Monday, April 30, 2012

Jess doesn't live here anymore...

...but his stuff does.

This was, formerly, a bedroom -- now, it is a storage unit, the most affordable kind.

And all of Jess' stuff is in it, except for his clothes and such necessities. After living in Federal Way since last June, he commuted to Olympia, living there during the week, for the first 2 months of 2012. For the past 2 months, he has been commuting from Federal Way to Bellevue as his office moved there. Now free of his lease, he is intending to move to Bellevue as soon as he finds an affordable place.

I'm not sure there are any of those in Bellevue...

He has not found one yet -- but God provides! He is spending the next month house-sitting for relatives who live much closer to his workplace...One more month to find the needle in the haystack. (Thanks so much Uncle Tom & Aunt Marcia!!)

So yesterday, The Farmer, Caitlin, Olive and I trekked down to Federal Way, U-haul trailer in tow, to move the bulk of his earthly possessions back home...and clean the apartment in Dutch lady fashion, the better to get his deposit back.

Olive went along, you say? Yes -- poor Daisie watched us all leave for what I am sure she assumed was a day of intense fun and excitement without her. I felt bad for her...and she made us pay by putting on her most pathetic look as we went out the door. However, she was caught when I ran back in for something I forgot and she was happily eating the rest of her breakfast, not looking too sad anymore. I quit feeling guilty.

But Olive can't be left alone for that long a period of time, because, frankly, she can't hold it, and because she would likely chew her crate into pieces out of spite. Our schedule didn't work out for the kennel's day-boarding schedule, so Olive (and her crate) came along.

Besides, it became clear soon after out departure that The Farmer just wanted her along to stand on his lap and look out his window. He loves it as much as she does...and then when she came and sat between us on the console, I have to admit it was rather nice, and even better when she sat with me to look out my window.  If she needed to nap, she went to the back seat and snuggled near Caitlin. Her nervousness over the unknown made her a delightful companion. Oh, what a little intimidation will do!

We keep hoping that someday this docility will be the norm...

However, as soon as she returned home, she went back to her chasing, barking, fighting, wildly playing ways -- which I think made Daisie grateful to have spent the day alone...

Anyway, we arrived at the apartment and went right to work. Caitlin & I began to pack and clean, while the guys stood around and tried to decide which item should go in the trailer first. Apparently this is a very difficult decision to make, as it took a while, but steadily after that the puzzle began to come together...And the apartment got sprayed and wiped down and vacuumed and scrubbed and febrezed for good measure.

We left it empty and sparkling fresh. It was quite rewarding...

...and exhausting.

At this point in the day, we had hoped to accompany Jess to his new digs, and say hello to Aunt Marcia, but time was too short...because,  you see, we had to UNLOAD everything when we got home...we were not sure where...oh boy...

So we parted ways, feeling just a little sad that we had the stuff, but not the boy coming to live with us...

Two hours, and a lot of dozing on my part, later, we were home. We made the uncharacteristicly quick decision to turn one bedroom into a storage unit rather than clutter every room with more furniture, and Caitlin just started setting stuff out of the trailer.

God bless her! She kept us going, and forced (yes-FORCED) me to carry only the lightweight boxes. She organized and directed, and we were glad to follow her lead. (Or, in my case, sit on the step and watch her work...) In one short hour, all the stuff was packed away in our new Storage Bedroom.

And we all went to our respective easy chairs and sat in them...

...until we were watching TV with our eyes closed. And then we went to bed, satisfied in the knowledge that we had helped the boy, and that we won't have to move that stuff again...

...for at least a couple months.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Last week was busy!

Last week Tuesday, Miss Madelyn came for the day. She’s gained some new skills since she was here last, the main one being that she can go potty “all by myself – with the door closed”. I found this out after we were outside and Miss M was walking crossways through the raspberry rows. I was not following her, as crawling through the rows is fairly problematic for some one of my size, and agility – or lack thereof. So, I was watching her go farther and farther into the field when I heard those fateful words, “I have to go potty!”

Oh boy…

I encouraged her to hurry, and keep heading for the house, but traveling through bushes is not the quickest. When finally free of the rows, we ran across the grass into the back door…where she had to take off her boots – herself – and tell me emphatically that she did not need help, and close the door – herself – and then realize she needed a step stool to reach the sink for hand-washing. I said I would put it in there when she was done going potty, but nothing doing! She wanted all elements put in place – by herself – before she closed the door…And, wonder of wonders, she made it without an accident.

But the whole operation is a time-consuming enterprise, and I waited and waited, and finally just had to ask: “How’s it going in there, Madelyn?” She replied, “Good – How’s it going for you, Auntie Les?”

I guess I worry too much.

Another new skill that Miss M employed was an enhanced power of pretending, or “pee-tending” as she pronounces it. I love to see what inventions little minds come up with, so I am ready to play along. We “peetended” that the bedroom was our house, and that I was the Mommy and she was a baby – though after carrying her a little bit, I suggested that she might “peetend” to be a CRAWLING baby, and she was fine with that. Later, she was inspired to “peetend” that it was my birthday “pawty” and that all the people she knew should be personally invited to attend. Everyone lived in a different corner, or spot in the room, and she would go to each “peetend” home, cross her arms in front of her and say: “Auntie Jamie, Uncle Eric, Kyla, Bennett – Auntie Les is having a birthday pawty, do you want to come?” Then she would look back over her shoulder and say to me, “Let’s see what her says…” Turning back to her invitees, she would wait a moment and then exclaim, “She says she can come!!!”

No one turned down her invite, and then we had quite the party with “peetend” presents and cake. Good times.

The other big event of last week was a jaunt down to Alderwood Mall to see my dear friend Ruby, who was in Lynnwood visiting her tiny granddaughter – oh, and her daughter and son-in-law too…

Ruby lives in Tennessee, so any time she is in the vicinity, we try to get together…And if the visit is in the Spring, we try to get to an Anthony’s for a birthday lunch celebration.

Ruby has always been so gracious with my fear of driving in The Big City, and has mostly come north, or we meet halfway, but this time, if we were going to see each other, I was going to have to drive…on the freeway…and in The Big City. I’m not good at choosing/changing lanes, and I fear ending up in some ghetto, or at skid row because I’m not so good at directions…

I am a neurotic wimp.

But I wanted to see her, and her little granddaughter, and I thought it would be good practice in case I needed to drive south to take the group to go see PW --and it’s about time that I be a grown-up.

So I did it.

And it went fine.

I missed every exit and turn that I was supposed to take the first time, BUT I found my way back to where I was supposed to be and corrected my errors. I never saw the ghetto, or skid row. I never ended up in the lane that was stopped for construction, or impeded anyone in the fast lane.

It was a rip-roaring success!
And I got to see this: Ruby, and her little precious, Lucy...

And we had a great visit, over a great lunch (seafood mac n’ cheese…mmmmm), and then we even went to Nordstrom’s. Yes, now that I am such a brave driver (woohoo Alderwood…go crazy!) Nordstrom’s and I can have more than a pen pal relationship.

So many good things in one day…

And with my usual morning at the Museum, a much-needed haircut and color, and a Saturday adventure at the Thrift Store, so many good things in one week…a good kind of busy!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Missing Ree...

As soon as we heard that The Pioneer Woman’s book signing schedule included a stop in Seattle, my cohorts and I marked up our calendars, and reserved that day for a repeat experience of some very good memories.

Today was supposed to be that day…

In the days between the plan and the execution of it a few things happened…Most notably that our fearless leader, Tami, fell victim to a hit & run by a snowboarder on her first adventure to the mountain in many years. (Make sure you read all the's tragic...)

Today, instead of gallivanting off to Lake Forest Park and Third Place Books, Ms. Tami had surgery on her knee. Holly, who was hoping to have completely recovered from her Achilles tendon surgery, is now suffering from a stress fracture in her heel.

Kelly and I are healthy, and were willing to push the wheelchairs, but we were uncertain that the anesthesia would have worn off enough for Tami to drive… (Hey! It’s her LEFT leg that has the problem…)

Just kidding! Actually, the heart went out of it when we knew that we could not all go together. Our previous experience is now indelibly etched in our hearts as something we must do together…It was so much fun! Four acquaintances, who by the end of that day became friends…We were hoping for more of the same…

But it was not meant to be – and that’s just fine. Mostly, we want Tami’s knee to be fixed, and Holly’s long trial of Achilles healing to be over. In lieu of a visit with Ree, we have plans to create a PW feast for our husbands, and hopes of one day winning a trip to The Ranch and The Lodge together. That would be the ultimate…

So – we’ll miss you Ree…as I’m sure, you will miss us…You know, the 4 noisy ones who wanted to know about Spanx….

We’re pretty unforgettable.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A BUNCHA Projects!

Friday last, I intended to spend the morning sewing, something I haven't done for a long time. I had found a piece of fabric at the thrift store that was perfect to re-cover the faded denim and plaid pillows that had sweater covers on for winter. It was time to make them appropriate for the times.

Oh! I had so much fun...I just kept going and going...My intention included sewing til noon, and then an afternoon of yardwork. The sun was shining, and that opportunity should not be lost in April in this country.

But I couldn't stop...I kept finding more little projects to enjoy. The final death knell to my honorable intention came when Caitlin showed up...her afternoon free...and said, "Mom! You're SEWING?! I brought my sewing machine along to do that too!" Wonderful coincidence!

We spent the rest of the day, parked at opposite ends of the table, making happy messes around all the flat surfaces we could find. 

We don't look organized when we sew...

My accomplishments for the day included: My blue pattern barkcloth pillow covers, a pillow form, my Valentine fabric banners (missed that one, didn't I!), a spring banner...

...and this 1940's apron that still needs the bias tape around the edges.

Caitlin began putting together these adorable squares on her quilt project...Two down, 23 to go... A lot of work, but it's going to be a lovely quilt!

We're going to have Sewing Day again soon, and plan it so that Tiffany can join us. We all have more pillows to make and I'm ready for it.

I got a little carried away with the price per ounce savings on fiberfill, and ended up with a 10 pound roll...TEN pounds isn't much -- for weight -- but the volume is impressive...especially as it bloomed when I took it out of the box...

We should have enough of that for a while...That dastardly Amazon! You can find anything on there, and the deals? Oh! The deals...It's a problem.

So don't open any closet doors at my house without asking, okay?
There could be an explosion, or snowstorm, or something...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A little project...

I've been trying to learn how to spray paint, and after all my attempts thus far, I am looking for a remedial class.

It's kinda hard!

If it were like putting on hair spray, I would have it aced...and I guess I thought it was a lot like that. But the whole "do short strokes, side-to-side" left me spraying paint out the sides and missing the item I wished to cover in the middle. Abandoning the short stroke method left me with long drips and drapes of paint flowing down the sides of my little nightstand. I think I sanded off one whole can of spray least I know a night stand shouldn't take 2 cans, and this one did.

Those websites make it look so easy and quickly transformational...Instead, it was Pinterest Gone Awry...a possible new category for my blog...

But I finally found something that was too little to mess up too much, and I'm proud to say: I spraypainted this!

First, the before:

I found these chalkware bookends at the thrift store, half off -- a bargain for $3!
I admit that they don't look like much, and they are beat way to restore their former multi-color glory...

So, being an optimist at the most inopportune times, I decided that a coat of spray paint would restore them to their former glory.

And SURPRISE! -- I think it did!
This time the paint covered a multitude of imperfections, instead of creating many more.
I admit that I'm not sure how that happened.

Still, I'm inordinately proud of these.

It wasn't until I put them on display that I noticed that they were both left side bookends...Oh.

I have a continuing problem with spatial relationships...

but at least I can spray paint now.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Work...

Probably by the time you read this the rain will have returned, (actually, I could post this sentence every day with a high rate of accuracy), but we have recently enjoyed such lovely spring weather.

On that first warm day, I breathed deeply of the sweet air, and considered that I had forgotten how nice it could be around here…Warmth, and sunshine…It lends to cheerful hearts.

My opportunity to enjoy it was somewhat limited with my recent illness, so my flowerbeds show no improvement in spite of the weather, and I’m noticing a concentration of unusual weed growth..
These little boogers are everywhere! And blooming already…grrr, seeds not far behind
Moss in the lawn, or lawn in the moss? Yikes!

My sad daffodils, they've had a hard life...a single bloom after 2 years of suffering.

Grass, the scourge in the flowerbeds...time for another application of Round-up...

Pervasive perennials...sometimes I wish I hadn't planted them.

There is so much that needs to be done!...And it seems when I am not able to work on them, the tasks accumulate and overwhelm. I tend to feel old, and unable, and useless -- and throw in ugly for good measure.

Thankfully, my wise daughter reminded me: "That's the virus talking, Mom. Don't listen to it."

So I'm trying not to.

She could have also pointed out that it is a little weird to go and take pictures of weeds and problem areas, but she was too kind.

Time to focus on the bright spots!

My peonies are alive!

I can't remember what these are, but they didn't die off, and they are cheerful!

The magnolia is about to bust out the blooms.

Not all the daffodils have suffered...

The robins are all around.

And I didn't kill the primroses!!!

It's a new record!

And soon there will be more good weather, and I can get out there and get the yard shaped up.

But I'm not gonna think about it right now...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I can't live by my conviction...

A wee bit of sickness interrupted my life for the past several days...Nothing too serious, just some virus that caused my digestive system to rebel with pain whenever I put something in it...And then my head decided not to be left out and ached, until it created some jealousy in my stomach, which decided to join in with just a bit of nausea.

It was fun, I tell you.

I soon discovered that avoidance of food = avoidance of pain. This is NOT my usual modus operandi. Usually, I live by the creed: Food is the most reliable fun you can have.

And I don't think I'm wrong about that...

So -- it was a departure from my regular routine, and a bunch of things I intended to do were put to the side while I tried to avoid pain, and sustain enough energy to do what had to be done. Bad timing what with it being Easter weekend and all.

I missed the Honcoop Family Easter Gathering. While I was feasting on juice & crackers, they were having this:

And I missed seeing all of this:

Easter Baskets!


Uncle Dill reading to Miss Brielle.

Uncle Ran trying to steal Miss Madelyn's dessert.

Nope -- I didn't see any of it, but fortunately I sent my own personal photographer (Thanks, Cait!) to document all the fun I was missing. It was almost like I was there...

No, it wasn't.

I was told that I was missed, which did my heart good, though I know that had I not sent along the deviled eggs they would have been missed more than I...

But that's okay, because that's one of the ways I say to The Family that I love them...deviled eggs.

Because it's true: Food is the most reliable fun you can have.

...most of the time.
I look forward to living by my conviction once again.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Macy's back in town!

And the other day she came for a visit...The erstwhile pet of Dillon and Tiffany once again resides with them after a stint in Canada with her original owners. She had moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario for a while. Lately, she's been back in Vancouver, and since a new baby boy came to live with her masters, it was considered that she take a country vacation for a time.
We were glad to see her!

Right away, Daisie and Macy seemed to mutually say: "I know YOU!" A couple of chest bumps, and a few circles around the yard, their friendship was regained.
But then, Macy saw this:

What is THAT?

THAT, my dear Macy, is the whirling dervish commonly known as Olive...

In short order, Olive had Macy defending her toy, while turning in circles.

Now Macy, having the genetics and mindset of a retriever, always carries a precious toy in her mouth...everywhere...all the time...
and it's HERS...
and it's PRECIOUS.
Did I mention that?

And The Little Dervish was determined to get it.
And she did...a few times!
But then Macy got her moxie on and let The Little Dervish know that it was NOT up for grabs.
(Daisie, take a lesson from your friend...)
And Olive respected that.
For a little while.
And then it all began again...Macy and Olive turning tight circles until Macy barked ferociously in Olive's face.

By the end of the visit, all canines were exhausted, and happy to sleep in a sunny spot.
As were we...

With those kind of results, you are welcome here anytime, Macy!

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (