Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

If you buy your wife a painting ...

... then she's probably going to want to put it over the mantel right away

... and all the stuff on the mantel will have to moved because it doesn't match now...

... and the big, huge recliner by the door leading to the garage is not going to match and is going to need to be hauled down the hall so you can...

...haul the big, huge chaise by the french doors in the bedroom back to where the recliner was.

If you buy your wife a painting the coffee table is going to look too "matchy" so you are going to have to haul it down the hall to the guest room...

...and haul the old childrens desk in there back to the living room...

... which isn't going to look correct.

If you buy your wife a painting the old childrens desk you have just hauled up the hall to the living room isn't going to be quite right so now you have to haul it back the hall to the entry way where there is a huge old primitive chest which you will have to...

...empty of all the buckets of agates, rocks and beach stones inside(hey, you never know when you might want to build a sidewalk or something) so you can haul it down the hall to put in the living room with the new picture.

If you buy your wife a painting...

...you have to listen to ideas about wall colors, pillow colors, putting pink pedal cars on top of entertainment units and looking for accents.

If you buy your wife a painting....

Somehow that green chair you hauled back the hall into the bedroom could be making the whole bedroom look kind of dingy making your wife tell you that perhaps she needs to paint the bedroom a different color.

I'm not saying that's what happened here last night...

but, hey, if you buy your wife a painting it's just what might happen.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

We done got us some culture today

So.... after the farmers market we headed up to Payson for breakfast. Our cooler was loaded down with miniature radishes, micro-arugula, melon and all kinds of cool stuff.

Beautiful day. Fluffy white clouds. Thermostat dropping from 102 to 87. Hey, what could go wrong. Something did. Big time. But wait.

First we went and ate and then went to a farmers market in Payson where Steve scored some freshly grated horseradish. Then we went to a few strange shops and didn't spend a penny.

And then it happened. Steve had to answer a phone call and I ran into a little gallery and I was beguiled by a painting which is like nothing I have ever liked before. I'm not sure why but it just made me happy. I kept wandering by and looking at it and when Steve came in he looked at it right away and said "wow, I like that, we should buy that." So we did.

That wasn't the wrong thing yet.

When we got home we put it over the mantel where it looks really neat with all the funky stone and that's when it happened.

It's official. I need to paint that room. Make new pillows. Re-arrange furniture. Get some cooler clothes. Dust under the couch. Make slipcovers.....

... are you getting my drift?

Yes, that gorgeous little painting has my mind a-whirling with all kinds of fix-up thoughts and now, poor Steve, has no idea how to take it away from me and return it so he can relax instead of helping me haul every piece of furniture we own from one room to another. (I think he secretly likes it but is just acting annoyed)


Now, I'm gonna get him to go with me to to Home Depot to get some paint samples.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

I think summer might be officially here

So.... in Arizona they judge when the monsoon starts by something called "dewpoint" and if it's higher then a certain point for more then three days it is officially monsoon season.

I personally judge it with a much more reliable method. Oskar.

Today is the third day he refused to walk. He goes out the door, walks about three steps and lays down.

He returns to the house, heaves a sigh of relief and jumps up on the chair for his third morning nap.

He totally refuses to walk when it is hot. Or sunny. Or windy. Or rainy. Or cool. Or if there is a leaf laying in the middle of the neighbors yard.

Which technically allows him, in his great finicky-ness, to walk approximately 8.7 days each year.

Probably explains why Oskar is a little on the chunky side.

Probably explains why his masters are a little on the chunky side.

Hey, if a weiner dog can't walk in such inclement situations then how can we be expected to.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alley gleanings

Steve and I are working very hard to be good little locavores! This afternoon I even talked him into driving me around the alley in the Jeepster and here is what we picked! Apples, grapes and figs. The figs taste like candy - they are so sweet and the apples are totally delicious and the grapes just pop in your mouth (almost as good as Jessie's grapes)

I'm heading to ceramics class tonight and I'll be sharing this bounty. The pomegranates are almost ready, too and there are twelve zillion more figs and apples to pick. Holy produce Batman!

I am a literary giant

So....yesterday I was swinging Morgan and reciting "How do you like to go up in a swing, up in the air so blue" which Morgan loved. Each time I finished she would say "again, Gwamma!" and so we would swing and say the poem over and over.

In the afternoon I went to put her down for a nap and I picked up an Eloise Wilkins book to read to her and lo and behold there was the timeless poem "The Swimg".

Morgan reverently touched the page and breathed "Gwamma....you have your story in a book"

Sorry Robert Louis Stevenson. I know it's been said you wrote that in 1913 but I'm claiming it! My Granddaughter loves it!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I would make a rotten vegan

I have to say that I think wheat grass is disgusting. Not only the first drink of it but the "little reminders" that keep occuring in my mouth that I am seriously not enjoying. I am doing a three day de-tox including wheat grass and lots of vegetable and fruit juices. But... can I just say quite candidly. EWWWWWWWW!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Baja Bites

I modified these from Chickberry Peg and they were a big hit. I loved them. Steve loved them. I hope you love them.

Baja Bites
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup flour (or GF baking mix if you are so cursed)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tbs. green onion, minced
2 finely diced roma tomatoes
4 oz. can green chiles, drained
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Combine eggs and cottage cheese; blend until almost smooth. Add flour, baking powder , all the spices and butter; stir in onion, tomatoes, chiles and cheese. Pour into a lightly greased mini muffin pans; bake at 350 for 20 to 22 minutes until set. Let cool slightly. Garnish with jalapenos, slices of roma tomatoes and a cilantro leaf or some shredded cheese.

Good hot, warm, room temperature or cold.

See ceramics? Ceramics are good. Ceramics are fun.

This is Debbie. She is the teacher. She is eating baja bites. She likes baja bites.

These are Cyndie and my painted salt and pepper shakers. Nice pepper shaker. Nice salt shaker.

This is what the shakers look like when they are done. My salt shakers have a white bottom and a red scarf. My pepper shakers have a black bottom and a red scarf. Pretty pepper shaker. Pretty salt shaker.

I love going to ceramics class. Ceramics are good. Do you feel like you just read a Dick and Jane book? Dick and Jane are nice. Dick and Jane are good.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy 7th Birthday Julia!

Oh sweetie, Grandpa and I just love, love, love you soooo much! Here's a picture of Julia from yesterday!

And here is one of my favorite pictures series of Julia. Her first solid food. Ever. I love the expressions on her face.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stop me I beg of you!

Oh no! My food coop is selling 16 pound boxes of cherries. I am thinking about pushing the little button to buy some. I'm trying to remind myself of the angst of buying all the anaheim peppers AND I'm trying to remind myself that one of our neighbors gave me permission to pick the apples from their huge tree in the alley AND I'm trying to remind myself that Steve and I are babysitting 2 little girls for four days this weekend AND having Fathers Day here on Sunday.

And I'm still thinking how wonderful home-canned cherries would be.

Stop me! I beg of you! I have until tomorrow to push the little order button.


Julia at only 4 months old!

Ahoy there almost Birthday Girl

This picture was taken in August 2005. Wow, look at that hair.

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's a Brand New Day

I think Josh Radin said this way better then I could...if you don't know this song try and hear it below on my playlist, it's great!

Most kind of stories
Save the best part for last
Most stories have a hero who finds
You make your past your past
Ya you make your past your past

It’s a brand new day
The sun is shinning
It’s a brand new day
For the first time
In such a long long time
I know
I’ll be ok

This cycle never ends
Gotta fall in order to mend

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Not walking on sunshine...

The way the clouds and trees silhouette against the early evening sky outside my window makes my heart ache tonight. Is it the diminishing of the light as it fades from golden to violet that makes me recall loss and sadness?

I don’t know for sure, but the feeling I have at these moments rivals all the nostalgic longings I feel when that first scent of autumn causes me remember the passage of time.

Today I sorted through things I have stored for scrapbook pages. Today I read little snippets of writings recalling moments with my beloved granddaughters. Today I paged through calendars of my sisters watching her writing disintegrate into a barely decipherable scrawl. Today I thought of broken dreams and shattered hopes. Today I tried very hard to turn my eyes to the sun but I could only remember rainy days.

I think it is these moments of sadness that remind me how important it is to feel joy, to seek happiness, to dig deep for laughter even when it is difficult.
Sometimes I think it would be so easy to drag out all the disappointment, all the failings, all the pain and cruelty and just stay hidden away in the safe cave of my bed. It would perhaps be simpler to not step out again each day into the sunlight, exposed and unprotected from the reality that is the definition of life.

I wonder if there is a way to grow a protective shield for your heart so that it becomes less vulnerable to pain and loss. Are there exercises to strengthen that tender muscle? Or are those of us that are tenderhearted sentenced to a lifetime of extremes?

Tonight I would trade this tender heart in a moment, but I’m sure that tomorrow I will relish all the emotions and feelings that define my life. Good and bad. Joyous and sorrowful. Past and present.

I had the thought this past week that one of my biggest failings as a parent was not preparing my children for the reality of life. Perhaps in trying to always find the silver lining I left them unprotected and unable to understand a world that is often cruel and always unpredictable. I failed to teach them that just because you want things to be better doesn’t mean they will be better. Sometimes will cannot change fact. Sometimes determination cannot change duration. Sometimes positive cannot change pain.

The sky has gotten darker and the silhouettes are now indistinct. My rambling has not eased my heart.

So for this night I am going to bed and I am going to allow myself to be sad.

Tomorrow I will be stronger and more able to recognize that all those little sayings about dancing in the rain and making lemonade are all true.

Tomorrow is another day.

And this, too, shall pass.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Before and After - paint, stain and varnish

OK, I'm hot. I'm crabby. My knees hurt from going up and down the big ladder. I almost have one (count 'em) bay window done. Two more to go and the front door and the big beam about it. But who's counting? I'm going to take a bath and try to scrub some of the paint/stain residue off me.

I am officially done working outside for the day (except for taking down the clothes off the clothesline!)

Go me!

I got the tall chimney painted!

Amidst much terror, gripping of the ladder with my teeth, clinging to the chimney with my fingernails IT IS DONE! For some reason the long extension ladder scares me to death...the short one is not nearly as frightening.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Those who can't, can

Hmmmm? I dunno. That sounded more cool inside my head then on paper but here's what Jessie and I did last night. It's because we can can that we can. Oh geez. I'll just stop now. The first pic is all the stuff we picked from Jessie's garden!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'm going to a sleep-over! Wanna come?

Jessie and I are going to do some canning tonight - pepperoncini, pickled grape tomatoes, and pickled onions! Kevin is out of town so it's gonna be can, can, can!

And I get to sleep in the new and improved guest room!

I'm looking forward to it.

I always have a great time there.

I hope I don't get homesick!

I'm smarter then Steeee-eve...I'm smarter then Steeee-eve...

...hey, I'm not gloating but this so rarely happens that ... hmmm... well, OK, I guess I am gloating.

I woke up this morning laughing over this.

Yesterday Steve helped me make applesauce with the Foley Food mill. I instructed him on how you grind, grind, grind and then turn the handle backwards to clear the grinder of skins, seeds and stems.

Part way through one batch he said "it's weird that this works so much better backwards." I paid no attention.

Anyway, he was doing it backwards and then turning it forward to clear the food mill.

OK, I know this sounds like nothing. And it could easily happen to anyone.

But it happened to Steve, my brilliant, brilliant husband...

...allowing me to say once again...

I'm smarter then Steeee-eve.

And on that pathetic note of increased self-worth I am heading now to the track.


Monday, June 8, 2009

15 quarts of applesauce now reside in my freezer

And they are delicious! Most of them are seasoned with lemon, a little sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg but some of them are seasoned with lime instead of the lemon. I really, really like the lime with the apple.

I'm gonna take a break from preserving but there is another giant apple tree in the alley that is going to be ready soon. Shhhh.... don't tell Steve. I think his arm is sore from using the food mill. Next time we will try the Victoria strainer.

That was fun!

And tasty.

Oh, and this sounds kind of icky but I put some gluten free granola on top of a small bowl of applesauce for lunch and it was delicious!

Here an apple, there an apple...

Sooooo....I scoped out the alley this morning on my way back from the track and lo and behold one of my favorite apple trees was busting out with ripe apples.

The lovely lady of the house told me to pick whatever I wanted from the alley so Angie, Baris and I went and picked these!

As soon as I get billing done I am going to make some applesauce. Luckily I had three lemons left on my tree so I am all set.

What fun. Wish you could have been here. Especially if you are really tall. Then I really, really wish you could have been here!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hey, I heard you shrink as you get older but this is ridiculous!

Did I ever show you the finished shade sail?

What do bleachers, gang tags and falling into the water have in common?

They all happened to me before 7:30 am! It's been a busy, busy morning here in beautiful Arizona.

I took my lovely walking sticks to the track this morning and walked 7 laps with them (1 3/4 miles) and then I ran up the bleachers. Pant, pant, pant. I walked down slowly. But I did it and I was sooo proud of myself.

On the way home I noticed the neighbors door was open (this is a house in fore-closure) and then I saw a gang symbol painted on the garage wall. Uh oh! I saw the back gate open. Uh oh!

I came inside and told Steve and he said "uh oh!" too!

We called the police.

While we were waiting for them to come I decided to quickly deadhead the roses so Steve could pump irrigation water into that raised bed. So as I was walking along the brick wall and kept telling myself - don't fall, don't fall ... so of course, I did fall, right into the irrigation. It didn't hurt but I was pretty annoyed with myself.

And that's been my morning! Fun, fun, fun!

Oops, and now there is an update. It is not gang tags but someones initials and the police say this is the second break-in at this house (we were in Ohio during the first one)!


And now I am off to do my exercise bike and work in the garden!

Signing out from busy Arizona!

Over and out.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Well howdy sanity

...I think it's back. I feel moderately sane and even not stressed. Woo hoo.

It has just been total craziness around here but today I have worked to catchup on shipping books and fabrics, got all my birthday cards out, posted a webpage about our trip to Ohio and even watched three (count 'em) episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress". Life does not get much sweeter then that - ha!

I actually had a good excuse for being a veg cuz I went to get some spider veins removed from my legs yesterday and I'm supposed to stay off my feet for 24 hours. I'll be honest in saying that wasn't my favorite thing yet but it will be nice to get them under control.

Although I didn't get an spider veins removed from my butt and they didn't tell me not to sit I'm going to go back and watch one more episode of "Say Yes to the Dress" just for fun.

Hey, you never know when you're going to need to buy a $16,000 wedding dress right?

OK, perhaps all the sanity hasn't returned.

But until it does I'm going to watch the looks of joy and horror on bride-to-be faces...always good for making me feel sane.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Good morning!

Company is gone, no babysitting today, party is finished.

But boy oh boy am I behind with just about everything. I am up to almost two miles now with my walking sticks so I did that this morning, rode my exercise bike for 30 minutes and did my floor and face exercises for about 15. Headed out to the garden to deadhead, weed, pull out sunflowers and harvest some flowers and beets.

Now everywhere I look is clutter and mess and things to pack and put away and I don't feel like doing anything at all. But I will.

But I'm just gonna say it now.

I don't like. Not one little bit. Who the heck made all this mess and clutter anyway.