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

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...


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Honestly, I don't know...

... whether I want an adventure or just an escape.

Or if I'm just feeling the effects of the planets.

But I sure am restless.

And bored.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


... it's all I really want. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Well, it's all right.

I'm just glad to be here, happy to be alive.

Loved these guys.  This song always raises my spirits.

My Car.


She looks good, doesn't she?

The SUV was mine for several years.  I loved driving her.  She took me to Utah a couple of times a year.  I loved setting the cruise control and listening to an audiobook for 800 miles through some stunning country.

Countless trips to Disneyland, sometimes by myself and sometimes with loved ones.

She took me to the midwest (via the quilt shop circuit) with my Mom three different times, and one of those times I drove her solo to from Kansas to Indiana (or was it Illinois? long story) to spend a few days with a friend and see Henry V

And into Los Angeles for adventures in creativity.

And then she got sick.  And the mechanic's diagnosis was serious.  To the tune of $5,000.  As a start.  And I had to give her up.  He told me he wanted her for a shop car.  The Blue Book was $2500, and he was looking at having to put at least $3000 into her just to get her going.  My gut said to give her to him, and so we made a deal.  He took my car (a relief) and I didn't have to pay for the diagnostics.  Plus, if I decided to buy a used car, he would do two free inspections for me.

There are three adults living in this house, and two cars.  I'm the only one with a full-time job, and I can walk to work.  It has been a gift.  I have loved walking to work.  When I need a car, I use one of the other two.  It works.

I had not missed her.

Until I saw this picture on facebook.  Apparently he finished the work, and Bess the Shop Car is now hauling his little bug to car shows.

It gave me a pang.  Kind of like seeing an old boyfriend with his new love.  Not that I would want him back, but still...

Just a touch of melancholy mixed in with the nostalgia.


On a happier note...

Mrs. Perry D. Slocum is busting out with leaves.  I think I counted seven.  She really liked being fed.  And now I am hopeful for flowers.

The lotus is associated with rebirth and spiritual awakening.  Since that's pretty much where I've been living for the last three years or so, I guess it's appropriate.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, George Takei


George Takei says, "My life's mission--my legacy--is to tell the story of the Japanese American internment. I've worked for 4 years on this show and, by gosh, now we're headed to Broadway! "

He would like to see his musical, Allegiance, which tells that story, get more likes than The Book of Mormon.  Head over and give him a click for his birthday! 

Sara Bareilles


Most Fridays I start my classes with what I call Video Friday.  I told my students at the beginning of the year that I would be sharing stuff - usually music - that I love and think they might not get a chance to see otherwise.  I've shared everything from the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles singing "Channukah in Santa Monica" (I'm saving their powerful performance of "We Belong" for the end of the year) to John Green's beginning of the school year piece (hilarious).

Yesterday I shared this new video by Sara Bareilles.  My son introduced me to Sara a few months ago, then gave me her Kaleidoscope Heart album for Christmas.  My very favorite Sara song is "Let The Rain," which I posted here a while back.  But this new song may just nudge it out, or at least join it at the top of my list.

To be honest, I didn't make the connection about what happened in the classes that day until after I'd been home a while.  I was doing a lesson in which I asked students to come up with some ideas for a list we were going to work with.  I gave them a few minutes to talk in groups about their ideas, then asked them to share the ideas so I could write them on the board.  Students who, in an entire school year, have never - NEVER - N.E.V.E.R. - raised their hands, had their hands up and volunteered to participate.  Yeah, sometimes I'm slow to make the connections, but I eventually get there.

I believe they were encouraged by this video to "say what they want to say."  To "let the words fall out."


As the last class left, I heard one girl say to her friend, "I wanna see you be brave."  Was she joking?  Maybe.  But I'm thinking this song struck home with them.

I know it did with me.  This is something I'm still working on.

I wanna see me be brave.

My favorite? 

"Show me how big your BRAVE is."

P.S.  So while I was tracking down the BRAVE video for this post, I found Sara's Webisode about "Let The Rain."  Fabulous.  What a great way to start my morning.

And now, off into the roses.


"Show me how big your BRAVE is."  Honestly.


You inspire.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wonders Never Cease


This is in the hands of the person for whom it was stitched, so I can share it.  Margaret Sherry for one of the British cross-stitch magazines.  A very dear friend who recently made a really brave move from the West Coast to the East.  Starting a whole new life.  She celebrated her 33rd birthday - a Masteryear - on Saturday.  I haven't heard the report, yet, but she had told me she would walk the perimeter of Central Park and did post pictures of Central Park so I assume she went at least partway (although knowing her, she did indeed do the whole thing.)

BTW, the magazine had an ad for a new publication:  CUTE cross stitch.  Since the cute ones are the ones that tug at me, I'm looking forward to that one fer shur.


And this is a project I started several years ago.  I bought the Bareroots ("What Color is Spring")  in, I dunno, 2005? 2006?  2007?  By 2008 I had assembled the patchwork and worked the embroidered sampler (Crabapple Hill) in the center, and by sometime the next year had finished the pink embroidery band.  Then I folded it up and stashed it until last year.  I was sorting through stuff in a purge last summer and ran across it just in time to take it to my Mom's for her quilt club meeting.  Some time later she commented that she hoped she lived to see it completed.  I realized that I hoped I lived to see it completed, too.

Every Friday I drive to her town and "let" her take me to dinner.  Two weekends a month I spend Friday night with her, and on Saturday my sister joins us just to hang out for a while.  I've been taking this to work on, and this past Saturday finished the sunflowers in the first of the yellow bands.  Prior to that I finished the orange flowered vine in the orange section.

I like this kind of embroidery.  Unlike cross-stitch, this is pretty brainless so I can listen and work at the same time.  Very relaxing.  Sadly, though, for some reason the other two don't talk as much when I'm stitching as when we're just sitting around looking through Mom's latest deliveries of mail order catalogs.

Of course, this isn't stitchery, but I'm so darn delighted with my lilac that I have to include her.  Gorgeous color, lovely scent.  And in Southern California, too.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Simple Things.

I've been working on another post, but it sucks.

So I'll just share this.

Three years ago someone directed me to a writing program that set in motion a journey into transformation.  It's been an emotional, spiritual and physical adventure, and the main tools have been the books that come, one at a time, when I need them.  What I mean is that when I finish one, I'm usually left asking, "Well, what about...?"  or "Hmmmm... what if...?" kinds of questions.  And usually within a couple of days, someone will recommend a book they are reading that I will pick up and - whoa - it will answer those questions.  Three years, about a book a month.

The latest have been from a bag given to me by, amazingly, my clogging teacher who, it turns out, is way ahead of me on this path.  Night before last I was reading one of the books and the author kept referring to his previous book.  Turns out the one I was reading was number two in a series of three.  "Well, I want to read the first one."

Now, our library has a little, used bookstore in the facility.  Mind, our community is VERY conservative, and the book I wanted is kind of "out-there-woo-woo" stuff so it would not have occurred to me to think, "Why, I bet I can buy this at the library store."  Not in a million years.  But I was headed into town for groceries, and the library is near my favorite strawberry stand which was on my to-do list, so I decided to stop in at the bookstore and see if they had anything of interest for me.  As it turned out, they DID have the book I wanted (the ONLY one of its genre; someday I may stop being thrilled and surprised when this kind of synchronicity occurs), but before I found myself on that aisle, I had headed for my usual hangout in the self-help section.

And, for a buck, I picked up a treasure.

Someone told me once he was ready to write a "message to the world" book. (I wonder if he ever did?)  That's what this seems like.  I'm a fan of Jim Brickman's music, but as I read this, I'm becoming a fan of the man.  So far it's full of common sense wisdom delivered with a delightful sense of humor.  A nice treat.

I have several Brickman albums.  I love his "Simple Gifts" arrangement, and often set my alarm to "Harvest" (a gentle way to wake up in the morning.)  But "Simple Things" is my favorite of his vocals.

[LOL.  Just watched this and the lyrics are off.  Maybe should be one of those joke things?  Tears come to DRY, not drown.  There are a thousand CHIMING (not charming) church bells.  If I can find another version, I'll replace this.  Or, just close your eyes and listen.  :)]

Let's just dance.
Teach my soul to take this chance.

Yes, please.

In other news, I'm enjoying my spring break.  It's just so - I dunno - SPRING around here.  I decided to break the week into two types of activities.  I alternate days.  The Cause activities are to move life forward.  Today I delivered 20 cans of old paint to the PaintCare center (Dunn-Edwards), which cleared two shelves in the garage and meant I could FINALLY move the last of the storage unit boxes out of the kitchen.

Haven't seen this for months.  In fact, now that I think of it, I moved out of the storage unit in March of last year, so it's been buried and inaccessible for over a year.  Yikes.

A few weeks ago our water filtering system stopped working well enough to be any good, so we've been using the emergency water.  We needed to move it around anyway, so that's OK, but it was a hassle.  When I went for the water, I asked the owner of the water store (from whom we buy our filter replacements) what would cause the water to dribble out after flowing for several weeks.  Believe it or not, the solution was to get a bicycle pump and pump air into the holding tank.  Of course, as part of our purging over the last two years, my son had sold our only bicycle pump at a garage sale.  facebook to the rescue.  He put out a plea for a pump, and old friend happened to be visiting his mom around the corner and within 30 minutes the system was working fine again.

My Soul activities are just for me.  Gardening, stitching, reading, writing, socializing. Restoration.  Relaxation.  I've left my alarm to go off at the usual time, then just read in bed for a couple of hours and THAT is a luxury I could get used to.  Once I'm up and about on My Soul days, I'm out in the garden.  Know what the test of a True Gardener is?  We LOVE to pull weeds, and I've been at it with gusto.  I find the BEST surprises when I'm pulling weeds.  Here is today's.

Can you see them?  No?  Let me get a little closer.

Yes?  No?  Closer?

Not a great picture, but right in the middle is one of the TWO Monarch butterfly caterpillars I found on this milkweed.  First of the season.  Kind of early.  I saw a Monarch fly through  a week or so ago, but haven't even checked for eggs because it's so early.  Guess they're getting a headstart.

Other garden discoveries:

I just happened to come to this part of the courtyard garden from a different angle and liked the way the plants are coming together in the sunshine.  The Santa Barbara Daisy is taking over the fountain, as usual.  It's my hyperactive child of the garden.  Pink Salvia, milkweed and verbena bonariensis for the butterflies.  You can't really see them but there's a collection of chiffon variety poppies under that light that look healthy.  In the background the viburnum is leafing out and getting ready to put on its annual show of snowballs.

Geum are my current garden favorites.  This is one of two geum 'Totally Tangerine' doing its takeover thing.  I don't mind.  It was covering some gerbera daisies that had to be moved, though.  Now I have a new geum called 'Mai-Tai' that I have to find a space for.  It's hard because some of these things are tiny.  I have one in the fairy garden in bloom now that it only six inches across.  And others, like this one, get huge.  The plant in the front yard is about three feet across and almost two feet high, taller when it's covered with flowers.  And you can't really tell which is going to be tiny and which huge until you plant them and let them grow for a year.  And if you've picked the wrong spot, you've got a problem.

First sweet pea of the season.

My lilac "Declaration" is covered with blooms.  I wasn't sure it would even grow here, but this is its third year (or is it four?) and each year I get more flowers.

Believe it or not, I was nearly dancing in giddiness when I saw this.  Yeah, I know it looks like a dirty pond, which it was.  I had just scooped out a year's accumulation of fallen leaves, string moss and some trash that had blown in, so it was still murky.  Then I pulled out the large pot of Mrs. Perry D. Slocum, a lotus that I had bought last year.  I wasn't sure it would winter over, but when I pulled the pot, I found it full of healthy tubers and roots and - TAH DAH - new leaves.  Hard to see, I know, but I zeroed right in on them and squealed.  (Well, inside, anyway.  60-something women and squealing... well not a pretty sound.)

Going to have to head out to pick up dinner (it's Mexican food night - yum) but wanted to share the stitchery I"m working on.   It's a teeny thing and a challenge for my eyes, but it's getting there.  Hoping to have it done within a day or two.

And there.  My first post sucked because it was another whiney thing, and I'm not really feeling so whiney.  Grateful for this break.  Re-connected with cousins I hadn't seen in over twenty years on Easter.  And because I didn't have to work today was able to accept an invitation for drinks with my clogging teacher.  We went to the local Brendan's and lucked into an evening with James Delahunty (wish I had a video but all I can find are tapes of him with Paul Starling, which would be OK since my son was the drummer for the performances but James is just doing background, but what we heard was solo and...  never mind).  It was fun.  We ended up getting a sandwich and talking for a couple of hours before dragging out.  No alcohol, just tired from dancing and late hours.

Not to complain, but the usual outcome of spring break for me is an intense longing for summer break.

Soon enough.