Sunday, December 30, 2012


Well, its that time of the year again ... time to ring in the New Year.  This, of course, seems to come with the obligatory recap of the previous year.  The news is rife with 'top news stories of the year' and the blogs are all about revisiting last year's projects and/or milestones.  WHY?  I cannot tell you how much I dislike this penchant for reviewing everything good, bad or indifferent that happened in the past year.  It is nothing new ... I've always felt this way.  And, I really don't know why.  It isn't as if every year of my life has been without wonderful and memorable experiences.  Its just that I have that personality that wants to 'get on with it.'

2012 is done.  Stick a fork in it.  I am ready for the challenges of 2013.  I cannot wait to get the Christmas decorations put away.  (Although I have to wait this year as we have one more get together at our home before its officially over.)  I love starting out a fresh year, making plans for new projects, travel and, yes, even a healthier lifestyle.  I was that kid that loved the start of school every year also ... all the fresh new school supplies you know.  So, on that note, I probably won't read a lot of blog recaps.  After all, if I follow a blog, I've already been there, read that.  And, I'll change the channel before I'll sit through all of the dismal news stories from last year.  Some of it was too horrible to revisit.

I'm ready for the new year because, ready or not, here comes 2013.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012


I just want to wish everyone the merriest of Christmases.

From my family to yours ...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Time to be Grateful

Thanksgiving day is almost here.  It has been a year of trials and tribulations for many but, at the end of the day, it is time to be thankful for the things that are right with the world.  I am thankful that all of my family is healthy and that they will be home in a few days ... all of them, under one roof.  Woo Hoo!

These two lovelies are my daugther, Amanda, and my daughter-in-law, Sabreena.  They will, I'm sure, be my kitchen helpers.

These two handsome, young men are my son-in law, Damola, and my son, Blair.  They are usually in for the heavy lifting, watching football and eating.  Well, that's probably standard in most households.

This is my stepson, Chris.  He'll be on the same wavelength as the rest of the guys.  Easiest going guy on the planet ... I think.

This is his daughter, our granddaughter, Grace Anne.  She is twelve and she is smart and lovely in every way.  She is a definite old soul who surprises us frequently with her insight.

And last but, far from least, is our other lovely daughter-in-law, Elizabeth.  (She wouldn't have been last but, I'm hopeless at manipulating photos on my computer.)  Elizabeth will also be pitching in with the ladies but, this woman loves the cleanup more ... go figure.  She's a lifesaver and one of the nicest human beings on the planet.

So, these are our kids.  Decent, hardworking people all.  We love them and are oh so excited to get our 'wagons in a circle' again.  In fact, we are grateful that they still want to come home for the family feast as they all live either out of town or out of state.  And, at the end of the day, all I really need is this bunch to have a very gratitude-filled day.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

When the Worst Happens

The big news this past week has been Hurricane Sandy which hit the east coast with a vengeance.  It is disturbing that so much of our national attention returned to business as usual so quickly.  There was more concern over Halloween costumes and the election getting back on track than the fact that there are so many people living in devastation.  But, that's a whole other post.  The thing that I continue to think about is this ... Is there really ever a way to be totally prepared for huge disasters?

We live in a time wherein we can be forewarned by days of impending storms.  We are told to stock up on nonperishable food items, water, batteries, etc.  However, a whole lot of people do not do it because they don't really believe it can happen to them.  I heard so many people joking about stocking up on wine and having parties.  Really?  I've been without power during a snowstorm and for an entire week thereafter.  We were fine.  We were prepared.  We had the things we needed to take care of ourselves.  So, if people ignore the basics of preparedness, they are simply being foolish.  This is, of course, all within the parameters of the 'best case' scenario such as being out of power for a short time, or stuck at home for a few days.

So, what happens when there is such widespread damage as in this current disaster ... or Hurricane Katrina?  Well, no amount of stocking up will work if your home is destroyed.  Why don't we have more answers for the hundreds of people that end up homeless?  We should ... in a nation as blessed as ours ... don't you think?  Why do we not get our military into these areas sooner.  These young soldiers are the sons and daughters of the folks who are suffering ... maybe not in reality but, certainly in spirit.  They are there to serve ... let them.  If governors of states so severely affected have to declare martial law, then they should.  They need to stop people who are adding to the problems rather than helping, they need to help people who have no one, they need to prioritize the emergency relief.

People are mostly good during crises ... they step up.  But, first we need to know how we can best help ourselves, we need to buck up and endure so that those who need the most help get it first.  This is all part of the preparedness mindset.  If huge storms continue to happen, it means loss of power, maybe loss of shelter.  What will you do in the various scenarios?  Do you have an alternate method of staying warm and dry?  Do you have someplace to go?  Will you heed the warnings and not put your children in harm's way?  If you don't receive the blunt end of the disaster, could you step up and help those who did?  We, as a nation, need to become more self reliant while simultaneously starting to think about how we can best serve our communities in times of need.

So, while we are praying for the people affected by this terrible storm, we should also be learning some key lessons about how we could be better prepared to help ourselves and help our community should we ever experience anything as terrible.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Beach Time Oregon Style

Well, the annual BFF get away has come and gone.  This year my friends and I decided to go to the Oregon Coast instead of to our ranch.  I was feeling the need for change ... not to mention the need for cooler temperatures.  So, we rented a lovely house in Depoe Bay, Oregon and headed out.  This photo is the view back toward some of the homes in the town from our rental.

We were lucky enough to get some of the better Fall weather that the coast has to offer.  It was mostly sunny with the exception of one day where a fog bank rolled in mid day.  It was windy, which is typical for the Oregon coast but the early mornings and the evenings were calm and lovely.  The path up the hill from our rental took us to some rocky bluffs with spectacular ocean views.  We climbed all over those rocks.  Not bad for 'old broads.'

My friend, Eleanor, has always been a bit of a daredevil so, of course, she had to go all the way to the edge.  I think it may be a metaphor for the way she has lived her life.

The above picture looks calm enough right?  So, I took myself on over to where she was and looked down.  Good lord!  This is what was directly below us.  Not for the faint of heart.  I hightailed myself back to safer ground right after taking this picture.  The coastline of Oregon is both spectacular and rugged.

Safely back at our rental house, this is the view we had from our balcony while sharing appetizers and wine.  We raised a glass to the various folks walking the path up to the rocks.

We spent one entire day in the Nye Beach area of Newport ... a short fifteen mile drive south of Depoe Bay.  This is the public beach access directly below the cutest little street of shops and restaurants and very near the original old hotel for the area.

Here are my two besties ... trying to look relaxed while the wind was whipping and it had gotten cold.

We also took in the casino one evening which is in Lincoln City, about twelve miles north of Depoe Bay and we enjoyed great seafood at some local places but, the main event was the catching up time.  We laughed until we cried and one particular incident we refer to as the 'it was all good until the cops showed up' incident.  Sounds risky, huh?  Actually, some sheriff's deputy patrolling the neighborhood at 4 a.m. decided it would be thoughtful to pound on our door to let me know my parking lights were on.  I guess he didn't think that it might be rather scary for us ... not to mention totally interrupting a great night's sleep.  Ah well, we survived.

The long and the short of it is this ... there is nothing like time with lifelong friends.  We try to be consistent with our get togethers as we do not live in the same towns and life gets in the way a lot.  But, we know that you can never take the time you have with friends and loved ones for granted so we plan these yearly trips and we always, always have a blast.  Here's to this year and to next year.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Is It Fall?

Well, this summer really flew on by ... not that the summer-like weather is done.  It is 90 something outside here in western Oregon at the moment.  But, it is September.  The kids are back in school, football has started and,  people are doing their fall projects and decorating.  The craft store is abuzz I tell you.  I am on that bandwagon myself ... more or less.  I have put some fall decorations up but, I draw the line at Halloween-specific just yet.  I'm staying with the harvest motif until October.

I have been scurrying to finish a lot of summer projects that need good weather to work in.  I'm starting to feel the pressure that some things may not get done this year ... again.  Oh well, let it go.  I have accomplished quite a bit, pictures have been taken and when the final tweaks have been made, I'll do some project posts.  Still, when it is this hot outside, its hard to find the energy bursts needed for some things.  I do know that I'm tired of watering ... and dust.  I am definitely tired of dust.  Living in a farm belt, I can't keep ahead of it.  A nice little soaking rain to lay it all down would be nice.  Then, we could get back to our Indian Summer.

I cannot believe that a week of September is already gone.  I have a lot left on my summer 'to do' list.  I want to make a road trip or two before the snow flies ... important because I don't drive the mountain passes here in Oregon when the snow is on.  I do have a beach trip planned for late September with my lifelong best friends.  We do love our gal weekends.  Now that my daughter lives out of state, I also want to head her way for a little visit.  Another friend is talking November for a trip.  And, there are college football home games to attend, which pretty much knocks a hole in any weekend.

Labor Day weekend was spent with part of the family at our ranch in southern Oregon with a little side trip to beautiful Crater Lake.  It was not our first time there, of course, but it never ceases to take ones breath away.

Then it was back to the ranch for some quiet pursuits, relaxing, fishing, reading, wining and dining.  The sunset was spectacular followed by an astounding 'blue' moon.

So, summer has gone and it is fall ... isn't it?  But, there is still some beautiful weather to enjoy, projects to be done, and fun to be had.  Hope you all are having a wonderful end of summer transition.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hard Stuff

There are a million cliches out there on coping, pain, etc.  "What doesn't kill you makes you strong," etc., etc., etc.   Whatever!  There are days that just falling over and dying would be preferable.

In case you couldn't guess, I'm feeling down, bummed out, ticked off, and just plain overwhelmed.  Lately, it seems like every time I turn around that either myself or someone I love gets sucker-punched by life.  If it isn't the economy, its the relationship fallout from said economic problems or just plain nasty health issues.  Every story seems worse than the next and there are just no easy answers.

The worst for me is that my own daughter is going through some health issues.  In my brain I keep thinking that we will find answers and that it will all work out fine ... eventually.  But my heart is screaming ... why, why her?  She doesn't deserve this (like anybody ever really does but, still).  And, I don't have any answers ... and, I can't fix it ... and, I can't sleep .... and, I can't stop worrying.  I just want my child to be happy.  Is that too much to ask?

In fact, is it too much to ask for the 'powers that be' in this country and the world to stop being political and start really doing something to turn things around so that people can get on with their live?  Is it too much to ask that doctors have the compassion to realize that what may not seem like a big deal is actually some family's life on hold because they can't make an appointment for six weeks?  Is it too much to ask that people care about their fellow citizens and stop inflicting all of the needless little hurts to try and deal with their own pain?  Apparently it must be.  Apparently at the end of the day we have forgotten what humanity is all about ... well, except for pinning all of those cliches on Pinterest and Facebook.

I do know this, one really finds out who their friends are when life is going badly.  They show up for you and I'm lucky in that respect.  That is a huge blessing in my life.  I really appreciate those people and try to give back as good as I get.  And that brings me to one final Pinterest cliche ... but a good one

Be kind, for everyone is fighting their own battle.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Confessions - Slow Down


Well, I am going to try this again ... linking up with Mamarazzi for Friday Confessional.  I'm quite frequently not that successful at it and I accept that about myself.  So, here goes:

I confess:

  • I'm feeling a little cheated that summer just got here in my neck of the woods.  I mean, most people are full throttle with their outdoor activities.  I am way behind.

  • I took a look at my 'salad garden' and, people, there is one tiny, lone tomato on one bush and a teeny green pepper on another.  That's it.  Meanwhile, I see all of these fabulous posts of people with their bounty of veggies.  Well, I do have nice lettuce but, sheesh!

  • I look at the calendar and realize that maybe I'm not going to have time to finish all of my dreamed of projects and go on a road trip or two.  Something is going to have to give ... maybe.  I guess I had better get busy.

  • I have a tendency to think that I must 'make hay while the sun shines' which is not the most conducive state of mind for summer relaxation.  So, I am trying to slow down and smell the roses which, by the way, are one thing in the Pacific Northwest that are simply glorious and abundant right now.  We do get some pretty fabulous flowers for our April, May and June showers.

Well, that's pretty much it.  Feeling like summer showed up late and is in a big, old hurry.  Guess I'll go outside for awhile ... and just smile.  Now, go on over and link up with Mamarazzi yourself.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Studio Redo

I cannot believe that it has been nearly three months since I have blogged.  Of course, I'm not a super serious blogger so I don't think I've been missed.  Still, its not that I haven't had plenty I could blog about.  I just haven't made the time to do it.  In the interest of keeping track of the projects I have accomplished these past few months, I need to catch up.  So, I am going to tackle things one project at a time, starting with the redecorating project of our old home office into my studio/workspace.

As you can see, the original wood panelling was dark.  This is the way it looked when we bought the house and it served well as my husband's office/man cave for years but, when he built a new office building, this room sat unused most of the time.  The closets weren't really configured for a  bedroom as it had always been an office so I seized the opportunity to claim this space as my own.

There were plenty of steps between the dark wood and this next picture, primarily a lot of patching, primering and painting.  I chose a soft, sand color with bright, white trim.  We also removed the old carpet and had the original oak floors restored.  I removed the old blinds and added bamboo shades and drop cloth drapery panels.  The room is so much lighter and brighter now.

Yes, these are drop cloths.  I used four of the 6' x 8' panels at around $10 apiece.  I didn't even hem them ... just folded them down for the look of a valance, clipped them onto the rings and hung them.  I have gotten more compliments for these simple no-sew drapery panels.  I think they are totally appropriate for an art studio, don't you?

I have my easel in this corner for the light.  I turned it around for purposes of this photo although I would usually work with the light on the easel.  I failed to get the cute drum shade ceiling light from Ikea in this picture but, its white and looks very nice in the space.

I needed a side table of sorts for my printer, paper storage and additional lighting so I purchased this gorgeous Hemne sofa table from Ikea.  The baskets and little cubbies work so perfectly for storing paper, supplies and unsightly cords.  Its also a nice look with the little gallery I put together on the wall. This is a mix of personal photos, original paintings and prints I picked up along the way.

Another work space for me is my drafting table.  In a perfect world I would have an antique one but, this will do for now.  The chair, however, is another story.  The thing is absolutely death defying on a slick floor.  I am looking for something both more stable and more attractive.  I made the bulletin board out of a cheap one from TJ Maxx that I then covered with more (you guessed it) drop cloth fabric.  I then pounded in the nail heads and, voila, cute inspiration board.  The lamp is Ikea (that was quite a day shopping).

These bookshelves were in the office for years.  They were oak (ugh).  So, we hauled them out, sprayed them out white and hauled them back in.  I styled them a bit with my art books, some favorite reads, memorabilia and the two little butterfly prints.  They'll do just fine.

This is how that corner of the room looks.  I can just reach for whatever I might need off the bookshelves.

I found this wood tray at TJ Maxx as well.  It works perfect with some tin Ikea buckets and old, spice jars to hold miscellaneous craft items, pencils, etc.  The little mannequin is also Ikea but, how cute is he?  Perfect, since this is what student artists often use to start learning figure drawing.

Here is just a little shot of part of my gallery wall.  I sprayed out different frames in heirloom white paint so that they would all tie in and then grouped some of my favorite photos and artwork.  The little lamp and shade came from Target.

So, there you have my studio makeover.  From dark, carpeted (and pretty tired and musty) home office to a light, bright work space.  I hope you enjoy the tour.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Technology: A Love/Hate Thing

Well, as most people who are familiar with the blog world know, there are these things called 'Link Parties'.  What a great idea ... in theory.  I mean, who would not want to share all of their wonderful projects and ideas, right?  I would.  Seriously!  If I could figure out how to do it ... easily.

You see, every time you want to participate in a link party, you have to get real handy with a computer.  Well, I'm not ... very.  First, you need to take pictures of your project.  That's the whole point ... mostly ... to share the visual.  So then, you download those photos onto your computer.  Fortunately, most cameras and computers these days make that easy enough for a trained monkey to accomplish it.  So far, so good.  Now, assuming one has a blog, it is time to write the post.  It took me awhile but, I finally figured out how to get the aforementioned photos onto my blog post, get them appropriately sized and fit the text of my posts around them.  This was probably not without sufficient cursing ... if memory serves me.  So, blog written ... yada, yada, yada ... and now its time to link up.

AND. NOW. ITS. TIME. TO. LINK. UP.   Aaaaagh!  I truly hate this part.  Because, now there are all of these copying and pasting hoops to jump through.  Hate it, I tell you.  First, why can't the little blue box  grab exactly what you want it to grab without going all spastic?  Hmmm, is that asking too much?  Then, after you've right clicked and left clicked the requisite number of times, you just pray that its coming with you to the blog you are linking up with.  Whew, made it!  But noooooooo ... now you have to refer back, etc., etc. and then drop your 'http' whatever into a little box and well, sheesh.  What a pain!  I feel you should just be able to drop it over there and be done.  I don't even care if anyone visits my blog.  But, I guess that's the point for serious bloggers ... which I am not.  And, everytime I go through these hoops ... more of which are unsuccessful than successful, I tell myself ... never again.

So, that is why link parties and the surrounding technology is a love/hate thing for me.  Its all good if you are 20 or 30 something.  But, at my age ... not only do I only want to do what I want to do on a computer, I'm not overly concerned with all of the slick stuff one can accomplish.  I just don't care enough to learn it because I won't use it enough to remember what I did.  Is that fuddy-duddy of me?  I guess so but, again ... don't care.  So, while I do enjoy seeing what other people have contributed to link parties and blogs, I guess the world will mostly have to do without seeing my stuff.  Ah well, I'm sure what they don't know they are missing won't hurt them.

Hopping Down the Bunny Trail


Crazymama is asking the questions this week and this is what she wants to know:

{1} What is your favorite Easter tradition?
I don't really have a favorite tradition.  Of course, when my kids were small, we always did Easter baskets, fancy duds and some sort of meal ... brunch or dinner depending on when extended family could be there.  I guess my favorite thing was the community Easter egg hunts on the Saturday preceding Easter Sunday.  It was a kick watching the kids run amok.

{2} Tell us about your Easter meal.
We always have ham whether we do brunch, dinner or dine out.  This year we will be traveling to Whidbey Island in Washington state to have brunch with our kids.  Our son has been holding out for some sort of ferry ride.  I hope that can happen for him.  I also hope that if it happens, we are back to lovely weather.

{3} Do you decorate for Easter?
I decorate a little bit ... more to do with spring than Easter per se.  I do put up a little Easter but, since the kids have left home (and especially if we aren't doing Easter here), I don't do much.  When the kids were small, I went all out ... right down to putting fake bunny thumb prints on the doorjamb on Easter morning so they would know that the Easter bunny was, in fact, real.  I still crack up and the looks on their faces.

{4} Your Easter basket is not complete without....
Chocolate ... and then a Peep or two ... and then, well, more chocolate.

{5} Are you getting an Easter dress?
No.  I rarely do dresses at all.  I mean, with two children having married in 2011, I did dresses.  Dresses for showers, dresses for rehearsal dinners and, of course, dresses for the wedding.  I'm over it.  I'm just really not a dress kind of gal.

And that, my friends is it for my bunny trail exploits.  Not very exciting I'm afraid.  But, you wanted to know, right?
Now hop on over and link up and answer these questions for yourself.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Being Still

I haven't blogged in awhile.  It certainly isn't because I don't have anything to blog about.  Projects have abounded around here lately and I do promise to share some of those fairly soon.  I haven't blogged because I haven't taken the time.  I've either been going full tilt or I slip into the mindless perusal of all things internet.  And, it seems that my mind has become muddled with too much information and that I have begun to feel like I'm on overload.  So, wouldn't you know it .... as has often happened in the past ... I was reading blogs this morning and ran across a blog post that seemed to speak directly to me.  Another blogger had put my thoughts and feelings down ... which only goes to show how much more alike we all are than we are different.  In a nutshell, she spoke of just stopping all of the madness and simply taking the time to quiet one's thoughts and find peace.  And then it hit me .... hadn't I blogged the desire to find peace and quiet in a New Year's related blog post?  Why, yes I had.  Had I listened to my own advice?  Well, not exactly.  So thank you fellow bloggers for occasionally reminding me that its okay to seek peace, take care of myself and feed my own soul.  It quite often is just what the doctor ordered.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A New Year

Well, I have been debating just what type of post I wanted to write going into 2012.  There is always the recap of the past year ... mine wouldn't be very consistent 'blog-wise' ... my posts ranged from life events to home projects to random thoughts.  Lets sum it up by saying that 2011 was eventful in that both of my children were married ... my daughter in January and my son in July.  Life changing indeed.  The other stuff was minor.

I could always go with a New Year's resolution post but, I don't do resolutions per se.  I mean, if I've learned anything in 60 years, it is not to deliberately set myself up for failure.  It is easy enough to fall short of goals without proclaiming them to the universe.  I do, of course, get into that 'eat healthier' and 'organize' mind set each January.  I wonder if there is anyone out there who doesn't considering the play that these ideas get in all forms of media.  So, no resolutions post.

Seriously, it has gotten so that getting through the holidays is achievement enough.  I can put away the decorations and sigh with relief that I won't have to pack that stuff out of the attic for another year.  I don't want to sound like Scrooge but, it gets harder every year.  Also, by the time I get into late January, I just want to fast forward right on into spring.  Although we've had a fairly open winter this year in the Pacific Northwest, it is cold.  I'm ready to get outside, wear flip flops and enjoy some sun.

In the meantime, I'm doing what everyone else is doing ... focusing on eating healthier, doing those house projects and just finding time to settle in for the rest of the winter.  When I reflect on the past year, it is to note not only those big events but to realize how quickly it flew by.  This year will be no different.  It causes me to ponder making better use of the days that are given to me.

I need to worry less about what needs to be done and spend more time doing what makes me happy.  I need to find the time for friends and family that I don't see often enough.  We never really know how long we'll have each other.  I need to check a few things off my bucket list.  In other words, I will focus on finding more joy in the everyday aspects of life ... and in the occasional extraordinary things that come my way.