Saturday, May 31, 2008


Friday afternoons, Kevin and I drive around town delivering documents to our School Board members. One of the neighborhoods is home to a large number of peafowl (Kevin and I just love saying that word!). The neighborhood is very near the arboretum and the peafowl just roam the area at will. Last week we saw a mama peahen and her five babies sauntering across the street -- and, of course, we found ourselves without our camera. Yesterday we did remember to bring the camera with us. No mama and her babies, but plenty of peafowl nonetheless.

'Just a Clock'

My friend Michael has an amazing talent for woodworking. The projects he turns out - be it a redwood deck, an obelisk, or a clock - or anything else in between, are always top quality and beautiful. He just completed a mission style clock as a going away gift for another friend of ours. The craftsmanship is truly amazing. He asked me if I thought she'd like it. The conversation went something like this:

Michael: 'Do you think she'll like it?'
Me: 'Are you kidding me? She'll LOVE it!'
Michael: 'But it's just a clock.'
Me: 'It's not 'just' a clock. In fact, it's a beautiful clock - which is nice in itself. But, the real worth of the gift is the fact that you took your time, used your talent and made the clock with love.'
Michael: (blush) 'Thank you for that.'

The fact is, it's a beautiful, well-made piece of art. He used fine wood and stained it by hand, molded the copper himself , and grooved areas to inlay the Italian glass tiles. Our friend Erika hand painted the numerals on the face.

You tell me: is it 'just a clock'?

(there is a panel that fits in a groove on the back of the clock; it's been removed to show the workmanship inside the clock)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oh for the Love of iPod

I have a new obsession: my nano. Actually I've had it for about 6 months, but I really haven't been able to put it to much use. When Kevin bought it for my birthday, the salesman swore that it would communicate with our Mac. didn't. Our Mac was pretty old and, let's just say there was a generation gap =)

A few weeks ago we bought a new iMac and, viola! It was like magic - they spoke each other's language. The last few weekends I've gone crazy loading songs on this amazing little machine. And don't even get me started on podcasts. It also plays videos but, to date, I've yet to see the need to download any. As for music and podcasts, however, well, they certainly make a somewhat boring task far more enjoyable. Yesterday for instance, I happily ironed everything in my closet that was in need while I sang along with some of my favorite songs - both old (don't you just love Doris Day?!) and new (hello Lifehouse!). Ahhhhh, technology.

I just love toile...

I found two jumpers at the thrift store on Saturday. As clothing, I think they're atrocious, but as raw fabric for a craft project, I think they're great! The fabric is a very soft flannel type fabric - very cozy! (kind of an odd fabric for toile, though...) Anyway, I love the colors (one each of burgundy and fern) and I love the garden themed toile print.

Career Day

Last week we had Career Day at school. Kevin was a guest speaker and spoke with our students about avocations. It was great!! It's the 'okay, now that you've chosen a profession and you're fabulously wealthy, what now? What do you do with the rest of your life?' kind of class. I think it was a great topic to on which to speak. I don't think our students really think about that sort of thing and having this as a Career Day class I think really made them aware. Kevin did a great job (of course!). Thanks, honey, for taking time out of your schedule to share your wit and wisdom with us!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hollywood and Hot Dogs

Just on the verge of summer and that means the Hollywood Bowl season will be starting up again soon. Yay! Looking through the schedule it was difficult to decide on just four concerts to attend, but we finally narrowed it down. Some friends of ours will also be joining us for several of the concerts (hi Bev & Ken!). Last weekend the ticket window opened and we attempted to buy our concert tickets online. Big mistake! By the time the 'convenience fee' and the other handling fees were tacked on to the tickets, the cost of each concert was almost double. We decided not to buy the tickets online.

Instead, we decided to trek down to the Hollywood Bowl ticket office and purchase them directly. What a difference! What should have been $48.00 for four tickets, actually ended up BEING $48.00 for four tickets; not the $72.00 we would have been charged if we'd purchased them online. It's true: you pay a high premium for convenience. Yes, it would have been more convenient to purchase the tickets online, but the jaunt to the Hollywood Bowl didn't take that long - and we made it in to a fun adventure! We decided that, since we were in the neighborhood, we'd also stop at Pink's for hot dogs. YUM!! Let me just say this about that...there are no better chili dogs or kraut dogs in the world. Period.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Birds, Birds Nests and Baby Birds

For several weeks now, Kevin and I have watched a bird fly to an fro in the shrub just outside our kitchen window. We've watched and smiled at the comings and goings, figuring that she had a nest somewhere in that bush. On Sunday we sneaked a peek, and sure enough...not only did she have a nest there, but a baby bird who was just about ready to fly out on it's own! The mama bird was so funny - she didn't stray too far away. We'd find her perched on the roof of the house, or on a wire just above. By Sunday afternoon, she was really watching us like a hawk and was not terribly thrilled with Slippers. Anytime Slippers came outdoors, the bird started to dive-bomb her to make sure that she was staying far away from the shrub. Yesterday it had gotten really bad - the second I would open the sliding glass door, that bird would appear from out of nowhere. She literally chased Slippers back inside the house!

Well today things are much calmer. No insistent chirping, no mama bird sitting at the ready so I thought I'd sneak another peek: no more baby bird! Either late yesterday or early this morning, the baby bird flew away from mother's nest. Mama bird is still in the area - I found her sitting on a wire out in back of the house. I guess baby must still be somewhere around here and mama is keeping an eye out.

Lunch Anyone?

Debbie gave these to me for Christmas a few years ago. I absolutely love them, but rarely use them - mostly because I forget that they're tucked in a cupboard. I just love this set (there are EIGHT in the set!); I can just picture very proper ladies in the 1950's wearing their housecoats and having a bite of lunch on these plates.

I have a newfound resolve: I will use these adorable little luncheon sets on a daily basis. Be it for a light snack or a little lunch, I've decided these luncheon sets will now be seeing their fair share of use.

A little snack... or the perfect lunch...

Beauty in the Kitchen Window

More of dad's garden roses (thanks for picking them, mom!). Aren't they just beautiful?


We've done it! We're just over halfway to our goal for the house! 53.5% to be exact! We're very excited about this. We have both worked really hard at saving money for the house, and reaching over half of the goal before the middle of the year is, we feel, quite an accomplishment.

That's the good news.

The not-so-good news is that Kevin's job at the district will be reduced 60% in July. While it's not something we're thrilled with, we definitely feel it's something we can easily live with. Because we both work in public education, we know that there's always the chance that things like this can happen. It seems to be cyclical -- one year the state is doing extremely well, and the next they're talking budget crisis. You'd think that we'd find a way to strike a happy medium, but that never seems to be the case. Oh well - even with the cut, it's deemed 'temporary', so we know that, when the 'crisis' subsides, Kevin's job will return to normal. In the meantime, he's going to pick up games (he's an umpire in his spare time) here and there to fill in the gaps. In this respect, it's a good thing -- he'll have more time to do something he really loves and will be making money, too!

Even with this small setback, we feel confident that we will still be able to make our goal by year's end. We may have to be a bit more cautious in the spending arena, but that's okay with us -- we've got our eye on the end result...a home of our own!!

Mother's Day Brunch

Well Mother's Day brunch was a hit! The food was delicious, the setting lovely and the company wonderful. We had a fantastic celebration with the family, and I think the moms felt loved and appreciated. At least I hope so! It was kind of a nice change to have the brunch setting indoors. The fire in the fireplace added a nice ambiance, it was nice and cozy. And it was easier to carry on a conversation without all of the outside noises interfering. Kevin was such a wonderful help - what a team we are! Thanks, honey, for all you did; I certainly couldn't have done it without you! I love you very much...but you already know that =)

Here's the menu:

Orange juice, cranberry juice, champagne and coffee
Fresh berries (raspberries, strawberries, boysenberries and blueberries...YUM!)
Banana and buttermilk waffles with real maple syrup or blueberry syrup
Mushroom and artichoke egg casserole
Pancetta and Italian cheese blend egg casserole
Croissants with fresh butter and assorted jams
Baby red-skinned potatoes with onions, red peppers and garlic
Applewood smoked bacon
Assorted yogurts and apple granola

So here are a few pictures of the complete with food.

Mom - Happy Mother's Day. I love you very much. Thank you for everything you do - past, present and future. You always make me feel loved, cared for and special.
Vicky - Happy Mother's Day. I love you very much, too! Thank you for raising such a wonderful son. I feel so fortunate to have both of you in my life.
Deb - Happy Mother's Day. I love you very much and I couldn't ask for a better sister!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Getting Ready for Mother's Day Brunch

Kevin and I have been at it since around 6:00 this morning, the day before our Mother's Day brunch. We try and get as much as possible prepared the day before so the morning of runs a bit smoother. In years past we've had brunch out in the front year under the shade of the avocado tree; however, we've been experiencing a lot of 'May Gray' lately and decided that, due to the chilly, overcast mornings we've been having, we'll hold brunch indoors this year. It's going to be really nice. Kevin will put up a fire and we've set the dining table up close to the fireplace so we'll all be able to enjoy it.

Here are some photos of what we have set up so far.

Here are the vases with their beautiful Mother's Day bouquets...

The buffet (except for the food, of course!)

The table...

And dad's beautiful garden roses which grace the table as the centerpiece...

It looks like we're all set for tomorrow. We'll get up early and get our last minute things done and then ... viola! Just add moms and celebrate!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mother's Day Vases

Every year we host a Mother's Day brunch at our home. We always have a great time and I have fun coming up with different floral arrangements for each of the moms to take home. This year I was inspired by the cover of the current issue of 'All You' magazine. The vases were homemade and very simple to do and I loved the bright colors -- and the flowers that fill them are just a simple -- and just as bright! I decided to use this idea as my template, but did make a few changes along the way. The magazine used old Mason jars as their vases; I bought simple, clear glass vases at the craft store - very inexpensive. Though mine are a bit different, I do like the way they turned out.

Here's the magazine cover that served as the inspiration:

And here are the vases I made.

Now all they need are the gerbera daisies for even more pops of bright color and they'll be all set for gift giving on Sunday.