Thursday, February 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Sweety!!

Today is Sweety's birthday. Sweety is truly a sweet man. Low key, patient (he's married to me, for crying out loud, he needs to be), smart, a wonderful grandfather, and lots of other adjectives I can't think of right now. If I want something, "go get it." If I want to decorate our bedroom in all pink," no problem." Do you mind if I go out galivanting with the girls, yet again? "Not at all." Can you help babysit the boys? "Glad to."

Does he complain? No. He could. When he was 34 he had two strokes. He fully recovered, but the doctors never could figure out why he had them. Then two and a half years ago on father's day he had another stroke. This time it was worse. He spent 2 months in a rehab center. That's a nice term for convalescent home. Then physical therapy at home for months. That's why I finally retired early. Even though we had family and friends to help I couldn't leave him home alone any longer without feeling guilty. We're lucky as the stroke did not affect his speech or brain. His left side is weak and he doesn't have full use of his left arm and hand. He can't raise his left foot completely when he walks and he tires easily.

Does he complain about any of this? No.

He doesn't drive a car anymore and had to retire early. Does he complain? No.

He takes like ten medicines a day along with insulin injections. Does he complain? No. Never.

Can I say that I never complain? Heck no. Can you say that? Probably not. He does what he can which includes everything he really loves to do and chooses not to dwell on the things he can't do.

Our 40th anniversary is in August. Is life good? You betcha it is!!

Happy Birthday Sweety! I love you more than you know.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I Am A Reader!!!!!

I have two adorable grandsons. Redmond will be 9 in April and Samuel just turned 6 Christmas Eve. They are the light of my life. Until you have experienced being a grandparent, you don't have any idea how over-the-top wonderful it can be. They each have such distinct personalities. Redmond is "out there", outgoing, precocious, serious, analytical. Samuel is more held back, quiet and thoughtful, with a wee bit of a pixie in him. Big brother Redmond is such a great reader. If you gave him a copy of War and Peace he could read it. I attribute this to the fact that my daughter has read to the boys since they were babies. When they go to bed it's to read before they go to sleep. Books are a big part of their life.

Samuel has been struggling with reading in kindergarten this year and my daughter hasn't been pleased with his progress (the school). So she got out all of Redmond's old kindergarten reading materials and has been working with him at home. He is improving by leaps and bounds and is now reading. He jumped out of bed the other morning and shouted, "I am a READER!" My daughter said "it is amazing to see your very own child light up when reading". Good job, Mommy!

I love both boys equally and try hard every day not to play favorites. But today is your day, Samuel. HURRAY! WOO HOO! WAY TO GO!
Samuel, the READER!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Me bad, so sad, no camera...

Yesterday my Sweety and I decided to take a drive down the valley to the Fresno area. It's about a two hour drive from here. I love Fresno. There are lots of things to see and do. I'm especially impressed with how the area looks. The professional and commercial areas are landscaped just beautifully and you get a small town feel even though it's a large city. With that in mind we are fair weather friends to the area. It gets really HOT in the summer and has lots of fog in the winter, so we go in the spring and fall. With that in mind, we jumped in the car and off we went - without my camera (the "me bad" part).

Our first stop was at the winery that makes Sweety's favorite port, Ficklin. There are no leaves on the vines at this time. The vines themselves, however, were just beautiful against the cloudy sky - a perfect picture opportunity - again, me bad-no camera. I don't drink (don't like the taste) but Sweety was able to taste a few varieties and bring some home.

Our next leg of the trip took us to a quilt store in Fresno, Cottage Quilts. This was my first visit and was I ever in seventh heaven! They used to be just mail order. Then they opened a retail store and have just expended their square footage. Not all quilt stores are the same as each one has a distinct personality. A lot depends on who is buying the fabric (there are literally tons to choose from all the fabric companies) and how it is all presented. Let me just tell you that it's right up there now as one of my favorite stores. It was bright and cheery and had the fabric I love. Most importantly, I was greeted by friendly and helpful ladies who obviously love what they do. Thanks, Caroline! My son's best friend (do guys have BFF's?) and his wife are expecting twin girls in June. I picked up the pattern and fabric to make two of these darling cherry quilts designed by Holly Holderman of Lakehouse Designs. I so hope they like them!

Our last stop was the city of Clovis. What a darling little town. Antique stores galore, a tea shop and another of my favorite quilt stores, Quilters Paradise. We got home late but had such a great time.

Drop on over to my friend Anna at Timbleanna and read her post from February 16th. There's something going around blog-land called "Where I'm From" where you tell about yourself. That's the simplisitc description of what it's about. Anna's was so moving and dynamic it gave me chills!

I'm going to leave you with a picture of one of my favorite dogs, Ozzie. Now if you know me, you know that I'm a Scottish Terrier snob. Sorry, can't help it. However, I have fallen in love with Ozzie. Maybe it's because he's a tad eccentric. Stop on over to Nicole's blog, Sister's Choice Quilts and read her post of February 15th. You'll fall in love, too. Leaving you with a smile.....

Hi, my name is Ozzie! What's yours?

Friday, February 15, 2008

You like me......

I've been tagged for the very first time by Anna at Thimbleanna to name seven wierd things about myself. I feel just like Sally Fields! "You like me, you really like me!" To my way of thinking, to be tagged is the ultimate blog acceptance award. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but hey, it's been a rough week. You made my day, Anna!!!

However, before I write them down, I prefer the term eccentric rather than wierd. Just adds a touch more sophistication, and I can use all the sophistication I can get. Here goes:

1. I am very fussy about my house and yard. It must look nice all the time. You never know who might stop by: President Bush, Carol Channing (lives near here), Trace Adkins (PLEASE), Hugh Laurie (see blog entry February 6th). Anyone! However, I don't care much about how I look. Give me an old sweatshirt and blue jeans and I'm a happy camper.

2. I love, love, love flannel pajamas. I have quite a collection and I'm not afraid to wear them!! When I was still working that's what I put on right after I got home at the end of the day. A neighbor would come by and ask if I was sick. "No, just comfortable."

3. Talking about pajamas, I love to go out in my garden first thing in the morning with my cup of tea and wander around to look at the flowers. Next thing I know, it's four hours later and I'm still in my pajamas, covered in dirt from pulling weeds and whatever yard work needed done. As long as the Clark We Need You man doesn't wander out back, I'm ok.

4. I love Miracle Whip sandwiches on white bread. I know, try not to be too intimidated by my "gourmet-ness". However, my Mom likes peanut butter with dill pickles and bacon so I come by it honestly.

5. I'm a nice person. Really. People just think that I am the sweetest thing (No brag, just the facts.) However, I have been know to get a "little" (ok, LOT) angry at time. We have a handicap placard for the car for my husband. Do not be around me when I find someone parking in a handicap spot without a valid handicap placard. It's not pretty. My husband starts to sweat when he sees me spot one. And don't even mention my name to the 6'2" pharmacist that I chewed out one day for messing up Sweety's prescriptions for the umpteenth time! Deep breath.........Hmmmmmm.

6. I think that I have ADD. It's difficult for me to concentrate on one task at hand without flitting on to something else.........was that a butterfly that just flew by? Oh, sorry. What was I saying? It runs in the family. My daughter has it as does grandson number one. I think I had ADHD when I was younger, but I had to drop the "H" when I got older and gained weight. Just couldn't keep up!

7. I love to collect "stuff". You name it I collect it. Now I know that's not wierd, or even eccentric, more like an obsession. I do collect cookbooks. I have a very nice shelf in the kitchen with some very nice cookbooks. Lovely ones. Famous authors. Beautiful covers. Delicious recipes. Do I use them? Heck no! You know how they "stage" model homes? That's what they are. It's all a ruse to make me look good. I must add that I do like to bake, but I don't do it often. Sweety can't have it so I only do it occasionally. When I get the urge for something I'll bake it, have a little for me and take the rest over to my Mom's. She lives in a senior housing unit near here so it gets shared with all other ladies. See, I told you I was sweet! (see #5).

Whew. This was harder than I thought. I didn't even get to the part where I can wiggle my ears or will always eat Kelloggs cereal over Post any day of the week or any of the other myriad of endearing qualities that I have. I'm sure my family and friends could come up with lots more, too. But hey, "you like me, you really like me!"

Have a wonderful day!

*Here's my addendum: I was over at Penny's blog and noticed that she too had been tagged for the seven wierd facts tag. The rules of the tag is to pass it onto seven others. She states that she is a rule breaker (see her wierd facts) and so she didn't tag anyone, just invited others to participate. Now, I not only think rules are for others, but I don't know that many bloggers yet. So, with humble apologies, I'm going to copy Penny and just invite any who wants to to get in touch with their inner wierdness and let it all out. It's very therapeutic!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cookies and Cameras

I'm leaving on retreat tomorrow and will be gone until Tuesday so this will be my last blog till then. I'm running around trying to gather all my "stuff" to take with me. I should do this earlier every year, but something always comes up and I end up doing it at the last minute. When I'm in a hurry I tend to get ahead of myself and get clumsy. I knocked a bag of flour on the floor of my pantry. What a mess!!

I went to the big box store the other night to buy myself a little camera so I can take pictures more easily for my blog. I know nothing about cameras, that's my son's area of expertise. The only think I knew is that the one I picked out was small and pink. Hopefully I'll have retreat pictures for you when I get back.

I baked soft sugar cookies to take, not that we don't eat ourselves stupid on the food provided. I never buy purchased baked goods for a party or potluck. I'll buy them for just me at home, but not for my friends. I don't like to cook, but I love to bake. The cookies in the picture below aren't the ones I made (see above-can't work camera yet). I thought I should have a picture, and since these were pink, I thought this one would do. One of my favorite authors is Susan Wiggs. One thing I like about her books is that she puts recipes in them along with the stories. This is an awesome sugar cookie recipe, soft and puffy and not too sweet. Since our group is called the Busy Bees I frosted them with yellow frosting and put black sugar stripes on them. They turned out really cute.

Ricotta Cheese Sugar Cookies

1 cup softened butter

1 cups sugar

1 15 oz carton full-fat ricotta cheese

2 eggs

3 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp grated lemon zest

4 cups flour

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2-4 Tbls milk

2 drops almond extract (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cookie ingredients to form a sticky dough. Drop by teaspoonfulls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until bottoms turn golden brown (the tops will stay white). Transfer to wire racks to cool. To make the glaze, stir milk a few drops at a time, along with the almond exract if desired, into the powdered sugar in a saucepan. Stir over low heat to create a glaze (don't keep on stove too long). Drizzle over cooled cookies and top with colored sprinkles. Makes 3-4 dozen cookies.

Take care and have a wonderful weekend. See you next week.

P.S. Thank you for all the help with my barstool that had water spots on it. All of your advise was great and the bar stool is back to normal. Now, does anyone know why the blogspot spell check doesn't work?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Parsley, Sage.......

My husband and I have been big fans of British television for years and years. For me it first started with The Avengers starring Patrick McNee and Diana Rigg. I always wanted to be Emma Peel. She was so classy and exciting, everything I wasn't. (Sadly still true!) My husband really became interested when Mrs. Peel left and Tara came on board. I think Sweety still has a crush on her........

We are still big television buffs and have recently discovered some delightful British television series. The Vicar of Dibley is absolutely hilarious. A must watch. Just for the oddity factor, catch Jeeves and Wooster. It stars a much younger Hugh Laurie of House fame. It just goes to show that men do age very well.
Hugh Laurie, right, "before" in Jeeves and Wooster

Hugh Laurie "after" in House


Sorry girls, I was distracted for a moment there.

Our favorite is a delightful show called Rosemary and Thyme. It is about two horticulturist consultants who travel the English countryside to repair gardens. The gardens often times take center spotlight along with the most beautiful English mansions. Sure, someone may be shot with an arrow in the chest or ran off the road, but the show is lightweight. Especially compared to current shows like Criminal Minds and CSI. Do yourself a favor and try to catch these on your local PBS station or order the shows on DVD. They were only on for three seasons, something that we don't understand. We were sad when we had watched all the episodes available. They are charming!

Rosemary and Thyme

Ta Ta!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday!

Barney at the White House

Today is Super Tuesday so let's get out there and vote! Personaly, I'm sad that Barney and Miss Beazley are only going to be at the White House for one more year. They are our nation's First Scotties, after all. Perhaps they'll do public appearance after they leave office.......

I'm going to attempt to spend the day getting ready for a quilt retreat. My friends and I have a quilt group called The Busy Bees. The name came as a memory to a friend who passed away from breast cancer, Bea. There are eleven of us and every November we go to a condo in Lake Tahoe for a retreat. Then in February we go for four days at a church conference center up in the foothills about an hour from where we live. The conference center has a home that they have turned into a place for retreats in addition to their large center. It's a cozy home with a large area where we can sew. This will be our sixth retreat at this facility and we absolutely love it. We'll arrive Friday and depart on Monday. Although our main purpose for going is quilting, we also spend time knitting, reading, watching movies (Fried Green Tomatoes and Calendar Girls are watched every year), shopping the local quilt stores and just plain relaxing. The secret best part is the center does all the cooking for us!! They drive up to the house at 6:30 just to get the coffee going, for heaven's sake. The meals are wonderful and by the time we leave we are happy and refreshed.

Ladies, do yourself a favor, grab some friends and go do something for yourself. You're worth it and you'll be a better wife/mom/friend for doing it!

Ta Ta!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Puppies, Batteries and Wood

Just a quick note today. We're going over to visit a lady who has Scotty puppies!!! No, we're not making a trip to the White House and I don't think that Miss Beazley is "with puppy". I just needed a picture and I am really fussy about color and hey, our First Lady was wearing PINK! What a perfect combination!!!

On the way, we have to stop to buy batteries for my camera. Then I can start uploading my own pictures. Of course then you won't think my circle of friends is not quite as diverse as it really is!

On another subject, I need some expert advise. Someone (?) put damp newspapers on my oak bar stool. It now has a white blotchy "thing" going on. Short of taking it to a furniture refinisher, does anyone know how to fix it? Sweety and I would be ever so greatfull for your help.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


It's been a long, but lovely day. My BFF, Nikki, and I went to our favorite quilt shop today and took a class from Elizabeth Scott of The Late Bloomer. She is a mega talented quilt and craft designer and has a line of patterns. Her patterns are fresh and fun and her newest, Flight of Fancy, is incredible. It's one thing to see a pattern, or anything, for that matter, that someone has created. It's entirely another to actually get to meet the person behind the art. As a quilter I feel very fortunate to live in Northern California as I have been able to take classes from many of our top quilt designers as they live in our area. Thanks for a great time, Elizabeth!

It is about an hours drive from my home to where we took the class. Now if you know much about California, you know that for much of the year our hills are "golden". Really, that's a nice way of saying they are brown, brown, brown. Not much to look at. But on this special time of year in February, the hills turn a vibrant shade of green and they just glow. Our trip was just beautiful. I always imagine the land near my home, the area from a little town called Knight's Ferry to Sonora, must look just a wee bit like Ireland at this time of year.

A note of explanation as to why I'm "Miss Jean" especially since I've mentioned that there is a hubby, my Sweety. The name just happened. For no reason, the girls where I used to work just called me "Miss Jean." Even when we hired someone new and they had never heard anyone else call me that, it wasn't long before I was "Miss Jean" to them. The topping on the cake was when I gave my name in a restaurant for a table. "What is your name?" "Jean." "Ok, Miss Jean, your table will be ready in 10 minutes." That's when I knew that it was just meant to be. So I'm Miss Jean to the world, I'm Grandma Jean to the boys, I'm Mom to my daughter, I'm Mommy to my son and I'm Honey to Sweety.

Life is good. I hope it's good for you too.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Getting ready.....

Today in our little corner of California the wind is starting to blow and it is brrrrrr cold outside. It's a day when you want to sit inside with a cup of tea, a good book and do absolutely nothing. My day started out, however, sitting at the tire store reading a book and waiting for new tires. Don't you just hate to have to spend good money on things like that?

Now I'm helping Sweety get ready for his big day tomorrow? What might you ask is that? Why it's just football. Sorry, SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!!! I've tried. I really have, but I just do not like football. I don't understand it. It looks chaotic. The worse part is the noise. A stadium full of screaming fans coupled by announcers yelling and music blaring is not my idea of a good time. I'm not "into" sports as a rule, but if I must, I don't mind watching Tiger on the 18th hole or a basedball game at the bottom of the ninth. My idea of great sports is being able to get into a quilt show in front of 6,000 other quilters. Now that's what I'm talking about! Hoo-RAH!

I didn't know the class I signed up at one of my favorite quilt stores was on Super Bowl Sunday. Honest. So I'm off in the morning with my BFF of 20+ years, Nikki. Although the game will still be on when I get home, that's alright. I'll have had a good day and so will Sweety.

On a side note... Is there someone out there that you love and care about? Of course you do. Is there someone out there that you need to reconnect with because something was said in anger? Is there someone out there that you have lost contact with because of just being too busy? How about someone who you are concerned about and needs a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on. Do me a favor and make that call. From experience I've learned that it may be too late if you wait. If you have that nagging little feeling that something isn't right with someone, chances are that they aren't and that person needs you. Today would have been my nephew Paul's 43rd birthday. Notice I said would have been.
I love you and miss you, Paul - Aunty Jean.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Here I go into Blog Land. This is an exciting adventure for me. Especially considering that I didn't know about blogs untill a month or two ago. There I was, innocently surfing the web and visiting one of my favorite quilt web sites.....

What's this?
It says "Blog".
Look's innocent enough.
I think I'll click on it.
What harm can it do?

Ha! Famous last words. Well, I won't even tell you how may blogs I have bookmarked, how many hours I spend checking them all out, how many Motrin I take because I'm developing tendonitis in my right arm. But you know what? This is absolutely the greatest thing I could have done for myself. I have "met" some wonderful people. I consider some as friends because just from reading their stories they seem to be someone I would like. Others because I've emailed or left comments and they email me back and I've made a friend. I've met some who make me laugh so hard it's a pypm (pee your pants moment - yes I made that up). I've met some who have made me cry and have made me feel so ashamed because I complain about my trivial little problems while they have life altering things going on and they have such grace and dignity in the midst of it.

I've even been able to meet someone in person. It's a long story which I will tell on another posting. However, I will tell you that my new friend, Duhgall's Mommy, has been helping me set up my blog. I am eternally greatful to her for her selfless help and encouragement.

Who am I? I'm retired and live in the central valley of California with my husband. We have two children we are so very proud of and two grandson's who we adore and spoil. I absolutely love to garden, read and quilt. I love to decorate my home and am constantly looking for ideas and inspiration. I love antiques and collectibles, Scottish Terriers and having tea with friends.

What are my goals? Hmmm. Interesting question. Nothing huge like climbing a mountain, getting a degree or learning to play the piano. I want to do the things I never had time to do while I was working. Joining the local garden club, hitting all the thrift stores in town, babysitting when one of the boys is sick, taking Mom out to lunch, sitting with my husband in the middle of the afternoon and watching a movie. And or course, making new friends.

Please be patient with me while I learn how to set up my blog. I promise to get better. Thanks again, Duhgall's Mommy!

Life is good - happiness is a choice.