Corner of happy and free

Friday, May 27, 2011

When I spied this little table in Texas, I knew right away that it would hang out on the deck. It just needed a few plants and some drinks to hold to make it my little corner of happy. That and some new deck furniture...

I bought some pots at Garden Ridge and pulled out the vintage Bamboo patterned McCoy piece I got for $1.99 at the thrift shop. Then I needed to find some plants.

Enter my favorite 2 mile walk and a generous person.

While huffing it up a hill, I noticed a sign by a little stoop that read, "FREE plants, take as many as you want."

Someone had taken time to gather starts from her spider plants and re pot them in old coffee cans, half cut milk gallons and other plastic bins. How nice, I thought. There are still good people out there.
While I was looking them over, the woman came out of her house and I told her that I would feel better paying so I would come back. Pointing up to her window, she said that I would actually be doing her a favor by just taking them off her hands. The massive plants I saw, just from a glance, looked to be invading her house. "I have bunches," she said.

So she helped me pick out a few which gave my arms a good workout on the 2 mile walk back. No need for arm weights that day.

And now they sit waiting for us to enjoy some fresh lemonade in good old mason jars. And they'll be even better when these lids arrive in my mailbox. The cute factor just went way up. I hope the taste factor does too.

photo courtesy of Brides magazine

Have a great weekend.

Foreign film

Thursday, May 26, 2011

[In California]

Annie Hall (Diane Keaton): It's so clean out here

Alvy Singer (Woody Allen): That's because they don't throw their garbage away, they turn it into television shows.

It seems that the only time I have a minute to sit and watch the tv is in the late evening. So the other night after running through the channels and seeing the line-up of nothing but "Reality" television shows, I was quickly reminded why I soured on most of them and then that famous line came to mind (although I've never seen the movie.)

Figuratively speaking, I felt my brain go to mush.

In the 15 minutes that I surfed the channels, I think I dropped a few IQ points. I dropped a few more just watching the promos for a few shows - housewives screaming (which are more like silent movies since you can't hear anything but the *bleep, bleepity bleep** sound) pageant kids getting their eyebrows waxed - which understandably led to more screaming, bachelorette's bawling...already. And you know it's really bad when subtitles come on and you're not watching a foreign film.

Then again, maybe I was.

At any rate, I think Alvy was right.

Inspiring me

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm incorporating a little something from each of these into my day.

It's fun to be inspired.

Images courtesy of RUE magazine


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I have always felt that being called opinionated is not meant to be a compliment, which is one of the reasons I keep them to myself.

But if I were friends with these parents, I think I would have to ask questions.

Read this and see what you think.

Color me happy - thrifty finds

Monday, May 23, 2011

In my daily travels taking kids around town, I stumbled upon a few things. Seriously, I think most of my life is spent in the car.

When I was dropping off Reese at school there was a moving sale right across the street. I thought, "Well since I'm here, why not??" so I hopped on over and found this (fitty-cent) butter dish.

I don't know who uses them anymore, which is probably why she was selling her grandmother's, but you-know-who wiiillll. (hand raised)

At another place I brought home some much needed cereal bowls for a $1.00.

A quick trip to the Salval produced some knitted throws. I usually don't buy bedding or blankets second hand because of bed bug issues. If I am contemplating anything like that or upholstery pieces, I do a thorough check. It helps being married to a hotel management guru who has taught you what to look for. So after checking, I couldn't resist the patterns and colors. I'm a sucker for both. And, after a good dry cleaning, they're perfect. The green one is wool. Total spent: $5.99

When I began using them all, I realized the common element was color, bright color. The backdrop of my house is fairly neutral so everything works. And, the added bonus is that no bank was broken. Happy day.

What colors appeal to you?

Writing down the day

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not long ago, I found the receipt from my first mother/son date with Reese. I wrote a few memories of the night on the back of it and stuck it in a jewelry case that I no longer used.
I remembered writing on it at the restaurant because of something he said that was so cute. I thought I would transfer it to my journal later but I never got around to doing that.
I am happy that I kept that little paper for safe-keeping.

Now I keep a little notebook with me so I can jot down glimpses of my day, much of it being on the go. In between taking the kids somewhere and waiting for them, I like to record little things I don't want to forget about them or people I meet and the circumstances in which I meet them. I also write down inspirations for a photo or just thoughts which are usually sparked by something I had just seen.

It could be about anything, really.

While it's not the personal, full-blown journal version, it does allow me an easier way to chronicle our daily life and helps me remember when I want to go back and expound.

And sometimes, I just like it as is.

Saturday's notes for example:

Jon - working all weekend. Brought home Rita's for everyone.

Supposedly the end of the world at 6:02 pm today but now it is 6:24 and we're still here. Reminds me of the REM song.

Watched as Belen and Reese held hands walking into K-Mart {love it} Sweet moments.

Trae changed his shirt 4x today. He likes to be fashionable these days. Belen said he'll be the next Ralph Lauren - nice prediction!

Charley is at Gabby's birthday party - wrote a song for her as part of her gift & is performing it tonight. Can't wait to hear about that.

Reese went around the neighborhood and sold some of his Pokemon cards - made 6 dollars! Quite the business man.

Blair played outside with McKenna and Trae-man all day - says she's old enough to be in charge of "little kids."

Planted some more flowers - A sunny day all around!

Do you have a way of writing down the everyday?

(Besides blogging?)

Rescue attempt

Friday, May 20, 2011

This took place in the garden which, due to the rain, is looking more like the beginning of a Japanese rice field.


Coming up:
I found the cutest vintage butter dish at a garage sale along with a few other goodies - just too fun to pass up. More on that later!

I've got nothin'

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Murphy's Law continues-

Although I'm still smiling...through occasionally clenched teeth!

Be back later in the week.

Have a good day.

Sorry, I know it's against blog law to be without a photo but nothing goes with today's sentiments. I can only think of the song, "Isn't it Ironic" by Alanis.

Packed but playful

Monday, May 16, 2011

I love Saturdays.

A day in review:

Charley and I went to a friend's swap where we scored a bunch of great stuff, including a few pairs of shoes. Love the plum.

On to the coffee shop for a little more time together before taking her to audition for "Footloose" and writing her note for the bulletin board.

The saying is from the tv show, "How I met your Mother."

Then Jon and I went to a birthday party with Reese where we watched them try Dance Dance Revolution.

And in-between it all we headed into the city to take some fun photos of a beautiful family.

And today I am working in the house
since I willingly neglected all of those duties for the past two days.

How was your weekend?

The old excuse

Friday, May 13, 2011

When my instructor asks where my homework is, I can honestly say that my dog ate it.

And while we're at it, she ate the ottoman too.

She was going crazy trying to get her Spongebob Squarepants ball out from under the ottoman, which is where I stashed the box of assignments that I have to finish.

So in this case, the old excuse really is true.

What I'm thinking Wednes...Thursday!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

From time to time I hear someone say, "I have no creativity skills whatsoever." or "I could never think up something like that." There may even be some of you thinking that right now.

Well, when I hear that I always respond by saying that the creativity they seek is right there just waiting for them to tap into it. I guess you just have to give the ideas swirling around in your head a try and not worry about the outcome. And being creative is not just about paper, glue or thread. It can be the way you handle social situations or raise families, for example.

It all sounds a bit Yoda-ish but it's true. I think everyone has the ability to develop a skill (in this case creativity) and when you try and continue to keep at it, your new skill becomes a habit, and boom -consider yourself creative!

So I'll leave you with this quote and you can be on your way to unleash those ideas.

Have a good day!

You can "click" on the picture to enlarge.

Shelf life - vintage finds

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A while ago I mentioned that I was going to clear the bookshelves and look for some new accessories to put up on them. I am always tweaking the shelves, keeping in line with the seasons, rotating items I have stored away or just finding something a little more interesting to display. You know, just a little sumpin' sumpin' to grab your attention - don't you love out of the ordinary stuff like that?

So I went to my favorite antique mall to look for such an item
and came upon a vintage bingo cage. I scooped it up without hesitating.

Its $3.00 price tag only sweetened the deal.

There are seriously good prices at this place, I'm telling ya.

So now it sits on the shelf and no one can resist giving it a whirl

and randomly yelling out a number

just for the fun of it.

What's new on your shelf?

linking to Apron Thrift Girl

Gotta fight for your rights - a story

Monday, May 9, 2011

Trae and Blair enjoying their lunch alfresco.

The other day someone said to me that they couldn't see me getting mad.

Well, I do. And I have plenty of times. Mainly they are just irritations and I hate to yell but I do occasionally, on too many occasions I am sure.
But no, I haven't really, really been mad in a long time - the kind of mad where I wanted to hit someone. That kind of mad.

I have never hit anyone by the way.
The closest I got was throwing a snowball at the face of a neighbor girl when she came up to sled down my driveway.

And now the rest of the story...

We lived out in the country on the side of a hill overlooking a valley. Having the longest hill to use for sledding invited everyone to come up especially when it was icy. You could really get in a nice run under those conditions. It was like our personal bobsled course.

After I put on all of my snow gear, I excitedly went outside because this girl was sledding in my yard after all. I had a silver aluminum saucer that was super fast and I was ready to go.

When I got out there she said I wasn't invited to sled with her. I was so surprised I couldn't even fathom the thought of not being invited to play, especially on my own property.

So I told her to get off of my land, then. She yelled, "No!" and tried to intimidate me with a stern look. She could have knocked me out in one punch too. I told her again that if she was going to sled in my yard and driveway, then I could too. Seemed fair to me.

She, again, said no and this time pushed me out of the way. I was really mad at the injustice of that moment so all I could think of doing was pack a big icy snowball and chuck it at her. So I did and it was a perfect aim, hitting her smack dab in the middle of the forehead. The snowball broke apart and chunks of snow landed in her eyebrows and eyelashes. I was really surprised at myself and then had an "Uh oh!" moment.

She couldn't decide if she was going to let go of the sled and send her brother down the icy slope off our hillside or kill me.

She chose to kill me. I chose to run.
Do you know it's really hard to run in 2 feet of snow??

Meanwhile, her little brother went sailing down the hill and crashed into a bank.

So I was panting and trying to high step it. I could see my breath as I began to breathe hard. I kept looking back to see if she was coming and kept slipping on the ice underneath the layer of snow. She was gaining on me and I knew for sure I was going to get beat up. Her brother finally made it back up the hill dragging the sled behind him. She yelled at him to go back and get their dad.
I wondered why she was asking that. Did she need help hiding my body??

Just then I heard my brother's voice yell from a window of our house. I was saved, I thought and stopped running. I was so happy for being the youngest.
Brett, being 6 years older than me, could handle my tormentor so he came outside and marched to where we were.

With a commanding stance and a challenging voice, he said, "Oh yeah? Go ahead and get your dad. I'll go get my mom...and she can yell louder than anyone!"

They quickly left and we felt triumphant in defending our rights and strangely proud of my mother's ability to yell.


For Mother's Day this year my husband and kids actually planned ahead and had a surprise gift waiting for me. Let's just say they may have a history of forgotten dates but I'm not keeping track or anything...

Besides the three m&m cookie mix jars my youngest kids made me at our neighborhood Mennonite Bible Study class and the adorable trinkets and cards they made at church, Jon purchased all of the make-up, brushes, facial cleansers, creams, lip balms and nail polish I have been wanting. He had it all packaged up with ribbons inside a pretty bag. After I happily used some of it, I put it back in their boxes and bags and placed it in my room where I could organize it later.

After Jon went to check in on a sleeping Trae-man, I heard him say, "Oh no" and I knew that my barely used make-up had suddenly become very used. Seeing my new foundation all over the new-er, freshly laundered comforter nearly made me cry. Well, at least he didn't have time to get into all the other things. I am still working on stain removal. And, I have been thinking of changing the comforter for Spring/Summer anyway.

Yep, back to reality.

How was your day?

Some things are better left unsaid

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A few days ago, Jon was met with two kids on the couch fighting to be the Emperor of TV Remote Kingdom when he came home from work.

They were jumping on the couch while one was trying to grab it from the other as arms were raised to keep it away. Meanwhile all sorts of buttons on the remote were being pressed, not to mention Jon's after he repeatedly told them to stop.

Hearing the disruption and ready to put an end to it, he walked into the living room to take control. Just as he stood in front of the kids to snatch the remote, he saw the TV screen go to black after the "OK" button had been pressed to accept movie charges.

"Hey!!" he said, and held out his hand for the remote. Then he looked toward the TV and the screen went on pause and then from black right into a movie. There was no intro, no music, no "What's new on demand" features, just straight into the first scene.

In an instant Jon flung himself toward the TV, as if he were saving someone from a barrage of bullets from the war enemy, like in WWII movies. With a wide stance and his back to the kids, he wrapped himself around the TV and quickly shut it off. He turned around to the kids and said, "I have to go talk to your mother about this!!"

He bounded down the stairs and came to where I was working and pointed up to the ceiling saying, "The 5 year-old. The 5 year-old just ordered a movie. I want you to know that it wasn't me. When the bill comes and you see an ADULT FILM on there, it was not, I repeat, NOT me. Just wanted you to know." We both cracked up.

We were supposed to be on our way to get some Chinese take-out but I told Jon I needed to call Comcast first to have the movie removed. He said to do that on the way but I couldn't get through since his dumb phone is well, so dumb. Its touch screen won't allow you to press any numbers when prompted to do so by an automated voice. I don't know why those automated services can't accept both dial and voice commands.

"21st century, my foot!" I yelled at the phone.

So I had to wait until we returned. "Great!" I complained. "It'll be noted in the system that it was ordered a half an hour ago so they'll wonder why it took so long to cancel."

"Boom chicka woww wowww..." said Jon.

I finally was able to call and explained to customer service that my 5 and 9 year old, in their struggle for TV remote power, ordered a dirty movie. She laughed and asked if I remembered the name of the movie.

"Uh, no, (insert nervous laughter because of a total lie. I'm a firm believer that some things are just better left unsaid...) I don't, but it'll be the only adult film on our bill. Ever."

So last night, as we were discussing this series of events over sushi, Jon was recounting what had happened and I was laughing. I said, "Well, at least the kids didn't see anything."

"Not much" he said.

"What do you mean not much??!"

"Well it went right into the movie without any warning."

"You mean, (with my arms making music gestures) no da da daa daaa...Time Warner television presents, no lion roar or anything?"


I just stared blankly at Jon and said, "You mean??..."


"What did you say?" I asked.

"I just told them we weren't going to watch wrestling." and just then he dropped a large piece of sushi from his chopsticks right into the soy sauce dish causing a big splash on the table.

And we lost it after that.


Friday, May 6, 2011

While I was watching the Royal Wedding, I heard a comment that stuck out in my mind. One of the television commentators had mentioned that in an interview a few years ago, Prince William (I mean HRH the Duke of Cambridge) said, "Never being able to say the word 'Mummy' again in your life sounds like a small thing. However, for many, including me, it's now really just a word -- hollow and evoking only memories." He was opening up about his grief and how he said, there is not a single day where he doesn't think about his mother.

I listened and could relate.

Although there have been moments when I realize I haven't thought of my mom in a day, and there really isn't sadness per se, I do understand the strange feeling it is not being able to call someone your mom or in my case, 'mama.'

I remember when I realized I would never get to send a Mother's Day card to her again. It surprised me that the loss of such a simple act, a tradition, would leave me feeling lonely. And then when I realized that I would never be getting those "daughter" cards, I was left feeling as if part of my identity had just slipped away.
I was at odds with myself over that, feeling very selfish. Those feelings were strange but honest.

But not one for self-pity, I decided that I would have to do something different for Mother's Day from now on and it would still be good.

When I was packing up and selling my mom's house, I found all kinds of cards she received, some dating back to the 50's that she had saved. I knew then that the recipient takes as much importance in them as is sent. So in addition to sending my mother-in-law a card for Mother's Day, I decided to mail out cards to a few other ladies that I know make the world go 'round for their families but I feel they should know that.
Some may think it's strange to send Mother's Day cards to someone other than family, but for me, I think it's a win-win.

Have a great Friday! I'm soooo glad it's here.

I wish I could send all of you cards, by the way.

Blair giving us her best Shirley Temple.

Eat up!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo everybody.

Today is a day to consume lots of Mexican food and as much guac as you want!

It really doesn't have anything to do with Mexican Independence as some might think. That is in September. This day commemorates the Mexican army's victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 and to commemorate the battle for freedom during the first years of the American Civil War. The history and timeline of events is interesting as you can see its connection to the Battle of Gettysburg. American history - I like it.

And now just like St. Patrick's Day, some may say it's just a commercialized day to party. It's true so eat up!
I'll be making tamales all day and snacking on some panes dulces. (Mexican sweet bread) If you have a Hispanic market near you, go enjoy some sweet bread on me. I guess that wouldn't work but it's the thought that counts, right?
We went over to a friend's house to help them make tamales a few weeks ago. They were sooo good. It was none of our doing though. The meat they prepared was perfectly spicy. That's something I am always wary of because I don't know how people would react to the level of spice we like but even Trae-man and their little 1 year-old cleared their plates.

So today I'm taking a page out of their book and am spicing them up a lot more.
The kitchen smells like Thanksgiving day. Mmm mmm... they're gonna be tasty.

Anyone having any Cinco de Mayo fun today?

What I'm thinking Wednesday

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I had a little write-up about how I felt about the celebrations ringing out over the recent national security news. But if you know me even a little, you can probably guess how I feel about that. So I decided not to post it. I don't like to bring down my little corner of happy so I tend to keep those things to myself.

Instead, I'm off to grocery shop and finish up that paint stick project which is 1/3 of the way done. Today will make or break the idea!

And I'll leave you with what's inspiring me today: Pink! Pink is a good color, don't you think?

They say redheads shouldn't wear pink, but I disagree. It's one of our best colors!

via pinterest
via Google images

Via Google images

Have a good day!

52 paint stick pick-up

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The wall that I have been working on is coming along nicely. It's painted and retouched but I have a couple of other things to do before I show you the da da da daa daaah! "before and after." One of them has to do with a pile of this:

I've been collecting them forever! The paint desk clerks know I buy a lot of paint so they have been giving me extra sticks. I always ask if I can buy them but they said they're not inventoried so they can't and just hand me a bunch.

Any ideas on what I might be up to?

We'll see if it works or not. Sometimes it works in your head but doesn't translate very well after that. There's always a plan B at least. I have a lot of those.

Have a good day!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Every year Jon gets together with the guys from high school for a weekend. I think I've mentioned before that we went to a small town school in southwest WA state. Although it is not so small anymore, we still consider that area to be one of the best places to raise a family and feel lucky that we lived there.

One year the guys met up at Whistler, BC, Canada for some skiing and another time it was in Vegas for golf. But because of busy family lives, careers, distance and cost, it seemed easier for them to get together at one of the guy's cabins back home. And since everyone is still in the area, having it there means it is more likely all of them would come.

This year Jon's response to the request to see who was interested was "maybe." He didn't know if we could squeeze it in with so much going on and didn't want to take away (financially) from the activities for our family. When I asked him if he was going, he just kept saying, "We'll see."

I told him it was fine with me, not that I would ever object anyway, but it really isn't that expensive of a trip. The flight is the biggest expense but you can always find good travel deals to Portland. And because my brothers live there, he stays an extra day to hang out with them to golf, play basketball and eat at one of our favorite local places. Luckily, he'll bring me back some of my favorite things from the Northwest too, besides himself. :)

Some may wonder why guys have a get-together and with tongue-in-cheek, we joke about this "man-cation." But I think men with long-standing friendships need to reconnect with each other just like old girlfriends do. Of course theirs involve golf, building bon-fires, fishing, and harassing each other only the ways guys can do but I would never discount their need for any of that. And, when you receive an e-mail like this, how can one refuse? We were touched.


We all passed the hat and are paying for your ticket. You can't is done. You're the only one that incurs any expense for our guys weekend and you have flown out three times now. It is our turn and that is that. I think Thursday night, through Sunday would be best. Flying in on Friday would work too. So, decide on the flight and give me your info so we can buy it. I know you're busy and it is not the money but we all want you there.


They still laugh over this photo.

Reese, 3rd from right, was a Kindergarten teacher who passed away suddenly in 1999. Jon was asked by his family to give the eulogy. We named our son after him.

Darr, who sent the email, is on the far right. Jon is 2nd from left.

Flower delivery

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy May Day!

We're working on May baskets here to take to some ladies. They are not exactly baskets. We just make a cone out of paper, decorate and staple it together, tie a ribbon to hang it from the door and put a glad bag inside to protect the paper.

Then we add some flowers and voila - May basket...cone.

Did you ever do these when you were little?

It was one of my favorite things to do for my mom.

I'm sure it was hers too since she showed me how to do it and made it our tradition. We had huge lilac trees in our yard and so I'd fill a cone full for her. I also added in dandelions since there were many of those too but she always set them out the way I brought them to her, weeds and all.

I think with all of the baskets I see at thrift shops for just pennies, I could do baskets next year.

Note to self on that.

Now we're off to deliver.
Have a good day!