Thursday, May 31, 2012

Unexpected Beauty

I happened to look out the front window a little while ago.  There was the most beautiful sunset happening as I did.  The sun was a huge orange ball in the sky and was setting into the Pacific Ocean.  (I always imagine a sizzling sound.  LOL)  It was so beautiful and awe inspiring that I could not help but to think how fortunate that I am that I get to watch it from my home.  It is truly a blessing.  I so love Monterey Bay.  

My other unexpected beauty moment was earlier today.  We are in temporary office quarters that are all open.  It gets really noisy sometimes, so I bring my Ipod to work with me.  I get to listen to classical music and it kind of drowns out the extraneous noise.  Today I decided to listen to one of my favorite pieces of music while I work, Brahm's German Requiem.  I love this piece but have never listened to it while I have gone through a loss.  It is really profound while you are.  I started weeping over the music and every loss I have ever suffered.  I think I will probably not listen to the Mozart Requiem tomorrow at work...The classic composers show that they really understood something deep.  If you get a chance to listen these are two truly profound works of classical music.   

In addition to my dad passing this week, my close friend's dad also passed this morning, and another friend's dad passed on Sunday under really tragic circumstances.  It has been a rough week.  But out of death comes renewal and rebirth.  Beauty rebounds, joy will return, and laughter will ring.  I believe it is our nature to be filled with joy.  Life can be hard, but it can also be extremely beautiful.  We are so blessed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Semi Normal Day

It was kind of nice to be back in the normal routine today.  I had felt so numb all weekend, that I basically wrapped myself up in a quilt most of the time.  I did not sleep well last night and was a little weepy early in the morning.  After work got into full swing though, I seemed to be feeling much better.  I have a really good friend at work who sent me a nice note.  I am so grateful for all of my friends who just seem to know what to say at just the right time.  

I was thinking today how much I would like for life to be boring for a while.  At the very least it was a good day.  I got a lot of work done, shared bites of my lunch with Liesl, and listened to a book on my Ipod at lunchtime.  After work I got home and got to chat for a while with my neighbor while our dogs played.  I came in, changed into sweats, started dinner, and took a nap.  It was awesome.  I made my new favorite dinner which is so incredibly quick and awesome that I actually make it twice a week sometimes.  It made me so happy.  After dinner, I wrestled with Liesl and her bunny then gave her belly rubs.  Liesl is kind of funny when you rub her belly because sometimes she sort of goes into a trance.  Other times, she is super wiggly and bites at the air.  Tonight she was just so happy.  

I was so happy to have an ordinary evening.  I even got to stitch for a few minutes.  Now I am under all of my blankets with an extra one on the bed because it is a bit chilly.  Liesl is tucked in.  She has a particular way that she likes to be tucked in.  She likes to have the blanket prop up her chin like a pillow.  The rest of the blanket is used to just tuck in her little puppy legs.  She is particular.  And if you do it wrong, she gets up and walks out of the room.  Schnauzers...

Monday, May 28, 2012

I have always felt it important to share the positives on this blog and to be uplifting.  I feel very blessed in general in my life, but I have been a really bad cycle for a few months.  I know that eventually the clouds part, you see the light again, and things go on the upward swing again.  However, the journey to that place can totally be sad and challenging.  While I try to limit the sharing of that personal side of my life I will share the following:

My father passed away this weekend after a long illness.  I find myself feeling particularly sad and lost.  He had made the decision many years ago to not share his life with my sister and me, as he moved forward with a new family.  I had limited contact with him over the years.  While it is always hard to lose a parent, I think it is particularly hard with one where so much was left unresolved.  One dear friend had a similar experience with her father and shared that she also thinks this is true.  There is an old wound that goes way back to being a little girl that just gets exposed all over again.  While this makes me feel really sad, I also have to honor what he did do to help shape me while he was a part of my early life.  

My father came from the generation that did it yourself.  I learned early to figure out how to do something or make something myself from him.  I think this is why I move pretty fearlessly through a hardware store, having done my research on a project on the house. He loved many of the things that I do, baking, gardening, and doing handy tasks around the house.  He was particularly adventurous about trying new, international foods, as I am.  For these things I am grateful to him for instilling the love of the same things.  He told me when I was about ten years old, to make sure that I knew how to make something with my hands, so that something will outlive me when I am gone.  I tend to remember these words when I am stitching.  

I also am grateful for the foundation of faith in my life.  My father was a devout Lutheran all of his life. The Lutheran faith has been a part of my life since I was a very small child, and I am grateful to say that it has seen me through the best and worst of times.  

So I have a process of grief that I have to go through now.  I go between feeling really numb and crying my eyes out.  I did not realize either that the passing of a parent totally brings you more in touch with your own mortality.  What I do know is that I need to make certain that when my own time comes to leave this place, that I do so with no unfinished business.

I am sorry that I have not been uplifting and positive lately.  This too shall pass.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


It is so cold here right now.  Today it even rained.  Liesl and I had big plans for a beach walk early this morning.  We saw the drizzle and both decided to get under a blanket on the sofa.  Liesl though the whole napping thing was a splendid idea.  I relaxed for a while then decided to go get my supplies from Home Depot so I could play weekend warrior.  I had another great experience there.  I was walking in with my list in hand pushing my cart, when I heard a voice behind me say, "What's on your list today?"  One of their great employees was approaching and walked me all over the store to get my list filled with so much cheerfulness.  It is a joy to shop there.

After I picked up some groceries I came home to see that Liesl was continuing the whole napping thing.  I got all of my supplies put away and went back to cuddle my furgirl.  I love the way her little head smells and sometimes I just like to lay my head on her so I can smell her.  It is a combination of doggie shampoo, grass, her pillow, and dog cookies.  There is something so comforting about it.

I am bound and determined to get my backsplash tiled this weekend.  I have all of the supplies that I need.  I think that it will look amazing when I am done.  My decorator friend says that it will be the crown jewel of my kitchen.  I have had the kit since February so it is really time to get 'er done.  I love the tile, it is so pretty. 

I spent the rest of my afternoon stitching and watching American Restoration.  This is one of my favorite shows.  I so love vintage, so seeing the stuff on this show makes me happy.  Sometimes, I will see something that brings up a good childhood memory.  An old Pepsi cooler, stuff from the gas station, etc.  Vintage is so in right now and I wonder if it is because people are trying to remember back to a more simple time.  The new technology advances are so a part of our everyday lives and work.  I can not imagine life without having access to instant information, but I do remember a time when I used to have a lot more time to stitch...

Well, I am off to sleep.  It is so cold that I am putting an extra blanket on the bed.  This means just a bit more coziness.  :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Good Sunday

It was another good day today.  We had a guest pastor today who gave such a great sermon.  I love it when somewhere in the sermon you hear exactly what you need to hear.  This is particularly good when you are going through troubled times.  Today he ended his sermon with exactly the words that I needed to hear and I kind of got that little tingle when I know that I am supposed to get a message.  I told the pastor afterwards that he said what I needed to hear today and he responded that God does get his message to us.  

After church I went to the grocery store with my list in hand.  I have been researching really healthy recipes online.  I find that I eat much healthier when my refrigerator is well stocked and I have things prepared.  This is important for those days I come home too exhausted to cook.  So I went and bought lots of good veggies and things that I need for some yummy sounding recipes.  Today I made a tomato, basil, Parmesan soup.  I had it for dinner and it was quite tasty.  Now I can look forward to having it for lunch tomorrow.  

One of my BFFs (I have three!) came over for coffee today.  She is my retired interior decorator friend and fellow schnauzer momma.  She is such a talented person with color.  My son has even said that he loves the suggestions that she has made on my house.  He said that I have always liked more muted colors but that I have much more vibrant and fun colors in my house now.  She came over with her large interior decorator paint sample binder.  She has been looking at paint colors and so we looked at what she had.  She had red!!!!  Whoohoo!  We are only going to do an accent wall, but it is going to be awesome.  It is more of a tomato soup red.  Very warm and will match my curtains exactly.  I am stoked!  

Then she pulled out colors for my hallway to the bedrooms and bath.  They were very soft, gorgeous colors.  The front of the house will be very vibrant with the look on the back side of the house being very soft, but still in the same color family.  We also looked at some fabric that I fell in love with online and we determined that it is perfect for a valance in my big kitchen window.  She did her design on a piece of paper with measurements and I just think that it will be awesome.  I am so excited.  Our other BFF said that she is ready to help with the painting again!  Whoohoo!

I was happy to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing.  I am so grateful for my friends, for the message in the sermon today, my dog, my family, enough food and a warm place at night to lay my head.   I still have my cough but it is easing, and there are people throughout the world who know much more desperate circumstances than I, who have life and death on the line every single day.  Tonight I pray for these who have much greater suffering and thank God for guiding me through my troubles.  This time in my life shall pass, and I am sure glad for those angels that surround me who are my family and friends. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Nice Day At The Cozy Cottage Influenza Ward

Today was a lovely day.  I had determined that this is the weekend that I would take really good care of myself and try to get rid of this dreadful cough once and for all.  Yesterday after work I stopped off for fun and adventure at the Dollar Tree.  I have not been there since Christmas time when I buy my gift bags.  I have been growing my hair out and it is getting pretty long so I was looking for clips to put it up in the afternoon when it is warm.  No clips but I got a hoard of ponytail rings, two Sally Hansen Diamond Nail Polishes, and two really nice Maybelline Lip Glosses.  I also got some Betty Crocker silicone spatulas.  It is always an adventure when I go there.  Anyway, I went straight home after that and was in my jammies by 3 pm.  I had dinner in front of the television, gave myself a pedi, stitched to my heart's content and slept 10 straight hours.  It was awesome.

I was pretty good about staying home today.  I puttered around a bit which is always fun.  I am bound and determined to finish unpacking my garage since I moved in almost eight months ago.  I got a box unpacked.  Yay!  My best friend called in the afternoon and asked if I could have coffee with her.  I ended up making coffee here so we could relax and talk.  It was so nice to have a profound discussion with her.  She is such a great friend.  Of course a certain schnauzer thought that my friend was here to see her.  She loves my best friend especially since the first thing that she does when she comes over is sits down and gives Liesl her full attention and lots of love and neck scratches.  Liesl will look over at me with a big smile that says, "Look, I have company!"  She follows my friend around and even lays down by her.  So we all had a nice visit.  LOL

After my friend left, I got a bee in my bonnet and decided that since it was warm and sunny out, I should paint my Andirondack chairs since I have had them a year now.  I am now thinking that I was sorta crazy.  I have painted them a vintage Coca Cola red using Rustoleum paint, which is oil based.  Ick.  I still have to do the undersides and some of the detail, but I ran out of paint.  This is a painstaking project.  Of course, since the paint is oil based, it had to spray me or drip down my hand.  When I was done, I looked like the lead character is Sweeney Todd.  My hands and arms were covered in red paint.  Being oil based it was pretty hard to get off.  I am not looking forward to finishing the underside of the chairs now.  I will say though that the color is amazing and I am so please with how they turned out.  As soon as I finish them I will take a picture.

The rest of the evening was spent playing with Liesl, rubbing her tummy and stitching.  I love me some Storage Wars, and got to stitch while watching a marathon of episodes.  I think Barry is dreamy in a quirky kind of way.  There are certain reality shows that I am a fan of.  They are my guilty pleasure.  There is Storage Wars, Pawn Stars, RHNJ, Celebrity Apprentice, American Pickers and RHBH.  When I am really hurting for entertainment there is Hillbilly Handfishing, which I still can not believe is a show to this day.  Tomorrow a new one starts about our local first family of the Monterey Peninsula, the Eastwoods.  It is primarily about Clint's wife Dina, who is a very lovely person and was a local newscaster here back in the 1990's.  I had met her back in the 1990's before she had met up with Clint, and she is just as sweet as can be.  She also shops in the store where my DD works and everyone thinks she is a total sweetheart.  I really like it when things turn out well for really nice people.  So I look forward to watching her show.  

So now off to dreamland.  I think tomorrow after church will be spent cooking.  I have some new soup recipes I have been wanting to try, so I think I will premake lunches of soup for the week.  I also will make yogurt and I am thinking about getting the bread machine out.  Hopefully, all of this playing Domestic Diva will help end my cough.  I am thinking happy thoughts!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Almost Friday

Well, the new medicine for my cough seems to be working.  I have not been coughing much this afternoon and when I do, it has not been much.  I hope to sleep well tonight.  I figure that Nurse Liesl and I will stay in this weekend and beat this thing.  It has been cold and gloomy here the past couple of days, so it is a good weekend to stay in and be cozy and recuperate.  We have what is called "June Gloom" here because it is cold and icky.  Mark Twain once said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."  We are about 120 miles south of SF and have the same inclement weather.  It is sweater weather.  I think Liesl and I may log some sofa time under a blanket.

After agonizing over a week about it, I finally ordered my seeds from the Park Seed catalog.  They had several clearance sales so I could start my herb garden and my salad garden (greens, radishes, cukes, etc.)  I have pretty good luck with seeds.  I am so looking forward to their arrival.  

I was a bit sad this evening because I was supposed to go out with my three best girlfriends for dinner.  I was feeling kinda of lousy and knew I should come home and go to bed early.  They are so sweet and called me from the restaurant to tell me that they love me and to read me the selection of soup from the menu.  They wanted to know if I would like them to bring me some soup.  I so love my friends and I am so sorry that I had to miss dinner with them.  

As I think about this weekend, I am grateful to have some time to rest.  I get really excited about being able to stay in for a weekend.  I keep thinking about all of the fun at my fingertips, catching up on my guilty pleasure reality television shows, a new magazine arrived in the mail, my book about Catherine the Great, stitching, giving myself a pedi, napping, cooking, etc.  There is just too much fun to be had around the castle.

I am off to dream about all of my fun!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day Of Uber Awesomeness

Back in February my dear friend Heidi and I were getting our toesies done.  While the nail polish was  drying under the purple light we starting talking about classical music, which we both love.  Best of all, we both love Bach.  So in our conversation Heidi mentioned that the San Francisco Symphony was performing all six Brandenburg Concertos and several pieces by Handel over two concerts to take place May 5th.  I said, "Oh my gosh, that would be so awesome."  So she got out her Iphone and looked up the prices.  I told her the prices sounded totally reasonable.  She clicked her phone and said, "Well good, it is done, we are going.  I just ordered the tickets!"  Okay that was cool.  I am glad that I did not have more time to talk myself out of it.  

To sweeten the situation, when I told my family about it at a family dinner a week later, my wonderful son and his really sweet girlfriend said that they would come over after they both got of work and feed Liesl, let her outside and play with her for a while.  This totally eased my conscience for me since San Francisco is so far away.  

San Francisco City Hall
Davies Symphony Hall

We made it up to San Francisco in about 2 1/2 hours in Heidi's bright red mustang.  Sitting in this mustang is about the closest I get to being cool.  We were in our seats in plenty of time for the four o'clock performance.  We had very cool seats behind the orchestra.  Thankfully my friend goes there often and knows her way around.
It was amazing to hear the world class musicians in a world class setting.  The precision and energy was incredible.  I could not believe how fortunate I was.

Afterward we went to dinner and were talking so much that we nearly missed our second concert.  We got into our seats just as the lights were dimming.  The evening performance was quite a bit pricier so we were in the second balcony.  
This concert gave me goose bumps.  I had chills throughout the whole thing.  The beginning piece was Handel's Water Musik.  (Bach and Handel were born the same year and were contemporaries.  Though they never met, several of the pieces by both composers can be similar stylistically.  This is why it was so cool to hear their pieces presented side by side.)  

The last piece on the program was the Brandenburg Concerto #5, which features a truly amazing harpsichord solo.  It was one of the most beautiful and chilling things I have ever heard.  This evening concert did not have a conductor which made it even more crazy amazing.  I must say that the harpsichordist had some mad skillz.  Not a soul moved in this great hall while he played.  It was thrilling.
We made it home shortly before midnight.  My friend dropped me off and I walked in to find that my son and his adorable girlfriend had decided to stay and spoil Liesl.  They originally were going to just come for 2-3 hours before going out for the evening, just to break up the day for Liesl.  Instead they relaxed, played with Liesl, watched movies and had a quiet evening. My son has room mates so it is  a special treat to have a television with Netflix all to himself.  He said that they got to watch three movies and season one of a television show.  Liesl looked totally relaxed and happy.  My son said that they kind of spoiled her with treats.  He said that he wanted to play and rough house more with her but she seemed really sleepy.  (Thinking that she was going to be alone most of the day, I had taken her to the dog beach early in the morning and let her run for two miles so that she would sleep all day.  Oops.)  

It made my heart feel good that Liesl also had a special day.  My son really loves dogs so I knew she was in awesome hands.  I am also glad that my son and his sweetheart got to relax, too.  They are both on the tail end of having that bad cold that I had, so they got to have a peaceful evening.

This was such a cool day and I am so glad that I got to go.  It was so exciting.  It was one of the most amazing concerts I have ever been to.