Monday, July 30, 2007

cupcakes and clothes pins

I wanted to show you some of the cutest finds I recently purchased from the Firefly Farm. Aren't these pincushions so precious? When I first saw the vintage bark cloth pincushion on Debra Andriulli's blog, Homespun Living, I instantly fell in love with it (the one on the right). But they were sold out.... So I emailed her with my interest in owning one and now I do! It's made from a vintage bark cloth curtain panel and cost $13.

When I visited her on-line store, I saw the blue toile pincushion and knew I had to have that one as well. Isn't it the cutest pattern? Thatched cottages, bridges, river, and waterwheels are pictured on this vintage toile and it, too, sells for $13. They're both about 8" tall. Lovely.

Now, keep in mind that I don't sew.... so why do I need pincushions you ask?! There are so many creative people "out there" making pincushions and I just can't help but fall in love with them. I gave my daughter, Tracy, the blue toile pincushion because I thought it would look lovely in her new craft room.
I've also purchased a few of these adorable crocheted cupcakes from Splendid Designs Etsy shop. They're just so cute in real life. I have them sitting in my cake holder with dome lid..... so you know they aren't going to be used for their original purpose! They sell for $10.50.

I also saw this clothes pin bag at Firefly Farm and knew I had to have it too..... Never mind that I don't have a clothes line.... The pattern is so cheery and inviting. It's just too darling and I'll find some use for it. Who knows, I might just put clothes pins in it for looks! It sold for $18.

I love collecting things and these pincushions are just perfect.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

a blog is a blog

An interesting aspect about blogland is you can be whoever you want and no one would know the difference. But are we being true to ourselves and true to our readers in portraying ourselves? Are we showing our readers the person we want to be or our true selves?

I've got a new favorite blog--Equus Villa. Julie had an interesting blog the other day and has challenged other bloggers to (1) tell each other what we love to see on a blog and (2) to write more about ourselves. And the comments she received from readers were great as well. I think both are great ideas and plan on doing that. So here goes....

About me
. Julie thinks it's odd if we don't post photos of ourselves. This is really stepping out on a limb for me because I do not have my picture taken. I hate pictures of myself. I do not take good pictures. I try to avoid having my picture taken at all times. In fact, I'm the one WITH the camera to ensure my picture is not taken! But here goes.... This one's for you, Julie!

My picture.
A self-portrait.... because I don't have any pictures of myself!

More about me. I'm 55 years old and retired from the State of Alaska for almost two years now. Retirement is good, now.... but two years ago it wasn't. It was a mental problem for me. I was 53 years old and had worked for the same department for 30 years... in the same building... with the same people.... When I walked out the doors for the last time, it was worse than getting a divorce. For the next several months I didn't know what to do with myself. I was lost. I was depressed. My routine was gone and I hadn't replaced it with anything new yet. And if you're a structured person, routine is important! So I did the only natural and normal thing.... I returned to work! That lasted all of three months but it was an important three months because I got my head straight on what I wanted to do with my life. And work was not it! I came to the conclusion that, yes, I was young, but not too young to be retired.

If you're getting ready to retire, my advice to you is to listen to your own heart. I had so much good advice from people on how retirement should work, and I tried to live my retirement their way, and it just didn't work. It made me miserable. But as soon as I developed a new routine, for me, that worked, for me, life was good.

My daily agenda. So what do I do all day? Here's how most days fold out:
  1. Wake up anywhere after 4:00 a.m.; get up somewhere between 5:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.

  2. Grab a cup of coffee.

  3. Turn the computer on; read email, visit blogs. (Hope I beat my sister to that first email of the day!)

  4. Take Sadie for a ride. This is most important because in the short time we've had her, she's figured out our routine and makes sure we keep on it! If we try to deviate from the routine -- like not take a shower or not take her for her ride, she bites my butt! She just keeps nibbling at it until I do what she wants. This is most annoying because I can't get her to stop. If I use my arms to push her away, she grabs my shirt sleeve or nibbles on my hand to guide me. She can be a royal pain in the butt some times. But a funny one.

  5. Run errands to Home Depot, Fred Meyer, etc.

  6. Sweep up dog hair....

  7. Play with Sadie.

  8. Go for a ride. Look for deer. Enjoy the view.

  9. Give Sadie treats.

  10. Work outside in the yard or clean house or just sit and read.

  11. Throw the ball for Sadie.

  12. Give Sadie more treats.

  13. Go to bed at 9:00 p.mish.

Do you see a theme here? Sadie.... she's the center of our world most days. That's how she wants it, and that's how it is!

My puppy dog. This is Sadie; she's a pound puppy. We found her last October and have loved her to pieces. She has issues, some she may never outgrow. But we continue working with her every day, loving her more for the issues she has to overcome. It would appear she was badly abused.... But she's a happy dog and always has a smile on her face. She wants nothing more than to chase after a ball and eat treats.

My days are actually quite full. I'm not out saving the world or doing much volunteer work right now, but one day. For now I work part-time at a landscape nursery. I use the word "work" loosely, as this is where I go to have fun, get my fingernails dirty.

My hubby. Is it weird that I put our dog first in my profile? Before my husband???? Oops.... Mike would understand and most likely do the same! We've been married 12 years and they've been the best 12 years of my life. He is my soul mate, my best friend, my lover, my partner. We talk, laugh together, support each other unconditionally. I love spending time with my husband, especially if I can beat him at Mexican dominoes!

Are you bored yet? This is why I don't put more "about me" on my blog because I don't want it to be boring.

I will say one more thing today. I have two children, from my previous marriage of 22 years. Tracy (32) and Bucky (23). They are the best kids a mother could ever hope for. Great kids. Wonderful kids! Kind, compassionate, creative, caring, ambitious kids. They love family, love their spouses/significant other. And, they love me.... :)

I hope you enjoyed this post today. Maybe tomorrow I'll continue on this avenue until I have no more readership! Seriously, though, my life is very simple. I enjoy the simple things in life--the little bird, the flowers, family time. I'm not a complicated person and what you see is generally what you get. I would do anything for my family, my friends, or my neighbors. With that said, I'm going to make my sweetie pancakes for breakfast and get my day going!

Friday, July 27, 2007

new and improved doors

Ta da! It didn't take much to make this old bathroom cupboard door into something new and improved.... two handles from Home Depot.... $2.49 each! Don't you just love it!

My husband even thought they turned out good and agreed to model them. That look on his face? It's visions of a nice, juicy steak sitting there!

We're going next door for dinner tonight.... at the same place I got these FOR FREE, and I'm going to carry dessert over on it :) A chocolate chip/zuchini cake. Yummy!

I was in a Fall mood yesterday and did some baking. I love anything made with zuchini, especially zuchini bread. This was made with applesauce in place of the oil though.

Zuchini Bread

In a bowl, mix:
3 eggs, well beaten
Add 2 cup sugar
Beat well.
Add 1 cup oil OR 1 cup applesauce
Add 2 cup grated zuchini
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2-1/2 cup flour
3 tsp vanilla
Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes for mini loaves or 1 hour 10 minutes for a regular size loaf pan.

From comments: Julie--thank you for visiting my blog! I love your comments and glad someone got a good laugh out of my FREE doors! Will be visiting your blog too.
Manuela, Jeru, Julie, and Cindy: Thanks for the ideas on my chandelier! I'm tempted to try the votives but will probably go with crystals. Yes, I was planning on keeping it outside.... although it might look cute in my bedroom....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

a face lift

Finally! My inherited ugly gold chandelier looks brand new, and something I'm not so embarrassed to say is mine!

This is the "before" picture of it. An outdated, tarnished, ugly, ugly, ugly chandelier. Did I mention it was ugly?

A few years ago, I hosted a fundraiser for a co-worker dying of cancer. As co-workers and friends dropped off car loads of donations, all I asked is if the items didn't sell, that they return to pick them up. Most people did. I was left, however, with this gem of a chandelier. Not so pretty; no wonder no one bought it. And I knew it wasn't something Salvation Army would want. My options were to pay to take it to the dump.... or keep it.... I opted to keep it. Maybe I saw potential in it.... maybe I was just too cheap to pay to get rid of another person's trash! Regardless of why I kept it.... I did, and my son hung it outside over our deck table.

During the year, I'd wrap different vines and flowers around it to camouflage it some. I'm not certain it worked. I found these Martha Stewart candles that I laid on them, but that didn't work either as the Blue Jays would knock them off. I've seen some really cute ideas emerge with chandeliers from your blogs and that gave me hope for this one.

Today, it finally got a much needed face lift and I love it! It's amazing what a can of spray paint can do! It still needs something to jazz it up some, but I'm not certain what.... Any ideas? Keep in mind it's very damp here; a lot of rain; a lot of snow; and not enough sunny, dry days. But I'd welcome any suggestions.

This project has been hanging over my head for years now, and it feels good to finally have it done.

Earlier this morning I went for a brisk 3.5 mile hike along the Wetlands. This is a protected area along our airport runway and you can see all kinds of birds, like this heron. It was a beautiful morning for a walk. Then I visited Home Depot and got handles for my bathroom-cupboards-soon-to-be-trays, AND weeded. It's been a pretty productive day.

Monday, July 23, 2007

sentimental journey

Do you ever put something away, in a safe place.... a place you'll know just where to go to retrieve the item again.... only never to find it again???? I've been looking for my birthday list for days now.... I always have a spiral tablet (with pockets) close by where I keep all my lists and important papers.... like my birthday list. This tablet went to work with me every day and even when we traveled. Because I'm learning to travel lighter, I removed the birthday list the last time we traveled and put it in a safe place. A most obvious place where I could always find it.

Do you think I can remember where that place is???? I've turned this house upside down looking for it. Every drawer has been checked, every nook, every cranny, every conceivable hiding place. I just can't find it. And I'm afraid of the birthdays I'm missing... But I wanted to look up the date my grandma passed away. It was a long time ago, maybe 20 years.

Grandma H. was a farmer's wife. She was a hard worker, an incredible woman. When she passed away, us kids (the grandkids) each got to pick one of her plants as a keepsake. I selected a hoya plant she had hanging over her kitchen window. It didn't have any sentimental value to me at the time; it was just a plant I selected.

But over the years it has become sentimental to me and every time I look at it, it brings back fond memories of my grandmother and the good times we had at her home.

It's a beautiful plant and I love it. But it hardly ever blooms. This is the first time in years. Usually you smell it before you see it because it has a very strong, sweet smell.

This first picture is a little blurry, but I wanted to get a close up to show you how rubbery it looks; almost like a fake, plastic flower. It looks like a solid piece of plastic.

A few days later it opens up to this most incredible cluster of flowerets. Isn't it precious? You can see one of the flowerets still closed as well. They look like bowls here, still curved, still in the process of opening. In a few days, each floweret will lay flat.

This last picture is just a close up.... again a little blurry but I wanted to share how intricate it really is.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

gardening 101

Try as I might.... I just couldn't let the day go by any longer without publishing some "pretty" garden pictures! I just couldn't let it stop at the uglies.... Sorry new gardeners.... But I think our successes should also encourage you to get your hands dirty. If you knew me, you'd say, "if she can do it, I certainly can!" It doesn't take a rocket scientist to garden and you will make mistakes. I'm still making mistakes 30 years later.... That's sad, I know....

If you're a new gardener or just getting your fingernails dirty, you have several options for getting started.

You can just dive right in, make new gardens, plant to your heart's content. And hope for the best. That's option one. There's nothing wrong with just diving in. You may need to go back next year and enrich the soil differently or relocate plants that may not be working in their original location, but those are both fixable. The downside to this option is it could be an expensive way to learn as some mistakes may not survive. But this is probably how most of us started out.

Option two is to buy a book or two written for your area and do some research; educate yourself a little before investing in something that may not work. Or attend some gardening classes.

This type of education is good; it gives you a good foundation for the plants you might want to buy and the soil and other requirements needed. But if you spend all your time getting educated, you may never get a garden planted!

Option three is to visit a neighbor or a friend who's into gardening and ask for their advice. They might even give you some free plants! This is a good way to find out what plants will do good in your particular neighborhood. Keep in mind that all of Juneau is not one zone. We probably have hundreds of micro climates. I might be able to grow a clematis just fine here, but someone nearer to the glacier will not. As you learn about "zones" and plants appropriate for your area, keep in mind that means diddly.... Zones give you temperature variations but there's so much more involved as far as the weather is concerned: rain, wind, whether you live near the glacier or along the water. So much of gardening IS trial and error.... Sorry..... But it had to be said....

Option four is to visit your local nursery and ask them for help. Ask questions. The downside of this is, they're looking for a sale. They're in business to sell plants, lots of plants. BUT, if you get the right person to help you, this could be a great place for information. We get quite a few beginning gardeners at the nursery. The ones that admit they don't know the difference between annuals and perennials. I love these customers the best because they're like sponges, soaking up any information I can give them. Although I'm there to make a sale, my priority for a new gardener is information and they get my Gardening 101 spiel. I love to be their personal shopper and show them how to create a garden. We talk about their space, their soil, sunshine available. I show them how to create a room that's pleasant to look at from all sides, that has a focus point, that's arranged with layers and different foliage. And I don't mind suggesting that they go out into the woods and dig up a fern or two to include for a beautiful backdrop or filler. Once they've decided to buy, we talk about how to enrich the soil, fertilizing needs, how to get the plant out of the pot, how to gently loosen the root ball, how to plant, and, lastly deadheading for long blooming flowers.

I love beginner gardeners. They're so enthusiastic. They're just out having fun; they want to create something. And that's how it should be.

Gardening is such good therapy. It's good for what ails you. Diving right in is a good way to get started, but don't forget about the other options. To achieve that Martha Stewart yard, you will need to understand the soil content for different plants, the sun or shade requirements, good drainage, what plants will do good in your area. Just because a plant says "perennial" doesn't mean it is in Juneau. So dive right in, but also take time to educate yourself so you can ultimately achieve the garden of your dreams.

And remember: Rome wasn't built in a day and either is a luscious, gorgeous, beautiful cottage garden. It takes a lot of work AND a lot of love.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

ugly garden photos

When people see my yard, they often ask if I'm a Master Gardener. I have been gardening in some of the most challenging environment for the past 30 plus years so I do qualify for having some knowledge of soil, plants, requirements, etc. But a Master Gardener? No. To qualify you have to take classes for a week and I could never justify taking that much time off work. Besides, when I talk to friends about gardening, whether at home or at the nursery where I work, I don't want it to sound textbook. I like to talk about my experiences; what worked and what didn't. Plain and simple.

Colleen from In the Garden Online has challenged us in her post, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, to share some of our more challenging gardening experiences. You know.... those areas of our gardens that we don't show off... where the weeds have taken over or we can't get anything to grow. By sharing our misfortunes, we will hopefully encourage others to garden. You know, by showing how easy it really is and that not everyone has a perfect garden.

So.... in the name of helping a fellow future gardener, here's a few of my not-so-pretty gardening photos. UGH!

This is my first ugly. It's a raised bed in our front yard. Try as I might, I can't get much of anything to grow in it. These annuals are no bigger today than they were two months ago when I planted them.

Is it the soil, you ask? I seriously doubt it because I enhance it with good compost yearly.

Do you fertilize? Yes, I do. Every couple weeks I water with an application of Miracle Grow. I tell you, this is some good soil!

But I still cannot get anything to grow. And who can't grow calendula? Or snapdragons? Or pansies??? Clearly, I cannot, in this garden.

It's sad but true....

This is another not-so-pretty photo. This is a portion of the new garden I created this year. Pathetic, huh? It's new soil, enhanced with compost. It gets plenty of sunshine.... when it's not raining....

There are four peonies in the middle. Yea, I know you couldn't tell.... That's the problem. These peonies came from my front yard. In a garden they weren't crazy about. So I relocated them. I thought, new soil, new neighbors, new beginning. Surely they would thrive and love their new environment.

Clearly.... I was wrong again.

Okay, this is the worst of all. This is not a picture I am proud of, at all. But in my defense, it's not really a garden, yet. When we moved here four years ago, our back yard was pretty much wild foliage, weeds, devils club, false spirea, ferns. It had never been tamed. Every year I tame a new section, aka weeding on my hands and knees constantly, until I get a handle on the problem. Then a new garden takes shape.

This is the last section I have to do. Most of the large wild foliage has been tackled and I'm left with chickweed and other ground covers. For the next two years I'll continue pulling that chickweed and other nasty stuff, over and over again, until it comes in thinner and thinner and eventually, it's manageable. Then a new garden will take form.

So there you have it. I wish I could say the good, the bad, and the ugly. But in this case.... it's sad, but true....

Monday, July 16, 2007

status from a featherweight

As I visit every one's blogs, I wondered about all the Inspiration Friday photos that were posted. They had to come from somewhere, but did they have permission....? In visiting My Romantic Home tonight, she addressed this issue. Better check it out; I'd hate for anyone to get into legal trouble. From My Romantic Home, you can go to Barbara Jacksier's July 8th post.

I found the sweetest new blog: fairiebees. I just love her blog name! She's a crafter, a sewer, a collector. You'll love her simple sewing projects, like the hankie valance. It looks so simple, even I could do it! Never mind that I don't have a sewing machine. Or didn't.

I was talking to a friend about sewing machines; she's an expert and collector of old Singers. I told her about one we had in the garage that was my husband's mom. It's been in storage for years and years, of no real interest to me since I didn't sew. As we talked, my friend got more and more excited about the possibility of it being an old Featherweight. Evidently they're in demand by collectors and sewers alike and worth several hundred dollars.

So we brought it inside, and sure enough! Here it is, right out of the case, pretty dirty, neglected, and unloved.

Evidently Featherweights are a status symbol to the person who owns one.... Finally, I have status!

Now I just have to learn how to sew!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

FREE! to a good home

I've been absent a few days. Been busy doing "stuff" but nothing interesting enough to put on paper. It might not surprise you that it's been raining since my last entry. Every day. It's been raining. Nonstop.... I feel like I'm growing webs between my toes! I'm tired of it. We deserve better!

We went to our neighbors, across the street, for a Wine and Cheese party last night. It's an annual event. They fill their garage with treasures-no-longer-wanted and invite their friends over to preview and shop prior to the garage sale. There's usually drinking involved.... you know, to loosen the pocket book a bit, and plenty of finger foods to munch on while you deliberate on what you can or cannot live without.

Okay, so here's a most pathetic story about these cabinet doors. I was visiting the previous night as Jean was setting up and I saw these cupboard doors. Instantly I knew I had to have them but thought it would be tacky to shop before the preview. They're just ordinary cupboard doors out of their bathroom that she had tried to paint white at some point. Hence, the chipped paint, which is what gave it the charm.

Anyway, I could see all kinds of possibilities with these doors. And, like what, you ask? Simply attach a couple handles and you have a cottagy serving tray. Or add some broken plates for a mosaic look. I'm sure the ideas are endless. I returned home that night thinking of these doors. I laid awake half the night thinking about these doors. I told you this was a pathetic story! I was so worried someone would beat me to them.

So last night.... the party started at 6:30.... no one had arrived yet.... At 6:31 we nonchalantly headed across the street. With a quickness to our gait. (I say "our" gait, but you know it was me leading the pace for my husband!) We walked inside, said our hellos, gave our hugs, and I ran.... did not walk.... into the garage to retrieve my treasures! You can only imagine my horror when I saw them in the FREE box! The FREE box! Like they had no value! I have to say my whole being slumped just a tiny bit as I grabbed my treasures and tucked them safely to my chest, assuring them that their new home would be so worthy of their presence. And that's my pathetic story of the day.

Still in the mood to find great treasures, we donned our coats and hats and headed out the door at 7:30 a.m. this morning, looking for garage sales. It was pretty sad pickings but I did find this cute little white plate. It's only about 6" tall but so adorable with the red and white gingham ribbon. I just love it!

And this white cottagy basket. It's made of some kind of metal and quite heavy. Not certain where I'll display it or what will find a new home in it, but I know I'll love it for a long time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

a fall day

Rain, rain, and more rain....
For two days straight.

Spent the day sorting through closets, drawers, and cupboards. A Fall activity.
Read a trashy novel. A Fall activity.
Turned the heat up. A Fall activity.
Made stew for dinner. A Fall activity.

If it feels like Fall...
And it looks like Fall....
Does it make it Fall.....?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Food for thought

That would be the title of the post, IF I could actually add a title to it.... Not certain why the last two days I've not been able to. hmmmmm Might have to contact the blogmaster.

Anyway..... Do you think about food a lot? We do. We hardly get done eating one meal before I start thinking and planning the next.

And big meals. No canned soup and bologna sandwich for us. Well, I wouldn't mind once in awhile, but my hubby is still very much in love with the idea of a BIG dinner. On a hot, summer day, I would much prefer a sandwich made with Wonder white bread AND Oscar Meyer Olive Loaf. Yes, honestly! Thank goodness we don't have many hot, summer days!

Not only are my meals large quantities, but always plenty of choices to choose from in case you're a picky eater. Yes, I always seem to cook enough for an army. So if you're ever in the area, you know where you can go for a free meal!

This was our dinner the other night.
Just a small fruit salad.....
and an even smaller macaroni salad....
and baked chicken.

The picture of the chicken is a little blurry. Sorry.This baked chicken has become a favorite of ours.

Here's the recipe:

Thaw however many chicken wingettes/drumettes you want. We buy by the bulk from Costco because they're so good, we eat LOTS! Arrange in a single layer in a cake pan or cookie sheet that has a side to it. Drizzle just a tad olive oil over them and season with salt and pepper. With your hands, mix it together. Bake in a 400 oven for about an hour (or more) or until crispy and brown. You can turn them half way too if you want.

These are so good, you won't be able to eat just one!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I know this is two posts in one day but I forgot to write about it in my first one, and then decided it was too important to include in a tourist post.

We learned yesterday that our first grandbaby is going to be a boy! That Michelle and Bucky are five months pregnant already! That everything looks good; all the parts and pieces are there.

And today I learn that my daughter, Tracy, and her husband, Adam, are also trying to have a baby!

Life is good :)

P.S. For some reason today, I can't add titles to my posts. Are you having the same problems?

they're coming, they're coming!

The tourists are coming!

We had SIX cruise ships in port on Thursday:

Coral Princess--2,880 passengers
Dawn Princess--2,808
Serenade of the Seas--3,360
Spirit of Yorktown--180

Total capacity: 14, 117

And they all converge on our sleepy little town. Taking over the sidewalks so you can't get by. Window gawking. Jaywalking wherever they choose. Carrying red t-shirt bags. Wearing rain ponchos and winter garb.

This was the scene downtown:

Locals pretty much give up downtown to the tourists this time of year and will return come October. We regain our sleepy little town, hunker in for the winter, and wait for it to start all over again come next May!

Yes, Juneau is a tourist town. We have mostly jewelry stores, t-shirt shops, and trinket shops downtown. Most everything we do is to accommodate the tourists....

We get over a million tourists a summer, when you count cruise ships, crew members, independent travelers. That's a lot for our small town sidewalks!

This picture below was taken at the end of town, looking back into town. We can get two or three cruise ships lined up along the docks but the rest have to park out in the Channel and shuttle the passengers in. It's hard to see, but that big building in the middle is our Federal Building. That black line that goes across the water is pilings that our town is built on. Yes, we sit over the water! Juneau was a mining town in the olden days and they had to expand the downtown area in this manner to allow growth. It's really an interesting town to live in. A lot of history.

I noticed yesterday when we drove through town that the dynamics of the passengers has changed over the years. Where it used to be seniors--going on the cruise of a life time--now it's young families bringing their young kids and even babies. I'd like to do an Alaskan cruise one day myself. Would you? If you ever come into port, be sure to let me know!

Anyway, hope you enjoyed visiting Juneau today!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

the day after the 4th

The 4th in Juneau is our biggest holiday. We have a population of about 32,000 and I think 30,000 turn out for the festivities! We have one highway to and from town. I take that back. We have the "old" Glacier Highway (two lanes) which was replaced by Egan Drive (four lanes). Egan is our main road. We have a town that sits on the side of the mountains and overlooks the water. We have limited parking. Yet, we have thousands and thousands of people who head downtown for this:

Brian Wallace, Juneau Empire
The parade of cars downtown starts early in the evening; by 8 p.m. That's because everyone has their favorite spot to sit and watch the fireworks and they do anything to claim their post. We have our fireworks at midnight on July 3. This is because it's not dark enough any earlier and if we had them on the 4th, it would be past every one's bedtime.

They fire the works off from a barge in the middle of the Channel (Gastineau Channel) and people line up wherever there's a view to watch. Boats anchor up in the Channel. People sit on top of buildings and climb the highest mountains. They park in the meridian of the highway, with their coolers of survival food (and beer), camp stools, boom boxes, and blankets. It's the biggest party of the year!

Then, on the 4th, is the parade. Again, the entire town shows up for the parade at 11:00. Again, with their camp stools and coolers of survival food. Heaven forbid that we should go hungry! The firetrucks are the first in line, tossing salt water taffy to all the kids, and adults :) It's a mad dash to see who can get to the candy first! Our floats aren't covered with carnations and other gorgeous flowers but crepe paper, spruce tree boughs, and other foreign objects.

Everyone with a cause is allowed to join the parade.... We have a lot of people marching--the Philippinos and Hawaiians in their garb and performing their national dance. Everyone with an antique car joins in. Marching bands. The best part of our 4th of July parade is.... it's always sunny! This is one thing you can pretty much count on every year.

My kids are grown and there's no longer that need to join in the festivities. So we've found other things to do over the 4th, but it's a little sad. I do miss the people, all 30,000 of them! I almost miss the parade of cars, the waiting to get somewhere. Being up past my bedtime. Maybe next year.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th from Juneau!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Lilac and Cabbage Rose

Disclosure: I hate to admit it, but I love to shop. I love to look at things, touch them, pick them up, oohhh and aaaahhhh over the selections, and, occasionally.... will purchase something. Okay, often.

Our first day in Sedona, we went uptown to wander through the shops. The first store we went into.... Talk of the Town.... I saw.... fell in love.... and bought these two darling fairies.

Please meet Lilac and Cabbage Rose, the newest addition to our home. Aren't they adorable? Lilac is about 18" tall and Cabbage Rose about 12". All body parts are wired to allow for a magical and fanciful pose!

I agonized for a good half hour on which one to buy. There were dozens of fairies hanging from fishing line off an upside down Christmas tree. The poor sales lady very patiently nipped one after another down so I could look at them, pose them, and finally decide which one I wanted. Actually, I couldn't decide which one; it was my husband that finally said, "get both of them!" (I think he was tired of my indecisiveness....)

So I did! These are no ordinary fairies but a limited edition from the Mark Roberts collection. Not that that makes any difference. I would have bought them from a thrift store had I seen them.

I wanted to show you a close up of their eyes and face.... they talk to you.... they stare at you and bore their souls into you.... I didn't intend on buying two of them.... I was forced to! They made me! They wanted to come home with me!

And they did.

Monday, July 2, 2007

it's the weekend

I love weekends. Still. Even though I'm retired, weekends are still my most favorite days of the week. Especially "Fridays." Excepting my Fridays are now Mondays. And I get so confused as to what day of the week it is with my screwy work schedule. I work Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays. But having three days off, in a row, is good. I've been a little lazy since returning from vacation, but hopefully won't waste these upcoming days :O

So what do I have planned for this long weekend? I just popped a rhubarb brunch cake in the oven. If you love (or even like) rhubarb, you must try this recipe.

This sloppy mess turns into

this golden brown beauty.

Which then looks like this when cut. Flop some whipped cream and.... yummy!

Rhubarb Brunch Cake

1 pkg Pillsbury Plus Yellow Cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
4 cups sliced fresh rhubarb or frozen rhubarb, unthawed
1 cup sugar
1 pint (2 cups) whipping cream

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 13x9" pan. In large bowl, combine cake mix, water, oil, and eggs at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at highest speed. Pour into pan. Top with rhubarb. Sprinkle with sugar. Pour cream over top. Bake for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm (or cold) with whipped cream (or not). Store in refrigerator.

Now.... the sad part of this story. As I was typing the recipe up it dawned on me that I forgot the 1/3 cup oil.... certainly not on purpose.... but what will it do to the cake? We'll see in an hour's time. Crap. Anyway, if made with ALL of the ingredients, is THE most delicious cake you'll ever have.

Also "this weekend" I'll be doing surgery on our sweet little Sadie's toys. Before we left on vacation she was doing really well at playing with her stuffed toys and not chewing holes. Since we've been back.... she's been showing us, I guess. I sew them until there's just no more sense to, then she'll get new ones.

Have a great week!