Thursday, June 28, 2007

shopping just got better

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes and ears! Don't even bother guessing because you'll never guess, in a million years, what could have me practically speechless. We think only women could be so.... so.... what's the word I'm looking for.... so fanatical (is that a word?) about shopping. But not so. In this little town of 32,000 of ours, men, too, can get excited about shopping. Yes, shopping! Here's why:

Home Depot opened its doors today and my husband got up at the crack of dawn (okay, dawn came hours earlier), but he got up at 4:00 a.m. just to be ready to meet Ray at 5:15 a.m. so they could be there when the doors opened at 6:00 a.m. Never mind we only live 8 minutes away but they were so excited about Home Depot coming to town that they wanted to show their support by being there when the doors opened! Now, that's shopping! I had to call at 7:30 to see if they were ever coming home and I was assured they would be.

Juneau is very limited in its shopping facilities. No real malls. No outlet stores, or at least not worthy of mentioning. We do have a Fred Meyer that is very nice and provides the one-stop shopping for all us busy people. We have hardware stores but we're limited to purchasing from the choices of one or two products. If you want a new toilet, you have no options. You buy what they have on the floor whether you like it or not. If you want to order something different, that's considered a "custom" order and you pay for it, big time. So having Home Depot come is a huge thing for Juneau. Maybe it will put one or two stores out of business but.... so be it.... If you can't give the customers want they want.... then you can shop with the rest of us--at Home Depot!

Today is a beautiful, sunny day. Things really grew while we were gone. Here's what's blooming in my garden on this sunny day.

Bleeding heart is one of my favorite plants. I was surprised the first time a customer came into the nursery where I work, asking for advice on what to plant over a grave site of their beloved dog or cat. We always recommend the bleeding heart.

Don't you love chives? Not only for their hardiness in a garden (you can't kill it!), but for it's spicy and oniony flavor in cottage cheese. The flowers also make for a great dried flower.

And this is comfry, I think.... I got a small start of it from a friend, never realizing it would turn out to be such a huge plant with such a pretty flower. My dad used to swear by comfry--comfry tea for his health , comfry tea and packs to make the hair on his bald head grow...., comfry bandages for cuts and abrasions. Personally, I think it's a horrid tea and you couldn't make me drink it, but it makes for a pretty plant.

I'm not especially fond of the dogwood shrub.... It gets so tall and so leggy and it's just not so pretty unless you really work at keeping it trim. Clearly, I have not.... But the flower is pretty.

Meadow Rue is an interesting perennial. It grows to about 4' tall and is full of this lacy, fluffy flower. It's really a pretty plant.

This is a hop vine. Yes, like you make beer from. It doesn't have any flowers but I think it's pretty growing up this piece of driftwood my son gave me. It really needs a lot of room to grow as will grow to 20' long. I have a few more plants growing along the split rail fence, but it just doesn't give it enough area to grab on to. Still, I love any vine.

No garden would be complete if there wasn't at least one rhubarb plant! I happen to have about eight plants growing.... enough rhubarb to supply the entire town if I wanted! But it's good for so many desserts. I harvested about six quarts of it yesterday and will get more in the freezer before the week is over. Yummy!

This is my favorite garden in the front yard. The rhodie, ferns, astilbe, bleeding heart, and water barrel all just go together. Don't you agree?

And, last, but not least, my ferns. I love this fern garden. I dug up a dozen of them last year and transplanted them, but looking at this you could never tell. This fall I may have to transplant some more, just to thin it out some and so you can see the other perennials that are actually hiding. You can see the sedum and wild iris. I love this garden as well.

Hope you enjoyed the tour of my front yard. I'll share my back yard tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


We just returned from our vacation to sunny Sedona, Arizona.... where the temperature was in the 100s every day! Yes! And, no, I don't know what we were thinking when we made our reservations for the middle of summer other than we were sick and tired of winter. Every day we would ask a "local" how hot it was and we always got the same answer: "well, it's 116 in Phoenix today and we're always 10 degrees cooler." So I guess our hottest day was 106....

If you haven't been to Sedona, go! Hurry! Make your reservations today! It is THE most incredible country. It was simply breathtaking. This was our first glimpse of red rock country. Gorgeous. Simply incredible. And these formations are everywhere. You can hike to them but we didn't; not this trip. Maybe never.... They have snakes there.... and lizards.... and tarantulas.... I don't do snakes. I have a serious fear of them. So we looked from afar and that was good enough.

I didn't take many pictures, as knew my digital camera simply would not do it justice. The scenery is forever etched into our brain though and when we left, we left a piece of us there. Would we go back? Most definitely! But not in the summer :O

While in Sedona, we stayed at A Sunset Chateau B&B. It was a comfortable place; cozy; homey. The owners delightful and their son served the best breakfast every morning. They had pillows thrown everywhere and fake flowers and lots of color and murals painted on the walls. The gardens needed weeding and there were birds everywhere. My kind of place! I loved the southwestern flavor with all the bright, cheery colors.

We had a great time in Sedona, but a week was almost too long. As on any trip, I start getting antsy and was ready to move on after four or five days. So we're home again. The suitcases are unpacked, the laundry done, and the fridge filled with fresh fruit and vegies once again. It's not 106 outside and I don't need to constantly be knocking little red ants off my legs. It's good to be home.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

outa here!

I've been busy today cleaning, running errands, writing letters, checking emails.... doing everything but pack! What you don't know about me is I'm relentless at packing and unpacking, packing and repacking, unpacking, rearranging, and repacking again. For days prior to a trip I pack and unpack; try to fine tune my items; trying not to overpack but yet not underpack. I hate traveling! I'm a horrible packer! I take way more than I ever need or will use but I take it. Some of it is my comfort zone--my writing tablet, a deck of cards; some of it is my routine--a calculator, pencil, and budget. I take too many magazines and books that don't get read; not to mention the survival food.... I don't know where I think I'm going but am almost certain that there will be washer and dryers where I go.... and stores to buy a new magazine if need be.... and food.... Yet I pack it.
For whatever reason I'm procrastinating and have yet to pack. We leave in the morning for a much needed vacation.... and know once we leave, I'll be fine. I just don't much like to travel. Anyway, talk to you in a couple weeks!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

diamonds and a much deserved vacation

Let's see.... Today we went for a short ride and saw three deer! No, I didn't have my camera with me.... The other day we went for a short ride (to the same area) and saw four deer! Again.... no camera.... It seems when I take my camera, I don't see any. Tough luck.

My sweet husband surprised me with this diamond necklace a couple days ago. I know the picture doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea.

And this darling card. Isn't it so cute?! We've been married 12 years and it was only a couple months ago that I received my first diamond earrings. He seems to be on a roll now! Should I stop him???? Tell him, "no!" it's too extravagant???? Nahhhhhh, I think not! I never much cared for diamonds, but not long ago, while watching a commercial on tv, it hit me.... diamonds ARE romance AND I wanted some! But I could say that knowing I would probably never get any.... they are pretty expensive after all.... and I'm more of an amber person than a diamond lady. But I'll tell you--I'm getting used to being a diamond lady real quick! So what was the occasion for being thanked? For putting up with his daughter for the last nine months....

I might get one more post in before heading on vacation Friday. And, no, I'm not taking my laptop with me. We're going to Sedona. Yes, Sedona, Arizona, in the summer. And, yes, we realize most sane people go to Arizona in the cold of winter, but not us! What you have to understand is, when we made these travel arrangements, we were climbing to our record breaking 200 inches of snow! We were so tired of winter, the cold, the snow, that we just wanted to go somewhere sunny and warm. Sunny and warm it will be! It's predicted to be 98 on Friday. Even though we aren't sun seekers, we are excited to see Sedona as have heard it's gorgeous.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

believe it or not

Yesterday was somewhat of a weird day. I saw two things I never thought I'd see in my life.

Sighting One: Mike and I were driving home from doing errands. As we drove past the pond just up the road, we saw an eagle. He was dive bombing a duck! It flew INTO the water; it was actually laying IN the water! It came up with the duck in its claws but dropped it! It dove BACK into the water to try again! It was struggling and struggling, flying just on top of the water, dive bombing to get its prey..... then we drove out of sight.... I told Mike I wish I had had my camera with me, but he reminded me that this really is not something I would get any enjoyment out of seeing. But from a distant, where things weren't too focused and clear.... just enough that we knew what was happening.... I feel badly for the ducks here; especially baby ducks as they don't have a chance with the eagles. What are the chances of seeing something like that?

Sighting Two: Bucky and Michelle went away for the night, up Taku River and spent the night in their dad's cabin. Kona, their dog, had a sleepover with us. Sadie loves loves loves Kona and follows her around endlessly. She's her hero! And she loves Bucky too. When Bucky comes to visit, he's always trying to stretch Sadie to learn something new, to not be so afraid of life. Remember, she was a pound puppy and came to us afraid of her own shadow. She had been badly abused and neglected something horribly. Last time Bucky was here, he taught Sadie how to jump into the bed of our truck. Not a difficult task for most dogs, but for someone who's afraid of life....this is a big deal. We were standing around the cars talking, when out of the blue, here comes Sadie running and smiling.... and jumps UP, ONTO the BACK of Bucky's Cavalier car!!! I think she thought she was showing off for him, jumping into the truck, saying, "see, I can do it! I'm not afraid!" We couldn't believe what we saw and laughed so hard. It would have won us $10,000 at AFHV for sure!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I could do that!

Thought I better get a post done today before everyone forgets about me! Work and yard work have kept me busy. But this morning I'm going thrifting!! It's a beautiful, gorgeous sunny morning and there's going to be a sale just across the street. This is their second sale this summer. I found this old dresser at their first one. Don't you love it?! I think Tracy wants it.... but for now it's mine. Look at all these drawers. I don't know what I'll use it for, but right now I have my vintage hankies and linens, CDs, printer toner, AND a Costco size bag of peanuts for my blue jays! I haven't decided whether I will repaint it or not either. But it has rollers for it's legs and the handles look like they came from a file cabinet--where you put the label for what's inside. I got it for $20. Mark said he thought the owner would take less.... but I'm not so good at haggling.... so just paid full price for it. For now it's just a catch all for some books.

I see bunk beds in Mark's driveway.... but it's probably too early to think a nursery room for my grandchild! Besides, look at this sweet girlie room I found at All Things Domestic. Don't you love it?! Course chances are real good that my grandbaby will be a boy, so I'll have to find something equally as enchanting if that's the case. And this bed is for an older girl.... so I still need to find something for the early years. But I just loved this room the minute I saw it. So sweet! As a young girl, a canopy bed was always my dream.... never got it but did have the white furniture like you see here. Check out All Things Domestic for other girlie rooms! But this is a room I could do....

I still love Cherry Hill Cottage for decorating and creating new things out of old things. I could easily move right into her home and live contentedly for ever after. Her home is my home. And her ideas are so simple, even I could do them! In fact, I have a whole list of projects to do--like paint an ugly old gold toned chandelier, white. I had a fundraiser garage sale a few years ago for a co-worker who had cancer. Everyone brought their thrift items.... but forgot to take those back that didn't sell.... So I had this ugly old chandelier and knew it wasn't something our thrift store would want, so hung it over our dining table on the deck. It's been waiting to get painted for years now.... Not a difficult task to do.... just need the motivation. But painting old silver trays white.... adding teacups to chandeliers.... framing fabric.... I could do any of this....

And look at this clever idea for chairs--shawls draped over them. I could do that! Especially since I don't sew, this would be really easy for me to pull off.... I just need some shawls... I could do this!
Every day I get more amazed at all the creative people "out there." Taking simple items and creating something new. Creating new items--like the crocheted cupcakes! I just think they're so adorable. Who comes up with these ideas?

One of these days I'll buy a beginner's sewing machine; nothing complicated or advanced for me! I'll get all my crafts organized. I'll sort through my folders and lists for projects to do. And I'll amaze you all!

Until then.... you'll have to put up with my gardening creations. Have a great Saturday!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

i've lost my marbles!

No, not really! Just wanted to share a photo of my marbles with you! Don't you love marbles? They're so bright and just the sight of them can cheer you on any dreary day. I don't recall where these came from but suspect some are quite old.

Do kids even play with marbles anymore....?

In the "good ol days... " we played with marbles, pick up sticks, lots of board games. We didn't have a lot of store-bought toys. We rode our bikes almost everywhere, or walked. We read a lot, maybe they were just comic books, but we were reading. We didn't sit in front of the tv all day nor did we play games that alienated us from our family.

But what goes around, comes around. Look at this old skateboard! This was mine when I was a kid; from the 60's. I set this cute candle-in-a-teacup on top just so you could get an idea of how small it is!

I worked outside for a few hours this morning but the bugs are so bad this year that it makes it so not enjoyable. The mosquitoes are HUGE and the no-see-ems.... rightly named because they're so small you don't see them... you just feel their bite....well, the no-see-ems are out in force. Now I'm waiting for a rhubarb crisp to come out of the oven.... It's smelling really good! If you like rhubarb desserts, you'll love this recipe!

Bon Apetit!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

to a new nine months

The last nine months is over.... like my husband said, it was like every ounce of life and joy was sucked out of our beings day after day after day..... It was hard to describe how horrible it was in our household having Brianna here, but that is so an accurate description. Life being sucked out of us. It feels so good to be able to breathe again!

But we are ready to move on and enjoy the good life once again! And now that the past nine months is behind us.... we have a new nine months to look forward to.... I just learned last night that I'm going to be a grandma! First time. What good news after what we've been through these past nine months! Woo hoooo!!! Oh, I should probably say, for those of you who know me and my children.... that it is Bucky and Michelle expecting. Michelle is excited and Bucky is skeptical.... but that's normal; it is a scary time for sure. But they both have great family values and will be loving, caring parents. And I am thrilled for them!

Some of my best memories of growing up were of my grandparents. My mother's parents lived on a farm and were hard working people. Grandma did all their own canning and whenever we went to visit, we looked forward to opening up a jar of canned Rainier cherries! My dad's mother always had a glass (see through) jar of chocolate eclair cookies. Still my favorite to this day although you can no longer find them.

I know as a grandma I will have certain obligations and responsibilities..... like making sure I always have cookies in the house.... that I'm willing to babysit on a moment's notice.... that I can talk about all the new and crazy children's tv shows, songs, cartoon characters, and books..... Am I ready for this new role? I don't know! I'm still stuck on Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street! Are those shows even on still? Can you still buy Golden Books??? And what are my grandkids going to think of me when I tell them they can't watch The Simpsons, MTV, or other shows that I might think are inappropriate? Lordy lordy.... the pressure's on for sure.... Are there books for grandparents to read to learn the do's and don'ts of modern day grandparenting????

I'm going to have to bring out the craft projects, the cookie cutters, the children's books; not to mention hitting garage sales for toys and games and outside yard tools and tricycles and books and oh oh oh.... so much to do to live up to my end of the deal!

So out with the past nine months and in with the next nine months!

On another note, this is Chippy, my resident squirrel. Isn't he cute? I just have to be extra careful not to leave the sliding glass door open otherwise I'm certain he would come inside to visit.... He also climbs my screen door and looks in the house to get my attention.

And this is one of Stellar Blue Jays, looking in the door.... wanting peanuts.... They're relentless at bugging me! If I'm sitting at the dining room table, they're sitting on the porch railing, gawking at me, or flying in front of the windows trying to get my attention. They know a sucker when they see one.

Monday, June 4, 2007

my favorite yard pictures

Today I just thought I'd share some garden pictures with you.

I love my little gnome man. He's the keeper of the front yard; always on alert and watching over things.

And this collection of river rock, moss, and ferns is one of my favorite garden scenes. I love love love it!

One of my favorite hobbies is collecting driftwood. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of it on our beaches. But it makes great yard art with this sedum and chives.

This is an elderberry bush in our back yard. The flower is about 5" in length and really quite pretty. It's a wild shrub here. In the fall it'll have clusters of red berries.

This is part of my back yard. The rockery was a project two years ago.... another "in over my head" project! My husband was living and working in Seattle at the time. I drove to the beach and hand-picked each rock, hauled them up the beach to the car in a 5 gallon bucket. I don't know how many trips to the car, how many bucket falls I had to get, and how many car loads it took to get enough rocks for this. Then it turned out the rocks were actually too small and every time the dog took a running leap off the deck, she would redistribute the rocks. Clearly this was not going to work! Our DOT department was improving our road system (out the road), so we got these larger rocks from a quarry and they work much better. I don't know why I do this to myself! This was another back breaking job. I remember hours of laying rock in the pouring rain, water just running down my rain coat, and me sitting in the middle of all the mud and gunk crying I was so tired. But this pain IS totally self-imposed! I'm not forced to start these humongous and laborious projects! Maybe it's in denial of getting older.... Regardless, I love this rockery.

Hope you enjoyed today's tour through my yard!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

today's a better day

Today is going to be a better day. Yesterday is done and over with. I can think of the past nine months without bawling. I had so many great things to share yesterday.... and then one word.... breathe.... took it all out of me. Being acknowledged.... knowing someone understood....

My daughter knew yesterday was tough and she stopped by last night just to give me a hug, and this hydrangea flower. I love hydrangeas; they're so romantic and so vintage; and I can hardly wait for ours to grow!

Yes, it's going to be a good day.... Plus it's my day off work so I can go to garage sales if I get going.... It's not raining, so I might plant a few more plants that followed me home from the nursery yesterday.... It's an addiction, I know. But it's my only addiction and it's only a seasonal addiction and my gardens really do delight others.... so I guess you could look at it, that I'm doing it all for others.... Yea....

I wish I had some craft projects to share....but we know that isn't going to happen! But the truth is, I love visiting your Etsy shops, looking at all the creative doodads, and since I'm not so crafty, I love buying your stuff. Makes me feel almost artsy crafty!
Look at this adorable frame I purchased from Jane Says. This is my favorite new Etsy shop. I was a little hesitant when I bought it.... but it is so much cuter than I ever expected it to be from the on-line picture and I'm so thrilled to have it. It arrived so cutely wrapped in tissue paper, yarn, and a little note. You guys are just too nice!

It arrived yesterday and is just too sweet! Not certain where I'll hang it. For now, it's on my bedroom window sill along with other recent purchases--Frazzle the Bird, my crocheted cupcake, and my vintage chenille kitty pillow.

After I saw how adorable it was in real life, I quickly went on line to see what other "bird" crafts she had and found this White Bird Frame for $14.00 and this Sweet Bird Magnet for $6.50. Please visit the Jane Says Etsy store and see what other creative ideas she has. For now, I can hardly wait for them to arrive.

Let's see, oh, yesterday we also observed the first bloom on our rhododendron bush! Yes, it's very late to bloom this year, but it's been trying. You can almost hear it chant.... "I think I can, I think I can...." See, yesterday I had all kinds of good things to share with you!

Friday, June 1, 2007


That's what my sister wrote on the card that came with flowers today.... She sent me this most gorgeous bouquet of flowers and for no reason other than the last nine months have been extremely difficult for me. You see, my husband's 17 year old daughter came to live with us last August. She had become too much for her mother to handle so she sent her off kicking and screaming, and in handcuffs.... to one of those boot camps for wayward teenagers. She spent 54 days in the Idaho desert, before figuring out how to play the game so she could be released, and then was shipped to Juneau to live with us. Yes, we welcomed her with open arms, thrilled to have her in Juneau, and excited for the opportunity to show her a warm and loving family environment and, hopefully, have an opportunity to make a difference in her life.

Okay, now..... do you think she came (1) happy to see her dad, (2) excited for a new start, (3) thrilled to experience Alaska? No? Okay, how about (1) pissed at her dad, (2) pissed at being in Juneau, and (3) hateful towards me? If you said "yes" to either (1), (2), or (3), you're absolutely right! I don't expect anyone to know exactly what the last nine months has been like because unless you have experienced it, you simply cannot know. You just can't know.... But it's almost over.

She graduates from high school on Sunday and meanwhile her mom and brother arrive in Juneau shortly. More of my least favorite people. I'm not going into it on this blog because if I got started, I'd never stop. Oh, the stories I could tell. There's too much bad history here; a horrible divorce; an angry ex-wife; children who grew up hating their dad just like their mom.... do I need to say more?

So having Brianna here this past nine months has been extremely difficult for both of us. Me because I'm not used to such hatred, such misery, such disrespect towards people. She told us when she arrived we were not her family, and she has proven it over and over again. So she found a new family, turned 18 two weeks ago, moved out, and moved in with her new family....

Today my sister sent me these beautiful flowers.... because she knows how difficult these past nine months have been.... because she has also been in this same situation during her life time.... because she knows we did all we could for Brianna.... because she knows that we're good people and tried our hardest to give Brianna a good, solid family.... because she loves me. But the reality of the past months hit me hard, how difficult it's been, and the tears have been falling since.

But tomorrow is another day and then Sunday (graduation ceremony) and then, hopefully, we can get on with our lives. And as much as I appreciate AND DESERVE the flowers.... my husband deserves so much more. He deserves recognition for taking on this task. Everyone told us (including Brianna's counselor) that we were just a prison for nine months, that we weren't going to make a difference in her life.... but we didn't believe them. We're good people, we already raised two really terrific kids, we had confidence that this was the best place for her, we could do this! Yes, I deserve flowers for standing by my man when I really wanted to strangle him most days! But Mike deserves so much more. He deserves a huge "thank you" for getting her graduated. If she was still in Seattle she most likely would be on the streets and pregnant by now. Yes, he's the hero of the day and I hope he knows how much I love him. I may have got the flowers but he earned them just as much as I did.