old animal printed thermal lunch pack we had. And then he disappeared for quite a while and when he came back....ta da!
Although he didn't draw the little lime green censor area he did put little embellishments all over her name.

And that just touched me.

No complaints about rummaging through the 110 degree garage.

And then to try and make her lunchbox fancy and pretty.

Awwww. What a guy.

The list grows longer.

And now I don't have to try to figure out what all this deep stuff means: I love thee to the depth and breadth and height, My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

I can just put "Sharpie artist" on the top of my list and call it a day.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Although I never walked 2 miles to school uphill through the way...

...I did get a lot of first-hand (so to speak) experience with an outhouse as a teenager.

When my Dad retired from the Air Force we moved back to rural Ohio to build a house on some of my Grandma's land. While we were building it we lived with my Grandma.

I was getting ready to head into high school. You know that song "Summer of '69" when all the kids were running around playing guitars until their fingers bled?

I was trying to survive no indoor plumbing or running water.

Her kitchen had a metal pump for water, a big 'ol wood-fired stove was how she cooked, baths and showers were taken at relatives or in a tin tub. And there was a two-seater outhouse by the barn.

I kid you not.

I thought I was going to die because nothing smelled quite as ummmm.... ummmm.... "ripe" as the outhouse in the summer. I thought that I had reached the pinnacle of misery. Being a teenager AND having to survive the outhouse in summer.

But then it got worse. Because we got to experience the outhouse in winter.

I remember waking up and burrowing out from under about twenty blankets to see my breath fogging the frigid air. The big dilemma was to try to hold it until morning or to choose the lesser of the two evils when that was impossible - the trip to the outhouse OR using the chamber pot.

I almost always chose the chamber pot.

Let me just say that to this day when I see chamber pots used in country chiq decor I still shudder. I see nothing remotely charming about them. One lady I used to know used one in the kitchen for bread storage. Needless to say I never ate a sandwich at that house.

When our new house was finally done and we moved in I actually used to get out of bed in the middle of the night just to pee...even if I didn't have to.

Wow, what luxury. What impossible luxury.

And today I read an article about the charm of outhouses, and how people in various states are even putting on "Outhouse Tours" so you can "enjoy" the experience.

Charm? Charm? What charm!!!!!!?????? Enjoy!!!??? ENJOY!!!!!!!?????? Pu-llleeezzze.

The only possible good that could come of an outhouse "experience" is ummm... ummm....

...well dangnabit, I can't think of any possible good.

Hmmm.... still thinking.

No...nothing. Not one teeny, tiny, eeny, weeny good thing at all.

Oh wait! I've got it!

Look at all the money I can save by not going on Outhouse Tours!


It's the Third day of Pre-school!

You know, I was all emotional on the first one, still a bit weepy on the second one and today I sent my husband off to take MoMo to preschool! Time heals all wounds obviously. First she had to have her "biteman" (vitamin) and her apple joose and she was still a yittle bit hongwy. And then armed with her new backpack, sunglasses and hat she and Gwampa rode off into the sunrise in the Jeepster.

And I came into my office to post these pictures and I saw the corner of my desk! Yikes! I see the seed catalogs that need ordered from, a fabric bill that needs paid, stuff to make hangtags to replace the ones I did all wrong, photos to load AND the October "Book in a Week" schedule (hey, why do you ask? No, I am not a classic over-achiever! Geez!)

And now I am off to take advantage of two hours sans Miss MoMo.

I already miss her. Sniff, sniff!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Focus, Jenny, Focus!

Acccck.... I can't! I have sparkler brain this morning about what I want to write. Gosh, do I tell you the tale of the table, or a granddaughter story, or tell you what I'm making for dinner, or, or, or....



Oh heck, I'll give you the abbreviated version of each.

I went to the antique mall here with the intent of looking for some cool chairs for my kitchen. Instead I fell in love with an amazing, amazing pine drop-top table that was the perfect size to replace the table in the breakfast area of my kitchen. I like my table. Don't get me wrong. It has been a creative outlet for a number of years with various incarnations of paint. Here's the present one ... and I like it just fine but, hey, if you give me a mid-nineteenth century drop-top pine table it's gonna go. I look and look but I can't find the price and finally I go and ask and the clerk lady perks up and says "oh, that table? That is museum quality, blah, blah, blah....the price is underneath it on a red ribbon" so I go back to the booth, crawl around on the floor, knock off my reading glasses and finally locate it. Here's what it says "520 - 1850's English farm table - pine" I measure it. I look it over. I love it. I adore it. $520 bucks. I'm sending stuff off to Ohio for a show. I had some book orders this week. OK. I'm gonna do it.

I head up and ask about their layaway policy and the very friendly, nice lady seems excited and says 30% down and then three equal payments. I can do that. 30% down is only .... ummmm.... ummmm.... something like $63 dollars right? So I start filling out the paperwork and she runs my debit card AND IT IS DECLINED!

What? This can't be. I know for a fact there is $183.62 in there since I checked before I left the house.

I recalculate 30% and figure out that it is closer to 150 bucks. No problem. I don't need to buy groceries. It's all good.

I it again!


I say run it as a credit. IT IS DECLINED!

She is kind of loosing patience with me AND no longer quite as nice.

OK, I get out my business credit card which I know has around three hundred bucks in it. Same thing. DECLINED! DECLINED!

I am getting ready to slink out of the store in shame. And the crabby old clerk says "look, just write me a check for the $946 dollars, OK? And I gulp. $946!!!! Dollars? Dollars? Pesos? She very snottily shows me the tag and I say "30% of 520 is around $150 dollars" and she turns the tag over and says "this table is museum quality and it is $2,840 on sale! Now do you want it or not?"

Well, of course I want it. I've suffered huge humilitation because I wanted it. But I can't have it. I tell her that it is too much. She says "why did I waste her time." I say, "I thought it was 520 bucks" She says "oh ha ha ha! I told you it was museum quality. You must be joking." I slugged her. OK, I didn't but I wanted to.

So I left. With no table. And no table in the future.

And now I have to repaint my kitchen table so it looks like a museum quality table with lots of coats of paint on it from the very early 21st century.

And now I have wasted too much time on this stupid story and I saw my work area when I walked by and realized that a) I have not finished packing stuff for fed-ex b) my packing area is a wreck from a three year old who will be c) arriving here in 30 minutes prepared to talk and eat and read and eat and play with Fisher Price.

So I guess you're gonna just have to wonder what wonderful thing our granddaughters said and you're gonna have to figure out what to make for dinner all on your own.

Hey, don't blame me for being cranky. I almost had a museum quality table in my kitchen and instead I am stuck with a table that is most often home to newspapers and pretty ponies.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Things I didn't get done this weekend...

We had almost a whole empty weekend planned. Two events marked our calendar - soccer game at 9 am on Saturday, monthly family dinner at 1 on Sunday. But on Saturday morning we decided to watch our two younger granddaughters over-night (one is 5 and one is 3)...

so instead of cleaning the house I went to the store to stock up on their favorite foods and spent time making sure all my vintage Fisher Price was at the ready for their little imaginations.

And instead of heading out to dinner on Saturday night we gathered up the little girls and two of our neighbors and rolled through the quiet residential streets in my husbands old Jeepster ... warm breeze blowing, stars overhead, little girls laughing and chattering...

And instead of watching some taped movies we read books and cuddled and ate rice krispies ...

And we were all tucked into bed before 9 pm.

Sunday morning I had planned to start painting the kitchen but I thought "gee, I really need to clean" and my ironing was way behind (yes, I still iron) and I had book orders to pack and fabric kits to get ready for a show my friend is doing for me back in Ohio and the biography I am writing about my Dad needs work and, and, and....

but instead we swam in the pool, and ate french toast, and I layed on the couch and watched Sleeping Beauty and "protected" little girls from the witch...and I watched them play in the big bathtub until they raisined up and my husband and I laughed as they ran up and down the hall drying off with the breeze of their speed instead of with towels and no painting and no packing got done...

And when their parents picked them up we agreed that we would come right back from my parents after dinner so we could both get caught up...

but instead we stayed longer talking and eating...

and then one of our sons and his girlfriend came back to the house with the intent of staying "just for a few minutes" and we said we would catch up as soon as they went home ...

but instead they stayed for hours and we talked about my husbands childhood and I told them about living with my Grandmother when I was in my teens with no running water or bathroom in the house and we discussed burial vs. cremation and the pain of life and laying tile and cockroaches (of course, sigh) and when we reluctantly waved goodbye to them...

we had done nothing on our to-do lists for the weekend. Nothing.

But I think we got the way better side of the list. The list of things that didn't get done.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two little girls...

...sit enraptured on my couch watching the original Disney version of Sleeping Beauty.

Their hair is all mussied and tussied from sleep.

Their little faces and hands are slightly sticky and sweet from maple syrup left from their french toast breakfast.

Their sister is at a sleep-over elsewhere but these two little angels spent the night here to cuddle and talk and snore sweetly and eat us out of house and home.

We are certainly blessed this morning.

I hope you are as well.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

And we're off

Another soccer season begins! This picture is from Spring League but it'll be pretty similar - except the kids are a little bigger and the uniforms will be a different color!

I would actually love soccer season except for one thing!

It is ridiculously hot even at 9 am. We haul a shade canopy, we pack water, but it is still generally well over 100.

The little kids are red. We are all usually dripping sweat and not from physical exertion sympathy.

Some things just don't go together. Like AZ and outdoor sports!

But we try.

Heaven knows we try.

And we cheer.

And we come home and thank whatever genius invented A/C on bended and reverant knee.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

We Remember

Where were you when the world stood still?
In that moment the world became changed
With an imprint of terror
Forged forever in fire
When destruction fell down like fall rain?

Were you drinking your coffee?
Were you driving to work?
Were you rocking your babe close to your heart?
Were you humming a song?
Were you righting a wrong?
Were you ironing your favorite shirt?

Where were you when the world broke in
disrupting your everyday plans
and disturbing the notion
that safety and peace
were the inalienable rights of all man…

Were you calling your Mother?
Were you taking a bath?
Were you going through the motions of your day?
Were you baking a cake ?
Were you planning a break up
and trying to find the right words to say?

Where were you when the message came
That nothing in life is for sure?
And all we get is each moment with no guarantees
of tomorrow, next week or next year…

Are you speaking a kind word?
Are you doing your part
to comfort and never cause pain?
Remember those moments
With your head and your heart
So the terror did not happen in vain…

Remember the message, remember the date
Remember nothing in life is for sure
for all we get is each moment with no guarantees
of tomorrow, next week or next year…

Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains,

... a torch flung to the trees.” Faith Baldwin
... "with toenails painted a luscious autumnal shade of orange." addendum to original quote by Jenny Matlock
Wow. I feel very poetic. And in very illustrious literary company.

Hey, don't roll your eyes at me.

This is the best we can do in September in Arizona.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Because this is what we do...

My husband and I took Morgan to her first day of preschool today. Oh the little girl was excited. She was glowing in her enthusiasm. And I was careful to share her joy and not even let a tiny bit of my sadness show. Sadness that she is growing up so fast and it seems like just yesterday (and not 23 years ago) that I was sending my youngest daughter to pre-school. Because we love our children and our grandchildren...and because this is what we do. And we got to the preschool and she was almost bouncing out of her shoes and was talking so fast and squeaky she was hard to understand. And she hugged and kissed us but wanted to hurry, hurry, hurry to her new classroom. And I didn't drag my feet to stretch out this last moment of her being our little g-baby. And I hurried along with her, laughing and talking...even though I wanted to take her back home and make her be a little girl just a little while longer. Because we love our children and grandchildren and recognize that they need to be in the world and they need to grow...and because this is what we do..And we go to her room and my sweet husband pinned her nametag on (because it had to be "Gampa" doing it) and I wanted to grab her up and stop her from growing up because she is so sweet and she is so little and the world is so hard sometimes. But I smiled and took pictures and said "oh boy, oh boy" instead of crying...because we love our children and our grandchildren. And because this is what we do.

And she ran into her room without a backward glance...eager to do new things and meet new people and to find her own way in her own little world. And I started to cry but I turned away so there was no way she could possibly see. Because I would never, ever rain on her parade. And because we love our children and our grandchildren. And because this is what we do.

We open our hearts and let these little people take over all we are. We open our souls and let them take up residence there for eternity, through the good and the bad, the easy and the hard. And we never, ever turn away from matter how much we want to sometimes to protect ourselves.

And we allow and encourage them to try new things, meet new people, find new pathways on their matter how much we want to protect them and keep them safe from the world and sometimes even from themselves.Because we love our children and our grandchildren.

And because this is what we do.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

If I could be somewhere else tonight...

...I would be where the air was just starting to have that crisp edge of change a'coming in it. Where the scent of Septembers remembered would linger on the edge of my consciousness reminding me of days spent waiting for the school bus to arrive or return. Where the very slant of the sun in the sky made me begin thinking of unpacking sweaters and digging out old-timey recipes filled with flavor and substance.

If I could be somewhere else tonight...

I would turn back the clock and find those moments that evoke such nostalgia in my soul each and every Autumn...

...and I would hold them close and breathe in the essence of their intensity so I could remember them very, very clearly for the next fifty years.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A tale of spraypaint and no cockroaches

So there I am...trying to reorganize all the clutter in my kitchen when I had an a-ha! moment. One of the things I hate about my kitchen is I have a lot of counter space but no backsplash (it's an open kitchen) and hardly any cabinets. All my cooking spices, etc. just sit out by my stove adding to the clutter. A few weeks ago I bought a funky little cabinet at a garage sale for 5 bucks and it was just sitting out in the garage so I thought I'd see if it would fit by the stove. I dragged it in but the color was yucky.

Which is something a little spray paint can easily fix. I had my oranges, pinks and reds leftover from when I made my board and floormat artwork so I masked off the tiles and started painting.

It was kind of too pretty so I put some copper glaze on there and then spattered it with some copper paint and since I always like surprises I spray painted the inside bright orange.


And then I dragged it into my kitchen and put all my kitchen cooking clutter in there! And here it is along with my glass tile projects!

I was going to start painting more kitchen walls today but it ain't happenin'. I'm done. I'm tired. I should do it cuz I didn't see even one teeny, weeny cockroach today and I should take advantage of their field trip or whatever reason they are gone for the moment.

But I can't. I need to rest. They don't call it Labor Day weekend for nothing.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Oh Come on!

So... today I decided to tackle the glass tile backsplash and starting to repaint my kitchen/family/breakfast room area.

The bay window was hard but I figured the backsplash couldn't be any harder.

Boy, was I wrong. Just Bob at Home Depot lied to me. Here I was thinking I would leave my husband and run away with him so I could tile my way across the USA but it's all off now. Backsplashes. are. really. really. hard. Or I'm just really, really, really dumb.

So... there I was getting the painting done and getting ready to do the tile AND all the sudden I saw a cockroach. I kid you not! The exterminator guy said we might see a few more in the house so I am super, super cautious in my bathroom. But there I was just minding my own business and painting away and all the sudden it jumped out at me and tried to rip my throat out. OK, technically it didn't jump and didn't even come near my throat but it probably would have if I wouldn't have ran away really fast.

Here's my before the backsplash picture and I had to show you with an arrow where the evil 11" long cockroach was located.

OK, it probably wasn't quite 11" long, but still.

So after I screamed bloody murder and after my husband came running down the hall and after he disposed of the ugly little mutant I started attempting the backplash.

All I can say is Just Bob is delusional.

This little corner of the kitchen took me about four hours to complete and even then it looks kinda crappy. I'm thinking I might have to put a lot of tall stuff in front of it.

I mean, I love the concept but the execution leaves a bit to be desired.

But at least I tried it.

And at least I continued to do the project in spite of the grave personal danger I was in from the cockroaches.

And I only fell off the counter twice when I was trying to watch for cockroaches and put tile in place.

So... I guess I won't be coming to a tile store near you anytime soon to give product demonstrations.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Knock, Knock...

Oh come on. Don't be that way. I know I just did a knock, knock joke in my last post but play along....ok? Pretty please?

OK, knock, knock.
"Who's there?" you say.
"Ima who?" you say.
Ima finally gonna put some tile in the bay window behind my kitchen sink.

Gee. That was hardly worth it.


I'm excited. Well, tired and excited. We got up a little before 5 am today to get part of the garden amended and tilled getting ready to plant fall and early Spring crops in a few weeks.

While we were hauling and swearing and sweating and spreading and swearing some more I decided that it would be a good rainy day weekend to finally, finally finish the baywindow behind my kitchen sink.

We had granite countertops installed several years ago but didn't think about the bay at the time.

Since then I keep it covered with this ratty little table runner thing that looks stupid and cluttery.

So today while my husband was returning the rototiller I went into the tile department at the Depot and met "Just Bob".

"Just Bob" hardly laughed at me at all and was very patient while I asked him 73,413 questions about putting some glass tile into that area.

"Just Bob" showed me grout and adhesive and sponges and all their little glass tiles and debated on grout color with me without even rolling his eyes ONCE! Not even ONCE I tell ya!

"Just Bob" helped me load my cart up with all the stuff I need and when Steve showed up to the tile department I think he was a bit scared. "Do you know how to lay tile?" he asked me. "Heavens no," I replied jauntily, "but Just Bob says I can do it!" "Hmmm," he said, "is Just Bob going to come and help you?" "Nope," I replied confidently, "I can do it by myself! (it came out sounding suspiciously like something our three year old granddaughter would say but I don't care). If Just Bob says I can do it, I can do it!

And now I have it home and it's gonna look luscious and I am only getting a teensy-weensy bit nervous.

But I'm ready to take on a new project and quit thinking about c-o-c-k-r-o-a-c-h-e-s!

Here's my tile and the stuff I need.

If you're not busy c'mon over!

And stop by Home Depot, please, and bring "Just Bob" along.

I think I'm gonna need him.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Knock, Knock...

Who's there?
Little Old Lady.
Little Old Lady who?
Wow, you didn't know you could yodel, did ya?....


OK, and in keeping with my small, probably barely noticeable bug-session...

A man went to answer a knock at his door and upon opening it, found a huge cockroach. “Yes?” asked the man. “What can I do for you?” Instead of answering, the cockroach slapped the man and ran off.

The next night there was another knock at the door. When the man answered, he found the cockroach once again. This time, the cockroach kicked the heck out of the man and ran off once more.

On the third night, there was a familiar knock at the door. The man cautiously opened it and no sooner did he peek out than the cockroach bit him and took off.

The man was so worried about the bite that he called his doctor and told him the whole story. “What is going on?” the man asked.

“Ah, yes,” the doctor said. “There’s a nasty bug going around.”

And may I just say....


"The road to hell is paved with good intentions"

At least that's what my Grandma used to say. And she said it a lot. To me primarily. Hmmmm....

Anyway I woke up this morning with the best intentions to let the whole bug-session thing go. I actually started to write about my back-to-school shopping trip with three year old granddaughter, Morgan, when I looked out my front window and saw...

It was the city roach patrol. Wow! I just called them yesterday. They came. They opened the manholes on our street. They sprayed. They came up to the door and handed us this. So, of course, I have to write about this instead of a cute story about Morgan calling the clothes I suggested "sgusting" (but don't get too suspensed out cuz I'll write about that soon barring any new and more "sgusting" bug-sessions)

And then they gave us the bad news.

And let me just say I hate war. War and slavery. War is bad. Slave ships were bad. War and slaveships are evil. In addition to a bazillion other reasons they are evil I am taking the myopic approach for this particular moment because THEY BOTH CAUSED ROACH INFESTATION IN THE US!!!!!

Yes, you read this right. Or at least that's what our handy little brochure AND the roach-buster guys said.

These particular roaches are called Turkestan roaches. Not be confused with American or German roaches. Turkestan roaches apparently are a lot tougher. They started infesting our country during and after the first gulf war. Is this cosmic payback for US invasion of Kuwait? (don't get political on me...I only wrote down what my husband just said - not the karmic part - just the Kuwait part)

Anyway, these little beauties (GAG) made their way back to the good old US that was already infected with cockroaches from slave ships AND WW I !!!

And since there were no roaches in the US before 1700 I can only hate slavery and war for my bug-session in addition to the other bazillion reasons. And for not letting me write about my sweet, little opinionated Morgan.

And for giving me a new bug-session for the moment. Because Turkestan roaches do not live in the sewers...they live in the ground AND according to the handy dandy brochure and one of our beautiful daughters THEY CAN FLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I have the worlds strongest intention to avoid roaches. I do. It's true. But now I have to wonder if hell has roaches? Big, old, nasty, flying Turkestan roaches? Probably. And since my Grandma was pretty sure that was where I was headed I think I just might be in trouble.