Tuesday, July 31, 2007

translation problems

kalives taverna sign
this is a sign we saw outside a small taverna in Kalives, Crete. the first time i saw it, i didn't have my camera with me, but you can bet i brought it the next time we went to Kalives. since the small village where we stayed is... well, very small and not well endowed with shopping opportunities, Kalives is where we went for ATM, internet cafe, wine shop, newspaper printed in english, etc. Crete has been on my mind a lot lately, and even though it's likely hotter than high noon in hell there right now, i do wish i were there. we have reservations all set for 2 weeks there the beginning of Nov. (right after i go to SAFF in Asheville, NC)

life (and sewing machines)

well, i went and bought myself a new sewing machine which will, hopefully, make quilting a bit easier. the one i have is ok, just totally plain vanilla... no bells and whistles. i didn't know i really wanted a new one til i was at Joann's and wandered thru their sewing machine area, where i was greeted warmly and showed to the top of their line... a Viking which does everything including a cute little dance on the coffee table. i loved it! the salesperson knew that and hid the price from me. when i finally saw that it cost $1300 and it's fancier sister was $1400, i laughed hysterically. i did bring home a brochure and showed Jim, who gasped. there is just no way in hell i could ever possibly use all the features which that one offers. for one thing... i've figured out my attitude about quilting. i do like making quilts, and my favorite parts are looking at/buying the fabric, putting on the binding then admiring it as i ignore the mistakes. i went shopping online and found a Brother CE4000 for under $200, and it does all kinds of cool things. it should arrive tomorrow and i'm ready for it! have most of the pieces cut for a quilt for Alex. he still has and uses the first quilt i ever made, but it's 7 years old now and does look kind of worn (and .. uh,..loved).

while i'm waiting for UPS to get here in the morning, i'll be working on getting the bricks on the patio re-set. time, use and burrowing rodents have done a number on the level-ness of the bricks and there's all kinds of pot holes, bulging and general sloping. my plan was to start at one end, take up a few bricks, put sand under, get rid of the glaring lack of level-ness (i doubt that's a word.. but it says what i mean), kind of doing a small section at a time so that the patio was still usable for the most part. however, when i asked Jim to get me a few bags of sand, he got a pickup load and new boards for the border, took up the first row of bricks all the way around, put the chairs and plants and decorative stuff in the driveway and right in the middle of the patio, so it's now a "project" that needs to be done in a timelier manner. is there just a little teeny bit of snarkieness there? yes, there is! i think i got about 1/3 done today, so there's hope it'll be done for the weekend. on sunday Judy, Jen and Maggie and their girls, and my dad are coming out for dinner. the predicted "in the 90's" weather of the next few days should be gone by then and i'm hoping it'll be nice enough to sit outside.

and now i must put ice on my spasming lower back muscles!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

more twistin'

this wonderful spindle was a gift from Kate and Chris
Ledbetter spindle 2 P7230153
isn't it gorgeous? and it has lots more than beauty going for it!! it spins like a dream and keeps on going.... Made by Ken Ledbetter of wenge (finial), mesquite (whorl) and maple (shaft) with embedded Russian lacquered brooch... and very well-made indeed!! Ken was in the booth next to ours at BSG, and Kate watched me drooling all over his spindles, then went back and got this for me!! lucky, lucky me!

Monday, July 23, 2007

what a week it was!!

and a very good week it was, too! took Amtrak to Seattle on tuesday, met by Kate and kids, then spent that evening and Wed. just hangin' out at their house. They've built a raised bed garden, with deer fence near completion, which looks to be filled with super-dirt of some kind! the veggies are huge and lush and look delectable. Alex planted a bed of sugar peas, which are just getting to pickin' size:
Alex's sugar peas P7210134
Zylie has a pumpkin patch which is trying to take over the pathway and all beds near it.
Zylie's punkin patch P7210131
and here's Kate's salad garden:Kate's salad bar P7210133

Thursday we awoke to steady rain, and being the tried and true Northwesterners that we are, we tossed raincoats in with the other gear and headed out to take the ferry from Anacortes to San Juan Island to visit Pam and Larry, and go whale watching! It was a shock to me to find that the fare was $68 for car, 2 adults and 2 kids, and that was with a really reduced rate for seniors ($6.65 for me). Alex really loved the ferry ride:Alex on ferry 2 P7190084

When we arrived at Friday Harbor an hour later, there was some sun showing and weather just got better all day. the kids had a rompin' good time with Buster-the-kitten, who loved chasing anything they'd drag around the floor for him. Buster finally wore himself out and snuggled up by my feet for a rest. Buster loves my socks P7200115
(cool socks, huh? didn't make 'em... bought 'em from socklady.com and i love 'em)
we drove to the other side of the island, and stood on a bluff to watch the Orcas... and they really put on a show! they were quite close to the shoreline and it looked like there were several pods of them. the amount of time they are actually out of the water is so brief i knew i'd never be able to catch a photo of them... but what a magnificent sight it was! here's where we were:whale watching P7190100
you can see that it became a gorgeous clear and sunny day... and made us really glad we stayed with the plan. got up thursday a.m. to pouring rain, hung out with Pam for awhile, then rushed off to catch the ferry... missed it... waited 4 hours for the next one. wandered around in Friday Harbor, had lunch, yadda yadda....

took Amtrak back on saturday. and i gotta say, the party that Jim planned and executed for my
birthday on sunday was far beyond my expectations, and ranked up there with the best ever!! first.... he cleaned the house, including mopping floors... and right there he got highest marks!!! he had invited my twisted sisters so we could twist awhile and eat a lovely meal and admire the fabulous "twisted sister flower tower" he'd given me early as a bd gift (photo on an earlier post). in keeping with the twisted theme... he made a drink he'd heard about when visiting a winery... called (of course) a "twisted sister", made with a white port (tasted like gewurtztraminer) with orange zest, lemon zest and tonic water... and it was excellent!! and for lunch he served Caesar salad, Hungarian mushroom soup (made by special order by Maggie herself at Maggie's Buns, a local cafe), warm garlic bread, and the bd cake was (ta da my most favorite) tiramisu (also made by Maggie) Livin' large on my birthday! Laurie brought me a twinkling lights tiara and sceptor/magic wand which she had decorated with dyed mohair locks (tho guests were instructed to not bring gifts!)
me in my tiara and Rachael
Rachael and me P7220141
Rachael and Matt came down from Goldendale:
Rachael and Matt P7220142
Laurie, Jane and Jan were here
Laurie,Jane,Jan  P7220147
Stephanie showed off her new talent of balancing a vase of flowers on her head... ok, the shot wasn't set up really well, but it sounds better the other way.
Steph balancing flowers on head P7220145
Gail arrived after the picture taking and i neglected to get out the camera and document her lovely presence!

I had an outstanding 69th birthday and felt very loved and honored and who could ask for any more than that? so now i'm really and truly "almost 70" and feel like i kind of missed the 67
and 68 because what i kept hearing in my head was "almost 70".

so if you got this far in this very long missive... thanks... and that's all for now!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


meika flowered 1 P7140071it's been quite awhile since our pooches were featured here, so here's Meika wearing a lovely plastic flower that Jim stuck in her collar. i don't think she fully appreciated how utterly adorable she looked. and what we do for one, we also do for the other. here's Tasha...tasha 2 P7140068with her usual kind of woebegone expression.

and speaking of "pooch" reminds me of "Project Pooch" ... which i've discussed previously and where we have been boarding the dogs when we are away. We recently received the news that the Oregon Youth Authority has decided that dogs cannot be boarded there any more. we really hope they will change that decision as it seems to be so beneficial to their program... and to those who board their dogs there!

meika again wearing her flower. and we did take their flowers off before they could get them off and eat them!meika 2P7140073

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

more flowers

and today's flower is this gorgeous yellow daylily:
yellow daylily P7100003
it usually has 4 or 5 stems per year with 3 or 4 buds on each stem.. and is so outstanding and awesome looking that i really treasure each blossom. the petals are long, curved, graceful... and it's unlike any other daylily i have.

and then there's this lovely red flower... name of which i cannot remember today... maybe tomorrow. red flowers P7100026

before the heat of the day set in, (102F) i got the garden watered and picked a cucumber and some broccoli, then pretty much stayed inside the rest of the day. got about half way done on the quilting... photo when it's done.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Gerbera Daisy

this is my new favorite flower:
red gerbera P6300076
they are available in many lovely and vibrant colors and i'd sure love to have one of each! Costco was selling a 6-pack of 6-inch pots of them and i gave in with hardly a murmur, even tho i already had several in the ground and in pots. I was able to keep 3 alive over the winter by digging 'em up, potting them and keeping them on the kitchen windowsill. they didn't bloom in that time, but they did stay alive and that was all i was asking of them! and now they are all looking glorious. i do hope they can make it thru the current (very) hot spell, with temps for the next 2 day predicted at 103F. believe me, i will be staying inside for the duration and giving thanks to all deities for the person who invented air conditioning. we've only had the heat pump for about 5 years, and i have very clear memories of suffering thru temps like that for several day stretches at least once each summer. so now i will happily stay inside and cool and be a delicate flower. and now i need to put the sprinkler on the flowers and get them well-soaked.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

quilting... and stuff

At last, i pulled out the partially sewn quilt i started ... can't remember even exactly how long ago i started it, but it's for Zylie and she's 4.5 now so it can't be a longer time than that. took me awhile to figure out just what i was intending to do to finish it. it's one of those projects that has been altered from the original plan (typical of my projects!), but i got up to speed pretty quickly and now the top/front is finished (bravo!!) and i'm figuring out what to do for the back. there are many small pieces of fabric left over from the front. that happens when one greatly alters the original plan. in fact, i'll probably use lots of the left-overs to put together a pillow to go with the quilt. for the back, tho, i'll need to decide whether to piece together some fabric already in my stash, or make a trip to the fabric store. hmmm, in fact i'll be in portland sometime next week and could probably make time for shopping then, or there's tomorrow morning..... It is really a mystery to me why i like quilting, because i really don't like detail work, and symmetry has no appeal to me. actually, "crazy quilts" are fascinating and i really want to make one of those.... no symmetry there.

it's been sizzling hot here, which has been well-received by some of the plants in the veggie garden.. and especially the tomato plants (2 of them) which are living in the greenhouse. there was actually a ripe cherry tomato, which Jim put in my salad tonight and it was oh so sweet and yummy. to have a ripe home-grown tomato this early in july is truly a treat, especially since we have had so many summers of green tomatoes in August. already i've picked a cucumber, snipped the tops off basil plants to keep them from blossoming, harvested some of the dill and fennel and i think there'll be green beans in a week or so! we do so love that fresh organic produce from the garden! according to the weather predictor folks we'll have mid-80s and into the 90s for the next 10 days, and that will be good for the garden... if we get enough water to the plants when they need it.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Twisted Sister Flower Tower

Installation of this grand piece of lawn art pottery took place this morning, before the mister even had his breakfast. There was a pressing need to grab the neighbor (Dave-the-potter-down-the-hill) before he headed off to town, as it took 2 strong men to move the tower from the back of the pick-up. and here it is in it's place:
TS flower tower1P7020084
and Dave, who knows all about pottery, pronounced it a truly fine piece of pottery (and... how'd they do that???)