Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to you and your family for much love, peace and laughter in 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Cozy Evening At Home

It has been either stormy or cold this week. The last two days have been so cold. It was 29F degrees as I drove to work today. Despite wearing a down vest to work, I could not get warm all day. It was so nice to come home, put on the heat and cuddle Liesl. After being so cold, I decided I needed comfort food, so I made homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner. It was so delicious and was the perfect dinner on a cold night.

As always, it was a very busy week. It was even busier than usual since it was a short week. I am grateful to have tomorrow off. It was nice to have this evening to just relax. My hands were still a bit cold so I did not stitch. I spent this evening looking at online freebies, stitching blogs, and designer web pages. It was nice and relaxing and I am really inspired to stitch some beautiful things in the new year.

I am reading "The White Queen" and learning alot about the War of the Roses. The White Rose was the House of York. I am looking forward to reading "The Red Queen" about the House of Lancaster. This period through the reign of Henry VIII is a fascinating time, full of drama, power marriages, and politics. The monarchies of Europe during this time were all interelated. I did not realize until lately that Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife was the daughter of Queen Isabella of Spain (the financial backer of Christopher Columbus.) I was telling my friend on the phone tonight that I need an org chart to keep all of the royalty straight. My friend told me that she actually has one and will make a copy for me. Wow, what a fascinating time in world history. I also only recently found out that the Tower of London was also a palace in addition to being a prison. My daughter recently returned from a trip to London and said that she actually saw the spot where Anne Boleyn was beheaded at the Tower. Yikes.

Well, I just saw on the news that it is supposed to get really cold tonight. I have a little dog who is already snuggling. However, tonight we remember in our prayers those who do not have access to shelter or warmth tonight. It will be below freezing, and I am so grateful that I have been blessed with shelter, healthy food, warmth and the love of a small dog, but I have a heavy heart as I think of those who need the same.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Back To Reality

Wow. That weekend sure flew by. I am proud to say that I made it through the day without a butter sauce, a cream sauce, or a butter cream sauce, for that matter. It was rough but I was a good girl. I had toast for breakfast, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and eggplant parmagian with a green salad for dinner. I had a few Peppermint Joe Joe's for dessert, but I restricted myself to a reasonable number.

I am trying to restore order to my kingdom here. (Actually, my little 600 square foot house is referred to by my friends as "The Estate." This makes it sound so much bigger like I have grounds and stables, etc. LOL) Anyway, as with most folks, some chores went by the wayside during the height of the holidays, so I need to get things back in order. I really wanted to stitch tonight, but I also do not want to spend next weekend on chores. So I am doing one significant project a day after work. Tonight while I cooked dinner, I straightened up my laundry room/pantry area. I also organized my food cabinet to take a little inventory of what I have. Both the cabinet and pantry shelves are organized and neat, and the laundry room looks organized. Love it! Tomorrow, I organize the cookbooks and the pots & pans cabinet.

I am thinking about what I want to be and do in 2011, particularly since I have some time. A few months ago, I ordered an inexpensive set of rosary beads from Amazon. They are made of olive wood from the Holy Land, with a tiny bit of soil from Bethlehem. I am a practicing Lutheran, but I really want to learn how to pray the rosary. There are books that I want to read, time I want to spend with all of my friends, hikes I want to take, day trips I want to take with Liesl (she really goes with the flow and is a great companion.) I would really like to take a day trip to hike Yosemite with Liesl. I have never been there and I understand that some parts of the park are dog friendly now. That may be a bit too ambitious for me though. There are also missions in Monterey County, that I have not been able to visit yet. I have been to the Carmel Mission & Soledad Mission, but there are quite a few of them here. There are pieces I want to stitch, quilts I want to make. It is going to be a busy year, full of miracles. I am so excited.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

On The Third Day of Christmas...

Oh my goodness, I am partied out! Sometime ago, one of my girlfriends and I decided that we were going to have Christmas dinner together today at a restaurant and exchange our gifts. After church we met and had a lovely lunch. It was so much fun and a really relaxing way of bringing the holiday to a close. When it came time to exchange gifts, she gave me this totally adorable set of measuring cups. She knows that I love a retro/vintage look, particularly with cherries for my kitchen. I am over the moon for this set. I have to find a way to display them. I had given her a book that I knew she would love, and the stitched "L" that was on my blog the other day. She was very excited, because she loves red, too! We split a piece of Olallieberry Pie, then declared the holiday over, for tomorrow I diet. LOL

It was nice to come home to a normal afternoon. My desk is not covered with stuff and wrapping paper. I have my sweats on, my feet up and bad television on. Liesl is napping, snuggled up to me. I am going to read my book and go to bed early.

It has been a beautiful weekend. It has been a blessing to spend time with my family and friends. The time has been filled with beauty and laughter. Now it is ending perfectly, with everything quiet, with a small dog, and I am thinking a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner and a Philippa Gregory book. I love simplicity and I am happy to have a simple evening at home.

It is back to work tomorrow! It is a busy week since it is the last week of 2010. Hope you have a great Monday!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

What a blessed day! Liesl and I woke up this morning to see that Santa had come for Liesie. She has been a really good girl (except when she gets a case of schnauzer naughtiness. LOL) so Santa brought her a purple monkey, and a puzzle toy. Santa loves puppies, too and brought Liesl things that make her happy.

The picture above is one of the presents my daughter gave me. It is SO cool. The little Lego Tony Stewart even has beard stubble. LOL My children were so thoughtful and generous with my gifts. I also got a magnetic board to hold my patterns. I have always wanted one.

It was such a wonderful day with my family. It is so rare that we can all get together. I just love them so much, so it was just a joy to be with them. Liesl was on her very best behavior, although she was wondering why my daughter's cat did not want to play with her. My daughter made an amazing prime rib for dinner. It was so good. We also had my potatoes and green bean casserole. We had an incredibly delicious cherry pie for dessert. I was so stuffed. I realized how out of shape I am though, when I was "feeling the burn" while I was ricing my potatoes. LOL Words for the New Year, "Upper Body Strength."

This has been a beautiful Christmas. I have felt so much love for those around me, and felt so much love from my family and friends. That has been the most amazing gift to me. Last week, our pastor had challenged us to look for the miracles during the week. I found them all around me, and found myself feeling in awe and excited about seeing what would happen next. It is not restricted to this time of year either. Miracles are around us all of the time.

I wish you a truly beautiful Christmas and much love and joy in your life.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Gloria In Excelsis Deo And Peace To All People!

Merry Christmas Everyone! Here is our Chrismon tree at church. Chrismon, meaning Christ's monogram. The ornaments are white and gold. White to symbolize the purity of Jesus Christ, and gold to symbolize his majesty. Chrismons have been a tradition in many churches, particularly Lutheran churches since 1940.

Today was really amazing. I had to run out to the grocery store this afternoon and was really disappointed to see some of the grinchiness in the form of road rage, and lack of smiles today. This is one of those days that require an extra dose of patience and sense of humor. Other than that, it was great. We had our church service tonight. It was so nice to see alot of the young people that we all have watched grow up, home for the holidays and in church. Some even have families of their own now.

After church, I was invited again this year to one of my very best friend's family Christmas Eve dinner. Dinner was a traditional Norwegian dinner of salmon, red cabbage, potatoes, and a meatball recipe that has been in their family for five generations. Only the men in the family make the Norwegian meatballs, as tradition dictates. The minute grace is said and we are seated at the table, it is made known through announcement that anyone seated at their table is their family. As you sit at this large table, I truly feel surrounded in love, and part of their wonderful family. It is a beautiful thing. I realize that my best Christmas and year round present is the really loving friendships like this family. I am so fortunate. I came home and looked that the clear sky full of stars and breathed in the clear, cold night air. I just feel so filled with Christmas spirit.

Tomorrow is a special day. My daughter and her husband are hosting Christmas dinner for the first time ever. She is very excited. Last year was her first time hosting Thanksgiving. Tomorrow is a really big deal for her. Liesl is invited, too. I am supposed to bring a potato dish so I am making a potato casserole I used to make for holidays when my kids were small. I thought about making additional things to bring, but figure it is my daughter's big day, and I want to respect her organizing the dinner. She is a great cook, so I know everything will be delicious.

I want to take the moment to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas. I wish you so much joy and beauty.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

In Like A Lion, Out Like a Lamb...

The week started crazy but ended really sweet. The week even started with stormy weather this week, and today the sun was out.

Tonight was awesome. I met a friend for dinner, then we went over to Candy Cane Lane in Pacific Grove, where residents deck their houses out with lighting and lawn decorations. It is a major deal here every year for locals during the holidays. The lights were so pretty. People really go all out. I am in a holiday mood now. We really had a lot of fun, and it was really neat to see all of the kids so excited.

Today was really great at work. Everyone was in a festive mood and were exchanging small gifts and cards. I made gift bags of homemade vanilla marshmallows for several of my co-workers to put in their hot cocoa, just as a small gift. Several of us are hot cocoa connoisseurs. The marshmallows seemed well received. Once you have had a homemade marshmallow, it is hard to go back. If you would like a recipe, here is the one I use. Mine did not look as pretty as Martha's though, but she has people to make them pretty: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/vanilla-marshmallows?backto=true&backtourl=/photogallery/marshmallow-recipes By the way, they are super easy to make. What was really cute was that one of my work friends gave me hot cocoa for Christmas.

Today, is a special day. Three years ago, a little rag-a-muffin, four month old puppy was sent from Heaven. She looked so scared and so small that day. She had not been well treated in her former home, and her fur was really scraggly. She did not even know how to jump. The next day, she woke up and she was all attitude. LOL This was her first day with us:



This is Liesl now, pictured with her new Santa Bobo that one of our volunteers gave her for Christmas. She had been sleeping with her head resting on it, but woke up just as I snapped the photo:


Thank goodness she came into my life. I just love her little furry self so much. I gave her a little puzzle ball for her anniversary. She has been cracking me up chasing this ball around, trying to get the treats out of it. Her best method seems to be to hit it as hard as she can, which sends it spinning across the floor. Then she pounces and hits it again.

Tomorrow I am off for the holiday. Liesie and I will take a walk on the beach, then I need to finish up my stitched gifts for my friends. Then off to church for Christmas Eve services.

Enjoy your holiday!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oy vey. It has been a crazy week. Murphy and his pesky law has been getting on my last good nerve. LOL What do you mean, we are only into Day 2?

Okay, it has been a little bit of a challenge to look for the miracles this week, with the whole Murphy's Law thing going down. But I have a good one. Lately, I have been wanting a new tote bag, because I need one with compartments, but those tend to be pricey. I just need something to haul my water, some stitching, Liesie's stuff, my Kindle, etc., but I want to keep it all separated out. So fast forward to today. Every year at this time, we receive a little gift at work, which I totally forgot about. Usually we receive coffee cups, notebooks, etc. Well, today, we received the most amazing tote bag ever. It is of a heavy duty material, the perfect size, and has a net pocket on each side for my Sigg bottle of water. It has pen holders on the outside, so that my pens do not roll around on the bottom. It has three compartments, including one pocket that is the perfect size for my Kindle. It was a very cool little miracle and something I was wishing for. Cool, huh.

So here is my other little miracle. I have been thinking for a few months now of stitching Mother of Innocence by Cross My Heart. I have the pattern and fabric in my stash. I actually bought the pattern at CATS several years ago. I am not even sure you can get it anymore. It is such a beautiful picture, and has really been on my mind several times a week. The colors are very subtle, and I am afraid of it not having a lot of variation, so I have really been questioning if it is something I want to undertake. However, like I said, it has been on my mind. So anyway, when I finally got home tonight, I checked the mailbox and yay, I had received several Christmas cards. I opened the first one and lo and behold, the picture on the front was Mother of Innocence. It is so beautiful, and I really think I am going to have to dig that pattern out.

I had to work pretty late tonight, so I did not get to stitch. My co-worker stayed to finish the project with me. Her little dog, a little buddy of Liesl's also was in my office with us. It was kind of cute to see Liesl playing with her buddy while we worked. Both of them are such sweet dogs, and were pretty patient about having to stay at work until almost 7.

I still have to finish up my initials for my friends. They are quick stitches, so I hope to get them all finished in the next couple of days. I may have to pick up more DMC 304, which is a great red, by the way. I am so pleased with how they are coming along, so I am excited to share them with my friends. I can't wait until they see them!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stormy Sunday

Oh my goodness, we had such a storm today! The wind was terrible. There were pine needles in my yard and driveway from trees that are not even on my street. The rain poured down on us. PG & E has done a lot of preventative work in our neighborhood this fall, and are to be commended. With the heavy winds and rains, we did not lose power in our neighborhood.

Despite the weather, I ventured out and made sure I went to church. Today was Christmas pageant day, and it was so worth it to see those adorable children telling the story of the birth of the Jesus Christ. It was a total cuteness overload. It makes me smile to think about it.

After the pageant, our pastor gave a sermon about looking for the miracles everyday. This is a very cool way to live and makes me feel in awe. I was especially conscious of small miracles today. On my way back from church, I was listening to our classical station, as always. On the radio was Felix Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony. I love this piece and have not heard it in years. Interwoven throughout the piece is "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." This is such a beautiful piece and it was wonderful to hear it. A small miracle.

I am stitching small gift ornaments for my friends. Tonight was the first one, pictured above. These are pretty ornate, but easy to stitch. What was neat about stitching an initial, is that I thought alot about the person I am stitching it for while I work on it and what they have meant to me this past year. I think of the times we have shared meals, and laughed, talked, and supported each other. As I stitch, I say a prayer for their happiness and peace in the upcoming year. I am finding this to be a gift to me as well, as I really focus on that person and what their friendship really means to me.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm A Rebel...

I don't know what got into me today. Maybe it was the lack of sleep this past week, or perhaps the cleaning products that I was using to clean my messy little bitty house, but I decided today I was going to clip all of the "Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law" tags off of all of the throw pillows. I got tired of always positioning the pillows with the tags tucked under them, with the strip of white showing. So I took a pair of scissors and snipped off every last one. I feel kind of naughty. I hope Santa still comes...

So today was my day of domesticity. I got my house cleaned, stitched, read my book, got seven loads of laundry done (sheets and blankets were overdue), gave Liesie a much needed bath, and played tug o' war and fetch for as long as my arm could hold out. I also got my craft room/office all cleaned up and disposed of my class notes, old tests, and put my school stuff away. I did not bake, but I still have tomorrow after I run my errands after church. My house is squeaky clean. I also have clean sheets, truly one of life's simplest and greatest pleasures.

I am still getting used to the idea of not having a class. I am identifying stitching projects that I really want to work on. For a challenge I would really like to do Teresa Wentzler's Fruit Bellpull. I have the kit, and actually put a couple of stitches into it a few years ago. I think this would be a very worthwhile endeavor. I have never done this before, but I am actually considering a project rotation so I do not get bored with one long project. When this happens I usually just put the project to the side, and unfortunately do not work on anything. So perhaps it would be better to have a back up.

The other cool thing about having more time is that my friends are all happy that I will have more time to spend with them. They are really proud of me for my schoolwork, but are really happy that I will have more time to have dinner, or coffee, or walks, and not be studying all of the time. I am really glad that I will have more time to spend with them, too. It looks like the next eight months are truly going to be a gift.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

We Are Getting Some Weather...

Oh, my goodness, we had a freeze last night. Everything was frosted when I got up this morning. Poor Liesl was too cold to go for a full walk this morning, and clearly communicated that she wanted to go home where it was warm. It started to rain on the way home tonight. They were big drops, too. It is supposed to rain through the weekend. This is okay because I plan on staying home on Saturday to bake, clean and stitch. Liesl and I need a staying home day.

Today was awesome. One of my friends at work that enters fairs asked if I was going to enter a couple of other area fairs that I am eligible for. I usually just do the County Fair. She mentioned that one of them has a January or February deadline for entry, which is sooner than I thought about. I am considering what I could have ready by that time. I love entering fairs, and I feel it is my duty as a resident here to encourage other handcrafters to showcase their work. It is so important that we keep interest up for these art forms.

The other cool thing that happened was that the professor for my class emailed me to let me know that I have gotten an A in my class. I feel so relieved. Microeconomics is the hardest class I have ever taken, so I really feel good about this grade.

Good things come in threes so here is the last of my items. Oprah's book club reads this time are Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities, both by Charles Dickens. I really love classic literature, and find that they are usually classics for a good reason. Anyway, I thought that I would have to try to get them from the library, but thought I would check Amazon. Both books were available for my Kindle for free. How awesome is that!

Well, I am off to complete this really good day with some stitching! Have a happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Starting My Journey of Fun...

I am officially not a student for the next eight and a half months. I took the longest, most difficult final in the history of higher education last night. Multiple choice and three, count 'em, three essays with no less than 5-9 parts a piece, all to be completed in 2 1/2 hours. I needed chocolate after that. Bless my little Liesl, she was really tired last night so I got to take my test with only a little disruption. We had our company holiday luncheon yesterday. Of course, the dogs are invited, too. So she had the very best time, and got to bring home a bone as a party favor. She got to see all of her favorite dogs and people, and got a few bites of lasagne noodles, so she had the time of her life. She crashed to sleep afterwards and for the rest of the day.

I am actually feeling relieved that I have the next eight months with no class assignments, exams, etc. I am really excited about having the gift of time. I have already started on my fun. I had to order my two carrot buttons, so ordered a couple of presents for myself. I have been looking for some nice pillowcases for months now. I really like a vintage look, particularly in my bedroom. I remembered the old needleworked pillowcases, and found that there are pages of them at 123stitch.com. This set was $8.99 for both pillowcases and they are exactly what I wanted. I also ordered the Red Threads pattern by Rosewood Manor, because, as I have shared in the past, I have a love of red, that borders on an obsession. Most of my friends also share this love of red. So I was thinking of making monograms with these amazing motifs as birthday gifts in the upcoming year. It means so much to me when someone takes the time to make me a homemade gift, so I really want to do this for my friends, too!

In addition to my stitching, I love books. I read every day at lunchtime, as well as when I climb into bed at night. After work today, I ran to the local library and got an armload of books. I also started reading the most beautiful book at lunch today. It is Henry David Thoreau's "Walden." This is the book that has the quote about "men living lives of quiet desperation." Today, as I read this book, I read a paragraph that said, "The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly." I thought this was beautifully stated. I understand why this book is a classic. It truly resonates with a person and demands deep thought and reflection.
I am off to stitch!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hangin' Out With the Big Dog!

Truly, I have a big dog in a little outfit. Picture a dog less than 20 pounds, less than a foot tall, that never got the memo that she is little. Now I have to keep up the charade and let her live in the bubble. LOL Today she was running up the hillside with her two buddies, one a Queensland Healer and the other is a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, I believe. She runs with them, shoulder bumps them, and smack talks all the way. Both of these dogs have 30-40 pounds a piece on her, but she is fearless and holds her own. She got a nice, professional bath at the groomer on Friday. Today her little legs and beard were covered with mud, but she was smiling the entire way. Cracked me up. My groomer likes to remind me that mini schnauzers are working dogs. Which kind of explains them thinking they are bigger than they are.

So after all of her fun, she came home, ate her dinner, hid some toys under the TV cabinet for me to retrieve (she thinks this is hilarious), and crashed on the sofa. This meant that I could study and then do some stitching. It was nice to get some stitching done. I will post a photo as soon as Ellie starts to take shape a bit. Otherwise, it just sort of looks funky.

I have been thinking about my free time after I take my final tomorrow. I realize my friend is really right that it will fill up fast. I am getting really excited as I think about it. I have a lot of things that I have been wanting to do. This class was taking about 2-3 nights a week to handle the workload, well worth it, but having that kind of bonus time will be awesome. I am afraid that I might get used to it, and I am only supposed to take one semester off. I better make the time count!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gosh, That Three Day Weekend Went Fast!

I can not believe it is Sunday night already. How did that happen? Three days flew by. They were busy ones, that is for sure! I am still coming down from the concert on Friday night. It was so awesome. Yesterday, I got to go to my quilting buddy's graduation, where she received her Master's Degree. It was such a beautiful ceremony and we are all so proud of her.

Today went especially fast. As I was driving home from church, the sky was blue, there was a nice warm breeze and it was 75 degrees. I thought about taking Liesie to the beach, but figured it would be super crowded. So instead we puttered around the yard (she was hunting gophers and has a muddy beard to prove it). I got a bunch of gardening and weeding done. I still can't believe it was so warm. We have had rain and freezes lately so I have not been in the yard in a few weeks. It was full of surprises. My Rhododendron is in bloom, as well as one of my rose bushes. My camellias are about to bloom. What shocked me the most is that my tomato plants are still blooming and I was totally stunned to find that they have little green tomatoes on them. It is crazy.

After coming in I had to study for my final exam in my class. I have to take it by Tuesday night. I am sort of feeling out of sorts about it. I really liked this class, but it really took a lot of time because it was so hard. It looks like the college has been impacted by budget cuts because the course selection for this upcoming semester seemed really reduced. I did not see anything that I really wanted to take, so I am taking a semester off. I love school, and feel a little sad, but I figure God has other plans for me for the next few months. One of my dear friends reminded me tonight on the phone that my time will fill up fast!

After I studied, I got to stitch the rest of the evening. I am working on Ellie May and she will be as cute as Willie. The color combo is awesome. It will be fun to have more stitching and reading time after I finish this test. I also picked up my perle cottons the other day so I am ready to work on my hardanger pieces.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Awesome Night!

Tonight was one of those truly incredible experiences that I will never forget. I sing with the Monterey Symphony Chorus and tonight we performed Handel's Messiah at the Carmel Mission. It is one of the Holiest pieces of music written. We performed it in a truly Holy place. Ironically, they both came about in about the same time period. Messiah was first performed in 1742. The mission was built in 1770. It is a pretty awe-inspiring place to visit.

I felt absolutely present as I sang the words tonight of Christ's birth, suffering, death and resurrection. The piece was actually written as a Lenten/Easter piece. Just a mere 10 feet or so from where I stood is the spot where Father Junipero Serra himself is interred. It was truly a Holy experience. The audience seemed to love it and you could see them close their eyes and smile as the amazing soloists sang. I silently whispered a prayer of thanks in that chapel as I realized that over the past 240 years that many choirs have raised songs of praise here, and thousands have probably sang this very piece there. You can feel that is is a special place and I am so glad this evening came together the way that it did. Several of us hugged afterwards and said that this was truly an amazing experience. We got a long standing ovation at the end of it, which is pretty cool

This best part of evenings like this is coming home. My sweet furgirl met me at the door with lots of kisses. This kind of love is better than all of the applause in the world. She ran around excited to see me. I made myself a mug of TJ's Sipping Chocolate with both marshmallows and whipped cream. It was the perfect end to the day.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

All is calm and all is bright in my little corner of the world. I have really been enjoying all of the beautiful holiday lights as I drive home at night. I think it is wonderful that people decorate their lawns and homes with lights for the enjoyment of others. They are so beautiful and so cheerful. This season really is a banquet for the senses when we slow down and notice everything. I love all of the spicy smells and the scent of pine wreaths as I was into my local Trader Joe's. The music is beautiful and I especially love church this time of year.

I am off tomorrow so I feel like I can stay up late tonight. I may make it to 10:30 pm. Whoohoo. Wild, that's how I roll. LOL Tomorrow night I have a performance with the chorus that I sing with, so I took a vacation day so that I would not be all worn out for it. I have to be out most of the day tomorrow. Liesl is going to the groomer and I have to get my hair done, too. Both of us are way overdue and each of us have our bangs in our eyes.

I realized where I am in terms of status today. I was excited because there was a Christmas card in the mailbox today. Then I saw that it was not for me. It was for Liesl! Her groomer, who is a really amazing lady, always sends Liesl a Christmas card and a Valentine. I showed Liesl the picture, then read it to her. She had her smiley face on so I think she understood a little.

I am actually going to stitch tonight for a while. It feels nice to not have to rush around tonight. I am thinking it is also a good night to read my book. I am reading, "The Other Boleyn Girl." Oh, my goodness, this is a good book and has more drama than you can shake a stick at. It is over 600 pages long and is so hard to put down at the end of my lunch break. So I get to read and stitch for at least a little while. A very special treat.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Life Is Good!

Wow! An evening of perfect comfort. I came home to a wonderful dinner. Someone at work shared some homemade gyoza (Japanese potstickers) with me. I had them for dinner tonight, and I have to say they were the best ones I have ever had. They were really garlicky and delicious.

After dinner I got to play with my darling, sweet little Liesie-poo. She is so awesomely sweet and funny. I live in a bungalow that is about 100 years old and so there is a loop where the bedroom, bathroom and living room all connect through three doorways. She likes to keep me guessing which doorway she is going to appear in. If she thinks she has fooled me, she gets a great big grin. What a goofball. Anyway, she is feeling much better. I knew she had to not be feeling well when she would not even eat her fave treats of chicken jerky. I babied her with rice and cottage cheese for a couple of days. She is back to her sassy self. Yay!

The evening reached perfection when I got to settle in to watch my new very favorite show, "The Sing-Off." Pure entertainment and one of the best shows to come out in a long time! I had my decaf cappucino, small dog sleeping nearby, and my lavendar, rice filled neckwarmer on. Ahhhh. If you are looking for something to ask Santa for, this may be it. You can get one at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Aromatherapy-Microwavable-Neck-Wrap-Pillow/dp/B00439SNLM/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1291870247&sr=8-10 One of my best friends loaned me hers after I was in a bad car accident last year. It is filled with rice and lavendar. You put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and it gets all heated up and smells so good. I wear mine when I read in bed and it makes me all warm and comfy. The lavendar smell is so relaxing. It was funny because last week, my friend and I were talking about them, and several other ladies in our group said that they all have them, too and love them! Perfect on cold evenings.

I had planned on stitching, but it just felt good to sit still and relax. It has been a busy week so I am really grateful for a little down time. Tomorrow night, I will stitch. I have Ellie May ready to go and I am eager to get started. However, tonight relaxing feels really good!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ah, A Nice, Quiet Evening

I had one of those ordinary evenings that I so love. Came home and had fish sticks for dinner. Yummy. I love fish sticks. I made Liesie a special little dinner, too. She seems to have had a tummy ache the past couple of days. She has not eaten her dinner in two nights, and when she goes outside she starts eating grass. No bueno. So I made her a little plate of rice with a little bit of cottage cheese. She ate that all up, so hopefully she is on the mend. Hopefully, she will be her usual sassy self tomorrow.

I had big, big plans of stitching tonight. I started seperating my floss for Ellie May. I figure I will embellish and do the finishing on both pieces at the same time. I love the colors for both of these pieces. Lori Birmingham is a master of color. I did not actually get to stitch because something that I love much more than stitching happened. My children and I stay in touch at least a couple of times a week. They are all grown up, on their own and thankfully, live close by. Tonight my daughter called me, so I got to talk with her for a while, catch up on the weekend's activities and laugh about some of the silly stuff in life. That is way more fun than stitching.

I am already thinking about what I am going to stitch after Ellie May. I am planning on stitching a big project, but I am not sure which one yet. I have some pieces in my stash that I have wanted to stitch for years. Some are so dramatic and a real challenge, which is really exciting to me. Our rainy season is upon us through March so it is prime time for me to stay inside and stitch. Decisions, decisions...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Willie Melt

Well, the stitching part is done! Whoohoo! Now I have to iron it and apply all of the beads. Naturally, it takes a lot of mental fortitude for me to take the iron and ironing board out. I may actually have to do a couple of shirts while it is out, just to make sure the whole ordeal is worth it. In any case, there are large snowflakes done in bugle beads to be applied. I am ordering button noses for both Willie and Ellie May because I do not like the ones that were included in the kit. He sure is a cutie-pie!

I have pulled out Ellie May to be at the ready. She is just as cute.

I had to reorganize my fridge tonight after I got home because it was totally out of control. So I ended up making two soups and a winter salad, because I had to use up a bunch of stuff. I love this particular salad and actually take it for snacks at work. It is made with Marie's Poppyseed dressing. This dressing tastes good on pretty much anything. Here is the recipe:

1 bunch of broccoli, raw, cut into the smallest florets possible
1 large green apple, cut into small bite sized pieces (it is a bit better with the skin on)
1 handful of dried cranberries (add more if you like 'em)
1 handful of chopped walnuts

Pour Marie's Poppyseed dressing on to coat everything (about half a bottle). Mix it up.

As I said earlier, I eat it for a snack, but also use it for side salad. It is really good with pork chops.

Well, I am off to get some sleep so that I am ready to meet the week! Hope you have a happy Monday!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Liesie and Me Day

Well, the best laid plans and all that. I had big plans of crafting, but alas, I only had #8 Perle cotton and I needed #12, too, for my hardanger piece. Okay, so I figured that I would just go ahead and knit. This would have been a good alternative, except that I could not find my circular knitting needles. It was okay though. It was a rainy afternoon, so I deep cleaned the house, finished the laundry, then settled in with a book. I took an embarassingly long nap, too. I must have been really tired. Liesl must have been really tired, too because that is how she spent the entire day. LOL

I did go putter around in the craft room. I felt pretty inspired in there. I shall have to pick up some perle cotton tomorrow afternoon. I really want to work on this hardanger piece. It is an Ernie Bishop heart and is so darling. I love her designs.

I have a funny Liesl story. Schnauzers can be stubborn in the most frustrating way possible. In fact, I think as Liesie gets older she gets a bit more stubborn and opinionated. Which can also be kind of funny, since she is less than a foot tall. Anyway, schnauzers can be a bit like cats in that if someone really wants her to come to them, a schnauzer will figure on doing something else and will not even make eye contact. Such was the case this week. Liesl has a long line of visitors to my office daily. She has to see her peeps. She loves everyone at work, they are all part of her pack. So one of the guys at work came and was calling her to visit him at the door. (we all have Dutch doors to our offices) She had been napping but for some reason, she did the cat thing, and just stood there looking at him from about four feet away. He laughed, and said, "Liesl, are you schnauzin' me?" I cracked up. What a great word. It sort of says it all if you know and/or love a schnauzer. They are all attitude. LOL

I think what is really great about the breed is that they can balance all of that attitude with being the most loving, loyal and funny of furbabies. I think it is why they have such a loyal following. She is so funny because her friends are at work, both dogs and people. So at the end of the day, she will drag her feet going to the car. She will find every reason to stop, dawdle and detour. She does not want to leave her friends.

Well, I will craft tomorrow afternoon. I am looking forward to it. For tonight, I am all about my book and going to sleep early.

Alive and Kicking

Oh my goodness, it is so nice to be home today. I slept in, had a cup of tea, turned on the classical music station on the radio and have been puttering around the house tidying up from my hectic week. I feel really satisfied with the work that was done this week. I have a similar schedule next week, but I really feel good about it. I am so grateful that I have a job in general, but I am especially grateful that I have one that brings a sense of satisfaction about my work.

However, I am really tired in a good way. My weekend started wonderfully with dinner with a dear friend last night. I was a bit concerned that I would not be good company because I was so tired, but she suggested a local diner and we went and had wonderful comfort food and great conversation. I felt so peaceful, relaxed and content. It was the perfect start of the weekend. I really love my friends. They are so awesome.

The uniform of the day is sweats today. I have already done some housework, and plan on making this a Patti and Liesl day. It is gray, overcast and is threatening to rain. It is a good day to craft and relax. She is already curled up in her blankie, and I am wondering if I should work on a piece of hardanger or knit a dog sweater. While Liesie does not like them, she is getting groomed on Friday, which means she will be cold. I have a sweater design that I think will be the least offensive to her. In any case, I will be crafting today and will post my project tonight.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dear Friends,

Just a quick post tonight to say thank you for checking in on my blog. I really appreciate you making time in your day to visit!

I just would like to ask your patience with me for a couple of days. I am working on a massive project at work and I am putting in quite a few extra hours at my office to accomplish everything I need to get done. As a result, I have not had much time left when I get home to stitch or blog. I am hoping to be home at a reasonable hour in the next couple of days. In the meantime, it does feel really good to work really, really hard and to see the project come together.

Please know that I will be back in a couple of days, so please bear with me. Also, please know that Liesl is coming up with plenty of ongoing antics for me to write about. She is her usual silly self but wonders why we are leaving work when it is so dark at night. She sends tail wags and puppy kisses to you all!

Thank you again for your patience.

Patti


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Liesl and the Space Continuum...

Okay, I am not really good at the whole quantum physics thing, so I have to wonder how does a small dog, under 20 lbs, and less than a foot tall, become four feet long when she is on the bed? (Note the outstretched legs behind her. ) It really does defy all of the laws of time and space. LOL Therefore and thusly, I will sleep like a pretzel tonight, so I do not disturb her. LOL She does look rather comfy. N'est-ce pas?

As we are now innudated with advertisements to buy, shop, and cyber shop, I was thinking about the true gifts in my life. Liesl for one, who makes me laugh, puts her little self in front of me to guard me, and seems to know to provide comfort when I have been sick or hurt in the past year. Or my friends, who are true blue, amazing women, who serve as an inspiration to me of courage, wisdom, integrity and love. Or the amazing books that I have had a chance to read this year. My Goodreads list shows that I have read over 30 books this year. Most have been amazing and the stories have stayed with me. It has been a really good year for books. Another gift has been a job, a place to live, and enough to eat. Like for many, funds are tight, but I am grateful to have enough. I have a church home that I adore with people in my church family that I truly love and respect. These are just the items as the top of the list of the gifts that I have been grateful to receive.

Well, I would love to write more tonight. However, my computer is being uncooperative and keeps locking up. I will take this as a sign that I should run a scan and go to sleep.

I hope you have a wonderful Monday!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Almost done!



Willie is almost done! I am finishing up the backstitch and still have to do all of the french knots for all of the eyes on the little woodland creatures.. After that I have to iron it, then put all of the embellishments and beads on it. Bada-bing, bada-boom it will be done! Those little cardinals are so precious!

It is cold with a capital C here. We have had a freeze for the last couple of nights. I lost a couple of plants, but it could be worse. We are expecting another freeze here tonight. I have every blanket possible on the bed. Liesl has been snuggling alot in the past couple of nights, too

With as cold as it was last night, it was hard to believe anyone would be in line at the stores to shop at 4 am. It must have been really brutal. I was crazy enough to try at 7:30am only to try to see what the hubbub was all about. I wrapped Liesl up in a blanket and out the door we went. I went to Target but turned around and left pretty much immediately. The shelves were empty and it was loud and overly crowded. I trotted over to Kohl's afterward. Being the glamorous, livin' la vita loca kind of girl that I am I bought a shower curtain for half price. Glamor, glamor...


After leaving Kohl's I decided the best use of time would be to take Liesl to the dog beach in Carmel. She ran the whole beach for an hour, smiling. I love seeing all of the happy dogs on the beach. My little furgirl looked like the happiest of them all and kept stopping and jumping up on me as if to say, "This is SO great!" She came home a sandy, wet mess, took her bath, then slept all afteroon. She was a happy girl and it was way more fun than going to any more stores. It is true about the holidays really being about time spent with the ones you love.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Patti's Favorite Things



I think I have shared before that I work for a large non-profit organization. We have the most wonderful, hard-working and devoted volunteers. Today one of our wonderful volunteers brought each of the employees one of these adorable little turkeys that she made. Isn't this one of the cutest, most creative things you have ever seen? It tickles my heart to look at it.

Last week, Oprah had her annual Favorite Things show. Some of the stuff was way over the top. I was thinking about the favorite items that I have around my house which are a bit more simple. Things that people have given me, that have a memory attached, and/or that are just adorable. A filet crocheted dresser scarf that my friend brought me from Norway this year, the sight of Liesl's little blue elephant that she carries around the house, a pair of socks my daughter knit for me, and my coffee mug with Van Gogh's Starry Night painting on it, to mention just a few. Here are a few more things that I love:


A clock from Target. It is both retro and red! I got it on a big back to school sale for about $6. It is from the dorm room section (they still have them!) It is regular priced $7.99. So cute.

A mother of pearl mosaic box that I bought at Marshalls for $9.99. I keep it on my nightstand to hold my pens, sticky notes and book light. It is luminescent and is just pretty. It also keeps all of the clutter out of sight.

Lastly, one of my very favorite things ever. There are times I carry it with me because it has become really important to me. In late July, I was going through a really difficult time and was just feeling really sad. I took a walk on the beach with Liesl. As I walked, I prayed. I asked God for a sign of assurance, a sign of His love just to see me through. I immediately felt badly for asking for such a thing that because I felt I had no right to do so. But I heard almost a whisper that said to follow Liesl and then look down. So I followed her until she stopped and then looked down, and this is what I saw in the sand:



A heart shaped beach rock! (I showed it to my Pastor and she smiled and said, "God hearts you!" I carry it with me sometimes because it makes me feel peaceful, and is a reminder that God is always with me, particularly in hard times. I also keep this on my nightstand so that I see it when I go to bed and when I wake up. He sends us miracles when we need them, and signs of His love are around us all of the time!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stitching Night! Whoohoo!

I got to stitch for a while this evening. I worked on Willie, although I am thinking of putting him to the side and working on Ellie May for a while, to break it up a bit. I try not to do that but thought that since they are part of a set that it would be okay.

I had to be at work at 6:30am so I was up at 4:30 this morning. I still stayed late working on some projects. It is just a busy time of year at work, which is actually kind of exciting. It was cold and rainy today and I was tired when I got home. I just sat down on the sofa in my coat and work clothes and stared at the news for a while. Liesl was really tired from the long day and went right to sleep on the sofa next to me. We both got up about an hour later and had our dinner. I felt a bit better, changed into my sweats, set up camp in my stitching corner and stitched away. I am not even feeling guilty about not washing my dinner dishes. They can wait until tomorrow morning.

I have been thinking the past few days about all of the things that I have to be thankful for. First and foremost, I am grateful for God's unconditional love. He has walked with me through both pain and joy. I am so thankful for my faith.

As I stitch this week, I am reflecting on my blessings. I am also grateful that I have a hobby that I love, that gives me joy and relaxes me. I am also grateful for the blessing I received tonight in the form of a phone call from an old friend. It was so wonderful to hear her voice. She is also a woman of tremendous faith. We both reflected on our blessings and our faith, and the fact that God brought us together as friends. She has gone through the worst, most horrible year that a person can go through, yet she is a pillar of strength and an inspiration of dignity and grace in the face of these things, including a some of the saddest events you can imagine. I am so fortunate to have her as my friend.

One more thing I have to share for the evening. If you live near a Trader Joe's, you simply have to try the Sipping Chocolate. It is really superior hot cocoa. And if you have superior hot cocoa you should probably have a superior marshmallow, as well. Homemade marshmallows are divine and until you have had one, you have not had a marshmallow. The best part, they are so easy peazy to make! Here is the best recipe ever, courtesy of Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/vanilla-marshmallows?backto=true&backtourl=/photogallery/marshmallow-recipes#slide_1

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Really Good Day

First of all I have to share my news: Shock. Total and utter shock is what I felt tonight as I read my email. We got the notice that the mid-term exam that I was stressing about last weekend, was graded and up on the class website. As I went to sign in to the class to get my grade, my stomach did flip flops. It was a hard test with a two hour time limit. In addition to the multiple choice there were three essay questions. One essay had eleven parts that had to be addressed. I finished with three minutes to spare and did not even have time to proof read. This is something I have worried about and regretted all week...

So I signed in, hoping the whole time that I got at least a B, but worrying that it would be less than that. I looked at the grade, and it was an A. Not only that but my professor had written several notes throughout saying that it was the best exam in the class and that my answers were excellent. He went on to say that I think like an economist, and have I considered going on to be an economist? What an honor. I am just amazed. I had stressed so much over this exam, and to have such over the top results is a bit overwhelming.

What is really funny in all of this, is if you would have told me while I was growing up that I would end up being an accountant and in the field of finance, I would never have believed it. Math was not my strong suit and caused me to mentally beat myself up and cry when I could not grasp some of the concepts. I loved reading, composition, art and music and thought I would end up in a creative field. I was far more creative and right brained. It is funny how life turns out.

In general, today was a really good day. I have a really busy week with long hours ahead of me this week. Tomorrow I have to be at work at 6:30 am to process payroll. So today, I felt it was important to stay home and get some rest. It stormed most of the morning, so it was good to be inside. I finished cleaning up the house, vacuumed, gave Liesl her bath, etc. In the afternoon, it was cold and gloomy. Rather than turn the heat on, I got back under all of my blankets and read a book cover to cover. It was "A Thousand Splendid Suns" which is a totally amazing, brilliant and beautiful book. It was nice to sit and read all afternoon. Liesl thought it was a magnificent idea and napped all afternoon on the bed next to me. It was comforting hearing her little puppy snores...

I am planning on stitching this evening. I have a homework assignment to finish, but after that I will be stitching. I have to go to bed early so I can wake up early and go off to work before it is light. It is still suppose to rain for the next couple of days, so I have to dig Liesl's raincoat out. (She will be thrilled. Not.) So I better get started on it all.

Hope you have a happy Monday!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night...

Whoa, Nelly, it rained hard tonight. The rain was pouring down and the wind was blowing hard. At times Liesl got up from her nap to bark at the noise on the roof because the rain was coming down so hard. Luckily, it was still nice when I went out and had lunch with my friend. I came home and took Liesie for a walk thinking I would beat the rain. At one point Liesl decided that she did not want to walk anymore, and gave me a look that suggested that we should turn around. (Mini schnauzers are master communicators.) I tend to trust the looks she has in her eyes so we turned around. Within a minute or so the wind kicked up, the temperature dropped, and the rain started. She is amazing with what she knows. We ran home, she got a cookie and some warm hugs, and we both relaxed and watch the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

It was so nice to putter around the house while it rained outside. My kitchen is all sparkly clean, my stitching corner is all organized, and the furniture is dusted. I have a few things to straighten up tomorrow, but nothing huge. In addition to my puttering around, I had put my dinner in the crockpot. It was the first time I made beef stroganoff in the crockpot and it was so delicious! Plus it smelled good all afternoon. I absolutely love my crockpot. Plus I have lots of leftovers for the week. It really helps how it stretches food and it is so delicious. Yum!

I am looking forward to stitching tomorrow afternoon. Perhaps tomorrow will be the day I finally finish Willie. I have to finish my chores first, but that will go quickly. Then I will cuddle up to a small, cute dog and stitch away while it rains outside.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Ordinary Thursday Night

I have shared before, my love of an ordinary evening at home. God has blessed me with a truly extraordinary life, so I truly treasure an ordinary, boring night when I can come home, eat dinner in my jammies, and be cozy in my little bitty house. Tonight I did have to take a quiz for my class and do an assignment, but I was feeling pretty relaxed so it went quickly. I also finished my book while I waited for my dinner to finish cooking. So, now I am bookless again.

We have a storm coming our way from the Arctic, so it is cold here. The rain will start early Saturday. It will be a good weekend to stay in as much as possible. I have my Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate, which is truly like little sips of Heaven. Oh my goodness. So I have my comfy blanket throw, little dog, books, stitching, hot cocoa... Sounds perfect. I am having lunch with a friend on Saturday, but other than that I will be cozied in.

Well, I am off to stitch for a little while before bed.

Have a happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So Sleepy...

I am so tired. I wanted so badly to come home and stitch but I am so tired. I got up a bit early and was at work at 6:45 this morning to work on a large project. I did not get out of work until around 5:30 pm, so I am dragging. God bless Liesl, she was a total trouper today and went along with the plan with no complaints. It was a long day for both of us, but I did get my project done as well as a couple others that have been on my plate. I will sleep well tonight. My sidekick ate her dinner and went to her bed a little before 7 pm.

We also had drama today. I was rubbing Liesl's sweet little head when I stopped at a stoplight on the way to work this morning. I felt a tick on the side of her face, near her ear. I remembered that you are supposed to use a match head, but I am concerned about an accident, so I asked someone who is knowledgable and experienced at work to help. She asked another person to hold onto Liesl (and said I should not be present.) They got the tick out immediately, not using a match head, and are my heroes today. They said that Liesl was so good and so accomodating and did not try to resist or nip at them. However, Liesl had her mad on for a while after that and would not look at me. The price of her forgiveness was a piece of string cheese. Another friend at work told me that there is a little tick removal tool you can buy at Petsmart, so I am going to get one so I can be prepared in the future. The world is a dangerous place for puppies.

We are supposed to have a weekend of rain. We are supposed to get an Arctic storm so it is supposed to be cold, too. This is okay with me. I will stay in and putter, stitch and read. It is really cold at night right now. It was 37F degrees this morning as I drove to work. It takes a while for the car to warm up so one of these days I will have to take a photo of Miss Liesl on the way to work. I keep a blanket throw in the car and she gets all wrapped up and tucked in for the commute. She looks like she is royalty. Cracks me up.

Well, I am off to dreamland...

Monday, November 15, 2010

It was really good to have that midterm exam behind me. I did not realize how much stress it was causing me and how many of my thoughts were occupied by it last week. Now that it is passed, I feel so much relief. I was able to read a novel at lunchtime, go to church choir practice, and now I am getting ready to stitch with a light heart. My nerves were still a little to jangled to sleep right away last night, so I am looking forward to sleeping well tonight.

It was so much fun at church tonight. I got to see my friends and we have such a good time together. I came home and was greeted with more puppy kisses than usual, which was an extra special treat.

I have had a few conversations with different people in the last couple of days that were able to stay home for the weekend. We have talked about what a special treat it is to spend one weekend day at home and not getting into the car for anything. It is special to be able to get up leisurely, drink a cup of tea, putter around the house, work on a craft, and just be in in your sanctuary. It regenerates the soul and recharges the batteries. I remember once hearing Oprah describe the home as "the artful expression of who you are". Whether it is a studio apartment or four bedroom house, it is your space, where you invite in people who love you back, where you create and rejoice, where you can be totally at home with who you are. And like Dorothy said, there's no place like it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Night

My brain is mushy. Really, really mushy. I studied much of the weekend for a Microeconomics mid-term that I had to take online tonight. When I finally saw the test, I realized that I had probably over-studied, but it was a lot of formulas and really tough subjects. I am glad to have it behind me.

It was a beautiful day today. The sun was shining and the air was warm. I took a break from the books in the mid-afternoon and took Liesl for a walk down to the beach. The beach is her very favorite place on earth. We walked up and down the beach until she was way too tired. She cleared the beach of birds, too. I think they learned a lesson about landing on her beach. LOL. She had way too much fun. I saw that she was pretty tired so we headed home. Since schnauzers have really sensitive skin, I had to put her right into a bath to get all of the sand and salt water off of her. (She will play in the surf, but won't go out in the rain. Go figure...) She did not even seem to mind the bath too much. I wrapped her up in a towel and she fell asleep. She is very spoiled.

I did not get to do my gardening like I planned due to my anxiety over this test, but that is okay. There is next weekend and this way I can plan the space a bit better. I will have some time to think it all through. I did not get to stitch either. But I did get to talk to my friends at church and on the phone. I did get to take a beautiful walk on the beach. I did get to cuddle a sweet little dog. I also got to be thankful for all of my blessings.

I think I have shared my love of Trader Joe's products on many occasions. They have a sipping hot chocolate that is a dark chocolate that is very rich and decadent. It is my special treat to myself for cold evenings. (I believe that you have to have special little treats for yourself. I look forward to my cup of hot cocoa.) Anyway, the cashier told me that she stocks up on it because it is only available seasonally, so she makes sure she has enough to get through the year. She said that it is truly incredible. So if you have a chance to pick one up, it is only $3.99 a canister. Yum.

Have a happy work week.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gratitude

This morning I was on my way to work, listening to our local classical station. There was the most beautiful music on, including an amazing piece by my favorite composer, Bach. I was suddenly struck by the thought that life truly is a banquet. There are so many beautiful things available to us for free. I started thinking about all of the things in that wide spectrum in life's banquet. Beautiful music, composed by the great master's and a big selection, right there on my radio. Books, also written by the great writers, over several centuries, available at the public library. Calling a friend, or getting a call from a friend. Taking a walk in the fresh air with the dog and/or a friend. Looking at the stars at night. Cuddling with the dog. Indulging in a cup of hot cocoa while snuggling on the sofa with a really good book. And best of all, talking to God in the form of prayer. The most beautiful things in life truly are free.

Today was a busy day. I had so much to do at work, and as a result the day flew by. I ended up working late again, and did not get home until about 6:15. I could not believe how cold and clear the night was at that hour. The stars were out and so bright. The sky was quite beautiful I came in and made a cup of tea to take the chill off, while Liesl trotted off to play with her toys. She loves her toys and amuses herself quite well with them. She is a happy dog.

It is nice that the house is already clean. I will clean my closet tomorrow and then work on my gardening. I have to fill the hummingbird feeders, too. We still have them visiting the yard. They kind of buzz Liesl as they fly by. It will be nice to be outside, but I have to wait until it warms up. So I will be able to have a cup of tea and ease into the day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

First of all, I want to say thank you to all of the people who have served this country so unselfishly and have sacrificed so much. Today we recognize your hard work and commitment, and honor you for your service. Thank you for everything you have done on this country's behalf! May God Bless You.

Last week while I was at work, I showed some of my favorite beads to my colleague who makes jewelry. She had remarked that she really liked the red, flowery beads pictured above. So I cut half of the beads off of the strand and shared them with her. The other day she came into my office and told me she made the bracelet and earrings for me. They are so pretty and look so happy. I can't wait to wear them tomorrow. She does such beautiful work (and is a really nice person, too!)

Today was really good. I was off for the holiday. It was pretty neat to have a day off in the middle of the week. I had big plans of staying up late, watching late night television, stitching until the wee hours. But alas, I was asleep by about 9. sigh. But I woke up around eight with a little dog snuggled up to me. Today was my big spring cleaning extravaganza. I cleaned out cabinets, moved furniture to vacuum, wiped down cupboards and baseboards, and cleaned out the fridge. The heater repair person was supposed to come fix the heat, but there is a part on order, so it will be another day instead. I was able to tear apart the house then put it back together. This weekend I have to clean out my closet. I have lost alot of weight, so I have some things I need to box up and bring to one of the charitable organizations. It will be nice to have the space in my tiny closet. I also need to clean off my desk, but that will only take a few minutes.

Other than the closet clearing, Saturday is winter gardening day! I have kind of let the gardening go, because I thought that I was done for the season. So I have some major weeding to do. Then I will plant my purple potatoes followed by the seeds that are in my collection. I hope it will be warm so that Liesl and I can get lots of fresh air.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Busy Tuesday!



Today is Tuesday, you know what that means, we're gonna have a special guest...To this day, whenever I hear someone say, "Today is Tuesday" I still think of that song on the Mickey Mouse Club.

Anyway, today was a good, albeit busy Tuesday. The work was coming in in piles onto my desk. It felt good though to work through a lot of it, and I am proud to say the mound on my desk is only about a foot high now.



I think I have mentioned on quite a few occasions that I work with really wonderful people, that I really respect. They have allowed me to go on and on about my winter garden enthusiasm this week. I was talking with another friend at work yesterday who also winter gardens. Today, my friend brought me a small bucket filled with purple potatoes and purple potato seeds. What a wonderful treasure! It totally made my day! Apparently they make really groovy looking mashed potatoes but are extra delicious. My friend also had the two adorable little bitty pumpkins above in the bucket, too as an extra treat. What a kind thing to do.


I have to share a funny Liesl story. Schnauzers are really smart and really motivated by fun. I am used to watching her make up games with her toys, which is actually interesting to watch. Well, last night she decided she was going the play the game we all played as kids. It was some form of "The floor is lava." She would only walk some silly paths on the furniture, while she was playing. She thought the whole thing was hilarious, because she was smiling pretty hard while she was doing it. She really is like having a small child...

The nights and mornings are really cold here now. I have every blanket possible on the bed. Liesl was shivering yesterday morning in the car on the way to work, so I put a warm throw in the car for her and tucked her in for the commute this morning. She loves being all snuggled in. She is fun to spoil.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Progress!

Here is Willie and the progress that I made over the weekend. He is such a cutie. I think I am going to have to find another carrot button though. I do not like the one that came in the kit. I am working on the backstitching and the mittens that hang from the little tree branch arms. So cute. I really love the colors.

Sadly, I was not able to work on it tonight. I got out of work really late and had to come home and study for my mid-term this weekend. It is going to be a really hard test and I am sort of biting my nails over it. As a result, I am taking every spare moment to study. I am a bit stressed. I need chocolate.

The time change is a bit interesting. It was nice and light this morning. Last week when Liesl and I took our walks early in the morning, it was dark and the stars and moon were out. This morning was light as day and pleasant to walk in. After work though, it was weird to come out when it was dark.

I am looking forward to Thursday, as our company observes Veteran's Day and gives us that day off. It is kind of cool to get the day off in the middle of the week. I have a repair person coming to repair the heat, but other than that I plan on doing some spring cleaning. I need to move the furniture and vacuum under it, clean the baseboards, wipe down the cabinets and wash the floors really well. It would be nice to stitch that day as well, but any down time will probably be spent studying Microeconomics. I may have to make a chocolate run on Wednesday night...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What a lovely day. I had church first thing this morning. It was All Saint's day at church and we had a beautiful service to honor those who have gone before us. It was so meaningful and beautiful.

After church, I finally made it to Home Depot on my way home. I bought $11 worth of seeds. I bought seeds for radishes, lettuce, herbs, and carrots. I thought about planting onions and garlic, but since it is poisonous to dogs, I did not want to take a chance of Liesl getting into it and digging it up, and possibly ingesting it. It rained all day today so I was not able to get them into the ground, but I will get to it this week. I am excited.

I have gotten to stitch quite a bit this weekend. While I did not get to finish it, I did get a lot done. It felt really good to get so much work in on it.

It has been a good weekend. My house is all sparkly clean, Liesl had her bath, my assignment is done for my class. I have read, stitched, eaten healthy foods and gotten an extra hour of sleep. It has been a good, healthy weekend.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday, Whoooohoooooo!

This has been such a busy week and I am feeling a bit tired. I got a lot done at work so I feel good about that, but I am still really ready for some rest. It is supposed to rain this weekend, which is good. I am hoping to get a hike in with little Miss Liesl, but other than that I have to write a paper, study for a mid-term, and of course, stitch my heart out.

I ran my errands after work. I really wanted to go to Home Depot to look for seeds, but I was out of energy. I thought it best to come home after picking up the essentials, like shampoo and a new puppy toy. Mini schnauzers are highly toy motivated. Liesl loves to get a new toy. She will generally do a victory lap around the house with her new treasure. She has way more toys than the average dog, but I have to say that she does not mess with my stuff, like shoes. I can totally leave my shoes laying around the house. Her toys are way more interesting to her.

So I stitched tonight. I am almost done. It just looks so cute. I will miss stitching him, but luckily there is a cutie behind this one. I will post a pic this weekend!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Weekend Is Almost Upon Us!

Tomorrow is Friday already. I have been pretty busy this week at work, so I am looking forward to some rest and relaxation this weekend. I am hoping to finish Willie and start Ellie May this weekend. Tomorrow I have a couple of errands after work, but after that it is stitching marathon time! Whoohoo! Plus it is suppose to rain tomorrow so it will be a perfect cozy evening. Sweet.

I had an awesome evening. I got to have dinner with one of my wise friends. It was so nice to have a nice dinner, talk about books, politics, and faith. I really value the time that I get to spend with my friends. I stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home, and was strong and resisted the temptation to buy more of those dark chocolate covered caramels. Oh, my gosh, they were so good. I still have a few, as you can really eat only one a day, because they are so rich and decadent. I am holding the ones I have in reserve.

After my wonderful dinner,and shopping at TJ's I got to come home to my little furry best friend. I always get such a big welcome and lots of kisses when I come home. She was in one of her comic moods and had me laughing out loud. Miniature Schnauzers are known for their sense of humor and what makes their people laugh. My friend says it is funny to watch Liesl, because she knows when she is being funny and will get a big grin that says, "Get it?!" My friend says that she would giggle if she could.

I am going to try to stop at Home Depot to look at seeds for my winter gardening. I will pass on what I decide to grow. I am so excited about this!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cozy Evening At Home

I was working on a project at work and had to stay a bit late tonight. That was okay because I think I am on my way to solving a puzzle, which feels good. Liesl ate her dinner then went right to sleep. I had to work on an assignment for my class but it went really fast. I even got in some stitching time. Yay!

Thank you for the sweet comments about my little furgirl. I think you can see that she is a really big ham. I never realized until she trotted into my life how much you could love a dog. For those of you who also love dogs, I want to share a tip that I got in my daily email from dogster.com today. I did not realize that acorns are really dangerous and potentially deadly to dogs. Apparently, they can cause renal failure. Liesl is always really interested in the squashed ones, but she is hearing "leave it" ever since I read that. The world can be a dangerous place for puppies...so do keep your dogs from eating acorns. Oh, and the other email they sent me yesterday said that dogs can actually eat dried cranberries. Raisins are an absolute no no. But the cranberries, in moderation, are actually good for the whole urinary tract. I might try mixing a little spoonful from time to time with Liesl's food.

I was walking dogs today with one of my friends from work who also likes to garden. She was telling me about her winter garden. I was blown away. I have lived in Northern California for like, ever, and I did not know about this. She said that since the ground on the Central Coast does not freeze that we can garden year round. So she said that she will pass on some potato seeds. I can also grow radishes, lettuces, garlic, carrots, and peas. Best of all, she grows these things from seeds and she said that I do not even have to start them inside. This is awesome news to me. I will be looking at seeds this weekend at Home Depot, a wonderland of delightful, inspiring products! For $10 of seeds I can have winter fun and yummy things to eat. Yay!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This Makes Me Happy!

I think this may be my favorite photo of Liesl now. It makes me smile when I look at it. My friend at work took it at the Halloween party on Friday. As you can see, she is wearing her Dracula cape and having way too much fun. She is such a happy little dog. This is the way she looks to me most of the time. You can tell from the photo that she is a little less than a foot tall. A big dog in a small outfit and a total character.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Work In Progress

Here's Willie! As you can see, I am coming into the home stretch. I still have to do the two mittens that hang from his cute tree branch arms. My goal is to complete them tomorrow during Dancing with the Stars. I am starting the back stitch on his head and doing it as I finish up each section. I do not love doing backstitch, so I try to break it up.

It did not rain all weekend as expected. We did get the rain all of Friday night, but it gave way to sunny skies and warm weather all weekend. Liesl stretched out and sunbathed today. I wish I could capture on camera what a happy little dog she is. She laid out in the sun, watched over her queendom that is her backyard, played with her toys, and came and sat in front of me so I could scratch her neck.

I got all of my chores done today, which makes me feel good. I love a clean house, clean sheets, having the laundry done, etc. I also had to drop off my library books back at the library. I had the pleasure of reading three really excellent books back to back, so I felt a little sad taking them back to the library. I felt like I was saying goodbye to three really wonderful friends.

Well, I am off to bed early so I can be ready for the work week. It is my busy week as an accountant so I want to hit the ground running and be well rested. I hope you have a great work week, too!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Party Day

I had plans after work, but was so tired, I had to come home, put on my jammies and crashed on the sofa with my stitching. Liesl was more exhausted than me. She ate her dinner and then put herself to bed.


Today's party at work was really great. The food was awesome, the rain held off, and we had a lot of fun. Our pumpkin did not win, but the ones that did were really good! Liesl had so much fun. When I put her Dracula cape on in my office, she did her legs buckling thing and glared at me with her head hanging down. It was quite pitiful.

The story was different when she got up to the party and saw her doggie friends all dressed up and loving it. Plus, everyone was telling her she looked beautiful. Suddenly she was posing for photos doing her show dog stance and smiling. (She is descended from show dogs, and ever since she was a little baby, she has done the stance. My daughter calls it "Liesl doing her pretty legs.") She was even smiling for the camera. What a ham. My friend at work calls her "Mangia Una" in Italian, because she says that Liesl eats it up.

Anyway, she was enjoying little bites of my hamburger bun and tiny, tiny bites of hamburger, until our CEO, who was doing the barbecuing, came over with a hot dog that he had cut up for the dogs. Liesl has never had hot dog and wondered what little bite of Heaven she had been given. It was all she and the other dogs could think about after that. She played with her puppy friends and made sure she saw all of her favorite people. After we got back to my office, she crashed and was sound asleep the rest of the afternoon. Then as I said early, she went right to bed after dinner.

I did stitch for a little while but I am totally tired, so I had to be really careful. Otherwise, I will be pulling out my work tomorrow. So I have just been taking it easy. I think I will finish my book and turn in early so I can have fun tomorrow.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Amazing Day!

You know those days that are few and far between, where nice things happen, your work seems effortless, and everything sort of feels in sync. Well, I had one of those today and it was pretty cool. I think I have shared in the past that I work at my dream job with really wonderful people. I really enjoy being around the people that I work with, and I look forward to going to work in the morning.
It was a pretty busy day, as always at work, but in the afternoon our team had to decorate our pumpkin. We have really fun people on our team, so we laughed alot in the creative process. We also put together a darn cute pumpkin. It was really fun.

Tomorrow is our party at work. I will tell you in the past, I have cringed at the notion of the company party, because in many companies they really are not much fun at all. But I have to tell you that we have really fun company parties that everyone looks forward to. It will be raining tomorrow, but we will have barbecue, and contests, and good camraderie. The employees' dogs will also dress up and are invited to participate, too. So Liesl will be with her favorite dog buddies and people buddies. What is amazing is that all of the dogs are off lead and know to be on their best behavior at the parties. The dogs seem to know it is a special occasion and do not wander off, nor do they cause any trouble. They all get along and add something extra special to the party.

Have a happy Friday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trader Joe's rocks! Tonight I had to run into the local TJ's for salad. I am trying to stick to my diet in hopes of dropping another size in the next month. I had my salad fixins' in hand, ready to check out and that was when I spied them-dark chocolate covered caramels. I wrestled with my myself, but in the end I got them as a special treat. I had one tonight after my salad, and it was spectacular! I totally heart Trader Joe's.

Tomorrow is the prep day for our Halloween party at work. My department has to get our pumpkin decorated tomorrow in order to enter the company contest. Our project is super tippy top secret. Then, tomorrow night I have to make my contribution to the party. I am not cool enough to dress up this year, but Liesl will go as a vampire. Her cape is the only thing that she will wear for the five minute maximum. She does not like to dress up at all. In fact, she goes into full on drama queen mode if I put her raincoat on when it is rainy or really cold. Her legs buckle under the weight of the coat, her shoulders droop, and she will sit with her back to me. So the little cape will be her concession, but the clock will be ticking on her tolerance.

I did get to stitch tonight. I will post photos this weekend!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Stitching Evening...

Okay, not the whole evening, but a good part of it. I also had a couple of hours of studying and a test in my Microeconomics class. This is one of the hardest classes I have ever taken. I am really being challenged in this class, which is kind of cool. I did get a 100% on my test. Whew!

After all of the hard brain work, I rewarded myself with playing with Liesl for a while, then settled in to stitch. I did get a lot done on Willie. I am coming into the home stretch with it. It was so peaceful to sit still after a busy Monday. It is kind of cold this evening, so it is really nice to be cozy. It is supposed to rain all of this weekend, so I am planning for another comfy weekend at home, stitching.

The rain really made my yard smell all fresh and clean. I have a little bit of clean up to do from the wind. But every thing got a nice drink of water. I had also had done a bunch of work in my driveway and it really looks like it is going to pay off. It was full of weeds and just not very pretty, but I have put a bunch of color there. I can't wait to see what it looks like after the winter rain.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

End of a Rainy Weekend

What a good weekend. I had church first thing this morning, with an early choir practice. I truly love my church and the people who are a part of it. It is such a loving place and I feel so happy when I am there.

Afterward was my first real outing in a couple of weeks. I got to have lunch with a very dear friend. This is the kind of friend that from the moment we sit down, we always have deep philosophical discussions. I always leave with a lot to think about. She is such a neat friend and so wise. I got to have yummy prawns and chips. I even decided to not feel guilty for having fried food for lunch.

It rained here all weekend, which was kind of nice. My garden is happy for all of the fresh water. Plus, it was not cold. I got to stay inside and do the things I like to do. I did not stitch as much as I had planned, but it is okay. I still feel very content. If this keeps up, my garden will thrive, which is a good thing.

Well, I have a little furry companion who has just entered the room requesting my attention. I guess this is my cue to go put kisses on top of her sweet little head...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Nice Saturday

Well, the day did not go entirely the way I had planned, but it was still super. The skies were semi clear this morning. The air had that warmth that it does before it is going to rain, so I wanted to go for a nice long walk with Liesl. She knew what was up on the way to Pacific Grove, so she got really excited and starting shaking with excitement in the car. Pretty darn cute. We walked about three miles total, which was really nice. Monterey Bay was nice and calm for the moment, and the path was relatively uncrowded.

I was still feeling pretty motivated when I got home, and decided to do some pre-weather garden prep. I trimmed a large floral hedge back, swept up dead leaves, weeded a few beds, filled the yard waste bin, moved the outdoor furniture out of the weather, and transplanted a huge geranium that was so root-bound it was not funny. It must have been in this pot for years. It has not been very healthy so I knew that unless it got planted in the ground, it was not going to live much longer. In order to move it, I broke off a bunch of legs and transplanted them in my driveway. It will look darling when it matures out front. While I was out there, I got to officially meet one of the neighbors that moved in across the street a few months ago. She is a total sweetheart and has a couple of dogs that she is always doting on. She told me that they are now keeping chickens in their backyard and she would like to share some eggs with me. I am so excited. A new friend and fresh eggs. I am pretty happy.

I am thrilled because just as I came in and was taking off my shoes, the skies opened up and the rain came down the rest of the afternoon. I must have totally overdone it because Liesl and I came in and took a long nap. I got to putter around the house after that. It was so nice. I like puttering around my little bitty house. It is only 600 square feet, so puttering does not take a long time. I have two friends that have little houses (even smaller than mine), too, and we always talk about how much we love it. They are quick to clean, easy to maintain and just enough space. Plus, if you are ever going to buy something you need to think long and hard about your purchase because something else has to go so that you have room for it. This includes something like a pair of pants. It makes you run a really lean household. Plus I only have one closet. It also makes you have to be very organized.

Well, I am off to stitch and read my book. I am reading a really good one, "Shanghai Girls" by Lisa See.