Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Not feeling very talkative tonight, so let me just show you the results of the deck pot planting of 2009! I have to start out by saying that this is the barest our pots have ever looked. Though we used a lot of annuals for pops of color, this is the first year I've wintered over so many different plants, and also planted pots full of bulbs, so some items are still in the incubator stage, and not as full and lush as they will be.

Many of these photos were taken in the same general location as the "before" I posted a couple days ago.

While trying to get photos of the deck plants, I realized the sky was a little rumbly. Here's a shot of the storm moving in.
And the ducks having a gourmet meal of fresh tadpole at the water's edge.
Look at that cheerful fountain in front of that ominous sky!
I haven't grown dahlias in a very long time, but these really caught my eye.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Actually, before I post the "before" photos of the deck and the pots I had to fill (it took two days!) I want to give you our good news.

Our new little granddaughter, Paige Susan, was born a week ago today.  Weighing in at an even 8 pounds, and 21" long, she's a nice sized girl (just like her daddy and aunties) and doing well.  I'm still amazed that my teeny daughter-in-law had such a good sized baby, and has bounced back so quickly. I'll be going to meet the newest member of our family next weekend - just booked a flight out!

Memorial Day has been work, work, work!  We like to have lots and lots of pots of flowers on our deck, especially since we do virtually no gardening in the yard, thanks to the local deer population. There is, however, that landscaped berm in the yard, and my Oldtimer worked on that while I potted the plants.  He's still trimming and weeding the berm, and the pots are all done now, but I'm a little less than satisfied.  I think that may have something to do with nothing filled in yet, the plants we wintered over in the house getting a little puny looking, and everything that I planted appearing kind of small and ill-established so far.  I know they'll fill in soon.

It was a task, I tell ya...  And though I did all the planting, it was my Oldtimer's efforts that got the pots placed about the deck and dirt hauled from below.  Here are a few BEFORE shots:

And then there's my Oldtimer, doing his shaping and trimming and looking for all the world like "Pigpen" in the old Charlie Brown comics.  Don't let those bottom two photos fool you - they are not some artsty depth of field photos with blurred backgrounds; they are photos of the lilac bush with all the dust blowing by that my Oldtimer stirred up!

Today the pots are planted and arranged, front and back.  There are a couple shrubs and perennials to put in the ground, the deck has to be hosed down, and I have to scrub the fountain pot and make it presentable again.  I'll have some "during" shots shortly.  Right now, it's back to the vacuum, scrub bucket, laundry, and Windex... and back to the day job tomorrow!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Murphy Rides Again

Our Murphy dog loves to ride in the car.  Lately, because he's been one of three, he doesn't get to go too often.  We have this thing about being fair, and taking all three dogs for a ride was often an ordeal, mostly due to size.  So, most of Murphy's recent trips have been to the vet, and I was feeling as though he was going to learn to hate car rides.  

Since we lost Como last week, and because Buddy is pretty oblivious and sleeps all the time, I've been able to take Murphy along for quick jaunts more and more often.  Here he is, riding along to the post office.  Doesn't he look proud?
Always on the alert...
Now my car has almost as much dog hair as my house...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bridal Wreath

When I was a child, I loved these shrubs.  I thought the name so poetic, and loved the arching branches covered with scores of miniature bouquets.  Somewhere along the line in my memory, someone had one that was large enough for us to sit under and hide.

Sometimes Lolo would help me clip a piece and use bobby pins to clamp it down in my hair.  That small bit of pretty made me feel so special.  (Yes, I know we need to weed the front garden bed...)
Aren't they pretty in the sunlight?  Joyful, simple little flowers.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


My rather new Sunday morning routine revolves around a new place I've made myself at the dining room table.  With just the two of us here most of the time, we rarely eat at the dining room table, yet that room (with the new paint job) is one of my favorites.  Since I love home dec magazines, good coffee, and weekend morning solitude, I've made a little spot at the dining room table that lets me keep a stack of current magazines, and I keep a small journal and pencil nearby for thoughts, further things to research, and a to-do list.

It's a throw-back to Lolo, I think.  Her place was firmly cemented at one end of the large kitchen table.  Through my youth, she kept her current book, magazines, and astrology workbooks ALWAYS on the chair next to her place, or on the shelf of a small cart next to where she sat.  Even in the last years, as a widow in an apartment alone, with an entire study with writing desk, all to herself, she kept her permanent spot at the dining room table, where she made lists and cut out interesting articles from the daily paper.  Someday, I have to write a post to tell you all about Lolo and the daily paper.  Remind me.
So, this morning I was sitting in my new place (I've actually been doing this for a few months - keeps me away from the rush-rush of email and the stack of bills on my desk in the loft - and the always-on TV if Oldtimer is awake), and I realized I was sitting in dim light, looking at a kitchen remodeling magazine, and spending much time looking up at the scene reflected in the mirror nearby.  It gave me such a good serene yet happy feeling, and caused me to think about my favorite color/s- those blue/green or aqua or turquoise or sea colors.  Whatever you want to call them.

And I realized that for years I had no clue what my favorite color was.  Someone would ask and I'd usually hedge with a response about liking several.  For a long time in the 70s, I always worked some orange into the decor.  Later, when I had my daughters, I had a new-found draw to shades of pink.  I usually wore what was current in trends, taking care to avoid yellow and lavender, which make me look billious.  (That's a great old-fashioned yet descriptive word, isn't it?  Billious.)

But then I realized I've been drawn to turquoise shades most of my life.  As a pre-teen, pestering my mom to let me sew clothing for myself (and borrowing Uncle George's sewing machine that was a treadle Singer converted to electric), the first thing I made was a "shift" dress, in a geometric print fabric of blues, aqua, and black.  It buttoned down the front (we had to take it to my Aunt Bernice's house and have her make the buttonholes), and I wore that dress a LOT - despite the slightly wonky facing on the armholes.

The god-awful knife pleated skirt we made in eighth grade home ec, without a pattern, was from a glorious aqua and black denim-like material.  Knife pleated denim (what did I know about fabric selection then?) made me look like an elephant in a tutu, so I rarely wore the skirt, but I sure loved that fabric.  
Even now, despite my stance against reproductions passed off as antiques, I couldn't resist the re-created Roseville pottery in those blue and green colors.  I just love that color family - always have.  Why did it take me so long to realize that?
Oddly enough, despite the subdued light, I enjoyed it this morning.  I often complain that the fully-leafed maples in the front of the house make the front rooms seem cave-like, but today I felt it let me revel in the good feeling of the colors of the room.
PS - One unrelated note.  Thank you to all who have left sweet comments here and sent them to me personally about the passing of our Como.  It's been more difficult than I thought it would be, despite knowing it was time; apparently his big and generous heart just gave out.  As I told our vet, I've had Como longer than I've had my Oldtimer.  I know I'll miss him, his habits and antics a long time - he was such a good and faithful companion. Though my blurb on the day he died told of all his early behavior quirks, I really didn't get to the point of mentioning all the charming, smart, and loving things he did.  Every time I threaten to get really sad, though, I remember that face behind the fence at the Humane Society, and know that we gave him 13 really good years that he might not have seen otherwise.  I can only hope they were as good for him as they were for us.Como LOVED the snow - though he and Buddy are ready to come in in this shot.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Woman's Best Friend

We lost our Como dog today. We knew the time would be soon, but I was still unprepared to let him go so suddenly. Today he had one of his "episodes" but made a valiant effort to be in the loft near where we were working, lost control, and slipped away.

Como was about one year old when I adopted him from the Hennepin County Humane Society. He was a "three time loser." He'd been brought in as a puppy, adopted, returned, adopted, returned, and then I adopted him. They were required to tell me as I filled out the paperwork that other people had returned him because he required a lot of attention. I took one look at his good face and said "that's ok, I want him anyway." He promptly walked over and lifted his leg on the statue in the lobby as if to say "I'm outta here!"
Como when we first got him - a young male in a house of females - note the television remote nearby.  (Como was half Gordon Setter, half Springer Spaniel.)

In the first year we had him, he had moments of driving us absolutely crazy - he got into the trash, chewed up the porch furniture, and other behavior issues that came with not being in a forever home from a young age.  BUT - he also "rode shotgun" in the moving van with my Oldtimer when we went from Minneapolis to Warrenton, has been my faithful companion and protector when we lived apart those 17 months, and loved me unconditionally - as only a great dog can.  He kept Bekah company during her first pregnancy, acted as my pillow and confidant during the lonely times, and was the first participant in the early morning biscuit launch.

Como last summer, surrounded by the other boys and looking up at one of us - see the love?

My Oldtimer said it best.  There's a hole in our hearts today.  There's no replacement for the eagerness and love and enthusiasm that Como lavished on all of us.  It'll be sad around here for a while.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Latest projects

I made this "Nonaim Coat" from some home dec fabrics, and other stuff I had around the treehouse - no purchases necessary!  It's the second thing I sewed on my new machine, which can do just about everything but sing.

And this picture jasper (aka landscape jasper) necklace has been finished for a couple weeks, but I haven't gotten the photos posted.  I had the stone, which I love, for nearly two years, and knew what I wanted the finished necklace to look like.  Recently, I stumbled upon the copper "tassel" from an etsy seller, bought the copper chain, and I finally have the necklace.  I really wanted a fringe from the bottom, especially because it's not drilled straight through from top to bottom.

Working on a couple dolls, too.  More photos soon!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday Photo - On Time!

Mother's Day roses, the bonsai sent by my taken with my new Nikon Coolpix - a Mother's Day gift from my Oldtimer.  I received a mosaic mirror from Bekah when she was visiting - I have to photo that yet.

I found this quote and it seemed a good one to follow on Mother's Day:

With each new phase of your life, I watch your body, mind, and personality change, but you still remain you. This you is always present in your soul, a divine spark of the infinite spirit that pervades the entire universe. Your presence has blessed me and made my own spirit soar and dance with ecstasy. I shall Love you for eternity, and I am honored that I have been touched by your soul in this lifetime and for lifetimes to come. 

100 Promises to My Babyby Mallika Chopra

Friday, May 08, 2009

Spring Green

From zero leaves to full blown in just about a week! Rain and warm weather have caused things to bloom and green nicely.

I love the color layers with the flowering crabapple in front of the red leafed maple. The new little shrubs near the deck are coming into their own, too.

Whole LOT of maintenance work! I'm glad my Oldtimer loves keeping up with the yard.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Monday Photo - Late Again

At least this week I have an excuse!  I've been crazy-busy!  I did have a lovely visit, though, with my daughter, and yesterday alone I shipped out (with the help of my Oldtimer) 18 packages.  Ever since I announced the closing of the fragrance oil portion of my business, things have been a little wild.

Since Bekah was here, we decided to celebrate my Oldtimer's birthday this past weekend (but he'll still get an ice cream cake on Thursday.  He seems fond of his new iPhone.  What an amazing piece of equipment - but it did cause me to reminisce about my mother giving me a dime to keep in my shoe when I went on a date, in case the guy turned into a creep and I had to use a pay phone to call and get a ride home.  My, I feel ancient.  Do you suppose one can even find a pay phone these days?

I really wanted to share with you the beautiful spring flowering trees in our yard.  I love that dark pink flowering crab, and I love seeing it on one side of the porch post, with the ornamental pear blossoms on the other.  I do think, however, that I have to upgrade the appearance of our porch posts!

Sorry about the vehicles peeking through the branches in the first photo.  In the second photo, with just the ornamental pear, when you look at the enlarged version of the photo you can also see the quince which is blooming off in the distance.  The bottom photo is of the crab alone.  Isn't that a gorgeous color?  Too bad the blossoms are already dropping.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Xen Gifts

Whenever we get out-of-town guests, we take them to Little Italy.  It's one of my favorite things about living in Cleveland.  And my favorite little shop is Xen Gift Gallery - filled with beautiful, beautiful jewelry, bits of art and inspiration, sweet cards, handbags, and lots of other things.  The shop always smells good, there's music playing, AND - anything you buy goes out the door with fabulous packaging.

Today we bought a necklace for Bekah, a fairy and a bouncing hippo for Olivia, and a pair of earrings for me!  Here's our loot:
Here's the box with my earrings:
See the goodies inside?
And here they are - also tied with a ribbon.
There is something so wonderful about buying something that is lovingly packaged and treated like a treasure.  I have two other pairs of earrings from this artist, and they are my favorites - and I have many, many pairs of earrings!