Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday Already?!!

Whoa! This week is flying by! Today was hopping as it was our last day of our fiscal year at work. Of course, I had to wish everyone a happy new year's eve. LOL I love accountant humor.

It looks like I am going to have to make a couple of trips to the deYoung Museum in San Francisco in the next few months. From now until September 6th, the deYoung has a collection of Impressionist Painters from the Musee de Orsay which includes original Monet, Degas, Manet, Renoir and Cezanne. OMG!!!!! I have loved Degas since I was a little girl, and loved ballerinas. I have to go. They are even selling discount tickets at Costco. But wait there's more!

From September to January, is the post Impressionist collection. It includes Seurat, Gaugin, and get this, VAN GOGH!!! Van Gogh is my very favorite painter. The collection even includes his Starry Night Over the Rhone. Van Gogh actually painted three different starry night paintings. To think that I could see one in person is beyond what I can even imagine. It is not that I want to go. It is that I have to go. I will have to arrange a group to go up. San Francisco is about 2 1/2 hours here so it can be done as a day trip. If you are going to be in SF during this time frame, here is their website: This is such a big deal.

By the way, I finished the most wonderful book last night. It was Mitch Albom's, "Have A Little Faith." What a beautiful little book. He is such a wonderful writer. I truly loved "Tuesdays With Morrie" and "The Five People You Meet In Heaven." All were wonderful books and made me feel stronger in my faith when I read them. The one I read last night was truly wonderful. It made me feel really good today when I thought about it.

Well, I am off to get some much needed rest for tomorrow is the start of a new fiscal year and should be quite busy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

WIP Progress

Today was an absolutely beautiful day. The sun was shining, birds were singing, nary a cloud in the sky...Sweet.

Well, I finally got around to taking a picture of my WIP, "Dog Lessons for People." It is coming along quite nicely. I got a lot done this weekend. I have about 2 1/2 lines left. I am already thinking about what I should stitch next. Sadly, I did not work on it tonight as I am catching up on my last two episodes of Real Housewives of New Jersey. It is my guilty pleasure and I just love it. I wonder what it is like to have that much attitude. LOL

I got to play for just a few minutes in my garden tonight. It is amazing how fast flowers bloom out there. A friend at work today told me about a cool trick for starting roses from cuttings that I have to try. I would love to restart some of my larger roses in other spots. I literally have a bush that is about 12 feet tall. It is so vibrant in color that I would love to have it in several places in the yard. This gives me much to consider...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Perfect Weekend

What a wonderful and perfect weekend. I had so much fun and feel so happy and content.

Yesterday was absolutely cold and dreary. I had gotten up, showered, dressed, threw a load of laundry into the washer and was thinking about all of the things that I had to get done. I had things to do, people to see, errands to run. I looked over at Liesl who was all tucked into a blanket on the sofa and thought that she had a much better idea. So I sat down with a cup of tea, my stitching, and soon had a small dog sleeping with her head in my lap. It was a little bit of Heaven. I ended up stitching, reading, napping, puttering around the house, and just being in the moment all day. It is so rare that a day like that comes along, and I am so glad I got to enjoy it.

Today was gorgeous and warm. I started the day with a long walk on the beach with Liesl. She was so happy that she kept running in circles and jumping up on me. She thinks this is hilarious. She was covered in sand when we got home so she had to have a B-A-T-H. She forgave me quickly though. The chicken jerky helped. :) While she was drying I got to watch the race, and got to see Tony come in second. Whoohoo!!!

The weather was so beautiful that I had to go out and work in the garden. I love being in my garden. It is such a happy place. I have a beautiful tree that I think are white lilacs that smell heavenly when they are heated up by the sun. I love to just breathe in that beautiful scent. I spent much of the afternoon out in the sunshine, planting wildflower seeds in one of the beds, transplanting some things, watering, weeding and just enjoying my little paradise.

The best part of the day was that late in the day one of my very best friends called me and told me that she had made a plant for my kitchen, and had cut a pretty rose in her garden today and wanted to give them to me. So we ended up going to a little deli and had a bowl of soup for dinner and got to have a leisurely chat. We have been friends for almost ten years now and I treasure our friendship. After dinner she gave me the rose in the picture (which smells divine), and the pretty plant, as well as the little banana bread. (She loves to bake for her hubby and children.) What wonderful treasures. I am trying to think of something nice to stitch for her as a surprise gift.

It was such a perfect weekend. I never could have planned it. It just sort of fell into place.

Hope you had a perfect weekend, too!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Cozy Evening...

It was one of those rare days when I did not have plans after work, nor did I come home and work in the garden. Which is a shame because gardening makes me happy. Instead, within 10 minutes of getting home, I was in my jammies and a sweatshirt, feet up on the sofa, eating my crockpot supper, which, by the way was amazing! Liesl ate her puppy dinner and has been asleep all evening.

As I mentioned last night, I made the red beans and coconut rice in the crockpot from A Year of Crockpotting (link on my blog roll). It was delicious. I made one error in the recipe, and that was using Jasmine instead of Basmati rice. So it came out a little mushy, but still awesome. The fresh lime juice sprinkled over it makes all of the difference. It was so good that I was a bad girl and ate two bowls of it.

Sometime in the next couple of weeks, I need to drive up to the city of Watsonville, near Santa Cruz. There is a great place there, and the only one I know of that sells olallieberries, which is a cross between a blackberry and a loganberry. They have a unique flavor and make the most fabulous cobbler. Now that I have my jazzy new stove I need to bake something. That something is cobbler. LOL Plus I have been watching Alton Brown (love AB!) and I am in a culinary mood.

I did get to stitch tonight after I over ate my dinner. It is very chilly here so it was nice to relax on the sofa with Liesl napping next to me. I feel really good that I made a lot of progress on my stitching. I missed gardening today, but all in due time...

Hope you have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Oh my goodness. It is so cold right now. Forget those pictures you saw of our area during the US Open. It is wear a coat cold. The nice thing about it being cold is that I get in the mood to cook and with the new stove, it should be a whole lot of fun. Actually, though, tomorrow I am going to make a recipe I have been wanting to try from It is the May 24 post for Red Beans and Coconut Rice. It looks delicious. I have made several things that were very successful and quite delicious from Stefanie's blog, so I am really looking forward to trying it.

It was really cold this afternoon, but Liesl and I met up with my daughter by the water for a walk. Liesl loves to walk but today I think she really just wanted to go home and lay down on the sofa. She ate her puppy dinner as soon as we got home and stretched out on the sofa for a good nap. We saw another mini schnauzer on our walk, I can always tell one by that jaunty little trot. My daughter thinks it is so funny how schnauzers ignore each other. Liesl will go out of her way to meet every other dog on a walk, but a schnauzer can just keep on walking. I have spoken with a professional breeder about this, and she says that it is just something that they do. It is funny to watch, though.

I have been becoming inspired to make a quilt soon. I do have another staycation coming up in a few weeks, and perhaps that would be a good time to get some piecing done. I think I will have to get out my quilting books and pick a good pattern. I have lots of vintage/retro fabric that I have collected over the past few years that I would love to make into something. I have to decide if I will make a wall hanging or an actual blanket. Perhaps I should start a little small...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Still On Cloud Nine!

I am still coming down from all of the excitement of yesterday. I still find it hard to believe that I was there. The day just flew by and was so memorable. I still can not believe how close I was standing near THE Jimmie Johnson, four time champion! I forgot to mention in yesterday's post that when he won, he did burn outs at a couple of places on the course. One place was right in front of our section. It was SO COOL!

Here are some more photos I took yesterday:

I tried to get a photo of Tony's car as it was wheeled out to go into the lineup, but his car was the one car that was mobbed with people! He got a lot of cheers and applause during driver introductions. I also got to see the back of his head as he exited the driver meeting. It was a big moment! LOL

Now I think I have to see a race at an oval someday. My dream is to go to Talledega though. Maybe when I retire I will go to all of them.

What is really funny about all of this is that I really got my love of racing from the cross stitchers on a message board several years ago. The ladies would be chatting about the races with such enthusiam that I had to check it out. I soon realized that I could stitch for several hours to a race, and you do not have to look up constantly. Then I found myself putting down my stitching more and more. While I appreciate the talents of all of the drivers, Tony Stewart really is the man!

I am so glad that I went yesterday!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Attended My First NASCAR Race!

It is still so hard for me to believe, but today I attended my very first NASCAR race. It was a dream come true! I have been looking forward to it for months, and I am so grateful to my friends who put the day together. It was thrilling.

The day began at 3 am with me getting ready. My friend picked me up at 4:15 am, for the first leg of picking up friends along the route on the way to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. We got there at 7:30 am and already the track was well underway for a busy day. We walked around saw the haulers and did a little shopping. I was pretty impressed that the teams really keep the price of souvenirs pretty low. I got a license plate bracket and a pin for $18.

My friends who have gone to races all over the US, made the arrangements for the day, and did an incredible job. We were seated in Turn 11 with an incredible view of the race course. The tickets also included a Q&A session with Jeff Gordon. We were very close to the stage. I am so impressed with Mr. Gordon. He seemed so genuinely nice and down to earth. He was so nice to the kids in the crowd. Truly a class act!

As we were leaving the session we got to see the cars going through inspection. It was awesome to see the cars up close. In addition, we happened upon a place in the fence where we could see the drivers's leaving the driver's meeting. Apparently, Ryan Newman walked right past me but I missed him. But we were standing right by Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton, and Robbie Gordon. It was a bit overwhelming to see everything up close that I have loved for years on television.

Attending a race is an incredible experience. I was not prepared for how the engines just roar, and you literally can not have a conversation with the person right next to you. (My friends had arranged for scanner head phones, which were a saving grace!) The paint schemes are more vivid than they look on television and the cars are going so fast that you can not focus your eyes on them.

After the race, instead of jumping into the car to sit in traffic that did not move for at least an hour, my friends had packed a tailgate party. We barbecued hamburgers, had a peaceful dinner under a nice canopy, and relaxed. It was a perfect end to the day, particulary before we got into the SUV for another 3 1/2 ride back home.

I am so grateful to my friends who made this such an incredible experience for me. Their planning, and race know how made this such a special day that I will never ever forget. I am also so grateful to my daughter who spent the night last night and gave up her Sunday to watch Liesl for me. It was a generous thing to do and gave me such piece of mind to know Liesl would be well taken care of.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Stove Day!

Yay! It's here and it is so pretty. I wish I could say that I cooked something glamorous for dinner, but I was a bit tired. I am so excited though. The nice delivery men let me vacuum where the old stove had been before they installed the new one. I need to bake something remarkable now. It is bigger than my old stove, but somehow it is making my kitchen look bigger.

The US Open is here locally right now. It is making for interesting commute time. It is very exciting though with the Monterey Peninsula being very welcoming to golf enthusiasts. The weather has been absolutely beautiful so this should be great for the tournament. The other big tournament we have here is the AT&T ProAm (the old Crosby Clambake.) Usually when you get to see us on television, it is pouring down rain. In fact, we have a running joke when it pours here in the winter that it is AT&T weather. But right now it is absolutely beautiful. Today there was nary a cloud in the sky.

I am hoping to get about an hour of stitching in tonight. I am really tired and trying to get over the last dregs of this darn head cold. At the same time, I would consider it a personal victory to move my q-snaps over to another part of the fabric. I have been stitching in the same spot since I started this piece.

Off to stitch!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Stove Coming Tomorrow!

Okay, so it may not sound really exciting, but I am totally stoked about the arrival of the new stove. I am trying to think what I should cook for the inaugural dinner. So many choices. I may have to bake something, too!

Got to stitch tonight in between phone calls trying to determine when my stove is arriving. I have the standard four hour window. I was so hoping for the evening appointment. Now I am hoping that they will come as early as possible in my four hour window.

I had to go to the local craft store here at lunchtime. I was out of DMC 930. I was a little disappointed to find out that they do not have DMC anymore and have switched to Sullivan. DMC is an institution. I wonder why they made the change. Anyway, I also found a pretty framed picture for $3. I have to sand the dings out of the frame and repaint it, but it will be a quick fix. I loved finding such a great bargain.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Little Miss Liesl

I do not know if I have mentioned this before, but Liesl's favorite toy is a life sized duck that quacks. She has had quite a few over the years. When she was younger she felt the need to dismember them. Now that she is almost three, she has come to understand that if she takes them apart, she can't play with them anymore, so she is nicer to them. Anyway, I had to run into Walmart after work. They had the ducks for $5 so I got her another one for her to have in my office. I let her see it and she trotted right over to get her other duck and put them together, which I thought was pretty smart.

From time to time, Liesl will gather up her favorite toys and make a little pile out of them. Then she will lay down on top of the pile. It cracks me up. Anyway, she has already done this a couple of times since we got home with the ducks. She seems to think she has hit the duck jackpot. I almost don't have the heart to split them up and take one off to the office. She is just so happy.

So now my little furgirl is asleep next to me on the sofa. I have my stitching ready to for me to pick up and Cake Boss is on (I love Cake Boss!!!!) I think I may even make a little cup of cocoa. It has been really chilly here today, plus I am coming down with a cold. Yuck. I have big plans for the weekend and there is no way I can have a cold then. Vitamin C is my best friend for the next few days!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Good Evening

I got off work a little early today so headed off to a much needed trip to the grocery store. The fridge was looking a little desperate. I had food, but nothing that went together to make an actual meal, so it was time...So off I went to the store with everyone else who was trying to pick something up for dinner. Oy vey!

It was one of those days where I came home and put my jammies on right away. I was totally tired. I needed to water the garden but I was too tired. Liesl was tired, too, and laid next to me as I crashed on the sofa. We played for a little bit, but she let me know that she needed some sleep, too. She put her little puppy feet up on me and drifted off to sleep.

I did stitch tonight. It was my New Jersey TV night. I am orginally from NJ, so I am loving all of the attention that the state is getting on TV right now. So tonight I got to watch Cake Boss, which takes place in Hoboken. This show is so darn adorable. I love the family on this show. In a few minutes Real Housewives of New Jersey comes on. This show is over the top, but I love it. Great shows to stitch to. Plus it is nice to hear people say orange (ah-range) and horrible (hah-rrible) like I do. It is the one part of my accent that I can not seem to get rid of.

As I said earlier, I did stitch. I am still working on Dog Lessons for People and it is really coming along. It should actually be finished by the end of June. Whoohoo!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Social Weekend

I had a really great weekend. I have been on the church's pastoral seach committee for the past year. It has really been a blessing to do this work and we had such a great group working on this committee. Anyway, we made our selection a couple of weeks ago. This was the weekend for the congregation to meet the pastor we have selected. There was much festivity! It started with a dinner on Friday night, a breakfast of just our committee and the pastor yesterday morning, then a church potluck last night. I love church potlucks! Plus it was so nice to just have that time with my church friends. We are all so excited about the future.

After church today, I came home and took a nap for an hour. I was so tired! Liesl was really happy to have her momma back, too! After my nap, I got up and Liesl and I headed to the backyard. It has been so hot and beautiful so I had to get some work done out there. I finally got my tomato plants into the ground. I have a few other things to plant but I feel much better now that they are planted. I also got a few more seeds started. The garden is looking really good now.

After I got some weedling done, flowering bushes deadheaded and seeds started, I got down to watering. Had a little misshap though because I did not see that there was a small, gray, and usually spoiled dog lying in a huge patch of nasturtiums. I went to water that patch and saw said little, gray, cheesed off dog leap up in a rather surprised way. Oops. My bad. Luckily, forgiveness comes at the price of a puppy cookie.

I am really looking forward to finishing up the yard. It is looking really good. I would love to have a chaise lounge out there. I need to find a used one though since they tend to be so expensive. But I can envision me laying out in the yard, sharing the chair with Liesl, sipping a lemonade, and reading a magazine. It sounds heavenly. Best of all, it stays pretty warm here until almost November so I have many months to look forward to being in the yard. I want to get it just right before I have a dinner out there with friends though! Plus my new stove has to arrive first!

Have a happy week!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Busy Week!

It has been a whirlwind week. But as always, life is good!

Tonight after work, I came right home and changed into my play clothes and gardening boots. The day had come for me to prune the camellias. I have four trees in my yard. Apparently, if you do not prune them regularly, it can cause the flower to wither and die while it is still trying to bud. This happened to me this season, plus the trees were looking kind of scraggly. One was also seriously encroaching on the mailbox, much to the mail carrier's dismay, I am sure. So all have been trimmed back and are looking much better. I have to pick up some fertilizer stakes from Home Depot soon.

Speaking of Home Depot, I am getting a new stove! I have only had two burners working for quite some time. So the nice folks I rent from told me to go find the stove that I like at Home Depot. It was purchased last night and will be delivered next Thursday. I am very excited about this. I will have to cook lots of dinners for friends. I am really fortunate because my stove hook up is gas, which I love cooking with.

I have not had much time to stitch this week. Here I thought I would have all of this extra time because of my class ending. The time just gets filled up pretty easily. I am going to try to stitch this weekend. Plus I have to go pick up some more DMC 930.
Enjoy your Friday!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


The heat wave continued through much of today. Late this afternoon the fog rolled in though and it was a welcome relief. It cooled off rather nicely.

After church I was able to come home and put the race on. I pulled out my stitching and stitched through a very interesting race. I to worked on Dog Lessons for People and hope to take a photo this week. I like the colors that are used in the design.

I have not been able to cook for a few days, so I was thrilled to be able to make myself a nice dinner tonight. I totally love Trader Joe's and am always on the lookout for yummy things. I found these breaded eggplant cutlets in the frozen section. OMG, they are so good!!!! I fried them up in a skillet, then poured some of TJ's four cheese sauce on top. Then I served this on top of a bed of lemon pepper egg noodles. Sprinkled some cheese on top and it was so delicious. I could not believe how good the eggplant was. I had totally forgotten that I had in them in the freezer.
I was not able to garden this weekend but I was able to sit on my back step and admire how far it has come. It is really looking lovely. I need to get some seeds in the ground, but for now it made me happy how pretty it looks already. I look forward to the day I can sit at the table in my yard and drink my coffee amongst the flowers.
Enjoy the work week.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday Night

I got home tonight in time to see the last 45 minutes of the best movie ever. Sure you have your Citizen Kane, Dr. Zhivago and Gone With The Wind. But really do they hold a candle to that cinematic hallmark, "Talledega Nights?" I love this movie. It makes me laugh out loud.

It has been really hot here. Too hot really. Liesl has been panting alot so I have been putting ice cubes in her water bowl. It was so hot by 4 pm that I put her in the shower so she could cool off a bit. She seemed a bit grateful. I can't imagine having a fur coat in this heat.

It has been too hot to stitch. I am afraid of getting my fabric dirty from sweat, so I am holding off. Instead I have been looking online at freebie patterns. There are so many beautiful free patterns out there. Designers are very generous with these creations. I am thinking that I would like to make a pretty floss tag, but there are so many great patterns out there to choose from.

I have been thinking about how much stitching has changed since the early 1980's when I really got into the craft. Back then, department stores like JC Penney, Sears, and Mervyns had sewing machines, patterns, fabric and cross stitch kits as a department. If I wanted a project, I went to JC Penney to pick a new kit. After that craft super stores came into fashion in the mid 80's. However, I found that many of the kits were sort of cutesy, which was not my style. So I started buying aida in the Charles Craft tubes, DMC floss and a pattern book, here and there. I never bought more than what I was immediately going to be working on. There was no such thing as stash. Now there are so many different fabrics, thread, patterns from all over the world, embellishments, accessories and ways to finish an item. It is amazing how much it has changed in 30 years.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Whoohoo! School's Out!

Well, I finished my final about an hour ago! School is out! It was too late to celebrate with ice cream, so that will have to wait. I am just so glad and ready to turn my book in at the campus bookstore tomorrow. It has been an hectic couple of weeks between a 12 page research paper, a 10 minute Powerpoint presentation and a final exam for this class.

Tomorrow after I meet up with my daughter I am going to be a stitching machine! I am also going to be a gardening machine. The garbage truck picked up my first load of weeds picked this last weekend. I have to fill up the can with the ones that are still in piles around the yard. I also need to get some seeds into the ground. I am so excited that I get to do what I want for three months. Whoohoo!

Now I need to get a couple of fair entries together. I think my daughter is going to enter some of her knitting in the fair, too. She showed me what she is considering and it is absolutely breathtaking. She is also interested in spinning and they always have a room set up full of spinning wheels and demos. So very cool. I totally love the fair! If you still have the opportunity, I would encourage anyone who is considering it to enter something in the local fair. It encourages interest in crafts and keeps us from losing some of our beloved home arts. Plus it is really fun!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One More Day...

Until the beginning of the summer of Patti! I just have to take a final exam tomorrow night for my class. I was supposed to do it tonight but wanted to study up a couple of chapters. After this test my evenings are free of responsibilities until the fall. Whoohoo! I feel like I should do something special to kick off the summer. Maybe I should go get ice cream!

Today started out gray and sprinkly. It warmed up considerably by the the end of the day. I met my daughter to do our two mile walk after work and it was beautiful. There are times I can not believe that I get to see the Pacific Ocean on a daily basis. I am so fortunate. So we got in our walk and I came home to make dinner. While cooking my dinner I got all inspired. I wanted to use up my veggies in the refrigerator, so cut them up and put them in the crockpot to slow cook some turkey noodle soup for tomorrow's dinner (and probably a month's worth of lunches.) I got the kitchen all cleaned up and went out to water the flowers. The air was starting to chill with the evening getting darker, so the flowers all smelled really fragrant. I tried to throw the ball for Liesl, but she had been on the same two mile walk and just looked at me like she was not feeling it for chasing a ball. She came inside and laid down on her blankie so I could tuck her in.

It is really nice and quiet this evening. Liesl is sleeping and I am getting ready to pull out my stitching for a while. I love evenings like this.