My favorite folks ! :)

31 March 2009

"My Life in Pictures"

Something new.

Something on my table.

I found this photo challenge thru JoeyBelle @ Brilliant Brunette. Go on over & check out her pics. But it came from Everything Except the Grill.

This is the schedule (this week?): Monday, Something New. Tuesday, Something on your table. Wednesday, The view from your front door. Thursday, Something you do each day. Friday, Something old.

Now, i missed the first day. Saw JoeyBelle's pics, but didn't understand. (I also realized after i took pics of plants she did the same.) Maybe i've a better handle on it now.

I missed Monday, so included it here. Technically these plants aren't new. They are bulbs that recur every year. I was so surprised to find them last year, because they are entirely hidden by the deck. If you aren't standing in the right place in the back yard, you'd never see them. Who planted them there? I planned to move them last year, but i don't know much about bulbs. Will have to read on it this year, & move them. (When i thought about it last fall, i didn't know quite where they were, no sign of them by fall.)

But they are newly coming up!

Also, the "on my table" isn't actually a table. It is a small, portable island in the kitchen. But i tend to consider any horizontal flat surface in my house a "table." I'm quite proud of this aloe vera plant. I am green-thumb challenged. On a few things i do well, others i kill immediately, or slowly & painfully. So the fact that this has grown well & is healthy (it wasn't looking so good last summer; i had it outdoors & it just gets too cold out there at night) is a triumph for me. (I take no credit for the first pic, it comes up naturally with only help from the winter snows!


30 March 2009

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Duane likes coffee cake. I didn't feel like making the regular apple one.

I am not the Pioneer Woman. I don't take pics of every step as i go!

This is the recipe i found on Cooks Dot Com:

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake


2 1/3 C all-purpose flour
1 to 1 1/3 C sugar
3/4 C milk
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 C butter
1 tsp vanilla

1 C fresh OR frozen blueberries

To make batter, combine flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl; cut in butter as for pie crust. Reserve 1 cup of mixture. Add baking powder, milk, eggs and vanilla to larger portion of dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl constantly. Pour evenly in greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over batter.


1 C Ricotta cheese
2 TB sugar
1 egg
1 TB grated lemon peel

Blend cheese, egg, sugar and lemon peel until smooth; spoon evenly over blueberries.


1 C reserve crumbs
1/2 C chopped nuts (finely chopped almonds work well)
1/3 C brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Make topping by mixing reserved crumbs, nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over cheese layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60
minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting. Yield: 20 servings.

Now, Duane says i can't make anything the way the recipe calls for. (He's right, of course.)

First, i cut all the ingredients in half because the 20 servings worried me. (There are only 2 of us.) I've never worried about the 1/2 egg, either. Any recipe i've ever used seems fine with a whole egg when i cut the recipe.

Second, of course i made it gluten-free. I pre-mix a blend of flours. They are Bob's Redmill Gluten-free Mix (which is mostly bean flours, but some others as well), quinoa (these first two are the primary), then amarath, sorghum, tapioca, sweet rice, brown rice, white rice, corn, oat. I also use nut flours - almond or hazelnut, coconut flour, but not in the mix, & buckwheat. The first two i don't add to the mix because of their high fat content they are more likely to go bad. I add them as part of the total flour when mixing up a recipe. Buckwheat makes a dark flour, so i don't add it in the mix in case i want a white flour. My mix of flours works well. I've used it in pancakes, brownies, & cookies & never had anyone realize the wheat was missing. Cakes are different challenge, but things like coffee cake with a lot of flavor turn out well.

For this recipe i used about 3/4 C of the mix, & about 1/8 C each of almond meal & coconut flour.

Then i used a little bit of coconut oil (cold, so it was solid) with the butter when i cut it in. I've never been fond of cutting as for making pies. I started doing it by hand but soon lost patience. Thank goodness for a food processor!

I also only had sour milk on hand, so i added about between 1/8 & 1/4 tsp of baking soda.

Didn't mix it as long as the recipe recommended, & did it by hand - no problem.

Used the wild organic frozen blueberries i had on hand.

I didn't have Ricotta, so i used cream cheese. (It was probably a little more runny than the recipe would have been, due to the whole egg.)

On the topping, i didn't used chopped nuts, but i had some hemp hearts on hand, i added them in.

Baked for 55 minutes - largely because when i went downstairs to check it i found the cats had pushed the screen door open & had gotten out. Comedy of errors while we chased them, but 55 minutes seemed perfect.

Oh, & i think the 20 servings was an exageration. My little pyrex dish is almost half the size of a 9x13 pan, & i think we'll get 6 servings out of it. To get 10 servings would make them very small. These are roughly 3 inches x 3 inches.

Duane likes it!!! That is the triumph. So many things i make he doesn't care for.

Case closed. :)


Post on Soaps

No, not Palmolive or Jergins or Tide! (None of which i use, by the way.)

Rosemary made a comment on a soap, & i was curious. She satisfied my curiosity, but it made me think. I never watched "The Bold & the Beautiful."

My mother, when i was growing up, hated soaps. I learned later that was because she began to identify with the characters & when they had a bad day, she was depressed. Rather than say, "This doesn't work for me," my mother went to a global "soaps are evil."

As a digression, she really, really thought the old soap "Dark Shadows" written directly by Satan himself. As i said before, i have watched similar contemporary things, "Charmed," "Supernatural," etc. I don't see them as something that will corrupt me - my mother's fears of such things - but i do see them as reflecting the current world view of so many. In that there is the desire to be something apart from God. The idea the people can fight evil, especially demons, etc., apart from God is just absurd (implausible, ludicrous, ridiculous, nonsensical, unbelievable, laughable, beyond all reason - you get the picture).

Back to the topic.

At age 18 i had never watched any soaps. In high school, however, some of the other kids did watch them, & they would go to a nearby home during study hall to watch the shows. I was amused to hear them talk about the characters because it sounded like they were talking about real people! (We didn't watch much TV in my home growing up.)

When i was 18 i was a nanny for a family when the boy was 3 months old. His mama came home from work every day to watch "All My Children." So i got caught up in the story line. Eventually this spread to two others that followed, & the one previous as well. So i was inundated by these things for a while. I worked for that family for 2 years. I continued to watch the soaps for a couple of years after that. I think what stopped me was when they killed off one of my favorite characters. (She & her fiance overcame all obstacles & had just been married. All indications were that they would be happily married & thus, from soap point of view, no story left. So they had her killed.)

I did not have the same experience as my mother (depression over the story line), tho sometimes i was angry at where the story line took them. The soaps were actually good for me.

You see, from a child i somehow had a "do over" mentality. My childhood was not very happy, & somehow in my mind i had the idea that someday w
e would go back & "fix it." I don't really know where i came up with the idea, maybe a fantasy that it would all be fixed & come out lovely & rosy. I believed that i would relive my childhood, & my mother would be warm & loving; i would have good friends at school, & i wouldn't hurt inside.

Soap operas helped me step more firmly into reality. They helped me eliminate the "do over" ideas i'd had. Some of the plots & story lines were unrealistic. (To say the least!!! General Hospital had some device that a mob family was using to try to control the world by controlling the weather - it was snowing all summer long during that story!) But most of the stories were people plugging along every day. Oh, their lives were more dramatic than most folks i know, but they kept going forward in time. They had consequenses for behaviors & they never got to go back & "do over" (tho i know some would create a "dream sequence" where what had happened didn't actually). I think after watching these folks on & on for 3-4 years, i finally realized that life doesn't have "do overs." And when they killed my favorite character, i waited for the "oops, that was a mistake. She's not really dead."
When it didn't happen i got mad & stopped watching, but i had a more realistic view of life.

I bet few people feel a soap opera helped them to see life more
as more real!

Goodness! I can blather on. It would be fun to hear if others watch/watched soaps & what their response was.

Oh, one final comment. Years ago, while i was in college, i had a roommate who was really attached to her soap opera. I think it was Days of Our Lives. She wouldn't let anything interfere with her watching it (she did record it to watch later). At one point when we were talking about it, she said, "I've had friends that come & go in my life. No one to count on. But 'Days of Our Lives' is always there." I thought that an apt, but extremely sad commentary.

I've a coffee cake coming out of the oven in a few minutes. I'll probably blog about that too. Hope y'all are having a nice day. (Come by for some tea & coffee cake.)


28 March 2009

Not much, this 'n that

Often, in the mountains, there are days when the sky seems impossibly blue. Yesterday was one of those days, & we have one again today. We have a tiny amount of snow still in the back yard, in the shadow of the neighbor's house. But today the high is suppose to be near 60 F. Low last night was 23F.

I'd been wanting to post "Sugarbear in the early Spring" pics, but the only ones i had were from when we bought the house (just over a year ago) when the house was still blue. So i went out this AM to take pics. These don't show how deep blue the sky is because i was looking toward the sun.

I need to get out & finish painting the trim soon. We only got some of it done before it was too cold last fall. I was also disappointed to find that some of the paint hasn't weathered as well as i hoped, but that's ok, i'll be painting anyway.

(My connection is driving me nuts today. None of the pics want to go where i want them, & the connection is slow. It has to stop & "think" for several seconds every time i as it to do something.)

In the first pic, my apple tree on the left hand side. The peaches are on the left, but you can barely see them. This last pic is of one of my tiny, scraggly lilac bushes. The other one is just slightly bigger at the other corner of our property. This isn't very clear, (it will enlarge if you click on it) but winter was very hard on these. About 1/3rd of the branches is broken. On the other hand, the evergreen bushes (in the top pic behind the apple but hardly noticed) were much compressed by the snow, but seem to have bounced back with no problem.

Duane is down the hill today, which is fine, except he was coming down with a cold. I'd been giving him fairly high doses of vitamin D along with other herbals, & it might have been helping some. Also foods like tangerines, & pumpkin seeds, & banana. I hope he's ok. I told him i could go to drive, but he thought he'd be fine. And so he was, sitting down. But when he gets up he begins to feel unwell again. He said, fortunately, most of his duty today would be sitting, not running around a lot. And he did tell the others he was ill. That sounds good, but i know Duane & he will drive himself hard. So, send up your prayers for his safety. He plans to come home tonight.

Fortunately for us, my office is closed on Monday. That didn't necessarily mean I was closed, but with no one to answer phones & no one scheduled, i wasn't going to be getting work. So we plan to stay home, & if either of us is ill, stay home for the week.

No baby for us this month.


A few of the bloggers are recommending "Blitz Friday." It is where you dedicate an hour to working on a section of the home to get it looing really good. I didn't "blitz" on Friday, but i did this AM. Working on the kitchen. I didn't take before & after pics as someone did. For two reasons, one i would be too embarrassed of the "before" & secondly, i forgot until i was quite a way into it. I worked for 55 minutes before getting overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed happens to me a lot when working on the house. I got one corner well cleaned & quite a few of the waiting dishes done before i called a break. I plan to spend another hour on it again. Also more laundry, more making water (we use a distiller), & grocery shopping. This last one was a mistake. When you live in a resort town, grocery shopping on the weekend is a No-no. The ones who plan well do their shopping Thursday or before. I didn't plan so well this weekend. So i need to do in town things. In fact, my list of things to do is so long it could take all week!

Hope y'all are having a nice day.


26 March 2009

Expense avoided

Got in the shower this AM. The tub didn't drain. (On a positive note, when i was finished, it wasn't very full. Combination of low flow shower heads & short showers - good!)

I worried about the expense of having a plumber, & wondered how that - now - after most of the cold weather is past that our pipes freeze. And would the washer drain???

So i mentioned it to Duane who asked how it could not drain at all? Was the dr
ain open?

"Of course," i said but went to check it. The little tongue-thingy was down, but w
hen i pressed it it dropped about 1/4 cm, & started draining. !!! Who would believe that such a small thing made such a big difference.

I'm very thankful it is ok, it is not frozen, we don't need a plumber.

Some of my rose bush stems are starting to green. (My MIL in OC has hers in full bloom. Also lots of tangerines & lemons.) I can see the buds beginning to form at the end of the peach tree limbs. In town some of the lilacs are starting to form the base buds. I think it will be a month or more before they begin to bloom. My own lilacs are sad little things. The heavy winter snows broke many of their little
branches. It is going to be a long time before i have true bushes & not ankle high shrubs. The tulips have begun to push up.

Jeanet's tangerine tree.

Lilacs (not mine) two years ago.

Duane will be down the hill again Friday night. He will leave tomorrow afternoon & come back Saturday night. His karate dojo has a tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center. It is across the street from Disneyland. He's doing a power-point presentation/set up for part of it. But he feels like he's "coming down" with something. Not good. I've dosed him with vitamin D & some other things. Hoping that will fight it off for him.

Mac was a rescue kitty. He was heavily matted when they brought him in, &
they did a "lion cut" shave on him. We don't know his parentage, of course, but strongly suspect he has a lot of Maine Coon. But he does mat, & he hates being brushed. He loves being held (if we are walking around) & petted (on his head & neck) but doesn't tolerate being petted on his back or tummy. He cries as if it hurts him somehow.

He also hates scissors. I mean seriously. He is so sensitized that hearing the "snick" of the scissors opening or closing wakes him up & he starts pawing & biting them.

We managed to get another lion cut on him, because of the mats the second year we had him. But last year when we tried the groomer said he "tried to eat" her. He is generally a well behaved kitty. However, at times we have had behavior problems with him. Being aware of what triggers him has helped alot.

We bought the most inexpensive shaver/groomer we could find, & gave him a sedative, but it didn't go very well. I've read since that some sedatives can make them more aggressive. We did ok, & got most of the lumps off of him. However, toward the end he was really fighting us. The truth is, if he should really need a serious grooming again, we'd probably have to take him to the vet to be anesthetized.

Each year it has been my plan to brush him regularly to avoid this, but he so hates to be brushed.

Earlier today i was working on a couple of mats on Jazz. (We do know his parentage - Turkish Angora. He doesn't mat as badly, and he likes to be brushed, so i've really no excuse.) Mac was lying next to Jazz, but i wasn't working on Mac, so he tolerated it better than i've ever seen. I also got a couple of little ones off Mac. Now, for the past 3 hours Mac has been sitting next to me. I have been working milimeter by milimeter on a thick mat on the side of his tummy. He lets me do it for half a minute or so before biting. Then i put down the scissors, & 10 minutes or so later i clip another tiny bit. After all this time i have about 90% of that mat gone. At this rate i should have him cleared of mats by the end of summer!!!

Did i mention he's a big cat?

Jazz & Mac.


25 March 2009


Today has been a day of strange feelings.

Was smiley early, thinking of a song i like. ("Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat. Check it out on youtube.) It still makes me smile listening to it.

Yet much of this AM i felt tearful. (I rarely actually cry, just feel like i'm going to.)

Then i also realized that i'd not eaten & was lightheaded. So i went & found something to fill my tummy. I didn't really think it was such a good idea for me to drive, but Duane hadn't eaten & got something @ his mom's to eat on the way. And the drive was fine.

But we began discussing a possible business investment, & i got so overwhelmed that i was about to start hyperventilating. I realized we needed to stop the
conversation until later.

We stopped for gas at Sam's Club before we started up the hill. I realized i wanted to go inside & "buy things." Not that i needed anything at all. Just wanted to go & spend money. I have come to realize that feeling. Didn't give into the desire to buy, just recognized that i'm feeling empty.

And i'm feeling tearful again.

So what's up with that? I don't really know. Maybe empty arms, seeing Meredith yesterday. Maybe just tired. Maybe needing nourishment.

What qualifies as empty? An empty room?

An old empty barn?

An empty landscape?

What makes a person empty? An now empty womb?

Emptiness is uncomfortable. Sometimes it is painful. And in that pain we often go try to fill it. Some folks use drugs, or alcohol. Some fill it with people or work. Some use the internet or sexual relations or porn. Some with gambling & partying. In the past i used to fill it with reading, prescription meds for "depression," & yes, sometimes buying stuff. I also played computer games. Any number of things can be used to fill that hole, that emptiness.

Yet, i wonder if it is simply lack of being in sync with God? Not always, i suppose, but for me, i think it often is. AND, if i can withstand the discomfort, accept it, & wait - if i choose NOT to fill it with stuff & business - i believe God will fill that with something far more than i expect. Not what i want, not the things i may desire, not the things i want to demand - sometimes stomping my foot like a two-year-old in a tantrum. But what he knows i need.

And, i have to say, i believe part of that emptiness will be with me, it cannot be filled this side of the grave. Some of that emptiness is separation from God & my desire to be with him, & that - i believe - will not be filled until i am in his presence.

So, yea Lord come. Come & fill me. Give me greater desire for thee. Grant me patience to wait for your promises. Thank you.


Disordered, tearful, & sometimes confused, content & joyful

That's how my mind is feeling at the moment. I've so many thoughts. Happy, content, joyful, irritated, confused, wondering what i'm doing. Not all at the same moment, thankfully, but close on one another. Have no idea what this will look like when i'm done!

This squirrel looks like he's giving a raspberry, but it is actually an almond. I thought it appropriate for my mood today!

Ok, i started to write, alot. I decided to scrap it for now. Maybe later! This is enough for now.

Going home today, always good news!


23 March 2009

Ok, This is Funny

Earlier today i was writing about Jealousy. And i mentioned the Pioneer Woman's blog. First let me say that she deserves her following. She is witty, funny, & a wonderful photographer.

But, in my jealousy, i thought, "She could write about dirt & people would say she's wonderful!"

Well, guess what she did today? One of her posts is about dirt! So check out About that Dirt. !!! She gives a lot of info, she's talking about preparing to garden. And, yes, i checked her about 10 minutes after it was posted, & she already had 50 responses. (She now has 178.) Yes everyone thinks she's wonderful. And she is. So if you ventured here by accident, go on over & check out one of the most droll, wittiest women on the planet.


A number of thoughts

Down the hill day. Sigh. What i find harder, is when i left last week i had had no one, no work last week (2 cancellations) & no one was scheduled this week either. I wanna stay home! However, i probably have people scheduled by now. At least one of those cancellations has rescheduled by now, i'm sure. And i've two others that probably will see me this week as well.

No, no, this was not yesterday's snow. I'm reminding myself that i'm thankful that we do not have this amount of snow. 'Cause it is possible. March (2006) the year before we moved here evidently had a big snowfall.

And, i'm thankful we don't have this yet, either. I'm worried our trees will bloom too soon, because we lost all the apples on this tree last year due to snow/freeze the very end of May.

The blog party continues. It is interesting. Also interesting why the different ones are involved. Some are doing it for the freebies/give aways. I haven't even looked at the whole list of items, largely because i never seem to win anything anyway. From what i've read from the folks who do list prizes, nearly everyone wants the mixer. Some folks want to connect with others & develop new friendships (i fall in this category).

There are lots of people sharing money-saving tips & advice on coupons & such. Some of them i find helpful, particularly environmentally-based ones, others are not so much. I never buy processed, boxed "food" items, so coupons on those things are not a savings.

I'm enjoying ones on photography. Keara is one. Check her out! Another that i found thru Pioneer Woman is Deb. Her stuff is beautiful. I so enjoy ones with pics. I've started using pics more often. They don't turn out as well on blogger as they do on some other sites. But then i really enjoy ones with good writing.

Also weight loss. I think i'll be following those. And more, sometimes, even with someone i haven't much in common, i get caught by their writing &/or adventures & so stay. I want to know where "their story" will go.

My mother did her daughters a great disservice.

Let me start with a disclaimer. My mother's childhood was sad. She was one of 11 children & she never felt she had the love or concern of her parents. She felt overshadowed by her younger, prettier sister. She was frequently compared to others & always felt she came up short. She was raped at a young age. The stories from her childhood are a list of sadness. Thus, she really did not have the equipment to be healthy or know how to do healthy parenting.

But the disservice of which i'm currently speaking was that she constantly compared us unfavorably to others. When i was growing up, she was continually praising two other girls my age, first Brenda, then Lori. She told me what good grades Brenda got, & how many Bible verses Brenda memorized (enough to send her to camp for free), & what a good voice Brenda had, & on & on & on. Now, i didn't like Brenda all that much to begin with, but after hearing her praised so much i actively hated her. Then later Brenda was dropped for Lori. Lori lived in our neighborhood & was in my class. She move into our neighborhood when i was a junior, i think. I had known her thru school several years already, & knew that i didn't like her too much. (She was in the "in" group, & i, definitely, was not. She was in the group that made fun of me a lot.) I also heard about her good grades, & what colleges she had been accepted to, & what a good job she had lined up, etc. It was painful to be negatively compared to someone who had so actively disdained me.

In both cases, it was my profound wish that my mother had Brenda or Lori for a daughter instead of me. Obviously i was a deep disappointment to her. Many years later i talked to my mother about this & her response was, "But you were so much better than they were! I was just trying to get you to do better!" Well, it backfired.

She did the same with her daughters. I didn't know it, but she praised my voice to one sister, & artistic ability to the other. Each of those sisters felt diminished as tho my mother was saying they were less than me. But my mother NEVER told me she thought i had a good voice or i was artistic. I always felt diminished in her presence, lacking, a disappointment.

Ok, that was a long time ago. What's that got to do with the price of tea in China, or anything else?

I am just now starting to realize how much this effected my life. How jealous i am of others. How much i compare myself negatively. Oh, i don't do this openly. But it really effects my thinking. Pioneer Woman can be up 10 minutes & have 50 comments, all saying how wonderful she is. So i feel less. I'm not her. Someone i know is beautiful & thin & young & pregnant & sweet & a delight. And i am not. I'm not her. Several others i know lived their lives with good choices, so that they achieved "The American Dream" early - happy marriages, children, homes, financial security, peace (so it seems to me on the outside looking in). I did not make good choices early. I am not a "success." I am not them.

If this sounds self-pitying, i suppose it is, but that is not usually my primary thought/feeling. Usually it is just how much i am less. I am not the things the world considers a success. And, weird as it seems, i don't think i even realized this is my thought process until a couple of weeks ago. Ok, yes, i knew i tended to be jealous of others sometimes. I knew that my life looks pale compared to theirs. And i would try to counter these thoughts with all the things i'm grateful for & all the blessings i've been given.

The funny thing is, i truly am grateful. I am thankful each & every day for my wonderful husband, for being able to wake up next to him, for our home, for our lives, that our lifestyle "works," & all the blessings we have. He & i fit together in a way i never expected or dreamed. I'm thankful for my relationship with Jesus, & faith (however small) in God. I'm thankful for his gifts.

And yet, in my head constantly runs this litany of comparisons. I'm not talking about "keep up with the Jones" attitude. I don't want a fancy car or house to impress others. I don't want lots of clothes or "stuff." My deep desire is to live as simply as possible.

The comparisons are more general. "Her daughter is two months younger than Kaylee would be." "Her son was born 3 months before Kaylee was due." "Wow, she writes really well. People really like her. (They don't like me.)" "Oh, what gorgeous pics. (Mine can't compare.)"

When others are praised, i totally agree, but i feel diminished. Last summer i was lunching with a friend. The owner of the restaurant is very friendly. She came by. My friend, Kimmy, is stunning. She is a former model. The owner greeted us, & then said, "You are beautiful! You are just wonderful." Then she turned to me & asked if i didn't agree. Well, of course i do, & i agree warmly. But a cold voice in my head says, "Not you. You are short, & fat, & dumpy, & plain."

When someone else's voice is praised, i sometimes want to say, "Wait! I sing really well too!"

I think this has been more clear to me, this thought process, since i began reading so many blogs. In other words, so many other people to compare myself to. The list of things that i am "not" could go on for pages.

But, it doesn't end there. Now that i'm aware of this, & i know it is sin, it is my job to counter it. Not to say, "Oh yes, i'm beautiful." Not to say, "I'm just as good." Or any other self-praise. I believe it is to counter the thought with: "That is jealousy. That is sin." "That is self-pity. That is sin." And, most importantly, "God does not compare as i am doing. What i am doing is sin. God made me just as i am, & he loves me just as i am, & he sent Jesus to die for me just as i am. He sent Jesus to die for this very sin of jealousy & self-pity."

I believe, that if i can begin doing this, daily, hourly, minute by minute, God can help me see myself thru his eyes. I can learn my proper place in him.

It was my intent to write about trust in God (or possibly lack of trust). Also about my conversation with my sis last night about being loved. But this is already long, & i need to start my day.

Happy "down the hill" Monday!


22 March 2009

Spring Storm

Well, they said we'd be getting a storm today. They're right. It is far more the wind than the actual snow. The weather report says we've gotten an inch of snow (closer to two where we're at) & the temp is 27 F. But the windchill is 15 F & the house is cold. I am cold! We don't heat the house much. We've got the wood stove going, but it is going to be a while before it feels warm.

The first pic is looking out our front door. The second is from our bedroom on the second floor. That is the bird feeder swinging in the wind. It had been snowing & hailing earlier, but had paused by the time i got the camera out. The birds & squirrels are not venturing out much right now.

Happy Blog Party to anyone venturing by. (I'll try to have the house warmer by the time you arrive, & will have the kettle on for hot tea!) Hope it is warmer where you are than here. Still, it is a lovely day, & i'd rather have it now than the end of May - which happened last year.

Pull up a chair & we'll have a cuppa!


21 March 2009

He's coming home!

Yesterday Duane took a "play day" & went down the hill to visit with a friend.

Joseph (& wife Michelle) live 2 hours away, in almost the opposite way from where we go to work in OC, & so we don't see them often. Still, we are thrilled they are 2 hours away, because for 3 years they lived in No. California 12 hours away.

So he was gone all day yesterday & stayed the night. Which was fine with me. I'd rather not have him driving mountain roads late
at night, even if it is not icy any more. He called just before 8 this AM, on his way, so he should be home any minute.

Tomorrow we have Fellowship at church. This church is rather unique, it goes far beyond the usual coffee & donuts. The ladies take turns bringing all manner of things. The church keeps crackers, cheese, & cold meats on hand. The ladies bring cookies, cakes, pies, mini meatballs or franklets (usually in BBQ sauce in a crock pot). Since my advent at the church, there is usually a tray of raw veggies & often a bowl of cut fruit. I don't eat meat or anything made with wheat/gluten. It is mostly just snack food, but a nice time to visit with other church members/guests. Then, about 4 times a year we have a pot luck.

Some things about this have issues for me. As a somewhat ecologically aware person, the amount of trash produced bothers me a lot. There is not much i can do about it, except i keep small plates at the church so that Duane & i don't use the paper products. The kitchen has a number of mugs, & when i drink hot tea (we don't drink coffee) i get a mug. Then just wash these things up afterward. Lots of folks agree it is a good idea, but i don't see anyone else doing it. Still, i don't contribute to the paper waste.

Duane's home!!! Cutting this off.

Have a good day. Happy Party to all those involved. Thanks for visiting.

Shepherd in the Pines Lutheran Church
Big Bear Lake, California


20 March 2009

It's a Party!

Two posts on the same day! Except the day i did all the pics, i don't think i've done that before.

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

"It's a Dead Man's Party" is the song that keeps going thru my head! In Oct/Nov/Dec i was seeing a client in town after she got off work, so i was driving into town every Friday about 5 PM. And i discovered that our local radio station, KBHR, always plays this song Friday at 5 PM.

I am so impressed with all the blogs i've seen thru this.

I've come across two gluten-free ones, & one that is simply wonderful called "The Baby Dust Diaries." For anyone not familiar with trying to have a family & struggling over it, i've linked this to the page "how to support a friend with IF." Wonderful. She knows, she "gets it" 'cause she's been there. I especially appreciate her comment on "you can always adopt." Truth is, that may or may not be true, but it can be cruel when you are not yet ready to make that choice.

Anyway, i'm most impressed with all the wonderful blogs. My blog list keeps getting longer & longer. (I only have a few posted on my side bar, most of them are listed on my dashboard.)

Most everyone seems to be giving an introduction to themselves. I can think of a billion & one things to say, & so have been trying to think of the most important things to use to introduce me.

- I love the Lord Jesus.

- We are quite active in our small Lutheran church, but i miss the Anglican church a lot!

- I am married to the most wonderful man ever! We fit together so well.

- I was married before, quite young. Lot to say on that, but what's the point.

- My husband is Duane & we met almost 6 years ago.

- We married 10 Sept 2004, so we're coming up on 5 years.

-Two years ago we moved out of Orange County, CA to a small resort community (Big Bear) 100 miles east in the mountains.

- We call our house "Sugarbear."

- We still go to OC for a couple of days a week to work, but the rest of the time we work from home.

- Duane is a computer guy - very good at it - & can do much of his work at home.

- I'm a Massage Therapist. I do mostly a therapeutic practice: pain management, etc. I haven't quite found my nitch to work in BB yet. I do have my license & do some work occasionally.

- We sooooooo want a family.

- We lost our only pregnancy at 10+ weeks.

- Duane swore it was a girl. We call her "Kaylee." Her due date was 26 May 2006.

- The blogs i follow closely are ones about waiting on the Lord. We want to follow the Lord's leading.

- We have two wonderful, funny cats. (Duane is a dog person, but the cats grew on him.)

- I'm very new to blogging. Never even read one until mid-January. I follow all kinds of blogs - following Jesus, families, pregnant, trying to be pregnant, loss, single people, funny people, photography, art. I follow the Pioneer Woman, but i think everyone in the world does!

I belong to the most wonderful Girlfriend's group. I blog about it a few posts down.

One thing that has become clear to me thru reading blogs: There are a lot of people out there truly, sincerely trying to honor God & follow his leading. Our pastor tends to downplay this so that in hearing him i began to think there are not many Christians left in the world & that many who use the name "Christian" are no longer following the leading of Jesus. It is obvious from the blogging world that this simply is not true. We might be a minority but there are a lot of people seeking to live for Christ.

This is plenty. Thanks for joining me! I'm looking forward to meeting more folks online.


Testing . . . 1 . . . 2 . . . 3

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Ok, this is new for me.

I think this is gonna be kind of like a "Meet & Greet" that David introduced me to.

It is not limited to just mamas - which is a good thing since i'm not one, except our angel we lost over 3 years ago. It is open to "anyone who likes children" they said, & have similar interests.

I feel a little silly adding this as i've so few people who check out my blog, but it never hurts to try, does it?

(Well, whaddaya know, it worked!)


19 March 2009


I'm thankful i've a place to rant. Thanks to those who are so supportive, too. Most of that post will soon disappear.

Amrita in North India said from my wedding post that Praveen sounds like a
n Indian name. And so it is. Here we are with him after the wedding.

We love Fr. Praveen. He is warm & delightful. He no longer is at that church, & we miss him.

Here is another pic of Praveen during the service, one i already posted. (Click on pic, it will enlarge.) I think it is blessing the ring. And here is one of the church. St. James in Newport Beach. I had attended there since 1990, until we moved to BB two years ago. Isn't the church beautiful?

As an aside, isn't the internet wonderful? It is putting folks who never could have met otherwise in contact. Amrita has a little cartoon in her sidebar that says, "I love my computer because my friends live in it." I've now friends all over the place. I saw a poll recently asking if the internet is a good thing or a bad thing. I was confused by that until they explained "bad thing" as pornography & online gambling & other things that destroy people's lives. So, i guess it depends on who you are & how you choose to use it. But i'm certainly grateful.

Oh, check out Bobkat's blog with a post on smiling. It will put one on your face! So much to be grateful for in this wonderful world God created.


18 March 2009

We've Got a Name for This One, Too

Oh, yes, yes we do. Anger. And frustration.

In the past 4 years i have been on a new path, one of natural medicine & seeking to use food, supplements, herbs, etc. to be healthier. And i AM healthier. Duane & i were recently in a pharmacy to pick up contact lens solution or something, & i realized i used to spend a lot of time & $ on prescription Rx. It has been almost 2 years since i last filled a Rx, & it was a huge mistake.

I don't think MDs are taught well for thinking "outside the box." It seems their education is very narrow & limited. I don't have much faith in MDs, & my experiences with them has not been very good. Thus the new path to natural health.

Fast forward to yesterday.

This particular MD, a reproductive endocrinologist, has an excellent reputation. In fact, i'm told he is world-renown. He had recommendations from 2 different people. He is suppose to be "different" from the others. I was told he spends time with his patients, listens to them, & is very attentive. And so, we went with hope in being told a full line of options, things we might have missed.

And, we found him to be just like every other MD i've ever known. He did NOT read the paperwork we spent so much time on. He handed me back the labs i had compiled without reading them. The most recent was only 2 weeks ago, and he did not even look at them. His office ordered labs for me, & when i looked at what they wanted done, three of them were ones i'd run just 2 weeks ago. (I pointed this out, & it was, "Oh, oh yeah. You won't need to redo those.")

So much info was thrown at us we were like deer in the headlights. Too much information that we weren't able to process at the time. When he asked if we had questions we couldn't even come up with them. They were there, but they were frozen.

I had an ultrasound done. I do have 2 fibroids, but they are in the wall not the cavity, & so shouldn't be a problem. We could see where i probably ovulated about 3 days ago. And my uterine lining was at 13. I asked what his requirements are & he said a minimum of 8 to 10. So i'm far beyond that. When asked, since my lining is good, would i still have to do drugs to create a lining his response was, yes he has to "control" the environment.

In talking it over later, Duane & i decided that he simply looked at my age on his forms & looked no farther. He gave us 2 options: donor egg, donor embryo. Ok, Kathie had already warned me that that would likely be his response. So i expected that. BUT i did expect to be given other options as well. Duane & i both felt that if he had looked at my records & not just my age he would have been giving us other options. Duane felt the frustration too.

And this is an office that has a reputation of being excellent all the way around & listening to patients!

Ok, we've still some options tho the visit discouraged us. One, we could go to another RE & see if they present other options.

A PT i know had good results from a Chinese doctor she used. I've hesitated to do this for two reasons. One, it is a great distance from where we work or where we live. Two, he doesn't speak much English. I know this could be seen as racist, but i don't mean to. I previously worked with an acupuncture doc who was many generation Chinese, 4th generation acupuncturist. Not racial, but i've been concerned about a language barrier.

Also, a chiro i know believes he can help. I don't know what he means, but it wouldn't hurt to check it out. There are other things as well.

Duane doesn't want to burn any bridges on the embryo adoption. I don't intend to, but i think our chances of going that path are not great. Besides the fact that finding someone to donate embryos is not so easy either. When we registered with a place that matches embryo donors to embryo recipients, it was with the belief that if that is our path, if it is God-directed, then it will happen. More people looking than giving, & our chances of being chosen are not so good.

So many negative factors to doing RE assisted pregnancy. I think we need to explore other options.

I've such a headache.

Anyway, the day ended nice. We visited with some friends of Duane's for the evening. They made us a wonderful meal. Duane has been helping put an absolutely incredible home theater system in their house. I'd never heard of Apple TV before. It is really wonderful.

Happy St. Patrick's late!

We go home today! Lovely.


16 March 2009

We Have a Name For That

Yeah, we sure do. It's called self-pity.

I was feeling sorry for myself this AM. It feels like i've failed in so many ways. And so i was touting them up & going over them today.

I realize that this is a form of narcissism. Most folks think that being narcissistic means being self-involved in a weird, egotistic way. But the inverted form of that is depression & focusing on self-negatives.

I believe that God requires me to acknowledge my shortcomings, but then take a deep breath & do my best TODAY. It is too easy to let yesterday's failures become today's failures by focusing on the past.

Yep, i fail, i fail on a daily basis. But that doesn't mean hiding my head in the sand (or under the covers) for the rest of my life. Try to do better.

Fortunately, for me, it (the self-pity/depression) is short-lived. I knew it would be better by tomorrow, wait it out, but it is better by this afternoon. Thank you God!


14 March 2009

Saturday !

My dear friend Dawn checks out the blog, but doesn't comment here. She loves the pics! Thanks Dawn! And requests Duane & i together on our wedding day. I've a bunch. It will be hard to stick to just a couple. (If you click on the pics it will enlarge to see details. It doesn't work on the sidebar pics.)

Ok, i held myself to four, no five. Duane & i didn't do the traditional "don't see the bride before . . ." I'm glad we didn't. See, the wedding was at 6 PM. Father Praveen promised a short service, but it didn't work out that way. And nearly everyone took communion to our surprise, so it was dark when we got out, & several of these pics wouldn't have been possible.

I didn't intend to do a veil, but i had saved the baby's breath from the first flowers Duane ever gave me. It dried nicely & i planned to put it in my hair. It was forgotten & left in a cabinet at home.

I've a confession to make. (This maybe TMI, but it is kind of funny.) I was disappointed i'd not lost more weight before the wedding. When i'd tried on the dress, i'd always done the bra/corset on the outter hooks. But the day of the wedding i was so disppointed i used the inner hooks, trying to be thinner. This did two things i didn't realize. One, it pushed up my considerable bosom making that part of me look a lot larger. Second, it allowed the dress to slip slightly . . . see where this is going? I was mortified at a number of the returning pics, for it showed much more of me than was . . . er, kind or appropriate. I like the pics where i'm holding up my bouquet. Still, we had several turn out nice.

This is one of my favorites. I did "something old" - my necklace & earrings, "something new" the dress & shoes, "something borrowed" - a bracelet from my friend Brenda, in the pic below, "something blue" - my L pinky nail (i always have it painted some color, story for another time), & "with a silver sixpence in her shoe" - i had it slipped into the lace i added to my canvas ballet slippers.

Our wedding was 10 September 2004. So we're coming up on 5 years! It seems like only yesterday, & it seems like we've been together forever. Both in the nicest ways, of course.

Now, if only blogger will accomodate me. Friend David (thanks David!) said that you can move the pics around by dragging them. Which is true to a point. Maybe because i've the posts set to wide, they rarely publish where i put them in the draft.


Late at night

David, @ Sugarloaf Mountain, did a sky image. It made me think of this one Duane did. We were on our honeymoon, & he said to me, "Stand still," & got right up in my face. I didn't know what he wanted until i saw the result. This is it.

Can't sleep. Was going to sleep & was interrupted, so i'm awake for a while. Have been having some difficulty adjusting to Daylight Savings Time. Have been sleeping late in the AM (for me) but falling asleep late too. I was trying to break that pattern, but oh well. Both cats are sleeping with us, which is rather unusual. They sleep on the bed during the day, but not usually at night.

For some reason, an old '70s song by Player, "Baby Come Back," has been going thru my head. I've always hated that song, & wish it would go away. (I really hate 95% of 70s music.) The others that have been cropping up have been just as bad. What is going on?

Also, a memory came up. I used to do a lot of babysitting as a teen. I started when i was 12. In Montana, you can get a driver's permit at age 14-1/2, & a license at 15. Which i did. So at 15 i had a "regular" family i babysat for. I loved those little boys. And i drove myself back & forth to their house. Dr. C, the husband was a veterinarian. But he never picked me up or drove me home, & i didn't feel very comfortable with him. It was his wife i dealt with mostly.

Both he & his wife were heavy drinkers. They started before they went out, continued thru their dinner & whatever else they did, & finished off with more at home. I was happy NOT to have them drive me. (I took care of the younger son during a local parade that Dr. & Mrs. C rode in, as well as the older son, who was 5. When the parade was over there was a picnic at the fairgrounds, & Dr. C was giving his 5 year old son part of his beer. They started 'em young!)

For some reason, the year i was 17, my dad got a bee in his bonnet about me driving on New Year's Eve. He made Dr. C come & get me & bring me home. It was really weird, after i had been working for them for 2-1/2 years & never had them drive me, to have them do it that night. Besides, as i said, i was very uncomfortable with Dr. C.

I suppose my dad had just heard some report about either teenage drivers, or drinking & driving/drunk driving on New Year's Eve. I protested a lot, but he didn't listen to me. Looking back i don't think i explained the situation well. What my dad did was take me out of a car, sober & trying to avoid drunk drivers (it was very rural, back roads i drove & rarely even met someone on the road) & put me into the car with a drunk. How was that an improvement???

In his defense, i doubt i ever told them how much those folks drank. I guess i was afraid if they knew they wouldn't let me work for that family. So i probably didn't explain my reasons well, but i honestly think they should have trusted me on that. Dr. C never did anything inappropriate, but my discomfort with him was something i could live with given that i was only around him in his wife's presence. What if my discomfort meant something & my dad put me in a car with a drunk who was inappropriate? But then, my family didn't have very good communication skills & didn't trust or listen to each other.

Oh well, it didn't happen, & i made it home safely. I'm not even sure why that's on my mind now. It was long, long ago.

Think i'll sleep now.


12 March 2009

Picture Day first set

I've plenty to say, seems i always have. But i thought i'd just do pictures today, randomly chosen from I-Photo on my computer (of which there are now more than 6,500!)

These are from the Renaissance Fair in Fawnskin, summer 2007.

Duane bought a hat there. Mr. Handsome. : )

(Can someone please inform me of how to add multiple pics & place them in the order you want??? Blogger is driving me crazy!)


Picture Day second pic

Walmart parking lot in Kentucky. I didn't realize there is a large Amish population there. Walmart keeps a grassy area with a place to water the horses. There was a man standing beside this buggy. I asked if we could take a picture. He didn't respond, but walked to the other side where we couldn't see him. If you click on the pic to enlarge it, you see his legs, & the child in the buggy.

I'm having a lot of problems trying to get blogger to do what i want, so i'm posting these darn things individually.


Picture Day third pic

Duane talks with his hands. I've often wondered what he was telling Joseph & Greg in this pic. He doesn't remember.

Our wedding day.


Picture Day fourth pic

One of my favorite pics of the lake. Doesn't Duane take great pics?


Picture Day fifth pic

My beautiful sis when she came to visit.


Picture Day sixth pic

My Granddad's barn. I remember playing in this one with my cousins. They usually had several cows & a small hayloft. On the far right side of the barn was where they hung the tobacco to dry. My dad now owns this property. It has the tractors but not animals.

Another view of the same barn. Behind it is the building that was the "chicken warehouse." It also had my Granddad's wood shop in it. I think my dad still uses it. I remember the laythe & all the pattern pieces for the various things he made.


Picture Day seventh pic

Our wedding day! All the girls & women wore inexpensive ballet slippers. I was trying to get the little girls to pirouette, but they wouldn't, so i did!

I hand beaded the lace that we added to my dress.


Picture Day eighth pic

One of my favorite pics of Big Bear. No, not our view, i wish! This was taken from on top a small hill in Northshore.