A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Monday, May 28, 2012


I'm so excited!

Made major progress on Firefly Faeries (Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum) this weekend.  See here for the last progress report and picture.  Here's where I am now.

 Finished the bottom of the skirt on the green faerie...

...and am now ready to move up to the bodice and head..

One more push and the floss will be done.  Then I can block it and mount it on large q-snaps for the metallics and beadwork.  Now that I've seen a resemblance to Flora, Fauna and Meriwether from Sleeping Beauty I am more excited to finish this piece.

Can't help it, I must share today's Faerie Garden pictures.  It's been a spectacular weekend, weather-wise, and the garden is exploding with love.

This is what greeted me when I woke up this morning.  Just had to grab the camera and take this view from the pillow.  Automatic good mood when you get to wake up to a view like this.  Only problem with this angle is that you can see neither the tiny buds on "Cecile Bruner' nor the brilliant blue sky behind her...

 ... like you can in this shot.

I indulged myself with a walk through the garden and noticed something I didn't notice yesterday.  Brugmansia "Creamsicle" is covered in buds!  I stopped counting at seventeen.

And I had to take another picture of the passion vine this afternoon.  Covered with blooms.

Spent a grateful Memorial Day.  Even family and friends who survived their service came home permanently "wounded" - in one way or another - by the experience.  It makes me even more sincerely grateful for that service.

I always wonder if we should "celebrate" Memorial Day, but I suppose there's no better way to thank our service men and women than to hope that they, too, get a day off with their friends and families.  Unless, of course, it would be adequate health care and pension programs.  Sheesh.

My weekend was completely self-indulgent.  I have a hard time letting go of schedules and expectations and duties sometimes.  Have to admit I was pretty good about being a sluggard this weekend.  I did manage to keep the garden watered, get my laundry done and did get to the gym all three days.  The rest of the time I was stitching away.  For the most part I shut out the world and worked in blissful silence.  Only last night did I get a wee tired of my own thoughts and put Star Trek on the computer for a couple of hours of company.

Two more weeks. Nine days, one of which will be at Magic Mountain with the graduating class.  I applied to teach a summer school session and haven't heard yet whether I got the assignment or not.  I'm excited about it and collecting ideas (Creative Writing and Book Club), but if I don't get the job I can be excited about more time doing - well - just what I did this weekend.

It all works.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Not Even Disney...

...can make this kind of magic.

I'm having the most delightful day so far.

It's a three-day weekend and I have no deadlines looming.  Papers all graded for the end of school.  Two weeks to file and clean and pack away for the summer.  It's an unbelievable day here in Southern California, the kind even we have a hard time believing when they come.  Slightly warm, with a cool breeze to move things around.  Blue cloudless sky (at the moment).

With nothing to nag at me (except the gym in about an hour) I decided to just follow my whims today.  Jim Brickman played "Harvest" at 5:15 - as usual - and I decided to see if I could catch a little more sleep.  Normally I can't go back to sleep once I'm that awake, but I've been really tired this week and had no problem dropping back off for another hour or so.  I took the dog out for his morning relief and noticed some of my potted plants looking wilted, so I tethered him while I watered my front courtyard.  That's all it took for me to decide it was time to update the garden report here (I've been asked to do so), but I decided to wait just a bit longer for the day to warm up before I took a garden tour.  While I waited I settled in for a good hour on Pinterest.  I found a collection of teaching-related pins and had a good time snagging some great ideas.

And then it was time for the tour.  I'm so glad I went out there.  Lots of new things to make me smile.

My hydrangeas are covered with buds this year.  I didn't cut this one back as far as I usually do and it's going to be stunning.  It's in the front courtyard next to my front door.

My granddaddy was a fantastic gardener.  The house I remember him in best was in Redondo Beach.  About 1/4 acre, with fruit trees and fuchsias and roses everywhere.  It was there I fell in love with pink oxalis and baby tears.  We kids had a swing under the grape arbor.  But my favorite plant was a huge blue hydrangea.  Granddaddy would take his coffee grounds out and work them into the soil around the base of the plant and it did the trick.  His hydrangea was always blue, as long as I can remember.

I don't drink coffee, but learned that you can do "blue" with hydrangeas by adding aluminum sulfate.  This year I've been adding the stuff and it looks like I may get a couple of blue hydrangeas this year!

For years we had a stucco wall surrounding a front courtyard.  (I still miss the pink trumpet vine that covered it.)  But it finally came down thanks to a combined effort from the trumpet vine and the Santa Ana winds and we replaced it with a wooden fence.  Disney freak that I am, I see Fort Wilderness in the design  so have dubbed the house Fort Miller.  Anyway, I have a variety of flowers in front of Fort Miller and the hollyhock is already in bloom.

In the south side yard, milkweed (aesclepias tuberosa or 'butterfly weed') is coming up in several places.  I get a big kick out of raising Monarch butterflies in the house each summer so whenever this stuff pops up I sing a song of welcome and threaten damage to anyone who pulls it out.  (Not really; everyone here loves the Monarchs.)

Back in the front, the roses are doing well.  This is Week's Roses' "Brass Band," which I call my desert island rose.  If I could only have one, this would be it.

It goes really well in arrangements with another Week's Rose, "Hot Cocoa".

My absolute favorite part of the garden is my Fairy Garden in our north side yard.  My room ("The Sanctuary") has a window that looks into this space and it is a joy to wake up to.

I call this the hydrangea wall and it's up against my window.  The plant at the near end in this picture is a brugmansia (Angel's Trumpet) variety "Ecuador Pink."  Then a half-dozen different hydrangeas, all different types and colors.  At the far end is another brug, "Creamsicle," whose blooms start out vanilla white and age to sherbet orange, hence the name.

At the other end of this space I have a collection of miniature roses in pots.  The nasturtiums - the rowdy little boys of the garden - are teasing this little rose.

"Cecile Brunner" is an old climber.  Her miniature pink flowers have the most delicious fragrance.
She's been in this space three or four years, now, and I guess she's decided she likes it here after all because she's growing and blooming like crazy this year.

Another miniature rose.  They are from the old Tiny Petals Nursery.  I bought these just before the new owners of the stock decided not to sell them via mail order any more, so if you know where I can get them, please leave me a comment.

I grow this passion vine for the Gulf Fritillary butterflies it attracts.  This is its third year.  There is an old garden saying about perennials:  First year weep; Second year creep; Third year leap.  This vine is definitely doing its Third Year Leap dance.  Much to my delight.

At the base of the birdbath which is  at the base of the passion vine trellis I have tucked these little Labrador Violets.  They are special to me.  I had planted them a few years ago and enjoyed them.  But two years ago I went through a dark time.  One morning during that time I went out to cheer myself up with a little garden therapy and found that my violets had fried sometime during that week.  I sobbed as I cleaned up the mess.  Then I noticed a half-dozen tiny seedlings had emerged under the debris.  They taught me an important lesson about life and its cycles.  And now, whenever I see them, I am reminded to hope.

Back at the hydrangea wall.  Gorgeous pink.

This lacecap reminds me of Disneyland fireworks.

After my lovely, leisurely tour I came back into The Sanctuary to upload my pictures onto facebook and paused to look out the window just in time to catch sight of this.  The very butterfly for whom I planted the passion vine in the first place, doing her best to cover it with fritillary eggs.  She was remarkably cooperative about posing for pictures.

 I haven't had the same luck raising fritillaries indoors as I have Monarchs so will just keep an eye out for caterpillars and hope for the best.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


...is official.

Successful Open House last night.

Newsies for two days this week.  Memorial Day weekend (yay for Mondays off!).  Finish Newsies.  Clean out classroom (return projects).  Don Hahn video inspiration for kids (if I can get it to burn onto dvd since my computer isn't hooked to the projector) on Wednesday.  Friday is the Magic Mountain graduation trip for kids (wishing it was Disneyland instead but MM is cheaper and closer so oh well).  Three days of yearbook signing and locker clean-out and grad ceremony practices.  Graduation.  Half-day last day and then...

Treat yourself to some inspiration.  I love this!  The father of one of my students played in a band with Don Hahn at one time, and his wife (mother of one of my students) turned me on to this video.  Beautiful and thought provoking.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

GMCLA Video - Who We Are

Just because I love these guys, too.

Just a little over a month until the last of this year's series (sniff!).  Fade to Blue with Leann Rimes.

Gonna be a great day in the country.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Rainbow Connection by The Yale Whiffenpoofs of 2011

Just because I love 'em.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


A very decent day.

I'm thinking of it as a preliminary summer break day.  A practice day.

I want to be productive this summer.  Less hanging around the computer, more life.  Today was more like what I want than not.


Deadheaded some flowers ('Totally Tangerine' and 'Flames of Passion' geum; 'Sexy Rexy' rose).  Turned Dr. Huey in the 'Joseph's Coat' into tortoise food.

Watered the fairy garden, fed the brugs.  The hydrangeas are just a few days away from being a wall of color.  Can. not. wait.  The passion vine is taking over (yay!) and Cecile Bruner is a mass of blossoms at the top.  All of my cuttings - begonias, brugs and passion vine - seem to be rooting.

Cut some flowers for the Sanctuary.

Roses are "About Face", "Brass Band," "Just Joey", "Hot Cocoa."  "Sexy Rexy" and "Honey Perfume" in the back.  Viburnum in the middle.  Two colors of alstromeria. 

Did some reading and a little writing.

Swept a bag full of dog hair.  Vacuumed.  Did my laundry (all folded and put away).  Cleaned the Sanctuary.  Such a calm spot.

News flash in the Stitchery!  Progress on the Firefly Faeries (TIAG).

Hint: it's the green skirt.

Know what I just realized a few weeks ago?  After all these years of working on this, on and off?

I watched Disney's Sleeping Beauty again.  Check it out.


The Firefly Faeries bear a striking resemblance to Flora, Fauna and Meriwether.  It didn't dawn on me until I saw this scene with their little feet buried in their petticoats.  They're even the same colors.  I love it!  I have loved working this piece - can't wait until it's finished - and now am reminded of my favorite faeries when I work it.  And get this, when it's done, the spot I've reserved for it is right above a print I bought at Disneyland.

Yep, I'm a Sleeping Beauty fanatic.  My favorite Disney movie.  Guess I'm just drawn to it even when I don't realize it.

Anyway, I enjoyed my couple of hours of stitching (with minimal frogging this time).

Was listening to August Rush for the zillionth time while I stitched.

I wonder if I will ever not cry at the end.  Made it a little tough to stitch through the tears.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I love 'em.


I had to re-arrange my Thursday schedule today.  Usually I leave work, go home to change clothes and then head to the gym for my long (1.5-hour) workout.  After the gym is Weight Watchers, then to my favorite Mexican place for take-out.  Chili verde burrito, meat only, wet.

But tonight I decided to go to the Board of Trustees meeting to receive my recognition for twenty (2-0) years of service to the district.  Cripes!  How did THAT happen?!?  And eighteen of them have been in the same classroom that I'm in now.


Anyway, gym clothes were hardly appropriate for the board meeting, so I skipped the gym, drove in for dinner early, went to WW and then to the meeting.

I got a hug from my son's old music teacher (now a principal in our district) a hug from an old friend (a BOT member), another from a good friend (president of the BOT), an attempted hug from a nemesis (BOT member) and a hug from our retiring superintendent.  He and I worked well together for my most recent tenure as union president.

Evidence that I am not always the most effective union president.  I lean toward diplomacy and cooperation when I'm president.  I am, however, a wicked action chair, which I also did for 1.5 years before I was president.  Maybe that's why the superintendent was so cooperative?

Anyway, the hugs were nice and much appreciated.

I am even more appreciative, though, for the hug from the Universe that I got when I got home.  Check out this sunset (I'm standing in the street in front of my house.)

One of these days I'll get my panorama program working again and stitch these all together.  So lovely!

The whole sky above me looked like this:

 I don't think this photo really picked it up very well, but even the air around me was pink.

 One more, just because it got better and better.


Somehow it doesn't feel lonesome when you're wrapped in a beautiful astral quilt.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Betsy and Buddy

A Trip Down Memory Lane.

Pinterest has been highly entertaining.  I vowed to only put things that strike my passion zone, and I'm finding that I'm learning a lot about myself as I build my little collections.  Yesterday I saw a post by another pinner that I thought was a terrific idea.  I titled my board, "When I Was A Kid, I Loved..." and have been adding things that I remember fondly.  Today I ran across this and smiled from the inside out.

Betsy McCall was my favorite little doll.  Only 8" tall, she appealed to my fascination with tiny things.  Sweet. winsome face.  Delightful clothes.  I even loved her knees that cracked when you made her sit down (kind of like my knees now).

Seeing this picture today brought back one of my favorite memories.

We lived in the San Fernando Valley when I was ages 5-11.  The young couples that made up our neighborhood were the best and longest friendships I remember my parents having.  Today I was remembering the day that my dad had his friends over to check out his new hi-fi record player.  They let me stay in the room (I wasn't much older than eight) as they blasted Harry James and Woody Herman throughout the house.

My love of big band jazz was born that day as I lie stretched on the floor with the music pouring over and around me and Betsy.

I don't remember exactly what he played that day, but over the years my favorite big band musician was Buddy Rich.  I still remember the day I took my son to Pro Drum Shop in Los Angeles for his annual birthday cymbal gift purchase and we saw one of Buddy's sets on display in the store.  I was even more excited than he was.

This recording wouldn't have been one Dad played on that day (it was recorded later) but it is still one of my top ten favorite recordings of all time.

Of all the gifts my Dad gave to me, the gift of Big Band jazz is one of my most treasured.

Feeling grateful, if a little teary, for that gift today.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

I love this...

...so much!

I've been good and stuck for weeks.  Stuck between wishful thinking and dwindling hope.  I hide in facebook and pinterest and cheetos.  And chocolate.

Don't forget the chocolate.

I know I do it and I don't consider either facebook or pinterest a waste of time.  I've connected and re-connected with so many fabulous and fascinating people via facebook that I'll never give it up.  Pinterest is new to me, and I decided to treat it kind of like a collage of my life.  My rule is that I can only post what truly calls to me; no "kind of nice" stuff.  Only "Hell yeah" stuff.  I've been collecting pins for only a few weeks, but already I've learned a lot about what I like to have around me.  (Clearly I would have been very uncomfortable in the heavy, mountain man style house we had designed for Utah, had we moved there.)

And I know I can change.  I've changed drastically over the last couple of years.  I did, after all, kick television out two years ago and am over my obsession with farmville.

But, I'm still stuck.  With "option paralysis".  Can't seem to make myself pick up needle or pen.  My head is too chaotic, too muddled.

There are dozens of projects calling my name.  I know my head will clear when I get my hands to doing what they do best.  Dig in the dirt.  Ply color and fabric. Three pages, every morning.  I'm so distracted, so frustrated by life right now that I can't make myself do anything but wander the internet like a poltergeist searching for the light.

But in that search this morning, I think I found a little spark of light in this poster.  Summer break is nearly here, and it looks like it will be a little longer than we've had the last couple of years.  Plenty of time to develop new habits, cure some chaos and establish some order to carry me through the following year.

If I can just make myself take the first steps.

I think this poster will help me with that.  I think I'll consider it a journal prompt.  (In fact, journaling is something else I've neglected for weeks).  Every morning, I'll ask myself "Today, what will I do to...?" and plan an activity for each part of the question.  And at the end of each day, I can journal what I did to meet each goal for the day.  Mind, body, spirit, relationships, creativity and passion.

That ought to cover it all.

With hope.