Monday, June 29, 2009

Welcome To A Little Snippet of My Life

For reasons unknown to humans, some dogs feel compelled to help with the mopping.
Few care to bite the vacuum too.
But Lexie does. She thinks the vac is playing with her.
I have tried to tell her that normal dogs are run and hide when the vacuum comes out. But not her.
She helps with all manner of making things tidy.

Another Favorite Store

As I promised in an earlier post, I am now showing you one of my favorite stores.

It is called The Palo Cedro Gift Gallery.

The proprietor, Lindy, designs the best vignettes, don't you think?

Every time I go in there, I come out with something.

This is where I got my "Go Away" sign.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Second Visit

This is a fairly recent post, but then again all of my posts are recent.
Now I am going to get all nerdy and figure out how to connect this to Chari so I can thank her for thie effort on her part to put up with the likes of me.

Recently my athletic daughter said, “I need to go get myself some new cleats.” For those of you who are not athletically inclined, I believe these are shoes with little pointy things on the bottom to help keep one upright during periods of rigorous activity. (Although I happen to know that upon occasion she purposely hurls herself onto a dusty dirty “base.” Why someone would do this, I do not know.)
Anyway, I decided right then, that those were some words that would never come out of my mouth; at least not in that particular order.

This got me to thinking about things I thought I would never say, but I have actually said since moving to the country.

The first occurrence happened the very first day we were up here. I asked Rancher Richie if he had moved the horses into the other pasture.
Who said that?
The only thing I have previously said about a horse is,
“Look! A horse!”

The next unbelievable thing I said was, “Could you put up a clothesline for me?”

Did I just say that out loud?

I need to tell a little story here.

The summer I was ten years old, I had three younger siblings. One was an infant. This made for lots and lots of laundry. My mother decided it would be my never-ending chore to hang it all on the line and collect it when it dried ten minutes later. (Hey, it was summer in Oklahoma. Things dried quickly.)

The other thing I did that summer was sit on my front porch and play “Jacks” with my friend from down the street. I would get no farther than my Pigs-in-the-Pen level and I’d hear her call me to hang out another load of diapers. Aarg! I hated it!
I vowed to never own a clothesline when I grew up. And I have kept that vow until now. After all I didn’t want smoggy smelling sheets. Recently I decided to see if clothes would smell like sunshine out here in this beautiful country. They do. The country air dryer makes me bury my face in the sheets and breathe in the wonderful scent.

Then another outburst caused me to wonder who I had become. I was sitting here at my computer looking out the window at…
“Good Lord, there is a bull running down our driveway!”
(I found out later that it was a cow because it had one of those udder things hanging under it, but it had horns! I didn’t know that girl cows had horns. It had escaped from a neighbor’s pasture. Oh, those sneaky cows!

Here are a few more things I have said that make my mother wonder if I have been taken over by pod people:

“You know what I’d really like for Christmas? A compost bin.”

“I don’t need any new clothes. I have these cut off jeans, and my all-purpose dress.”

“Here chick, chick, chickies. I brought you some yummy cracked corn.” (I have been afraid of chickens all of my life. The way they look at you with one eye and all. And you never knew what they were going to do next! Creepy!)
“I love autumn. It is my favorite season.”
(Since I am a person who has measured her entire life in semesters, this is an amazing thing to hear coming out of my mouth! We used to call September the “S Month” just to keep from speaking the word aloud.)

“Oh good kitty, you’ve brought me a lovely dead mouse. No, you cannot bring it in the house.”

“Look, the chickens are on the front porch watching me through the door.”

No, I do not want to go out for dinner.

Of course there are still a couple of phrases that one will not hear coming from my lips. One of them is,

“This recipe sounds delicious. I believe I’ll go shopping for all these unusual and exotic sounding ingredients and make this for dinner.” (Williams Sonoma is a store full of chores if you ask me.)

If I do this cooking thing, my family will think I have become possessed by the ghost of Julia Child and they will quickly arrange an exorcism.

I wonder what they’ll think when they get my hand made birth announcement for our new baby calf.
You might like these stories:

Friday, June 26, 2009


These are my fairies who live on my ...well...I guess you would call it a garland.
This garland is hanging between my bedroom and my dressing area.
I put a Christmas garland there a couple of years ago and I liked it so I restructured it as a non-seasonal fairy thing. My husband hasn't actually noticed that it exists. He isn't really aware of his surroundings. It is one of his plus side attributes.
Go to Beverly @ How Sweet the Sound for more Pinkies.


Outdoor Friday!?
A couple of weeks ago my Northern California granddaughter and I were working diligently in my studio. She was making a scrapbook to take with her when she went to her dad's after school got out. I was making a tray to add to my wine/grape vignette on top of my china cabinet.
As we worked in companionable silence, I happened to look up to see our brown mama cow in the back yard. I squealed, probably an expletive, (sorry Haily), as I immediately thought of my garden in the front yard. Last year, every time I had it all planted and looking nice, the cows got out and ate it.
My screeches alerted our vigilant watchdogs who began barking profusely and chasing the cow, driving her ever closer to my garden. I rushed out the door screaming for Rancher Richie! My four-pound Maltese ran out with me adding to the frenzy and along with it the worry that the cow (on the way to my garden) would trample her.
Can you imagine the noise?
Rancher Richie, hearing the commotion, came running out the back door with his jeans halfway on. Seems he was in the bathroom when all this came to pass.
Haily and I ran into the front yard to redirect the cow away from my plants. As we continued on around the house, I discovered our black mama cow in the fenced in garden area feasting on the strawberries. When she heard me yelling and saw me waving my arms, she stepped across into the next raised planter and began to trample what was left of the bush beans. Rancher Richie with his trusty “cow spanker” began driving them all back toward their proper pastures.
He closed the gate he had inadvertently left open, opened the larger one and ran the mama cows back where they belonged. Now he was after the babies, who were happily dining on white roses. They ran to their escape gate, and were sorely distressed to find it closed. For some reason they wanted very badly to go back through the same gate they came out of. It took some doing on everyone’s part to convince them to go in the larger open gate.
When we had everyone back into their proper locations, we began to have a discussion about how all of this took place.
It seems that Rancher Richie was watering the doomed garden when he glanced up and saw that he had also turned on the sprinklers in the back yard, where I had earlier hung the sheets on the clothesline to dry.
They were not drying.
He became so concerned with the state of the sheets that he ran out of the garden, leaving the garden gate open. Then he ran out of the pasture, leaving that gate open as well. He came to discuss the sheets with me and promptly forgot that he had left two important gates open. I suggested we leave the sheets to re-dry. He went into the house.
As Hailey and I went back to work, I marveled at the fact that the slightest diversion from the norm will set a series of mishaps into motion out here on the ranchita.
The sheets dried again. There were no discouraging words. Just a bit of squealing, mooing, and barking.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

Sign seen where we used to live in Southern California.

Signs from where we live now.

Notice all the congestion.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Go Away

I have a favorite gift shop in Palo Cedro.
I plan to go there and take some pictures of her wares for you to enjoy.

Tonight I will just show you something I bought there.
It's this lovely Go Away sign!

Don't you love it?

On the flip side it says Welcome, but I NEVER use that side.

I don't want people getting the wrong idea.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Son and His guardian Angel

This morning my son and his lovely wife,Jen, came by to tell me about their terrifying attempt to fly home last night. The weather was iffy but they tried anyway. Their story was breath-taking. They flew sideways, horizontally, vertically, dashing toward the ground, being sucked toward the heavens. He is living proof that you just aren't going to die until it is your TIME! No matter how blatantly you tempt fate, it just doesn't happen. This is a story I wrote about him last year.

He landed on the earth just as Apollo Seven took off.
I should have known.
It was the year the hippie counterculture was alive in San Francisco, Bobby and Martin were assassinated,  there were raised fists during the National Anthem at the Olympics in Mexico City, and the only president who would ever resign the office in shame was elected.  The new baby's uncle was somewhere in the Mekong Delta doing something that had to do with supply routes.  His mother secretly wondered if she had any business bring a child into the world that was clearly going to pot.  Literally.

When Rob was a baby he was so sweet that his mother carried him around everywhere and her friends were sure he’d never learn to walk because of it.  He would turn his hands backward and press the backs of his arms close in order to mold his little body as fluidly as he possibly could to his mother’s torso.  He would bury his face in her neck and fall asleep when she rocked him.
As he grew, he happily began to enjoy the world around him.  He was still a gentle soul and crept into bed between his mommy and daddy every night.  When they tried to reason with him about the necessity of staying in his own bed, he would simply say, “But I love you.”
He began to plan his future at an early age.  Early on he aspired to be a garbage collector.  It was that big noisy truck that captured his fancy.  When he realized he’d have to touch  actual garbage, he changed his ambition to something less icky; football.  He had seen a picture of his daddy in a football uniform and he wanted to be like daddy.  It wasn’t long before he saw a football guy on television get the bejeebies knocked out of him and he revised his thinking toward something less potentially painful; the medical profession.  It seemed much safer.  A few months later, after he barfed on his pediatrician during a throat swab, he rededicated his life to art.  As a rule, artists did not get hurt or barfed on and the job wasn’t too icky.
So when did this gentle soul turn into to Evel Kanievel?  I believe he was about nine when I first came home from the grocery store and found him on the roof.  That was about the time he became curious about how various items looked when they were on fire.  He also enjoyed putting assorted items in the street to see what they looked when they were run over by cars and trucks. This child was going to require lots of supervision.
 He was also nine when he opened the shower door with a karate kick and the non-safety glass shattered and cut his leg so deeply that the muscle and an artery were completely severed.  We were all next door and I had sent him home to take a shower.  Suddenly I had a feeling that I needed to check on him.  An angel tapping on my shoulder , perhaps?  As I walked in the front door, I heard the glass break, and I was there to hold his leg together while the paramedics came.  As the emergency room doctor put the last of fifty-seven stitches in his leg, he told me that he probably wouldn’t have been able to make it to the door to call for help if I hadn’t been nudged by that angel.
He has since given that angel a workout, and fortunately she hasn’t given up on him yet.
One dark and stormy winter evening during rush hour  he went white water rafting down a busy four-lane street in a torrential Southern California rainstorm.  Twelve year old Rob confessed later, after I found his dripping clothes on the washing machine, that he just couldn’t keep his blow-up raft to the side of the street.  It kept going out into the traffic. Gray hair.
While relaxing on the beach one lovely summer day, I noticed the Huntington Beach lifeguard running into the water.  “Uh oh,” I thought.  “Someone’s in trouble.”  You guessed it.  Rob was pulled , exhausted, from a rip tide.  I noticed my second gray hair later that day.
While camping at Lake Isabella near the Kern River, he and his friend Mike went out to explore.  Along the way, he leapt over what he thought was a mound of dirt, which turned out to be a hundred foot drop near the dam.  He landed about ten feet down on a ledge and wind milled his arms backward to keep himself from plunging to the bottom of the dry gorge.  Mike helped him to safety. There was a sign nearby announcing the number of days it had been since anyone died in the rapids.  Nothing about any hundred-foot cliffs.
                                             Then came the Army years. 
  Eighteen year olds messing around with nuclear missiles that stand two stories tall  and contain thirteen thousand pounds of solid rocket fuel is a recipe for disaster.  Indeed, two years before Rob was assigned to the Pershing II crew on a base in Germany, one of these missiles blew, killing every soldier in the motor pool.  As a member of the Pershing crew he was told of this event and shown photographs of the carnage that a missile full of rocket fuel can do.  This was on his mind one day while on a maneuver, when the missile began to smoke.  This was NOT supposed to happen and understandably, the boys panicked.  He quickly flipped the off switch and joined his team mates as they ran in wild-eyed terror away from the behemoth.  The smoking stopped.  Surely that angel told him to flip the switch.  On another occasion, still in Germany, they were taking the missiles out on maneuver, and one veered off the narrow, muddy road and sort of oozed to the ground, landing on its side.  The boys in the battalion gently placed sand bags around it as they waited for a crane to hoist it back on the road.  Sandbags versus a Pershing Missile full of solid rocket fuel?  No way.  Sandbags and a guardian angel versus the missile? Simple.
Surprisingly enough, he made it to adulthood.
He married a beautiful and very brave woman.  Together they climbed Half Dome and stood on the top in the wind. They climbed icebergs in Alaska, and sailed, alone and strapped to their deck,  through a perfect storm somewhere south of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. 
They once sailed through a pod of whales in the Sea of Cortez.  The whales played with them, rocking their small boat.  Rob has a video of two of the whales swimming out from their boat at a forty-five degree angle, then rounding in toward each other as if they were doing a choreographed water ballet, and then turning, still in unison to swim toward the boat at great speed.  (Here the camera shows the sky and the deck of the boat and there is a lot of noisy commotion.)   Just as the huge things got to them,  they swooped under them, almost turning the boat over.
Rob took flying lessons, bought a plane and in four years of flying has come close to crashing twice.  He nearly killed himself and his first three passengers by taking off with an overloaded plane on a hot day.  He barely made it over the trees at the end of the little runway.  I know about this adventure.  I was there helping to cause the overload.  He is still flying and his guardian angel is still on the job.
Then the most dangerous thing happened to him.  His seemingly robustly healthy, and very brave wife, who was only 34 years old, had a heart attack and died.  Just died.  Right out of the blue.  I have never feared for his life more than I did then.  But he is recovering and will continue to do so for the rest of his life.
He has a beautiful new wife now.  She is trying to be brave.  He has convinced her to take up motorcycling.
They have bought two big ol’  Harley Davison motorcycles.  OK, dear guardian angel.  Do your thing!

The Little Butterfly

Rachel at about age 4 or 5.
(Music notes)
She has diamonds on the sole of her shoes.
(Music notes.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's Pink Saturday!

This morning I awoke with a start and said, "OMG! It's Pink Saturday and I haven't posted my PINK!"
(Eye roll from Hub)

Both of these pinkies are from the afore-mentioned trip to So Cal.
Sushi! At our favorite place, Mika. They treat us like long lost family and the sushi is the best!

The pink princess is the granddaughter. Just rolled out of bed on her graduation day.
Don't take my picture!
Just the shirt, Baby, Just the shirt.
Be sure to pop over to Beverly's at How sweet the Sound for more Pinks.

Friday, June 19, 2009

We Celebrate Jack, Too!

When we went to Southern California to celebrate Rachel's graduation from Huntington Beach high school, we also got to celebrate Jack's graduation into the teen years. He chose Joe's Crab Shack for dinner. Good choice, Jackson! They have a Way of making everyone notice that you are having a birthday.
Note to self: Stay away from that place next month.

Jack took this photo outside of the restaurant.
See? Even the ocean is crowded!

There was also a guitar concert at school. Jack's Junior High provides a class where aspiring Rock Stars get to build a band and perform. He also takes private lessons.
The kid is good, if I do say so myself, and of course I do.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday from Above

OK, Now. I have no idea how this first photo got into my collection of outdoor photos, nor do I know how to remove it Please recall, everything I do on the computer is by accident.

It is from the time we were moving from Orange County to Shasta County.
It is outdoors.

The rest of the photographs, (I hope) are of my home in Shasta County,

and the area around it, from the air. My son, having maxed out his ways of freaking his mother out, decided to get his pilots license a few years ago.

Now I get to see things from a birds eye view on a regular basis. As if I didn't have enough things to worry about regarding my boy child.

This is where I live.

I thought I'd give outdoor Wednesday a new angle

How To Go On A Diet

First you must admit to yourself that your closet has not developed the power to shrink items of clothing. Then you need to look at yourself in the mirror and say,
“Who in the hell is that?”
Step two, (I can do this a whole lot faster than Dr. Phil.) Give all of your goodies to a growing, fourteen year old boy if you have access to one. If you don’t, call me. I can direct you to one.
Step three, put a sign on your refrigerator that says,

“Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.”

Begin your diet by fasting all day the first day. Drink lots of water to flush your fat self out. By nightfall, wonder what on earth you were thinking. Skip cocktail hour and lie down.
Follow this procedure for the next few days, continuing to question your sanity. You will probably want to add a bit of tuna, cottages cheese, and brown rice to your water diet, however, not all on the same day. I don’t care what Dr. Phil says. One must deny one’s self and suffer when on a diet. I recommend suffering loudly. It just makes you feel better to shout,
“Dear God! I am starving! Someone just SHOOT me now!”

Now that you are on your way to being svelte, you may allow yourself to go out to breakfast with people-who-aren’t-on-a-diet. You smugly order a boiled egg and a small glob of cottage cheese. The others in your party order chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, and omelets dripping with cheese. You feel pious. Look at that gooey stuff piled on their plates! Don’t they know what they are doing to their arteries?
The biscuits and gravy look pretty good, though. You have been so good lately. You have a bite to reward yourself. Just a bite. You consider the event a success, because, as Dr Phil says, it’s portion control that is important.
After a few days, your sister comes to visit, bringing along a pecan pie. All of the fatsos in your family have a piece. You must absolutely not have any, as this would be the end of your diet and you know it. You watch them stuffing their fat faces with the pie. They are disgusting. You are just SO much better than they are.
The next morning you notice that what is left of the pie is still sitting on the cabinet. Someone has cut it crooked! You’d better even it up so it will look better. You cut off the crooked part and pop it into your mouth. You can’t just have a messy, uneven pie sitting around on your counter. What will people think?
Later, everyone decides to go out to lunch, claiming there is nothing to eat in your house. You order only a half order of the Chinese chicken salad, which you happen to know from experience, is huge. You still feel pretty good, however, because it is only a half of a salad, for Pete’s sake! Ordering a half order is called practicing “Portion Control.”
Go ahead, let these people, who keep trying to sabotage your diet, haul your behind to the movie. They get three containers of buttered popcorn that are the size of New Jersey. Let them try to tempt you. Of course, a couple of kernels won’t hurt. Popcorn is on many weight loss plans.
When all of the popcorn is gone, you condescendingly realize the others are just out of control and should surely join you on your diet, as you only had a small amount of it.
Later when you get home, you find that there is a hot blackberry cobbler sitting on the stove. Everyone digs in. That does it. You’ll just have a small piece. Hey, It’s fruit, right? Fruit is good for you. And since milk is good for you, too, you’ll just have some ice cream on it. You can’t have warm blackberry cobbler without vanilla ice cream on it. Oh, it’s delicious. That husband sure knows how to cook.
Uh, oh. Your cobbler is gone and you still have ice cream. You’ll just have to get some more berries to make it come out even.
Uh oh, your ice cream is gone and you still have cobbler. You must make it come out even. More ice cream. Portion control is a completely different skill when coupled with equality control. Perhaps Dr. Phil needs to address this dilemma in his book.
When you have finished eating, just go over to the sign on your refrigerator about nothing tasting as good as being thin feels, and add, “Except biscuits and gravy and blackberry pie.”

Monday, June 15, 2009

And the winners are...

I pass the following award on to the following people:

If you don't want to play, I understand.

A New Award!!!

Thank you Beansie!
Now I am to list 7 things I love.
I'm going to assume that my family members are a given.

1. I love to laugh. Today I was driving home from Zumba and I thought of the movie Major Payne and the way he shot the "monster" in the closet and I laughed so hard I almost drove into the ditch. Then I thought of his story time for the little kid and him saying, "Payne, I cain't feel my legs." "That's cause they aint there!" and I laughed some more, all alone there in the car. Oh I am so entertaining to myself!

2. I love to hear "5, 6, 7, 8!" and then tap dance with a bunch of tappers, in unison, on a wooden stage. Great sound!!!

3. I love to write. You probably noticed that.

4. I love old books, and I can spend hours in an antique store deciding which ones I can't live without.

5. I love Tivo.

6. I love to travel--after I get back home.

7. I love to be thin and tan and I have a vague memory of what that was like.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oh Yeah. Now I Remember Why We Left

While we were in Southern California Lexie got to play with her cousin Haggie.
It is hilarious to watch them!

We remembered why we left! How do people do this every day?

Notice the June Gloom phenomenon.
If they had the Rose Parade in June,
So. California wouldn't have so many transplants and therefore not so much traffic.

This was a regular, normal traffic experience right here. No accidents. Not rush hour.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Surprise! Surprise!

Just look at what I got in the mail today!
It's from Lynn Palazzo, at Her Creative Spirit; one of my favorite Canadians!
She's also one of my favorite bloggers!!
Just look at all of the lace and flowers!
And the bookmark! Wasn't it the exact one that I was "lusting in my heart" for?!?
Yeah, we do a lot of that lusting down here. I think I know what I will do with the lovely lace collar. I'll show it when I am finished. I know what I am NOT doing with the bookmark! I am absolutely NOT hiding it in a book!
It will be displayed in my home in a prominent place.
Thank you to Lynn from Lynn!!!

Awfully Big Shell Art adventure

Well there is still all that computer mumbo jumbo on my writing space, but at least it's letting me write below it this time...
OK Here's the story. Every time we go to our time share weeks in Cancun, I bring a little sand and some perfect shells home. Then I put the sand on frames and then add shells. Later I got the idea to cover a trash can with sand and shells and I use it in the laundry room where I keep all of my shelly pictures of the fam in Cancun. Several friends have timeshares during the time we do, so we also get to visit with their families, too.
I am now having an urge to paint the whole laundry room to look like the water, sand and sky and then perhaps decoupage copies of photos right on the wall. I'll share it with you when I finish if it turns out good. If it doesn't turn out good, I'll just move.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Awfully Big Art Adventure

This trash can is covered in white glue and then sand from the Cancun beach. (The sand in Huntington Beach is brown.) Then another layer of glue when the first one dried. Then add the shells!
The bracelets were made from a strapping tape core. I enlarged a photograph of the Cancun beach and water.

I decoupaged the Sand onto the outer side. I didn't want to put actual sand on it and have it sprinkling on me and into my dinner perhaps. (I swear we find grains of that sugary sand between out toes for a week after we get home!)
I put the blue water and sky on the inside and decorated the outside with the shells.

You can see other bracelets I made in an earlier post.