Thursday, July 30, 2009

According to Merriam Webster - yo yo -adj. a condition or situation marked by regular fluctuations from one extreme to another.
Bingo! That's me - one minute I'm happily thinking of the adventure that's ahead, making plans, searching the internet for what could possibly become our new, dream home, thinking about experiencing fall colors right outside my door, maybe even my first white Christmas.
The next I'm faced with the very worst of it all - saying good bye. Last week I went to the local Farmer's market for the last time. Tuesday I had my last haircut with the best stylist ever. Soon I'll need to get an oil change and a safety check from the guys that have kept me on the road and never, ever treated me like a dumb girl when I described a noise, rattle or squeak to them. Each of these has caused me to bite my lip a little and hold back a tear.
But now I've come to the part where lip biting doesn't work. Rats! Last night, I met with my quilting pals at the local quilt shop. I have had a standing Wednesday night date with them for almost 10 years - from nearly the beginning of my quilting career. Oh, I didn't want to go. I wanted to just hide from it all and pretend that I didn't really have to say good bye.
But I was brave, I just got in the truck and drove. I only sat in the parking lot for a moment, took a deep breath and went inside. They had planned a little send off, complete with potluck and presents, too. Including an address book all filled out with addresses, emails and phone numbers - like I wouldn't know where to find them on a Wednesday night.
At the end of the night, I was so glad that I went. Even with a few tears sprinkled in here and there it was just another normal Wednesday night with good friends, good food and a lot of laughs. Even a little sewing got done.
Tonight I have a dinner date with some gals I've known from back when I used to wear pantyhose and pinchy shoes to work every day. Probably a few more tears and a lot more laughs are in store.
When the evening is over, it will be back to my little basket of yo yo makin's. The good byes are hard but the friendships are long. They won't end any time soon.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Meet Jack-in-July.
I took a break from packing yesterday to do a simple carving job on my first home-grown pumpkin. I think he's pretty sweet.
Things are beginning to happen at warp speed here. I'm finding that I don't have a lot of time to keep up with blog writing, reading, commenting and responses. Please bear with me if you don't hear much from me in the coming days. Hubby and The Princess know to call out to me from time to time just for the assurance that I haven't taped myself into a box.
I'd like to leave you with a link to a really fun blog that I have been reading for some time now. Please don't eat sushi! Love, Mom. It's a poignant look at a not always easy mother/son relationship as told from the letters of the mom to son. Presented with humor and a healthy dose of exasperation, you'll look at your own parent/child relationships in a new light.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Check out the new digs.
No, we haven't found our new home just yet. But we did need to find a cozy place for Harper when we make the cross-country trek. She'll be traveling in style, sporting a new seat belt harness that will allow her to safely sit on the seat when she embarks on the 'queen mother of all car rides.' With her new collapsible crate, she'll sleep in her very own bed every night of the journey. A fresh supply of favorite snacks, food and water bowls for travel, our girl is ready for the open road.
I finished the punch needle project this week. As I punched, I got more and more comfortable with the technique. What a great way to get some near instant completed project gratification.
I will most likely finish it by framing.
I missed my 3 year blogging anniversary yesterday. I knew it was it was getting near, but had the 27th in my head for some reason. I'll throw a little belated celebration (giveaway) once the move is complete. At the rate we are going - it could be sooner than you think.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Today from the garden - a basket of ripe tomatoes.
And a bucket filled with eggplant, peppers and onions.
All to be shared with friends.
Then just for me.
My first pumpkin. I really held no hope that one would be ready before we pulled up stakes. You cannot guess at how excited I am over it. These were supposed to be little sugar pumpkins. The kind you roast like squash or make into soup. This guy is about 20 pounds. Stay tuned for Jack-In-July.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The weekends sure come and go mighty fast these days and things around the house continue to occur at near breakneck speed. This past Saturday and Sunday, I saw and took the opportunity to slow down just a little to catch my breath before the new week brings a fresh round of paperwork, errands and more packing.
I've received a lot of really sweet comments about my positive attitude concerning our move. I really appreciate them because I've tried very hard to find all the good I can in what lies before us. Still do not be fooled, I will miss so very many things about the place that I've called home my whole life. I'll always be a champion of California and all the many wonderful things it has to offer. A little piece of my heart will always be here and I've begun to find ways to take a some of my homeland with me.
Yesterday I conducted a little on-line retail therapy. Soon a baseball jersey will arrive at my door step printed with this sentiment. Lompoc is my hometown (pronounced Lahm-poke) and was once known as the Flower Capital of the World for growing seeds for flowers. Fields and fields of flowers, in some places as far as the eye can see. The scent from a bouquet of sweet peas just sends me over the moon - it smells like home.
I've had a tattoo on my ankle for years that depicts sweet peas - my favorite flower and The Princess' birthday flower. Last week I had some California poppies added to the design.
I know that tattoos are not every one's cuppa, but for me this one feels just right. I have a few more 'souvenir' type things to pick up. Hoodie sweatshirts of some of my favorite places will be at the heart of my winter wardrobe. Oh, I know they won't constitute my outerwear once I get to New England, but they will surely be a good part of the layered dressing I'm going to have to master.
While chatting on the phone with a friend yesterday afternoon, The Princess came into the room all smiles and bearing this sign:
With only one week to go in the summer term, I'm anticipating a celebratory Math Grade Dinner in my future.
Out in the garden, I spied this little fella poking up from the soil.I had no idea what to expect when I planted my little potato pieces in the spring, but I sure am glad to have the chance to harvest one before I turn over the garden.
On the quilting front, I set the hexagons aside long enough to just do something a little different. I dug through my reserve stash of projects and pulled out a punch needle pattern.

It has been a long time since I've done this. I had nearly forgotten how quick and satisfying they are to work on. Once the punching is done, I'll treat it with some Distress It. Then I'll go back to the hexagons refreshed and renewed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

How do you spell summer?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Oh dear, it's time to lose some weight. No, not in order to regain my bikini body - that ship has already sailed. The past two days have found me getting three estimates for the costs to move our household goods to the other side of the country. Boy, are we moving FAR!
To be realistic about the entire situation, we have a very modest sized home by today's standards. We have worked hard over the last weeks to throw away clutter and donate unwanted items. Still while I wait for those estimates to be prepared and delivered, I can only hear the not so dulcet sounds of *cha ching* in my head.
One area of our home where there is room for improvement is the pantry cupboards. I not particularly fond of grocery shopping, so I tend to buy in bulk. Not only does it save trips to the store, but it can often be a money saver, too. It would throw all that economical goodness to the wayside if we paid to ship canned goods some 3,000 miles.
So as a pure cost-saving measure, today I am making spaghetti sauce. Enough to eat for the next couple of days. There will be plenty to put in the freezer, too. It will be a welcome treat after the days of packing that are before us to have a nice home cooked meal even when we are too tired to do so.
Here is my 'Everything-from-the-pantry' creation.
A couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a heavy pot. Add to that several cloves of minced garlic and allow to begin to soften. Next two onions and three bell peppers roughly chopped. (I like to keep the pieces a little on the big side. They will cook down and soften. But if someone doesn't like them, they are easily picked out.)
Next add 1 lb of ground beef and begin to let it brown. Start adding your favorite seasonings, too. Mine is an ever-changing mixture of what's in the cabinet. Remember, right now I'm trying to use things up.
Once the meat is cooked I add mushrooms. Today I used canned because I need to use them up. However, fresh mushrooms are extra tasty. Now for the tomatoes. On a normal day I would use tomato sauce, a little tomato paste and whole tomatoes. Today I did not have them all in the cupboard. I used all the remaining jars of last year's canned tomatoes - oh how good they smell.
Right now it looks a little on the 'juicy' side. But left to simmer all afternoon it will thicken up a touch. A nice green salad and some garlic bread will make for a fabulous 'weight-loss' feast.

Monday, July 13, 2009

As the summer days heat up, The Princess has kept her nose to the grindstone with her studies. So much so that she has been staying up long past Mommy's bedtime. Still she knows me well. She knows my first stop in the morning is the coffee maker. Bright and early this morning before I could really quite focus my eyes, I could see a communique. What was so urgent that I needed to know first thing in the morning - before the coffee is even made?
I didn't even have to fumble to find my glasses.
I whooped on the inside - The Princess was still sleeping. Math has never come easy for the girls in this house. I think we might just have to have a little party tonight.
In other good news, I grabbed a few minutes with needle and thread this afternoon.
The last of the completed stars have been added to the hexagon top. Next up is to make some filler pieces for the sides, a few more diamonds to complete the row, then back to basting more black hexes for the final 14 stars. With three rows of stars to go, I am now over halfway there. Time for another little whoop. In the middle of the day, I don't even need to keep it quiet.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One of the things we did before listing our house was to hire an arborist to tame the very errant ficus tree next to the patio.
It was one of those things that needed to be done for a very long time, but was quite easy to overlook in favor of other things. More than the rest of us, Harper received great enjoyment from that tree. She would lie in its shade either on the cool concrete or better yet the damp grass from spring through fall.
The look on her face tells it all. It's just not the same anymore. She's found a new place to escape the heat.
She seems quite pleased. *whew* I feel better. No one wants to be around a cranky dog.
On the packing front, the contents of the stash cabinets is completely boxed up.
They look so empty. I hope the new owners will fill them up with something fun. Even if it's not fabric.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Here they are. The promised pictures of my most recent 'home away from home'. This is a local park that is part of the historical society in our city. Once the home of one of the founding families of the area, the home is a museum and a portion of the surrounding property is a park for day use and often the site of civic events and private events.

The house is opened to public at various times throughout the year. Docents are available to give information on the history of the city, the home and the family.

There are several gardens around the house featuring native plants, old-fashioned gardens, drought resistant plants and a rose garden. These are tended by volunteers.
Just a block from the Pacific Ocean, if you listen carefully and traffic on the main street is light you can hear the surf.
Here's a peek at some of the different roses and the barn that is a now a part of the museum.
The most fragrant spot is on one of the benches surrounded by the rose garden.
I've spent a lot of time at or near this park during the years we have lived here. It was a particular place of refuge this past week when I needed a place to just 'be' with Harper for long stretches of time. It never occurred to me how much I might miss it until I started taking pictures to share and realized that I'll be leaving it behind - perhaps much sooner than I could have imagined.
While I'm sure I'll miss this familiar spot, I know there are parks waiting for me in the east. They will be filled plants and flowers that I'll be excited to see and learn about for the first time. And there will be more history than I can shake a stick at. New and exciting things are just around the corner.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Have you ever followed a soap opera? At some point in a storyline, there will be a character who develops a devastating, yet temporary medical condition. Well my friends, over the weekend I may have become my own soap opera character. My condition is not a medical problem. Instead it falls under the real estate realm. You see, I have come down with an acute case of 'Dust-Free OCD' *gasp*
First you should know that I could probably be a little obsessive/compulsive in certain areas of my life if I am not careful. Remember the movie Sleeping With The Enemy? The husband insisted on maintaining a certain, albeit frightening, order to things in the home. One was the striped towels in the bathroom. We had striped bath towels at that time. I noticed how much better they looked on the towel bar when they had been perfectly arranged. Rather that travel down that slippery slope, we purchased all new, plain white towels and removed the towel bar in favor of towel hooks. Those white towels look so much better when casually tossed on a hook.
I think it's a wonderful thing that I enjoy primitive quilts. So much the better for me to NOT always concern myself with perfection in pointy points, on grain plaids or a perfectly straight stripe. Good piecing is not thrown out the window in favor of a casual or naive design, but I don't spend hours frustrating myself over correcting problems that most likely would only be seen with my eye.
So what happened to me this weekend does not come as a total surprise. The 'For Sale' sign went up, the first call for a showing came in, and I got to work. Remember that we have been prepping for the real estate market for some weeks now. It is not as if the place was in a shambles. But I am now compelled to dry out the sink if the next-door-neighbor turns on the tap. It feels as if the feather duster and vacuum cleaner are newly attached appendages.
On Sunday the kitchen floor was mopped - twice! I now shake the footprints out of the bathroom rugs each time I leave. I'm concerned about how the dishes will look inside the cabinets when I remove a plate or two for meals. I'm exhausted!
The good news is that interest in seeing the house was intense. We had 10 inquiries and at least 6 of those came by for a look. I'm hoping to hear some feedback from our realtor today.
We ditched out each time someone was scheduled to come by. Sunday afternoon there were appointments back to back for three hours. Harper and I headed to the local park, took a short walk then we spread out our picnic quilt in the grass so she could people watch while I read a book. I took a picture with my cell phone that has gone to cyberspace oblivion. Harper very kindly posed again for me in our backyard.
Next time we go, I'll bring along the camera to take some photos of the park and it's very lovely rose garden. But for now, I gotta go . . . . I think there's some dust over in that corner.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

To all who are celebrating . . . . have a great 4th of July!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Remember these? After Calico Amy left a comment on that post, I knew I had to do this.
I mentioned to Karen at Log Cabin Quilter what was on the menu and she said she had not heard of Tomato Pie. So I thought I would share the recipe again. For our family, it really has come to symbolize summer and the bounty of our garden.
I no longer have the link to the original website for the recipe, just the copy I've pasted into my 'scrappy cookbook.'
I use this recipe for my crust. It really is an easy and delicious crust recipe. For savory pies, such as the tomato pie, I substitute olive oil for vegetable oil.
We ate this pie for dinner. It's twin will most likely become Sunday brunch. It is tasty hot or cold - add a couple of eggs over easy and a side of fruit and you've got yourself a wonderful breakfast.
Something new got planted in our yard today - the 'For Sale' sign. I won't have to water it, or weed it, or try to keep squirrels away from it. But in even better news - whoever our buyer is will end up with this growing-by-the-day pumpkin to be used as the first jack-o-lantern in their new home.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

This is just the beginning.
This year I planted four tomato plants in the spring. After the lousy harvest from last year, I was determined to make a change for the better this year. My plan is working. Each one of the plants has now surpassed the 5 foot mark with one now over six. Once commenter described them not as plants, but as trees. I cannot disagree. Not only are the plants tall, they are thick with vines that are heavy with fruit. Since I won't be canning this year, I'll be making friends (or enemies, as the case may be) by handing out tomatoes to every stranger I meet.
Not to be outdone are the squash plants.Look at that big guy on the left. A testament to the fact that you should NEVER turn your back on a zucchini plant. I'm out there daily looking for things to pick. That one must have been hiding under a big leaf every time I went out the door. Apparently zucchinis are tricksters.
I'm finding a little more time to stitch each day.
Yesterday I added five more diamonds to my pile. Another evening or so of that I'll be back to stitching rows. A couple of months back I would have never dreamed that I would be getting this close to completing the top. Now like a horse headed to the barn door, I can hardly wait.