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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Morning

Eyes popped open at 6. Got up at 6:15.
It was raining and cloudy outside so instead of pulling on my swimming suit
(not that rain, wind or cold ever deterred me in the past),
I put on my sweet apron (the one I recently scored at an estate sales for 2 bucks)
went downstairs and started chopping, slicing, and cooking in the kitchen.
Women in our church sign up to take a pot of soup and a plate of cookies
each Wednesday to the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford.
Today was my turn.
So in the wee hours of the morning
I made Corn Chowder (from Barefoot Contessa)....

and Snickerdoodles (from Betty Crocker)....

Made some hot chocolate in my spiffy Bialetta (a Christmas present from Sophie)...

I then hopped in my car to deliver the eight Flower Carpet roses over to my parent's house that I had picked up the night before at Home Depot.

If you are ever in need of a good ground cover rose, this one is the best. It is easy to grow (not fussy), comes in hot pink, cherry red, white, apple blossom, and a new one, pale yellow, and the it blooms continuously.

I would have preferred to stay and chat with my folks, but needed to dash off to work.

What a whirlwind of a morning!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

My 2010 Earth Day started early this morning by spending an hour in my backyard, pulling some weeds, tilling the soil, planting some anxious plants and enjoying the sunshine among my "friends" (birds having breakfast, plants with drops of moisture clinging to their leaves and flowers starting to burst forth).

It felt so good.

I reflected upon that first Earth Day in the spring forty years ago...

I was a sophmore in high school.

I distinctly remember that the door was closing on the permited use of DDT in controlling pests on crops.

I remember pollution was a big problem in the bay area.

And I remember thinking each of us must do our share in taking care of our planet.

You might wonder, how can I take better care of my little spot on earth?

Some suggestions can be found here and here (just added the 2nd one)

So, between today and tomorrow, this is how I plan to celebrate Earth Day:

plant my tomato plants

and rake the leaves in the front yard

and place them in the compost

and pull the copius amounts of weeds

and walk home from work

and stop by DeMartini to pick up some fruits/vegetables

and place them in my canvas bag

and have a meatless dinner

and fill the recycle bins (pick up is tomorrow)

and find an estate sale.

How will you hug/kiss/love our earth?


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Elimination Update

Several months ago I swore off the consumption of soda--remember my pledge?

It looks like I was on the right track...check out this article here.

I admit I have fallen from the wagon at times.

Once, Adeline discovered an almost full liter bottle of Cherry Pepsi hidden in the furthest section of the refrigerator and proceeded to dump it out in the sink (to DZ's chagrin). I couldn't help it, Safeway had a special, 3 liters for a buck. I succumbed and purchased one.

DZ busted me after discovering a partially consumed can of Pepsi on the shelf in the refrigerator. I couldn't finish it..for I really don't like the taste of soda anymore. After taking a sip...I asked myself "Why even bother..this is horrible!" So, DZ finished it off.

I haven't dropped any lbs., but I think I've saved $, have healthier teeth, and feel better.

To those of you who continue to drink the stuff...just think of the 7 tsp. you are ingesting each time you down a 12 oz. can of soda.

To satisfy your thirst, DRINK WATER INSTEAD! Your kidneys will love you for it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Latest Finds

Went to a very fun estate sale in Los Altos this past weekend. The woman was getting rid of the stuff from the family home she grew up in. We are similar in age, so many of the items for sale were from the 50's , 60's and 70's.

Just wanted to share some of my finds...
(Left the price tag on ... can you believe I got it for 1 buck!!)

Found this very cool, vintage water jug.
It is in perfect shape...all except for a missing lid.
I've been searching for a replacement lid on line..to no avail.
Lucky for me, my fellow thrifting sisters (G and M)
went to Urban Ore in Berkeley and tadaa..found a lid!
It isn't the original "chrome" lid, but it is a lid!
I can't wait for our next family gathering, or a picnic,
where I will serve some yummy lemonade or sparkling punch.
I really don't think Therma-Jug has ever been used!

Here are some more fun treasures:

And for 10 cents each, I purchased several flower frogs
(to add to my collection),
a green vase/bowl and two boxes of Plastite, in their original boxes.
I am really not quite sure how to use the stuff
but the boxes looked so neat I just HAD to pick them up.
A new spot has already been selected to display these items
out in the garden shed.

Have you ever seen anything like this?

For 10 cents, a very unique type of flower arranger
with an instruction booklet, in its original box.
I can't wait to try it out!

Purchased many more small treasures
but will post some on a future post
after I take before/after pictures.

Toodles (I haven't said that in about thirty-five years!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sock Widows

These baskets are filled with sock widows.

The top one is for sport socks (white)

The bottom basket is for dress socks (dark)

It seems like every time I remove laundry from the dryer, I have at least one sock missing.

I swear, two matching socks go into the washing machine, but somewhere between placing the clothes IN the washing machine and pulling the clothes OUT from the dryer, at least one sock (of a pair) is MIA

You'd think both socks could disappear at the same time.

Oh no...not that simple.

I can put two pairs of socks (different styles) in and can lose one sock from each style...not two socks from the same...so now I have two widows. How frustrating is that?

Here are some proposed solutions to my dilemma:

1. Throw all the widows away (oh that sounds so sad) and buy a dozen pairs of socks...all of one kind, that way, if one goes missing, I can at least match up the widow with another of the same kind. (This is the most expensive proposition for I have spent a lot of $$ on socks...I am always hoping the matching sock will show up ..and occasionally it does)

2. Place all socks in a mesh bag and throw that in the machine. (Do the socks get clean enough this way? Wouldn't it take longer for the socks to dry?).

3. Pin the socks together.. if one goes missing, both socks go to sock heaven (this seems like the best solution to me)

In the meantime, until I purchase a packet of pins, I will continue to go to the gym or on my hikes with mismatched socks.

I hope no one notices..

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sneek a Peak Week 14: White Tulips

I just have to show off the tulips in my front yard

"Maureen"...my favorite

Because their white heads stand up so strong

In spite of being hammered by the rain and

Battered by the wind

(Maybe Maureen can be a metaphor for life?!?)

I am greeted with this sight
Whenever I open my front door or pull into the driveway

What a treat indeed

And a huge smile is plastered across my face

How could you be sad or angry or anything but filled with joy

When one gazes upon this?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Feed the Birds

I love waking to the sound of birds chirping early in the morning.

This morning as I left to go to the gym, the birds were all up, yacking away.

Have you wondered what they talk about?

Maybe they tell each other where they plan to travel for the day.

Maybe they tell each other the best yards for food.
A cool bird feeder Martha picked up for me, you guessed it... at an estate sale.

Maybe they tell each other where the tallest trees grow or the best pyracantha bushes, you know the ones that make the birds drunk, where the birds get disorientated and fly into windows.

Maybe they tell each other the yards to avoid..the ones with dogs and cats.

Maybe they tell each other the best place for a bath.

Purchased over 25 years ago at an estate in San Jose.

I can hear it all now, in bird language: "Hey, fly over on over to the Z's yard. There are bird feeders, bird houses and bird baths. Watch out, though, they have a big fat black cat! He is so fat, he has a hard time getting off the ground and up in a tree, so you are pretty safe."

This morning I loaded up my bird feeders with seeds...
and filled the baths with fresh water...

and now I wait for the birds to come to visit.
They are all welcome.... unless they are crows.

Crows, you are not welcome. I do not like you. You remind me of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, "The Birds". You are loud and annoying.
Ask my sister Martha about crows...she has several resident crows that perch in the trees surrounding her yard. They follow her wherever she goes ..when she is in the front, they are there..when she goes in the back, they follow her. I kid you not. Sometimes they dive bomb her. They sit outside her bedroom window and caw...I really think they know it annoys her. They steal lunches from the school yard nearby and bring them to the bird bath, dip the sandwiches in the water, and then leave the garbage. Crows...you have very bad manners and can all go away!

So for now, I sit by my bird baths, feeders and houses and wait for the birds to come for a visit...all except for the crows.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Liberty of London

Have you been to Target lately?

Have you seen those pink and white signs

Hanging from the ceiling throughout the store?

Have you heard of Liberty of London?

If you haven't heard...it is a company from London

(hence their name!)

A little synopsis of their history can be found here and here.

I like the Asian influence..more specifically the Japanese kimonos

I also like the romantic feel of their fabrics

The colors, the patterns and the style ....

So, since I am unable to travel across the pond to London

The next best bet was to travel across town to


Not quite the same, but I can pretend can't I?

I won't show you all my purchases (notice the plural)

But I'd like to share one thing I got:

Now, wouldn't you feel like quite the stylish gardener

Wearing a pair of these while you pull weeds?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Try This Recipe!

I think I have all of Ina Garten's recipe books (Barefoot Contessa). I have prepared many of her recipes because they are always so scrumptious. I made her Vegetable Torte for our family Easter gathering last week and it did not disappoint me. My family enjoyed it too, even my twenty something nephew, Daniel, and my brother, who subsequently prepared it for one of his fabulous dinner parties.

Check out the recipe here

Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the one I made... somehow it escaped the camera lens, so here is a picture of a torte made by someone else:

Doesn't it look pretty? It has such a high wow factor, but more importantly, it tastes so good too. It is nutritious, great dish for vegetarians, and low in calories. Also, it can be made the day before and has a nice blend of flavors.

Here are some suggestions to enhance this dish even further:

  1. double the recipe and put it together in a spring form pan, so much easier to remove
  2. bake all the ingredients....including the zucchini (slice the zucchini lengthwise)
  3. BBQ the veggies, it heightens the flavor
  4. add a layer of goat cheese
  5. drizzle a tad of dressing over each serving
Such a wonderful dish to serve for a luncheon, dinner, brunch or even breakfast!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sneak a Peek Week 13

I love the growth that first appears

on rose bushes in the spring

the delicate purple/brown and green leaves

sprouting from the canes

tiny buds in their infant state starting to emerge

waiting for the warm spring sunshine

to feed their growth

these first spring rose blooms are

always the best

tulips blooming all over

some of my favorites, such as the pale pink Esther above

combined with Maureen

pink and white...mmmm so girly

the coppery purple leaves are just now sprouting forth on the smoke bush

later in the spring, blossoms that look like little poofs of smoke
(that's the reason for the name)


are you getting a feel for the colors I like?


my first bloom on this climbing rose

which entwines with a clematis (Montana) which has just started blooming

so delicious
whenever I step out my kitchen door

I am hit with the perfume of this


climbing and twisting all over the trellis

such a sweet aroma

as one sits beneath the canopy

unless you have allergies (which luckily I don't)

these tulips were planted several years ago

and every year they treat me

with a slightly different color

lovely mottled pink/white

What are some of your favorite flowers in the garden?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Estate Sale Finds

Undoubtedly you already know

One of the things that brings me much joy

Is finding

Treasures at estate sales (or thrift stores)

I know what you are thinking

That woman does not need anymore stuff

Don't worry

I haven't forgotten my pledge made

At the beginning of the year

The one where the garage will be cleaned out by Dec. 31st

(I still have 9 months to go)

I know you haven't seen the garage lately

But if you could

You'd see that it is still pretty crowded in there

Things have found a new homes

But,then there are things that have joined the group

Of items sitting out on that cold, hard, cement floor

In spite of the aforementioned...

Martha and I hit TWO estate sales on Saturday

One estate saw our pretty faces twice

(once on Friday...and again on Saturday)

The second day is always better

Because the cheap prices are even cheaper

Especially since it was Easter weekend

They wanted the stuff out....

You must understand this hobby

We are rescuing the items from being tossed

Because that is where a lot of it goes

I know we don't NEED any of it

But you will never know the joy it brings


To reuse, recycle, and find new purposes

For these little treasures

Here is a glimpse of my finds

(The vintage purses are from I. Magnin, the three candlestick holders are from Japan, the little giraffe will be added to my baby shower collection, the hammered aluminum ice bucket will be re purposed in my office or sewing room, the measuring cups will be used as scoopers for flour/sugar, the candles in their boxes will be displayed, the embroidered apron will be used, the aluminum teapot with red bakelight will be given as a gift, the green plastic measuring spoons and the baster in its original box will be used)

(A cake plate with aluminum top has already been used to display our Easter carrot cupcakes)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter at Our Home

The bunny boxes came down and

decorations for Easter came out....

bunnies and chicks...

and eggs galore...

baskets for the kids...

doesn't matter their age...

they still get a visit from the Easter Bunny.

(been using the same baskets for over twenty years)

and pictures of us in our easter outfits from forty five years ago...
(my mother made many of those dresses in the pictures above)

flowers arranged for the dining room...

and flowers in the kitchen

And then had the fam over to celebrate

love being together.

Gayle and sweet Adeline

dad and Meagan
Gwen and Johnny (and a partial Martha)

the spread.

Joann, Peter and Emma
and Paul

mom and Paul
lemon tart made by Martha

and carrot cupcakes

so much fun...

so much food...

so much visiting

(in spite of the the cold and the rain)

Happy Easter to you all.

Friday, April 2, 2010

White Sheets

I love clean fresh sheets....

especially white Egyptian cotton 400 count ones ....

nothing is better than pretending I am at a five star hotel

and taking a soak in my jacuzzi tub...

and drying off with a puffy white thick towel...

and throwing on my white terry robe and slippers

and turning on the tube

or reading a book...

and then sliding between those smooth elegant sheets...

I look forward when the weather is warm

and I can hang my sheets outside to dry

where fresh air lingers between each thread

and one can feel kissed by the sun

enveloped in fresh white sheets

oh...they do make for the best dreams

and the most sound sleep....

sweet dreams

(check out the Charisma sheets at Costco
best deal ... $39.99 for a queen set and 4 pillow cases)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Whatsup With This Weather?

It has been unseasonably cool this spring.

It is cloudy right now and is suppose to rain today.

We usually have rain, but not cold rain.

Right now it is 53 degrees, up from a low overnight of 38 degrees. That is cold for around here.

Can you believe it snowed on Mt. Diablo!

This is unusual for April 1st.

On the bright side, my blooms have lasted longer due to the cool weather.

I am also grateful for the rain, for I don't have to water.

I do wish I could put away the winter attire...getting a little tired of the gray, black and navy....

and pull out the spring cottons, bright colors and sandals.

All in due time....my pretty...all in due time.

The Shoe House

Mr. and Mrs. Shoe have been looking to buy a house for several months.

They would get on their computers, search for and find the houses they were interested in, plug the address into their Iphone and go out looking...and looking ...and looking.

They took me with them a few times. At times, I am sure they felt discouraged.

They kept looking and finally found a house they both liked. Of course I liked it too.

An offer was made and accepted last night! Can you believe they beat out two other all cash offers...quite a feat I must say.

This is exciting.

Let me share with you the 10 best things about 143 Bonita:

1. It hasn't been touched, meaning, no ugly remodel jobs, original tile, fixtures....

2. It has character and patina...

3. It is spacious inside and out....(PARTY TIME!)

4. It is almost ready to move in....

5. It has had only one owner....

6. It was built in 1948 (nice vintage era where they knew how to build solid houses).....

7. It has a lovely address --nice street name...

8. It is on the peninsula--it's not too far away....

9. It has a partial basement (for storage)....

10. It is on a quiet street..