Monday, November 9, 2009

Vacation in Hawaii

Part 2 - Hawaii
After 3 nights in Lahaina, Maui, we flew over to the big island of Hawaii for the next three nights. We stayed in Waikoloa at the Marriott, where my brother-in-law Elton is a manager, so we got fabulous rates! Plus we got to see Elton!
Now Waikiloa is a rather remote area of coastline about 45 minutes north of Kailua-Kona, but the area is just gorgeous. Marriott has done a beautiful job on the grounds, and the pools are spectacular and very natural-looking, one with a long flowing infinity edge. And you can swim 24/7! At night when the torches are burning it all looks and feels rather magical. We spent our afternoons poolside under a gazebo, swimming and resting, and ordering drinks and food poolside.
And when we felt like it, we'd go check out the alkaline ponds between the hotel and beach, which had all kinds of interesting fish and crabs and eels living in them. The beach is actually a bay called Anaehoomalu, and it is very picturesque, especially at sundown. Palms and sunset are always such a nice combination! And at certain times of the day, sea turtles come in close to the beach to feed, and eventually make their way up onto the sand or lava rock to sun themselves, and sometimes their brood of babies too.
We were originally going to take one day and head south to Kailua-Kona, where I lived for two years, and then on south to Kealakekua and the Place of Refuge, but it was really hot, and we didn't feel like using up so much time in the car when we could spend it with Elton or poolside.
The one thing we did do on the big island was to go up north to Kahua Ranch for a paniolo-style bbq, with fiddle playing, and line dancing, and roping for the kids, and branding, and adult beverages.... And during the drive up to the ranch, the van driver kept up a really good commentary about the history of the area and the ranch itself. The big draw for me to go up there and do this kind of thing, which doesn't really sound like me at all, is the fact that I know the family that owns the ranch; I went to school with the oldest son Tim who was in my class at HPA, and his younger brother John was still in grade school when I saw him last! John is the front man for these weekly events, and he really makes a good one! And his brother Tim came up that evening when he found out that I was there. It was a really fun evening!
And all in all, we really had a great time here too!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Vacation in Hawaii

Part 1 - Maui Before I dive into the splendors of Maui, let me give you a little history on how I have been coping with vacations the past few years. In a word, poorly. I stress so much the day or two before I leave that my gut goes off the deep end. And I could on with symptoms from there, but I won't! Suffice it to say that I don't vacation terribly well, and that really stinks from my point of view. This time I had a new plan! First of all, drugs! Like some mild, short-term relaxant, which I never took. But I had it! I also started packing earlier, started making lists earlier, etc. And it worked! Dale and I had a blast! On Maui, the sun sets behind Molokai. The famous Banyan Tree in Lahaina that takes up the entire city block. So we stayed in Lahaina at a B&B called The Plantation Inn, which was absolutely charming, and we loved it, for many reasons. The decor was done entirely in Island-style Victorian Era, and it was very well-done. The gardens were also beautiful, and you could swim in the pool or lounge in the hot tub 24/7. Lahaina, was also ridiculously hot and humid! Like even the folks that live there were complaining!! So we strolled through Old Lahaina Town (which was only 2 blocks from our B&B) and poked in and out of the shops, and ate Shave Ice, and spent money, and swam at the pool, and took a sunset horseback ride one night, and another night we had a fabulous dinner at Gerard's. Dale snapped this shot of sunset for me on the way down during our sunset ride. Andi riding Jake, wearing the hat big sister Kathy bought me in Maine, to keep me from turning into a crispy critter!

Gerard's is actually attached to the B&B we were staying at in Lahaina, and they do Contemporary French Island Cuisine. And they do it really well! I can honestly say it was the best dinner I have ever had! It's certainly not cheap, but the food was excellent and the presentation was beautiful and artistic, and the portions were fairly decent too. I hope I get to eat there again....

Now we never really left Lahaina, except for the sunset horseback ride. But we were happy as clams, just taking life slowly with no worries at all. We didn't have too much motivation to move in that heat, so we didn't move much. We did however acquire a new piece of artwork for the living room, which will be sent over to us here any day now. This piece was done entirely on a flat sheet of aluminum with a dremel as the artist's tool of choice. It's an amazing technique. The Plantation Inn.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It hapens every August

Well..... this is the entry I wanted to write in late August. And, actually, in a way, I did write it. In my head. It just never journeyed from my head onto paper, as we used to say. August here in the Portland, Oregon area is almost always a gorgeous month. It's warm, even hot, but the nights are getting just a bit cooler. And then one beautiful morning, you walk outside into the sunshine and blue skies and late summer flowers, and there is a definite feel of 'autumn in the air'. That crisp edge to the air that signals that summer is coming to an end. And here in the Pacific NW that means 'grab the sun while you can'! In the eastern part of our country, fall is a glorious and beautiful season. The colors are spectacular, and the weather is sunny and dry, although cool. And this year we have been treated to more than our usual share of that gorgeous weather, and I for one have really been loving it!

Back in the Saddle Again

Literally, that is. And let me tell you how my thighs felt about that after a 30 year hiatus! Definitely not happy, shall we say? For about 10 days or so.....And on I rode, and I'm still riding twice a week right now. And now my thighs don't hurt anymore and I can use them again! And my arm muscles have healed after a 'tug of war' session with a handsome young 4 year old named Houdini, who is green broke (or early into elementary school for you non-horse folks). He's going to be a good boy, eventually. And now that I'm riding again, I'd like to do it regularly. It's a part of my life from the 'before time'. For many years when we lived in Pennsylvania, horses were my passion, a very serious passion. And I even did some riding up at H.P.A. in Kamuela, on the big island of Hawaii, during my last two years of high school. But when I went to college, the riding stopped. And then recently, fortune and my husband intervened to get me back riding again. Bless his ever-lovin' soul! However, at the end of October, Houdini is moving to his permanent home in Jewel, Oregon, which is about an hour from here, toward the coast. So, I obviously need another plan, if I'm going to keep riding on a regular basis. One that will actually fit into my already busy life. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 31, 2009

When the men are away, the gal does play!

I've been having the most glorious summer vacation since August 20th. All of my men have been in Hawaii, and I have been deliciously alone, alone, alone! Except for our 3 cats and 2 dogs.
This year I've been in the mood for landscaping, not art. I'm in one of my rejuvenation periods, which means no art, because my artistic side is tired. And the yard was really primed for me to get in and finish off some projects. Cody and his friends have been yearning for money all summer, so I put them to work in the yard, doing all of my tendon-killing projects that would take me years to do, and only takes them hours to do. So, I was able to spray all of the new flagstone that we laid in my favorite new spot in the yard, with a color enhancer/sealant, and it really looks great now. Then I went on to our little Japanse garden. First I dug up and relocated two azaleas; one was doing poorly and the other was being buried underneath some overzealous groundcover. Then I had the big, strong 18 year old next door move a couple of potted plants for me. Next on my list was acquiring a quantity of polished black Mexican rock for our little Japanese garden in the side-yard. I talked a buddy into going with me for that one. And we oohed and aahed at all of the gorgeous rock before we loaded up with 250 pounds of polished black Mexican rock, which now looks spectacular in our Japanese garden, and should save me from doing a lot of weeding in that area.
This past weekend was Airshow weekend here, and although the weather on Friday and Saturday was less than ideal, yesterday the skies cleared up and they had nothing but blue skies and perfect conditions. So I was out in our cul-de-sac with my cameara, and here are the shots I got.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's ridiculously hot in the Pacific Northwest

OK, so the temperature was down to 104 degrees in my backyard today, in the shade, under the filbert tree, near our little pond and waterfall. (My Mom swears that everything important happens under 'the famous filbert tree', and she isn't too far off the mark.) Now, if you really stop and think about it, that's an absolutely ridiculous statement for someone to make if they live here in the beautiful Pacific NW. We haven't had a heatwave like this since before my oldest son, Dan, was born, and he's 25 now and all grown up! Crazy! So, I'm pulling out all of my salad recipes, and always on the lookout for more. This night, I wanted to make a salad with beef, maybe Thai-oriented. I searched the internet, and got some ideas, but not a solid recipe that really spoke to me. So, I went shopping, and winged it. Now, I'm really liking the way this salad turned out, so I thought I would share. It's healthy, has interesting flavor combos going on, and even satisfies the meat eaters out there. I'm not going to get exact on proportions here, because I really just did what looked right for the folks I was feeding.

Andi's Steak Salad

1/4 lb beef top loin steak per person

grill seasoning

1 bag of iceburg lettuce mix with carrots and red cabbage

some fresh spinach, thinly slice

fresh cilantro, chopped (unless you hate it, and then use flat-leaf parsley)

bell pepper, preferably red or yellow, chopped

cucumber, peeled and chopped

bean sprouts

salad dressings of your choice

Assemble the greens in a big bowl as follows. First, put a generous amount of iceberg lettuce mix in the salad bowl. Then add the spinach, cilantro or flat-leaf parsely, bell pepper, cucumber, and bean sprouts. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until your're ready to serve.

The steak can be bbq'd, broiled, or pan-fried. Cook it to about medium rare and season with grill seasoning. Let the steak cool and rest. You don't want to slice it until it's close to room temp or the juices will all run out. Slice the steak very thinly on a platter of its own.

Each person can assemble their own salad: first greens, then meat, then dressing. I served this salad with some good crusty Italian bread.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New items for sale at my Etsy shop!

Well folks, I finally got around to accomplishing something on my 'Artistic To Do List'. I have opened a new section in my shop for handcrafted greeting cards and notecards. Today I listed three sets of Thank you cards, very reasonably-priced I might add, for the budget-minded shopper. I plan on adding more cards to the shop this coming week, including some for baby congrats, love, friendship, and even Christmas cards. Some of these cards will be accented with my hand-done embellishments, for a more artistic look, and a slightly higher price tag of course!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Maine 2009

You can see just how bad the weather was in these photos. The rain had actually stopped, and it was just foggy. So foggy that even the lobster boats weren't going out! This year I took my Maine trip early. Usually I go in late September or early October, when the kids are back in school and the tourists are gone, just before everything closes up for the long, cold winter and I can see some gorgeous fall color and eat lobster. But this year, I wanted to take Cody, my youngest son. He doesn't remember my Mom and Walter, or my sister Kathy, and he'd never even met Kathy's husband Stan. My husband Dale has been to Maine, and even Cody's older brother Dan has been to Maine. And Dan does remember my family. And I love Maine, for many reasons! Cody was feeling a bit left out, and I really wanted him to have some good memories of family back there, especially since Mom and Walter are in their early 90s now. And it gave us a chance to do something together, just the two of us. An adult-type trip. We flew into Rockland airport in a tiny Cessna that holds 9 passengers and the pilot. It was cloudy, of course, so we couldn't see all of the islands that can make this a wonderful flight. But, it wasn't windy or bumpy either, so at least the flight was smooth. And boy, this was one small airplane! And Rockland airport has no control tower; all landings are visual only. The first few nights we stayed at my favorite B&B, Ripples Inn at the Harbor, with my friend Sandi Dillon, who owns and runs Ripples. I love staying there and I love Sandi. It really is like being at home, only much better! You can literally walk into town from there, and you're only a block from the waterfront. Every night after dinner, Cody and I took a walk down along the docks and the waterfront. Then we headed to my sister Kathy's in nearby Owlshead. She and Stan live right on the water, in a gorgeous craftsman house that they had built for them. They're very isolated, and I love their place too! They are between two lighthouses, Rockland and Owlshead, and you could hear the foghorns talking to each other, non-stop, the whole time we were there. The Owlshead lighthouse. Rain or not, we did have a good time. Cody taught my Mom a new card game, which she was thrilled about, because Mom loves to play cards. My sister Kathy and I checked out the new Jamie Wyeth exhibit at the Farnsworth Museum, 'The Seven Deadly Sins'. Kathy and I always go to the Farnsworth and check out the latest Wyeth exhibit. Cody got to watch his Aunt Kathy get rid of a red squirrel one morning after breakfast, in her pjs and bathrobe, and Cody was really quite impressed! (We'll just leave that description right there!) Cody played pool with his Uncle Stan and they watched baseball together and talked sports. Walter amazed Cody with his imitation/comedy Hawaiian 'chanting'. And I had a great time with my family and at Ripples with Sandi. Did I mention how much I truly love Sandi and her B&B? We weren't in the place 5 minutes, and Cody said to me,"I can see why you two are such good friends!" Thus end my epistles of Maine. Who's coming with me next year? It may be a 'Girls' Trip'. Unfortunately, the northeastern part of this country had record-breaking rainfall in June this year. And boy did they! It rained like hell most of the time we were there, which changed some of our plans, but at least we live here in the rainy Pacific NW and not Arizona or some other horrid desert climate, so Cody and I weren't really bothered by the rain too much. My sister Kathy was not a happy camper!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Upon consideration of a shorter viewpoint

When I started this blog, I envisioned afternoons of bliss and wine, happily writing away, putting my thoughts on paper. Obviously, reality has been very different! Would that my thoughts could instantaneously be transformed into written words. I would have published volumes by now! So, as many of you know, I have a very big dog, a mastiff named Shadow, and a very small dog, who is fuzzy and white with Maltese ears and tail, and his name is Stuie, short for Stuart Little. Stuie chose us; not the other way around. And now I am in the process of trying to understand how he thinks, so I can train him. Training Shadow was much easier in some ways, because Shadow very obviously tries to understand what I want; he is very in tune with me. Stuie on the other hand, just looks rather clueless and cute. But that nasty high-pitched squeal that little dogs do, that has gotta go! Now, I have been reading a book I got for Christmas, "Animals in Translation" by Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson. It's an amazing read, and I highly recommend it. It has gotten me to try and think about things from Stuie's point of view, literally. So, I've actually gotten down onto the floor and looked at the world from his vantage point. And I can tell you, the world looks pretty scary from down there. You really have no idea what's going on. I might be yapping my fool head off too if that's what I was seeing! The boy needs a stool; that's all there is too it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Recent Jewelry Productions

I have discovered recently that the path of an artist in the throes of a design dilemma is not a straight one. I'm working on the beaded collar that I'm hoping to enter into competition this year. I have the 'centerpiece' of the design done, I think. Unless I get too picky and rip a part of it out again and redo it better. Now I'm working on the supporting designs. And after a few attempts at a flower design, I ripped out all traces of the flower and went for paisley instead. Then I looked at it, and thought to myself, "Almost!" And I ripped it out again, one last time, and redid the paisley with a bit of a tweak. And I liked it so much, I'm almost done with the corresponding one on the other side of the collar!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Disaster Averted! (for a price)

Just about the worst thing that could happen to me computer-wise happened. My relatively new hard-drive went, shall we say delicately, feet up, deader than a door nail, mechanically non-functional, and impossible for my guru Dave to do anything with at all. Oh, and did I mention that I hadn't backed up anything since 2006? Which professionally speaking wasn't too bad, although I did lose a couple of great newer shots. (A lot of my pro stuff was backed up onto CDs.) However, most of the family photos were gone. And then I realized how much of Cody's sports I'd lost, and animal photos of pets no longer with us, etc, etc etc I collapsed into a pile of mush on the couch, and cried and cried and cried and ...Well, you get the ugly picture. And to my rescue, my hubby came roaring in on his white charger. He had a plan! There was hope! I calmed down. First, the hard-drive went to a local guy that does data recovery, one of these twenty-something whizz kids. It was a no-go with him too, but he had another plan as well. He sent the hard-drive off to a clean room in Milwaukie, Wisconsin; we don't have any here in Oregon for data recovery. I was in luck, because my problem was entirely a mechanical failure, with no data corruption of any kind. Sooo.... for a fee, a rather large fee, I got all of my photos back. And at less than $1 per photo, I'm very grateful to have all of our memories back!

And backed up!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Recent Jewelry Productions

After somewhat of an artistic dead period, I am back to beading. I am currently working on a piece destined for the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads contest next year, I hope. I've picked out and redone more on this piece than my other pieces combined! And of course it's already heading into a different direction than I had sort of half envisioned my head. The colors are similar to the ones I used for my own demo model, some of them at any rate. An iridescent blue iris is the focal color, and it's what I started with and pulled my other colors from. As for more details or a photo glimpse, I'm keeping that under wraps for now. (So Christy, you'll have to come down here to see it!) During what I call my recent dead period, I did work on a bunch of special birthday cards, thinking of you cards, and Mother's Days cards, some of which still need finishing for upcoming May events. (Like my oldest son, Dan, will be 25 on 5-2!) I don't know what it is about 'playing with paper' that I find so relaxing and addicting, but I have my good friend Christy to thank for turning me onto this one! My younger son just turned 14, and I made him the most deluxe hand-done Bronco emblem for the card front that I could envision. started by embossing the horse on heavy white parchment (a heavy vellum). I then colored the horse with oil pencils on the reverse side, in orange and blue, exactly like the current logo, and mounted it on blue paper, and framed it with orange. And it was a big hit! On Tuesday, May 2nd, Hillsboro, Oregon is having an Artwalk from 6-8 pm, and I will be joining the event this time. Each artist is matched with a particular store, and I will be in the toy store. This will give me an opportunity to sell my smaller items like cards and earrings, and even some small photos perhaps. With Mother's Day coming up, perhaps some of my Mother's Day cards and heart earrings will sell. It will also give me an opportunity to hand out my 'artist cards'. They're bigger than a business card, and they give folks my Etsy store and blog addresses, only, with a piece of my Copper Collection jewelry as a very light background behind the text. I hope to see all of you locals at the May Artwalk in Hillsboro!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I've got new flowers!

I'm so excited I could just bust! Last year I planted two bleeding hearts in the back yard, one a dwarf variety, the other is the classic one that we're all familiar with. I planted them under what my Mom now calls "the famous filbert tree". The dwarf guy is under a rhodie, next to a Japanese lantern to the left of our waterfall and pond. The big guy is to the right of the pond, near a huge fern, a Japanese gong, and surrounded by lots of astilbe. And as I looked outside just a few moments ago, I spied what my wacky eyes thought might be flower buds. So I raced outside, wearing my inside-only slippers, and sure enough the big guy is loaded with buds. Then I went and checked the little guy. He has more foliage right now, but fewer flower buds. And the little guy has much lacier and more delicate foliage. And I'm just excited that they made it through their first winter so gracefully, especially since it was such a long cold one! They will make wonderful additions to my shady back yard landscape, under my almost famous filbert tree

Monday, April 13, 2009

Palm Sunday at Henry Hagg Lake with the dogs

Palm Sunday here was just gorgeous; it was sunny and warm, and the sky was blue, blue, blue. So my hubby and I decided to take Shadow and Stuie to nearby dog-friendly Henry Hagg Lake. It had been ages since we took the boys out anywhere, so we packed them into the truck, stopped at Subway for sandwiches on our way out of civilization, and off we went. The walk from the truck through the woods and down to the 14 mile long path around the lake was so pretty with the wild flowers in bloom everywhere. Dainty bits of yellow, purple and white decorated the forest floor.

When we got to the path with the dogs, Stuie jumped into the lead and headed out at warp speed, simply following his nose. The little guy pays almost no attention to where he's going; he's a total ditz brain in that regard. I think he would have gone on forever, but Shadow and I have to be realistic about how much our arthritic joints can take. After the walk, we settled in at a picnic table in dappled shade at the edge of the woods, with a great view of the lake. The dogs had their bones, we had our subs, we spread out blankies on the ground... Every once in a while a group would start to settle in at a nearby picnic table, and then they would get a good look at Shadow, and next thing you know they'd be gone!

Henry Hagg Lake is stocked with fish, so a lot of folks go there to just to fish, either at the edge of the lake, or out on the lake. Half of the lake is a 'no wake zone' for the fishermen, and the other half of the lake is for jet skis, motor boats, water skiing, and other noisy water sports. It was really nice just sitting in the sun with the dogs, watching folks out on the lake. We even had a good view of the loading dock, and it's amazing how fast an experienced boater can load his boat onto the trailer.

This park can get crazy busy in the summer, but at this time of year, it was only moderately busy. We'll have to get back there again soon with the dogs!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring in Aloha, Oregon

These are a few garden shots from my yard right now. From left to right: the Hellebore are out back under a big old rhodie, the mini yellow daffodils with a couple of remaining purple crocus are near the upper end of the waterfall into our pond out back under the famous filbert tree, and the pot of bright spring bulbs by the lamp is on the walkway up to our front door. Spring is rather delayed here this year because we had such a long cold winter with lots of snow, and rather late into the season too. In other words, real winter! (And Dale and I loved every minute of it!) Sooo, the bloom cycle is all happening rather later than usual, but each day brings new wonder in my gardens. The daffodils open a bit more, the crocus fade a bit more, the columbine is coming up, as are my bleeding hearts, the forsythia is blooming, the huge old daphne by the front door smells spectacular and is just passing the best of its bloom. This past week I was at the Portland Japanese Gardens, (where I am now a Photographer Member) hoping that a particular bush was in full bloom, so that I could work on trying to create another one of my bizarre reflections shots. And I was rewarded with near perfect conditions and an almost empty garden. Several of the shots show promise, so I'm a happy camper! Especially since the weather should be rather gross and Oregon-like for the next week or so. Not great for photography. I'll have to settle for watching the flowers and birds in my own yard, which really isn't so bad.... The dogs are loving the sunny weather when we get it, and they search out the sunny spots in the house to lie down in. Shadow particularly loves to go park himself outside in the cul-de-sac near the end of our driveway. He gets dappled sunlight there from our huge maple, and it's a great place from which to guard his turf and watch all of the comings and goings in the area. I can put him on a 'down, stay' and know that he'll be there when next I check on him, or at a door whining to come in. The rufous hummers have started arriving, so our Anna's hummers will soon be heading for the coast. And all three of our hummer feeders are seeing a lot action these days. Food fight! They don't share very well. Several days ago I saw the most bizarre thing at our front yard hummer feeder. An Anna's was eating, with its back to me, so I couldn't sex the little bugger. Then a big male Anna's came driving in and they both tumbled to the ground in my garden, and just sat there, on the ground, not moving, just facing off, like Dr. Seuss' north going zax and south going zax. Why, I spy the sun! Right outside in my very own yard! I think I shall go stand in it while I still can!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Recent Jewelry Productions

This is the beginning of another beaded collar, true white this time, rather than the ivory color I used last time. Perhaps I'll call it White Wedding 1. The flowers are made from white oval cat's eye cabochons, with round Swarovski crystals in the center. The center crystals and the second row of edging beads around the flowers have an AB finish (aurora borealis that is) to add just a touch of color and sparkle and pizzazz to the piece, without overdoing it. The background will be entirely done in a different white bead that is semi-opaque and visually very different from the beads used in the flowers, leaves, and vines. I want the background to support and enhance the overall design without being a distraction. This is going to be a challenging piece to get a good photo of, so I guess it will be a learning opportunity for my photography as well!
I'm also working on another piece for the Copper Collection. This one is a heart, and I'm not sure if it will end up being another brooch/pin, or the center of a necklace. And since a friend of mine mentioned that she wasn't crazy about the contrast of the white background showing through (as in the original brooch), I dyed this piece of backing with coffee, to tone down the white. I see advantages to both background colors, so I guess I'll just keep taking a survey of how many folks like one and how many the other.
And then I decided I should enter the next Fire Mountain Gems (my favorite online bead shop by far!)beading contest, and perhaps the "Bead and Button" magazine contest as well. It would be good exposure if I do well. And, I do know of other Etsy beading artists that have entered these competitions, because I've drooled over their work before! They're the ones that got me intrigued enough to try my own hand at these extensively beaded creations. So, it's time for me to jump in to the pool and see if I can keep up with the big kids!
I'll have photos soon of these newer projects for you to check out. And now I'm going back to White Wedding 1.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Cat Eats Oatmeal

So there I was about 8 a.m. this morning, in my spot on the couch, with my heating pad and blankie, eye drops in, and of course, my coffee. And there was my husband, eating his daily oatmeal with dried blueberries and cranberries. The dogs were looking on eagerly, waiting for the last little bit, which they knew would come their way. And recently, our fuzzy, gray, part Persian cat, Smokey, has been showing signs of interest in that oatmeal. Now, you can't really take a cat's interest in oatmeal too seriously if you ask me. Can you? But what do I know? My husband offered him the 'sauce' in the bottom of his bowl and Smokey lapped it up with gusto! Then my husband offered him the spoon, which still had a few bits of oats on it, and he ate that too! Go figure............ Now, Smokey is not our only cat with bizarre food tastes. Delilah, my younger son's calico cat, won't eat anything except her regular old dry Purina Cat Chow. We've tried all kinds of other foods, those meant for animal consumption and those meant for human consumption. And until recently, the only other food she had eaten except for her regular stuff, was pumpkin bread. And she truly porked out on the pumpkin bread that Thanksgiving; this was no one-time occurrence! And then last week I offered her one of my homemade Snickerdoodle cookies. She sniffed the cookie, and then proceeded to take the largest, most unladylike bites off of my cookie that I have ever seen! As she was literally gulping it down as fast as possible, it occurred to me that perhaps her little cat tummy might have had enough. And I yanked it away from her while there was still some cookie left! And then there is our third beastie kitty, Delilah's brother Samson. Samson is really 'into' the meat in Taco Bell tacos. And he expects his fair share when the humans are done eating, and it's time for the dog to get their treats. (OK, he thinks he thinks he's a dog....) And if you forget to save him some, then you get his ultimate display of dissatisfaction. He sits on top of the refrigerator and glares at you with the most obvious F_ _ _ YOU look I've ever seen on a cat's face! And if you understand that one, clue me in too!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Stinking Squirrel!

Today was one of those gorgeous days when I know exactly why I live here in Oregon. It was sunny and warm, blue skies... the perfect day to do some more late winter garden clean-up. I dead-headed my Autumn Joy Sedum and Lacecap Hydrangea, gave some dwarf pines a gentle haircut, cleaned up the heuchera.... In a word, heaven! Then later on in the afternoon, as I was puttering around the house, I noticed our cat Samson moving like he was watching something and ready to pounce. I looked out back and spied a squirrel, who was in the process of grabbing a flower off my Hellebore, and beginning to eat the delicacy! I was totally flabergasted. I'm sure I had steam coming out my ears. Now, I've seen squirrels eat my tulip bulbs shortly after being planted, but the first flowers of the year? I think not! That was when I hollered, "Stuie! Want to go chase a squirrel?" And like a bat out of hell, there Stuie was, raring to go after that stinkin' squirrel. And the squirrel then proceeded to run like crazy, up the Filbert tree, with my Hellebore flower in his mouth! All I can say is, "STINKIN" SQUIRREL!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Recent Jewelry Productions

I had so many photos of my recent jewely, that I decided to play around with Picasa's collage function to see what that would do. It's actually very versatile and user-friendly for those of you out there who might want to play around with it sometime. In the above collage is a picture of my first beaded collar(center left) without the clasp. Then you have pieces in my new Copper Collection, as well as my second beaded collar, done entirely in ivory-colored beads. I'm thinking this might make a nice wedding piece. So, how many hours did I spend sewing little, bitty ivory-colored beads and fresh water rice pearls around the mother of pearl cabochons? At least 300 hours !!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


As I sat staring at my blog photo, wondering where to begin, it suddenly came to me. The big dog sitting beside me might be a good place! That is my buddy Shadow, Cedarhollow's Moon Shadow to be exact. He is an 8 1/2 year old brindle mastiff. He stands about 34 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 160 pounds, which actually makes him a rather skinny mastiff, honest. But oh, he is one wonderful boy: smart, well-trained (honest), beautiful disposition, loves people, makes a great early-warning system and doorbell, fetches you when the timer on the kitchen stove goes off or the teapot whistles, chases 'ugly birds' aka starlings, is the chief of our household 'cat police squad' and loves to chase 'bad kitties', sheds one hair at a time all of the time, slimes up everything pretty nicely so we have white towels all over the house to use as 'slobber rags'..... But he'll do darn near anything I ask of him, including standing still while I grab onto him to haul myself out of the bean patch, which I fell into butt first, or simply standing by my side looking mean and ugly at whomever is going door to door on our cul-de-sac. I love it when folks just stop, wave, and go on to the next house...

Our other dog is a 17 pound, fuzzy, white 'designer dog' named Stuie, which is short for Stuart Little. He adopted us almost three years ago, shortly after my father died. He was my 'solace dog'; the only thing that could make me smile at that point in time. He literally showed up on our doorstep and wouldn't leave, and believe me I tried! I like big dogs; I grew up with horses; I have cats bigger than he is! And now I love small dogs too!

Sometime I will tell you all about our trio of cats: Samson, Delilah, and Smokey.

Keep on keepin' on!