Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Catching Up!

Well, as you can imagine, life has been pretty hectic this week.  Returning to work after vacation is a monumental task.  It has meant a bit of overtime, except for tonight.  Tonight, my dear friend Heidi and I decided to have a girl night to celebrate my birthday.  First we went and had pedicures.  We had decided this over the weekend before we knew it would be pouring down rain and cold today.  Heidi reasoned that your feet stay wet longer in shoes and socks so we met at the nail place in flip flops.  I had to wear my blingie ones that I bought on clearance.  I picked out the reddest, shiniest, glitteriest nail polish I could find.  I tend to wear boots all winter so my feet were looking all wintery and somewhat like E.T.'s feet.  They nearly had to get out the Dremel hardware.  LOL  Now they look all pretty and I am so happy.  

Afterwards we went and had a great dinner and talked about books, classical music and our houses.  She bought a condo the same time I bought my house.  We each love our places and share our weekend warrior stories.  It was so nice to have friendship time on a Wednesday.  It felt like a mini vacation.  We laughed and had a lot of fun.  It is wonderful to have such amazing friends.  Each of my friends are the ones who will walk through thick and thin with me.  They are truly incredible people who just inspire me and make me feel fortunate. 

Of course, the best part of the evening was walking in to see my sweet furgirl and receive one of her wonderful greetings.  The groomer did her hair a little differently into more of a puppy cut.  She looks like a puppy and her eyes just look so big.  She gave me lots of kisses, then brought me her duck to throw so she could chase it.  She is such a happy girl.

If you like to look at houses and interior decoration, I have the best site to recommend.  My coworker told me about it and it is totally house eye candy.  It is called  You can type anything into the search box and thousands of photos will pop up.  She demonstrated by typing "outdoor fireplaces" into the search box and 16,000 photos were available of the most stunning outdoor fireplaces.  I was looking at page after page of back splashes.   They were gorgeous.  I have to stay off that site or I will get into all kinds of trouble like I do on Pinterest.  Again, all eye candy for everything from recipes, to manicures, to home decor.  The internet can be a wonderful thing.  

I have to say it is so nice to be back to a regular routine.  I liked being on vacation, but I really like my job and the way my week flows.  Liesl is so happy to see all of her friends at work.  She has given them all kisses and wrestled with the big dogs.  She has let the little dogs chase her.  She has let all of her favorite people give her cookies.  I really do love the fact that she gets to have a pretty remarkable life, too, full of dog friends and people she loves.  She is pretty happy and it makes my heart sparkle to see her little smile.  I know that people will tell you how amazing it is that dogs love so unconditionally.  But I think we love them because we get to love them so unconditionally, too.  We get to love them without fear of rejection, judgement or being taken advantage of.  We love them because they accept that we mess up sometimes and they do not get mad at us or give us the silent treatment or yell at us.  They just move on to the next moment and are happy to have us in it.   And we are happy to have them with us.  It is a beautiful arrangement.

Thank goodness for our pets.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hi-Ho-Hi-Ho, It's Off To Work I Go...

Well, vacation is over and it is back to work for me.  No more sleeping in, no more second cups of coffee, no more staying up as late as I want.  However, I have missed the cool people that I work with and Liesl misses all of her friends.  She has a pretty lively social life at my job.  She has loved being the center of her momma's attention and the whole sleeping in thing.  However, she likes to play puppy games.

I am thrilled with what I got accomplished during my little break.  I also have developed a little more of a schedule for getting upcoming projects done.  I went back to Lowe's yesterday to get more back splash tile.  I swear, Lowe's has everything.  They even carry curtains.  I found the very valance that I pictured in my mind for my office.  Awesome.  They also carried my ceiling medallion so I can put up my light fixture.  

Instead of giving something up for Lent, I decided to add things this year.  A promise that I have made myself is that everyday, no matter how tired or busy I am, I will do something artistic and creative.  Sometimes I am just too tired, but then I start to get out of balance.  I need to do something creative to feed my spirit everyday.  I also am adding additional devotional time.

I am extremely grateful to have a job that gives paid time off for vacation.  I appreciate the opportunity to recharge my batteries and refresh my outlook.  I think it is vital to take the time to rest so that you can go back with fresh ideas and a new outlook.  I also think it is critical to take the time to appreciate the reasons why I work.  I have renewed appreciation for home, family, friends, love and a small sassy dog.  Life is truly a beautiful thing.

Friday, February 24, 2012

What An Awesome Day!

Today was a fantastic day.  One of my closest and very dearest friends was finally able to come over and see my house.  I have been here since late October and with the holidays and everything, time just got away from us. She loved the house and thought it is perfect for me.  She is a retired interior decorator and just had so many great ideas.  I was getting more and more excited as she was talking.  We had a little lunch together and then she was just letting the ideas pour forth.  She  loved the color of my kitchen and had some ideas for making it very bold and dramatic.  She also gave me some good advice.  She said that what she always advised her clients was to have one big project a quarter. That way you stay on track and have some time to save up a little money  between projects.  I think it would be a great way for me to keep from getting overwhelmed.

My friend is also a fellow Schnauzer mom, except that she has a standard size.  Therefore, she understands the tone of voice you have to use with a schnauzer.  The breed are smack talkers, and feel the need to sound the alarm when people enter the house.  Once they get going, it is hard for them to let it go.  My friend told Liesl that she wasn't buying the tough girl act, so Liesl dropped her tail and went off to go find her treat ball.  

I am so excited now about all of the great ideas my friend gave me.  Some are really easy, such as where to hang certain pictures to give the biggest presentation bang for the buck.  Some will take a little more time and money.  She is amazing because she could just look at a wall and envision what belongs there, then she would approach the same wall from different doorways and such to see how the eye picks up certain things.  Already with the paint the kitchen does not look the same.  When I get the blacksplash done it will look amazing.  

I had my first little snafu today.  I went to hang the new light fixture in my kitchen.  It is absolutely gorgeous.  The shade is mother of pearl mosaic and is so stunning.  However, I am going from a flush mount to a semi flush mount.  I got the old fixture down only to find that the whole in the ceiling is too big around.  I just figured that I would put in some sheet rock and spackle it in.  I was telling my BFF tonight on the phone and she reminded me that they made decorative medallions for the ceiling that I can mount the fixture to.  Even better.  It will really be dramatic with a pretty medallion.  Plus they are not very expensive.  Her hubby offered to come and put everything up for me, but I am hard headed and want to try doing it myself first.  

This is so exciting.  I am having too much fun.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday!

Today was painting day!  My kitchen is now a lovely warm gold color.  My best friend brought lunch over so we got to sit and yack first.  Then we got right down to work.  My friend is a nurse practitioner and paint details like a surgeon.  She was not kidding that she is a taping expert.  She was so exact.  She also took a small paint detail brush around the molding detail of my cabinets.  It looks so good.  I still have to pull out the fridge and paint back there.  I would have finished it but it was Ash Wednesday and I had to clean up and get to church.  

The service tonight was beautiful.   I was the assistant minister and cantor tonight for this special service, which was truly an honor.  I do so love Lent and the process of inner work that goes with it.  This is a precious time for me and there are some important positive changes that I want to make in my life in the next forty days.

It is so wonderful to have really supportive friends who offer their help all of the time and expertise on my house.  They have told me that they are so proud of me for buying a house all on my own, and are so incredible about offering help.  My friend today said that she wanted to make sure that I finished painting one room today so that I would feel so good about getting it all done.  We really had a wonderful time and got to talk about all kinds of interesting things.  I do have to say that painting is a lot more fun when you do it with a friend.

So now that I have one room done, I feel really motivated.  Paint really changes the whole look of the room.  Now I can't wait to paint the living room.

Terrific Tuesday

Today was a really good day.  I went over to Home Depot today to buy my paint for my kitchen.  It was quiet in there and it was all of the professional contractors, designers, and craftsman there today. I went over to the paint counter and was helped by the nicest, most helpful young person.    He figured how much paint I would need based on my square footage, and what I should do about my ceiling.  While my paint was mixing he walked me over to where each of the supplies I was going to need were located.  I really need to write a letter to the Home Depot corporate office because every single time I walk into the local HD I have a positive experience from the greeter at the front to going through the check out. Every single person is cheerful, helpful, and nice.  Anyway, my bill was covered by two of my gift certificates from Christmas,  My mom just sent me another one for my birthday.  Thanks, Mom.  It just makes me happy to know that I have it in reserve.

I painted one of the more complicated walls today, just to see how it will look.  Oh my goodness, I love the color.  It is perfect.  It is so cheerful.  It is a warm, buttery gold.  I can't wait to hang pictures now!  Tomorrow my best friend is off work and she is coming over to help me paint.  She said that she is bringing sandwiches and yummies from Whole Foods so we can have lunch together first.  Then she ways that she is a master taper, which means that I will just get to paint.  I can't wait to have her over.  I think that there will be much laughter in store.  She has a great sense of humor and just cracks me up.

I was speaking with another really close friend on the phone tonight.  I really feel that my cup runneth over when it comes to really good friends.  My friend is just so wise and walks in faith.  She also tells it like it is, but in a really kind way.  Every time I speak with her, I feel like I am taking another step in my journey of faith and growth as a person.  It is funny because I will admit that my guilty pleasure is to watch shows like Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and New Jersey.  I see friendships there that have so much drama in them.  Also where the friends talk about each other behind each other's backs or say something hurtful on television to one of their friends.  These are obviously not genuine friendships.  There is no drama in my friendships.  When I hang up the phone I usually feel  even happier after I talk with a friend.  My friends and I would never think of saying anything hurtful behind each other's backs.  We are all part of a circle of friends and are always supportive, loyal and respectful of each other.  

Well, off to get my painting beauty sleep.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Road Trip!

Look, sandpipers piping!  We were up at a semi reasonable time this morning and headed off to the beach.  The beach is Liesl's favorite place on earth.  When we got there the tide was in and all of these little shorebirds were running back and forth as the waves came in and out.   I threw Liesl's ball but she really likes to carry it like a fashion accessory that she can show off to the other dogs.    
After the beach, it was my day to go to Gilroy, about 45 minutes away.  I brought Liesl because 1) she is a great companion in the car and 2) sometimes traffic can get horrendous and I worry about her being alone any longer than her little bladder can handle.  Someone had loaned me a CD of dog calming music that I put into the CD player.  They have done these studies and found that dogs are calmed by music with a certain number of beats per minute.  It is a collection of recognizable piano classics.  Liesl is pretty mellow, particularly in the car, but it was lovely.

The first stop was at Lowe's.  I was so impressed by Lowe's.  The merchandise was a little more upscale than Home Depot and the prices were reasonable.  The employees, however, are a bunch of troublemakers.  My credit card is smokin'!  I went in looking in for a specific semi flush mount light for my kitchen.  It is beautiful with pearly mosaic.  However, when I went in, it was unlit, so I was a bit unimpressed and picked up another cast iron type light.  I decided though to ask them to light the one I originally wanted so I could see it.  It was gorgeous lit.  The nice man helping me asked me a lot of questions about my kitchen and said that he thought the one I came in for would look best with my colors and layout.  

After he put the box in my cart he asked me if I had seen the backsplash tile kit that would totally go with the lamp.  I told him that I had and it totally matched my countertop because it was displayed with granite similar to that in my kitchen.  We walked over and he put the tile in my cart, then walked me over to get some matching grout.  He had another helper walking around with me, too.  I also got some under cabinet lights that will look great.  They were so helpful.

I also got another chandelier for my hallway and a really blingy (gaudy) crystal chandelier for my bedroom.  I have always always always wanted a crystal chandelier.  So I now have one.  It makes me happy.  My cart was full and the nice employees who had walked me around even offered to help me load everything in the car.  They were so awesome and helpful.  But I think I just financed a race for Jimmie Johnson's number 48 car.  Oy vey.
Meanwhile, back in the car, I still had a very sleepy schnauzer.  Gilroy has the closest Sonic, and I was looking forward to going there.  Now I have to tell you that Liesl goes crazy for hot dogs.  She gets a half of one a year at one of our employee parties.  I figured it is my birthday this week, so we had a party in my car and I split a hot dog with her.  She also liked the cheese drenched tator tots (just a couple of bites.)  We had lunch and I continued on with a couple more stores I needed to run into (it was a cool day so she was safe in the car with the windows open.  I also had water out for her.)  

I ran into Homegoods but found that a number of people had decided to bring really tired children shopping so the screaming was at a fever pitch. (poor kids) The other end of the spectrum had children who had obviously been fed Snicker bars, Twinkies, and Red Bull for lunch.  The kids were given shopping carts and they proceeded to race down the merchandise laden aisles.  I felt badly for the sleepy children who just wanted to go take a nap somewhere.  The shopping cart NASCAR and the impending disaster of broken glassware made me edgy and I quickly decided I was over it.  Liesie and I headed for home.  

My best friend is coming over Wednesday to help me paint.  I figure we will do the backsplash, too.  It is going to be very dramatic behind my stove and under the microwave.  Love it!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day Two of Vacation-A Cozy Day

Today was lovely.  I slept in and decided to have a nice, quiet, cozy day.  It was so nice and peaceful.  I watched documentaries, stitched, and napped.  It was wonderful.  I watched a couple of documentaries on the Lincoln assassination while I stitched.  I had always thought that it was only JW Booth who killed Lincoln that night.  But apparently, there was a conspiracy and an attempt was made on the life of the Secretary State by another co-conspirator.  Also, in the plan was to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson but the last co-conspirator did not go through with it.    This is something that got left out of the story in my history classes.  A lot was going on that night.  It was fascinating.  

I took the loveliest nap this afternoon.  My neck was still aching a bit, but feels much better than yesterday. The nap seemed to help, too.  I am a big believer in naps.  Liesl thinks they are a great idea, too.  She is an expert.

I decided to do some light cleaning in the afternoon.  It felt good just to get my kitchen back in order. Unfortunately, I had been working such long hours that things kind of got away from me.  Now it is all sparkly clean.  My world feels better as long as my kitchen in clean.  It felt good to get some laundry done.  I am excited because I have clean sheets tonight.  Clean sheets are one of life's wonderful simple pleasures.  The light puttering around the house was fun.  

After having such a nice cozy day, I decided to make comfort food for dinner.  I made a cheesy beef macaroni dish, with chocolate pudding for dessert.  It was perfect.  I brushed Liesl for while and put a lot of kisses on her sweet head.  She loves to be hugged and kissed (as long as you do not try to put her on your lap.)  I tucked her in to bed and decided to stay up late stitching.  I got a lot done on my sampler.  

I really needed a quiet cozy day.  It was so nice to just be quiet today.  I feel like my batteries are getting recharged.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Perfect Day One of Vacation

Oh my goodness, the last couple of days of work were so busy.  Yesterday, I got up at 4:30 am and was at my office by 6:15.  I was constantly swamped and did not leave until 6:30 last night.  I was fried and just came home and went to bed.  I woke up this morning, and my neck was so stiff that I could not turn my head.  I felt generally unwell and almost wondered if I was having a heart attack.  Luckily, it passed, although my neck feels terrible.  I think I am just really exhausted.  Sorry to whine.   

I was glad that I felt better after a shower and cup of tea.  I had been looking forward to this day for about a month.  We had our knitting club at a huge mansion in Pebble Beach right on the Pacific Ocean.  One of our very cool members is a house manager for the mansion, which is 25,000 square feet and breathtaking.  She is allowed to entertain guests there when the house is not occupied. I had visited before but was so thrilled to be invited back.  After a tour, where I got some great decorating ideas, we had a ladies afternoon tea, complete with fancy cocktails, amazing finger sandwiches and lots of laughter.  It was a gorgeous day so we sat at a table over looking the Pacific Ocean.  It was amazing and we had so much fun.  

Below is a photo of Lone Cypress of Pebble Beach which is an icon.  It has stood on this ledge for over 250 years.  I took it after we left the home we were visiting.  It was on the drive home and in a spot for tourists to take a photo.

My contribution to the tea today was homemade white chocolate, apricot, walnut scones.  They are very soft and delicious.  I have had the recipe forever but have not made them in about 12 years.  I will have to make them again soon.  

My best friend also made red velvet cupcakes to share to celebrate my birthday this week, complete with candle.  She is coming over to help me paint this week for my birthday.  She rocks.

I was so forgetful and felt terrible.  Last year my daughter gave me a beautiful Longaberger basket with a gorgeous linen breadcover that she knit for me.  It is really special to me because I know she put a lot of time and care into it.  I had brought my scones in it and forgot it.  We got all the way back to Monterey before I remembered it and felt so panicky.  My daughter was a total sweetheart and drove with me all the way back to Pebble Beach to retrieve it.  The extra hour in the car with her was an additional blessing.  I was so happy for the extra time with her.  

When I finally got home, I switched on the TV and there were Tony and the boys of NASCAR in the first race of the season.  It was a totally exciting finish although I was terrified when I saw Jeff Gordon barrel roll about four times.  It was a day of perfect.  I can't believe it is already over. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Almost There...

Just eight more hours of work (okay, maybe nine or ten) stand between me and vacation.  I am a bit tired from trying to get prepared and leave my office in good shape for my absence.  In fact, last night I fell asleep in the middle of writing a post for this very blog.  I am really, really tired.  However, I am about to face nine, count 'em nine days of sleeping in cuddled up to a small happy dog.

I am looking forward to nine days of bliss.  Of counting blessing and recognizing all of the beauty in my life.  I am looking so forward to time spent with family and friends.  I am looking forward to walks with Liesl on one of the world's most beautiful beaches.  I am looking forward to shopping for some pretty things for my house and for working on upgrading the beauty of my house.  I love this home and feel so grateful to have found it.  I can not think of a more perfect place for me.  It is so cozy and really comfy.  I love my house.

With Valentine's Day this week I have been thinking about all of the love in my life.  I have an amazing circle of friends with whom we often tell each other that we love one another.  Life is short and I appreciate knowing that I am loved and telling others how much I care about them.  I have my sweet little schnauzer who I adore and who lets me know daily that she loves me.  

Speaking of my little Liesl, I had to laugh this week.  Liesl does not watch television, ever.  Sometimes she will react if she hears a doorbell or bird on television.  But she does not look at it.  I had to laugh because earlier this week I was watching a rerun of last year's Westminster Dog Show.  Liesl was sitting in the most unlady-like fashion, glued to the show.  She cracked me up.  

Well, I am off to set my alarm for the last time for nine days.  I will check in and share any exciting vacation adventures.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

May love continue to grow and flourish in your life!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Serene Saturday

Serenity is a good thing.  Since today was so drizzly and cold, we just stayed in.  Liesl napped in her big blanket.  It was just a perfect indoor day.  I did some work on my kitchen.  I was rearranging drawers and cabinets that did not really work with the flow of the work area.  After almost four months it was time to remedy that situation.  I had bought some organizers that really did the trick.  I have all of my spices in one drawer in an organizer.  It looks so purty when I open that drawer now.

I finally got my paint samples up on the wall.  Am I ever glad that my friend convinced me to put samples up first.  The color I was originally going to go with ended up looking really bright in a mustard yellow kind of way.  This would be really bad and would eventually burn out my retinas, I am sure.  So the color that I am going to go with is a soft buttery gold color.  I think it will go perfectly with the beautiful valance I am ordering from Overstock.  My best friend called me today to tell me that she wanted to make plans for my birthday, but that she also wanted to make plans for her to help me paint.  Now, I will tell you that it is really hard for me to ask for help, even when someone offers.  I just do not want to impose.  But she told me that she is a master painter's taper.  And well, I sorta hate taping.  I like the painting part.  I think we will be a good team, aside from the giggle fits and ice cream breaks.  

I worked a little on training with Liesl.  Schnauzers are one of the smartest dogs you can find, and are referred to as "the Dog with the Human Brain" because they use a lot of the same reasoning and cognitive skills as humans.  In fact, overall they act very human much of the time. They can be easy to train, when they are in the mood.  Which usually has to be bought, with high value treats. I had asked the behaviorist for a couple of easy tricks to teach Liesl this weekend, because she seems to really like going through a repertoire.   So I thought we would expand it.  So she is working on taking a bow.  She also learned "touch" which is touching my hand with her nose.  It is a focusing technique.  She also loves "find it" which consists of taking a treat (I was using Charlie Bears) and tossing it and then telling her to find it.  The idea is to expand to the point where I can put her in stay, then hide a treat and tell her to find it.  Liesl loves hide and seek in any form so this was the big hit.  One issue with training really smart dogs, particularly schnauzers is they do not like too much repetition, as they get bored easily once they "get it."  I knew we were done when Liesl took a Charlie Bear then proceeded to spit it out in a very dramatic fashion.  She cracks me up.

I really love to read up on the traits of schnauzers.  One thing that caught my attention recently is that schnauzers really want the family to be all together in one place.  I think it goes back to the herding part of their breeding.  It made me laugh though because when the family is all together at my house, and one person gets up to go to the restroom, Liesl will always go off after them, snorting under her breath and wait for them outside the door.  When they come back she always looks kind of proud as she trots into the room with them like she is returning them to the herd.  I also read that they have to be in the center of any activity.  This is also true, because she will sit on the bench ottoman in the center of the room so that she can see everyone and they can see her.  

I am really glad that I got to putter today.  I feel pretty relaxed and comfy.  I am so glad that we got the surprise rain!

Rainy Day

Well, there was no rain whatsoever in the forecast.  However, we have something here called "AT&T Weather" which means that whenever the tournament with all of the big stars and golf pros is in town, the rain will fall.  There were little suns with smiley faces lined up in the weather forecast, yet last night it rained.  Today is just drizzly and cold.  Which is awesome.  Truly.  We needed a day to stay in and be cozy.  I am puttering and putting in my cabinet and drawer organizers that came in from Amazon this week.  I also have to put my paint samples up on the kitchen walls.  I have looked at Lowe's online and found several of the most perfect kitchen lights ever.  Since I am planning to make the hour drive to Gilroy anyway while I am on vacay anyway, I can pick one up when I am there.  Whoohoo!  Things are coming together.

Liesl has been snuggled into a blanket most of the morning.  She believes in the cozy Saturday and loves when I plan accordingly.  If I can work in neck scratches and belly rubs into her day, all the better.  Of course her nutritional demands for the day is "more cookies."

I am happy to be inside for the day.  I have my slippers and polar fleece leopard print jammies on.  (Grrr, baby! LOL)  I have a cup of coffee with pumpkin spice creamer in it, and I am about to pick up my stitching while I watch HGTV (always a bad idea, they put ideas into my head.) I have to work from home today so that I can leave my office under control for a week.  So it all works out!  I think I will put a nice dinner in the crockpot so that I can smell delicious smells all day.  

Well, a duck toy has just been shoved into my lap, so I guess I have to go entertain a certain schnauzer.  Have a happy day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Getting Closer To Painting Time

After talking to several friends about my paint choices for the interior of my house, all shared that I really needed to have paint samples and try them out on the wall.  The light and shadow of house can really alter the color of a paint.  One friend said that when she was trying out an eggshell white on her walls, the color came across as pink.  She said that she knew pretty fast that it was not the right color for her house.  So tonight after work I went to Home Depot to pick up samples.  My camera is really distorting the color a bit.  But I am going to put them up on the wall and live with it for a week and see what happens.  I am also going to put up a new chandelier and have it narrowed down to two or three.  I am figuring that I have to remove the current fixture and paint all the way to the box anyway, so I might as well get it all done at once.

While I was waiting for the nice man in the paint department to mix my samples I was thinking about my kitchen and living room.  I plan on painting the living room a more light yellow color.  I have two arched doorways from the living room.  One leads to the kitchen and the other to the hall to the bedrooms.  The arches were one of the things I fell in love with.  I was thinking that it would be really nice to free hand some sort of scrolling pattern on the inside of the arch.  But I am too chicken to do that.  That was when I looked over and saw that Martha Stewart (I heart Martha) has stencils in exactly what I pictured in my mind's eye.  I think I am going to do this between the kitchen and living room as a cool feature.  

It was so funny because while I was in Home Depot I ran into the nice lady that sold me my house.  She is a delightful person and we said that we are going to have to meet for lunch soon.  I told her how much I love my house.  It was funny because as I was going into the store I was thinking that I would have to call her soon, because I am thinking about installing a small island in my kitchen and was wondering where she got the crystal granite counter tops for my kitchen.  She gave me the name of the company in San Jose and said it was the only place she and her husband do business with.  She also gave me the name of the actual pattern.  It is so pretty.  I started to tell her how much I love the old single panel interior doors in my house.  She said that she was in love with them, too, and had to save them because the original plan was to demolish them. They have so much character.  (My house was built in 1964)  She said that she had been looking for the old crystal knobs for them, but was having trouble sourcing what she needed so she put in antiqued doorknobs. I have often thought the old crystal knobs would look perfect so I will have to keep my eye out in the thrift stores.

We had a nice visit and she thought the golds I was picking out would look beautiful in my kitchen.  She and her husband flip houses but do it very tastefully.  My friend who is an engineer checked out the structure of the house before I bought it and said that he could not believe how many nice touches they put into the house.  He said that most flips are done as cheaply as possible, but mine had really nice custom windows, elegant granite, self closing drawers in the kitchen, custom cabinets and nice appliances.  He was impressed with the higher quality of materials and touches.  

Now I have to share a story with you that I am a total dork.  When I got home from Home Depot at about 6:30 it was already dark.  As I got out of my car I looked up because there was a large silvery white disk in the sky, and it was just staying in one place and there were lights flashing on it.  I caught my breathe wondering if anyone else was seeing it.  It seemed really large and very close.  I just stood there watching it.  All of the sudden I remembered that the AT&T golf tournament started at Pebble Beach yesterday and there is always a blimp every year for overhead shots of the tournament.  It was hovering in the direction of Monterey Airport, probably waiting to land.  This was not one of my bri+ghter moments.  LOL  

So now I am getting closer and closer to my vacation.  It will be really fun to do the work on my house at my own pace.  I am also planning on going to HomeGoods in Gilroy to pick up some pretties for the house. I think it will be a great birthday present to myself to have my home be in a really great state when I go back to work.  It will be my perfect sanctuary to return to after work.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Perfect Cozy Evening At The Cozy Cottage

I have been looking forward to this evening all day.  I had a pretty good day at work.  Before I left for work, I threw dinner together in the crockpot.  I had three different containers of salsa, maybe a cup total, that I had to use up before they went bad.  So I threw that in with a couple of chicken breasts.  I found about a third of a package of low fat cream cheese, so I dumped that it with what was left over in a package of powder mix of ranch dressing.  That aroma hit me as I hit the front door.  Oh my goodness.  It was so delicious.  I made a burrito with fat free refried black beans and brown rice.  Now I get to look forward to leftovers tomorrow.  Yum!

I made dinner early because I was looking forward to my shows tonight.  I am hooked on The Voice.  Plus the reunion part II of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is on, too.  I figured I would cozy in while wearing sweats and stitch.  Liesl snuggled up to me for a while as a treat.  I shopped online for a kitchen chandelier for a while.  It was an evening that made me happy.  I do not get a lot of evenings like this so this was a total treat. I think I may top it off with a cup of hot cocoa.  Life is beautiful and sometimes I can not believe how much.

I was telling a friend at work today about how well Liesl did on her training this weekend and her new trick.  I also told her about the drama involved in the command "Speak."  She said that she had a schnauzer mix while she was growing up that did the same muttering and talking.  It is so funny when they are doing it.  They seem like curmudgeons, but they are such goofballs.  

I am off to make my hot cocoa and cuddle with my fur girl.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Amazing Day Potpourri

What a glorious, amazing, wonderful day!  The day started out at church.  I was the assistant minister and cantor today, which always makes me feel happy.  I got to see people I love and spend time in worship.  It always centers me for the week ahead.  I am a lifelong Lutheran, and the first thing we do in worship is taking time for confession collectively, silently to God.  It is very cleansing before you enter into worship.  Some weeks are better than others. However, I know that when I am silently confessing to the one who knows my thoughts, that I am very aware of my words and deeds as I do my inner reflection.  It is during these times that I remember that I may have thought mean thoughts about someone, or said something unkind during the week that I really need to make atonement for.  

I will tell you that I love SuperBowl Sunday.  I am not a fan at all of football though.  I love SuperBowl Sunday because it means that all of the stores that are normally crowded are empty enough for me to run down the aisles with my arms wide open.  Today after church I headed to Target because I needed one of those corkscrewy hoses.  I hate coiling a hose, but it also bugs me when it is laying all over the yard. So I wanted one that would go SPROING, back into shape. I have been needing one for a while but the paradise that is Home Depot does not carry them.  I know, I was totally shocked, too.  So I have been going to Target once a week to see if they had them in yet.  Today was my lucky day and I could have done cartwheels through the semi-empty store, but with my luck I would have pulled something and would have just looked pitiful.

I got so much done at the cozy cottage today.  I found all of my packed dishtowels.  This was a happy day for me.  I do not buy paper towels for environmental reasons, so my dishtowels are precious to me.  I had plenty of back up to get me through.  I also found my other pair of glasses, which are way cuter than the ones I have been wearing.  They make me look a little bit cool.  I also got my car cleaned out, a monumental task in and of itself.  Whoa, doggie!  It was a tangle of dog leashes, tote bags (I love me some tote bags), papers, dog blankets, dog balls for the beach, and various dog treats. (Are you seeing a theme here?)  In a moment of what I can only describe as sheer brilliance, I took one of the tote bags and looped it over the headrest of the furry girl's seat.  In it I put her leashes, and stuff I need to get to quickly.  This cleaned up the floor and made everything more easily accessible.  

Speaking of the furry girl, she learned a new trick today.  She learned to speak on command.  She is so proud of herself.  When the behaviorist was in the other day, she told us that it is easier for a dog to learn the quiet or no talking command after they learn the speak command.  Now Liesl can't just woof on command.  No, no, no, she has to vary her speaking experience because that is how she rolls.  Schnauzers as a general rule are very verbal, so she tends to walk around the house muttering to herself, or telling me a story, or complaining about the neighborhood kids who have the audacity to walk down her street. (And she always has to have the last word with a closed mouth bark.) So when I had the treats in my hand, I would tell her to speak, and she would either woof or start a very dramatic and inspiring monologue.  She was just changing it up and keepin' it real.  She was very proud of herself.  We also worked on the knocking, which is going well.  I love the connection you feel with your dog when you are training them.  She was obviously happy too, because she spent the rest of the evening trotting around with her tail wagging.  (Schnauzers are energetic, busy dogs.) She also did not like the way her toys were looking at her and felt the need to pounce on her favorites and toss them in the air with her tail wagging.  She is a total character.  

So now, I am doing several countdowns.  Ten more workdays till vacation.  Twelve more days until the NASCAR Budweiser Shoot Out.  Eighteen more days until my birthday. Seventeen days to Ash Wednesday.  Nine days to Valentine's Day.  Fifteen more days until I paint and re-do my kitchen.  I am so excited.  I love February.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I have managed to get a few stitches into my piece this week.  I still have so much more to stitch on it, as the piece is really large.  However, I feel really good about the progress that has been made.  I actually got to sit quietly this afternoon for a while, which was so nice and peaceful.

The day started a bit earlier than I had anticipated today.  Liesl decided to be a bit naughty by 8:30 this morning, because she wanted her day to start.  Figuring that it would be best to get her some exercise ( a tired dog is a good dog) and the day was already gorgeous, off we went to the beach.  She ran and ran, chased her ball, met other dogs and played in the surf.  She always looks so proud of herself when she gets more than her legs wet.  She seems to think that she is a Labrador and likes to chase them back into the surf.  Needless to say, she slept the rest of the day and her naughty antics were a thing of the past.

After the beach, I had to do two weeks worth of grocery shopping.  I did this because for one, I hate grocery shopping.  Also, because next week is the AT&T Pro Am (the old Crosby Clambake) and the population of the Monterey Peninsula basically doubles with all of the folks wanting to go.  This year Tiger Woods is playing so the crowds are even bigger.  We have really limited highways, so it usually results in total gridlock.  Most locals who do not attend the event know to get their supplies early and hunker down and not drive anywhere.  It is great for our local economy but it will be ca-razy here next week.  

When I got home, I came home to bad news.  My very sweet elderly neighbor came by because he said that he wanted to let me know that there would be more cars parked on the street than usual because his wife, to whom he had been married for 61 years, passed last night.  I feel so badly for him, but he said that she had been suffering in pain so badly lately. They have a rather large and very supportive extended family, so I am glad that he will not be alone.  I will take some food over tomorrow and told him that he and his family are in my prayers.  

Tomorrow after church, I plan a cooking day.  I need to make some dishes for the week ahead of time.  I am sure that the next two weeks will be crazy as I prepare for my vacation.  I already made yogurt today.  I love homemade yogurt.  I am thinking that I am also reducing my carbon footprint because I am using reusable yogurt cups.  Bonus!  

So now it is really quiet in the house.  Liesie is snuggled under her blanket.  The house is warm and cozy.  I love this part of the day, as I recall the blessings of the day.  This ultimately causes me to think of all of my blessings.  It is interesting to me that in these moments I think mostly about the people in my life.  I do not reflect on whether I have the newest fancy purse or shoes, or jewelry or things.  I think about the riches of love and friendship that are the true blessings.  They are the blessings that endure, grow and flourish.  Life is truly beautiful.