Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ahh, quiet...

This year I have gotten really good about turning off the television when there is nothing worth watching on. I have come to really value the silence in my house in the evening. I go into my little office/craft room and work on the computer, study for my class, or sometimes just surf. I love this little room. It is decorated in red, is very feminine and has many of my favorite things in here. I keep the lights very low in here. There is no overhead lamp, just my desk lamp and a table lamp. Liesl has a bed in here, too. When she sees me come into this room, she trots in, too, and happily snuggles into her bed while I sit at my desk. I think she likes the quiet, too. It is almost like that peaceful, contented quiet that I would have when I would read "Goodnight Moon" to my children when they were small, as I tucked them into bed. (Goodnight to the lady whispering hush...)

Tonight it is very quiet. Liesl is sleeping and I keep hearing soft little puppy snores, which are just about the cutest thing in the world. I have taken my test for my class and scored a 98%. I am seriously considering a cup of hot cocoa at this point.

Our temperatures have returned to normal here. The fog is thick again tonight and the air is very salty and smells like the ocean. I figure it will be another night filled with the sounds of the fog horns, sea lions and puppy snores. All music to my ears.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It Was A Dark and Foggy Night...

Despite the fact that the temperatures have hit the triple digits today, tonight is rather cool and foggy. I am sitting quietly in my room listening to the sounds from Monterey Bay. They are the sounds of sea lions calling out. Their barking sounds somewhat playful this evening. I am also listening to the fog horns on the fishing vessels, most likely purse seiners and those capturing calamari squid. The fog horns sound somewhat lonely, singing their sad songs into the night.

I am still in awe that I get to live this close to the Pacific Ocean. That I can hear the sounds of the ocean, smell the salt air and sea weed from my little house. Liesl and I get to walk in the same places that John Steinbeck, Doc Ricketts and the characters from Steinbeck's books set their footprints. I have been a fan of Steinbeck since I was 12 years old and read In Dubious Battle. Now I get to see what he saw through eyes of this century. Sometimes, I see something that he mentioned in his books and I try to imagine what it looked, smelled and felt like back then.

Well, I am finally tired enough to go to sleep. I will let the foghorns sing me to sleep with the silly chorus of sea lions.

Have a nice evening.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday...

Yay! Here is my progress on Willie. Please pardon the photo quality. If I used the flash, it totally washed out the photo. I could not get a good balance of the lighting in the room. Anyway, it is coming along nicely. The actual snowman is done with sparkly blending filament, so he is very blingy.

Had the night from heck here last night. As I had posted, I had gone to bed really early. Unfortunately, this effort was wasted. About 2:45 am, Liesl and I both jumped awake to a loud rumbling throughout the house. At first, I thought it was a large earthquake. I jumped out of bed with Liesl quick on my heels to get to safety. Then I realized the house was not shaking. The sound actually sounded like someone running around the outside of the house, which is not possible. I grabbed the phone and looked out the window in time to see a group of at least 3 racoons jumping off the roof and running along the fence. Not good. I usually do not let Liesl out after a certain time at night because I fear racoons getting hold of her, but now I am really going to be mindful. I let my neighbor know so that they can keep their furbaby safe, too. Racoons do really bad things to dogs.

I would have been able to get to back to sleep had it not been for my lovely neighbors across the street that are holding to their partying all night schedule until they move out. My goodness. The first of the month is drawing nigh, though.

Other than being very sleepy, it was a good day. It was 100 degrees at work today, but was nice and cool on the coast when I got home. The smell of jasmine and trumpet plant filled my living room. It is so strong and so beautiful that I can almost taste it. It really helps me to stay in the joy of the moment, because it is so beautiful that I just have to sit down and enjoy it. I ate my dinner next to the window, stitched next to the window and just enjoyed the beauty of light changing throughout the evening. What a blessing.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kinda Like Christmas Today

Wow! What a great day! It was a wonderful morning at church, as always. I have a wonderful church and with our new pastor I feel like I am learning so much. We are so fortunate.

So, I have been working on my family's genealogy for seven years now. I have hit a brick wall on the Dutch side of my family for pretty much the entire seven years. A few months ago, I was able to locate a third cousin, one generation removed. We struck up a correspondence and have had the opportunity to even speak on the phone once. Today he sent me photographs of his grandmother, my great grandmother's sister. It was so amazing to finally see the face of a person I have been looking for during these years. It was an amazing gift and I am so grateful.

After church, I was able to come home, watch the race and stitch for a while. I even got in a short power nap. I had to be back at church at 3:15 for choir practice and our pastor's installation. It was a beautiful ceremony followed by a delicious dinner. I truly love spending time with my church family, so it was so nice to share a meal and time together.

After church, one of my very best friends told me she had something for me. Last night when we had chatted on the phone, she had asked me what I was reading. We both love books and talk about them alot. I told her that I was bookless right now and was due for a trip to the library. So after church, she went out to her car and brought me in a bag of really great books. Oh my goodness, it feels like Christmas. I plan on going to bed early, cuddling with little Miss Liesl and reading an awesome book.

It has been such a great day. So much to be thankful for. Although it has been kind of a busy weekend, I feel refreshed, peaceful and content.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Heat Wave

Well, summer has finally arrived on the Monterey Peninsula. It was hot today. Luckily, first thing in the morning, Liesl had an appointment at the groomer to have a lot of fur removed. She is now shaved down and styled. She was not happy when we drove up to the groomer, but looks happy to be home and much cooler. She just looks so darn cute, too. It seems like when she gets her eyebrows trimmed, that her eyes look huge.

The heat has enhanced the aroma of my neighbor's jasmine and my trumpet plants. The night air is filled with these sweet scents and is making me happy. The scent is so vibrant that it settles in my living room. It is so beautiful, and so worth the day's heat.

I did get to stitch tonight. I am working on the bottom of the snowman now. The blending filament is not giving me the trouble that I thought it would. It looks so pretty and sparkly. I am already looking forward to working on Ellie May Melt after this. I really love working on this piece.

I am feeling a bit happy because I was able to reconnect with an old friend today. We fell out of contact a while back, you know how life happens. Anyway, it was so good to see her and catch up. My friends, old and new are such a blessing to me. I am so grateful that God has sent wonderful people into my life to share the journey.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Night Fun

Oh, my goodness, I came home so tired today. I put on my sweats and just vegged for a while before I even started dinner. Liesl was tired, too, and has been asleep since about 6:30. I have not been this tired in a really long time. I plan on going to sleep at my usual weeknight time. I do have to be up and out kind of early tomorrow and it is a bit of a busy weekend. So, hopefully I will get lots of sleep tonight.

I had a good news, bad news kinda thing happen this week. I have really wonderful neighbors, except for one house across the street, which is known for being very noisy and has some crazy parties. My first couple of weeks here saw them having toga parties until 4 am. Oy vey. Anyway, two days ago, the For Rent sign went up on their house. But alas, I can not start my happy dancing yet. Because the inhabitants of said house have had a party every night since then. Last night their party woke me up at 1:30 am and 3:30 am. Who does that on a weeknight? Anyway, they are already starting up the noise already tonight. I will be elated when the moving truck pulls up and I see boxes going into the truck.

I did get to stitch tonight after I finally made my dinner. It was so nice and so peaceful. I made a lot of progress and am feeling pretty good about how it looks. I hope to get the bottom of the snowman done this week. I really love the colors in this piece.

Well, I am off to get some sleep. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It is hard to believe the week is almost over. It has flown by at lightspeed. I am looking forward to the weekend though. I am planning a stitching night for at least one of the evenings.

I had a lovely day today. It was a really good day at work and a major goal was accomplished. After work I got to meet up for dinner with a dear friend from church. We ended up talking for over two hours just catching up on all of the goings on our lives. We had such good conversation. I am overwhelmed sometimes with just how amazing my friends are and how fortunate I am to have them in my life.

No stitching tonight. I was greeted at the door by a wagging tail and lots of puppy kisses. There were cookies to pass out, toys to throw for fetch and cuddles to be given. Much better than stitching any day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mid Way Through The Week!

Oy vey. It has been a long evening. I had to take a Microeconomics test tonight and it was harder than I thought it would be. I was hoping to be in bed by now, but alas...

I do not know if I have ever shared this, but I am a really big fan of John Steinbeck's writing. Much of his writing took place here on the Monterey Peninsula and in the Salinas Valley, so I have an even deeper appreciation of his work, since I get to walk in the same places as many of his characters. But I have to say, that one of my very favorite books is "Travels With Charly" about his road trip that he took in his camper "Rocinante" with his black poodle, Charly. (As a side note, you can actually see Rocinante at the Steinbeck Center in Salinas. Cool, huh!) I dearly loved this book and it was not until Liesl came into my life that I really came to understand the bond he shared with his dog.

There are times when I wonder if I am being boring by writing so much about Liesl, but I just find her fascinating. Schnauzers are so very smart and almost human like in alot that they do. She seems to understand language in a profound way and is really responsive. Mostly, she is just a happy little dog, who smiles alot. When she is smiling her eyes are all lit up and she brings joy to those she is smiling at.

I had to crack up tonight. It used to be that several months ago she used to cling to me and want to be in whatever room I was in. In the last couple of months though, she kind of happily trots through the house like she is on a mission. It is kind of funny to see her smiling her big schnauzer smile, walking like she has someplace she has to be. Tonight, she had decided that she had misplaced an important toy and went off on a treasure hunt. Just like a toddler, when she was done, she just sort of crashed and went to sleep all sprawled out.

It is nice to have this kind of entertainment while I stitch and power down for the evening. I did get to work on my snowman, and will post more photos soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

WIP Progress

Okay, isn't he the cutest little thing? I wish that the sparkly effect from the filament was visible with the camera. He is blingy, too! He is coming along nicely. and is really a lot of fun to stitch. I love Lori Birmingham's designs. She has a way with cuteness.

It is really nice to get back in the swing of my stitching again. I have been working a little at a time prepping the garden for fall and winter. I am kind of looking forward to moving my party inside with my stitching, my crafts, my books and being cozy when it starts to rain outside. So for now, I am pruning and doing the last of the weeding, deadheading, and just making sure that everything makes it through winter. Luckily, here on the coast, it will not get horribly cold, we have a small number of freezes, so all should be okay.

My dear friend brought me an arrangement with the last of the roses from her garden yesterday. They are so lovely and the last bit of summer. They look so lovely on my table and make me so happy when I think that I have such wonderful and thoughtful friends.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Good Saturday

Well, the weekend started with a little bit of excitement last night. I had dropped Liesl off at home after work while I had a meeting and then ran some errands. When I got home there was a fire engine up the block, across the street and some activity going on. I said a little prayer of thanks that my house and its little furry occupant inside were safe. I drove into my driveway and saw the scared little furry face over the back of the sofa in the window. All of the activity must have really frightened her. It looks like my neighbor's house is okay, I am not sure what happened. Thank goodness, everyone is okay.

Today was a good day. I puttered around the house and had long lunch with a friend. It rained early this morning, so it was a good day to start slowly with a cup of tea, hanging out with a little gray dog. All of the laundry is done, groceries bought and put away, floors are vacuumed, and I got to play fetch about a dozen times today.

I am getting ready to go settle in and stitch for the evening. It is so quiet right now and I just feel very peaceful. I am thinking about all of the blessings in my life. I am truly grateful for all that I have been blessed with.

May you be blessed many times over, as well.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

End of the Week Already?!

Can you believe tomorrow is Friday already? Oh my goodness, this week went really fast. I am looking forward to the weekend though. It is supposed to be kind of cloudy and cool here, which means good nesting weather. Other than meeting up with a couple of different friends for a cup of tea, I think I may just hang around the house, watch the races, and stitch. I might even start planning a quilt.

For those of you who have asked about the pine needle baskets, here is a link to the book I have: It is pretty user friendly, has lots of pictures and will get you all inspired to go rake the yard!

I worked on my snowman for a while again tonight before I had to do my homework for my class on Supply and Demand. I was thinking about using Gingher Designer scissors as my example, although a really good example would have been Gingher "Glory." Still kicking myself...Anyway, have you seen the new "Sonias?" They are, oh, so pretty! I do love red. They kind of have a bandana look to them.

Well, there is a small schnauzer that looks like she is ready for her cookie and turn down service. Guess I had better go tuck her in. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday

A good evening, yet again! A BLT and sweet potato fries for dinner. Yum! Then stitching, took my microeconomics test, and got to talk on the phone with one of my best friends who is just back from a trip. She is always a joy to talk to. I really missed her, so I am so glad she is back.

My little snowman is really taking shape nicely. I have been working on his pretty little hat. I will be sharing a photo this weekend. I need to get his eyes in so you can see his cute little face. It is actually going pretty fast. I like the colors and I am having fun with it

The season is really changing here. I smelled my first fire burning in someone's fireplace tonight. There is a crispness in the air and the leaves are falling off two of my trees. I do love fall. I feel like I should be making hot apple cider, filling the house with the scents of apples, cinnamon and cloves. I have to take care of the last few things in the garden for the season, and start stowing away my gardening tools. Time to start thinking about moving all of my fun indoors.

I need to start thinking about making my pine needle baskets before the rains come in late November, early December. There are some interesting cut outs I need to figure out how to make as the bottoms and embellishments to the baskets. Perhaps this would be a good weekend to take a walk with Liesl, enjoy the beautiful fall day, and gather pine needles so that I can start my projects. Sounds like a perfect way to spend a day!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Night

What a lovely evening. I came home and put on my jammies directly after work. I fed the little furry fraulein, and cooked myself a simple dinner. After I closed up the chuck wagon and washed the dishes, and played tug a war and fetch with my sidekick, I was able to set up camp on the sofa. Other than talking to a couple of my wonderful friends on the phone, I was able to just stitch all evening. The snowman now has a head and a third of his hat and is looking pretty darn good.

It was nice to have a cozy evening in. I made brownies yesterday so I even got to have a yummy treat during my breaks from stitching. I had on my big woolie socks and bad television on. I even got to watch a couple of Seinfeld reruns. It was heaven.

It does not look like we are going to get our wonderful summer, which usually comes in September and October here. It was cool in the actual summer and has been downright cold in September. I even had the heat on last night. I will have to check the Farmer's Almanac, but I think it is going to be an early, long, cold and wet winter. Good stitching weather!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stitching Progress

This is not the best photo, but enough to show the progress I have made on "Willie Melt." It is an adorable piece and I am having fun stitching it.

It was a quiet day today. I really needed some rest because I am really not feeling well, so Liesl and I stayed in and had a mellow day. It was pretty uneventful, which was good. The most eventful thing that happened was I got to watch the second part of the Reunion show of Real Housewives of New Jersey. Oh, my goodness. I am glad that there are some casting changes being made because it was kind of icky to watch. I am glad for my semi boring life when I watch that show. I had to kind of offset the icky New Jersey show with Cake Boss, a fun NJ show.

I splurged and ordered the new Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue. It came yesterday. So far it looks pretty good. All of my favorite designers are represented. I will admit that I do not stitch ornaments, but I am ready, just in case. I have ordered these issues for the past few years and have them in sequential order, so I really did not want to miss this issue and break up a set. I am becoming inspired to make some small cuts of fabric and stitching some ornaments. Hmmm, so much to stitch, so little time.

Day Of Remembrance

To this day, it is all still so unbelievable. On this day we remember the lives that were lost, the heroes who came forth, and how we were changed forever because of what we witnessed.

Today let us pray for peace on earth and between all people.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Couple of Days of Murphy's Law

Wow. Have you ever had one of those days? Or two? Oy vey. Welcome to my world.

I was looking forward to coming home, having a relaxing evening, and doing my homework for my online class, which is due tonight. Normally, I do not wait until the last minute, but alas, I have had church stuff the past couple of nights. Of course, the minute I sat down to complete my assignment, my Comcast broadband went out. I could not even retrieve the instructions for the assignment. Of course, the next hour was filled with unplugging, plugging back in, rebooting, etc. I tried to call Comcast and was on hold for 22 minutes before I finally gave up, madder than all get out. I finally got it up and running an hour later, but I was so frustrated, I am afraid I did not do my best on my assignment. :(

Anyway, I am going to try again for relaxing on Saturday, knock wood. If I can get all of my errands run tomorrow after work, I am thinking that Saturday would be a good day to stay home in my jammies all day. Liesl would welcome the opportunity to lounge all day. I could see myself at my desk/craft table most of the day. I am starting to spend a lot of my evenings in the craft room/office. It is nice in here. The lighting is low, the house is quiet, and Liesl has a bed to hang out on.

I am afraid that after my internet fiasco I was not left with any time to stitch. I was hoping early this evening that I could get that assignment done and then be free to stitch the evening away. Oh, well. In the big scheme of things, it is but a small annoyance.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Life Is Beautiful

It was a busy day at work, as all Monday type days are in a four day work week. But it was a satisfying day as I got a lot accomplished. It just feels good when you make it through your workload.

We had choir practice at church tonight. I was thinking tonight as I looked around, how much I love my church family. I have known all of these people for about 10 years now. I can't believe how fast that time has passed. I think of all that has happened both inside the church and within our friendships over all these years. My church family has been an incredible source of strength, hope, love, and friendship. We also have a lot of fun together. We have been through so much together and I feel so blessed to know these people. I feel blessed to be walking the same journey with all for them.

After church I got to see my smiling little furgirl, doing her happy dance at seeing me. I realize that I overall that I am so fortunate for all of the love that I have in my life, in so many ways. That little schnauzer smile just melts my heart. That smile is worth all of the spoiling that I get to do for her. Speaking of which, have I mentioned that she gets turn down service? Every night, when she goes outside for the last time, I straighten her blankie on her bed, then I put one of her little heart shaped peanut butter cookies on the edge of her bed. When she comes in she trots over to her bed. If for some reason that cookie is not in place, she will come out of the bedroom and look at me, like, "Um...hello. There is supposed to be a cookie on my pillow..." LOL

I got to stitch for a while after choir practice. It made me happy. I am working on the snowman's sweater right now. It really is adorable. I am looking forward to stitching Ellie May Melt next. I love Lori Birmingham's designs. I will post a photo soon!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The End of the Three Day Weekend

The three day weekend went by quickly, as always. I got a lot done though and I feel really good about it. Today, I was grateful that the repair shop was open and could take my car at the last minute. I heard the dreaded squeak on my brakes and brought my car in right away. They were amazing and had my front brakes replaced by noon. In the meantime, my Liesie and I were able to walk on the beach. We were there early in the morning, so we basically we had the beach to ourselves. I even got to see a school of dolphin, breaching in the waves.

The weather is turning quickly here. This is usually our summer here on the Peninsula. September and October are usually hot and sunny. The air has been a bit crisp. I am getting nervous about an early winter. Our winters are cold and rainy, so we treasure our sunshine first.

I picked a kit out of my stash to work on. I spent the late afternoon and early evening stitching Lori Birmingham's "Willie Melt." He is a pretty darling snowman. It is kind of an easy stitch, which is what I need right now. The only bummer is that it is stitched with blending filament. Filament is not one of my favorite fiber to work with. But I really think it will be really darling when it is done.

Wishing you a wonderful week! May your work be blessed!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Night

First of all, whoohoooo! Tony Stewart won tonight at Atlanta. It was a joy to see him take the checkered flag!

It was a good day. The nice thing about a laid back three day weekend is that I feel like I get to waste a little time. Generally, on the weekend I feel like I have limited time so I need to get everything packed into the two days. This weekend, however, I feel like I get to move at a slower pace. Today, I got to hang a curtain rod that I have been meaning to hang for weeks. I also go to hang some pictures that I have been indecisive about in their placement since I moved in. Therefore, I dust the pile of them every week. I am proud to say that I have hung all except two. The house looks good. All that work made me sleepy so I took a really long nap. It felt glorious.

I have to say that the Gipsy Kings rock! I found a really old CD in my files the other day as I was cleaning out old software which dated back to like 1997. I must have stuck the CD in there on accident years ago. I played it today. It was awesome. Love the whole French-Spanish Flamenco style. I forgot how good they are.

Tonight I am going through my kits to find something small to stitch while I make a final decision on which large project to stitch. I just need to keep my hands moving but do not want to start kitting up until I really make a firm decision. Now that the race is over, the house is quiet. I get to stay up as late as I want, which in reality will probably not be that late.
Have a great evening.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Whadda Week...

Oy vey. It was a busy, busy week. I had something every night this week, so I did not log a whole lotta time at the cozy cottage. But it was a cool week and I spent much of the day at home today, which was nice. Because of the lack of attention paid to said cozy cottage, it was starting to look a bit like a dorm room. This is an easy look to achieve when your house is only 600 sq feet. A couple of items out of place, or something not hung up right away and it sorta stands out.

Anyway, Wednesday was opening day of the fair. My friend and I got there around 6:15 pm and it was packed. I was a bit surprised to see that entries in all categories, including the animals, were way down. I had turned in a couple of hastily framed pieces that I did not expect to do well, as they were way below the caliber of my usual entries. (It has been a really tough year...) But I wanted to make sure that I did my part to represent the cross stitch, which has had dwindling entries over the past few years anyway. My pieces got Honorable Mentions this year, but the real shock was that there were only 10-15 entries in cross stitch. It used to take up a corner of the room. The number of quilts was also way down. I am a bit concerned for the future of county fairs.

Thursday night was super fun. My mom was in from the Bay Area and my sister was in from Denver. My daughter and I met them at my mom's fave restaurant here for dinner. My sister and I have the same goofy sense of humor, so we laughed all evening. It was so much fun. Your sense of humor tends to be a little, err, different with the people you grew up with. So there was a lot of wise cracking, and good natured teasing.

I got to meet up with mom and my sister again today, after they did some sightseeing. It was good to visit with them. Afterwards, I got to come home and clean my house, putter around the yard, and even got to wash most of the windows. Everything is sparkling clean again and the cottage is indeed looking cozy. Tonight, I am looking to go through some stitching stuff in the craft room, and turn in early with a good book. It has been a good day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Quick Check In

Just wanted to let everyone know that I am still alive. It has been a crazy busy week, so I am afraid that I have not had time to post. I will sign in this weekend and give an update on life in the Schnauzer Haus.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great Friday and a super safe holiday weekend!