Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Whirlwind Trip To Utah

We're back from our quick trip to Utah. We watched the new fire fighter graduate (well, as soon as he gets hired he'll be a new fire fighter...) and had a little laugh about how nervous he was to walk across the stage to get his diploma. Andrew just hates it when he's in front of a crowd attracting any attention at all - he is his father's son. Unfortunately, he wasn't feeling well, but we just chalked it up to nerves, as he seemed so much better once the festivities were over. But...the next morning when we went to pick him up for a fun filled day of apartment hunting, he was laying on his couch not moving much. We took him to the doctor, and no wonder he wasn't feeling well - he had bronchitis! Soon enough, we had him prescribed and drugged, and eating a little something. He perked up enough to go looking at an apartment complex he was thinking about moving to, so off we went.

All I can say is: WOW. Where were these apartments when I was at the B (YU)?? What I lived in was a small 3 bedroom apartment, 2 girls to each room, and ONE bathroom between all 6 girls. Good times... I've driven past that place in recent years, and all I can think is "What a stinking hole..." But we didn't know any better, and we had a lot of fun living in that stinking hole. There was the Christmas that Joan and I made Christmas cookies to decorate our tree with, only to come home and find that, as they hung on the tree, Bronwyn and Julie had taken a bite out of EVERY ONE OF THEM. But the snow still looked lovely coming down outside beyond the window where the tree stood, and we had such fun together. Those were the girls who taught me what a testimony was, and what it means to have one. They were my first LDS friends EVER. I wish I could hug every one of them right now.
Anyway, Wolverine Crossing was the complex we looked at, and its amazing. Shops and food places, and a comedy club, a lap pool AND a fun pool - everything you could want, plus your own room. Andrew couldn't fill those papers out fast enough. It'll be good to have him in a place that is so social, because as shy as he is, he'd never seek it out himself. I think he'll do well here.
The rest of the trip is a blur. We went to eat one night in downtown Provo at a place called Ottavio's - really good Italian food and the BEST bread. (but I don't eat bread....no...never...) We hit the Farmer's Market at Pioneer Park on Saturday morning, only that day I wasn't feeling very well. Maybe the altitude? We visited my friends Justin and Nicole, and saw all of the clever and darling things they're doing to their house. Nichole has a garden I was lusting after, as well as a room-turned-art studio. So jealous...
On our last day, Andrew came up to Salt Lake and we ate breakfast at a place called Oasis Cafe - a crunchy, organic vegan kind of place where, fortunately, they also had egg dishes. It was raining that morning, and the air smelled like wet streets, clouds hovered around the tops of the mountains, and everything was so green and pretty. That's my favorite thing about Utah - the rainstorms. Oh - and The Creamery on Ninth in Provo.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gone to the Motherland

L and I are heading for Utah tomorrow. Andrew, our youngest, is graduating from Fire Academy, and we're going up to attend the graduation, and to celebrate. This has been a long journey for Andrew, and we're so proud of his tenacity, and how he worked so hard to reach this goal. It's good to see him looking so healthy and happy, and looking forward to life. I think it's a particularly happy day for his dad, my L, and it makes my heart so happy to see the joy on his face when he talks about this happy occasion. Kids can break your heart, but they can also make your spirit soar in a mighty way.

So I'll be absent for a few days from blogging, but when I get back I'll have some Utah stories and pictures to share. I know one thing we want to do is to eat out at the Red Iguana in Salt Lake. It was featured on the Diners Drive-ins and Dives show (with Guy Fieri) on the Food Network, and L and I both love that show. We're actually going to go see Guy Fieri at an appearance at Disneyland California Adventure the following weekend, so we're excited about that too.
Other than the Red Iguana and WINGERS (note how I look forward to Utah in terms of what I'm going to eat....shameful...) I don't know exactly what we're going to do. I'm hoping to meet up with my friend Nichole and view her amazing scrapbooking expertise. She creates some great stuff for scrapbooking at her work, and I've been dying to see it in person. You can look at some of her creations here
I may mosey over to Spanish Fork and look up a cousin or two if time permits. Whenever I go there it brings back all of the memories of summer vacations spent there as a child, visiting my grandfather. So different from home, and lots of fun.
L and Andrew plan to fit in at least one afternoon of hiking, to which I say "No thanks." Those two would hike me right into being half crippled. I'll shop or read or...anyone in Utah want to get together for lunch?
See ya when I get back - Go Cougars!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Giveaway at Sue's News, Views & Muse

Hey everybody - you should go immediately to my friend Sue's blog at http://grannysuesnews.blogspot.com/ She's having a nice giveaway in honor of her 200th post, and you can be one of the winners!
Sue's blog is wonderful: calming, entertaining - in short, it's like a cozy chat with a good friend. Check it out - you'll be glad you did!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Procrastination Is My Middle Name

This was a weekend of starting projects. We have an upstairs bathroom that's been a big nightmare. A big, embarrassingly disgusting nightmare. It's suffered years of abuse from extremely hard water and from being a kid's bathroom, and now that no kids are here anymore, it's time to renovate it. The idea being, that when it's finished and beautiful, we can start remodeling our bathroom, and still have something nice we can use in the meantime. L and his dad actually started the renovation last weekend by capping off the pipes leading to the bathtub shower. The faucet has leaked for the longest time, and has steadily gotten worse. No point in putting new washers in those faucets - it's time for new everything. So we just capped them off for now. On Saturday morning the real dirty work began. L borrowed his dad's saw, bought some new blades, and started cutting up the fiberglass bathtub shower. Have you ever smelled hot fiberglass? You shouldn't - I'm convinced it's toxic and sure to cause some hideous disease or bodily malfunction. I made L put on a mask - I'm not willing to throw caution to the winds here, plus the dust couldn't be good for his allergies. I felt sorry for the neighbors - that saw made lots of noise for a few hours. But L really worked hard, and now we have.... just a really scarey mess. I don't know about you, but looking at what's behind the drywall kind of gives me the creeps. So, as soon as the mess was cleaned up (as much as it could be cleaned up) we just quietly shut the door so we can pretend there aren't bare wall studs and bits of insulation, and a sawed up bathtub where people used to shower and clean up. It's exciting thinking about the finished product, though. Kind of like having a baby. We went to dinner and talked tile and wall color and recessed lighting. So far, we think that the colors will be dark browns and black - dark earthy colors. No, no, wait - it'll be pretty, you'll see. I'm good with color, and I've only been wrong once: when the green I picked once for the kitchen (which was to match a green in some wallpaper) turned out to be so very extra MINTY when it was covering an entire wall. No matter - paint mistakes are easy to paint over. That's why I tend to get pretty brave when picking wall color. When Katie was in high school, we painted her room a deep turquoise with a lime green stripe around the top next to the ceiling. When you walked into the room you almost felt like you were under water. It was cool.
Which brings me to my current project. Around the time of Katie's room's turquoise paintover, she had a diving accident and broke her neck. No, I'm not kidding. It should have been much worse than it was. She crushed the same vertebrae that paralyzed Christopher Reeves, and she never even had to wear a halo. A miracle, was what her doctor called it, and that is what we knew it was, too. While she was healing and couldn't do much, I decided to paint this big old dresser that I had for her. I wanted to make it special, something very personal just for her. I decided to paint each drawer front with a different flower whose meaning applied to traits that Katie had. So I set to work, but time being what it is, I've never quite finished it, although it's been in use for years. I've finished the top, the front, and five drawer fronts. Now, 12 -13 years later, I need to finish the sides, and the remaining drawer front, as Katie and her family will be home from Puerto Rico sometime around the end of this year or early next year. So, as my projects always go, I'm circling it, looking at it, researching different flowers and basically procrastinating. I need to simply start. The room the dresser is in is finally not in use, so I can spread out and paint. Now is the time to get busy, and finish the project I started so long ago when my little girl was kind of broken, and I wanted to do something to cheer her up. This will be something from me to her that I hope will mean something. And frankly, when they come back from Puerto Rico, I want the thing gone so I can get the room the way I want it. Time for it to spend it's days in Katie's house, since that is who it was painted for. And then, I suppose, it will be time to start a new project. Heaven help me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cwa-a-zy Ducks & Wascally Wabbits

Last night around 7:30, L and I were on our usual evening hike around Yorba Linda. We'd just delivered some of L's freelance work to my brother, and so we decided to walk a 2 mile trail that winds around the golf course. It's kind of dark, and up high so the view is pretty. It curves around the back of some homes, and then into the neighborhoods on the final stretch. We'd crossed the little froggy pond, had passed the golf course on the one end, and we were almost past the part of the trail that goes along the back of the houses on the edge of the hill. It's dark, and you can hear critters running around through the tall grasses and brush. Rabbits were out hopping around, and we could look out across the open fields below to some homes way below. Very peaceful.
We were walking along, watching the rabbits, and just talking about life. Suddenly, there was a huge flapping of wings to my right, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a big bird rise up in the dark out of the tall grass. It startled me so much - I thought at first it was an owl because it was so big, and L thought it was a pheasant. But then it started flying in circles around our heads, loudly quacking. It was a damn duck. And he was mad.
A second one also flew up, and both of them flew in large circles above and around us, quacking and quacking. They would fly kind of close above our heads in the dark, and then circle around and come back again. Finally, we were far enough away that they stopped dive bombing us and just flew around all agitated. I think Donald and Daisy were protecting a little nest.
By that point we were off the trail, and had stepped onto the street for the neighborhood portion of the walk. I looked at L and said, "Well, that was wacky." And L looked right back at me and said "No, it was quacky."

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Want Every Day To Be Saturday...

You know, every week day I come to work, and that is pretty much my world Monday through Friday. Some days are better than others, just like anything. For the past three years I've worked alongside Ilse, and today is her last day. This is stirring up a lot of things with me, not the least of which is pure envy. Envy that every day will be Saturday. Envy that she will be able to devote however much time she wants to her grandson, children, friends, and walking along the beach. She won't have to request vacation time - she can simply get on a plane when the mood strikes. She was talking about volunteer work, taking some classes - the sky's the limit. I dream of the day when I can finally take those painting classes I've been wishing for, and try to take back what little talent I have with the eyesight I have left. Spend loads of time with my grandkids, making lots of memories. I know I have a few years before I'll be officially ready to make the leap and say:

But seeing Ilse take the step gives me hope that my day will come too. Hopefully, it will be when I say, and not because I'm just out of a job, like some of my colleagues this week. (Dreadful week. The longest ever...)
*(Cake pic courtesy of CakeWrecks.com - see their blog link to the right!)
Ilse has a wicked sense of humor, and on a bad day, she can keep me laughing. She is a social conservative, and we've had many spirited discussions. Between her, and a couple of other friends, I've learned enough to develop a conservative backbone and conscience. Not enough to really blog about it - I'll leave that to others who are much more articulate - but enough to want to learn more, be more involved in political and social decisions. Ilse is the political daughter my father should have had. He'd have been so proud! I've always been the can't-we-all-get-along daughter, very tactful and correct. I haven't liked conflict (still don't), but I've learned that more and more, it's time to stand up for what I think is right and correct, and be one of the voices that are heard. I won't say that Ilse has influenced my opinions - more that she's helped me to verbalize what I already felt because it made me feel braver to have an ally until I got used to having an opinion I was comfortable voicing.
It hasn't all been a bed of roses. Ilse is a bit of a pot stirrer. She loves to get things going, and enjoys a bit of drama. Expecially this past week, when we had 75 layoffs. Rumors were flying, and Ilse was in the thick of it, in her glory. She is funny, though. She will say the most outrageous things, and they're so unexpected that all you can do is laugh. No one is an exempt target - she'll bag on anyone. So I'll miss her. Its a change, and change is always a funky thing. It'll be wierd to come in on Monday and look at her empty desk. It'll be that way for awhile, then, before you know it, we'll be using her desk as a staging area for other tasks. *sigh* We'd all like to think that our desks will become an immortal shrine after we're gone, but in reality, once we're gone, we're gone - and life goes on.
We had a party for her yesterday. It reminded me of grade school class parties, where no work really gets done the whole day. It's too exciting thinking about the party. Except this party didn't have red punch and cookies. It had good food from Corner Bakery and a beautiful cake (I love cake) with strawberry mousse filling from French's Bakery. But today, this afternoon, it's only Ilse and me in the office, and it feels a little sad. Especially when I think about her going to the beach on Monday, and me going to work. That part makes me frowny.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Saturday Wanderings

Every Saturday Yorba Linda has a Farmer's Market in Old Town, and for some reason, even though I've lived here for over 15 years, I never knew this. When I was at Book Club last Thursday (yes, I'm still going, and this is why: I find out about good stuff like the Farmer's Market) the ladies were talking about it, and what great treasures they find there. Flowers for a pittance ($3 a bunch!) and lovely organic fruits and veggies. There was a booth with all kinds of nuts and seeds (all organic and you should all know how much Mr. Norman loves his crunchy snacks). But best of all was the herb seedling lady. I've told you all about my fledgling herb garden. I'd already planted basil, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, and lemon balm. On Saturday I added garlic flavored chives, some kind of leafy thing I can add to salads, another smaller leafy thing that acts like Bean-o when you add it to refried beans or other offending foods (this could be pivotal at our house), some lovely lavender, and a cucumber plant that can be planted in a hanging basket (because I only have a patio, so it must be in a container). Oh, and a type of sage that isn't edible, but it attracts hummingbirds. We have lots of hummingbirds, and I'd love them to spend more time outside my windows. I kind of like watching birds. I don't know much about them - I just think they're pretty. So don't think I'm hiding in bushes watching them with binoculars and cataloging them - it's more like, oh - look at that yellow one.

But back to the Farmer's Market. It was very small - I think we spent no more than an hour walking around, but it was so much fun. The flowers were lovely, and at $3 a bunch I can afford fresh ones every week. What a treat! At one booth there was a very cute Indian man in a turban who was selling some pretty pashminas. I bought one for my kitchen table which, when set with my dishes and nice stemware and the new flowers made for quite a pretty table, which you can see here:

I tried to take a little picture of it myself, but then L wandered by, and wouldn't rest until he'd dragged his own equipment out, and spent 30 minutes having his own little photo shoot. I have to admit that his pics turned out MUCH better than mine did, (really, isn't that pashmina on the table the prettiest thing? It has little sequins sewn all over it which glitter in the light. Stunning in candlelight.) but by the time he was satisfied with his labors I was very tired and grumpy. Mostly because before the shoot, I had oiled and polished all the wood downstairs, fertilized all the plants and trimmed them, arranged the flowers, done some wash, planted my new little herbs, and had run a bunch of errands with L. That may not sound like a lot, but when you spend 8 hours a day, five days a week basically sitting in a chair at a desk, that much running around makes my arthritic ankle swell like a baseball, and my whole body ache. I know, I'm a lightweight. An arthritic old lightweight, but nothing that some Excedrin and Advil can't remedy, so I was soon on the mend, and I even managed to bake a cake after it all kicked in!
All in all, it was a really nice Saturday. Got lots of things done, and got to throw some fun into the mix. I was actually hoping to have something bizarre or really interesting to tell you about, but I don't. Basically, we spent all weekend sprucing things up, gardening, and cleaning. So it doesn't all go to waste, I'll post some pictures here of our really clean house - specifically the living room. Welcome to our little house. Note the mantel and the armoire. L made those, and I finished them. I really like those two pieces. They were the first two pieces we did together as a couple. Since then L has made an office full of furniture for himself, and an armoire each for our bathroom and bedroom. Yeah. He's very talented. I'm waiting now for my retreat/office/grandkid playroom makeover. As you can see, it will be a complicated and tricky thing to design. A kind of something-for-everyone room. I think we'll start with a big table for me to paint and do my projects on. And we'll see what develops from there. I'm kind of excited about it.

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