Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Quartet of Happy

The other three pooches managed to
walk out of the photo right before.

Like herding cats

Now comes the dismantling of 
the holiday.
I'm hoping to purge half, if not more.

I've never been a fan of January.
It's always meant continuing on without loved ones near,
and it seems there is more work than usual and of course
all the resolutions to fail at within a few weeks, so I don't make any.
LOL well except I just planned another purge.
It's a new year.

I'm already overwhelmed with choices and decisions and it's still dang 2022.

Happy New Year!!!



Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Almost made it

 Sometimes it's a fail on one side,

but a win on the other.

The gang arrived and all bets were off for 

a #24 or #25

Christmas Eve dinner- I pulled off one of

my best, but no photos.

I just can't halt a moment to take a photo. I'm in the moment,

not of the moment.

Brunch on Christmas morning 

was also grand.

Dogs are a constant, playing, barking 

terror, then they go to their separate corners and sack out

(thank heaven)

Walter is a teenager and so a girl around 

has him in hormonal frenzy and Rilo doesn't seem to mind a bit.

I wish she'd just nip him a good one cause all you hear is "Walter stop!!!"

from all of us.

Leftovers today and a chore list for kids to help

me do a few I cannot do, or would take me twice as long to do.

Computer stuff, new phone stuff, stuck door stuff,

replace tub faucet, easy repair of two lamps, and help replacing bulbs

in string lights. Most of these are issues I have with arthritis and

neuropathy in fingers.

Everyone is CA bound tomorrow.

I'll take a day to recoop and then begin to dismantle.

Then I'm selling off some more stuff.

I intend to have this be the last big Hurrah! Christmas.

Hope your holidays were what you wanted.

Hope this new year brings peace and help for so many in need. 

Friday, December 23, 2022

December 23


I'm setting the table for tomorrow
Not sure when the gang arrives, and once they do,
it is busy busy, especially with Rilo and Walter.
They become the whirling dervishes.

One car coming from Phoenix, the other from Oxnard.
With traffic it's a guess how long each trip will take.
I am so blessed that the two sets of other parents
relinquished Christmas for me this year.
I know how hard that is for them, 
and I am truly grateful.

Dinner. is butternut, carrot, red pepper soup
a winter kale Brussel Sprout salad
Cornish Game Hen
Vegetarian Lasagna ( for DD)

December 22

# 22 


Santa Came!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

December 21


For many years, I hosted a sit down dinner for my 12 closest
friends at Christmas. I decked the house to the nines and tried 
to outdo each prior year with gifts and food.
One year topped them all, when I hired a madrigal group
from a local HS attended by Ivan, my son's closest friend,
and a second son to me.
Ivan is the first male on the left in first photo.

Many of the gals were notoriously late every year,  so I insisted
that they arrive exactly on time, or there would be hell to pay. 
The madrigals were lined up out front and 
performed for them as they arrived.  

Once they completed several songs out front, the kids all filed in and 
performed from the stairs while we had our traditional first 
toast of Chambord and Champagne.

 I wanted memories and I think I succeeded.

We quickly cooked up some cocoa for all
and sent them on their way as
we settled into the festivities. 

These kids are all approaching late 30's now,
hard for me to comprehend. 
Where is it all going, this time thing?
I am now just 6 months from turning 70 and 
inside feel about 26.

Just before he died my, dad was reflecting on this topic,
and he told me that he, at age 71, felt about 25, 26 inside and that 
the same would happen to me as it does to everyone. 
I remember looking at grandparents and my folks in my 20's, 30's
 and thinking how old they were and looked. 
I am older now than many of them lived to be, and under 2 years 
of when my folks passed.

A good friend and I comment on the passing of famous folks
now and we're always noticing their age.
what? 60 63 67 !
This pal is 2 years older than me, so yeah it is jarring.
All the more reason that looking back is lovely,
well, sometimes, but it's more important to 
think about what we have ahead.
When faced with an unending amount
of "issues", three this week alone, I have to constantly remind myself.
Those of you with grandkids have such joys waiting.
Make the best of it. 

Lord knows the world is a mess;
keep your loved ones near, and cherish every ordinary,
 boring day. Each one a gift.


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

December 20


Began prepping for Christmas Eve dinner
Today I made butternut squash, carrot, and red pepper soup.
First you roast it all with added caramelization bonus,
then puree. 
I will add  a winter salad of kale and raddichio 
followed by Cornish game Hens.
Also making a lasagna with plant based meat for 
DD who is vegetarian.

Cookies are ready

Ginger snaps
Peanut blossoms
Mexican Chocolate ( the girls favorites)
Snickerdoodle Blondies

Coffee bar upstairs is stocked
Rooms are prepped with brand new fluffy towels
 for each guest room
and a small tree for each room.

First trip to store for food done today.
I'll return late Thursday, early Friday for rest of 
breads and veggies and for my favorite wine.
Sadly, they were out today, and I was sooo in the mood.

Christmas day brunch is planned here and then they 
will go to their Dad's for the evening 
and I will stream something, or read, and drink
my favorite Moscow mule(s) with blackberry confi.

I used to get so sad when this "sharing" all started 22 years ago.
Really, really, wailing sad...
They were still so young. It took years to adjust.

Now with 4 dogs and 5 adults in the house, crammed into
a few days, and the commotion, 
when I am used to silence day in - day out
well, I need the couch time. hehe


Monday, December 19, 2022

December 19


After 6 days terrifying days in neonatal
this babe of mine came home Christmas Eve.
Happy 32
Darling Daughter

Sunday, December 18, 2022


Brother Scott and I

in the first house my parents owned

in Mc Murray, PA

It cost them $11,000.

It was tiny.

I just googled and traveled up and down 

the road until I found it 60 years later.

Do you ever do that?

Those woods behind were my playground. 

There was an old maple tree back in there

that I climbed up into daily all summer long to read; 

wedging myself in so as not to fall out. 

Scott is 1 year and 1 day older than I.

My mom was married three months, 

became pregnant with Scott.

He was three months old 

when she became pregnant with me. 

The good old rhythm method was a major fail.

good thing for our sakes


December 17


Damn! I could have sworn I was up to date! 

OK, so I have to go out and rehang the pergola lights

 that blew down in the wind... 3 weeks ago! sigh

Then pick up Walter's presents all over the yard

 instead of in the dog run...hmmm

Finish wrapping kid (adult kid) b-day presents

Three birthdays within 30 days along with Christmas.

I start off every year broke.

well, MORE broke? Is that even possible?

Bake next batch of cookies, doing a batch every other day.

Kids won't eat many, but I send some home with DIL for her 

AZ family.

House almost clean and ready for 4 more adults and 3 more dogs.

Let the rumpus begin.

I'll be back later for #18

 if I remember.

Meanwhile eye candy


Friday, December 16, 2022

December 16


It began with this...

Oh, the life that has been lived since then.

I miss so much of early blogging.

The White Wednesdays where we met so many friends.

The crafting together and support of small at home shops. 

Watching each other's kids grow up, get married, 

start families.  

The in depth conversations, with very 

little judgement, and tons of support. Those conversations led off

the blog into emails, and true friendships that carry on for me today.

We cried together, laughed together, told each other we would get through

the heartache, the heartbreak.

I still prefer blogs.

I've lost track of so many as they quit blogs, or turned to

only IG or changed names etc.

I wish everyone still commented like we used to,  

so I could catch up and see how their lives turned out.

I tried for several decades to keep a journal, and always 

failed miserably so I thought blogging might work.

For 15 years ( August 2008) it has.

If any of you reading this, were here at the start,

please comment with just a hello, and your IG if that's where you went.

I'd love to see you again.


Thursday, December 15, 2022

December 15


I found this today.

I was talking with Robin yesterday,

a good blog buddy 

The Cranky Crow

about our shared love of paper and recalled 

this scherenschnitte piece I had made decades ago.

When first married, the ex and I had a very small, mostly handmade,

Christmas. Many items were made of paper, this being one of them. 

It came out for the holidays for a few years and then was tucked away.

I'm glad Robin asked to see it, because I'm pretty sure

 I will make a new one, in sturdier paper to replace this damaged one.

This was just construction paper.

My sorta advent idea has swung all over the place.
I didn't really think any of it through, which I rarely do.
More often, I ponder things to death, turning them over
and over until it's all broken and mush.  
Unsalvageable thoughts, needing to start over.
I'll try to see this through, but other issues are tugging at my brain.
Many worrisome new ones, but I've put 'em on the back burner 
till after the kids visit. 

After all there is so much good.
Like Robin, who is such a good soul. If you 
don't know her, go on over and scroll through.
She's a keeper.


Wednesday, December 14, 2022

December 13 and 14

 Obviously I have fallen behind

Will I make it to the end even?

I just spent the last hour trying to get my food processor

to work. I haven't used since last year, and it was

 never used much to begin with.

I took apart and put together a dozen times. 

Dug out the manual- Yes, I have every manual,

remember who you're dealing with ..ahem  

I decided that my ninja chopper would have to do 

in a pinch and so I pulsed and added butter and water

in two stages to make the dough for the tomato tart that

I have been craving for several days.

It worked just fine.

Hopefully my fix it wizard Ben, can figure it out when he comes

home. Poor guy already has two other "to do" chores on list.

No great loss if he can't. I doubt I would miss it very often.

I'm just now beginning to feel the Stress Molecules stirring.

All the stress is self made. The kids don't give a hoot. I have already 

cut in half the treat and food list, it's mostly the "clean it" list, 

that's getting to me.

Long overdue in spots- so it's a good thing.

I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to see them at all,

and fortunate to be able to bake and feed them, while

so many folks out there are struggling just to survive.

In December I try to double my monthly automatic contributions.

Please be as generous as you are able. My income is extremely low,

believe me it's no BS.

None of my monthlies are over 10.00,

many are just 5.00. I know by combining mine with others we are helping. 

These groups also can count on a monthly influx instead of just hoping. 

I donate to six groups each year, as I could never choose just one cause

Environmental Group

Children's Medical

Local PBS station

International Relief

Animal Rescue/issues

Women's rights/ issues

Ok so a photo of tart coming, may have to check back tomorrow.

Maybe even the recipe. 

and a reminder of the season of giving.

Phew! why did I start this? hehe

I'm going to cheat and call it two. 

Monday, December 12, 2022

December 12


 Thinking about upcoming holiday meals

Trying out a couple options

Settling on this one for a start

First meal most likely brunch

In this house holidays are food, movies and games,

and more food

Sunday, December 11, 2022

December 11




Justice And Liberty



Saturday, December 10, 2022

December 10


small drawers

small cubbies

I cannot resist

This is on the wall above my computer table

A few of the items: Jesus plaque from my grandfather, handcarved driftwood bird from oldest friend,
quote that hung above my father's desk forever, beaded coin purse/grandma,
oldgreymare shot glass I found in shop in CA,
prayer beads in box from machu picchu from dearest friend Nat,
radiometer/dad, heart rocks collected for me by DD and friends
small painted salt shaker/mom, favorite figurine for my mom/I bought when I was young 

postal scale/dad, pinecone under cloche from grave of Viola a friend's mom

 I cared for, carved figures/philippines/dad in navy,

Native american bowl grandma bought on vacation over 70 years ago,

wool braids from rug that were never made. 

Carved birds on top from son Ben 

SO much love, memories.

Something I find missing in many of the IG posts of young gals.

They must showcase their vendors, products and modern is "in" but...

Give me my past, and well loved pieces thru the centuries 

if you please. 

Also, as pretty as their rooms are - is it just me, or do they all look alike?

I'm just an old woman I guess, hooked on Acorn and accounts from Europe

and following folks who dig old stuff lol

Will their children remember the Designer pieces

of their home/ bought from the half dozen conglomerate stores

they all represent?

Will that furniture even last 50 years, let alone over 100?

Will the family remember the meals on grandma's dishes, using 

great grandma's silver? Will they snuggle under an old quilt made lovingly by hand 

and not from a factory abusing children and women for cheap labor? 

Forgetting history is problematic in more ways 

than just decor. 

Don't misunderstand, I shop at those stores and appreciate many of the products.

But only as accessories to the pieces in my home that matter.

My daughter's apt is full of vintage pieces from me and her street finds.

Her dishes are from her great grandmother Rennie.

I know my pieces will lovingly find homes in hers some day,

and what doesn't already has my friends names on their backs.

I reminded one the other day- since she is several years older than I am,

what are the chances she could take after I'm gone? hehe  

My son is making nearly all of his furniture by hand. 

He is doing caning on many of the pieces just like many before him. 

It is modern but so meaningful to both of them. 

This stuff matters.

I hate our throw away society.

things AND people


Friday, December 9, 2022

December 9



(this was many years ago when I ended up making 
22 dozen of these cookies for Christmas)

These cookies...
I have been  known in my circles for these cookies.
This recipe that I made by the dozens upon dozens
each Thanksgiving and Christmas.

When ex relations asked me, or anyone for that matter, 
asked me for the recipe, I would decline
saying having them just on those holidays made them special 
and I enjoyed so much doing that for loved ones.
I always added "I will happily share any other recipe."
There are dozens of recipes out there, I prefer mine, 
as they are not super thin and crispy
which is the norm.  

While I was away on vacation one year, two of my ex-sisters in law,
ransacked my kitchen to find the recipe and then told everyone 
with glee what they had done, and shared it everywhere.
One of their friends immediately called and told me, 
as she thought it was a pretty tacky move.
Now, I never let them know that I knew what they had done.
Not then, not ever. 
Unless of course they troll me on here.

As my years pass by, I am no longer interested in
always playing it safe on here. Since 2008 I have.
 It is not out of anger that I now mention
a few unpleasant things here and there.
This is my journal, my life, then and now.
It was what is was, and is what it is. 

I think I had more fun knowing, than they ever had 
being incredibly, selfishly, mean spirited.

I mean seriously, they are just cookies..

Damn good cookies


Thursday, December 8, 2022

December 8



A love affair that began when my dad used to bring home
 paper samples from the ad agency. I would create with one set 
until the next set arrived home. 

I'm still in love and still playing - especially
 through my on line lessons.

I've taught so many classes with paper over the years.
One class had 20 students with 17 different stations set up all over my house
and out into the yard. Each station was a technique to learn
from burnt brown bag ornaments to scherenschnitte. That was a terrific day.



Wednesday, December 7, 2022

December 7


DJR, my dad passed in 2000

My kids had not seen him in almost 3 years 
as he could no longer travel, and I was 
in the middle of a mess in my marriage.

They have very limited memories of him.
My daughter told me she thinks her memories of him 
are only because of the few pictures we have.

He adored his two grandchildren and I deeply regret
not going back to Pa for weeks, months at a time so that
they would have those memories for real.
I made the wrong choices, for the wrong person,
the fault is mine.

DJR was an intentional memory maker, a life guide,
my entire life.

I tell stories about him all the time,
praying that those memories and lessons
somehow stick around awhile longer.
You never really die until the memories do.  



Tuesday, December 6, 2022

December 6


This special place

 I am promising myself that next year I will be a better 
caregiver to this special place.
I worked hard to get it just so, 
but lately I have been lax.
I vow to do better.

Monday, December 5, 2022

December 5



From his first day...




                                                                 He is asleep 

His body rests on the couch back 


Sunday, December 4, 2022

December 4


Of course

 these four

How many times a day do I think of them, miss them,
wonder about them, pray for them.

They are my whole heart



Saturday, December 3, 2022

December 3

 My studio

#3 in the sorta advent

BTW none of these are in order of importance

just as they pop into my head

Many of you who have been around from the start, know 

that this is my refuge, from well...anything,

often from myself and my troublesome thoughts.

This studio enabled me to spend the day with Jo Packham at my home,

and have several other photo shoots here and

 I was included in magazines and a book!

Never in my wildest...

It's a hodgepodge, tiny, yet cozy.

If you search studio on the blog you will see

 many more photos over the years beginning in 2008

I added a coffee/cocoa bar this year for the visiting troops

but I've found it to be wonderful for me, and Walter 

searches the trash can daily for empty water bottles

that he can crunch on and play with. 

I signed up for two on line art classes this year

and I am enjoying that very much.

The latest is Fodder School 2, a year long class

with wonderful instructors, one new each month.

I've gotten a little behind due to holiday decorating, but 

that's done now, so I'll be paint splattered in no time.

Hope your holidays are shaping up and that everyone is able to spend time
 with family or their chosen loved ones.


Friday, December 2, 2022

December 2

December 17, 2017 
Went to my GP, rushed to hospital -
I was in the emergency room all night.
My life changed.
My health had taken a deep nose dive.
These items I am so grateful for.
For nearly two years I was in this house alone connected to a 
 75' O/2 concentrator. Then 18 months completely alone with Walter during covid.
Last month I was informed I didn't have to see
 pulmonology or cardiology for an entire year!

These meds, daily injections and this portable concentrator
have put me back to almost my old self.
I can now go a lot of places where I still need O/2.
Most importantly I was able to attend Ben's wedding in 2021.

I had to privately buy this 2700.00 baby during covid 
as my local providers had none available.

I sent it in to my insurance and an 18 month battle ensued.
I kept records of all the transactions and timed the long holds and conversations 
and recorded the names of every rep I spoke to.
Phone time was over 40 hours, 
as I received very few promised call backs.
Paperwork and scans were over an inch high.
I spoke to over 25 different reps and several of them multiple times.

Finally as a last ditch effort, I researched my insurer and 
got the names /emails of Board of Directors and the CEO.

I emailed the CEO late on a Thursday in a long detailed explanation of 
why this should be covered.
Friday morning at 8 am I received a call from his aid who promised
a call Monday morning after research.  

That call came - I  told my story.
At the end of the week I received a letter
 with a check enclosed for the amount minus my 

Why is this huge and warrants a #2 on my sorta advent?
That 2700.00 is 4 months income to me.
( lol some of you just did the math) 
why is another LONG story

so these deserve a spot as 2022 saw a HUGE 
improvement in my quality of life.