Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Daddio

 This is my Dad's 86th birthday.  I went through some of my archive photos and found some of my favorites to share.

I should say first that he is doing Great!!  He and Mom still live independently, he drives and they spend lots of time in the summer months at their property near Ocean Shores.  I know we are blessed to still have both parents living and doing so well.  

This first photo is taken in front of the house on Fauntleroy where he and his 3 brothers grew up.  There was some remodeling done before we grands came along, so I never saw the house this way.  

He was in the naval reserves, and I remember clearly when he would go to a weekend training and come home requesting us to massage his aching back and shoulders....

Dad came from a boating family and was so proud when he bought this boat.  We would spend a couple of weeks each summer when I was a teen cruising the waters up into British Colombia and through the San Juan islands.  
What a treat.

He always had a fondness for BIG TOYS!!!

I think this photo was taken before he and my Mom married.  This was taken at my Candy Grandma's house, my Mom's Mom.  Talk about vintage!!

 That is me standing in the water, waiting for Dad to get that paddle thing over to me!  

There is another photo of Nancy and I balanced on each side, in our matching shorts outfits, that Mom had made.
 This is such a fun photo.  I don't know why Nancy and I have our eyes closed!!  Sister Carol is being held by Grandpa - Dad's Dad, and Grandma (known as Water Grandma and Grandpa, because they lived at the beach) is seated next to her.  Two of Dad's brothers are there with their wives and all the kids so far.  Dad is the oldest of the four.

This is a sweet photo of Dad holding Nancy and his brother Dan holding Judy.  First babies for both of them.  It was odd that though they only had brothers, they both produced girls first time out!!
 Dad worked for a long time for Consolidated Freightways.  We lived in Yakima and then he got transferred to Kennewick.  This is the truck unloading our stuff at our house there.  

Again, I love the vintage look.

This is a famous family photo.  Unfortunately it does not have Steven, my older brother in it, but everyone else is here.  Love my green dress, and those white nylons!!  

This shot could have motivated the James Dean look, don't you think? 

I love this one so much.  Such a baby.  And you sure can see Kevin, and his son Casey get their smile from Dad.   
This is the photo at their wedding.  Mom and Dad in the center flanked by both sets of parents and a sibling with spouse from each side.  This one I am going to have enlarged and framed.  Very special.

That's it for today.  Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lake Berryessa

 When I was uploading some photos from my camera today, I came across these that I took last November when Lynn, oops, I mean Jay, and I took a drive over to Lake Berryessa.
I had been a passenger in my sisters car during my first introduction to this Lake.  The roads around it are amazingly twisty and turny!!  It's not a bad route from Yountville to I-80, as long as you have a full tank of gas and an empty bladder

Jay and I both noticed the mass on top of that power pole and sure enough when we got close enough, it is a nest!!!  Eagle?

 There is a state park up there, and a couple of boat launch areas.  It was nice to get to snap some nice photos.

Below you see some of the wild turkeys we came across.

 Near the "end of the road" there is this small oasis of humanity.  Includes a very cool general store, that carries everything from bait to wine.

And a very quaint little Italian restaurant.  Notice the outdoor seating?  To the right of it, is a Bocci Court.  Yes, we will definitely be going back, and plan to have dinner there next time.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Need to Pack My Bag!

Twenty four hours from now I will be in Seattle!!

I still need to pack my bag, which will be the BIG one since I am going to check it anyway.  Clothes aren't such a big deal, I have washing ability whenever I need it.  But I will be packing my Bullet and the travel able items for my morning smoothies.  Maybe what I'll do is put everything I need to pack on the bed and then decide which suitcase to use.  I'm sure many of you have used this method in the past and wonder just how goofy I am?

I'll have a knitting project for the plane, and at least one more to take along to work on during any downtime, of which I don't expect to have much.

It's been just over two months since I have been there.  I drove up that time and Jay flew up for Thanksgiving and drove back with me, which was good because it was an emotional trip back for me, knowing it was going to be a couple of months before I got back.

Plus I came home with a coughing crud last time.  Now Jay has it HERE, so I hope I am going to make this trip and return with no new bugs!!

I just cleaned out the fridge a bit, since there are things that won't keep and Jay won't eat.  From my crisper drawer I had half an onion, a green and a red pepper, a carrot, two tomatoes off the bowl on the counter (Mom said to NEVER refrigerate tomatoes) two big portabello mushroom, a red potato.  I sprinkled with some blood orange olive oil, some salt and pepper, some balsamic vinegar and tossed it into a 400 degree oven to roast them.  When it comes out I'll sprinkle some blue cheese crumbles over the top.

And enjoy the rest of the day!!

Tonight we are going to the Napa Boy's and Girl's Clubs annual CRAB FEED.   Hopefully it will be great!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

I Might Need Erin Brockovich!!

Welcome to California and PG&E!!

I had never lived in a home that had air conditioning before so I was a little apprehensive to see what that would do to the power bill.  And I wasn't too surprised when I got a bit higher energy bill than I expected in September and October.  November wasn't too bad, but December was kind of a surprise to be $279.  No air now, but using the furnace a bit.
My last two houses had a gas furnace and as my sister pointed out to me, energy overall is much cheaper in the Pacific Northwest than it is here.  Okay, fine...I tried to pay more attention to lights being on, put on a fleece vest and watch the thermostat.
So was I SHOCKED when I got the bill for the time from mid December to mid January and it was $437!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I really did actually cry.
And I called PG&E and started an investigation.  And I started educating myself about my bill.  One cool thing is that yesterday I found on their web site, the link that takes me to my actual daily usage.
So I spent some time looking at all the statistics, and comparisons, and GOOD GRIEF, I am only 14 days into the new billing cycle and already into the third tier of cost!!  I've kept the heat down, off when I'm gone, turning the computer OFF at night and when I leave the house.  Haven't turned the dishwasher on in almost two weeks.  And before you want to tell me the dishwasher is more efficient, we don't create that many dishes.  I put hot sudsy water in the sink when I start a kitchen project and just wash the dishes as I go.  In the past, Jay would clean up after dinner, which he still does, and put the dishes in the dishwasher, which he still does, and then he would turn the sucker on before he would go to bed!!!  Didn't matter if it was full or not, it was just a task to be done.  But NOW I take those dishes back out, after he goes to bed, and wash them and put them away.  So I know I'm using much less energy than running a partially full dishwasher.
So I was so disappointed when I saw that we were already in a higher tier of usage.
Then I found a link that told me how I compare with "like residences"....I have been DOUBLE the average EVERY MONTH!!!  And 3 - 4 times the "economical" saver residences.  HOW can that be????  Looking a little deeper in that spot, I see that I am placed in a group of homes that have GAS HEAT!!  Which I DO NOT!
So back on the phone with PG&E today.  The fellow was very kind and tried to be helpful.  Said my investigation is underway and it usually takes up to 3 weeks.

My day started off on the wrong foot, when first I got a call from the nutritionist I was scheduled to meet, calling me to reschedule as she has the flu.  And when I got to the Napa Medical facility for my scheduled ultrasound (to see about removing my lonely ovary), I discovered that I was supposed to be at the Vallejo facility.  So had to reschedule that appointment too.

To make the day better, I stopped at the local quilt store and picked up a pretty skein of yarn, on clearance and came home to make peanut butter cookies.

Warm cookies and milk.  Fixes everything.

Yes, I Survived!

The very best thing about this retreat was the location.  The setting is just so beautiful.  And the wildlife.  There was a herd of deer, 8 or 9 of them that kept prancing around in view.  Also caught a glimpse of a bobcat mom and baby, and a silver fox.
Second best thing was the food!!!  I've never had such good food at a retreat.  The camp maintains a beautiful organic garden on site and uses it.  We always had fresh fruits and veggies.

I did meet some really nice women.  Got the name of a dentist (though I forgot what it was, so need to research that again), titles of some new books to read, information about getting registered as a quilting teacher and lecturer, found some cancer survivor sisters, finished one small quilt top, and got the body of another finished.  The second one is impressive because I didn't even decide to make it until Saturday afternoon.

And I learned some things about myself.  I tried to remember some lessons I had learned when I moved to Bellingham, in the way I present myself, and my ideas.  Made a couple of "mistakes" by speaking a bit too soon, offering ideas and opinions, and I should have just kept it to myself, but no real harm done.

My drive home was slow and lingering as I stopped many times along the way, before getting into Petaluma and took a lot of photos.

Lynn unpacked my car for me, but I haven't set anything up in the sewing room.  Figured with leaving again on Sunday, I wouldn't get into it to do much.  I did start a new knitting project though, so that will be easy to carry along for the flight and my stay up north.

We are attending a crab feed Saturday night, which I hope will be fun.

Nice to be back.  And to think that maybe you missed me.....

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Bit Nervous

Only 12 more hours until I am on the road to my first retreat at a Californian.  I am feeling pretty anxious about it.  My friends have been great and assured me that I will be fine, and I hope they are right.  But.....this is a group of women who have been retreating together for many years at this place.
The fact that I haven't been doing much sewing doesn't help.  There really isn't anything "driving" me.  I pulled some long time projects and packed up some fabric.  I can usually find something "scrappy" to do.
This retreat is a bit different as well because the group of almost 60 women is divided into two different sewing spaces.
I thought that to make a good impression....I would make some cinnamon rolls.  So the dough is rising now, then it will go into the fridge and I'll roll and bake the rolls in the morning.  I just need to leave here by noonish, so I should have enough time to not have to rush.
The camp has Wi-Fi, though no cell service, so I will try to keep in touch.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm Impressed!

Today I had two appointments at Kaiser Permanente.  This is the health care plan we have now.  I had some reservations about a group plan like this as it was Group Health that tried to kill me.  Well, maybe that is a little harsh, but tough.
I met with my new personal physician in mid November.  Basically a get to know.  She renewed my prescriptions, and we chatted a bit about my health history.  That was soon after I had tweaked my knee and she sent me for an X-ray to check it out.  Also said I could do some physical therapy, though I didn't.  
However she said I should go ahead and get a mammogram and pelvic exam.  I was able to schedule those for - today!  
First up was a pelvic with a Nurse Practitioner. I like these kinds of exams with a NP or CNM because I think they have a gentler touch and I know that they have more time allotted for a visit.  Then my mammo was scheduled for 45 minutes later.  One of the benefits of not having a cervix and uterus is not having to endure a pap.  But a pelvic exam is still warranted every several years.  We talked about my one remaining ovary, and I mentioned to her that it was suggested that I have it removed.  Because of  my breast cancer history, and because of the difficulty in doing a manual palpation externally due to some adipose tissue in the area.  In regular speak, it's too much fat over the belly.  Ovarian cancer is very hard to detect until there are symptoms, and at that point the outcome is bleak.  So removing the ovary will probably be best.  It was left in there when I had the other stuff removed in consideration of my heading into my last year of nursing school, and to have been dumped into menopause would have been cruel and unusual punishment!  But now it is doing nothing but hanging around, a potential source of cancer.  
Anyway, the NP said she would discuss it with the surgeon and get back to me.  We talked briefly about diet and exercise.  Off I went to my mammo.  Two no shows for the appointments before mine, so I got in early.  So glad to get that over with.  But now I have to wait until my old films are sent down from B'ham for comparison.  
I had only been home for about half an hour and BOOM there is an email from the NP.  Said she had talked to the surgeon and she first wanted me to have an ultrasound.  No sooner had I finished reading her email, and my phone rang, it was the imaging department calling to schedule my ultrasound.  WOW!  So I got on the books for the 25th.  In my reply to the NP I let her know that the appointment was made.  She wrote back to me within about half an hour and let me know the name of the person "highly recommended" to her for weight loss and I could call and make an appointment with them.  Which I did.  And they were able to do that on the same day as the ultrasound.  
I do love that I can access my own lab tests, and imaging results from my computer.  And my prescriptions are filled for 100 days instead of 30.  Pretty good things to report so far with this plan.  
One other thing to report today, I found an app that uses GPS to tell me how far I have walked, ridden my bike or whatever!  Just carry it in your pocket.  Gives you all the details, time, distance, calories burned, etc. And it was free!!  Which is really important since my PG & E bill was $439!!  For one month!!!  
More on that on a future post.  An investigation has been ordered.....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Some Random Ramblings.....

First off, I am doing pretty darned good two weeks into the New Year with some of my resolutions.  I have NOT turned the TV on during the day during the week, not even once.  That has turned out to be a bit easier than I expected.  It was so easy to come out and hit the remote to turn it on on my way to making my first cuppa coffee.  Instead I am enjoying such great music ala Pandora.  I like to have music on while I am doing my computer "stuff".  Once I log off, I switch to my current audio book and listen to that while I am working in the kitchen, garage, sewing room or whatever.  I find I do have less stress not dialing into my MSNBC buddies all day.  Jay turns the news on when he gets home around 6, and I am still recording and watching Rachel Maddow every evening.  She is just so darned smart and explains things well.  And she talks really fast, just like me.
Haven't been through a drive through for fast food, coffee, nothing.  This one isn't so hard because we don't have any of these things in Yountville.  And my trips into Napa generally have a purpose so no idle car time.
The bed hasn't been made everyday.  Need to work on that one.

I'm entering a cooking quandry again, I can feel it coming on.  I get caught up in cookbooks, pinterest, cooking blogs and websites and I venture into new tastes and recipes.  And then I get to where I'm coming now and I wonder, why?  Why can't we all just have a meatloaf, chicken, pasta, veggie recipe we like and just use it over and over?  Jay is so NOT a fussy eater.  He will eat most anything I put in front of him, though he doesn't like stuff too spicy and avoids what he calls "weeds" (which are basically anything green in a salad that isn't iceburg or romaine lettuce).  Many of the things I see in books or online that I would like to try now are things that involve weeds or new spices so that limits me a bit to what I can actually make that is new.

Sometimes I think I would like to just have a regular weekly meal plan.  You know, fish two nights, chicken two nights, pasta, two nights, planovers (leftovers, whatever is still in the fridge) one night.  I do know that planning ahead makes a big difference in what is ready to eat at dinnertime.  I was raised at a time and in a family that dinner ALWAYS consisted of some kind of meat dish, a side dish which was usually the starch, a salad and some kind of bread.  My Dad was/is big on bread!  Even if it was just a stack of wonderbread on a plate, it was bread on the table with the meal.  And milk.  Big milk drinkers.  I still LOVE milk.  I know so many people who rarely have milk in their refrigerator, and I can't imagine being without it.  I am using coconut milk in my smoothies everyday.

I should get going.  I do need to head to the grocery store for some basics.  Meatloaf for dinner tonight.  I don't use a recipe, just start throwing things in there.  With parsley buttered rice and some asparagus.  Sliced tomatoes drizzled with balsamic and evoo.  And a couple of the angel biscuits I prepped yesterday and popped into the freezer.  Yep, got all the basics covered.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Yountville Bike Day

 The sun was out, and though it was a bit chilly I got on my bike today, slung my new messenger bag over my shoulder and headed out.  I needed just a couple of things and so I headed up to the Ranch Market.  This is a great spot for lunch.  Sister Carol and I discovered it last summer when we were down here house hunting for me.  
Jay says it's the highest price market in California, and we all know how he vast experience in grocery shopping would allow him to know that........yeah NOT!!

This is the Yountville Town Hall.  Sort of like a City Hall if it were a city.  But it isn't.  It's a Town.  So we have a Town Hall.  It is so "California"....

I spotted these sweet johnny jump ups, or violas, and the california poppies!!  They were so happy with the bright sunshine.  I was so happy to find blooming flowers on January 14th

These trees are everywhere down here and I just love them.  They do make me think of the gnarly trees in the forest by the Wicked Witch in Oz....I will come back with this tree is in full leaf out and get another photo then.  

And this view is from standing directly underneath one of those trees.  I love the shapes and shadows and the fine little ends all reaching up into this beautiful blue, clear sky.  

Oh Happy Day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

On With the Show

Tonight we watched the Golden Globes.  I don't watch these award shows as much as I used to, mostly because I don't know who most of these people are!  
But I had actually seen some of the movies nominated and I do love Tina Fey.  She and Amy Pohler were both great tonight.  Happy to see Argo win for best drama.  I agreed.  As far as the TV side, I did watch the first season of Homeland, but didn't have Showtime to watch the second.  So I went online and cancelled the sports package that Lynn liked to watch The Red Zone on (which is over for the season) and added Showtime so I could catch up.  
Also noticed an HBO show called Girls getting a lot of awards, so I did just go to on demand and watched the pilot of it.  I will watch a couple more episodes and see if it captures me.  Only a half an hour show, on premium channel so no commercials.  
Last night I watched Miss America.  I have watched this show for as long as I can remember.  Haven't watched it very closely for the last few years, but I actually watched the whole thing this time.  My goodness, these girls all look the same.  Some are shorter or taller, but their bodies all look alike.  Some different skin shades, but really they seem like a bunch of robots.  The talent portion is still more humorous than entertaining.  Who knew tap dancing was still such a favored thing.  And whoever it was that did some kind of dance, it was almost painful to watch her perform.  After shows like So You Think You Can Dance, to see someone flail around the stage, sort of to the music, is rather an embarrassment.  
This week I need to get to work prepping for the retreat next weekend!!     

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Stop Fighting

This is a bit of something different here.  It is important to me.  It's been running around in my mind for a long time, years probably.  And I think it is ready to come out.
Those of you who know me, or follow me here, know that I am a two time cancer survivor.  1984 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and in 1995 it was skin cancer.  I survived them both with a lot of work, fear, love, support, tears, chemo, surgeries, radiation therapy.  People would tell me "keep a positive attitude"...I would thank them and then shake my didn't make sense to me.  But that was the "thing" to say to someone who was diagnosed with a possibly malignant disease.  
The "thing"  that I hear now, is in the realm of "keep fighting!"  "fight that disease!"  "you are such a fighter!"  And it makes me sad to hear that.  I want to change the dialogue.  I know it is all about good intentions.  Having a "fighting" spirit brings to mind a real warrior!  But the problem with having a "fight" is that in the end there is a loser and a winner.  Very sad when I read an obituary of someone who has died and it includes things like "lost their fight"..."fought the good fight"...."was a fighter to the end"....because what you are saying is that they lost.  They were a loser.  Cancer won.  
I believe with my whole heart and soul, that the only way cancer can WIN, is if I choose to fight with it. 
Instead, I try very hard to encourage people to KEEP LIVING.  Don't waste your years, months, weeks, days, hours in a fight with cancer.  Use your energy living the very best life that you can.  If you are in treatment, the drugs or the treatment of choice, that is the stuff that is fighting.  Let it do it's job.  But you have to keep living.  Choosing treatment does not mean you chose to fight.  It means you are choosing to live through the treatment.  
Picture someone in a fight.  They are beat up, bloody, sweaty, exhausted, worried about the next punch.  Spending precious moments planning their next move.  Always worried about what the counter punch will be and when it will come, and where it will come from.  Having to wear those boxing gloves, with a helmet on, mouth guard.  Spitting blood into a bucket.  Yes, you are surrounded by cheering fans.  Fight Harder they cheer.  Your coach and trainer there, wiping  your brow, mending your cuts.  But in the end of a fight, there is a winner and a loser.
My mother in law Mary was an amazing woman.  When she was diagnosed with lung cancer she was devastated.  Her little sister Gloria had just died of breast cancer.  Gloria made the decision to not share her health news with her big sister Mary, who lived across the country.  It would just worry her, and she couldn't do anything anyway, so she kept silent about it.  Until she was hospitalized.  At that point it was too late for Mary to travel to see her and say goodbye.  But that was Gloria's choice to make.  So when Mary got the news that the cancer she had was fairly advanced, she made the decision to stay home and live each day as best she could.  She did well for several months and when her body began to shut down, she accepted the assistance of Hospice and remained in her home, where she died very peacefully in her own bed.  Yes it was hard.  Yes we all cried and we still miss her.  And I admire so much her ability to make her own decision about HOW she was going to LIVE, up until the moment she died.
I watched a dear, dear elderly man be given a cancer diagnosis.  He was in relatively good health up until that moment.  He loved to travel, spend time with his family.  Loved sharing time with friends and his wonderful, beautiful wife.  He had lived a long life.  And when he was given this diagnosis, he was encouraged by a physician to "fight"....that though he was in his 80's, he was strong.  And so he spent the last year of his life, fighting.   When he could have been living instead.  His wife did say later that she wished that instead of all that treatment, which was so hard and exhausting and time consuming, that they had instead planned a trip.  Gone to a few of their favorite places while he still was feeling good.  Because in the end, we are all going to die, whether we were fighting or not.  Why not chose living instead?
It's not "giving up".  If someone chooses to NOT pursue treatment options, they are not "giving up the fight" in my opinion.  They are choosing to live their lives in spite of the cancer. .  
We are all going to die.  There is no getting out of it.  
I remember a story I heard from a man at a cancer support group that I attended nearly 30 years ago.  He was a cancer patient himself.  And his wife had died of cancer just a few years prior.  He said that she FOUGHT UP UNTIL HER LAST BREATH!  That she was angry, exhausted, in constant pain and struggled for every breath.  And that it was a horrible thing to witness.  He had young children still to raise, and he was getting treatment.  But he said he was not going to go out fighting.  He was going to live everyday, as best he could and be thankful for it.  He wasn't "giving up".  He was living his life the best he could with the cards he was dealt.  
I worked with a woman at St Joes who I will never forget and always admire.  She was my age.  And the picture of health!  Long, long hair, down to her butt. She had a wicked sense of humor and glint of daring in her eye.  She was a runner.  She ate well.  She loved to be on a motorcycle with her Guy.  Loved spending time with her daughter and grand daughter. Loved to travel to tropical places.   She was diagnosed with a form of stomach cancer.  She did some research.  Had some treatment.  Retired from work to spend more time with her family.  Baked cookies with her grand daughter.  Rode on the back of the motorcycle.  Went to lunch with friends.  And though she was indeed sad about this card she was dealt, she kept on living.  She was gracious and serene and peaceful, and that is how she died.  
So my heartfelt urging is to please, please....when someone you love has their life turned upside down with the diagnosis of cancer dealt to them, love them.  Hug them, cry with them, BE with them.  Encourage them to KEEP LIVING.  Every day they have.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Long, Long Time Ago

Another wonderful photo from the archives.  This is me with such dark hair!!  Alongside my cousin John.  He and I were born a few months apart so we basically grew up together.  And the star of the show is my Candy Gramma.  I believe this was a birthday celebration, and it was taken in the backyard of the house I lived in from 1960 until I moved out in 1971.  My parents remained in this house until 1995.  
You can see that Gramma had a knitting project going!  Always.  And she was CANDY Gramma because always brought us candy when she came to visit.  Our other Gramma was Water Gramma because she lived in West Seattle right on the beach.  
I have lots of stories about Gramma to share over time.  Hope you will be her for the tales...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It was a Good Day

 These are a couple of photos I took today while I was venturing around Napa.  I went into the Oxbow Market.  This is a year round place, that has a lot of different shops in it, all open concept.  Coffee shop, restaurants, wine bars, a great olive oil place.
This maize kitchen was being revamped and the owner and contractor were having quite a lively discussion about what was going to go where.  I will be very curious to see what kind of things this place will offer.

In one corner was a great fresh market where I got the photos of the cabbage and the baby leeks.  Those are NOT scallions or green onions.  I ended up buying some kale, and came home and made wonderful kale chips first thing.

Also bought some other great things for salads for the next few days.

I believe I heard somewhere that there is a group of knitters that meets at this market one morning a week.  I will be checking that out.  But it was such a great spot, with indoor and outdoor seating, that I can see it being a place to go every week with my kindle and try something different for lunch.  Just enjoy being "out" and about.

It has been 3 months now that I have been OFF the anti depressant I was on for the last few years.  And it was tough.  But  just in the last two days I am starting to feel really good.  Maybe it is my dietary changes too.  But I feel pretty sharp, and content.

Couple of things to look forward to.  First of all is my first California quilting retreat a week from now.  I really need to get stuff ready for that.
After I get back from that I will be prepping for my flight up to Seattle and a 10 day visit with family and friends.

We decided today to list the house for sale, so I'll be checking on how that is going, as well as seeing how the house is.  It kind of surprised me that the last two times I was up there, I drove past, but felt no draw or sense of sadness.  Some amazing things happened in that house, and while I lived in that house, but it just never felt "right" I guess.  But it really was the community I never jelled with, not the house.

The renters have been very kind and helpful to the listing office, so that is good to hear.

Thanks for stopping by.  See you tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

House Woes

Here is my house in Lynden.  Peak of summer.  We moved into the house July 2000 and moved out August 2012.  There was a young newlywed couple renting from us, but their circumstances have changed a bit and they have given notice that they are vacating at the end of February.  
So now we are in a dilemma.  To list to sell, or to try to get new renters in it.  Supposedly the market is 
very good for houses in our price range and community, BUT if I get it listed tomorrow, I NEED it to sell in 6 weeks.  Could happen.  On the other hand, if I list it with a rental management company and they can't get it rented?  When I checked on craigslist there were 20 rentals in our community at our price range that popped up for rent right away.  And some were NEW construction.  So what to do.....

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy Birthday to My Mom

 These are a few of my favorite photos of my Mom.  She is 86 years old today.  There have been a few health "scares" in the last 10 years, which make every next birthday that much more precious.
She was an "army brat".The third child of nine in her family. Her nickname was/is Toody.  I am going to have to find out how that originated. The second daughter, who grew up in the shadow of her still living big sister Adele.  A good student all through school, who she gives credit to Adele for being so bossy that she came home and taught Mom everything that she herself had learned at school.
I love that in many of the old photos I have of her, she is holding a camera.  My enjoyment of picture taking is in full bloom right now, so it means even more.  And thankful that she took them!
She also shared with me her love of reading.  Everything and anything.  It did make me crazy as a kid when I would holler out something like "MOM!  How do you spell _______?!?!"  Her answer was ALWAYS - "LOOK IT UP!!"

 She was an at home Mom.  With 5 of us to raise, everything was a chore.  Once Kevin (who grew up thinking his name was Kevin Calvin, the good boy) was in school, she went back to school and got her degree in Childhood Development and opened and operated her own business.  They bought the small house that was next door to ours, and with my Dad's skill and work converted it to a preschool.  She ran this until she had children of some of her original students coming to class there.

She dabbled in pottery, ceramics, knitting, croquet, sewing, painting, loves flowers and gardening. She was President of the Library Guild, active in PTA, Cub Scout leader for my older brother Steven. She sewed my sisters bridesmaids dresses for my wedding.  
 Everyday she does the crossword puzzle and Sudoku.   I'm so thankful that I have siblings who live near her and Dad and can be nearby as needed.  And I'm looking forward to seeing her at the end of the month.
Happy Birthday Mom.  I love you.  Thank you for all you have done and shared, and taught.  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Merry Christmas to Me!!

Throughout my holiday online shopping I would occasionally come across a good deal - for me!!  I had kept an eye on this set of interchangeable set of knitting needles and how nice, it came up on sale!  So I ordered it up and was so happy when the delivery guy brought it to me on Saturday.  Along with some fabric, that I will post about another time.  I think it was the only fabric I bought the whole year.  And it was of course on sale, plus it was clearance so I got a great deal on it all.  You can see bits of it around the needles.  
Now to work my way through that yarn that has been patiently waiting.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Productive Quiet Day

 I spoke a bit about this 365 Project I am involved in.  In an effort to really get to know my camera better, I did go online and started printing out pages of the manual for my camera.  Turns out it is over 250 pages long!!!  After looking through a lot of it, I ended up printing about half of it out.  I know, I know I could just download it and read it as needed on my computer, but I learn better with words on paper and a pencil or highlighter in my hand.  Now I have it all punched and will find a 3 ring binder to keep it all.  
My plan is to learn a different setting each day, as thoroughly as I can.  After going to you-tube I also found a couple of great videos talking about this camera and it is really amazing.  The video capabilities are exceptional, and I never even looked at that stuff on this camera when I bought it a year ago.  The retail value of the camera is also twice what I paid, having gotten it as a Deal of the Day from Amazon.  Looks like I did indeed get a good deal.  

My other task today was to bake some cookies.  I have been looking at this lemon cookie recipe for days, wanting to make them, and today was the day.  A treat, I remembered these silicon baking sheets that I had bought years ago, they were still in the box up in my cabinet when I moved, and thankfully they made the move.  Got out of the box today and onto the pan.  

The little ice cream scooper is my favorite tool for making cookies, ever!!  I have it in three sizes, and this is perfect for those recipes when it calls for 1 tablespoon balls to be made.  Besides being lemon cookies, they call for a lemon cream cheese frosting.  In the photo it looks like they have a sprinkle of coarse sugar that has been tinted yellow.  I have seen those sugars at Dean and DeLuca but have not (until now) been tempted to buy them.  These cookies will just have to survive with a shake of regular sugar if any!

Yeah, the Seahawks won their playoff game today.  BOO, now I have to put up with all that annoying stuff all over my Facebook page.  As I said there, I'll be as happy when the season is over, as my FB friends were when the election ended.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A New Adventure

 Yesterday Jay and I traveled over to Santa Rosa to have dinner with a man from his office and his family.  It was our first invite since we arrived.  4 1/2 months, is there something wrong with us???  Anyway, I put their address into Maps! and printed out the directions they gave.  We live on one side of what these California people call "mountains" and had to travel to the other.  We have done this a few times actually, as Santa Rosa is the airport we use.  Normally we travel up HWY 29, which takes us through the center of Saint Helena and then Calistoga.  Take a left and go up over the mountain.
 I really have a hard time not snickering when I say that.
According to Maps!  it was 32 miles to their house and was going to take 46 minutes.  But we were making the turn and going over way sooner.
It did warn us along the way that it was a windy road and to be careful.
OMG!  Hairpin turns with recommended speeds of 10 and 15 MPH.  But gosh it was a beautiful ride.
I had my camera in hand as I have jumped with both feet into this 365 Project.  A website that you sign up with and then post a photo that you have taken
My camera is one I bought about a year ago.  A Lumix, if that means anything to anyone.  Pretty much a point and shoot, though it does have a lot of settings.  And now that I want to really learn about it, I guess I better go and download the instruction manual.
There were many spots along the road that I wanted to have Jay stop so I could get a shot, but he was just too stressed.  Finally we came around a turn and
Voila....the images I have posted to the right were upon us.

 So he stopped and I took this sequence of photos, using the different settings on the camera, so that I could see how it changed the photo.
I was amazed.

Kind of like doing a sample stitch of all the different stitches my sewing machine will do and having it in front of me so I know what I want to choose.  Which is really kinda funny because I do basically a straight stitch and a zig zag.  And with my camera, I have always just used an auto everything setting.
 I will definitely go back up this road on my own over the next several weeks and get some shots.  It was truly beautiful.

Dinner was so nice.  Two of the five of us were vegan, and I am enjoying learning more about what they eat, and why.
Actually one is vegan 6 days a week and eats fish one day.  I find myself actually desiring more fresh fruits and veggies and less meat products since moving.
 And I haven't bought a canned veggie or even frozen since being here.  I'll give credit to Whole Foods and the local Farmer's Market's.  In fact I haven't even bought a canned soup.  Having more time to plan and cook, makes for better choices, I'm finding.
Late evenings are my craving time, and last night what I wanted and what I ate about 10:30 was some fresh tomato wedges and sliced cucumbers with some seasoning and a bit of vinegar.  Kinda scary.
 If you click on the top photo, it should blow it up, and let you click along and see them all in better detail.  It really is amazing the difference of what you see.  Enjoy!

And as a treat, below is what we found at the other side of the "mountain".

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Smoothie Adventure

 This may become a sub-blog if it works out!!  I bought this Magic Bullet about 2 months before I moved.  So I took it out of the box and made one smoothie, with the help of DDIL Krista.  She and Jeff had been doing protein smoothies for a while and they liked this breakfast and snack option.  I saw it for what I thought was a pretty good price at Costco and brought it home with such good intentions.  It ended up in the closet, all intact back in the box so it would move more easily.

 So now, today, I took all these pieces out of the box and OMG!  Certainly enough equipment here to make smoothies for days and never have to even wash a cup.  I did go through the instruction book (another New Year's resolution) and found some great ideas of ways to use it other than just a morning smoothie.  
I posted on Facebook (my alternative to a neighbor since my neighbor seems to avoid us like the plague, though that is a topic for a different post) and asked what my friends like in their smoothies and got some pretty good ideas.  Although I'm still not so sure about Chia seeds....
I have an odd relationship with bananas, I should state that here.  Jay goes through "phases" where he can't get enough of them, and then he turns off just as abruptly.  He also seems to think that if a banana skin has so much as a dark blemish on it, anywhere, it must be past his prime.  Almost 40 years of marriage....PLEASE DON'T THROW AWAY BANANAS!!  Maybe it will work this time.  Anyway, I like those nice over ripe bananas for banana bread of course.  And JUST when I think they are ready to make the bread the next day, I get up and the bananas are gone.....

Well, I have learned!!  Took awhile and I guess I will be the one to change.  I unpeeled the last batch of bananas, that were PERFECT and broke them in half and threw them in a baggie and into the freezer.  
So into this beauty in the final photo, there is a frozen banana, about half a cup of frozen marionberries, a scoop of whey protein powder, a scoop of greek yogurt and about half a cup of coconut milk.  Choosing the cup was the hardest part!!  Blended it up and I am really enjoying it, with a spoon!  Does that still qualify it as a smoothie?  

Ask anyone I have woken up with, wait, that didn't sound quite right!!  Ask anyone whose HOME I have woken up in and you will know that I just don't care for breakfast.  At breakfast time, that is.  I have some meds I take in the morning, one of which says I am supposed to take it an hour before I eat anything.  So I pretty much while away an hour (or more.....) at the computer with my cuppa coffee, and nope.  Still no appetite.  Hours can go by and then I'll think I really need to eat something.  But once I do, it seems I am hungry all day.  After reading and hearing for years that you need to have breakfast to get your metabolism turned on (mine has been off since the birth of my first child in 1976) I thought, maybe this morning smoothie could be the answer.  

I have a few bags of assorted frozen fruits in the freezer, as well as those beloved bananas.  It will be fun to see what turns into my smoothie tomorrow!!  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

From the Old Photo File

I have always loved this photo.  Besides the fact that I am just about the cutest little thing in the polka dot dress sitting on what might be a potty seat!!  Mom wanted me trained early!!!  Just over the right shoulder is my older brother, Steven and to my left is my oldest cousin Annette and over her shoulder is her sister, another cousin Karen.  Karen and Steven were born the same year so they basically grew up together.  I have no idea who the woman holding the beer is.  Anyone recognize the brand???

Look how battered those shoes I am wearing are.  Remember when those were the kinds of shoes we put on our kids?  And we had those barrel things with bells on them to keep the laces intact!  See, the three youngest of us are wearing them.

Buying shoes was a big event when I was a kid.  Being one of 5, you hoped you were the LAST one needing a bigger size so you weren't waiting for everyone else's feet to grow, to justify a trip to SEARS in Seattle.  I never have been a big "shoe" person.  Though my husband may beg to differ.  I like practical shoes.  But I had a shoe travesty as a child.  Junior high.  Saddle shoes were all the rage.  And I was thrilled to have convinced my parents that I was due and deserving of some of those new Brown and Tan saddle shoes!!  Off to SEARS we went.  All piled into the station wagon, some in the back seat, some in the way back.  Not a seat belt in site.  We would park in the back of the store, and troop in.  Past the popcorn machine and candy bar.  Sometimes we would get a treat of some "chicken bones" if we were good.

Off to the shoe department.  There they were.  Oops.....Dad spotted some Black and White saddle shoes next to the desired Brown and Tan and those were cheaper.  Guess which shoes I came home with that day?  I was not Cool enough in school to make wearing B&W saddle shoes desirable.  So I suffered mightily!  Good thing for me, that I was in a rapid growth spurt and grew out of them pretty quickly!!!

Every so often I search online, or my sister Carol will look.  Haven't come up with any in a size I can wear, but if I do I'M BUYING THEM!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Gramma T

I'm hoping to find some photos to scan and add to this post before it goes live.

Today Gramma T would have been 94.  Mary Templeton, my dear, darling Mother in Law.  She was an amazing woman, who at times made me crazy!!  Just as a MIL should, right?

She was born and raised in a large strict Roman Catholic family near Boston.  A child of some wealth for the time.  She married and moved to the Pacific Northwest where she lived the rest of her days.  She birthed her two boys there, divorced her husband of decades and went to work at Boeing.  I think she worked everyday, every single day for almost 3 years, during the strike back in the 60's.  She had two children to raise and could not be off work.

When she retired, she took about two days off and then took herself down to the local senior center to volunteer and "take care of the old people".  She ended up being a paid employee and worked there right up until her cancer diagnosis in January of 2003.  She passed away peacefully in her own bed, refusing to go to a hospital, on October 31, 2003.  Her own mother had died on October 31st as well.

She weighed about 95 pounds, dripping wet. at her healthiest!  Her cupboard contained just enough dishes to feed herself and Brian, and the 5 of us when we would visit.  But that was it.  She cooked with salt, pepper and italian seasoning.  Oh, and I think she had some cinnamon.  She lived her life very simply.  And didn't regret it.

The clothes she had in her possession when she died were the same as when I had met her in 1972.  And they were immaculate.  She took great pride in her work, her world, her children, her grandchildren.

I miss her almost everyday.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Surprise Find on my Camera!

 While uploading photos today for my new 365 photo project, I came across some photos that I had indeed taken on Thanksgiving with all the kids and grands were together for dinner at Jeff and Krista's.

Will feature Carter today!!!   This drum set was gifted to Jillian from her uncle Tito (Todd).  She has done a great job teaching herself to play.
From U-Tube!!!  So she puts on her headset now, and plays along with her favorite music.

And Carter showed he has the same chops!!!  Sat right down and started working those skins!

Then Uncle Tito got in and gave him an actual lesson.  And taught Jillian a few new things too.

Their lessons will continue.  I wonder when she starts middle school next year, if they have a band and she can be part of that!

And just to make Geema happy, Carter agreed to model my latest hat!!

Oh and by the way, his adorable glasses are not 'real' but he loves wearing them, and if his Mommy is wearing her's then Carter is wearing his.  Talk about devotion....