Daily Affirmation

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

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mellow Yellow...Not

Saturday started earlier than usual. Scott wanted to go to breakfast this morning so I was up and going at 7:30am. Plus, I was kind of inspired by last week, when I'd also gotten an early start. This getting up early thing on Saturday really helps you get a lot of things done in a day! I may keep it up. I haven't seen Scott in quite awhile. He's been studying for his CPA exam, and is mostly holed up in his room with study DVDs these days. When I call him he just texts back: "I'm studying." I get it - I really do. But a mom has to see her son every so often, and so I enticed him with breakfast. We headed off to the Original Pancake House where he ordered the blueberry pancakes with sausage, and I had the banana pancakes with bacon. Delicious! All the way over to the pancake house I told myself I was going to just have some eggs - some sensible, high protein eggs, possibly in omelette form. But when Scott said that when at a pancake house one really ought to order pancakes, I had to concur. (See how easily I am talked out of sensible convictions? Shameful...)
Breakfast was fun. We talked about everything, as we always do. Scott is a wonderful conversationalist. He's also a great listener, which puts him high on my list of people to spend time with. All too soon our pancake filled tummies were full, and his CPA DVDs were calling to him. Actually, I think they were nagging and screaming at him, but maybe that's just my perception. Off he went for another fun filled day of Auditing study, or perhaps Tax Law. I get confused as to what the current subject matter is. I don't need to know, and don't wanna know.
Following breakfast, I had a pedicure, which was delightful. I almost fell asleep in the chair as my feet were being masssaged, and my pancake belly was full. My toes are painted like little grape popsicles. Now you wish yours were too, don't you?
Back home, I got out my new paint brushes and finished painting the leafy vine on one of the new armoire doors. It still needs something...not sure what. I'm thinking maybe a scroll design or stripe connecting the top and bottom vines. I'm still playing with designs in my head, but it will come to me sooner or later. Hopefully before next weekend.

L worked out in the hot garage (106 degrees today!!!) sanding the paint off in places on the armoire, and otherwise beating it up and weathering it. An odd phenomenon occurred. As he sanded, the buttery yellow paint turned more lemony. Hmmmmm... we can't figure out why, but there it is. Very very yellow. I think it will still work in the corner of the living room, as that part of the room could really take more color. But it was a little disconcerting at first. I'm not totally sold on the "weathering" - it looks a little too sanded to me, rather than weathered. (We really need to take a class on furniture finishing techniques as we seem to take these projects on without really knowing what we're doing...) Again, I'll either get used to it and like it, or I'll research a technique to remedy what's bothering me.
Anyone out there have any ideas? Done this type of thing before? We painted the piece first, then sanded in places to the bare wood, and then we applied stain for contrast. I think it will soften up when it's varnished. I hope. Here is a picture of what it looks like so far. The door isn't finished yet, and hasn't yet been distressed. I spent so much time painting those goofy leaves that it's a little hard to think about them being sanded and distressed, but that's the plan. Again, I'm open to suggestions or ideas as I'm definately a novice at finishing techniques. Also, bear in mind that it looks better in person than in this photo - flouescent garage lighting and camera flash made it look a little garish. But at least you can see the project is getting somewhere. Where, I'm not sure yet, but we're further along than before, and I'm not yet wanting to cut it up for firewood.

But isn't that wierd how lemon yellow the paint became when sanded, as opposed to the yellow on the unsanded door? Luckily, I like yellow, or I'd be really upset.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Put Another Candle On The Birthday Cake...

"Put another candle on the birthday cake, you're another year old today!" If you know who sang that song on his daily afternoon TV show back in the day (Sheriff John), then you're my vintage. But I come here today not to talk about my birthday (because it's not my birthday), but to wish a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my oldest (in terms of years of friendship, NOT age) and dearest friend, Marion. I think I've said before that we have a tradition of calling each other on our birthdays, and today was her day. She was on her way north from her home in Olympia, Washington, to a place called Sequim, which, I have learned, is the lavender capital of North America.I like it already. Anyway, she was on the road on her way to spending her birthday with a friend when I called. I can never get over how good it is to talk to her, and I can never figure out why I don't call her just about every day. We laugh, we reminisce, we catch up with each other's families, we become girls again. I love every minute of conversation I have with her.

We had a wonderful weekend visit last year, when she came down here to Southern California. I've never been to Washington state, and I'd love to go there to visit her. L went on his mission there a couple of years ago *wink wink* and I know he'd love to go back and relive his not so wasted youth. I'm kind of hoping - really really hoping - that we can go up there this fall. I want to see misty rain, and greenness everywhere, and I want to see Marion.
Here we are as 8th graders a million years ago:

I am the dorky one on the left (feeding her duck, Phoebe June), and she is the ultra cool one on the right. I can't tell you how much I coveted her desert boots and velour top. *sigh* And her long, straight blonde hair.

After many many *many* more years, here we both are last year around our birthdays. We always say that each birthday we wake up even more beautiful than the year before. I'm finally starting to believe it.


I wish you good health, love, and every happiness. Thank you for being my friend since crazy 6th grade. You've enriched my life in a hundred different ways, you've always known what true friendship is about, and I love you so much!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It...

L is doing security duty at the Newport Beach temple tonight. He emailed someone in charge of the assignment, asking if there was any sort of "uniform" he needed to be aware of, such as a cap, name tag, should he be in white shirt and tie, etc. The reply he got was as follows:

"Here is the drill: You will check in at the front desk. Your name has already been submitted. From there you will be escorted to the Armory, where you will be issued the following items:

1. Black face camouflage

2. Barettas, 9mm with sound suppressors, 8 clips of live armor piercing ammo, and thigh holsters.

3. Black battle fatigues with full body armor.

4. Bullet proof helmet with night vision goggles

5. M4 A1 assault rifle, with AN/PEQ2 pointer and illuminator, ACOG 4x scope, and M203 grenade launcher.

OR -

A white windbreaker with "Temple Security" embroidered across the front, and an 8" dowel with a key attached for locking the perimeter gates at a certain time.

Good luck, and watch out for the rabbits!"

Now, I know that the windbreaker was more what he was expecting, but I know that this is more what he was hoping for to make his nighttime security gig more fulfilling:

*Never underestimate the power of PhotoShop! *

I wouldn't want to mess with L while he's on duty guarding parked cars! He'll be rockin' an i-Pod and sitting in a Ford Exploder, keeping one eye out for crime and destructive rabbits, and the other on his Pei-Wei takeout.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Till We Meet Again

I am sad. A friend at work had a 5 month old baby - Evelyn Grace- who passed away on Sunday. She had leukemia almost from day 1, and the little warrior princess gave it a good fight. Her parents are understandably devastated - both emotionally and financially, I'm sure. If I can hardly think about it without tearing up, I can only imagine the dark place they're in.
And yet - there is hope in the knowledge that we are not forever parted from our loved ones. We will be reunited with them. They aren't lost to us. I know that Brian and Bobbie know this. When they've been able to come up for air, they've expressed their faith in such a belief. I guess my question is this: even though you have that faith, how do you get past TODAY with a wound that's so fresh and raw?
I'll be attending the funeral tomorrow, celebrating (in the parents' words) Evelyn's short time here on earth. I want to go and show support, and try to think about her noble and valiant spirit being free from a body that was consumed with pain and sickness. I like to think she is rejoicing in the fact that she was sent to a mother and father who love her so much, and gave everything they had to make her well, and, when that failed, at least comfortable and secure in their love for her. When she finally slipped away, she was being held by her sweet mother.
I have no idea what to say to Brian and Bobbie. I wish so much that I could tell them something to comfort them or do something that would be meaningful, but I'm coming up with nothing. Maybe being quiet is the best thing for now. There's not much worse than trying to fill an empty hole with awkward chatter and empty platitudes. Why, then, is that my first tendency when I'm nervous? Please just let me be quiet and calm, and listen to their hearts in the silence. Maybe then they'll be able to hear mine.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy 98th Birthday, Grandma!

My grandmother is an amazing woman. In my life, she's always been there. In my early years, many Sundays we would go to my grandma and grandpa's house. My grandma has 8 sisters, and 2 brothers,and back then most of them would congregate at her house on Sundays. We'd go to church, then head over for a BBQ, and lots of laughing. We would always have Hawaiian Punch mixed with lemonade to drink. The house would be full of aunts, uncles, and cousins. When I got too old to tear around with my 9 boy cousins (the only other girl is 13 years younger than me!) I would sit in the house reading books and listening to my grandma's Broadway musical albums - Sound of Music, and UnSinkable Molly Brown. Sometimes she would let me sew on her old machine in the back room. Her bathroom boasted the pink crocheted poodle bottle cover that I'd made her in one of my Primary classes. In the kitchen, on a shelf, she had a Parmesan cheese shaker in the shape of a pig organ grinder. I love that pig organ grinder! My grandma would sit quietly with me and tickle my arm. She would perform tap dances with my mother. (Both so light on their feet!) She has an endearing way of quoting familiar sayings all mixed up - "Nana-isms" - (such as combining "Icing on the cake" and "Tip of the iceberg" into "That's just the tip of the icing.") and once she sighed heavily after listening to Vin Sculley on her beloved Dodger Radio and said "I'm going to miss him when he's gone..." (??? grandma - I think it's YOU that's 98, not Vin Sculley!) She sewed every one of my high school formal dresses, and crocheted each new baby a blanket. She is our family's greatest treasure, and we all fight over whose house she's going to spend Christmas or Thanksgiving at.

I have one of those "Grandmother Remembers" books that she filled out for me several years ago. I thought I would list some of her entries:

I was told I resembled... Nobody - just one of a kind, I guess.

As a student I... enjoyed school, but we were so poor clothes became a problem. I went to work at 15.

My father taught me to value... Life - enjoy what you have no matter how insignificant. Also, never to complain.

My mother taught me to value... Love, health, keeping clean and chaste. To make do and get by with whatever one could afford...she was a survivor and her endurance was very unselfish.
I met your grandfather at age... Sixteen

Our first date was... In October, 1927. We went to a movie. (I was so thrilled.)

Our most memorable wedding gift was... A twenty dollar gold piece from a friend, and a table cloth and napkins.

My most vivid memory of my wedding day is... We were just happy. We didn't even have enough money to go out to dinner.

I still smile when I think about the time...Marilyn (my mother) was 1 year old. Bad depression but I saved 39c to buy cod liver oil for her. I sat her on the sink to give her a spoonful and was so happy. I tipped the bottle over and cried like a baby as it all spilled down the sink.

My deepest values are... The welfare, health and love of my family. Grandpa had such definite values. I am proud to say we shared them together.

They invented... Radio, television, electric washers, dryers, dishwashers, microwave ovens (and computers! What amazing things she's seen in her life!)
They discovered... Penicillen, Salk vaccine to prevent polio, and many vaccines to prevent diseases from spreading.

I still like the old fashioned ways of... Not living so fast. I love small towns and often remember the fun we used to have on summer evenings.

Favorite saying... "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln

About my mother as a young girl... She was very good on her accordion (!!!) when she was young.

I am happy that we all... Can stay as close and enjoy family get togethers. That means more to me than anything on earth. I hope and pray it will continue and please after I am gone all of you love each other and when you get together know that I am loving ALL OF YOU.

As you can see, life was very different when she was a young girl and young mother. Grandma is quite a woman, growing strong and brave from the many problems she had to face over the years. She has a deep love for my grandfather, and misses him still, after all these many years. She has been a most inspiring example to me in my life. She taught me to make a meal our of whatever I have on hand. She made me feel beautiful and accomplished when I was an ugly duckling teenager. And she taught me to be strong and face adversity with bravery and a sense of humor - to be able to laugh at myself. Most of all, she gave me the confidence to know that I am unique and wonderful in my own right. She's given my children the same love and energy that she devoted to me, and now she's started in on her great great grandchildren. We are five generations strong in our family, and we owe our work ethic, our courage and strength in adversity, and our love of family and the Dodgers to this great woman. A rare jewel indeed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nightstand Paraphernalia

My blogging friend, Sue, posted a little game on her blog this morning called "What's On Your Nightstand?" In it, she detailed, complete with pictures, the items on her husband's nightstand as well as the items on hers. They were both neat and tidy. Ve-e-e-ry neat and tidy... You can see what I mean here.

L's nightstand, likewise, is very neat and tidy. Utilitarian. Functional. It boasts a lamp, a clock radio (to which he plugs in ear buds & listens to random talk radio that lulls him to sleep), a coaster (for evening Diet Cokes) and the TV remote (of course). Exhibit A on the left (L's):

Aaaaand Exhibit B on the right (mine)

My nightstand is ordered chaos. (Did you know that my middle brother has always called me Khaos? With good reason...) There is, of course, the lamp. And the clock radio. On top of that I have a dark washcloth to throw over the digital display of the clock because it shines like a lighthouse at night. There are the tins of Badger Balm ( applied to my "eye contour" area to moisturize and protect - my husband finds this hilarious), and Burt's Bees lip balm ( I hate chapped lips and I love Burt's Bees balm because it's pepperminty!) Usually there's an elastic band thrown there after shaking my glorious mane of hair loose for the night (heavy sarcasm there). In front of the lamp is a tiny Swarovski crystal clam shell with a crystal pearl . My dad saw it in a shop in Italy, and thought it looked like something I would like. He was right.
Then there's the pedometer. I like to know the distance I walk. It makes my aching ankle feel better if its an especially long distance.
I also have a coaster, although my late night Diet Cokes are rare. But I do like ice water. Resting on the coaster is the book I'm currently reading, "My Sister's Keeper." I've already read the ending,(Yeah. I secretly unwrap Christmas presents too.) but I still need to find out how we arrive there.
On the left, in front, is my scripture case. My B of M is not in there right now because L and I are studying it for our FHE, and it's acting as an oversized bookmark for the book on top: Ludlow's Study Companion for the Book of Mormon. Below that, lies the latest copy of Lucky Magazine - haven't even cracked it open yet. Fashion possibilities still await discovery. Hopefully this weekend. Below that is a coffee table edition of "Joseph Smith's America." It's from my parents' house, and I was just getting into that when we decided to study the B of M for our FHE. So, I haven't finished it yet, as there are only so many church-y things I can read at one time. Gotta ease into this gospel study thing slo-o-w-w-l-y. Below that are 2 unread months of Sunset magazine and 2 unread copies of Natural Health magazine. I'll get to them all... eventually.

So, as you can tell, my nightstand is basically a small Barnes & Noble, complete with beauty supplies, a clock to remind me it's closing time, and a snack section. And a small, delicate reminder that my dad thought of me in Italy.

What's on yours?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cleaning, Painting, & Family (not necessarily in that order)

I have a question for anyone who cares to answer. I have a lot of books I've read in the last little while that, while I had a good time reading them, they're not really books I want to save, and read again, and save some more. But, in my opinion, it's kind of a sin to throw away a book. Some are hard back, which makes the sin even more grievous. A couple of them are fast read summer novels, a couple are David Sedaris collections of his satiric stylings. I thought most of the selections were funny, but everyone may not. My mother would not. Anyway, what do y'all do with books that you don't really want to keep, but you just can't throw away? Especially when they don't particularly scream someone's name as a referral? You know, as in "I just know that my daughter would love this book!" Only a couple of them are book club worthy - but they were enjoyable reads all the same. Can you drop them into the book depository at the local library? (Free books for them!)
I know this is a relatively trivial subject, but it's been a hot topic on my mind ever since Saturday, when I cleaned out my closet in honor of the carpet cleaners impending arrival. I was shocked at how many books I'd stuffed away, and it would be nice to find them a good place to go. Like the library, if they'll take them. Maybe some of you have better ideas, so I'll wait.

L worked hard Saturday on the new armoire/entertainment center for the living room. One coat of buttery yellow paint on, one more coat to go. The doors are all painted, and ready for me to start painting my design on them. I spent a couple of hours on Saturday thinking about what that design would be, and I think I have it all figured out. I've posted a couple of pictures of what it looks like in it's present state. You'll have to wait for the good stuff. Genius cannot be rushed. (That's code for: I'm half afraid to start.) But start I will, (because L won't let me put it off much longer). Remember: that's why I YloveY him.
It's going to be a busy week. First of all, we need to grocery shop. Our dinners have reached the point of desperation. New provisions must be purchased, and soon. Tonight we have an appointment with the stake pres - actually L does, but they want me there too. As many of you can relate, that just gives me a nervous tic. But I'll put my game face on, and go support. Then we'll need to walk to relieve tension. Thursday night: color my hair!! Roots everywhere. Terrible. Last Saturday was to have been the day, but Betsy got sick. I tried to be understanding, with sincere concern in my voice, but I was really thinking *CRAP!* and had to resort to the spray-on root touch-up. Friday: both Tim and Andrew fly in. Tim (with girlfriend Ashley in tow) from NYC, and Andrew from Provo. My youngest brother will also be here from Indiana, en route to Education Week at BYU. I guess he's taking a break from being a doctah, and it'll be good to see him. He's an ENT - otherwise known as a booger doctor. We have to keep him humble. So, you can see its a family filled weekend ahead.
Most importantly: Friday, August 14th is my grandma's 98th birthday. She is one of the most amazing women I've ever known, and I'm so lucky to have had her in my life. More on this lovely lady on Friday. A Friday Sweet Treat.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

This Week Was Crashed Cars & Getting Creative

I haven't posted in a week! Part of it is due to a little work burnout last week (see last week's post), and part of it is due to the fact that - while sitting in church this last Sunday - my little car was backed into and crashed up. It's just a very very little car (a Mazda Miata) and a great big truck (I think - I didn't actually see it happen) didn't see it when backing up and CRASH - my driver's side taillight and bumper are broken and cracked. (Taillight broken/bumper cracked) The BRIGHT side of this is that the person left a note, and it's being taken care of. The down side is all the running around and phone calling involved with getting it fixed. L and I were both in really bad moods on Sunday over it, but really - it's such wasted energy getting that worked up about a car. So now, until we can get it into the shop (a few more days) I just drive to work and back home saying a little prayer that Mr Cop Sir will not notice my broken tail light. Luckily it's still very light and bright (and HOT) when I'm driving around.

One good thing we accomplished over the last few days was deciding on paint colors for my own special room. This will be the room that I paint and create in, make a mess in, and play with my grandkids in when they visit. I live 15 miles from the beach, but I still want it to have a beachy feel. Because I love the beach. I love the colors and sounds, and laid back feel of being at the beach. And that is what (I hope) my room will feel like. I found a soft sage-y green for a couple of the walls. The large wall and window alcove will be painted in a lovely warm sand color, with a glaze mixed in that makes it, in places, slightly pearlescent, like candlelight is making it glow. I'm so excited to start - I think it's going to be sooooo pretty. L even bought the tablelegs for the big project table he's going to make me, and - we ordered the chair for the table. This picture doesn't do it justice, but you can kind of get the idea:

I know it looks like it wouldn't be very comfy, but it really is! It has good padding (for my fluffy behind) and its glossy - rather than rough and itchy like it looks in the pic. I know its a small thing, but I'm excited to have a project room of my own. And I'm sure L is tired of sharing his office with me. It's going to be quite awhile before it's all completely done - it'll be a little here and a little there - but I'll try to post updates as they occur. Not that you're all going to lose sleep over my room, but sometimes its just fun to have a little peek at what other people are doing. It's helps ideas to grow. And I always love to show off L's furniture making talent - he's amazing! We're working on another project right now - another armoire to take the place of the one in the living room (the mirrored doors got cracked, and there's no way to repair them. Major design flaw...) It's built, and now we're painting it. That's where I come in. Which could mean one of two things, or both: (1) It will be really pretty (2) It could take a really long time to finish it. I'm hoping it will just be number one. L isn't a big one for letting me procrastinate. That's why I YloveY him. It will be painted something like this (inspiration taken from a table we saw at Roger's Gardens) :

So that is the very long story of why it's taken me so long to post. I could have simply said I'd been really busy, but that would have been boring, wouldn't it?

Good News: It's a Giveaway!

Yes, it's a giveaway, but it's not mine. You'll need to go to my friend Sue's blog right here to help her celebrate her one year blogging anniversary! She's giving away a custom poem, written by her especially for your special occasion, a copy of one of her books, a CD of one of her favorite playlists, and some wonderful stationary from two of the most creative sources you'll ever see. Not only that, but you'll be hooked on her blog. It's a lovely conversation every time she posts. Truly, I look forward to it every day. So, SHOO! What are you waiting for?? I know you like it here, but - for right now - do not prolong this new enjoyment and fun any longer. Get over there, sit down, and have a chat. I'm telling you, you'll want to go back every day for more!

JJHappy Anniversary Sue!JJ

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