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:

Friday, December 16, 2011


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


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


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:

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.