Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Stormy Weekend

has arrived in the California Mother Lode... a few days later than predicted.  Woke to heavy rainfall and 40 mph wind gusts slamming into the master bedroom windows.

                                             Rider's of The Storm, Snoop Dogg w/ The Doors remix

We finished our landscaping project last weekend. My facebook posting read: 3 weekends, 1 rototiller, 22 bags of tan bark, 2 spruce topiary's, 6 shrubs, 1 small bottle of alieve and many g's later... the front walkway flower border is completed. Just in time for this weekend's storm front to arrive. 
Rewinding 7 days: Last weekend was one of those lovely holiday weekends that we long for after they've past and left us with good memories to look back on. 
Saturday temps were in the upper 60's, clear blue skies, warm sunshine. It began with an appointment with my hair stylist. I took pics of the manicure/pedicure area and shop front to share with you (as I love the boho style).

After my hair appointment I arrived home, changed clothing, went outdoors and spread out more tan bark completing the front walkway area in front of the bowler bay window.
Thoroughly wiped out I decided to decadently spend the rest of the afternoon catching up with my DVR on fav shows: Pioneer Woman, Blue Bloods and The Good Wife.
Finished reading, Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero-- a really good read by Chris Matthews.
Sunday found Jeff and I back at it... laying out the remaining tan bark, planting shrubbery and topiarys in the flower border in front of the master bedroom.
So, Renee... here is a collection of pics from beginning to end. And then just for you a pic of what the house looked liked when we purchased it and what it looks like now. I love before and after photos because you can see the improvement that you lose sight of when you're in the middle of the landscaping project.



The spruce topiarys will grow up to 5' and spread out to 3'5" or so, in about 2 years. The first phase of the walkway is finished, Now the second phase of it can begin in the upcoming weeks and months ahead... stay tuned. Such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment!
Today's storm is continuing to rage with high mile per hour wind gusts, poor Jeff is working out in the elements today. It's a good day to stay indoors. A day to catch up on more DVR recordings, hunker down with a good book. Of course, this is after I tackle the master bedroom (the one thing that didn't get crossed off of my last weekend to do list). 

One of the greats and one of my favs, Etta James, passed away yesterday at age 73.

Beyonce as Etta James in Cadillac Records

                                            Cry Me a River, from 'Blue Gardenia' cd, Etta James

Monday, January 16, 2012

Round 2 begins

                                                              Rocky, Slyvestor Stallone

... as I enter MTSJH lobby. At the Admitting desk they now hand you a round hockey puck-type activator that pages you when it's your turn. Numbered paper tickets are SO old skool!
How does this work? I ask the admitting receptionist. She tells me it will light up and vibrate when it's my turn. This could be fun... While waiting I scope out the first floor waiting room-- there are several vinyl/fabric upholstered sofas that are outnumbered by plump wing-like club chairs scattered about the large open-spaced room, creating myriad conversational areas.
A bit country English in feel with mission styled lamps on wood end tables with glass shades; an intriguing but comfy juxtaposition. There are round tables with chairs drawn up to them for newspaper reading, laptops.
A lovely, elegant, older woman, a volunteer,cheerfully suggests I might have a cup of coffee that is on a nearby coffee station. I think that Jeff is really going to NOT be bored while I have surgery; coffee, a large table to spread out notes and a laptop-- he's going to be in hog heaven!
I think you check off time, as we know it, the moment you enter a hospital. My appointment was for 10:45. I arrived at 10:30. At 11 AM I was still waiting to fill out paperwork. Around 11:20
I was admitted to Radiology... hospitals have their own time zone.
A very sweet, young radiologist, takes my paperwork while handing me a pair of light blue scrubs to put on. While changing into scrubs she tells me, 'I love your voice! It sounds so young!!! 'Yeah,' I reply... 'I get that alot, there's something about having a soft Marilyn Monroe voice.' 'I bet it's got you outta trouble a few times.' We both laugh as I answer with 'it's saved my a-- a few times.'
I look at the CT scanner and ask, how far in do I have to go? Just up to your chest, your head is out.
I am not claustrophobic, in the real sense of the word in any other area of my life, but get near an MRI machine or CT scanner- panic attack.
I lie down, she places a rolled up  towel between my feet and tapes my feet together with rolling tape. Bondage? I ask. No, it's just to ensure non movement.
Then I'm going in... and in... and in... almost up to my eyes. DEEP breath. She rushes over and apologises as it hadn't read the reading correctly. Great! An illiterate CT scanner.
She tells me her friend, who weighed, like, 350 lbs. also had a double knee replacement and was up and walking in 2 days, back to work in 6 weeks and has since lost 100 lbs, feels fabulous....
The real cool thing she told me is that the reason for this CT scan is to measure weight distribution on my hips, knees to be, ankles... my new knees will be calculated to fit me perfect. Loving that. Well, most women my age begin with having their face lifted, I'm just starting a bit further down than most.
A half hour later I walked out the sliding lobby doors, back to where times exists as I know it. It's gorgeous outdoors. Clear blue skies, sunshine but crisp tems hovering in the upper 40's low 50's with a steady cold breeze of about 15 mph.
Having a hot cup of steaming coffee while I blog. It's almost time to pick up Hunter, Mahjong, Autumn and Stuffy from their Vet appointment.

                                                           Eye of the Tiger, Rocky


Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLK holiday weekend goals

Most of the items on my weekend "to do" list have been checked off. The biggest item to be crossed off was finishing our front flower beds that border the front walkway. The earth has been rototilled, weeded, smoothed over and shrubbery has been planted and the tan bark has been spread out. It looks so amazingly better... When we moved in a few years back this perfect little 1956 mid-century home had mature landscaping. The problem was that the landscaping was 50+ years old. No sooner had we moved in than my favorite trees and shrubbery were dying or needed to be removed upon closer inspection. 
Aims and Sammy removed the ancient cypress bushes that had grown into trees that stood as sentinels on either side of the bowler bay window. Then Jeff removed an overgrown evergreen tree in front of the master bedroom windows. Plus, another small tree long dead, and a crepe myrtle had to be removed that was in front of the porch. Out also came the aged butterfly bush.
Then began my sciatica/knee prob... so since summer it's looked like Morticia Addams was the mistress of the landscaping. Everything near the front of the house had been pulled out...
The next step, after surgery and recovery will be painting the exterior of the house which should pull everything together nicely.  At the moment the exterior is what I would call 1950's seasick green. It's okay, but the color makes me crazed. We'll be changing it to a classic gray (on the shingles) and garage area. The trim and porch will remain white, the shutters and front door will be painted black, the brick surrounding the bowler bay window will remain natural.
There are still metal trellis' to put up and climbing roses, etc. to be added, but we're getting there and it's a great feeling of accomplishment (mentally). Physically, I'm like a 90-year old woman, but that's momentary. Spring will bring good things.
It all begins tomorrow... a busy morning is planned. Jeff will help me kitten herd in the AM as they have spay-neuter appointments. I will drop them off at the Vet, then drop myself off at the hospital for at CT scan, pick them up and spend the afternoon crossing off the few things that remain on my list.

                          You'd be so Nice to Come Home to, Dianne Schurr, Ray Charles

I love this song. I've always envisioned the lyrics as literally a house to come home to... What can I say?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Blog on the run


This mornings blog is being crammed in-between bites of breakfast on the fly, not literally, of course... its a no winged insect zone.
But, I am dashing about the house trying to gather everything up before having to go out and about into the world. So, I'm scarfing down a breakfast of cottage cheese with blueberries and an apple muffin (on the side).
A rather large breakfast for a girl who has become accoustomed to Special K cereal. My plan is to eat now so that when I return from appointments and errands I can dive into projects on my household to do list-- we'll see how well this pans out.
It's absolutely gorgeous outdoors this AM. Clear blue skies, cool temps and sunshine. It's the season of our spring-like winter afternoons...
Whatever you're doing this Saturday, enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hooray for Hollywood

                                 Hooray for Hollywood, Doris Day

I love movies! I've always loved movies. Why? because they're magical. They can transport our imagination to anywhere, anyplace, anytime, at any moment. I've chosen of few of the latest movie releases on my "to see" movie bucket list to share with you...

                                       My Week With Marilyn

                                          The Iron Lady

                                              Red Tails

                                               The Artist

Sunday, January 8, 2012


So, I'm like kinda bummed... I love my new hp laptop pc. It's very cool and it's taken me weeks to begin building clip art files. The thing is, this new laptop "R" key sticks, which is rather sucky considering that I purchased the laptop for writing. I am sending it back tomorrow and having a replacement shipped to me on Tuesday, which is cool.              
The downside... I lose my clip art, such as it is. SO I thought I would post a few random photos from these files. I chose them for what they evoke, how they make me feel, and what they bring to mind when I look at them

Sunday morning confusion

Sunday morning confusion is the perfect title for today's blog as it SO very apparently descibes my state of mind, or lack thereof...
WE finished breakfast, I put dishes away and come into the writing room to blog.  Just as I sat down I could hear this THUNK... THUNK... THUNK. Then silence. After a few moments it began again, then more silence. Just as I began to type another loud thunk. Thinking it was the indoor gang I yelled out for them to stop. Silence. I began to type again and another loud thunk. I yelled out again to knock offf whatever they were doing in the living room because they didn't want me to come in there as I would seriously have to hurt them (yeah, that's going to happen).
Silence. With a smile on my face, I settled back into my chair, sipped coffee and then heard an even louder thunk. Seriously??? Time to get up and investigate.  I opened the writing room door and announced, "Okay, you 4-legged terriorists I'm coming out to see what you're up to and you better be very afraid!" Walk into the living room. The indoor gang is spread out in nap formation like a herd of fainting goats on the woven rattan area rug.
They ALL look up with squinting half-opened eyes looking (if you can call it a look) questioningly at me. Now WE all have this befudled look of confusion on our faces. Hmmmn.
I wander back into the writting room, sit down, take another sip of coffee and am about to start typing, when I not only hear but feel another loud THUNK. Seriously???
Then I think... the indoor gang is accounted for. Where's Jeff? What's he doing? As I walk down the hallway my suspicions are confirmed as I hear another loud thunk. I step outside and he's just beginning to take a break. He's been using the pick axe to tear up a large remaining root from the ancient evergreen we'd taken out of the front flower bed weeks ago. Mystery solved. That was an intriguing morning adventure.
I guess it's time to go out and join Jeff in our gardening project. More blogging adventures to come...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Saturday in the 'hood

It has been a glorious winter afternoon. Partially, because it's Saturday and partially because I don't have to punch a clock-- the luxuary of free time has been intoxicating. 
The weather has been perfect; blue skies, sunshine and the temps have remained at 59 degrees with a light cool breeze.
So, having had this free time how have I spent it? Well, after blowing through a gazillon + count caloric intake of fast food on the run, I thought the best thing to do would be to walk some of it off.
 Leaving Burger King's parking lot I headed across the street to Cal Lumber and walked through their garden center. And, I have to say, that I am VERY pleased with myself. I noticed that they also had a blue spruce topiary in stock. Flipping the price tag over I gasped when I saw it was $99.00. Then imagine my delight when I realized what a great deal I had gotten at Lowes last weekend. These same spruce topiarys were on a 50% sale per spruce. I picked up each one for $15something. A great savings! Made my day.
Arrived home, changed into my gardening clothes and got to work on the tan bark until I couldn't walk anymore, then put everything away.

As the late afternoon sun began to sink beneath the horizon, came in, showered, changed into scubs and hunkered down with Chris Matthew's, Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero.
Then went online, puchased a book at Amazon and am now enjoying a wine spritzer while waiting for Jeff to arrive home. He's cheffing up a pasta dish with garlic bread as the warm afternoon temps are beginning to noticeably drop off.

            Mambo Italiano, Rosemary Clooney.

Dashed out to feed the outdoor gang, and it's brrr, but looking up I could see the sky has turned a beautiful rose- very Maxfield Parish. Time to settle in for the evening.

A weekend wasted isn't a wasted weekend

The weekend is here. At last. What to do? Well, somehow this weekend ended up to be a weekend that has myriad things to do. I will be going into town this morning to pick up spay/neuter certificates for the kittens. Pick up something for lunch, put down tan bark along the front garden walkway, and at some point this afternoon, I plan on watching Morning Glory on the DVD player.

Then there's reading... I'm still in the beginning of Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero, which I am finding to my surprise very well written and researched. Which is actually why I purchased it. Chris Matthews has somehow gotten ahold of William Manchester's notes which are sealed for another 50 years-- I don't have that long to wait. He also uses some of Jackie's historic conversations with Arthur Schlenger Jr to create an insight to JFK's psyche.


And, in-between all of this, who knows? But I do know I need to get started and yet... can't seem to...

Monday, January 2, 2012

holiday happiness

The second day of the new year burst forth with a spectacular red sunrise that has given way to gray skies and cool beach-like temps that are holding steady at 39 degrees. 
We've had a wonderful holiday break. Jeff totally enjoyed his birthday. In-between landscaping we would come in for a coffee break and speak with family who called throughout the day. I got in a great conversation with my bff Paula and my daughter-in-law Erin. Jeff received birthday greetings from his brothers.
And, although, it took all day, seriously, I did finish watching "the Help" as dusk began to fall. A lovely movie. I think the movies we enjoy best are those we can so closely identify with... as a child of the sixties, this is cetainly a theme I grew up with and one that I am SO glad to see vanished.  Yet, watching this, Rachel, came to mind (my aunt's housekeeper and nanny) and I wonder if she felt like this? And thought that she must have in a post war northern California town that was clearly segregated by ethinicity...
Skeeter's and friends homes: I've always had an affinity for colonial-styled plantation homes, but what I really love is the 1920's/30's interior design, not so much the largeness of space, but furniture layout and design that has a 
multi-generational lived in look, English/French homes have this ambience about them as well. It's something I grew up with and feel most comfortable in... a look that I have in my house and can't seem to get away from, I always fall back into it.

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Midnight in Paris. Again, fabulous set design that transported me back to my fav era 1920's/30's Paris with the Fitzgeralds, Hemmingway, Gertrude Stein and every other name imaginable of that golden era-- the dialogue was classic Woody Allen at his best.

Let's fall in love, Cole Porter, Midnight in Paris.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Down and Dirty

  The fist layer of plants are done. Later this afternoon planting in front of the master bedoom windows to the side of the front porch. Next weekend, loose tanbark will be added. I have to find a sundial for my rock that I dragged out of a creek years ago, for the front walkway entrance. Later this spring, after I heal from double knee surgery, a new front lawn and a fresh coat of new exterior paint to give the house a bit of a Cape Cod beach feel. But, first an afternoon break...

Opening a new chapter

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." Edith Lovejoy Pierce


A beautiful winter morning with clear blue skies, sunshine and chilled temps. A fog advisory is in effect for this afternoon. The new year arrived silently, no firecrackers or noise poppers. Woke at 5:20 this morning. Jeff was already up and on the computer typing. I slipped a birthday card in front of the coffee maker for him to discover.
We've just finished breakfast; crispy oven-baked bacon, bagels/cream cheese and mimosas. The indoor/outdoor gangs have been fed and are lying contentedly in the sunshine.
While at Blockbuster yesterday, after our Lowes garden jaunt, WE rented a couple of movies...

                                                 Midnight In Paris, Woody Allen

                                                               The Help

I'm beginning with The Help. I loved the book and it's characters stayed with me days after finish reading it-- always a sign of a good book.
As the morning progresses we will be working on the other side of the front walkway flower border. It's all coming together. I picked up on some other garden accessory ideas for the front porch as the weeks unfold. We'll be entering spring with an upscale, casual benign neglect look that I love.
Other than this, no plans on tap, so we'll see how the morning shapes up.
A new day beginning with a birthday and a new year... it's ALL good.