Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blessed New Year!

A few minutes ago, I took Liesl out for the last time of the evening.  I know that I have had backyard visits by possum, racoon, and skunks.  Therefore, when it is dark and late I will always go out with her so that I know that she is safe.  

When I stepped outside, I was awestruck by the beauty of the night.  There is nearly a full moon and it is so bright, casting this beautiful milky light over the backyard.  The sky is totally clear and the stars are shining brilliantly in this beautiful dark blue sky.  The air is cold and crisp and actually felt good to breath in.  I looked down at my little Liesl, who was walking along the path in my yard with me. I thought about how much I love her and how she has been with me through the worst and best of times in the past five years.  I looked at my house that I love, that I bought only a year ago, and loved how the light from the inside just glowed so warmly.  Have you ever had one of those moments that just seems so perfect and beautiful?  This was it for me.

So now I am looking down at the end of the bed, where a very small dog, has defied the space continuum and has fully stretched out across most of the bed.  My feet are hanging off the side of the bed so as not to disturb her.  She looks luxuriously comfortable.  She never does this so I do not really mind the inconvenience.  I am happy to have her so close.  

I am very excited about the new beginnings in 2013.  I am looking forward to so many things and can feel the electricity of positive change.  I feel tremendous gratitude for my life.  I have big dreams and big plans and I can not wait to get started.

I wish each of you great prosperity, love, happiness and a lot of laughter in 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

High Tea

One of my dear friends had a wonderful idea for several of us that are close friends to celebrate the holidays together.  She invited four of us to join her for high tea at a swanky hotel in Carmel.  It is a hotel that is owned by Doris Day.  Now I have never had high tea, so this was a new adventure.  We all dressed in lovely, festive afternoon attire and got ready to drink tea with our pinkies out.  (Just kidding.)  We got to sit on lovely, comfy sofas in a beautifully decorated room with a Christmas tree and fireplace.  It was pretty neat.

We had wonderful little sandwiches and petit fours.  Every thing was so good and it was just a very nice relaxing time to sit and chat.  It was such a good idea.  

My friend is also a schnauzer mom, although she has a standard schnauzer.  We both love this breed.  Here is the Christmas card that gave me today.  Schnauzers, can you believe it?!

Best of all, here is the gift that she gave me for Christmas.  A schnauzer nutcracker ornament!  I can't bring myself to put it away.  I think I will just keep it out all year.  It makes me smile.  My friend said that she thought that the face looked so much like my sweet Liesl.  

I have yet to meet a person who has a schnauzer that is not head over heels in love with the breed. They are not for everyone, but those that love them love them big time.  They are so smart, comedic, busy, mischievous, beyond belief stubborn and love their people so much. 

It has been such a tough year but I was thinking about how much I love my life on my way home today.  I have pretty special friends, a sweet little dog, I live in a magical place, and I got to do something cool and different today.  I have friends that always have my back, who tell me the truth no matter what, who make me laugh, and who I know I could totally call at 3 am if I needed to (and they know the same about me.)  Not only would any of us answer the phone, we'd be getting our shoes on and getting our car keys out to go to the friend in distress.  

Overall, it is a very good life and I would not trade any of it.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hardanger Heart

I am playing Hardanger this week.  I am working on this ornament from the 2003 Ornament Issue of JCS.  While it is pretty, I will admit that the buttonhole stitch is one of my unfavoritist ever.  Okay, not a word, but you catch my drift.  Kloster blocks and eyelet stitch are no problem.  It is the edge of the buttonhole stitch that bugs me and trying to get it even.  

I made it over to Target tonight.  There is still a lot of Christmas stuff in stock even though it is 50% off.  I think there are a lot of reasons for this.  Anyway, I was there to pick up dish soap, and wandered past the dog stuff on the end cap.  They had a little Christmas dog toy set with six toys on clearance for $4.99.  I brought it home and Liesl thought it was Christmas all over again.  She loves toys and usually does a victory lap when she gets a new one.  She is so happy.

It is supposed to freeze tonight.  I have the extra blanket at the ready and expect that Liesl will be waking me up at some point to lift her onto the bed.  I am looking forward to dog cuddles.  I shudder  though to think of what my yard looks like after the ice gets to it.  I am also wondering why the weeds are impervious to ice.  Oh, well, it was a good evening for a cup of hot cocoa, and I was pretty happy that I had my homemade marshmallows to put into it. 

Gotta go tuck in the furry princess... 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stormy Day!

It was a good day to be home today.  I was so tired from the past few days, so it was a good day to nap on and off.  We had a major storm that just dumped rain on us.  It rained really hard both last night and today.  I woke up a few times during the night because it was raining so hard that it made a lot of noise.  At one point I thought someone was walking past the house with garbage cans because it just rumbled.  The very best part about it though was that my sweet Liesl decided that she wanted cuddles, so she snuggled right up against me and let me sleep with my arm around her.  They should find a way to bottle puppy warmth.

I hope everyone who observes Christmas had a lovely holiday.  Mine was super special.  I was the assisting minister for the candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve.  This is such a special service and I felt privileged to serve.  Afterwards, it was on to my best friend's house for the annual Norwegian Christmas Eve Dinner.  The tradition starts with the youngest person in attendance reading the Gospel of Luke.  Then my BFF's husband makes an announcement that there is no difference between family or friends at their table.  All who are with them are considered family.  Then we eat massive quantities of Norwegian meatballs, salmon, veggies, potatoes, and assorted desserts.  One of the attendees had made homemade peanut butter-chocolate chip-bacon cookies, which were to die for.   We sit for hours around the dinner table laughing and talking. The evening ends in a board game.  I look forward to it every year.  

My best friend loves dogs and had made little goodie bags for all of her friends' dogs.  She sent me home with Liesl's bag of little Ginger Bears that she loves.  Now I have to share that Liesl knows people's names.  So I came home and gave her a couple of her little cookies and told her who they were from.  When she heard my BFF's name, she got very excited, tail wagging and ran to the window to look for her.  Liesl thinks my BFF is her BFF, who comes to visit her (not me) so she thought she was going to get a visit.  

Yesterday it was the day to be with my whole family, which is my great joy.  Liesl was so happy, too, to be with all of her people.  My daughter brought a prime rib over and cooked it in my oven, she also made green bean casserole, and brought some awesome appetizers.  I made roasted garlic-horseradish mash potatoes (yummy!), hors d'oeuvres and homemade cookies.  My son and his girlfriend brought a beautiful pie for dessert.  Liesl got spoiled by my daughter who had set aside some small pieces of prime rib for Liesl as she carved.  Then Liesl got hand fed.  She thought this was awesome.  I had also made her some sweet potato, which is one of her favorite foods.  

This sign was a gift from my son's girlfriend.  (Have I mentioned how much we all love her?!)  She  also have me a beautiful bamboo salad bowl and tongs.  I love this sign.  (My son said that she was worried about dogs being plural but I just figure it will scare any potential burglar that may think there is a house full of dogs! )  It is so perfect because, alas, it is so true.  Liesl is the gatekeeper.  

These are a pair of socks that my daughter knit for me.  Hand knit socks are one of the best things ever.  I love the colors in this pair and they are super soft.  My daughter always encourages me to wear the socks she knits for me out of the house.  I just can't do it.  I only wear them when I am at home.  They are like a warm hug.  

Another cool gift that I received was a subscription to Just Cross Stitch from my son.  I can't wait for my first issue.  The bonus to my day was my son in law who is an IT professional, took a look at my super slow net book and got it running super fast.  We all talked, visited, and then watched Mr. Bean's Christmas and New Year's episodes, which are super funny. 

Liesl and I were both exhausted from the past couple of days, so we logged some serious couch time today.  Tomorrow I have to get back to eating healthy and getting back into the routine.  It was a wonderful few days though and I am so grateful for all of the blessings in my life.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gloria In Excelsis Deo

Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis!  (Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to all people of good will!)

Well, it is finally here!  After all of the shopping, planning, baking, coordinating and wrapping, the time has arrived to celebrate the birth of a baby in a feed trough who would become the light of the world.  It is time for us to reflect on the messages of angels, of people called to serve, and all of the blessings we have.

It is also time to spend with my dearest of friends, my family and, of course, my sweet little Liesl.   These are my greatest blessings and what I cherish most in my life.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and pray that you are blessed many times over.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Baking Day

I was a baking fool today.  I got up and put my marshmallows together first thing since they have to sit for several hours.  You have to whip them for 12 minutes after you cook the sugar and corn syrup.  My KitchenAid was working overtime today.

I got to make my thumbprint cookies, which actually look much cuter than they do in the photo.  They are very buttery and decadent.  They are labor intensive, which is why I only make them once a year.  I also made a lot of snickerdoodles.  I like snickerdoodles because they are just happy little cookies.

Tomorrow I have to make my iced Christmas cookies.  I think that will probably do it as far as cookies go.  I spent so much time in the kitchen today that my heels are killing me.  I also had to scrub down the kitchen tonight because it just felt like there was a layer of sugar on every surface in the kitchen.

I am happy to say that I also got the gifts wrapped today.  It was a very productive day.  It did rain for the earlier part of the day.  Just like in life the rain gave way to the clouds parting and the sun shining through.  It was nice to get the things on my list checked off.  I feel like I can be totally present and in the moment in the worship services and during the festivities over the next three days.  

After I wrapped the gifts I had to hide them from Liesl.  I usually wrap her gifts, too, so she got a bit excited at the sight of the ribbons.  Santa has a gift all ready for her.   She is such a good little dog so she ended up on the "Nice" list although she has more fun on the naughty list.  I think I will go tuck her in and tell her that she is a good girl.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Joyeux Noel

The stitching portion of my ornament is complete!  Yay!  This one was a lot more complex than I had originally anticipated.  Now that it is complete I am loving how happy it looks.  I have the perfect fabric in my stash for backing.  I am enjoying stitching ornaments.  There is a lot of immediate gratification since they are completed so quickly. 

The rain never materialized today.  That was okay except one can totally feel the pressure building in the air.  The next storm is supposed to move it early tomorrow.  This is good because I plan on totally nesting and staying home out of the madness.  Tomorrow is going to be my baking day.  I also plan on wrapping presents with my little pointy eared, bearded elf.  She is not really much help (again with the lack of thumbs), but she is so cute and I might get kisses since I will be sitting on the floor.

I got out my well loved cookie cookbook this evening.  I have had it for about the past 30 years.  It is dog-eared and stained.  I have my plan for tomorrow's baking.  Top of the list is snickerdoodles.  I will also make my special thumbprint cookies.  There are a lot of memories around these cookies.    I will make up little care packages for the kids to take home and nibble on Christmas Day. I will also make up little plates for my two favorite neighbors.  I live on a pretty special street and have been blessed with the best neighbors on earth.  I knew this house was pretty special when I bought it, but my neighbors make it even more special. 

Well, I am off for a long winter's nap to prepare for my day of cleaning, wrapping, baking and general fa-la-la-ing.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Finishing Up Noel Ornament

Almost done!  This has been a little trickier than I had originally anticipated.  It has a lot of color changes.  There are three shades of red, three shades of white, three shades of green.  So there is a lot of color change happening. I am starting to feel the need to stitch something monochromatic.  

A big winter storm is on its way and should start to hit tonight.  It is expected that we will get 2.5 to 3 inches of rain this weekend.  It is a good weekend to try to get a little baking done and clean up the house a bit for the family to come over.  My daughter is bringing a prime rib to cook at my house on Christmas Day, my son and his girlfriend are bringing dessert, and I have to make potatoes, salad and biscuits.  Liesl will be so excited to have her people here.  I have to be careful not to say my children's names or Liesl will run to the window very excitedly, tail wagging, looking for them.  She loves the family.  

Since schnauzers are herding dogs, when the family is here she can not tolerate it if someone gets up to go to the restroom or the kitchen.  She will follow them, wait outside of the door, barking, until she can bring them back to the group.  Then she gets up on the ottoman in the middle of the room, so that she can continue to be the center of attention and keep an eye on everyone to assure that no one else straggles off.

I hope to have enough energy this weekend to make homemade marshmallows and a couple of different kinds of cookies.  The marshmallows are a must because each time I mention that I am going to try to make them, people close to me get pretty excited.  They are a big hit with friends and family.  So I guess I will put on the yule log channel the weekend, the one that plays Christmas carols, get out the ol' KitchenAid, and make some nice treats.  

Well, I guess I had better get ready to have sugar plums dancing in my head...

Wishing those who are travelling, very safe travels.  Stay warm.  Praying that the winter storms heading across the USA this weekend do not cause any damage and all are safe!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside

We are getting the big warnings of it being really cold tonight and storms later in the week.  It is really cold right now.  I am totally bundled up.  Murphy's/Schnauzer's Law states that the colder it is outside, the more often Liesl will signal that she really needs to go out.  It was bordering on the ridiculous tonight.  I have to go out with her for two reasons.  The first being her lack of opposable thumbs.  Since we do not have a dog door, my opposable thumbs are required to open and close the back door.  The second reason is because I know that we have a raccoon that visits the yards on my block regularly.   I am terrified of what a raccoon would do to Liesl so I have to stand sentry when she goes out in the dark.  

It is funny because about six months ago, on two occasions she saw an possum in the yard.  (It is like Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom back there.)  To this day, the second I give her the okay (after I have given the yard the once over to make sure the aforementioned raccoon is not back there) she goes bounding out to the spot all excited in hopes that it is back.  Then she has to sniff the ground around that area looking for the possum.  I have to admire that she has not given up hope.

Being a cold night, it was a good night to bundle up and stitch, when I wasn't playing doorman.  Above, you will see an ornament that I began.  It is supposed to say NOEL when all is said and done.  It is super cute and is by Sue Hillis from the 2002 Ornament Issue of Just Cross Stitch.  It will look a lot better when I put the "e" in there and backstitch everything.

Okay, now to something serious.  As I was watching the news this evening, this story caught my eye and ears.  A really beautiful idea has been introduced by NBC's Ann Curry.  It is the idea that to honor the memory of those that passed so tragically that every person who signs onto the campaign will perform 26 acts of kindness.  I think that this is such a beautiful and powerful thing.    It reminds me of the book, "Pay It Forward."  In many ways, I do believe that the time has come for a "kindness movement."  If you are interested in learning more, you can look for the campaign on Twitter, Facebook or here.

Off to tuck in my furgirl!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Ornament

I have been playing stitching ornaments the past couple of days.  This is one that I am making for a friend for Christmas.  The fabric on the bottom is what I will use as the trim and backing.  Is it too perfect, or what?!  Okay, so here is the super good news.  The pattern is a freebie.
You can find it here:  It has been pretty fun to stitch.  Now I have to figure out what to stitch up next.  

It has been super duper cold the past couple of days.  The bonus in this is that when it is super duper cold, Liesl sleeps snuggled up to her momma.  The past two nights in the wee hours I feel the bed shake as she knocks up against it to get my attention.  Then I see the silhouette of two pointy ears and a beard over the side of the bed.  Liesl could easily jump onto the bed, but prefers to get an elevator ride.  Then I get puppy snuggles which are just about the best thing in the whole world.  Miss Liesl was so comfy that she stayed in bed while I got ready to go to church.  She had the look that suggested that I look into a silent hair dryer.  

I have got to make my homemade marshmallows this week to give as gifts.  It really sounds complicated but it is not.  Marshmallows are also quick to make but you have to let them set out for a while.  Once you have had an homemade marshmallow, you will not want to go back to the grocery store ones.  (Unless, of course, you are making s'mores.  Yum.)  I use Martha Stewart's recipe.  Martha rocks!

So tonight I am minding my own business, watching the Next Iron Chef when I hear two of the happiest words on the planet together--"Bacon Buffet."  I know, right.  Oh my goodness.  There were some amazing bacon dishes happening, and then they said it, "Bacon Chocolate Mousse."  That sounds heavenly.  I am thinking that Christmas dinner should be a Bacon Buffet.  And then I remember that I have a doctor who could spring a cholesterol test on me at any time and I would be sad...  

Well, I am off to get my daily dose of puppy snuggles!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Tree Of Hope

This is a tree that started out with the best of intentions.  I had been to a design show where I saw the cutest little kitchen tree decorated with cookie, candy, cookie cutter, and other food ornaments. I fell in love with it and immediately envisioned collecting cute ornaments to add to it year by year. Unfortunately, I have not unpacked this tree or its ornaments since the Christmas season of 2007.  

On that day in 2007, I was in the middle of decorating this very tree when I got that nightmare phone call that every parent dreads.  My then 19 year old son had been in a horrific car accident and had been in airlifted to a trauma center 80 miles away in San Jose.  That day turned into two weeks in the ICU and another week at another hospital.  It is truly a miracle that he is here today, that he is fully healed, and leading a very happy life.

I was talking with a friend on the phone today and telling her that I was thinking about getting my tree back out and decorating it.  I told her though that it held such a bad memory of what I was doing the last time I was decorating it.  She is pretty wise and suggested that maybe I should see it more as a symbol of miracles, and a celebration of the wonderful life that my son has now.  As I walked through that entire experience, I felt God's presence and comfort.  

I know all together too well that life can change in the blink of an eye.  It is so important to hold the love that we have with both hands and cherish it with our entire being.  The people in our lives are a blessing.  It is important to let them know how much we love them.  I am fortunate because my friends and I tell each other that we love each other.  My kids and I share that we love each other.  In my own experience of extreme emergency I was not thinking about the model of car that I drive, how my house was decorated,  or what clothes I was wearing.  I was thinking about my loved ones and that was all that I was thinking about.  In the end that is all that matters.

So my little tree is up and is lighting up my kitchen with small bright lights.  It is true that I am remembering the miracles of that time.  I am remembering the people who were there to offer comfort and support.  I am remembering how meaningful each day was.  I am remembering my son finally leaving the hospital. I am remembering that a four month old, undernourished, scraggly, scared Liesl came into my life at that time because she lived next door to my son, and was no longer wanted by her owner.  (Liesl has a very special connection to my son.)  Most of all, I remember the feeling of God's ever present love and comfort during those dark days.  He made His presence known in a series of miracles that I do not often share with others.  

God loves us more than we could ever possibly know.  He is with us in times of sorrow.  He is with the people of Newtown.  We continue to lift up prayers for those beautiful little souls who are with Him now, for those who passed trying to protect them, and for those who mourn.  We send love and healing thoughts.  Our hearts break for you.  

We also offer up prayers of thanksgiving that there were so many that were spared.  Hearing the stories of heroism and miracles, such as the little boy who ran past the shooter with his friends, or the custodian running down the hall shouting warning of the danger, it reminds us that this could have been even more tragic.

Love one another.

Friday, December 14, 2012


This has been a truly heartbreaking and horrific day.

Prayers being lifted up for the children, parents, staff, family and friends of Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.  We pray for the emergency personnel who arrived at the horrific scene.  Most of all, we pray for those who have lost their beloved children and family members.  

We mourn with you and pray that God holds you in the palm of His hand.

Selig sind die da leid tragen, denn sie sollen getrostet werden

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Brrrrrr.  We are expecting a freeze tonight.  It is take your breath cold.  My best friend took me out to dinner tonight.  We were both needing comfort food and some time catching up.  With this season, we wanted to make sure that friendship is celebrated, too.  It was so nice to sit down and eat something yummy and not have to wash dishes.  On the way to the car at a little before 7 pm, it was already under 50F degrees.  I came home and put on all things fleece and my woolie socks.  It is on nights like this I am happy that my house is well insulated in the walls and ceiling.  

I so wish that I could catch Liesl on film in some of her cutest moments.  A little earlier she was walking around taking inventory of her toys.  All of the sudden she spotted one of her bones in the living room.  She got so excited and had her tail wagging really fast.  She was so happy that she had to trot all over the house looking for just the right spot to sit down and work on her chewy.  I wish I could capture her happy little self on camera to show you her cuteness.  The camera was in the other room and if I would have gotten up to get it, she would have stopped what she was doing to follow me in the hopes that I would be going to do something really fun.  

I am working on my bell pull but this weekend I need to stitch up a couple of quickie ornaments to give as gifts.  I found some super cute fabric in my stash to use for the backs.  I have a ridiculous amount of cute fabric as a quilting stash.  My new year's resolution will probably have to include making a wall hanging or two.  I bought a brand new sewing machine a couple of years ago that I have never really been able to use yet.  I love to cross stitch so much that it is hard to do another craft.

So I am feeling so blissful and joyful this evening.  I have had time with my friend, my little dog made me smile, I got to eat yummy comfort food, and I got to partake in my favorite craft.  These are the kind of days that I really appreciate and treasure.  Then I add in the fact that I had gas in my car, my heater works, I have food in my refrigerator and a warm place to sleep tonight.  Yes, I am pretty fortunate and blessed.  We have miracles big and small every single day.  Sometimes just having an ordinary day is one of them.  

Stay warm!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hoarding at TJ's

I know that it the past I have waxed poetic about my love for all things Trader Joe's.  I am basically a Trader Joe's groupie.  I am pretty darn happy about the fact that I have not one, but two TJ's within 15 minutes driving distance from my house.  I have never had one single bad thing from Trader Joe's.  I love their products, their prices are super reasonable and they get some pretty amazing stuff in.  Unfortunately, their holiday products are only available for a small window in December.  Therefore, I say, let the hoarding begin!  

I did have to duck into Trader Joe's with the hopes that my favorite tea in the whole world was in.  It has been sold out the past few times I have gone in.  Today I scored!  Here is my stash, thus far. 
This tea is so amazing.  I put some Splenda in it with a little half and half.  It is so good.

While I was in there, I stumbled across these gems:
They are shortbread covered in dark chocolate.  OMG!  They are so awesome.  I see some more hoarding in my near future!

Lastly, this is something that I tried on my last trip to TJ's.  I bought it because I saw a fellow hoarder filling up her cart with it.  I asked her if it was really good.  She gave me a look that said I should remove my hand from the canister on the shelf.  Luckily, I escaped unscathed with my one can.  Again, a home run!
This day has been rather awesome.  I go to sleep with a happy heart!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ho Ho Ho!

Well, I could not live in a state of denial any longer.  Christmas is indeed coming.  I finally had to start my Christmas shopping today.  I am almost done, too.  Yay.  Sure, I was sort of holding off until Dec. 22nd to see if that whole Mayan prophecy thing came true.  But then you get down to some pretty slim pickins' and I am not into the whole doing my shopping on Christmas Eve thing.

So I let my fingers do my shopping.  I love me some Amazon.  I do remember the days where it was just books and now it is so much more.  I check there before I check anywhere else.  Yes, I do try to shop locally, too.  However, there are some things I just can not get locally.  So Santa's sleigh is on its way to me with a smiley box.  Liesl likes to remind me that they have all sorts of doggie things there, too!

Her little furry self is fast asleep and she is doing her low, soft snores.  She has had all of her nitey night kisses.  She absolutely loves to be kissed all over the top of her head.  If she feels that she is too far away for you to kiss her she will try to point one of her ears as far as she can to make it more convenient for you to give her a big smooch.

I am hoping that I go to sleep a little faster than last night.  Last night after I did my blog post, I turned off the light, burrowed in under the blankets and prepared to fall asleep.  Unfortunately, ten minutes later I was still laying there staring at the ceiling and for some reason my knee had decided to start throbbing.  Now I do not have knee problems so I can only figure it was related to my feet being cold all day.  Grrrr.  

I did not want to turn the light back on so I decided that I would listen to my ipod.  I was way backed up on listening to my Garrison Keillor Lake Woebegone podcasts.  (Like back to May!)  As a practicing Lutheran, I particularly like Garrison and the way he humorously portrays Lutherans.)  He has such a comforting voice and a quiet gift for story telling, so I figured that this would be helpful.  I listened to the first short podcast and was still wide awake.  I got a bit worried that I still was not feeling like I could fall asleep.  That was the last thing I remember.  I woke up what I believe was a couple of hours later with Garrison Keillor still telling stories.  I think it was the hardest I have slept in months.  It was truly a gift.  I will have to try that again.

Well, I am off to dreamland.  No ipod tonight.  

Peace be with you.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yule Tide Greetings!

I think I am finally settling into the Christmas spirit.  Not in a rushed consumer kind of way, but more in a place of awe and wonder.  It has been a joy when I am out in the evening to see Christmas lights.  Most of the displays seem to be a bit more toned down this year. I think it is pretty neat that people take the time to do that.  Maybe next year I can ask my kiddos to help me with putting some up.

I am so happy to say that I made some progress on my grape square.  It is more of a grape mass now.  This is where I have to agree that back stitch is our friend.  It will look lovely when I get to define the grapes within the cluster.  Anyway here is a photo:
During the warmer weather, I forget just how much I love my little lavender neck warmer.  It is filled with rice and I just put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and it comes out all toasty.  My feet have been cold all day (I am of the opinion that cold feet can make one miserable) , so this evening I put it on top of my slippers.  My feet are much happier now.  I used it to warm up the bed at night, or on my shoulders, or my feet.  I find that I do not have to turn the heater on, because this warmer works so well.  I love mine so much that I am thinking I may make up a few to give as gifts for close friends.  

So I have been thinking today about how truly fortunate I am.  I know some really wonderful people who are just so kind and smart.  I live in one of the most beautiful places in the whole world.  I have a little dog who thinks I am pretty great and walks around smiling most of the time.  My family is pretty amazing.  I had pepperoni pizza for dinner.  My feet are warm.   I am in a state of awe and wonder for the gifts I have already received.  It is a happy Christmas indeed.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I'm Back...Like A Bad Penny

Well, here I am, back again after a few days' hiatus.  I have not been feeling very well and needed to get some rest.  I am still muddlin' along but feeling a bit better.  Unfortunately, I had to go to a memorial today for a friend's husband who passed.  I realized that there has been way too much of this lately because when I went into my Sympathy card stash, there were none left.  I had bought a rather large stash of them within the past year, too.

This has been such a tough year for so many people.  I, for one will be so glad to bid adieu to 2012 in a few weeks here.  Oy vey.  But then I also put my troubles into perspective when I think of the journey that my friend has to made right now.  Her hubby was her very best friend and they did everything together.   My heart breaks for her.

I did get to stitch for a while tonight.  I had a few interruptions for schnauzer smoochies.  It makes my heart smile to get them out of the blue.  For the past few years this has not occurred.  Until the past few weeks, the only time she would give me a kiss was when I returned home from somewhere.  She was just not a kisser.  Last night, she just came up and gave me a kiss on my nose for no reason, then went on about her business.  This gives me hope that someday she will sit on my lap, too.  Baby steps.

So tonight I got to sit on the sofa with my lavender heating pad, my stitching and a marathon of Duck Dynasty.  It was a pretty good way to relax a bit.  That show makes me laugh out loud.  I got a bit done on my stitching.  Liesl napped on her favorite toys. (she makes a pile out of them and lays on top of the pile.) I am thinking that is a pretty good idea so I will go lay my head down, too.

Enjoy your Sunday.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I have come to the decision that the nice ladies over at Nordic Needle are a bunch of trouble makers.  I am on their weekly email list.  As such, I get emailed on Sunday nights with a mini newsletter with their weekly stash specials.  Some of the items are so beautiful that I start to convince myself that I should try a new style of stitching, or that I should try to stitch a Hardanger tablecloth.  I suspect that their web page may pixelate at a rate that causes readers to be hypnotized.

Someday I would love to attend one of the retreats that Nordic Needle puts on.  Their store looks really big in the pictures.  I would love to see it.  Hardanger is a lost art and I appreciate how they celebrate it.  Roz has created some really impressive designs.  As I mentioned earlier, I start thinking crazy thoughts that I am better at Hardanger than I really am.  There is something about those lacy designs that make me delusional.

The night is super still.  We are expecting another rain storm so tonight it is that super calm that comes before rains.  This is our rainy season.  We expect it and are grateful that our reservoirs are getting filled up.  Liesl is not as thrilled about the rain as I am.  She just stands in the doorway, with a look that says, "You expect me to go out in that?"  She is a diva, what can I say.

Well, I am off to dreamland.  I will probably be dreaming about perle cottons, hardanger fabric, and   that I am talented with kloster blocks, and webbing.  I will dream about zwergschnauzers (mini) that are afraid of the rain, but give lots of happy kisses.  I will dream about good books, beautiful music, and the kind people that I know.  

Happy dreams to all of you!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Grapes Progress

Well, I am plodding along on my grapes.  I am kinda over stitching with purple right now.  However, I do need to admit that it is sorta purty.  If you turn your head and squint you can make out grapes.  There are four more squares to go after this.  Think good thoughts for me.  :)

I was really blessed with spending some time with an old friend earlier.  We got to have one of those really profound discussions about life.  I so appreciate that my really close friends and I can be so honest with each other.  My friend is also a person of faith and really shares such amazing insight.  

While I was walking to the parking lot, I ran into another friend that I have not seen in about a year.  We also ended up talking for a while.  My friend is an incredibly grounded individual. I walked away thinking that I am really fortunate to know some pretty incredible and wise people.  Each time I get to share time with any of my friends I walk away with a pretty magical feeling, almost like I have had an angel visit.  Each interaction I  have  I feel like I have learned something new or grown a bit.  

Life is such a beautiful journey.  There are paths that sometimes go off in directions we could not have foreseen, but they tend to lead us where we need to go so that we can grow.  I have been fortunate to have people to walk with who help me to grow, to keep faith, and to see beauty.  We stand by each other through all of life's up and downs.  For this I feel truly blessed and grateful.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stormy Day

Oh, my goodness, it absolutely stormed here earlier today.  It was crazy raining.  I woke up a bit late because I could not get to sleep last night.  I felt really badly because I missed church this morning.  Liesl was happy for the sleeping in though.  When I got up she looked at me with one eye open like she hoped that I could keep any noise to a minimum so as not to disturb her beauty sleep.  

Unfortunately, I had to go out and brave the storm.  sigh.  It would have been nice to stay warm at home, however, it would have meant starving.  I do not like to grocery shop, but I had come to the point where I had slim pickins in the fridge.  It was either go shopping or try to figure out how to make a soup out of the teaspoon of ketchup I had left.  So I got dressed and headed out.  

I figured the more the merrier for my trip into the elements.  So I put Liesl in the car for the ride to the grocery store.  She started making it known that she wanted to be wrapped up in her blanket.  She has a bit of the flair for the dramatic.  So I wrapped her up and drove off into the driving rain.  I could not believe it could rain that hard.  I was doubting the wisdom of my going out as I had the windshield wipers on top speed. 

I came home from the grocery store absolutely drenched from loading the car.  I am happy that I now have food stocked in the house.  I usually go and shop for two to three weeks worth at once because to me, grocery shopping = no fun.  I got right back into my jammies and decided to read a book in bed to try to warm up.  Again, Liesl thought this was a splendid idea, so she went to bed, too.  We both ended up taking a really good nap.

So it was not a very productive day.  It was a nice, cozy day though.  Plus I got lots of puppy kisses today.  Liesl has become very smoochie lately, which is pretty nice.  She is a pretty loving and sweet little dog, so it is really special when she gives kisses on top of it all.  Love is awesome.


It is hard to believe that we are already in the season of Advent.  I have already decided this year that I am going to focus on the blessings of the season instead of making myself crazy and frustrated.  I am thinking about the gifts I received today.  A few people shared some really kind words with me, another gave me an unexpected hug.  You never really realize how important these kinds of things can be to someone.  Sometimes they make me feel all melty inside.  I know that I need to pass these things forward tomorrow so that I help to complete the circle of giving.   It is amazing how being kind makes the giver and the receiver feel.  I truly felt blessed today.

The best part of the day was coming home to a sweet little dog who acts like my walking through the door is the best thing that could happen.  Her little stubby tail was wagging so hard and I was just showered with puppy kisses.  It is something special to be loved like that.  

While I know that evil exists, I have always believed that good triumphs. There is tremendous goodness in the world.  I think this is why we have such positive reactions to things like the photo of the police officer in Times Square giving a pair of shoes to a man with bare feet in the freezing cold.  The goodness resonates in us, and most of the time we are moved to action, as well.  Love is of God, fear is not.  All that is good flows from God.

So tomorrow please share love and kindness with someone else.  A kind word, a hug, a blessing, a prayer offered on their behalf.  You never know how deeply someone else could use those things and it is almost effortless.  Just think of the impact it could have on our world, if we do something loving for someone else, even if they will never know about it.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Whoa Nelly.  It rained hard here today.  Like build an ark hard.  It was raining sideways much of the day.  At one point I had to get to my car and I was absolutely soaked.  Liesl, my little beach baby, who loves to play in the surf of the Pacific, refused to go out in it.  At one point I was standing out in the rain in pajamas and slippers begging her to go.  She just stood at the doorway like, "No way, Mom."  She is made of sugar and will melt away in the rain.  sigh.

We are expecting an even bigger storm here on Sunday.  The one today caused a bit of damage and flooding.  Hopefully, there is an opportunity to clean up the area before the next one hits.  

I was doing a little research online earlier about dog behavior.  This is always an interesting subject to me.  There is also a lot of interpretation that differentiates over different behaviors.  I was looking because in the past year Liesl has started sitting on my feet but only after I give her hand signals that I would like to rub her head and ears.  When she sees me give the signal, she will come over and sit on my feet while I give her a little head massage.  Now several web pages say that it means that a dog is disrespecting you.  Others say that it means that they just want to be close to you.  To me, it just looks like she is just looking for a warm place to sit and does not want me wandering off.  Like all dogs, she loves when I rub her ears.  

I believe in massage for dogs as much as I do for people.  I was in a class once where it was said that dogs carry their stress in their hindquarters.  Therefore, it is a good idea to massage their rear and their back legs in the evening.  So generally, I give my stressed out from being spoiled schnauzer a little mini massage.  She loves this time.  I was told by my doctor that it is important for circulation in particular and he thought it would be really healthy for dogs, too.  I figure it is just nice to give her the focused attention, but I am glad that it has health benefits, too.  I think there are a lot of health benefits of giving and receiving love.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Waiting For The Storm To Pass

Well, we are all hunkering down for about three days of big storms here.  Our big storms consist of pouring rain and heavy duty winds.  We also get some warnings to stay away from the beaches and the rocks because Monterey Bay can become pretty angry.  Sadly, we have had some folks who do not know better or who do not heed the warnings who tragically get swept out to sea by standing in the wrong place.  Those of us who know this Bay have a really healthy respect for it.  

The rain is supposed to be really intense this weekend and we are supposed to get some significant rain totals out of it.  This suggests some extra stitching and snuggling on the sofa with a little dog and my cup of hot cocoa.  Maybe I will even get my grapes square close to being done.

I got to stitch this evening and catch up on my episodes of Duck Dynasty.  This show is so darn funny.  I have to say that Uncle Si is my favorite on the show.  I can not believe it when I hear myself laughing out loud at some of the stuff that happens on this show.  Some of the things that Si says are so quotable, Jack.

Speaking of my reality show guilty pleasure.  I am so glad that RHOBH is back on.  I could not even watch the reunion shows for New Jersey.  All of the fighting was just depressing and not entertaining.  I am loving RHOBH.  I am also so excited that Shahs of Sunset is starting back up.  I can not help it that I love these really cheesy shows.  Plus they are really easy to stitch to. 

I have decided that I am going to learn how to do lacing for mounting and framing my stitched pieces.  I have seen a couple of tutorials and it does not seem to be that hard.  I think it will ultimately make my pieces look a bit more professional by creating the proper tension all around the piece.  It should be a lot easier to put into the frame, too.  I would have to do so much shifting around of the fabric to get it to sit right in the frame.

Well, off to dream about chocolate!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Incremental Progress

Okay, I know I have not made huge progress on the piece, but that I would share because it is starting to look a bit more "grapey."  I know that it looks like the grapes are all the same color, but there are about six different shades of purple in there so far.  The color variation is so subtle.  I think it will really pop when I get to do the back stitching.  

I pulled out my old JCS Christmas Ornament issues this week.  I have every issue going back to 2001 or 2002.  There are some really amazing designs in these collections.  I am feeling very inspired.  I really need to set ornaments as a bigger goal in 2013.  I really like the earlier collections, but they are all so fun and would each probably take a weekend to stitch up.  

I think I may have a mental block about stitching ornaments, even though the designs are so beautiful.  I think it is the finishing that is off putting for me.  There are some amazing tutorials on the internet on the different methods for finishing.  I will need to face my fear and get ornaments some out in the next year.  

It is supposed to rain tonight and I am so looking forward to hearing that pattering on the rooftop.  It is like a lullaby for me and helps me to sleep so soundly.  We had some serious wind and rain today.  This is what I love about our winters here.  Plus we really need the rain (even though the weeds in my yard are thriving!  My personal battle with Oxalis Megalorrhiza continues.)

Well, off to dream happy dreams.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Grapes Square

Here is my progress on the grape square of the bell pull.  You can already kind of make out the individual grapes in the cluster.  I really love the colors that Teresa Wentzler chose for the purples in this.  They are, of course, blended threads.  I am enjoying stitching this square and got quite a bit done while I watched The Voice tonight.  There is something about all of those beautiful songs that enhance the stitching experience.  

Tonight is pretty chilly.  Like, wear your socks to bed chilly. It is pretty clear outside.  I let Liesl out a little a while ago for the last time tonight.  I stepped outside, too.  Everything was so aglow with the moonlight.  I looked up at the moon and it just looked so bright and so beautiful.  I was in awe for the moment.  

It was pretty nice to step back inside, where everything was warm and cozy.  Every evening, as I get ready for bed, I put my lavender scented neck warmer in the microwave for a couple of minutes.  Then I put it under my blankets to warm up the bed while I finish letting Liesl out and putting all of my stitchy stuff away.  Everything is nice and toasty when it is time to turn in.  Plus my room smells like lavender, so it is so nice and cozy.  

So I am falling asleep thinking about all of the beauty and blessings in my day.  My sweet little dog, the gorgeous moon, the nice people at the smog place that not only got me in right away, but gave me a nice discount, too.  I made a super good dinner, talked to my best friend, and stitched while watching one of my favorite shows.  It was another blessed day, filled with miracles and wonder.

Hope your day is beautiful, too.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Non Stitchy Project

Today was a really good day.  I was the assistant minister and cantor at church.  I always feel so honored to serve in this capacity.  Being in church always centers me for the week ahead and gives me such peace.

The other thing that happened was one of my best friends invited me to lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  I have been watching what I eat for the past few months and wanted to get back on track, so I planned on having a salad.  (Yeah, right!)  However, my friend talked me into having our favorite nachos that we both love.  They are loaded with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc.  So they are totally fattening.  It was nice to sit and catch up with her and have our own version of a thanksgiving meal.  I love having old friends that you can always settle right into a discussion with.  We know each other's history so we do not have to rehash anything.  Old friends rock!

My friend had invited me to go to lunch with her today and to Michaels.  This is her mom's first Christmas in an assisted living facility so she wanted to make her room as cheerful and festive as possible.  She wanted an extra pair of eyes while she pulled stuff together.  My friend is a retired interior decorator, and totally rocks at flower arranging.  She wanted to dress up several wreaths and wall hangings with those cute picks you get at Michaels.  I went through bins finding the cool picks and she arranged.  She can make really inexpensive items look very chic and expensive.  

She was putting together the most beautiful bough with additional floral picks.  I fell in love with it. Of course, everything Christmas related was at least 50% off.  So I asked her to help me to put together one just like it.  She started pulling stuff out of her cart to arrange mine.  You can see the finished product above.  We made this for about $10.  I committed to memory how she had it arranged in the store.  When I came home I immediately put it together.  It is on my front door now.  You can see it above.  I still have to fiddle with it a bit now that I have seen the photo.

I am pretty tired out from our excursion.  I am picturing a really early bedtime tonight.  I am so glad that I went though.  One of my life's greatest gifts are my true blue friends.  We all love and accept each other as we are through thick and thin.  Acceptance and unconditional love are precious things and should be cherished.  

So now I am going to relax with my little furry friend.  She is in need of some smoochies.  She loves to be kissed all over the top of her head.  She is pretty happy to have me back home and I  am happy to see that sweet, goofy schnauzer smile.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Perfect Day!

I have had two beautiful days of celebratory dinners over Thursday and Friday.  I have felt so grateful to be among people that I love so much.  It makes me realize that more everydays need to be celebrated.  

I needed to re-group a bit today, so I had coffee and relaxed in my pajamas for a while.  Then I decided the time had arrived to clean my craft room/office.  As I have shared in the past, that is the room that everything ends up in.  My desk had stuff just stacked up on it.  There were small pieces of fabric that I was practicing hardanger on.  There was mail that I needed to go through.  There were puppy toys that were in need of surgery.  It was quite the hodgepodge.  I was glad that I had gone through my tray that has mail in it.  I found my car registration bill that had slipped my mind.  It is due Monday!  Yikes!  All I can think is that I had angels watching over me.  (Here in California, they send out the bill in August or September for a registration that is due in late November, so it had just ended up in the bottom of the bill bin.)

I can not work in a room that is not clean so I have not been spending any time in that room.  I am the same way in the kitchen.  I can not wake up to a messy kitchen.  Nor can I cook in one.  Both are my play rooms.  I am happy to say that the room is immaculate.  The puppy toys have come through surgery successfully.  One is Liesl's absolute favorite, so she was pretty happy to play with it again.  It was a joy to sit at my desk this afternoon, listening to the classical station on Pandora, cute little dog snoozing on a handmade quilt.  It was a little bit of Heaven.  

It is amazing how invigorating it is to clean the clutter out of one's space.  It is like clearing your mind.  Everything is now nice and tidy.  It makes me feel creative again.  It is also far more comfortable.  Hopefully, it can stay like that a bit longer.  :)

I have been thinking today how blessed I am.  Even with the health issues and adversity I have faced this year, I feel so fortunate.  I feel so grateful for the quality relationships that I have in my life.  Each relationship has been strengthened as a result of being on a journey together.  I am grateful that I have access to healthy food.  I am grateful to have hobbies that make me feel alive creatively.  I am really grateful for the unconditional love and lots of antics that make me laugh from my small cute schnauzer girl.  Life is so beautiful.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Yuletide Greetings!

I hope that each of you had a really wonderful Thanksgiving.  I had a pretty awesome day myself.  I feel that I have so much to be grateful for.  While this has been a really difficult year, I still see so many blessings in it.  I truly feel grateful and I was filled with the happiness of giving thanks to God for all of the love and joy in my life.

One of my favorite traditions on Thanksgiving is to watch the dog show.  I love seeing all of the pups bathed, brushed and groomed for picture day.  Of course, my favorite group is the terrier group.  I just about fainted when the mini schnauzer got pulled out of the main group for final judging in the best of class.  Sadly, she did not make it into the top four.  Liesl said we were robbed!  I was uber happy though that the best of show was a terrier.  (I am now hearing that song,  "God Loves a Terrier" from Best of Show, playing in my mind.)

I have been working on decorating my blog for the holidays.  I am not totally feeling it for the background I have chosen.  I have looked at so many now, they are all starting to look the same.  I wanted something a bit more vintagy looking but it has not been happening thus far.  So please bear with me.  I should have it figured out by, oh, say, February or so. :)

Speaking of vintage, oh my goodness.  I am having a serious case of falling in like with fabric that I saw on the Moda Fabric Blog the other day.  It is so absolutely darling and vintage.  If you love vintage too, you must check it out.  There are several prints in the Dear Mr. Claus collection by Cosmo Cricket.  Here is a link: Dear Mr. Claus

Well, I have to go sleep off that turkey and all the carbs I ate today.  I regret nothing.  Be safe out if you go out into the Black Friday madness.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Grape Expectations

I have started stitching the grapes into the second panel of my fruit bell pull.  There are, of course, a bazillion different shades of purple in each one.  However, the square is going much faster than I had originally anticipated.  Maybe I have just gotten used to all of the blended threads.  In any case, I will have to take a photo in natural daylight when I have completed the square so you can make out all of the shades in it.

When I started this piece I had really had the expectation that this was going to be a really difficult piece to stitch.  While it is one of the most difficult that I have stitched, once you get your groove, you can really see the progress somewhat quickly.  I will admit that there is no way that I could stitch this without a working copy.  It has been filled in with pink highlighter ink all over the place.

I am happy to report that Liesl is back to her perky, sassy self.  Yay!  In fact, she started to walk into mischievous territory.  I had to take her over to Petco to get her nails cut and her feet neatened up.  I do not have the courage it takes to cut her nails (she has black nails so I have no idea where the quick is.)  Plus she does not like me trimming her feet.  The super nice groomer said that terriers do not like having their feet messed with.  I was really surprised because she also said that Liesl is beautifully groomed.  I told her that I do it at home and she said that it was really impressive how I got the lines on her skirt.  Then she gave me a couple of extra tips on things I can do.  Liesl was not impressed and kept letting me know it was time to go.  

As we walked to the car, a lady came up to us exclaiming what a beautiful dog Liesl is.  Now Liesl knows when someone recognizes her stellar beauty.  The lady asked if she could pet Liesl.  Liesl went trotting right up to her.  As we walked away, Liesl had her ears all up and walking with a swagger.  She is a total diva.

I have been reflecting on all of the wonderful things in my day.  Talking with nice people, the chill in the air, good books, hot tea, and stitching.  So much beauty and so much to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Poor Sick Puppy :(

Today was the last day of racing season.  It was the day that the championship was decided.  It was a good day to camp out on the sofa with my race day snacks, my furgirl, and my stitching.  An ideal day!

I made hard boiled eggs for breakfast.  Liesl's vet allows her to have one a week.  Generally she only gets them maybe twice a month.  She seemed perfectly content, and laid down to snooze.  Unfortunately, she got up and got sick.  She just looked so sad and little.  I took her outside for some fresh air.  She came in and went back to sleep on the sofa for about another hour.  I sat on the sofa and stitched while she slept.  She woke up and was walking over to me and getting ready to get sick all over my floss.  Yikes.  Luckily, crisis was averted.  

Liesl is a really healthy little dog.  She is very robust, energetic, and never gets sick.  So it was very jarring to see her looking so pitiful, with her tail down.  She was feeling yucky enough that she let me pick her up and put her in my lap a few times. (This never happens when she is well.)  I do not know if she got into something in the yard or if she got a bad egg.  She slept all day and ate the rice with chicken broth that I made her for dinner.   I am happy to report that she has brought me her ball to play with her and she has been begging for cookies for the past hour.

I feel much better now that she seems to be better.  It is another thing to be grateful for.  I was able to get a lot of stitching done since my little companion slept most of the day, although I had one eye on her at all times.  I have started on the grapes.  They are really taking shape already and I am pretty stoked about it.  

The best part of my day was my best friend calling this evening.  Her daughter had a little surgery last week so she went away for a week to help with her grandchildren.  She had called me from Denver airport last night while she was awaiting her layover.  Our connection was not so good so we could only relay the most important news of the last week.  I figured I would give her a few days to get settled before I called her.  But she called me tonight and we were able to catch up.  We have been friends for about 11 years but best friends for about the past 4-5 years.  We act more like sisters most of the time.  She had me just laughing my fool head off.  We have so much fun together so I really missed her while she was gone.

I think that I tend to appreciate the gifts that God has blessed me with.  With this week being Thanksgiving I am even more aware.  Tonight I am so grateful for all of the days that my little dog is well, for days that I get to stitch, for healthy food, and for being able to enjoy a sport that I like so much on television.  I am really grateful to have really close friendships with people who I can put complete trust in, who I can depend on, and who I could call at 3 am if I need to. (I have not  had to use this privilege, thank goodness.) Best of all, I am so glad that I have close friends who have great senses of humor, who are wise, and can make me laugh really hard.  I have a lot to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Perfect Day

Today was an absolutely perfect day.  I woke up to a rainy morning.  It felt nice and cozy to get up and have a leisurely couple of cups of coffee.  Liesl decided to doze the morning away and looked so nice and comfy.

By afternoon, it was time to clean the cozy cottage.  It was time for one of those pre-holidays deep cleans.   It was actually pretty therapeutic to work and get the house that clean.  I still have to clean my office/craft room.  You know how you have that one room that everything ends up in...  Anyway, everything else is nice and sparkly clean.  I even washed the sheets.  One of the great treasures of life is getting to sleep on fresh sheets.  

After vacuuming, scrubbing, etc., I decided to sit down and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.  I put the Mozart Requiem (a true masterpiece!) on the stereo system, made a cup of tea, and stitched while the rain continued to fall outside.  I also lit candles to keep the moisture in the air to a minimum (this also makes it seem warmer.) It was so lovely.  I am making progress on the grapes square.  I will have to put a little purple in there in the next few days.  

After my decadent afternoon, I decided to make leftover pizza for dinner and catch up on the new season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  As my shows ended, Liesl decided it was time to be perky and play with her momma.  

Now I must tell you that Liesl is one of the happiest little dogs that I know.  She smiles a lot and just thinks that everything is pretty gosh darn exciting.  Just her walk is so happy, that I sometimes giggle when I watch her.  Tonight I played hide and seek with her, which is her favorite game.  Then we rough housed for a while, played with her ball and her bunny.  She got a bunch of hugs and gave me a few kisses.  She got her blankets washed today, too.  So she is all tucked in and dreaming happy puppy dreams of chasing squirrels.

The rain has stopped for a while and I am now all relaxed and ready to read my book.  Days like this are such a blessing.  It is wonderful to be home and to take the time to reflect on all that I am grateful for.  It is on days like this when I feel like I am totally in the moment, and the pace of the day is dramatically different.  What a gift!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Here Comes The Rain Again...

Well, four days of rain are about to start here on the Monterey Peninsula.  This will probably mean indoor fun most of the weekend.  This is okay with me and I am already imagining hot cocoa, perhaps getting out the sewing machine, snuggling with a cute little dog, and some classical music in the background.  It sounds heavenly.

One of my favorite things about the Thanksgiving holiday is that the dog show is on that day.  Liesl and I will be cheering on all three sizes of schnauzer (although they are ALL big dogs!)  This is the show that John O'Hurley is a part of.  You can tell he is a bona fide dog lover.  I am looking forward to seeing all of the pretty dogs all cleaned up and brushed out. 

I was talking with one of my close friends and fellow schnauzer momma today.  She was telling me that her schnauzer has to cut back on the treats.  Schnauzers are notorious for eating more than they should.  I mentioned that I give Liesl veggies for snack.  Sometimes I will nuke a small potato or a small sweet potato.  They last for a couple of days.  Veggies are really good for dogs and are a better lo cal option for treats.  My friend said that she was reminded that her dog loves cucumbers and tomatoes.  She said that she was going to cut some up to keep at the ready for dog treats.  There are some really great Kong recipes using vegetables like potato with a little chicken broth.  This is a good alternative to peanut butter.  Liesl will not touch peanut butter so I look for other options.  You can google Kong recipes.  There are lots of them.  

It is nice to be all tucked in and ready to go to sleep.  I will read my book for as long as my eyes will stay open, which is probably about 30 seconds.  

Be well!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I looked out the window this evening to see this beautiful, take your breath away gorgeous sunset.  As you can see there is a beam of light shooting straight up.  The sun had already sunk behind the mountains, so what looks like the sun is actually a beam from it.
I am stitching this evening, however, I had another craft project earlier.  I have shared in the past that I groom Liesl myself.  I had a wonderful groomer, but Liesl just became so anxious when I dropped her off.   It was brutal to watch.  She would be panting, shaking and drooling, something she never does otherwise.   Schnauzers have hair (and do not shed) instead of fur so they have to be groomed every few weeks.    I finally decided it was time to learn myself this year.

Now grooming Liesl is a multi-stage process that take place over the course of a couple of weeks.  Liesl is patient for only so long, then she starts wiggling and pulling away.  So I do things in small parts.  I will shave her neck, back, tummy, and hind quarters all at once.  By this time my clippers have usually gotten hot and she is over it.  So we stop.   Today, it was the most scary for me time of all.  It was time to do her head.  

The head is really tricky because, understandably, she does not like the clippers on her face.  Add the scissors snipping around her eyes and beard and you have the perfect storm.  Plus there is the stress of her ending up with a really bad looking home made haircut.  Get the bowl...

Today, Liesl decided to be absolutely perfect.  So so so perfect.  I shaved the parts of her head without any struggle, even her neck.  Then she sat still while I trimmed her eyebrows, did the dark patches around her eyes, then trimmed that fabulous beard.  I keep her beard short because she drags it around while she is sniffing and she gets it dirty quickly.  Again, she sat still and let me trim her beard.  She looks so pretty.  I keep telling her how pretty she is.  She loves that.  She is so proud of herself that she was a good girl, too.  

My camera is pretty slow so the only photo I could get was one where she was finally asleep. Usually I just getting a photo of her tail as she is moving around or a photo of the rug where she used to be...

It is experiences like this that make me appreciate her even more.  She has days where she is beyond belief stubborn.  However, more often she is pretty accommodating and is such a joy to have as a companion.   

Sunday, November 11, 2012


It is really cold here right now.  I came home from church just feeling like I was freezing.  I turned on the heat but it was too late, the cold was already in my bones.  I have just felt chilly all day.  I have tried socks, slippers, sweats, a blanket, all to no avail.  I am one of those people who can tolerate heat much more than the cold.  Once my feet get cold, I am one cranky cross stitcher.

I had gotten under my blanket to watch the NASCAR race today.  I think that was the craziest race I have ever seen.  It had a fistfight, an insane crash at the end that took out half the field, and Jimmie Johnson finished 33rd.  I would never have believed the insanity if I had not beheld it with my own eyes.

Speaking of television...I will share with you that I am an educated person.  I adore classical music, classic literature, documentaries, particularly those about ancient cultures, the ballet, and the opera.  However, when it comes to television, I am a reality TV junkie.  I love me some RHONJ, RHOBH, Duck Dynasty, Storage Wars, Long Island Medium, and various other reality show offerings.  Today, however, a line was crossed for me when I saw that Discovery was advertising a  show called, "Amish Mafia."  What the heck?  After that, I had to put down my remote, take a deep breath and decided it was time to read a book.  

So now I have come to the end of the day.  The Furry One has been tucked in and given her night night kiss.  I am left to reflect on the day.  I have been thinking today about the sacrifices that have been made by others in service to this country.  I think of the fact that we have so many opportunities as a result of so many others who have put their lives on the line.  Today we thank our veterans and honor the service that you have given to this country.  We are forever in your debt.