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Monday, May 31, 2010

Before and After Step-Stool

There it was, sitting on the driveway as I approached the estate sale in Los Altos. I spotted the sticker ...2 bucks for a "Cosco" stool! Without skipping a beat...I picked it up and whisked it away.

So with a bit of TSP, some scrubbing and a can of paint...I transformed my fabulous find into this:

So, the refurbished stool has found a new spot in the new home of Mr. and Mrs. Shoe.

Friday, May 28, 2010

How Great Thou Art

(The monterey pine kissed by the morning sun outside my bedroom)

I love this time of year because the days get longer and longer.

By 5:00 darkness has started to fade and a new day begins to emerge.

It is too hard to stay prone in bed
I have much to do.
So, these past couple of days
I've headed out into my garden
instead of motoring to the gym.

The mornings have been gorgeous with
singing birds, a gentle breeze flowing through the trees,
a delicious fragrance permeating the air, and
sparkling flowers and bushes all freshly bathed after a night's rain.

My garden is my heaven on earth,
a place of solitude,
af peace, of meditation, and of safety.

This morning, I found myself singing (to myself)
one of my most favorite hymns we sing at church,

"How Great Thou Art"

O Lord my god, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, To Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,

And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.


And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.


When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
and then proclaim: "my God, how great Thou art!"

It was all that I could do to keep myself from shouting upward
(lest I wake the sleeping fam/neighbors snoozing inside):


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sneek a Peak Week 16

A few pics of what is blooming in my garden these days:
Drought tolerant "Phlomis fruticosa",
the common name is Jerusalem Sage.
I love the soft buttery yellow flower whorls on the tall stems
towering above oval wrinkley felted green leaves.
Cotinus coggygria (Royal Purple Smoke Tree)
between a couple of lavenders and Bowles Mauve.
It is called smoke tree because of the panicles
of spent flowers that appear like puffs of smoke around the plant.

Here is a close up:

Succulents are wonderful for they require very little water.
This is an aeonium (Zwartkop) which comes from Africa.
I planted a four inch pot with one "rosette" in the fall..
six months later, look what I have!

Iceberg.. this pure white rose is prolific and easy to grow.
It is especially wonderful in the moonlight.

Joseph's Coat against the fence...love the multi colored flowers.
Not sure how that weed on the left snuck in there!

Monday, May 24, 2010


I do not like snails.

(the morning's harvest, just prior to their demise)

Because they do this....

and this...

to my newly planted flowers.

I am surprised at the joy I feel in "capturing" the snails and/or

hearing the crunch as I smash them underfoot .

It takes a lot of effort and expense to care for the plants and annuals in my garden.

I am not going to allow this pesky little terrestrial mollusk to destroy my efforts.

That is why I show no mercy...

(By the way, I have never tasted, nor do I ever want to taste, escargot)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Which Do You Prefer, Dark or Milk?

Which do you prefer, dark or milk? ....chocolate that is.
The Sees candy from Easter is long gone but the taste of the dark and milk chocolate eggs from my kid's baskets lingers on....I love both.

Sometimes I would pop one of each (dark and milk) and create a mirk or a dalk.

As you already know, I'd rather eat small amounts of very good chocolate rather than gobs of the stuff that some people call chocolate but tastes like wax (in my opinion), such as Hersheys, Godiva. Alright, I do admit I am a snob when the subject of chocolate is discussed.

Recently, I was in San Francisco, I stopped by this shop totally devoted to chocolate called "Bittersweet Cafe"....

Their shelves are organized like shelves in a wine department. Types are displayed together. For instance, on one side of the store you will find dark chocolate bars ....

And on the other side of the store there are milk chocolate bars ...

They sell over a hundred different varieties from all over the world. Can you imagine being one of their buyers, where you'd have to scrupulously taste and consider each bar, just like wine tasters do? They even provide notes underneath each bar to assist you in your selection.

In addition to selling chocolate bars, they make all sorts of chocolate confections, chocolate drinks, and chocolate pastries. On top of it all, the cafe smells so good.

Next time you are in the city, you should stop by, that is if you like chocolate.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

What a sweet treat we had this week when we got free tickets to the Giants game and a parking pass in Lot A...closest parking to the park (worth $30 bucks) on Tuesday night. It was perfect weather for a ball game. But more perfect were the seats. Second row right above the visiting team's dugout; a straight beeline view of first base!(Row C, Section 108, seats 1 &2) F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S. seats. The seats were so good, DZ didn't even leave his seat at all during the entire game, which is so unlike him since he usually goes a wandering. I was the one who went to fetch some very delicious Gilroy Garlic Fries from the concession stand. These fries make your breath stink for a very long time, but I don't care. They are SO good.. I'll pay the 7 bucks for a basket.
Are you at all curious of how we became the recipients of such luxury? Here's the back story:

A little more than 37 years ago....I came home from college for the summer and started working at an employment agency office. The owner lived next door to my best friend in high school. I would work in her office and at times Gerry (the owner) would send me out on temporary jobs. She was a die hard baseball fan and had season tickets to the Giants (so if you do the math, Gerry has had season tickets for probably over 50 years now). At that time, the Giants shared Candlestick Park with the 49ers, such a windy, cold, and cavernous stadium. The Giants now play in the AT&T ball park which was built about 14 years ago. It is a most delightful stadium to watch baseball.

My youngest daughter is now working at the same office. She called me up late afternoon asking if we would like to go to the Giants game (she couldn't go). I quickly got on the phone with DZ..and two hours later we were in SF, sitting in the fabulous seats, enjoying the night under the stars. Such a fun way to spend an evening!

The only bummer was that the Giants lost.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Buzz Cuts

Whats with all the buzz cuts? It seems like more moms are buzzing their boy's hair, chopping it off in the shortest possible way.

I am going to be honest and direct: I do not like buzzed hair on boys.

I am a firm believer of equality so if it makes you feel any better, I don't like it on girls either.

It makes me think of someone in the military, or in jail, or those who ride Harley Davidsons and wear thick black leather jackets or those who were in concentration camps. At least keep some hair on top, especially if the the little chap has curls or waves. Why do you want to make him bald now...let that happen naturally..if by chance your little one is the unfortunate recipient of those genes that makes his hair fall out and never grow back.

I never buzzed my son...I tried cutting his hair and to be honest, those haircuts looked like it too...they screamed, "Another horrible haircut complements of the mother!" I finally started taking him to the barber. Patrick was his name and Peter would go only to him. Patrick always did a very fine job. It cost me $$ (I'm glad I only had one boy!) but it was so worth it. Peter looked so cute after his fresh hair cut with a tad of hair gel rubbed in.

I can hear you buzzing moms already..."It is so much easier to take care of" or "It grows out" or "It is easier to "cut" hair this way at home"...yada yada yada. I still don't like shaved heads.

To make you feel any better, I don't like real long hair on boys either. Nothing is more embarrassing when you think the youngster is a girl and she is really a he. I don't like long hair on big boys either. You know, the ones who pull their hair back in a thin stringy ponytail. And then sometimes they have a scraggly beard on the face. yuk. yuk.

Since we are on the subject of hair, I don't like goatees either. It looks like you can't quite decide whether to have or not to have a beard. You have a "half 'n half" kind of thing. Don't like it a bit...and just for the record, most girls/women I know don't like them either. I am so glad my guy shaved his beard (long long ago when we were first dating) and has no interest in growing any facial hair (except at girls camp or when we are on vacation, to my dismay)...If he did grow a beard, it would be all grey/white and it would make him look really old. To be honest, it really isn't very fun to smooch a guy with a stubbly, scratchy beard.

Well, this is only my opinion.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Four generations of mothers in my family...my oldest sister (of course she wasn't a mother then, but she is now), my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother.
Me and my mother....

My mother-in-law, Ilse, with my first born daughter, Sophia...

And me as a new mother holding my one week old baby (with my brother)
So to honor my mother...

I will plant these flowers by her front door

so she can be greeted with a bit of joy

whenever she comes and goes.


Friday, May 7, 2010


a flutter of activity caught my eye around the drain pipe jutting from the brick wall outside my office window.

birds darting back and forth, carrying sticks and twigs and foliage
from trees firmly gripped between their beaks,
building and fluffing a nest inside the cavity in the wall.

at times a foreigner approached to request
entrance to the round abode,
flapping wings ensued, a bit of squawking too,
and the intruder is shooed away.


looking forward to that day sometime in the end of May where I can watch mama and papa bring worms, and bugs, and other delights tightly gripped between their beaks to feed the open mouths of the wee little ones snuggled inside the pipe in the wall.

oh with great anticipation I can't wait to see the little fluffs of feathers emerge and fly away.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sneak a Peek Week 15

Good morning.

the tulips and daffodils are spent,

the sun is shining more often

the sprinklers are on

the air is warming

new growth and blooms abound

check it out:

rhododendron blooms

the best, the strongest and the most prolific are the first rose blooms

the pure white "skating party" iris is by far my fave.

even the succulents in pots by my kitchen door have blooms

and the foxgloves have produced babies

filling the garden with multiple flower stalks.

oh how I love spring.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Peek Into My Sewing Room

Adeline says to me, "Your sewing room looks pretty but when are you going to start sewing?"

DZ chimes in, "I think she gets more pleasure in just decorating..."

Ok...I heard enough already. I thought, you haven't seen nothing yet!

So, I went to work. Beautiful has been threaded, each spool of thread in its proper slot...the fabrics are cut...and we have been humming. I won't show you what I have been creating yet since I am giving them as gifts and you wouldn't want me to ruin the surprise would you?

Sewing and creating is so much more fun when you have your tools and supplies organized, and all in one place. Also, it is nice to have a whole room! If one's attention is required elsewhere, all you do is shut the door to the mess.

Do you want a peek at my sewing room thus far?

The bookcase came from DZ's grandmother's house. I painted it gloss white and love the fresh look. I bought the "flower" rug at Ikea. I've seen the same rug placed in a child's bedroom..I like the cheerfulness it brings to my room. The little green child's desk came from DZ's childhood (I think his dad made it for his brother)...and makes the perfect table to hold my small ironing board. Notice the Liberty of London round boxes? They hold sewing tools, patterns. The can with the flower under the table was for dirty laundry ..I've repurposed it as my garbage can...it sits at the perfect height to throw in the scraps. The chair is an actual "sewing chair" and came from a seamstress in town. and the enamel topped table was once used in a doctor's office.

And check out the vintage iron ...I bet you can't guess where I got it... ...at an estate sale!

Initially, I thought it would just be a great thing to place on a shelf, you know, a "decorative object". But oh no, as I was putting together a doll quilt top this weekend, my Rowenta iron was just too big and heavy, so I decided to try out the iron, and waaalaaah...it works perfectly, is lightweight and even has a reservoir for water if you are in need of some steam. I am in love with this little iron. Plus, I love the black and chrome. You might think I am a bit crazy oohing and aahhing about an iron. Well maybe I am...in more ways than this one.

More to come as soon as I get my dear DZ to hang some shelves and other things.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy Feet

Hey up there!

You've made me so happy. I wanted to jump for joy as we crossed the threshold of "Just Nails" on Friday. I could barely contain myself. It has been over a year since you treated me with a full fledged pedi. If I had lips, I would kiss you.

It felt so good to be scraped, snipped, rubbed, oiled, squeezed, pulled, rubbed again, painted, and polished. I was in nirvana.. If I could, I would have climbed to the highest mountain and hollered, " I just had the best pedi ever!" I am all silky smooth now...no more hanging, jagged, rough nails. No more rough, cracked heals. No more scratchy skin. MMMM..love,love,love! What a cool ruby red polish...makes it hard to miss those toes doesn't it! Now that the weather is warming up, could we start wearing sandals so I can shine? No more hiding under those shoes.

We do have a tad more work on the underside. It would help if you would cover me up whenever you go outside, especially when you work in the yard. At least you could put on some flip flops. Please. Remember that incident in Utah where you stepped on a bolt at your cousin's house? That was no fun. It hurt me terribly. Should have cured your bare foot habit forever.

I know, it feels so good when you let me be naked as I carry you across the lawn or along the beach (oh that sand feels SO good) or when you immerse me in cool water on a hot day. But, please, when you walk on the gravel on the pathways in the back yard...oh, that hurts something fierce. Please cover me up. Again, bare minimum...flip flops.

You take care of me like that, I'll take you wherever your little heart desires. We have lots of walking, running, hopping, skipping, swimming to do together...many many more years. Keep on applying the lotions, creams, salves...scrub me with your brush and give me some good rubs..In return, I will carry you very far..lots of places to go, things to do, people to meet and things to accomplish.

Hugs and Kisses.

Your loving two (and only) feet.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

One Year Ago

It has been a year

since our oldest

knelt across the altar in the Oakland temple

and was sealed to Mr. Shoe.

was escorted by the most adorable children
waving ribbon festooned wands

and danced her first dance with her dad

as Mrs. Shoe

they greeted, and laughed, and smiled and loved

and cut this gorgeous and delicious cake

I think of the many hands who helped me
on that gray day in May
one year ago today
am forever indebted
and feel the utmost gratitude
for their love.

what a year...

so new adventures already in store
right off the bat
in their second year of marriage
the purchase of a new home
looking forward to
a week full of packing and moving

and ready to create a place all of their own.

Happy First...Mr. and Mrs. Shoe

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Birthday Celebration in SF

My sisters and I
(all but our youngest, who is unfortunately,
fighting off a dreaded flu/nasty cold)
motored to SF for our annual birthday celebration
for our dear sister Mary.
I'm not sure how many years we have been doing this,
I can assure you, it has been many...

we came bearing gifts, flowers, and food, ready to party
at her cool condo (built in the twenties)
in the city by the bay.

Isn't she just adorable?

but first, let me tell you about "Mary", or "Mare" as some call her.
Mary is the "smartest"
she started reading when she was four
and hasn't stopped since
she has books lining the walls and piled high on her coffee table
or any surface throughout her home.
she has so many books, sometimes she forgets what she has and
purchases duplicate copies. oops!

she went to Stanford as an undergraduate
and Hastings Law school for her JD
sometimes I would go visit her, attend some of her classes
and pretend that I was one of those smart Stanford students.
I thought that maybe by rubbing shoulders with them
some of their smartness would transfer through osmosis...didn't work.

she loves to travel..I can't keep up with all the places she's been
she has been to Europe a gazillion times
I think France and Italy are her two favorites. maybe Japan is upthere too.

she has so many interests...and is continually taking classes
right now I think it is watercolor

she loves movies and is always up to date with the latest...
if it is out, Mary most likely has seen it

she has the most exquisite clothes, perfumes, furnishings, and shoes...
oh, the SHOES! they are a work of art in and by themselves
as a teenager, Mary would purchase beautiful clothes and shoes
but would only have a handful hanging in her closet
she still purchases beautiful clothes and shoes
but has a LOT in her closets
in fact the closets are f.i.l.l.e.d.
I have been the recipient of many of her toss aways
and never fail to get complements
every time I wear them

I could go on....
but let's get back to our celebration...

we grazed all afternoon.
started off with crackers, artichoke dip, a medley of olives,
and shrimp with cocktail sauce

next up was soup.
we had two kinds, chilled asparagus garnished with a dollop of greek yogourt
and corn chowder (the same chowder I took to Ronald McDonald House)
with fresh baked bread from Acme Bakery (in Berkeley)
See the beautiful china above? I understand that it is very rare..
especially since it is no longer made.
There are two people in the United States who own it,
my sister and Larry Ellison from Oracle ...
at least that is what I heard.

We then we had the vegetable torte,
(from Barefoot Contessa, again...it is SO good)
this time I took a picture of it.
actually, my sister took a picture of me holding it.
a butter lettuce salad with avocado and shrimp dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette
my mouth is watering as I write this.

we were stuffed..
so, we all ventured down to Fillmore Street,
a very hip and hopping area in SF
to visit the shops..we do this every year.
I didn't purchase a thing,
but Judy did
check out the adorable duds here
she got them for her new little granddaughter
what a bargain! one buck each.

came back, lit the candles, and sang happy birthday to our honoree
devoured a delish lemon pound cake (another Barefoot Contessa recipie)
with whipped cream and strawberries.

Oh...so much fun with my sisters.

Cheerio...until next year.