Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!


Wishing you and yours a New Year filled with love, peace, prosperity and laughter!  Thank you for all of your kindness and sweet comments in 2011!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ahhh. A Cozy Night At Home

It is amazing how these four day work weeks seem much longer than a regular week.  I have crammed a lot of work into this past few days.  I was really happy because today I solved two mathematical issues that have been plaguing me for weeks.  I left work with a happy heart and a clear head.  

I actually got off early today.  I had intended to run a couple of errands, but decided that I really just wanted to go home and have a cozy evening.  I came home and fixed a fancy dinner of Coq Au Vin, watched the news, played with Liesl and puttered around the Cozy Cottage.  I fully intended to stitch, but was feeling kind of comfy and lazy.  

I am reflecting on the past year.  It is hard to believe it is over already.  It has been such an amazing year full of so many gifts.  A year ago at this time, I was forming the plan to buy a house, and here it is months later that I am in my dream home.  I am thankful that I have a job that I love, coworkers that I really like and respect, a family is that is so beautiful, and a small dog that I adore.  My health is remarkably good and I have enough groceries.  

This has been such a good year of books.  I love books as much as I love stitching,  I read everyday for an hour at lunchtime and generally before bed.  I have read such good books this year that have really had an impact on me and made me think. I think my favorite has been "A Tale Of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens. It was such a powerful book on so many levels. I still have a huge reading list ahead of me.  So many books, so little time.

This has been such a happy year for me.  I look forward to 2012 being even better.  I wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Is It Saturday Yet?


This is how I found Miss Liesl this morning when it was time to go to work.  Normally she is a bit of a morning person, and is usually up and at 'em when it is time to go.  Today she just looked at me with one eye like she was hoping it was really the weekend.  She had cleared all of the pillows off of the sofa except the one for her head.  As I have shared in the past, she makes no apologies for her comfort.

I had to run her by the clinic today for her rabies shot.  It is hard to believe that three years have passed since her last one!  I was so proud of her.  She did not even flinch.  She is such a good little dog.

The big holiday weekend is quickly approaching.  My dance card is filling up fast, but I really want to devote some time to the  house.  I really need to put my sewing cabinet together and get my craft room/office organized.  I am holding off on ordering the daybed until I get my cabinet put together.  

I can not believe how much I love this house.  I love walking into my home at the end of the day.  I have these beautiful curved arched doorways that I just think are so beautiful.  One leads to the kitchen and one leads to the hallway and the bedrooms.  They were one of the elements that I fell in love with when I saw the house.  There are so many small things that my eye will catch and I will just be in awe.  I did not know that you could love a house so much.  Of course, I still have a few upgrades in mind...


Monday, December 26, 2011

Three Days Of Perfection!


I just had to share this work of art from my friend's Christmas Eve dinner party the other night.  One of the other guests had brought it.  It is a dessert made entirely from gelatin in different layers which gave it a 3-D effect.  The flowers and leaves are actually gelatin poured in various layers.  It was so beautiful.  It was a little denser than Jello, but quite tasty.

Christmas was perfect.  I was with my favorite people in the world.  We all had a great time.  My daughter made the best prime rib that I have ever had in my life.  She had marinated it overnight in a mixture of whiskey, mustard and some fancy spices.  It just melted like butter, it was so tender and delicious.  Liesl made sure that she made the rounds to each person, who each indulged her.  My daughter also made an amazing pumpkin pie that was so silky and delicious.  Much better than the ones I make.  We were all in a food coma afterward.  

I always seem to forget in the shopping for all of the gifts for my loved ones that I get gifts too.  I always have that moment when I am a bit surprised that I get presents as well.  Every single one of the gifts that I received were so thoughtful and wonderful.  Absolutely perfect. They make me so happy.  The best gift though was having my children together at once.  We have such a great time and laugh a lot.  I am so proud of my kids.  They are such kind, loving, hard-working, and wise people.  I have truly been blessed with an amazing family.

Today was my day to relax and indulge in comfort, or so I thought.  Liesl decided that I should get up earlier than I wanted to.  I kept hearing something thumping around in the kitchen and in my half awake- half asleep state I knew I should get up and check.  But I tried to go back to sleep, that is, until I felt sniffing about my face and felt damp schnauzer beard grazing my cheek.  (She had just had a drink of water)  I went to the kitchen to make coffee and saw the source of the thumping.  Liesl had found an errant potato that I think escaped during the big peel yesterday.  She had been throwing it around for emphasis.  She would never eat it, particularly raw, she was just making her point.  Schnauzers...

I figured the best way to curtail any more potato throwing would be to take her to the beach for lots of exercise.  She ran and chased her ball.  The ocean was quite angry today and pounded the beach.  It kept coming up kind of close, so I kept one eye on my little water dog to make sure she did not end up with the fishes.  Luckily, she was exhausted and napped the afternoon away (Bwa-hahaha!)  I got to stitch, drink hot cocoa, putter, do some paint planning (I am having all of my friends over for a painting party!) reading and daydreaming.  It was heaven.  Now that Christmas has passed, I feel like I can really focus on all of the projects that I want to do to my house.  I have several upgrades in mind.  There is so much I want to do!  I feel like I have a great big craft project.  LOL  I love every minute of it.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Best Christmas Eve!

What a great evening!  It started at church tonight.  I was the assistant minister, which is always a joy and an honor.  It is truly a calling and I feel privileged to serve, particularly on the Holy Days.  I usually serve as both the Christmas and Easter assistant minister.  One of the prime functions of the role is to write the prayers of the people.  I feel tremendous responsibility doing this, so I usually say a prayer before I start to write asking God what He would like for me to talk about.  It sort of flows from there.  

After church it was my best friend's annual Norwegian Christmas Eve Family Dinner.  This was the third year to attend.  I love this and treasure my invitation.  I am in on all of the family jokes and get to be a part of the large family at the dinner.  The food is amazing.  The men in the family make Norwegian meatballs from a very old family recipe.  It takes about five hours to make them.  There is also salmon, potatoes, red pickled cabbage, a fancy salad, and lefse, which is sort of like a Norwegian tortilla that you eat with butter and brown sugar.  For dessert we had homemade krumkakke with peppermint ice cream. We were absolutely stuffed afterward.  We just laughed and laughed over dinner.  My friend's hubby read a piece that he had written for the evening (he is a retired pastor) which was absolutely beautiful and heart touching.

Afterward, while still in our food coma, we opened presents.  My best friend gave me a gift certificate to Home Depot to use for paint in my new house.  She also gave me a pair of the most beautiful slippers that she got on her trip to Turkey, an amaryllis and a new little tote that is the perfect size for my lunch.   She also made sure that Liesl got a little bag of special dog cookies.  

I had such a good time and felt surrounded with love.  I am so thankful for my closest friends.  I have the kind of girlfriends that are just loyal, honest, kind and funny.  They are my every day gift.  I am really amazed at how much we really know and understand about each other.  What I love most about my friends, is that we tell each other the truth and not what we think the other wants to hear. One of my friends said that while she may be blunt, she will never lie to any of us.  This is awesome particularly when I need some feedback or advice on something really important.  I think my friend said it best when she said that our friendship within our group is just so easy.  I think that it comes from the trust and the support to say what you think.  Love and family come in many forms and I am so fortunate that I got to experience that again tonight.

Merry Christmas!  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Whoooooo! Ready To Party!!!!!


After I get some sleep that is...

I am done.  I finished my Christmas shopping the other day.  Tonight, I waited until about 8:30 to do my grocery shopping in hopes it would be somewhat less crowded.  My worst case scenario was waiting until late night to shop at the 24 hour Safeway that we have in the area.  Luckily, it was not too bad at 8:30. I got in, followed my list and I am happy to say that I have everything I need for the next two days of celebration.  What a relief.  People were driving so crazy after work that I am presuming tomorrow will be just as bad.  

Now I have to interject here, that Liesl just seems to know stuff.  I do not know how she does, but she just seems to have an intrinsic understanding of stuff.  (She is also very opinionated, but that is another story.)  Generally, she will let me know if she wants to come with me or not, mostly opting to stay where she can have a good uninterrupted nap.  Tonight she made it clear that she was coming with me.  I was a little concerned about leaving her in the car because we have a freeze tonight and I did not want her to get cold.  She was pretty insistent though, so she rode along.  She is really good company and gave me kisses along the way.  

Meanwhile back at the grocery store...Someone in training at Safeway should really have a little part of the program that states, "When someone in a friendly way says, "How are you today?" that a proper response is: fine, good, etc."  Perhaps this is not an opportunity for the checkout cashier to launch into a free form one way discussion of all that is going crummy in their lives.  A one way discussion that is probably best reserved for their next therapy session.  Nor should they launch into political rants, rants against credit card companies, or their managers, the grocery worker's union, etc.  I generally just give a totally blank look and try to change the subject.  Tonight's cashier did not get it as he was telling me "How to stick it to the credit card companies."  I was going to tell him that he was harshing my mellow, but did not feel like engaging him any further.   I was over it.

But I am done.  Tomorrow I can sleep in, clean the house, play with my dog, engage in some hall decking and get ready for the evening's activities.

It has been such a great week at work.  We have an  tradition at my office of giving small inexpensive gifts to everyone in the office if you feel like participating.  No was is expected to participate.  Basically, every day this week I have walked into my office to find a small gift on my desk.  It really makes you feel special.  They are small, special, meaningful things.  One of the ladies at work is a really talented photographer.  She made us each a small collection of greeting cards of some of her beautiful nature photos.  Another top manager made special pickled peppers and put them in a pretty jar for each of us.  Another lady brought us each a truffle that was decorated like a reindeer.  This year I found really nice LED flashlights with 6 settings to share.  Our parking lot is really dark, plus the flashlights have a flashing red light which are perfect for walking the dog so others can see you.  It is really fun to participate and it was fun to feel special and make others feel special.  

I am really looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.  Liesl really cuddles up on these cold nights.  There is nothing like cuddling up to your furbabies on a cold night.  


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas To Me...

Okay, let me start by saying that I am not much of a shopper (except at Home Depot, which is more out of necessity at this point.)  Generally, I prefer to spend my free time out with family and friends, walking with Liesl, reading my books, stitching, or any number of activities that do not include my being in a store.  I celebrate it in others who do like to shop, it is just that I prefer so many other things to it.  The problem with being in a store at this time of year is that I not only find gifts for my loved ones, I also find things that I want for me.  This could mean big trouble.  

Today I had to go to Target at lunchtime to pick up a gift and a couple of small stocking stuffer type things.  I saw this beautiful Smith and Hawken wood roses wreath on clearance for only $19.99.  The color red on it is absolutely perfect.  I plan on hanging it on my door for the next week or so, then I think it may go up in my red and white craft room.  I am still deciding on that one.  It is so pretty.  The photo really does not do it justice.


After work, I had to run by Kohl's for the last present I needed to get.  I do love Kohl's, which is why I have to stay out of there.   It could possibly have me change my policy on shopping as a recreational activity.  I found these gorgeous plates on sale for  50% off.  I love dinner plates and have an assortment of colorful ones.  They make me happy.  I love the rustic look of these dishes and just how colorful they are.

The other thing that I like about them is that they are nice and substantial.  

I am so looking forward to Christmas.  The family is coming to my house.  I offered to let my daughter & son in law host because I want them to have the opportunity to do so if they would like to.  I am sensitive to the fact that others want to host, too.  But my sweet daughter said that they feel that they should celebrate my new house, too.  So she is bringing a rib roast over to cook here.  She makes an amazing roast.  I am so excited.  I am making the sides, and she is bringing dessert.  I have champagne ready to celebrate all of us being together at Christmas.  I am so happy.  I love having all of the kids together.  Of course, Liesl will believe that they are only here to see her.  She loves the family so much.  She might get a little taste of roast, too.  It will be exciting to have the first celebration in my little happy home.  

There are so many times that I just feel so blessed for this life.  I feel so much love and joy in my heart for the blessing of friends and family.  My best friend and I were talking on the phone tonight about the fact that we love normal life just a little bit better than holidays.  We do love Christmas but both feel that some of the internal preparation for the religious holiday gets lost.  We both came to the conclusion that we must really treasure our everyday lives to say that we miss it a bit during the holidays.  I like when my friends and I give each other gifts for no reason, because we saw something and thought of the other person.  I like regular dinners with my family and friends.  I love taking the time to watch a truly beautiful sunset instead of seeing it out of my car window while I am rushing to the next place I need to be.  I guess this is a sign that I truly love my life and all who are in it.  I love ordinary days filled with reading great books, drinking tea, and taking a nap with my dog.  I love time spent in gratitude and prayer, when I can connect to Spirit and feel peace.  Life is amazing and magical, especially in the ordinary.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Well, I am happy to say that Liesl is back to her sweet, spunky self.  It is hard when they are sick or hurt, because they can not tell you what hurts or hint about what is going on.  It just makes is scarier.  But tonight she is back to hogging the bed.  (Is it necessary for a small dog to stretch out right in the middle of the bed?!)  We both slept really well last night and one of us did not get out of bed when the alarm went off this morning, electing instead to stay with her head buried under the blankets.  

I am very excited because my sewing cabinet arrives tomorrow.  It is so awesome.  I will assemble it on Monday.  I already have the space picked out for it.  It is a different company than the one that delivered my desk.  I made sure to ask that it not be put on a pallet with a wooden exo-skeleton like when I had the desk delivered.  They assured me that they would do no such thing and then probably doubted my sanity when they hung up the phone.

I am getting very excited about the holidays arriving.  There is so much going on this week and it is just thrilling.  I still have to wrap all of my gifts, but that is a small detail.  I am finding that Dollar Tree has the very best deals on gift bags and the tissue paper liners for them.  The only problem is that the place is packed whenever I go in there.

Well, I am off to dreamland!  

Monday, December 19, 2011

An Early Day And A Very Long Night

It was a very early day today. It was a payroll processing day and I had to be there early to insure that everyone gets their paychecks before the holiday. So off Liesie and I went at 6:30 to be there by 7. She was a little sleepy eyed but so was her momma.

We had a tough night last night. About 45 minutes after I had fallen asleep, I woke up because Liesl was running around in circles on her bed. Generally, I have only seen her do this when she is in pain like if she is stung by a bee. She looked a bit bleary eyed and started licking her bed. I was really scared and scooped her up onto my lap and just held her. This is not something she lets me do a lot. She fancies herself to be a big dog, and therefore she does not always want to be on a lap unless she is cold, sick, scared or hurt. I tried to get her to drink some water but she refused. Then I took her outside into the cool air, hoping that would help. I did not know if she had a bad dream or was really ill. I was so scared and tried to remember the route to the emergency clinic.

When I brought her back inside she started going in circles again but was not wimpering or anything. Again, I held her and she started falling asleep so I put her down on the bed, where she fell back asleep. I stayed awake though worrying and putting my hand on her throughout the night to make sure she was okay. This morning, she will still acting really odd, so I thought I would go in, finish payroll then run her to my vet. Luckily, I was telling my coworker about it this morning and how worried I was. She said, "Oh yeah. My border collie does that whenever we apply Advantix to her. She has sensitive skin and it irritates her. She licks the bed, because she can not get to her back." Wouldn't you know, Liesl just had her first application of Advantix yesterday. The vet had switched from Frontline because there were so many complaints of it not working during this really bad flea season.

I felt an instant sense of relief after I talked to my friend. I am not sure I want to put Liesl through that in the future though. I may just wait until after winter to see what happens.

The nice thing about going in early was that we got to leave at four today. It was still light when I got home so Liesl and I went for walk around the neighborhood. I had renewed appreciation for having my little companion trotting along side of me. Schnauzers have such a happy, bouncy little trot. I was so thankful that I get to have more walks with her and that we did not have to deal with something far more serious and scary. Thanks be to God!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Life Is So Good!

Ahh, it is so peaceful in the house right now. I love that moment when I turn off the lights in the rest of the house and head to the bedroom for the evening, book tucked under my arm, little dog trotting beside me. She is already fast asleep, all stretched out on the bed, breathing deeply. In a few minutes she will start dreaming puppy dreams of chasing squirrels, causing her little feet to run in place. In the meantime, I am in awe of the stillness, the peace of the evening, and the joy in my heart. I am able to reflect on all that is important to me.

It has been a busy and incredibly fun weekend. I was able to fit a couple of house items into the weekend's agenda though. I am so happy because I was able to assemble my banker's chair for my craft room/office. It is exactly what I wanted. I could not be happier. This week, my sewing cabinet arrives. I am so excited. I am even considering some built ins for that room, but that is way off in the future. I even think I have found the day bed that I want for my room. It is very girlie, white metal scroll work. It will be a good place for Liesl to nap when I am in there working or crafting.

I told my friends that I wanted to make my craft room exactly perfect and have everything that I totally want it to have. My friends have told me that they want my craft room. I can't wait until I get it the way that I want so that I can play in there. All of my stitchy toys will have a place to live. Plus it will be so girlie and romantic styled that it will be a place where I can totally enjoy being. I am thinking about getting a subscription to Romantic Homes to get some new ideas for the rest of the house.

One of the fun things I got to do this weekend, was take Liesl to the doggie boutique in Carmel, called Diggity Dog. (Check them out if you are ever in town!) This store is awesome and the sales staff give your dog a cookie as soon as you walk in. Leisl thinks this is pretty great. She was really in need of a new collar, the only outfit she will wear. They have a beautiful selection. Plus, Santa whispered in my ear the things that she would like for Christmas. He said that she has been very good when she wasn't being naughty.

As a side note, I wanted to pass along some important information that came to me the other day. The FDA has issued a serious warning about Chicken Jerky treats that come from China. They can cause serious illness and even death in dogs. This is Liesl's favorite treat but no more for her. I buy the big bags at Costco, and sure enough when I looked at the bag it said that they were a product of China. I walked over to the other treats in the store. They have beef jerky strips for dogs, which say that they are made in USA. They are higher in fat, but I give her smaller pieces. Hope this information helps someone else. None of us want to risk the health of our beloved companions. Here is the info: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm054448.htm

Friday, December 16, 2011

TGIF!!!!!

Oh my goodness! I have been looking forward to this day all week. I have had some long hours at work and it was getting harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning. It has been particularly hard because it has been so cold at night, right about freezing. As a result I wake up to a small dog all snuggled up to me. It makes it really hard to get out of bed.

I originally had some plans for tonight, but I really wanted an evening off (plus I worked late again.) Liesl and I came home, I made dinner then started to clean my house. It seemed a bit untidy because I have been in a rush all week. My new banker's chair arrived and I really wanted to put it together, but figure I should do that when I am a bit more awake. It really felt so nice to clean my house. I have a bit more to do tomorrow because I have company coming over. I have a party to go to on Sunday afternoon and I need to work on whatever I am going to bring.

I have really been thinking tonight just how happy I am and content with my life. Again, I have rotten things happen, I have kind of a high stress level in my life, and I work long hours like most people. But in general, I also get to play alot, own my home, do fun things and be around really wonderful people. It is not all sunshine and roses all of the time, but I feel that my life is way more happy than the alternative. I have a lot of fun!

I am really looking forward to the small joy of sleeping in tomorrow morning. I have been counting the days until I get to sleep in. I think this is going to be a terrific weekend.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One Of Those Really Great Days

Today was awesome! Today was our company-wide Christmas party. Our HR person does a great job on our parties. We work pretty closely together on a wide variety of projects and today I got to help her set up the party. We were on a tight timeline and got everything done with 15 minutes to spare. While we were setting up in our classroom that we have onsite, Liesl and her dog friends were running all over and playing. Dogs are always invited to the parties. Liesl has been to several parties and knows that when we are in this particular room something good is about to happen. She loves the parties because it means seeing all of her people and dog friends and eating a few tidbits of something yummy from her momma's plate.

Every Christmas party has the best lasagna around for lunch. It is from a place called Gino's in Salinas. Gino's and their lasagna are an institution. Each pan of lasagna weighs about 20 lbs each. In addition to lasagna we have holiday trivia with prizes, a visit from Santa, and a video presentation of the year and all of the employees, thanking us for our work. It always makes us all laugh and a little teary eyed. Liesl did get her picture taken with Santa, but she looked like she was not happy about it. I will share when I get a copy.

I stayed to help clean up before a workshop we were having in the afternoon. I got sent home with some lasagna, rolls, and salad for my dinner. I quickly ran Liesl home, who started falling asleep in the car. She was absolutely exhausted from all of the excitement.

Our workshop today was just fantastic. Those things are always a little iffy. But it was really good.

I was looking forward to going home, where I was greeted with puppy hugs and kisses. I made Liesl's dinner, then reheated my lasagna for dinner. Liesl let me throw her ball for her three times. She then wanted me to rub her belly, whereupon she fell asleep before 7. This meant some time to stitch for me. I was happy to be able to get some more done on my sampler. I think it looks really pretty. I am getting ready to start another page of the pattern. It was a great way to end the day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dinner With The Girls

I had the best time with my two best friends tonight. We had dinner at a local restaurant and laughed, solved the problems of the world (if they would only put us in charge. LOL) and laughed some more. We have not had a chance to have dinner in months due to my house hunt, move, their vacation schedules and life. It was so much fun to sit down and just be silly. I would hate to think of life without my girlfriends. I have several close friends in my circle, but these are the two that you can call at 3 am (not that I ever have.) They are awesome, smart, funny women.

My best part of the evening was coming home to my furgirl. She greeted me with lots of kisses. She got to play with her best friend at work today. He is a Queensland Healer. They chase each other and wrestle. She boxes him in the nose with her paws then he puts her whole head in his mouth (he never closes his mouth or bites her. She totally trusts him.) Afterwards, her fur is all crisp from dog spit. They totally tired each other out today with their shenanigans and rough housing. Liesl will play with other dogs and chase and such but this dog is the only one she will really wrestle with. He is about 3 times her size. It is pretty cute because she gives him kisses on his muzzle, too. He is her best buddy.

So now she is tucked into her bed with her blankie. She will come and cuddle up to me when she gets really cold around 1:30 am. I always look forward to her cuddles.

I feel pretty happy and content from such a great evening. My friends and were talking about the fact that we are fortunate because we have enough. We said that we are so lucky to have shelter, a warm bed to sleep in, and enough food. On tough, stressful days it is still easy to remind ourselves that we are lucky to have jobs. It is amazing to be with other people who also share that state of gratitude. We also pray for these things for others.

I am so looking forward to the weekend of New Years. As much as I love Christmas and I am looking forward to it, I know that three day weekend will fly by. I am looking forward to the following weekend being a lazy one. I can have a meal with a friend, take naps with Liesl, putter around the house and just do what I want. I shall have to develop a plan...

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Have Offended The Schnauzer...

And now I must pay. LOL

Today little Miss Liesl got into trouble with me. Someone came into our office mistakenly and wanted directions to his proper destination. Liesl became instantly riled up about the "Stranger Danger" and started yelling "Security!!!!" in her shrill doggie bark. She was going off. I told her to knock it off. She kept it up, so I told her "No Barking!" and made her go lie down in her bed under my desk (it is a little cave for her.) She kept adamantly barking so I told her that she was being a bad girl.

Now if you have ever known a schnauzer, or any terrier for that matter, you know they are highly emotional. They can be total drama mamas. They will let you know if their feelings are hurt and they will hold a grudge. Liesl sat under my desk for at least ten minutes after the guy had gone, grumbling (she is a talker) and throwing in a few closed mouthed barks for good measure. Schnauzers always have to have the last word, usually in the form of a closed mouth bark. I could not believe how long she went on muttering and grumbling. It was almost comical except that I was busy with a work project.

We had to leave 45 minutes later, and she refused to look at me, just headed for the door. I came home and warmed up her dinner and then played with her. Hopefully, she has forgiven me for my errant ways. LOL

Schnauzers...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

If I Was My Camera, Where Would I Be?,,,

Well, well. It seems that the location of my camera is super top secret. So top secret that it seems that I have hidden it from myself. I spent the last 45 minutes hunting for its whereabouts to no avail. Alas and alack, I can not take photos of my stitching to share. I am so proud of it, too. I will say prayers to Saint Anthony, patron saint of lost objects and hope it turns up before the holiday parties get into full swing this week.

Today was a super awesome day. I started off at church and got to see many of the people that I love. My closest friends are the people that I have met at church and have known for years. It is a joy to be in worship with them on Sunday mornings. One of my best friends came up to me and said that she had my Christmas present because she could not wait to give it to me. It was a smaller calendar with Schnauzer puppies!!!! They are so cute with their little mustaches. We both have schnauzers, although hers is a standard. Many of our phone calls include discussions about the love of our furbabies. They are a special breed. As I was talking with her and her husband, we were looking at the pictures of the schnauzer babies, all with floppy ears. I told them that it bothers me to think that someone docked Liesl's ears and tail and that I wish the practice would be stopped. They said that they heard that the practice had become against the law, which I totally support. I just do not think it is necessary to do that to a dog and it hurts my heart to think that Liesl may have been in pain so early in her life.

I had decided that today was the day and I was going to start my Christmas shopping. After church I had to do my weekly drive through of Home Depot. I picked up paint samples, and I am happy to say that I have found the color gold that I am going to paint my kitchen. Plus, it totally matches the pumpkin color that I intend to paint the accent wall. Awesome!

Off I went to Costco after that. I told myself that I was going to go in with a sense of humor, patience and open to just looking around and not hoping to find the perfect gift. I had a great time, and got several things. Then I went to Target and found some great items. Afterwards, I came home and checked out Amazon. I am happy to say that I am almost done and I have found some great presents. I have to make a couple of stops on the way home from work, but I think I should be done this week and ready to just have fun at my parties. What a relief.

I spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing with Liesl. It is cold and rainy right now and she was more than happy to just nap. I curled up on the sofa with her. It makes me happy to think that I have a couple of three day weekends with her this month. I love rainy afternoons with Liesl.

So, it was a great weekend and I feel really good going back to work that I am ahead on things that I needed to take care of. The Christmas shopping being out of the way is a huge relief. I feel like I can just enjoy the holiday now!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Day!

Lastweek was a pretty full one and I ended up working more overtime than usual. I have been kind of dragging. I had wanted to do some Christmas shopping today, but when I woke up, I thought to myself that I really needed a day to myself to get my house cleaned, putter, stitch and watch really bad television. I felt a little guilty that I did not take Liesl to the beach, but she seemed very content to be rolled up in her blankie snoozing on the sofa all day. Holiday parties start this week, so I really need to be rested up.

It was so nice to get the house cleaned. Of course, I am still settling in and have a few things still in boxes. I addressed just a couple of the boxes so that I would not be overwhelmed. I worked a little on my office, too, although I am still waiting for my sewing cabinet and chair to arrive. It is going to be such a great space.

I am on the search for my camera because I got so much stitching done today. I got a whole band done, and 1/3 of the way done on two more bands. It is such a magnificent piece.

I came to a major life decision today. I am going to paint my kitchen gold instead of pumpkin. I think the gold will flow better into the other rooms. I spoke to my decorator friend and she totally agreed. She suggested that I could have an accent wall in pumpkin. That would be so cool. I told my BFF who has a beautiful house. She just said, "Oh great, now I have to return the pumpkin towels I bought you for Christmas." She is hilarious.

I am so glad I took today. It was so nice and quiet and I feel a bit more rested. Liesl just napped all day. I am just so happy that I got to stitch and watch HGTV. I have some great ideas for my own house. For dinner, I made bacon and scrambled eggs which were perfect. It was just an ideal day.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Think I Found My Christmas Spirit

It's true. I think I found my Christmas spirit. Nine of us from a much larger organization are currently working in a satellite office in Salinas while our office undergoes renovation. I work with pretty nice people and we have really transitioned well. This morning we walked in to our Christmas present from one of our coworkers. She had beautifully decorated our conference table and made us breakfast. We had quiche, fruit, coffee cake and muffins. The cutest part was that she had a little basket with dog cookies for all of the employees' dogs so that they could join in the fun. It was perfect to do on a Thursday as the energy level starts to droop a little. Everyone was so happy and well fed. It smelled so good when we walked in. It was such a kind and thoughtful thing to do for our little team. It really made our day. It was such a great idea.

So I think I will get on with decking the halls, doing some baking and playing Santa. I think I am in the mood now. It certainly is cold enough here to be Christmas. It was 29F degrees this morning on my way to work. The bonus in this cold weather is that I wake up to warm dog cuddles. The downside of that is that it is hard to get out of bed.

It is hard to believe that we will be starting a new year in a matter of weeks. 2011 has been filled with so many blessings. I think it has been one of my best years ever. Big things have happened and I just feel so incredibly happy and blessed. I think that 2012 will be even more spectacular. I have some things that I am really looking forward to and some goals that I would like to achieve. I a looking forward to settling into my little house a bit more and making it exactly the way I want it. I look forward to starting my garden, to meals with friends at my table, walks with my Liesl, lots of great books, cross stitching and all of the things that make me happy. I think 2012 is going to be awesome.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Nice Quiet Evening At Home

I had such a pleasant evening tonight. My plans for the evening got postponed, so I go to spend a relaxing evening at home. I had even left at five minutes to five this evening. Okay, so I was in at 6:45 this morning, but I still was able to leave by 5 pm. I woke up at 4:30 this morning, thinking about all of the stuff I had to get done at work. I knew there was no way I was going to get back to sleep with all of that accounting noise in my head so I figured it was best to just get up and go in and get started on the heap of paper that was accumulating on my desk.

Tonight I was able to come home, cook a great dinner, and eat it relaxed. Liesl napped next to me on the sofa. I just puttered around the house a bit, caught up on an ever growing email correspondence and even got to watch two back to back episodes of 30 Rock. That show cracks me up. I even got to do a little laundry. I also thought about some more design for my little craftroom/office, I have more ideas than I have space. I am pretty excited because my white banker's chair has shipped and is on its way here.

So now the house is really quiet. I have gotten used to the sounds of the house settling in the evening, depending on how hot, cold, wet or dry the weather is. The hardwood floors kind of creak with the temperature drop. Outside is so still. The only sounds in the room are soft puppy snores and the tapping on computer keys. I stop and reflect on a busy but productive day.

I have not yet gotten caught up in the spirit of the Christmas season. For the first time in many years I am being gentle with myself and not stressing about it. It will come. I am also coming to terms with the fact that my gifts may not be perfect to each person. There is no material thing that I can give to someone that can express how important they are to me. Instead, I can try to bring joy or a smile for a short time. The real gift is being a loyal, trusted and loving friend or family member throughout the year. It also means not trying to do things perfectly but to just do my very best. I think it is very liberating and a way to actually enjoy the holiday instead of getting through it.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Brrrrr!

Oh, my goodness, it was so hard to get up this morning. It was in the low 30's last night. I poked my arm out from under the blankets to test for cold and put it right back under the blankets. I was too comfy to get up when the alarm went off and I hit the snooze. Liesl was under the blankets curled up to my side , so I had major puppy warmth going on. Puppy warmth is just about the best heat source you can have, but will cause you to not want to get up in the morning because it is so cozy. It is kind of like getting a really great hug. I was a bit jealous as I had to get up and get ready while her little furry self stayed under the blankets and did not even move as I was fumbling around trying to find my slippers. She makes no apologies for her comfort. LOL

It has been a really good day. Target online had my white banker's chair and a great sewing cabinet on sale, so I ended up saving a lot and getting exactly what I want. The sewing cabinet has awesome storage and folds up so compactly that it is ideal in my office space. I am so inspired to get my craft room/office to be exactly what I want it to be. I am picturing something right out of the pages of Romantic Homes magazine, but with very clean lines and very little clutter.

I got to speak with my old friend and real estate agent this evening. He was checking to make sure that everything is okay with my new castle. I told him that it is crazy how much I love this house. He is always remarking how amazingly well things fell into place in my buying this house and that things happened that he has never seen in his career (like my offer was accepted the same day without counteroffer.) As things fell into place or turned out better than we expected at each step, he would always express amazement. I told him that when you are going in the right direction, God's hand will throw open the doors for you. As I looked around before I found this house, there would always be a little sign that others were not the right one. I always told him that it just meant that those were not the right houses for me. I had absolute faith that the right place would come and it would be in God's time, not mine. It just works out the way it is supposed to. Anyway, we had a great conversation tonight and he just had me cracking up. I really like my friends who make me laugh.

So tonight I am reflecting on all of the amazing people God has brought into my life. Incredible family and friends, amazing co-workers, loving church family, great neighbors. It is all of these relationships that inspire me daily, and make me feel so grateful to be surrounded by so much love and friendship. It makes for a pretty wonderful life's journey. I also have to add that I am also grateful for puppy warmth on a really cold night.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Feeling A Bit Sassy Today!

This has been a great weekend. I have had a blast. We were up pretty early this morning. I have a lot coming up on my plate at church the next few weeks, so decided to take a day to catch up on a few things at home. We were at the beach by 8:15 this morning, and it was COLD! I wanted to take Liesl to the beach again today (we went yesterday morning, too) because 1) it is her favorite place on earth and it makes her happy to go there. 2) because we both get a lot of exercise in the form of a two mile walk and 3) I had a lot on my agenda for today and knew that Liesl would be tired out and sleeping, thus allowing me to take care of my business. (Otherwise, she has to be in the middle of what I am doing, which is not always such a good thing.)

When my BFF called me today and asked me how my day was, I listed off the items that I have taken care of thus far. She laughed and said that I was playing "Homeowner." Yesterday morning, I had decided that I had had enough of walking into a cold house and went off to buy a digital thermostat that I can set so that it will say, "Patti will be home soon, better get the place ready for her." I had watched the how to video online which was made by Home Depot. It seemed fairly easy and the package said that it would take 15 minutes to install. I turned off the electricity then attached the little wires where they need to go. Afterwards, I programmed it to speak the same language as my heating system. I am happy to say that the heat has come on as it was supposed to this weekend. I am feeling sassy about myself.

Today, after I got Liesl home from the beach, I had to give her a weekly bath. I know that seems like a lot, but that beard can hold some icky smelling stuff, plus she had played in the water and was sandy. The salt water is bad for her delicate skin, so she is all clean now. The bath was too much for her and she was off to dreamland pretty quickly. I took this as my opportunity to work on my front yard and do some weeding and take care of the shoots on that tree that were threatening my view. I found that I have some nasty weeds in my yard with thorns that make your skin sting after you come in contact with them. I got out the weed whacker to finish them off. I will not mess with them again.

I came in from that task and Liesl was still passed out on the couch. I laid down next to her for a few minutes but started thinking about my next task. My new desk was calling to me to be assembled. So I got out my tools and set to work. Now I have to say that when you move, you have that one room that everything that you don't know what to do with ends up in. This is my office so I had to do a few work arounds. I have to say though, that I LOVE this desk. It is so awesome. Here is a link to it:http://www.overstock.com/Crafts-Sewing/EZ-View-White-Craft-Desk/4127262/product.html

The desk is large and has a lot of storage in it. It has a plexiglass top so that you can see inside the cubby hole drawers. It is even better than I expected. I love it. I plan on getting a white banker's chair to go with it. It goes perfectly in the room, although I will paint some existing furniture white and the walls a darker shade of beige. The accents will all be red and very floral/vintage. I am still on the hunt for the perfect daybed that I can get locally. I have been thinking about the other things that I have wanted in a house since I was little girl and I remembered that I would love a really pretty, girlie chandelier. This is a room where I will spend a lot of time creating, reading, working, etc. so I really want it to be exceptional. The desk is the first step in that. It was a bit more than I wanted to spend on a desk for myself, but it is exactly what I wanted. I was thinking as I was taking the cardboard out to the recycling bin that this is the fruit of all of my hard work and working late. I have something to enjoy out of it.

There was not a lot of day left after that so I puttered around doing small things to get caught up. I am actually impressed with all that I got done. I was thinking that I could totally use another day. But it will be nice to sit still at my desk. LOL.

I am proud that I got so much done. I am thinking of putting up a whiteboard over my laundry sink to keep track of all of the projects that I want to do. I need to keep track of my ideas and such, as well as my ongoing Home Depot shopping list. There is so much I want to do. I will take photos to report on my progress as it happens.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Living Joyfully

I love the feeling of driving up my driveway, waving to my wonderful neighbors, and opening the door to my house in the evening. I love watching Liesl trot out the back door to her yard, ready to explore her little world. I love making dinner at my stove, reflecting on the day, and daydreaming about the future. I love the peaceful, quiet, and still neighborhood. I love how warm, sunny and bright this house is. I love watching the bay in the early morning as the sky turns rosy colors above it. I love standing in each one of the rooms of my house and thinking about the future plans for each. I think of the friends that will gather here, possible future grandchildren playing here, and all of the love that can be contained in this house. I am so in love with this little house that it is amazing. It holds the present and hope for the future. I am so blessed for being able to live in this place.

My dear friend and decorator told me to take time with decorating and to only bring things into the house that I absolutely love. I nearly forgot this and was on my way after work to go buy a table that I did not love but would be most functional. Luckily, I got snarled in a huge traffic jam, and took that as a sign from the universe that I should not go get this table. I took a side street and made a u-turn to go home instead. I have to keep my friend's advice closer. She told me that if I do not fill my life and home with things that I absolutely love and adore, I will just be filling a space. I guess this is good advice on many levels.

This weekend promises to be an active one. I do need to put my new desk together and putter a bit. Yes, Home Depot is on the agenda. I am also looking forward to spending some time with my friend.

I am hoping to have my house looking somewhat presentable some time in January, because I will be having a House Blessing. My pastor has advised me to do this as a party. I think that this would be a great alternative to a house warming party. I have so many people that want to come and see the house and it would be great to have them all come and say a prayer together for it. My pastor said that when she has done them in the past, appetizers are served and then everyone walks together from room to room to bless the space together. I think this sounds so cool. The house has such great energy as it is, so I think it will be even better.

Lately I have been a little tired, but mostly I feel joy. I feel so happy for all of the good people and good things in my life. Just like everyone else, I have tremendous pressures, stresses, and sad things that happen. But I have to say that in spite of all of that, I feel so much joy and gratitude for I have been blessed indeed.

May you be blessed many times over, too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Big Delivery!

After looking at desk after desk on the internet, a couple of weeks ago, I ordered a craft desk from Overstock.com. It has lots of cubbies and storage for all of my craft toys, so I was pretty stoked about it. I even had a $20 off coupon and free shipping. Yesterday, the shipping company in San Jose called me to tell me they could deliver it today between 1 and 5. I told them that I could not take the time off from work and to please leave the boxes next to my garage in my driveway. I figured I would not stay late, I would just come home. The desk needs to be assembled and was arriving in three boxes and I was not worried about anyone taking them.

I drove up tonight and I had to laugh. I was expecting three boxes (the two sides and the top) that I would just move into the garage. What I found was the three boxes bound together with that industrial lacing, sitting on a pallet, encased in some sort of wooden exo-skeleton made from 2x4's and other wood. It was humorously gigantic, similar in size to a 1970's Buick. All I could figure is that they do it as a deterrent to someone walking off with a box or two. But that bad boy wasn't going anywhere. LOL

I looked at it like, how in the heck am I going to get that into the house? Luckily, I have been in enough industrial work situations that I have seen other people crack these kinds of things open. So I walked outside with my work gloves, a hammer and still dressed in my skirt and pearls from work (it was already dark by this time). I used the hammer like a crow bar and got each of the boxes out and left the exo-skeleton and pallet next to the garage until I can figure out what to do with them. What made my day in this is that while I was carrying the largest box with the top, my sweet elderly neighbor came out to ask me if I needed some help. I love my neighbors. I appreciate that they keep an eye out for me and one another.

My boxes are sitting in my garage. I will put the desk together this weekend when I have more time and daylight. I will also put my digital thermostat in. I think this will be a good weekend for puttering (and napping.) I am really excited about the desk. It is my first piece of furniture that I have purchased for the house. I am looking forward to spending time in my craft room and have a plan for how I want it to be. I am still on the hunt for just the right day bed, but know it is just a matter of time. This is pretty fun stuff.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Mild Monday Evening

I guess it was a message for me to go home, but our network died at work about 5:30 this evening. It was going to take a while to get it back up so I took it as a sign to go on home at a reasonable time. I made it home a little before six and decided to putter around the house for a while. I do not know if I have mentioned this, but I am so in love with my kitchen that it is ridiculous. It is my favorite room in the house. I have a lot of counter space and I love my appliances. I love my industrial stove and how it cooks. I decided that I wanted to make a big pot of turkey noodle soup this evening to use up the rest of the turkey. It came out heavenly and was so much fun to make. I will have some good lunches this week!

I got my kitchen all neatened up and headed out to play with Liesl. Liesl is a busy little dog, as are all schnauzers. They need a lot of activity, exercise and interaction due to a high energy and intelligence level. (Potential schnauzer parents need to know that these are working dogs and need a job. They are also extremely intelligent and need a lot of stimulation, because smart and bored can lead them to entertain themselves with your stuff.) I make time every evening to play with Liesl. She loves to chase things, play tug a war, and loves hide n seek. Sometimes, I will even hide treats around because she loves to look for them. Schnauzers (which refers to the nose) are scent dogs and have been known to get lost because they will follow their noses. So she loves to have a scent of Charlie Bears to follow. I love my play time with her and she loves to see me getting down on the floor because she knows she will have fun. Our playtime usually ends with her getting lots of scratches behind the ears and kisses on top of her sweet head.

After play time, I got out my stitching to do while I watched the Sing-Off, which is one of the best shows on television. Pure entertainment. It made me happy.

What I loved about this evening was that I came home and did the things that I love to do. I felt like I nourished and nurtured my spirit. So as I go to sleep tonight I feel peaceful and a bit fulfilled. It was a blessing to come home earlier.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quiet Sunday

Wow! My four day weekend sure went fast. It was nice to be home, have a celebration, get some things done around the house and get some rest. It was a good weekend.

I woke up early for church today, so I puttered around until it was time to go. I was the assistant minister and cantor today so I had to be there early for last minute details. I love being at church. I also love being able to serve as an assistant minister, which is also very humbling. I feel a strong sense of responsibility. Afterwards, I got to work on some small group and solo music for the upcoming holiday. One of my dearest friends is the organist and she is such a joy to work with and an amazing musician. We giggle alot while we are trying to get things done.

No Sunday would be complete without a trip to Home Depot. I had to pick up a tree saw because my tree in my front yard is trying to send out shoots that threaten to block my bay view. This is no bueno. So I am ready to deal with them. My next project from Home Depot is to install a digital thermostat all by myself. I do not like coming home to a cold house, so I want to be able to preset it so it knows to kick on before I come home. It looks pretty easy from the videos I have watched online. Plus it does not coincide with my being on the "No Plumbing Parts" watch list at Home Depot. LOL My friends tell me to just say no to plumbing and made me promise to always hire a professional for all plumbing needs.

By the time I got home from Home Depot I had a bit of a headache and was feeling pretty sleepy. I got my book and got under the covers for a while to rest. The one benefit of Liesl's hair being so short now is that she gets cool enough that she wants to snuggle up to me on the bed now. She gets under the covers and snuggles up to my hip. There is something so amazing about a dog cuddle that can make you feel so happy. We both ended up taking a really long nap, which was great. I did not want to harsh my mellow from my nap so I made quick leftovers for dinner, played with Liesl and stitched the rest of the evening. It was heavenly. I have missed stitching so much and now I feel a bit more normal even though I still have boxes unpacked. My friends tell me that I really need to be a lot more gentle with myself because I will have forever to get the house the way I want it to be. So I am glad that I got to have a bonus peaceful day.

So the photo above is my progress. I am almost done with the center section and have two more sections to stitch. They are so large that each section takes a whole page. Hopefully, I will be able to move to a new section by January.

Have a happy week!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Awesome Day!

Oh, my goodness, we woke up to the most beautiful Monterey Peninsula day today. It was in the 70's, the sun was shining brightly and it was just plain gorgeous. It was a great morning to walk on the beach and get a certain canine to stretch her puppy legs. The waves were pretty high today, and it was a bit rough. All of the dogs on the beach seemed to know better than to go into the water today, including mine. There were about four rows of waves.
This is a view with the tip of Pebble Beach in the background.
This shot has Point Lobos in the background. Those little dots in the photo are surfers waiting for the next wave. They were having a great time today.
My sweet Liesl taking a rest from chasing her ball. She looks so pretty with her new haircut.
It was such a beautiful day that we took time to smell the roses, or rather, the ocean. We decided to sit on the sand for a while and watch all of the action on the beach. The sun felt so good, and I got to sit and cuddle with my furgirl. She had such a good time. I wish I could have gotten a picture of her falling asleep in the car on the way home. We had such a good time at the beach. It was unseasonably warm today, and it was so nice to relax for a while.

I came home and finally got the rest of Thanksgiving cleaned up. It takes a couple of day to soak that roasting pan and put everything back in its place. My house is all cleaned and I am close to making a decision on what shade of pumpkin to paint my kitchen. I have the paint cards lined up on my counter top. I would love to paint soon. My BFF says she will help me, too. I am going to order my new dining room set this week, finally. I want to have it in place before Christmas. Too much fun!

Best of all, I finally got to stitch tonight. I have missed it so much. I started packing in September, so it has been way too long since I had needle and thread in hand. I forgot how peaceful I feel when I stitch. I will post a progress photo tomorrow.

Hope you had an awesome day, too!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Rest and Relaxation

Ahhh, today was rather relaxing after cooking-palooza yesterday. Little Miss Liesl had become a ragamuffin, and had to go to the groomer first thing this morning. It has been so cold here (38-40F) in the morning, so I had been holding off so she would stay warm with the longer fur. She was looking overly shaggy and it was time. I dropped her off and then relaxed and caught up on email this morning. I also figured that I should go get her a little sweater since she would be shaved down, and I hate to see her shiver. Now she hates to wear clothes, but I want her to be warm so hopefully this won't be too bad.

Off I went to Petsmart, which was having a huge Black Friday sale. It included dog sweaters and coats for 50% off. I got Liesl a cute little pink polka dot sweater and a cute little hounds-tooth coat. Petsmart is in the same parking lot as Target. I looked over and the lot did not look too bad so I decided to brave Target. It was actually not too crowded. I was surprised, and dashed in, got what I needed and was outta there. I decided not to press my luck after that.

I was so happy to pick up Liesl after that. I always feel a little lost without her. She gave me lots of kisses and then walked around the groomer's like she owns the place. My groomer said that Liesl is so beautiful and is the epitome of what a schnauzer should look like. She also said that she is surprisingly mellow for the breed and what a wonderful, alert little dog she is. At the end she added that Liesl is SO stubborn and a bit of a prima donna. Wow, that was a surprise. LOL (My groomer specializes in schnauzers and has always had schnauzers herself, so she knows this is standard for the breed.) The groomer says that in the end she will usually give up and work on Liesl the way that Liesl wants it done. (Again, totally normal within the realm of schnauzer behavior.) She was laughing telling me what her day is like when she has 5-6 schnauzers in one day, lined up for grooming. I can not even imagine.

My Thanksgiving was awesome. I was so happy to have a nice leisurely day with my son. Dinner turned out perfectly. I ended up making my stuffing in a crockpot and it was superb. It had a crust on it and everything. Yum. As I was getting ready to put the turkey in the oven I saw Bobby Flay on the Today show saying that in addition to basting his turkey he puts chicken stock in the bottom of the pan. This creates a steam in the oven. I decided to try it and my turkey came out super moist as a result. The best part was the sweet potato pie. I love sweet potato and make it southern style with nutmeg and orange zest as the only spices. Oh, my goodness, it was so good.

We had such a nice quiet day, talking and laughing. Both of us were so full. Liesl got her dinner, too. She loves sweet potatoes so that is what she had mostly. She also got a little turkey breast, mashed potatoes and green beans. She ate everything and promptly fell into a food coma.

I am itchin' to stitch and think I will pull it out again tomorrow. It has been way too long! I am still unpacking, but I have plenty of time to do that! No more postponing fun...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you the very best Thanksgiving. Let us all be thankful for all of the blessings in our lives. May we also ask that all of the people of earth be blessed with peace and joy this holiday season. We pray for our service people abroad on this day and for their brave families who have an empty chair at the table this year. May everyone be blessed with bounty and good things.

I am so grateful for all of my friends here, who check out my blog for tidbits about life in my little corner of the world. I am grateful for your comments, blessings, advice, wisdom and sweet things that you share.

On a side note, as you all know, Liesl is a major blessing in my life. She will be happy to receive her share of turkey, sweet potatoes, and maybe just a little bit of pumpkin pie (she likes the whipped cream.) My son will be here soon and she will probably hog him all to herself, because, of course, he is only here to see her. Schnauzers...

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!

Monday, November 21, 2011

T-Day Minus 48 hours

I had this brilliant idea today. I decided that I would stop by good ol' Safeway on the way home from work before the Thanksgiving shopping madness begins. It was such a brilliant idea that many people had the same idea and decided to contribute to gridlock in the parking lot. I was a bit disappointed that people feel the need to honk in a bad way at each other, particularly at the time of year where we should make a special effort to good will to all people. Anyway, I was armed with my list, searched for a free shopping cart and went in on a mission.

I am happy to report that I have secured all of the necessary ingredients for a Thanksgiving feast including lots of sweet potatoes, Liesl's favorite. I love this time of year when Safeway has "Buy One Get One Free" so I can stock up on staples for the upcoming months.

It is really cold here this week. What blows my mind a bit is that people are already camping out for the Black Friday sales, in freezing temps. If I decide to go shopping on Black Friday, it will be at a civilized time, preferably after I have had significant amounts of coffee (and have slept inside.)

I am a bit overwhelmed as I begin to think about all of the things that I need to offer thanks for. This has been an amazing year and I just feel so absolutely blessed. I was talking to someone at work today who was venting about a small irritation. I said that while I heard her frustration that it is important to remember that we have jobs. We have been so fortunate because we have not had to downsize or take a pay cut. On top of that we work with a great team of people and do meaningful work that we are passionate about. I just feel fortunate that I have enough. Enough food, enough shelter, and more than my fair share of love in my life. My house is warm, I get to live in a beautiful area of the world, and I have a little furgirl who loves me just the way that I am. Everything else are extras. So much to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Whoohooo!!!!!!!!!


Back on June 26th of this year when I took this photo of the actual Sprint Cup at Infineon Motor Speedway, I had serious doubts that my boy, Tony Stewart, was even going to be in the Chase.  Now he is the 2011 Sprint Cup Champion.  The last six races have been monumental, culminating in today's race, which I swear was the MOST exciting race I have EVER watched.  Usually during that 3-4 hours, I watch a little, putter, stitch, take a nap...Today I was riveted.  I did not know a person could run a race under that much adversity and just keep coming back.  It was amazing!  That last 36 laps I do not think I could even breath.  I kept waiting for a yellow flag, the rain, or something else to happen.  I am a bit headachey from the not breathing.  Both Carl and Tony fought to the final lap like true champions.  It was thrilling.  I was happy to see Tony win, but I have to say Carl ran a tough race.  He is a true class act the way he was first out there to congratulate Tony.  A true sportsman.  I am so happy to see an example like that for kids.

I woke up this morning to a rainy day and a small dog curled up against my hip under the blankets.  It was so hard to get up.  I was going through possible excuses in my head for not going to church, but know that God is way too smart for my lame excuses so off I went.  It is amazing to me that next Sunday is the first Sunday in advent.  It goes so fast.

I came home today and changed immediately into my jammies, which is a pretty good idea on a cold, rainy afternoon.  I also decided to take my new jammies to the next level by also washing my sheets.   Clean sheets are one of the best things in life. I should sleep like a rock tonight.  

I think I have shared that I am totally hooked on Pinterest.com.  Apparently, flavored water is totally in right now.  I need to drink more water but do not like the taste of it.  I prefer Cherry Kool Aid with Splenda.  Not really glamorous, but that's how I roll.  Anyway I decided to try one of the recipes.  It is a sliced cucumber, 1 lemon sliced, and 12 mint leaves.  I put it all in a pretty pitcher then covered it with water.  I was surprised at how good it is.  It is quite refreshing and tastes mostly like cucumber.  So now I keep a pitcher of it in the fridge and just keep adding water.  Good stuff.

Well, I have to be at work super early, so I am off to dream about Tony's big win. I think I will ask Santa for Tony Stewart fire suit jammies.   



Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Pretty Good Day!

Today was a good day.  I woke up at around 6:30 after a night of nightmares.  It was kind of crazy.  It is such a rare occurrence for me to have bad dreams.  I maybe have one a year.  Last night was weird, I would wake up from one (and get up and turn on the lights) then fall back asleep and the nightmare would continue where it left off.  I do not recall that happening to me before.  All I can figure is that I have been so overly tired this week, and I had pepperoni pizza a little too close to bedtime last night.  Lesson learned.

It was kind of nice to get up early this morning.  I had plans of running to Home Depot and taking care of some things, but I decided to be gentle with myself and take it slow and stay home today.  I started with a leisurely cup of coffee.  I got the kitchen cleaned up and straightened.  I so love that room.  I love to just touch those pretty counter tops and look out at Monterey Bay.  I puttered around the rest of the house and decided I was going to work on my office.  The office was the one room I had not gotten to yet.  It was a total wreck and packed across the whole floor with boxes.  I have all but two boxes unpacked.  Now I have things in piles.  I am still organizing what is going where and what is going to charity.  I cleared the desk and can actually sit at the desk.  I am ordering a new desk that is specifically for crafts.  It is so pretty and just what I am looking for. I am still looking for just the right day bed, too.  I am so excited about that idea.  It is nice to see a light at the end of the tunnel for getting settled.  Today is the one month anniversary of moving in,.  I forgot that it takes a lot less time to move out than to move in.  Moving in and finding the right place for everything takes a long time.

It was nice enough that I also got to do a little gardening today.  I planted my hibiscus,  Then I waged my own private war on oxalis.  It is a never ending battle with this little weed.  I also put in my little lights that line the walkway in the yard that I bought on clearance a couple of months ago at Target for $1.40 each.  Schnauzers will always notice anything new, so Liesl had to go touch her nose to each one so I knew that she was aware of the change.  

Liesl was wanting extra hugs today.  She has been very cuddly and wanting her kisses on her sweet little head.  She has stayed close today and was so happy that I found her other toy box in my office.  I was happy to give her lots of attention today and she looked like she was happy about it, too.

What is making me super happy tonight is that I have brand new jammies on.  They are polar fleece with a leopard print.  (Grrr, baby!)  I happen to totally love jammies and totally wish that the dress code at work allowed for jammies and big fuzzy socks.  I guess that look does not inspire confidence in the accountant, though.  Anyway, I do love them, and on several occasions I have been known to change right into my jammies when I come home from work.  I have also been known to wear them all day on a Saturday.  New jammies are a total treat and now I am sorry I did not buy more pairs.  

Tomorrow is the last race of the season.  Go Tony for the Championship!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Posting Early Tonight

This has been a whirlwind week.  I have been working some long hours.  I have been going to work early  and not getting home before 6:30 or 7 at night.  I eat dinner, watch a couple of minutes of television and checked out Pinterest.com.  Then I am asleep between 8 and 8:30.  It is pitiful.  

I got great news earlier this week.   My son works for an airport so it was going to be iffy for having him for a holiday. (Quick Mom brag:  He is currently the Employee of the Quarter!)  I figured we would work around it, somehow, but his hours wildly fluctuate.  My BFF invited me to their big family Thanksgiving and said that if my son got off, we should both join them.  (My daughter and son in law will be going to his mom's for Thanksgiving (but I get them for Christmas. Yay!) )

Well, I got the phone call the other day that my son has the day off!!!!  I asked him what he would rather do and we decided that we are going to cook together at my house.  We figure we can take Liesl for a nice walk, maybe even to the beach if it is nice, eat great food and then relax and watch movies.  We may even go over to BFF's for pie.  Yum!  I am really happy about it and planning a menu.  Liesl loves Thanksgiving, too, and is looking forward to her very own serving of turkey and sweet potato.  She will sleep well that day.  LOL

Liesl will be so happy to have family around in the upcoming weeks.  Liesl loves my friends in general, particularly if they are also a puppy momma.  She will generally be happy to see them, but will eventually go off and do her own thing.  But she really, really loves the family.  Somehow she must just know that we are all related and all her pack.  When the family is over, she has to be in the middle of the fun.  She knows people's and dog's names and can find them if I ask her where one is.  But if I tell her that my daughter is coming over she runs straight to the window and stands on her hind legs looking for her.  She will run in circles then go back to the window, so excited.  She will cry and bark in excitement.  She will be happy to have my son to herself next week.  

Well, I have made it past 8:30 but can feel my eyelids getting heavy...

Have a good evening.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Grateful

I must have totally overdone it the past couple of days without realizing it.  I totally overslept and missed church.  I was feeling really badly about it, and then I remembered that church is everywhere.  It was a beautiful morning, so Liesl and I went to the dog beach in Carmel.  The beach at Carmel is so beautiful and I am with a small dog who is so joyful that I can not help but feel how fortunate I am.  I feel so grateful in these moments that I remember that it is a form of church.  

I love watching Liesl at the beach.  She is in a state of bliss running into the water, chasing her ball, and meeting the other dogs.  She just looks so happy.  I love walking with her, smelling the salt, feeling the cool ocean mist on my face, and the warmth of the sun on me.  There are times I look at the view and the sheer beauty of it takes my breath.  I am blessed to be able to live here in such an amazing place.

Liesl slept the rest of the day, while I watched the race and puttered around the house.  She had her weekly bath (that beard collects dirt like nobody's business.)  She just got up a couple of times for her loves,  kisses and neck scratches.  

It has been a really good weekend.  I got a lot done, but mostly, I have spent most of my weekend walking in gratitude.   I am grateful for the blessing of my house, my little Liesl, my family, friends, job, and all of the love in my life.  I am grateful to live in a place of so much natural beauty, for gorgeous sunsets, and the sense of serenity and peace in my life.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day of Total Awesome

Oh, my goodness, I had an epiphany today!  Yesterday I had said on this very blog that I wanted a sofa bed in my office.  But nay.  I remembered today that since I was 18 years old I have wanted a daybed.  (Smacking forehead.)  Today I had my vision!  A white brass, very scrolling, very girlie daybed, with lots of pillows.  My whole office will be in white and red.  Red is my fave color so it is only logical.  I will paint the existing shelving white, too.  I am envisioning a very cottage look, very feminine.   I can totally see it in my head! This room overlooks my garden, which will be perfect.  With the daybed I see it as a perfect place to read, take naps with Liesl, watch movies and stitch on a Saturday afternoon.  It will be a little nicer, too, for friends to stay over and sleep on a real bed rather than a sofa bed.  I am so excited. This is going to be awesome.  I am on a mission.

Today was such a good day.  I got my garage almost done, and a lot more organized.  I have discovered way more Christmas ornaments than I thought I had.  I have to buy some heavy duty garage shelving from Home Depot to put all of my big totes.  I am impressed with all of the space now and am looking forward to the day when I actually get to park in my garage.  The need to get organized was born of the fact that my daughter and son in law were coming over to pick up my old/new dryer.  When I moved in here I had to buy a gas dryer, which dries lightening fast.  My electric dryer was less than a couple of years old, and thankfully the kids can use it.  They did that truck rental from Home Depot where you get the truck for 75 minutes for $19.95.  It was a pretty good deal.  I will remember that when I have to pick up my big ol' shelving.

On top of getting my stuff done today, I had the chance to talk to one of my best friends on the phone.  She is one of those true blue friends that always has your back.  I love talking to her and she motivates me to be a much better person.  She is absolutely, unshakably loyal.  She is the kind of friend, who remembers if someone was unkind to me years ago, long after I have forgotten and is still mad for me.  LOL  She is also quick to stick up for anyone, and would be sure to call me on it if I was unkind to someone else.  I love talking to her and getting her pure, honest perspective on things.  I do not know what I would do without my girlfriends.  

The one smart thing I did today was make chicken teriyaki in my crockpot early in the day.  I was way too tired to make dinner after all that moving around today.  I ate my dinner while sharing the chicken with my furry sidekick who makes her presence very well known at dinner time.  I then rough housed with her for as long as she wanted to play.  She is a little rough neck and I am always a bit surprised at how quick she is.  She loves to play rough but is still always very gentle on her momma and makes sure she minds her manners.  I then made the mistake of laying down on the sofa.  Liesl has a set place on the sofa and I was in it.  No other spot will do.  She just sat there giving me the hairy eyeball.  We made up and all is well, but I had chills for a few minutes there.

I will be on my daybed mission tomorrow.  There are some nice ones online and I am going to look at a local place after church.  I would like to have my office in place by Thanksgiving.  I would love to spend the long weekend in my playroom.  This is too much fun!

Progress!

I got so much accomplished yesterday!  Liesl woke me up at 5:30 so that she could step outside and I just could not get back to sleep.  So I got up and started moving.  I had to drop off my car early to the mechanic.  It had been sounding not good and had bucked a couple times this week.  So I was pretty worried.  My co-worker and his wife who are also dear friends were there picking up her truck this morning, so luckily I got a ride home.  They also said they would pick me up when my car was done.  They are pretty nice folk.  

I figured I was home for a couple of days and was glad for it in a way.  It was pouring down rain and a good day to nest.  Liesl's plan for the day was to sleep so she spread out on the sofa and got to her work.  I was determined to get the house into shape, so I started in the kitchen and got the clutter cleaned up, the boxes opened and everything cleaned and orderly.  Now I was really motivated, so I headed into the other rooms.  I got order restored and made notes of things that I want to add such as curio shelving and stuff, so that I can make my Home Depot trip today (Oh, darn! LOL) I now only have my office/ guest room and garage to finish organizing.  I still have to decorate but now I have a sense of the space and how everything flows.  My hallway is clear of boxes.  I have to organize closets and I still have boxes in the garage but I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel.  I think I will be donating a lot of stuff to charity.  I am also getting excited about moving into the decorating phase.  I can not wait.  

About 2:30 I got a call from my mechanic saying that my car was ready.  Whoohoo!!!!!  All that was needed was a tune up.  Turns out my spark plugs were gapping badly.  My mechanic said that he has a long commute so he drives a PT Cruiser just like mine and knows it well.  He gave it an oil change, a cleaner for the fuel injection, changed the wiper blades and fixed my squirter for my windshield.  He said that the tune up should fix the problem.  It already sounded better when I picked it up.  Yay!  It is always an anxiety prone time to drop off the car for repair.  

Today I am committed to getting my office in shape.  I have picked out a new desk that is designed for crafts so it has lots of drawers and cubbies.  I still have to order it and decide on the color that I want.  It will be really cute in there.  I am also trying to decide what color sofa sleeper to put in there as well.  I want it to be a very functional space where I can work during the rainy season.  

Off to walk my favorite furgirl and Home Depot!  Have a happy day!