Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas through the eyes of babes

Pardon while I indulge myself
... and talk about my Sophia~

After a grueling 12 hour drive (each way)
its good to be home (sort of)

I needed a day to catch my breath,
mourn over leaving my sweet Sophia,
wish we lived closer to them,
and get back into being home.

There nothing quite like experiencing Christmas from a child's eyes
(...especially when its my first grandbaby)

It brought back memories of my boy's growing up
sentimental memories of Christmases past

Funny how that happens as I age, isn't it?

Now I know what those tears were all about
years ago as I watched them flow from
my grandmother's and mother's eyes
at times like these

This is the first Christmas Sophie really understands
and what excitement!

To see her eyes light up!
..and hear her squeals of delight! seeing her new dolly stroller, highchair and play pen
sitting under the Christmas tree!

She knew exactly what to do with them!

I had all boys
so watching a little girl's excitement over girlie things
was a blast!!!
Its amazing how little girls just naturally love dollies

Other fun things were...

Cousin Tristan being there too!

A tube to climb through!
The simplest things make children happy
If only we could keep it that way

Learning toys

Kitty was such a help!

and SANTA showed up!
(my brother did a great job! LOL
...Tristan is his 1st grandchild)

Dolly must go for a walk in her new stroller!

Come on Nami!
Put that camera away and go for a walk with me and dolly!

When it was time for us to leave and go back home...
and to know it will be a few months before I see her again...

well, nothing more need be said.

Tears and a journey...

Here's to looking forward to the next time I get to see my Sophia!

Happy New Year to all

Monday, December 21, 2009

My 100th post was to be my last before Christmas,
but I can't help myself...

I've found Nancy at last!
After literally years of searching for any word of her..
I found her,
I just had to let any of you who are interested...
the founding Editor of our (well, at least my)
beloved Victoria Magazine

Thank you Nancy~

Friday, December 18, 2009

100th Post & Giveaway

Hello blogging friends~
Welcome to my 100th post

I hope I don't bore you to death today,
but I'm just going to let it roll
since I will be taking a bit of a break from blogging
to visit my Sophia (and her parents) for Christmas!

But first...
To celebrate my 100th post,
if you email me and let me know you're interested,
I'll send you a little something from the Monterey Bay.
(It won't come to you until after Christmas - when I get back home)

~Happy 100th Post~

So should you be so inclined... settle in
because for some reason I'm a little long-winded today.
Wow... never in a million years did I think blogging would be like this! I started out pretty careful of what I wrote. I've focused on the good things in my life, and resisted writing about negative things. There are plenty of negative things in life, but I figure no one really wants to read about them.
Still, as I thought about what to write in my 100th post, I decided that life has both sides ... positive/negative, yin/yang, light/dark, up/down, good/bad... as a general rule I don't want to focus on the negative side of this equation, but I don't want to ignore it either...
so I've opted just this once...
for an open splathering (is that a word?)
of whatever is on my mind.
...hopefully I'll still have some friends at the end of this post!
I grew up in the 50's... a time when life was simple. Oh man, that sounds like an old thing to say! I remember my grandparents and parents talking like this ... and now I know how true it is! Life is always simpler when we were young! (My kids will probably say the same thing...)
I was raised in a religious family during a time when that wasn't a bad word. It was a time when it was safe to play baseball in the street until well after dark. A time when we knew there were bad people, but they were called "hobo's," and they weren't in our neighborhood.
I think I was a pretty lucky child.
-My parents were happy people.
-They made life good for us, in the best "family" kind of ways.
-They're still married.
-Oh sure, they had a few tough times, but who doesn't? Its what we do with those tough times that matters. They worked through them... did the difficult things, and are better for it today.
-We weren't rich, but we weren't poor either.
-We always had just what we needed... a roof over our heads, enough to eat, and clothes on our backs.
-We got handmade Christmas presents, and were excited about them.
-We made paper dolls by cutting out magazine ladies and their outfits. It took two years for my sister and I to get Barbie Dolls for Christmas... because they were a bit on the expensive side, and Mom had to stash money away for them.
-Mom was a stay-at-home-mom in a day when women weren't looked down on if they were.
-She was always there when we got home from school.
-We ate homemade suppers together as a family, and were expected to help with the cooking and cleaning up afterwards. No "if's", "ands" or "buts" about it!
-We didn't own a clothes dryer until I was around 8 or 9. Instead we had a wringer-washer and a clothesline.-We didn't own a television until I was at least 12... and it kinda looked like this
-Women looked like this! My sister and I laughed at the pointy pokes we got when our aunts hugged us!
-We made up our own entertainment, using ingenuity and imagination.
-No, I didn't have that beautiful canopy bed I dreamed of at age 13.
-No, I didn't get that cherry red Corvette that I drooled over at age 16... but I did get the horse I dreamed of ... and worked hard to get a B average in school to keep my end of that bargain with my dad.
-I didn't get a car until I was in college.
-I wasn't allowed to go out on a date until I was 16.
-I had a real job at age 15. Babysitting jobs long before that...
-I worked my way through college. It was hard, but I did it... no student loans.
-My parents never argued in front of us kids... Yes, they argued, but I didn't know it until years later.
-We contributed to our community by collecting food and clothing, and distributing them to those who needed them.
-My heroines were my Mother, Aunts and Grandmothers.
-My heros were my Dad, Uncles and Grandfathers.
-My Dad worked his hiney off ... even had three jobs at one point, to support the family. He was an accountant at first, then manager of data-processing for a hospital. He was also a teacher at the local community college, and accountant for the local credit union, as well as his flying club. He loved the outdoors... was a "rock hound," an explorer, and a nature buff. Both my parents taught us rock-climbing, wilderness survival, and how to identify local animals, insects and plants. My Mom was amazing! She could keep up with Dad any old day!
-It was difficult, but they also saved and bought a house. I'm still amazed at that... with 4 kids and all.
-We all worked.
-We had one car for most of my childhood, and my Mom didn't have her driver's license until I was 12.
-We worked to earn money for the things we really wanted... like bikes or other special items here and there.
One time my grandparents came to visit for a week, and Grandma taught my sister and I how to sew.... it stuck with her ... but not with me. (My mother worried that I'd be a terrible wife/mother one day!) Oh, I knew how to sew ... just preferred not to. I'd rather be outside.... riding my horse or doing outdoor things.
(Note - something must've stuck though, because I now think of myself as a "decent cook", and I keep my house clean. I still prefer to be outside in the garden though) Back then, I preferred to learn about "guy stuff"... like engines and how they work, how to drive a tractor, fix a fence... I learned to drive in a stick-shift pick-up truck long before I was allowed to drive on the roads. Does the word "tomboy" fit?
Does all this sound kind of corny, silly or goodie-two-shoes-like?
Probably, but it was my life.
Oh sure, there were bad things back then. Of course there were! We had bad people around, but for the most part I felt safe, and over-all I thought I could trust people.
But now....
I have to admit that I don't really feel safe. I'm kinda concerned for my grandchildren's future. There are people I know I can trust... but in general I don't have a "trusting" feeling about society.

Do you?
Sometimes it feels like the world is coming unglued. Am I alone here? Do you feel it too... or... is it just me?

The news never was a "good" thing, but I don't know... it seems absurdly bad lately. I can't hardly stand to listen to the news ... but I do anyway. I feel forced to, in a way.
And here's another thing... do you think most kids listen to adults? It seems like they are mostly in their own little world... with an ipod or cellphone permanently attached to their bodies, like an extra appendage.
Do families eat supper together anymore?
Who are the heroes and heroines for kids today?
What are the words to their music? Oh I know... there's good music now, but we had the best music back then!

And kids have so much handed to them. How many really have to work hard for anything?

And I think we're being robbed at every turn ... by all the popping "money bubbles" that suck our savings, retirement and inheritance away into thin air ... the government, the banks, the companies ... It seems we either have more scallywags around, or they are just more out-spoken (or maybe more bold) ... or all of the above!

Scallywags have always been around ... that's true, but I just feel surrounded by them now.

I don't even want to venture into politics here... that's kind of a taboo... but suffice it to say I'm not happy. Haven't been. Enough said.
Geeze... I sound OLD! Its embarrassing...
I'm really not, uh... what's that word my Grandma used to use? ...a "fuddy-duddy!"
(I just looked it up, and its actually in the dictionary!)
fud·dy-dud·dy (fd-dd)
n. pl. fud·dy-dud·dies
An old-fashioned, fussy person.
Well, I suppose that's what I sound like right now, but don't get me wrong here... I'm not a stick-in-the-mud. I love a good party. I know how to have a good time. I'm not afraid of adventure, or trying something new... but I sorta like being a fuddy duddy in certain things. I just can't seem to put my finger exactly on what I'm trying to say at the moment.... I'm an old fashioned kind of person ... but then, I'm not either. I love the old-fashioned family ways. I admire my parents, and hopefully I can give back to them when they need it in old age... because they gave me everything.
I have a lot to be grateful for, and I try to say so each day. I have a decent life. We work hard and try to do our part... We have jobs, and we can pay the bills. We have a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our backs... and I guess that's saying something today.
So there it is... in all its wordiness...
~My 100th Post~
Thank you for stopping by,
and thank you each, for sharing your blogs with me too!
I enjoy each one so much~
Merry Christmas!
See you again when I get back~

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Angels n' Nuts

You might wonder what angels and nuts have in common?

At Christmas time something happens to me
I get all silly over ideas for fun projects
Each year I give my neighbors something from my garden
This year it will be Nuts

We have 5 walnuts trees,

1. I picked them (it took several weeks)
2. Dried them in the sun on the front porch
(which took another two weeks)
3. Then I cracked them ... alllll of them
(that took another two months,
while watching chick-flicks, of course)
4. Roasted them with a delicious Ginger-Honey Glaze


Ginger and Honey Roasted Almonds

Yield 5 cups
Inspired from: Eat Make Read

5 cups almonds
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water
2 tsp canola oil (or another flavourless, odourless oil)

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C
  2. Place nuts in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets. Toast until nuts are fragrant, 10-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking. Meanwhile, combine sugar, salt, and ginger in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine honey, water and oil in a large saucepan. Bring it to a boil over high heat.
  4. Reduce heat to low and add roasted almonds while still warm. Cook, stirring a few times, until all of the liquid has evaporated and evenly coated with the honey, this will take 3 to 5 minutes. It should look nice and shiny at this point.
  5. Now, spoon the sugar mixture over the nuts, stirring between every addition of sugar and spice mix and then tossing it thoroughly to coat evenly. Spread nuts in a singer layer on a sheet of parchment paper to cool. Can be kept in an airtight container for 1 week.

5. Meanwhile, back to the crafts ...
I used quart-sized canning jars, an idea from Hanna ,
and her lovely Norwegian blog...
(I can't understand a word on her blog,
but I love looking at her styling!
And I've come to love the beautiful whiteness
of the Scandinavian crafts & home decor!)

I stuck sticker stars all over them,
and along with using a paper doily, I sprayed them silver.

6. I sprayed the lids silver too.

7. Then, using silver paper doilies and wooden craft clothespins,
I made little angels to hang on each jar.

I won't tell you how many nuts I ate while roasting them,
but suffice it to say, they're ADDICTIVE!

Merry Christmas Crafting!

and WOW, I just realized that this is my 99th post!
How time flies!

...almost 100!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Homemade Christmas Cards and Stitchery

Each year I make my own Christmas Cards
And normally they'd be done and mailed by now...
but I got a bad virus and was sick for a week,
so the creativity wasn't flowing very well.
Time is running out,
and I actually considered not sending any at all!

Until today...
I made myself think up a super fast design
and work it all out...
in one day.
What a push!

but its done and in the mail... finally!

First, pull out the paper and stuff

Play a little bit with some ideas...

Have a super brain block...
until finally some ideas started to flow...

I decide to fold cream colored card stock to make a card,
and sew some pretty paper on one side of it
to make a pocket

I have a very simple Singer machine
because I have a sort of love-hate relationship with sewing
(to be honest, I usually end up outside in the garden)

Its not that I can't sew...
it's just that, when I do sew,
I always make mistakes!

And when that happens,
I hate ripping seams so much
that I usually toss the whole thing into a box,
and there it stays forever!

The sewing machine works well for attaching paper sleeves though!
And no ripping seams! (:

Pick out a cute pic of my grandbaby, Sophia!
Print it out on a bazillion papers

Stick em in the pockets...

and Voila!

outside in the rain, my birds are having lunch.

AND... I'm pretty proud of this one!

My friend Dzintra,
over at Queen of the Armchair aka Dzintra Stitches
had sent me a stitchery project
waaaaaaayyyyy back last spring (fall for her)
I had my garden to attend to all summer
and didn't get to my project until the weather changed
and I had that cold last week!

Well, finally...
here it is!

Isn't it great?
Thank you Dzintra!
I loved creating my first stitchery project,
and now I'm hooked!
Already looking for something new (:

Now all I have to do is put the backing on it and hang it in my office! YAY!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Come take a walk with us...

Hubby and I have had a little project going on
for the past 3 or 4 years.
We walk the beach as often as we can...
not every day, but whenever we have a span of time to spare,
we stroll the beach to the north and to the south.

We've made it our pet project
to find as many access-ways to the beach as we can on this bay,
and we've decided to call them, "beach portals."

We take pictures of them,
and try to learn all we can about each one.
And who knows...
maybe one day we'll write a book

what is the definition of the word "portal?"
por·tal (pôrtl, pr) - noun
entrance, entranceway, entryway, entree, entry -
something that provides access (to get in or get out);
"they waited at the entrance to the garden";
"beggars waited just outside the entryway to the cathedral"

we try to answer several questions:

...whose portal is it? did it come to be a portal in the first place?
...what does it mean to the people (or even animals) who use it?

~Meet the beach portal for Old Camp McQuaide~

This particular beach portal
is the access way to a 400 acre piece of land
that used to be called Camp McQuaide during WWII...

...named in memory of the deceased,
Major Joseph P. McQuaide,
who had been the Chaplain of the 1st California Infantry
and the 250th Coast Artillery for many years
Following the expansion of the US military in 1940,
the camp was developed as a
Coast Artillery Replacement Training Center
and in 1943, it was converted to the
West Coast Processing Center...
the official stockade for all stateside
Army AWOLs (Absent With-Out Leave)
and other troublemakers.

Even now, there are unseen underground
bunkers along the bluff that have long been locked up.
Some, however are used to house farm equipment for farmers
who now work the strawberry fields up the hill a ways.
Under this very spot... is a huge empty bunker.
You can stand on it and see the
large metal pads where gun mounts used to sit.

There is even an old amphitheater that sits
just up off the bluff... all closed up, and not in use for many years...
but back in the day, it was used for entertainment for
military personnel.
Its a grand old place. I've been inside it before...
but unfortunately I have no photos.
Its got a huge solid wood stage,
with floor to ceiling burgundy velvet curtains,
and rows upon rows of beautiful burgundy cushioned seats.
Back in its day, I'm sure it was considered to be plush!
I've often wished I could just go in,
sit down and see back in time...
to the shows that were given back in the 1940's.

See that small plateau across the gully?
There's an old gun mount there too...
and a bunker beneath it.

Just past the trees to the left,
there's a private air strip...
I wonder if it was used during WWII?
I bet so, but I have no proof. Not yet...

The camp was decommissioned after WWII,
and sold to become a private high school
for boarding students.

What a place to go to school, hmmm?

This old Camp McQuaide,
is the only true privately owned beach on the bay...
or so we've been told.
Its the only part of the beach that you can allow
your dog off his leash,
and you can't be cited for it!
The rest of the bay is public,
and all dogs must be on the leash.
I used to bring Jazz here almost every day.
I sure miss the ol boy!

(unfortunately, vandalism is a problem)

And so here it is...
the lantern lined "beach portal" of Old Camp McQuaide!

So far, I can only go back to the 1940's,
but there is much more history to this place,
and I plan to find it ...

For now, I hope you enjoyed hearing of one of the many
"beach portals" on the Monterey Bay, California.