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, January 31, 2016


That kind.

You haven't gifted me with the ever after, yet.

But I refuse to regret the breathless fall.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Skip it.

I just want to capture something.

I'm cleaning out my studio which my younger son named Mom's Happy Room.  I had a craft room until child #1 and just got one back a couple of years ago.  It has had a few hiccups but for the most part is my favorite room in the house.

The last couple of  weekends I've been dealing with the hiccups.

The stuff that got stashed in a hurry during a couple of moves.

Today my goal is to get the boxes emptied of anything that doesn't belong in the box.  I started with a beautiful box that I want to leave in the room filled with handwork.  Unfortunately, it was full of random stuff.  Not crap.  Not junk.  Stuff too good to just walk the box out to the trash can.

3 small flashlights (I was just saying yesterday that I needed to go buy a small flashlight and voila! I already had three stashed away.)

A beautiful portrait of my younger son as a baby that his ex-girlfriend gave me for Christmas in 2013 AND

the 8x10 white frame I got to put it in.  (It is framed, but the frame doesn't "go" with either of my rooms.

a box of deck screws

a felt-backed plastic tablecloth

a white terry handtowel

a dozen individually packaged sunscreen wipes

A dance ribbon

A cheap plastic swimming float

Easter egg dye tablets.

I recognize this stuff.  Everything except the portrait is stuff I bought when my older son and his family came out in 2013 from Japan for a one-month visit.  I didn't get around to re-framing the portrait before they arrived, and after they left I just stashed it and all the other stuff in this pretty box.

Now it's time to deal.

And here's how something that should take five minutes - a walk around the house - becomes a half-day project.

Flashlights, YAY!  Into the family room desk for batteries.  Didn't quite have enough, so had to to check my bedroom drawers for possible extras.  Filled the first battery.  Second battery already has two in it.  (Why just two?)  Filled the third.  Extra trip back to the bedroom to return the extra batteries with a stop at my day planner to add them to my Costco list.  Distribute the flashlights.  One in my purse (my eyesight is getting worse and until I can have my surgery, I will carry extra light).  One for the car and one in the desk drawer.

Go to kitchen tool drawer to round up flat screwdriver to tackle re-framing of portrait.   Removed portrait from first frame, put in second.  Sigh, it looks awesome.  Take down the piece of Minnie Mouse art by my DIL, which will go into the Happy Room on the Disney wall.  Hang the portrait on the nail.  Oh, no.  Looks awful.  Just a little bit smaller than the other frame.  Go to the kitchen for the hammer to move the nail.  Decide the dragonfly tile hanging under it will look funny, to decide to move it, too.  Oh.  It's on a screw.  Decide to put the portrait and the tile on screws.  Out to the garage for my box of small screws.  Get my small electric driver from the bedroom closet, get the Phillips head from the bedroom tool drawer.  Measure and mark the wall for the portrait.  Drill the screw into place.  Takes a dozen tries but the portrait is perfectly hung.  Take the tile to another wall and hang.  I'm a little worried it might get knocked off, but am going to leave it for now.

Take the Minnie piece into the Happy Room.  Take down the faerie that is hanging over the space where I want the Minnie.  Take out another screw and reach for the driver, which I left in the bedroom.  Back to the bedroom for the driver.  Manage to hang the Minnie in only four tries.  Re-hang the faerie, but the strings are too long and she bumps into the Minnie.  Undo the knot (takes a minute or so) and re-tie it shorter (takes a couple of minutes) and then re-hang her.  Not perfect but since settling for OK is my new goal (I tend to be just a teeny weeny bit obsessive cough cough) I settle for OK.  Redistribute all the tools to their appropriate places.  While in the garage, move half a load of wet laundry to the dryer.
And back to the garage again to store the deck screws.  No, I don't know what I had originally planned for them except that when I did the deck repair in prep for my son's visit I was a few screws short (no snarky comments, please) so maybe this was the box I bought for replacements.  I can't remember if I ever put them in but I really don't want to get into THAT time suck so I just tuck the screws in the place for screws.  A chore for another day.

Another chore for another day is replacing the giant closet doors in the Happy Room.  I'm pretty handy, but that will be way beyond my skills so there will be quite a wait on that one.  Instead I need to slide two of them aside so that I can put the hand towel in my pedicure kit and the float, tablecloth, wipes and dance ribbon into a tote bag to wait for the next visit.  I am proud to report that I remembered to grab a tote from the already opened part of the closet BEFORE closing the two doors over that space.  And then felt foolish because in the space where I plan to keep the bag full of child visit goodies are stacked at least four folded bags.

Which left the Easter egg dye tablets.  I haven't dyed hard boiled eggs in a long time, but I fell in love with the Pinterest craft where you boil and peel, cut them in half for deviled eggs, take the yolks out and prepare them for deviled eggs while you dye the whites with the Easter egg dye.  I put that in the pantry for another year.

And so, a five-minute task took about three hours (with breaks and lunch).

And all I have left is an empty box.

Which I'm going to go refill for a different space.

Monday, January 11, 2016


But sad.

My mom is a terrific mom.  A mom to buy a WORLD'S BEST MOM mug for.  A mom to push around Disneyland in a wheelchair once a month.  A mom to spoil with the best present ever.

If you can find it.

So last year we were chatting about school and the importance of the rituals and celebrations when she mentioned that she had never been able to buy a yearbook her senior year.  She had graduated in January but they sold the yearbooks in the second semester so she lost out.   It was one of those regrets you never quite get over.

So I went home and jumped into this ginormous marketplace we call the internet and - sure enough - you can now buy reprints of old high school yearbooks.  They round up a copy from somewhere (her year's once belonged to "John") and print as needed.  It was a little pricey, but the look on her face was priceless.

As her congestive heart failure has progressed, it has become harder and harder for her to get out in society.  No more bridge twice a week, and she's stopped going to the meetings of the quilt club she has been a member of for close to forty years.

She's lonely.

So, this past weekend I realized that all I had planned was to dig out my studio.  I have a very comfortable recliner in there, out of the way of the action.  I asked Mom if she would like to come and hang out while I cleaned.  I picked her up and we enjoyed our usual Friday Red's dinner, then I brought her home for the weekend. Toward the end of the visit she mentioned that she keeps that yearbook near her chair and has looked through it many, many times.

She was particularly nostalgic about a boy named Lynn that she'd had a crush on.  They never dated, she said, but he was always kind to her and even gave her a ride on his bike to a neighborhood party one evening.   She spoke of how she wished she could find him so she could drop him a little note telling him that even now - over sixty years later - she thinks of him with fondness and gratefulness for his kindnesses to her.

I thought it a fine idea and offered to search online.

I broke her heart.

I found him.

Lynn had had a good life.  Long, apparently happy marriage.  Four children.  Over a dozen grandchildren and a handful of great-grandchildren.  Active in his community and church.  Before he died of leukemia at the age of seventy-seven.

It's tempting to beat myself up over this.  I sometimes think the fantasy of what might be is probably better than the reality of what is.  But once she got over the hit of it, it was just reinforcement of what would be cliché if it weren't so true.

We mustn't wait to tell people they matter to us.