Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's Beginning to Look Like Spring

My yard is just beginning to bloom!
Here is a little willow tree in the back yard.

Daffodils peek out from under the willow tree:

A sentimental favorite... my bleeding hearts just beginning to blossom out:

Our house in Philadelphia had a big bay window in the kitchen. I loved that bay window. Our cat, Maggie loved it too. It was just right for her to sprawl out in the sunlight. I planted a bleeding heart just outside that window. It seemed to love that spot too. It thrived and grew and looked prettier every year. When we moved from that house, the bleeding heart was one of the things that I most hated leaving behind. So, of course I had to plant one here; in fact, I planted two just to be sure. They are both coming back after winter, and are starting to bloom. I still miss the big bay window, but at least I have the bleeding hearts in my new back yard.

p.s. Today I have to go to the dentist and have my new crown put on (see prior post "The Day I Got My Crown")

Question for My Fellow Bloggers

Hi. A few days ago, the Profile View counter on my profile page has become stuck. The number has remained the same even though I know there have been visits. Has anyone else noticed this? It's not a big deal... but it's weird and a bit annoying.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Day I Got My Crown

Isn't it funny how your mind works sometimes?

Yesterday, I came home to find a Post-It note on the kitchen sink. On it my husband had written this message: "Your crown is in".

"My crown? What crown?" I thought. Maybe it was a joke. Or maybe I had ordered something and forgotten all about it. But I didn't remember ordering a crown.

Then, for some reason, the movie "The Princess Diaries" popped into my mind. Had a distant, unknown relative passed away and left me a kingdom?

I found my husband in his office and asked him what the note was about. He quickly brought me back to reality: "Your dentist called".


Monday, Monday... Wait! It's Thursday.

Today feels like a blue day, kind of like a Monday. Oh well. I guess Thursday can feel blue too. It's rainy and gloomy outside and I feel the same way inside.

When I was younger, I used to get depressed in the spring. Everyone else was looking forward to summer fun in the sun. I always felt like an outsider because of my unusually fair skin. I couldn't go out in the sun and get a tan, as it seemed everyone else could. I burned and blistered. So I learned to stay in the shade, use sunscreen, and cover up as much as possible. Hardly any fun when all my friends were showing off tans in their halter tops and shorts. I always looked pale as a ghost. People would remark: "You are so pale!". They would hold their arm up against mine to show me how much difference there was (as if I didn't already know!). I took that as an insult, the same as someone saying, "You are so fat!" or "You are so ugly!" As a teen and young twenty-something it really made me self-conscious.

Somewhere in my adulthood this stopped bothering me so much. As an adult, other things become more important, you start to accept yourself as you are, and what other people think or say doesn't matter so much. Now I really enjoy spring. I love to see everything coming to life again. I love sitting on the porch swing when there is a soft, warm breeze.

So why do I feel blue today? Because I need to lose weight and summer is fast approaching. In the winter, I can hide under lovely long skirts and pants and long-sleeved shirts. In the summer, everything is exposed. I can handle being pale and exposed, but being pale and overweight is a double whammy! I feel like the stereotyped Midwesterner that everyone knows doesn't belong in warm weather locales. Like a Lutheran in Lake Wobegon, if you follow that story.

Isn't it awful how much we obsess about our weight? I know it's silly. I'm not obese... just a bit chunky. I would be happy to lose twenty pounds. But my husband is not so accepting. He constantly reminds me that I don't look like I did when I was twenty years younger. The other day he told me about a friend's wife who lost fifty pounds. He said, "you could probably stand to lose fifty pounds yourself". FIFTY pounds! He has a photo of me on his desk. It was taken when we were on vacation in Mexico about twenty years ago That's how he wants me to look. I was only twenty pounds lighter then. So, he obviously thinks I am more overweight than I am. It's not very encouraging.

Well, I have rambled way off of my original premise here. Just brainstorming to analyze why I feel blue today. Pale and overweight and blue... what a mess!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tiger on Quilts

This is Tiger on a pile of quilts, in response to Bearette's comment. I have posted this photo before, but it's so cute that I liked having an excuse to post it again.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What Do You Do With Old Quilts?

I have a fondness for old quilts. Some of them, I hang on my walls; they add color and warmth to a room. Others, I put on beds or use as covers for the backs of sofas and chairs. From others, I cut out parts that I like and make pillows, bags, and framed pictures.

The quilts I love were made by hand. The fabrics are old and soft. Often the colors have been subdued over time, and are very mellow looking. I like to think of the women who made them, of all the time and love that went into them. I like to give them new life. But mostly I love them because they are beautiful.

This week, I made this little pillow out of old quilt pieces:

I found these little pillows on e-bay. They are also made from old quilt pieces.

These sit on a shelf in my kitchen. I think they add more charm than all the granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances in the world.

Some of My Favorite Things Today

It's a little early for blooms around here, but I went looking for things that remind me of Spring. Also, found some things I like all year-round.

Dogwood wreath on my front door:

Bunnies everywhere:

Have you heard the myth about the moon rabbit?

This little dish depicts that myth:

On the same table: ruffly glass bowls in Spring colors and a little sleeping cat:

The table, by the way, is a family antique; before me, it belonged to my great aunt, and was made by someone way back on the family tree. It has carved legs, and the marble top has a chess board carved into it.

The same aunt had this Capodimonte figurine sitting on the table. Now it's on my china hutch with my flow blue dishes, which are also among my favorites.

Have you noticed a lot of blue and white here? Yes, they are favorites too. My old house near Philadelphia was mostly blue and white. Blue shutters on white stucco, and blue woodwork inside. My current house came with warmer colors, but I am adding a lot of blue and white to the mix.

Friday, March 20, 2009


This is what Spring will look like in my neighborhood about a month from now. But, today it's official!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Obsessive Ramblings... How One Thing Always Leads to Another

I don't know if anyone listened to the songs I posted recently... or my posting about my love for Antonio Carlos Jobim's music.
I can't remember when I first heard his music, but I was drawn to it the minute I heard it. Often, when I am in a place where music is being played, I hear a Jobim melody and my heart soars. I always want to get up and dance when I hear it.

When I like something, I have been known to go a little crazy over it. I spend a lot of time reading about it and researching it. Then I often find something else along the way that sparks an interest, and I am off on another tangent. Well, my interest in this music has led me to become interested in Brazil, and further, to South America as a whole. Yesterday I was listening to PBS where they were talking about how unaware most people in the U.S.A. are of South America. I would like to learn more about it, and it all started with music.

Antonio Carlos Jobim is from Rio de Janeiro, where he is known as Tom Jobim. They revere him so much that they named their international airport after him. He is known primarily for Bossa Nova, which originated in Brazil in the 1950s. Most people in the U.S.A. are aware of his music only via recordings by Stan Getz and Astrid Gilberto, specifically "The Girl from Ipanema". But these recordings are not at the heart of his music. His music really shines in less produced recordings with him playing the piano and singing, or with Joao Gilberto playing the guitar and singing. Or with both of them, playing and singing together. Joao Gilberto is another popular musician in Brazil and he did many recordings with Jobim.

Many of Jobim's recordings also feature guitar by Toquinho. Toquinho is a nickname for another well-known Brazilian musician whose real name is Antonio Pecci Filha. You can see him playing the guitar on my YouTube video of "One Note Samba". My other YouTube video has Tom Jobim and Elis Regina singing "Aguas de Marco" (Waters of March). It's a playful duet.

There is so much more to Jobim's music than just "samba" music. I looked it up in Wikipedia and I liked the definition they gave. They describe it as a "refined version of samba, de-emphasizing the percussion aspect of its rhythm and enriching the melodic and harmonic context." I am not a music expert, but I think the melodies are beautiful and, as a fan of jazz, I find the chords and harmonies fascinating.

Jobim also worked with Vinicius de Moraes, a Brazilian poet, playwright and lyricist. He wrote the lyrics to some of Jobim's songs. They collaborated on a Brazilian film called "Black Orpheus". It was based on a play written by de Moraes, and it features music by Jobim. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film in 1959, and the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1960.

So... how does one thing lead to another? While reading about Jobim and Brazil, I came upon another interesting story about music in South America. It's a program called "El Sistema" which was started in Venezuela by a man named Jose Antonio Abreu. Mr. Abreu's mission was described as "social action through music". They take children from impoverished backgrounds and teach them music and provide them with instruments. They have formed a classical orchestra that is highly praised. The program is so successful that it is being adopted around the world.

Then I read that Jose Antonio Abreu won something called the "TED Award" for 2009. So I had to look up the TED Award. TED stands for technology, entertainment and design. Each year, three individuals are chosen for innovative, outstanding ideas. An awards ceremony is held annually; awardees give talks, and they are fascinating, about so many different subjects.

While reading about TED Awards I came across an original thinker named Malcolm Gladwell. I had read a reference to him on a blog I like. I looked him up and found out he had been a speaker at the TED Award ceremony in 2004. He has written books called "Blink" and "The Tipping Point" and "Outliers". I watched a YouTube video of him at the TED Awards, giving a talk about spaghetti sauce. He was speaking about a man named Howard Moskowitz, whom he was crediting for revolutionizing spaghetti sauce among other things. Wow! Now I will have to look up Howard Moskowitz!

So, that's how my day goes. Too much time on my hands? Probably. But it's all so interesting! It's like I am home-schooling myself.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

High Society

I saw this movie when I was a child. I believed the part about Mars!

Spontaneous Giddiness

Guess what I did yesterday? Jumped on this trampoline!

Because it was Tuesday, I picked up my nieces from school and took them home. It was a beautiful day so they wanted to go outside and jump on their trampoline. They talked me into jumping with them. We were all laughing and falling down and out of breath. Hanging out with them makes me feel young again.

Thank you, Natalie, for introducing me to the term "spontaneous giddiness".

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day was interesting in my family when I was a kid. My mom's parents actually had fights about it. Her mom's background was Irish and her dad's was English. My grandmother would wear green and put up green decorations, and my grandfather would complain about it.

My mother identified with her mother and celebrated St. Patrick's Day. My dad's family was English and Irish, but the Irish part was from Northern England. While she dressed us in green, my dad told us we should actually be wearing orange. There is a history behind that, but I don't remember it all. In my family, though, the women always had their way deciding on the traditions. So we always wore green, and my mom always made green mashed potatoes.

Tiger's "Big Adventure"

See my three cats gathered at the back door? This is the door I had open yesterday because it was a nice, warm day. Trouble was, yesterday I failed to realize that the screen door was also open. Several hours later I noticed the wide open door. Oh no! I always panic when one of my cats gets outside. We have woods in the back, where there are feral cats, raccoons, and reportedly coyotes. I went around the house, counting cats. Tiger was missing!

I went outside and walked all around the house, calling him. I walked down the street, looking for the little grey and white cat. Then I got a picture of Tiger and went around the neighborhood, like a detective on a crime drama; "have you seen this cat?" One of the neighbors said she had seen a gray and white cat down in the ravine. I put on my rugged shoes and headed toward the ravine to check it out. I saw Tiger down there, but when I called him he turned and scooted farther away.

I went back inside and got the bag of cat food to try to lure him up to the house. I shook the bag so he could hear it, then I put a dish of food out in the yard. My next door neighbor came outside to see what I was doing. As we stood there chatting, Tiger came up toward the food. Again, when I came close to him, he turned and ran away. "Okay, Tiger," I said, "I'll be here when you decide to come home." I was hoping he would come back before it got dark.

My plan was to get a glass of wine and sit out on the porch swing. I went inside and got my wine. When I turned around and headed for the door, guess who was standing right there just outside the door... Tiger! If you know cats, you know they always have to do things on their own terms!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tom Jobim - One Note Samba

I love this!
(Hope it works this time.)

Águas de Março - Tom Jobim e Elis Regina no Fantástico

This makes me smile!


The Today Show is on as we go about our morning routine. This morning they are airing from Ireland in honor of St. Patrick's Day.
There is a feature on about Irish step-dancing. A dancer is teaching Al Roker and Meredith Viera some steps, which involve a lot of fast footwork and hopping. This is nice, so what is ridiculous about it?

Meredith is doing this in five-inch high stilleto boots. Sorry, but I find that just crazy!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Odd Couple.... My Life

It's 9:30 Saturday morning here. I have been at home alone since Tuesday, when my husband left for a business trip. He is due home on a flight that arrives at 10:20. We live close to the airport so he could be home as early as 10:45. That means I have a little over an hour to get the house in shape.

Remember The Odd Couple? I liked the movie and I liked the TV show even more (it was a bit more light-hearted and I like Tony Randall. Not that I don't like Jack Lemmon but he had more of an edge... anyway, I digress.) Every time I hear the theme song it makes me laugh. (I will post it here some day if I ever get YouTube to work.)

We live in a version of The Odd Couple. My husband is the Felix character and I am the Oscar character. Maybe I am not quite the slob that Oscar was, but I am pretty relaxed about things. My husband, on the other hand, is one of those "white glove" guys. When he is due home I feel I have to prepare for "inspection". Oh no, don't get the wrong idea; he doesn't do a formal inspection. He is a bit more "PC" than that. But he does notice; and I notice that he notices.

So for the next hour or so I will be sprucing up the house. (Unless his flight is early; in spite of the recent trend of delayed flights, his are usually either on-time or early... go figure!)

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Kitties Today

Don't they look peaceful? Two little strays that showed up in our back yard two years ago. They have adapted quite well to indoor life. Can you tell?

Here they are two years ago, before we adopted them. They made themselves comfortable in a planter on our deck.


I was so excited last night because I got some videos posted from YouTube. This afternoon i came back to my blog and none of them would play. I don't know what's wrong. I deleted the posts and I'm not sure if I will try it again. It's too discouraging.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Good News!

I did it! i figured out how to add YouTube videos to my blog today!
To celebrate, I put up three songs from my favorite composer... Antonio Carlos Jobim.
He is a hero in Brazil, where they call him Tom. They even named the Rio de Janeiro airport for him.

He is a hero to me too. Unfortunately he died in 1994 at age 67. I wish I had had a chance to know him.
I feel like his personality comes through in his melodies. It has been said that a lot of his music was inspired by nature, specifically by the ocean that he loved. His song called "Wave" is an example of this.
I feel the same way about nature and especially the rhythm of the ocean. I can sit by the beach and listen and watch it for hours. To me, his music is perfect for doing this. His music is lilting, melodic, playful and romantic. It makes me happy.
My posts with videos are below this one.

Is AOL Holding My Blog Hostage?

Originally, when I set up my Blogger account I was using aol for e-mail. So, I set up my Blogger account using my aol address as my user name. Then aol suddendly cut me off and I can't get to my aol account any more.

I am going to try to change my Blogger account to my gmail address. I don't know if my Blog will transfer as is, or if I will have to start a new Blog.

Monday, March 9, 2009

More About Spring, Kentucky Style

This is what springtime looks like in Kentucky... two of my favorite trees, the dogwood and the redbud, all mixed together. So delicate, and almost magical looking, among the spring-green trees. Aren't they beautiful?

Here is an individual dogwood tree. I like how the blooms seem to float in layers.

Then, the redbud, all pink and delicately spiky.

If you are driving down a road in Kentucky in the springtime, this is the view you might see... redbud trees along the way:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Latest Project

Here is a new pillow I made old of old quilt pieces:

The First Taste of Spring

I feel better now. All it took was one beautiful day. I got outside and forgot all about the computer for a while. On Saturday we went to my sister's house for the first cookout of the season. It was sunny and warm and the kids were wearing shorts and sandals for the first time in a long time. Unfortunately it doesn't look like spring yet, nothing like the photo above which I took from Google. It actually looks more like the one below. But it felt like spring, and that's the most we can hope for this early in March.

But look what we have to look forward to:

My favorite place to be on a nice spring day:

It's a hopeful time of year, isn't it? Let's just hope we don't have a snow storm next week!

Friday, March 6, 2009


I had another meltdown last night. First I was crying; then I was laughing. It was pretty hysterical. My poor husband didn't know what was going on.

It was the computer again. I've been trying for weeks to figure out how to add a You Tube video to my blog. I read the directions under Blogger Help and I read the directions in my "Blogging for Dummies" book and my "You Tube for Dummies" book. I followed them step by step... nothing worked.

I decided to set up an appointment at my favorite Apple Store to get some help. But I couldn't remember how to contact the reservation page to set up an appointment. I finally found the page, but it asked for my "Apple I.D." and my password.

Now, I have an aol password and a gmail password, a blogger password, a google password, an iTune password. But for the life of me, I couldn't remember my Apple password OR my Apple I.D. I think it was based on my old aol account, but my aol account froze up weeks ago and I haven't been able to access it. Anyway, I tried every I.D. and password I could think of. None of them worked. That's when the meltdown began. You can't call the Apple Store for an appointment; you have to make an appointment over the internet. But I can't get to their internet site without my I.D. and password. I will have to drive an hour up to Cincinnati with my laptop and beg someone at the Genius Bar to see me without an appointment. It's like flying standby at the airport; you never know how long it might take and you might not get there at all.

After my last meltdown I got smart and wrote down all of my I.D.s and passwords in a little notebook for easy reference. However, I must have done that after I already set up and Apple I.D. and an Apple password because they are not listed.

So, last night I was wailing and gnashing my teeth and declaring that I am too old to be doing this. My husband suggested I: (a) have a drink; (b) take a Xanax; and/or (c) lock up my computer for a while. What did I do? I had a fit of hysterical laughter at the absurdity of it all. Then I made some tea and sat down and had a cup. An old-fashioned remedy to a new-fangled problem.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Don't Get Me Started!

Just heard on the news that the stock market is down below 7000. Things are looking BAD! We don't quite know what to do. We are among those who are not that far away from retirement (at least that's what we thought six months ago!). I worked all those years and followed all the advice about putting as much as I could into my IRA. "You can't just SAVE your money," they said. "No, you have to GROW your money."

Well, now I know I would have been better off just putting it all into a savings account (or even under the mattress! At least it would still be there!). My grandmother was right... a good, old-fashioned savings account! I can't even stand to look at my IRA statement now... the last I knew it was down by 40 percent. Should I take out what's left, before it goes down to zero? If I do that, I will be accepting the loss, they all say. But what if I lose it all? I don't have years and years to wait for it to go back up.

And... AIG... don't get me started! What on earth did they do with all that money? I used to work for AIG and I saw how they treated their policyholders and their employees. And I saw how those in the highest positions lived. I saw their ethics. They claim they are "too big to fail". I say let them fail. I am willing to take that chance.

As if you couldn't tell, I am frustrated today. There are some in this country who have cheated and manipulated the system to their own advantage. They have millions in secret accounts, they have riches the rest of us can't even begin to imagine. And so many families are suffering. Something is very, very wrong.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Went To A Tinkerbell Party!

This weekend, Tinkerbell came to Sunnyvale... so, of course we had to be there! The occasion was our granddaughter's fourth birthday. The party was a huge success!

On Saturday we flew from Kentucky to San Francisco. Then on to Sunnyvale in a rented car. We partied all weekend, and flew back to Kentucky today. Whew! I'm a bit tired. Lots of bedtime stories and castle building and gymnastics classes... four year olds live quite a busy life these days! It's not easy keeping up with them. But it is lots of fun!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's Raining in Sunnyvale!

Hello from Caifornia. We went to our four-year old granddaughter's birthday party today. It was a Tinkerbell party!

I am making a quick post from our hotel room. Here are a couple of photos from the party.