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, 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.


1 comment:

Stitcher S. said...

Great post, good to see you back! I went to Carpinteria as a child and loved it. I recall the waves being so small, and being able to swim way out without fear of a huge wave wipeout. Have you experienced that there?

Love Disneyland too, and went there a few times this summer. :) Take care!