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

Friday, December 27, 2013

Living in a Sunrise...

...suits me.

In three months I will have lived in this house for forty years.  Forty years of neutral.  Forty years of Bridal White.  Or Navajo White, depending on the room.

This was supposed to be a starter house and was painted for resell in three to five years.  Forty years of living in a house that never felt permanent because it was always to be resold.

But never was.

It seems significant to me, now.  Forty years of feeling temporary.  Of feeling like I didn't belong here.  In spite of it all.  Two children born - literally - in this house and raised to adulthood.  My temporary job now in it's twenty-second year.  I still feel like the newbie there, too.

Where does a feeling of permanence come from?  Or does it ever?  Are we just forever in touch with our temporary existence on this planet?

March 23 is the anniversary of my moving into this house.  It is also my mother's 82nd birthday.  This was the first Christmas where her age was showing.  She'd had a party dumped on her (the original hostess cancelled out) two weeks before Christmas and so I helped out.  Spent a couple of days during the weekends ahead of the party at her house catching up on some projects.  She hadn't had her living room back the way she liked it since my dad died three years ago, and it was lovely to see how excited she was to have her "beautiful" living room back together.  I took the party day off to help her with the party prep and to help serve and clean up.  She just doesn't have the stamina for that kind of prep any more. 

I also moved in with her the Monday before Christmas to help with that event.  It was a lovely Christmas, but she and I agreed that our favorite memory will be spending the Monday before with my youngest son as he put up her Christmas tree.  She had a little game she had bought with reflection questions about Christmas.  I had always tried to make Christmas magical for my little boys, and it was nice to learn that he remembers our Christmas celebrations with fondness.  After dinner that day my older son and his wife and his son Skyped us from Japan and gave us two precious hours with them all.  The baby turned two over the summer and talks in two languages.  Some of it I can even understand.

None of which is why I came here today.

I came to celebrate the sunrise.

I have claimed a space.  I don't know if it will be permanent or temporary, but for now I am treating it as MINE.  And I've just about finished the moving in.  More appropriately, as of today, I've just about finished the PAINTING!

I love painting.  Walls, not art.  Walls and trim and baseboards.  Today it was me and Sara.  Singing away while I turned my new studio into a sunrise. I call it "DS."   Started as "Debi's Space" and progressed to "Dream Suite."  That was too much a ripoff from Disney (even for a geek like me) so I have opted for the ostentatious but somehow appropriate title of "Divine Studio." 

The first thing I did in there was set up my sewing space.  Now that Christmas is over, I can post pictures of the projects I completed for gifts:

My son had included on his Christmas list "a nice, elf-made apron."  I assume I was the intended elf, and with my new space was happy to produce.  It is reversible and he immediately put it on with the dog bone pattern on the front.

If you've been visiting awhile you might remember that three years ago I made some little passport purses as gifts for my older son's Japan family.  I made five of them for my loved ones this year.  One was sent to New York before I took pictures, but here are a couple of my favorites from the rest:

My sister-in -law is a book fan and also a fan of the work of Mary Engelbreit, so I used Engelbreit's book fabric for my SIL's.  It was my favorite to do since I could fussy cut the designs throughout the bag.  She got a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas and thought the device might just fit in the bag.  I hope so, but if it's too small I'll make her another one.

My sister had requested one in animal prints, and I was happy to oblige:

And, of course, Mom had to have one for Disneyland.  It only took her about five minutes to decide just how she would fill it for our trips.

I still have a few in progress.  With all the trips to my Mom's before Christmas, I just ran out of time for all I wanted to do.  But I think they will make nice Valentine's Day gifts.

I will post pictures of my new space when I finish the project.  Refer to a previous post for the colors I chose.  I finished the tangerine wall and part of the sunset .  I'm expecting delivery of a "fireplace" (actually a space heater that looks like a fireplace) in a few days and it's going in a corner, so I wanted the two adjoining walls that will back it painted before it arrives.  I'm so excited!  I get to assemble the thing.  Yeah, I'm weird like that.  I had a blast in 2009 when I redid my bedroom and had to assemble a whole bunch of furniture.  I'm looking forward to putting this thing together, too.

I'm planning on moving my recliner out of the family room (where I never go) and into this new retreat.  Think of it!  My own space, away from awkward conversations with my housemate (aka future ex-husband; still waiting for property to sell on that one) and away from the incessant television crap.  Just me, music and something to stitch.  Or write.  Or scrapbook.

It's going to be a lovely retreat.

I'm over the moon happy with the colors.

I am no longer a neutral kinda girl.  And my space is starting to reflect it.

"Live like we're still alive."

You got it, Sara.  Like I'm still alive.  And not neutral.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Saving Mr Banks - Trailer - Official Disney | HD

I will be living in a theater when this comes out.

For its entire run.

Mary Poppins Lets Go Fly A Kite Fan Singalong

Goosebumps and tears.   I love a good flashmob, and this one chose my FAVORITE song from the only movie I can't wait to see this season.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Music Makes Magic...

...BIG time in this one.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013


A Law of Attraction Story

My son has moved out.  And he has taken my dog with him.

It is the right move for him, and the dog will be in a safer place.  I’m good with it.  Except that I’m – well – challenged to hold onto a positive attitude, and the son and the dog were a great comfort to me here.

I’m feeling very alone, with more challenges to come.

I am consoling myself with a project.  When my firstborn came along, over thirty-five years ago, I gave up my craft room to a nursery.  When the second came, I gave up my closet space to a second child’s room.  Now that my son is gone, I am claiming his space (the old master suite) as my own.  And have had a lot of fun planning my use and – more fun – my decoration of the space.

I have started by doing a major cleaning of the bathroom.  Think of it!  My own bathroom for the first time in my life.  No more checking for – well – residue from other users.  My own level of clean.  I’ve been scrubbing and repairing.  I discovered the wonders of a PUMIE, a very soft pumice on its own handle that not only tackled the ring in the toilet, but is taking down 40 years of stain on the bathroom countertop as well.  The medicine cabinet (my OWN medicine cabinet – I haven’t had space in a medicine cabinet for over a decade) has been disinfected.  Today I scrubbed down the shower and will be replacing some cracked grout this afternoon.

None of which has been as much  fun as planning the d├ęcor.

There will be faeries.  And my luxurious gift to myself was this shower curtain:

I was worried that it wouldn’t meet my expectations.  After all, they would be printing it onto a white polyester curtain, so I  expected the colors to be washed out.  Instead, they were even deeper and richer than the picture.  I bought an oiled bronze rod and hooks, and look forward to hanging it.  And then had to go select paint colors that I will use in both the bathroom and adjoining bedroom, which will be craft room and (I hope) guest room.
Before sharing that story, though, I have to share some backstory.
My favorite plant – I’ve been growing it for three years now, and have divided my plant and replanted it in multiple spaces in the yard – is a geum called Totally Tangerine.”







Disney’s Sleeping Beauty came out in 1958.  I was seven.  Since then, Aurora has been my favorite princess.

Last Thursday I was running errands related to cleaning the back master suite for my own use.  I had decided that I wanted the rooms painted in shades of salmon pink and I was going to pick up paint swatches in shades of salmon.   As I approached Home Depot, I was stunned by the most gorgeous sunset ever over the Oxnard Plain.  With nothing blocking the view in multiple directions I was overwhelmed by the oranges to pinks in  horizon-to-horizon color, and I questioned whether I wanted salmon or orange.

No, I wanted salmon.
When I received the shower curtain I ordered, I was gratified by the presence of salmon in the art.  I had taken the curtain to my overnight visit to my Mother’s house, but forgot my paint swatches.  Back home this morning I pulled the swatches, but was drawn not to the swatches of salmon pink, but over and over to a card labeled Behr 210A.  Very pale oranges, not salmons.
None of the darker salmon shades coordinated very well with these favorite lighter shades, but as I shuffled through the cards I found a set of oranges that looked good.  And I noted the color number:  210B.

And then I looked at the names of the  colors.  The color I really liked from the light colors card was 210A-3 “Malibu Peach.”  The three that interested me from the darker colors card were 210B-4, “Sunset Strip,” 210B-5, “Tangerine Dream,” and 210B-6, “Aurora Orange”.

I smiled, knowing that the Universe had a role in pointing me in this direction.  But what about my dream of a salmon wall, a wall to match the salmon-pink of my Fairy Garden roses?  And I went outside to pick a rose, and brought it in to match it to the salmon pink color cards.

And the rose was a perfect match to the orange-pink colors. 
Choice made.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Keeping my spirit up.


My son moved out this weekend.

He took my dog with him.

They will be in a happier place.


All we can do is try
And live like we're still alive

Fill up your lungs and just RUN!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dear Universe,

Where are we headed now?

Just be gentle, OK?  I don't know how much more I can handle.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Things I Never Thought I'd Say.


I'm pissed that I got the car today to go to a meeting in town after school.  I missed my morning walk to work.  And I missed my afternoon walk home.

I got teary-eyed when I saw the Cara-Cara oranges at Costco.

No thanks, I don't want a steak sandwich.  I've been looking forward to my Weight Watchers Greek Chicken on brown rice all day.

Disneyland last Saturday was meh.

Clearly hosting an alien life form.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

One person...

Saturday, September 21, 2013


...at its most fun.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Deborah's Theme

What if it were real?

What would it be like to have someone write a piece of beautiful music just for you?  I've had people write poetry for me, and as lovely as it is and as much as I appreciate it, it's really music that connects.

I heard a Morricone piece used as background in a youtube video and went searching for it to download.  Then started browsing other Morricone pieces and found this one.  Not often do I see my name - spelled as I spell mine - anywhere.  It's kind of an old name, not real popular anymore.  In fact, in twenty-one years of teaching (over 3500 students, half of them girls) I've never had a Deborah (or a Debbie or a Debi or a Deb).  Which is probably good.  It's a little girl name, one I was tired of by the time I was 14 (when I changed the spelling to Debi).

I fantasize changing it sometimes.  To something a grown-up would wear.  I like my middle name, my aunt's name.  But I guess once you've worn a name as long as I've worn this one...

So, I'm rambling.  I've done well lately, maintaining my good spirits.

Collecting feathers.

But life is changing, and sometimes lonesome lurks along the edges.  And all it takes is a lovely melody with my name on it to send me into wishfulness.

Where something better than lonesome stands not too far in the distance.  I can feel it.  A connection.  An excitement.  When the time is right.

Meanwhile, I count feathers.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What an Artist.


Waiting with my son at the Santa Barbara Bowl for the concert to start.  Feeling pretty proud that I was able to make the climb up.  The trek through the Oak Grove was lovely (but a tad steep).  Reward was several steep sets of stairs.  But, I made it!  Could not have done this - and would have missed this fabulous concert - just three years ago.  YAY, me!

Breaking the rule.  Yes, me.  Had to get at least one decent picture of Her on stage.  After a week of memorizing my newest theme song, "Chasing the Sun," Sara opened with a powerful arrangement of...
"Chasing the Sun."  I cried.  Brat son took a picture of me boo hooing that I hope never to lay eyes on.  (I do not weep prettily.)  Oh, it was moving.

This is how my Universe takes care of me.  I misread the map of the venue (haven't been there since the rennovations) and screwed up and bought tickets in the nosebleed section.  BUT, lucked out after all, as the people in the seats in front of me never showed up during Sara's set.  The people in the next row up didn't arrive until 3/4 of the way through the set.

We were invited to sing along with a couple of songs.
Yes, I sang along.  "King of Everything."  "All my life, I've tried, to keep everybody happy while I just hurt and hide waiting for someone to tell me it's my turn to decide."  You bet I belted THAT one.  "Let me hold your crown, Babe."
And to "Brave,"  which hit gold last week.
Ready for school tomorrow.
If I can get to sleep tonight.

Monday, September 09, 2013

The gift of my heartbeat...

...sounds like a symphony...

Can. Not. Wait.  to hear this tomorrow night.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Nothing cuter...

...than baby tortoises.

Herbie and his little brother, Quincy.  Perfect little miniatures.  Except that they're squishy.  I am particularly fond of their tiny claws, which you can't see.  Oh, yeah, and the adorable bits of eggshell stuck to their noses.

I'm such a Disnerd.  When my son named the first one "Herbie," I immediately thought, "Yeah, well, I guess he does look a little like a Volkswagon."

It wasn't until Quincy that I realized these were jazz snags.

Still waiting on the rest.  Expecting between six and fourteen.

Really a thrill.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

How big can I smile?

Herbie is here.


Quincy is on his way.

Counting on at least six still to come.

Look at his tiny claws.  Herbie is not quite twice the size of a quarter.

Nothing cuter than a tiny baby tortoise.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Jurassic Park...


About forty years ago, a daycare provider across the street from my parents' house discovered tortoises abandoned on her front porch.  Guess someone thought the kids would enjoy them.  She released them into her substantial backyard, and they did what tortoises do.  By the time I met her twenty years ago, she had a population of over fifty.  She also had a half-dozen each of 1-year-old and 2-year-olds living on her kitchen counter.
After a few months I got a call from her.  She had an opportunity to move permanently to Hawaii.  It's against federal law to take these tortoises out of the state, so would I like some.  I took the babies and a handful of the others and built a nice pen in my backyard for them.  I really expected her to come back to California within a few years, but she did not. 
Over the last few years we have started digging up clutches of eggs.  My son has tried to incubate them without success.  Over the last year he did a lot of homework, and when the tortoises started laying this year, he was ready.  He harvested twenty-seven eggs.  Five he gave to a friend (an experienced reptile breeder), six "failed" over the three-month incubation period and of the rest, he determined that he had eight PROBABLE successes and the rest possible.
He just discovered that one is hatching.  It was so sweet to hear this 6'6" 32-year-old cooing "C'mon little guy," just like in Jurassic Park.
I just did the squeeeeeee dance.  Now we wait.

Monday, August 26, 2013


My First Stitches.

Four.  No, wait.  This one is in the cuticle (where the lidocaine didn't reach).  Let's take it out and use skin glue instead. So only three.

Students return day after tomorrow.

Just damn inconvenient.

Thursday, August 15, 2013



62 years old, going on 14.

Gonna see Sara Bareilles at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

She writes just for me.

"Gonna Get Over You" was the first Sara song I ever heard.  My son introduced me to this video.

Then, he gave me Kaleidoscope Heart for Christmas and I totally resonated with "Let the Rain."

I hold on to worry so tight
It's safe in here right next to my heart
Who now shouts at the top of her voice
Let me go, let me out, this is not my choice

"King of Anything" has some personal meaning.

When Christmas comes, I have a new favorite Christmas song.

And I can't stop listening to this one.  So lovely.  It's from her latest album, The Blessed Unrest, so I suspect it will be in the concert.  It would be nice to hear it with a boyfriend.  Oh, well.  I'm taking my son. I don't think he qualifies.  Not for me, anyway.

The Santa Barbara Bowl is a fabulous venue, especially on a September night.  The last time I was there (Chicago!) I don't think they had seats.  And before that - over 30 years before that - was a Willie Nelson concert and I know we sat on cement shelves.

So classy-fied.

Gonna be a great concert.

Maybe I'll buy a Sara tee shirt to wear to school the next day.

Such a groupie.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Not much...

...to report.

Summer break is coming to an end.  As usual, I didn't get nearly as much as I'd hoped done.  But, I do feel like enough laziness was experienced, and I'll be ready to get back to work in a couple of weeks.

I applied for and got a position on our district's Curriculum Senate.  It should mean a little more money for the year, but I'm more excited about the opportunity to participate in development of new learning processes as we wave a (NOT) fond farewell to factoid-based history.  Sheesh, that was a long, dreadful experiment.

I've already designed some concept-based inquiry activities that I am optimistic will kickstart more meaningful learning.

Two weeks to go.  Still have some garden work to finish up, and the ever-present cleaning tasks.  Want to do some sewing to get a head start on Christmas projects.  Hoping for a few hours at the beach this week.  Moving forward.

Will not be going to Japan this fall (pout) because the family is working together to bring my son and his family to SoCA next summer (BIG SMILES all around).  Will be doing some work to clear a room for their visit.

Had a rare, disappointing visit to Disneyland a couple of weeks ago.  Lessons learned.  Don't wait too late to eat.  Stay hydrated at all cost.  The driver - that would be me - got too dehydrated and too lacking in protein to function happily.  And when new entertainment is added (All American College Band was outstanding that night), don't try to fit in everything else, especially in the summer crowd.

I just got wiped, trying to push my mom's wheelchair through the crowds of oblivious tourists.  Honestly, do people really think it's easy to stop a wheelchair?  And you know what?  If your group is blocking the entire sidewalk (and they're WIDE sidewalks), someone is just going to have to move over a little bit 'cause I'm not dumping my 81-year old mother into the street.

Enough whining.  I'll be back the first Saturday in September to help with the Visions Fantastic scavenger hunt.  Turns out it's also Dapper Day, so it should be fun to see folks dressed up.

As I will not be.

Monday, July 29, 2013


There, there.
Poor little blog.

I'll start by saying it's been a fine ride the last couple of months.  The Universe (which always takes good care of me) has ramped up the pace some.

In no particular order:

I had a birthday weekend last month.  I didn't really plan it that way but, as I said, the Universe has been taking really good care of me and managed to pull things together nicely.

My birthday was on a Saturday, but the celebration started on Friday.  My younger son had pulled a combo together to play some jazz at a local wine shop.  My uncle and aunt came as far as my mom's, we went to dinner together, then I drove us all up to Ventura to Squashed Grapes on Main.  "The Grape" has been building a reputation as the center for jazz in Ventura County (mostly because the owners love it).  It's just a fantastic venue for jazz lovers.

In this clip, though, they shift into some funk for the fun of it.  (No, my clips aren't labeled so I didn't know what I was posting until I'd posted the clip.)  I'll go see if I can find a jazz piece, too.

My son, Garrett Miller, on drums.  Andrew Hill (who just turned eighteen) on bass.  Franklin Murphy on keyboards.

The next day I took a solo trip to Disneyland (nothing like wearing a birthday button ON your really really birthday), and the day after that was the Gay Men's Chorus final concert of the 2013 season.  I've already posted a clip from that so won't re-post.  They never disappoint.

I taught a couple of classes in my district's summer program (Youth Arts Academy).  I taught grades 4-8 Creative Writing again, and added a class about all things Disney.  We did some compare/contrast of classic fairy tales and Disney movies.  The kids were amazed at how different, for example, Disney's The Little Mermaid is from the Andersen tale.  (No pun intended).  Every Friday was DisneyLAND day, and they enjoyed all the history and ESPECIALLY the hidden Mickey information.   It went fine, I think, and I enjoyed most of it, but all the teachers were pretty happy to see the four weeks come to a close.

As always, once free I headed into the garden.  My wonderful son (and his wonderful friends) gifted me with a full yard weeding for my birthday, so all I've had to do is the "fine tuning," and it's been such a pleasure.  Things were in pretty decent shape everywhere else so I've been able to enjoy relaxed mornings in the front.  One of the things I did was (finally) create a butterfly garden in the mailbox bed.  That place has been an eyesore for over thirty years and I'm optimistic that these (mostly) native plants will take and cover up some of the ugliness.  When I was waiting for Mom on Friday I noted two baby caterpillars munching away on the milkweed, at least they survived the move.

Planted.  So, see that green utility cover in the background?  I don't even subscribe to that cable service anymore, so nobody accesses it.  I think it BEGS to be...

Yeah?  Yeah?  Right, huh?

My son, daughter-in-law and GRANDSON will be coming home for a visit next summer, and I think my grandson (who will be almost three) will get a kick out of this. 

I've been doing lots of stitchery and plan to do a lot more sewing before the end of summer.  I have a set of quilt patterns that I've been saving for several years that I am getting started on.  I was kind of waiting and collecting fabrics that "match" my house with little enthusiasm.  Now, I decided to abandon that idea and make it just for me the way I want it.  Turns out I've been collecting THAT kind of fabric forever (no big surprise there) so was able to get on it immediately.  I didn't like some of the choices that the designer included and decided to replace her idea with some stitcheries that I have collected over the years but have never had a place to use them.  It's been so much fun to stitch these up.

Packed up for a waiting room stint.

And, done.
I just got home from a weekend with my mom. She's doing OK. We had a blast of a weekend, so now she's pretty pooped. I left just a little after 10:00am and I suspect she'll nap off and on all day to catch up.

Got some work done on this while at my mom's this weekend.  Doing the purple motifs around the edge.

Our Big Fun started on Friday.

Terrific news is that she decided she can drive the 30+ miles between our houses by herself as long as she stays on surface streets.  Friday was her second trip out.  I loaded my crap necessities for the weekend into her car at about nine Friday morning, and then took over the pilot's seat for a trip up the coast to Carpenteria.

I can't gush enough about how much I love that stretch of coastline.

Our destination was a quilt shop.  I had been to this shop years ago.  Same owner, who sold it to someone else, who sold it back to the original owner, who transformed it into a completely different vibe.  Although this isn't my style to live in or even to work with as a quilter, this is now my favorite shop to visit.

Happiest Quilt Shop on Earth, I believe.


After seeing all there was to see at Roxanne's, we came back down the coast for lunch at Cafe Nouveau. 

This is my favorite place to eat.  There is nothing not to love about Cafe Nouveau from the decor to the service and through a fantastic menu.  I'm on a 70-day (maybe forever) no refined sugar, no refined grains food plan so had to pass on the pecan pancakes with vanilla caramel syrup (around here we call it Disneyland syrup because it tastes like it was made by pixies), and "settled" (she says with a sly snicker) for the seafood omelet.  After lunch we headed back to Mom's town and an afternoon of relaxed conversation, then went to our favorite restaurant there for dinner.

Red's is totally different cuisine, but much loved by our family for the same attributes as Cafe Nouveau.  Best staff in the county here, generous portions (I can never finish my meal), well-prepared (and if you don't like it, they'll do it again with a smile).  We've been going there for over twenty years and have never gotten tired of it.

The next day Mom, my sister and I went to a wedding reception for my cousin's daughter's nuptials.  We stopped for lunch on the way (Red's again, of course) and then headed to my least favorite part of California.  We were in for a lovely surprise as the reception was at a gorgeous home tucked into the hillside.  Hwy 14 communities made a little move up my opinion meter with this place.  Best was re-connecting with cousins.  Oh, I am so fortunate in my family!  This was SUCH a good time.

Yesterday was Sunday and I had planned to spend the day undoing some storm damage at Mom's.  A HUGE tree limb fell into her yard from the neighbor's tree during a storm a few months ago.  She was incredibly lucky, as the only real damage was a little to the roof and the smashing of most of her patio garden.  She has left the destruction on the patio all this time for a variety of reasons, and now it was time to salvage what we could.  I went out at 7:00 am and by noon had it pretty ship-shape.  Even found a hose in her shed that was in better condition than the one she's been using for years.  Attached a new nozzle and now she's in business.  Even has a half-dozen pots full of soil ready for new flowers.

While I was there she and I made plans for our last summer trip to Disneyland.  We were there a few weeks ago to catch some new stuff.  It was a long day, but - as always - we had a blast.

Lucked into seeing the intpreters with the Billies again this trip.

One of the happiest surprises was the new show at the Fantasyland Theater.  Mickey's Magical Map is fabulous.  I've had my nose out of joint for almost a year over the loss of the Princess Fantasy Faire, but am happy to admit that this new production is worth the loss.  I don't want to give it away - ya gotta SEE this - but can't resist a little hint:

Yeah. trumpet is LIVE, baby.
Haven't seen the parade for a couple of visits so got a seat for that.  Still love the sweeps most.
Our main purpose for summer visits, though, is the All-American College Band.  We thought the previous year's band was a little tighter, and are interested to see if, when we see them on Saturday (near the end of their season), they will be just as tight.
Trying to pack a lot into these last four weeks.  Pre-planning my lessons for next year with some big changes.  Garden, stitching, sewing as I said.  Daily writing.  Just set up a visit to see cousins (how did two years go by so quickly?!?)  Hoping to dig into some genealogy, too.  Had pretty much given up on everything except our Brown line, but got some leads there that I want to follow up on.  And while tracking something down there (our Browns have been passing the name "Sterling" around for several generations so I was wandering around with them in Stirling Castle ) I stumbled over some Pollocks (my dad's line) who were passing the name "Errol" around.  So, I'm hoping to dig that out and see if any Errols show up.  It wouldn't be the first time my mom's and dad's histories criss-crossed throughout history.  And, as always, I have a stack of books I'd love to get into.  Am hoping for at least one afternoon at the beach.  And more time at the gym.
Well, that's how things go.


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Because I knew you...

...I have been changed for good.

And for the better.

I hope I get a chance to tell you.  I am so grateful.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

That's How You Know - GMCLA

Will have time for a major catch-up post next week, but can't let today get by without a celebratory share.  GMCLA (love) and Disney (love) via last Sunday's fabulous concert.

Love wins today!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Breathless and Teary


Only Boys Aloud.  Wales.
Brilliantly moving.
Yesterday was the day when I have to give my annual Triangle Waist Factory fire lecture.  147 workers, ages 13-23 (my students are 13-14) died in a fire that lasted only 30 minutes.  Because so many were the ages of my students, it always hits me hard and I always come home a little down.
Yesterday I came home to this.
Spirit restored.
The song is beautiful.  And the lyrics in translation (since I don't understand Welsh but wanted to know...) are as well.  Here's link to a fine article about the song.

Monday, May 27, 2013


They fly.

I know it's a cliche, but the older I get, the faster the years fly by.  Or maybe it's because I'm having so much more fun.


I've cycled back to May Madness, when school is coming to closure for the year and I can smell summer break.  I've had much worse years and can honestly say I'm very sorry to see the Class of 2013 move on to high school.  What a great bunch of young people!  But I need the break, especially since I will be bringing big changes to my teaching next year.

And, I am teaching TWO classes in the Summer Arts Academy this year.  Creative Writing again (that was so much fun!) and a class I'm developing called "The World of Walt Disney."  Still pulling stuff together, but I know that week one will be a Little Mermaid theme.  Draw the character based on Hans Christian Anderson's story description.  Take notes for a Compare/Contrast writing (or drawing) as we read the story, then watch part of the movie for four days.  Draw the characters using "How to Draw..." lessons from various websites.  

Fridays will be Disneyland days:  History of the park video, hidden Mickeys, American history at the park.  For example, reading the chapter about pirates from Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer, then seeing how the imagineers worked the pirate elements into the original Tom Sawyer's Island presentation. Still deciding about the other movies, but leaning toward Aladdin, Swiss Family Robinson and possibly Meet the Robinsons.  OR maybe a look at the tales of the Brothers Grimm with scenes from movies, a different one each day. 

Last trip to Disneyland with Mom was last month and I wasn't really planning to go back until my birthday next month (which will be a solo trip).  But, we got REALLY good news this week.


This clip is from the Monstrous 24-hour day last week, but they return for the summer on June 15.  Then, based on attendance, Disney will decide whether to support them throughout the year.  Mom and I want to lend our support, so will FORCE OURSELVES (snigger) to head to the park on the 15th.

I am so excited about summer at Disneyland this year.  The dancers are back.  The Billie's are being shuffled back to the Jamboree stage;  I don't know how they like that, but I thought the sound was SO much better back there (and I love the relaxed atmosphere with the characters). I'm delighted.  All American College Band should be there by my birthday (or shortly after) and there's a a new production at the Fantasyland Stage.  Couple it with the usual Disneyland Band performances, the Soundsational Parade and maybe even a good piano player at Coke Corner and we won't be able to fit everything in.

Gonna be a hard choice:  College Band 7:00 Train Station set, or the swing dancers starting at 7:00 (which means being there by 5:00 for seating.)  Yikes.

I've been stitching on the "What Color is Spring?" quilt at Mom's and it's coming along.  REALLY hoping to finish the floss on the Firefly Faeries this summer (she says for the tenth year in a row.)  Also have some sewing projects to finish up.   I guess my stitching theme will be COMPLETION.  Of at least some things.  I'm purging my collection of charts and patterns.  I need the storage room, and since I don't really think I will live to see 182, there's no way I will finish all of this.

The garden is shaping up.  Hydrangeas are in bud/bloom, passion vine has its first bloom and today I cleaned out the weeds from the gerbera daisy patch in front.  And noticed that the dahlia that I bought this spring, planted and then "lost" to the snails is putting on new leaves.

Which reminds me - I'd better go spread some Sluggo.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lotus Love

May Madness.

Officially in the last month of school.  One of my best years ever, student wise.  Just hate to send this bunch off to high school.  In fact, we joke that we'd love to keep this group for another year and let the seventh grade make the jump early.  (Really cheering for mega-maturing over the summer for that bunch.)

Anyway, things are nuts.  Today I bound 175 student projects that now must be graded by next Thursday.  Going to be "stuck" at home Saturday (still no car) and look forward to being a prisoner to the garden.  Had my follow-up with the neurologist to get the results of my tests to  determine if I really did just faint in September, or if I had a seizure.  Never did hear from the DMV, but if they do get in touch, I can assure them I just fainted.

I've been trying to remember to check the pond every day.  Last summer I invested in a lotus, Mrs. Perry D. Slocum.  She's doing extremely well.

I think by summer she will have filled her little pond with leaves and I'm optimistic that I'll see flowers this year.  Which is why I try to remember to check every day.  I don't want to miss the show.

While I was checking today I noticed several new leaves appearing.  When I looked closely, I learned something delightful about how lotus leaves unfurl.

The lotus has two special meanings for me.  First, my grandchild in Japan's name is related to the lotus flower.

And the lotus flower is the flower of rebirth.  Rebirth is what I've been all about for the last three years, and to live in love and gratitude is the theme that has been developing for my new life. 

I was tickled to see Lotus Leaf Love.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The usual stuff...

...isn't working.

Don't know where this mood came from.  Waning moon, maybe.

Normally, if I get into a place like this, just reminding myself of how much about my life I love helps.  Spending time in the garden helps.  Anticipating fun stuff to come helps.

Today it's not.  Helping.

I did take a walk in the garden.

I had chopped off about half of my favorite plant, geum 'Totally Tangerine', a few weeks ago and planted some of the pieces into 1-gallon pots.  I am delighted that they are all thriving, shooting up new leaves and buds.  Not sure where I'll plant them - eventually - but I am gratified that the experiment worked.

It's been a couple of years since I've had sweet peas, my favorite flower.  This year I bought them in 4" pots at Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar rather than try to grow them from seed.  They're just starting to bloom and should be wonderful well into the summer.  Trick with sweet peas is to cut cut cut the flowers so they don't go to seed.

Oh gee darn.

Brugmansia 'Creamsicle' is blooming like crazy.   The hydrangea wall is in bud.  (Need to go blue a couple up.)  I have a half dozen plants to put in the ground, too.  I should get that done today.

But I'm still chomping at the bit.  Astrologically, I'm a Cancer (or rather, I guess we're Cancerians, now) on the cusp with Gemini.  Gemini is making herself known and Cancer doesn't know what to do with her.  Gemini wants to get in a car and start driving for a few days, just to see something new.  Or on a plane.  Or a ship.

For some reason, cruises keep presenting themselves to my imagination.  One of my colleagues took his family on a Disney cruise to Alaska last year and they had a blast.  This year another colleague had a happy financial circumstance and so he and his wife decided to take their kids on a Disney cruise this summer.  They both like to talk about it.  In front of me.  Then, out of the blue, my sister starts talking about wanting to take a Disney cruise.  Well, yeah, sure it's something I'd love to do someday,  Disney Geek that I am.  And normally I would be saying "Wow, three mentions in a row!  Can't be a coincidence, let's go!"


Not going to happen.  Not yet, anyway.

And so, here I am, trying to make lemonade.

Or, maybe roseade?

Yeah yeah yeah.  It's a gorgeous day.  My roses are gorgeous.  My Fairy Garden is gorgeous and on its way to more gorgeous.  There are baby mourning doves in one of the orange trees.  The goldfinches are back to gossiping at the nyger feeder. I have a fine dog snoring at my feet.  I spent a peaceful yesterday stitching on a quilt at my Mom's, then going for a fabulous salad at a favorite restaurant.

No complaints.

Except that something is missing. 

Something is off.

It will pass.  It always does.  But in the meantime...