Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Simple Woman's Daybook~February 22, 2013


Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Friday, February 22, 2013

Outside my window...It is completely dark and cold out.  We had one of those lovely days that is almost warm for a few hours in the afternoon but the minute the sun starts to go down it gets cold.  I think next to October, February is my favorite month here.  We have one large mountain (a little under 4,000 feet) here and lots of beautiful rolling hills surround our little valley.  They are all that brilliant, new-grass green right now.  It is so pretty.  I was mentioning to Jim this morning we really need to get out with our tripod soon to capture the beauty of this month right here in our neighborhoods.

I am thankful for...the work of family history rolling forth over here in the west.  So many opportunities for me to teach now and so many interested people almost as if overnight.  I am teaching something almost every week now and in some cases almost every day.  I love it.  It is such a fun way to help and serve others. 
From the learning room...most things happen for a reason and they happen in a sequence that often doesn't make sense until sometimes years after the fact.  

I am reading...When Broken Glass Floats.  This is a re-read of one of my favorite books ever.  They have it on Kindle e-books and I am thrilled about it.  It is the story of a young girl growing up in the Killing Fields of Cambodia in the mid-1970.  It is shocking, poignant and a story of tremendous and unparallelled courage for anyone, let alone a 13 year old girl.  The story and the feelings it evoked within me have never left me and now...years later I am working with some Cambodian people about writing their life histories.  This will help me so much to understand who they are.  Thus the answer to the question directly above. 

From the kitchen...Not too much right now.  After last week's Afternoon Tea here I have met my quota for fancy stuff in the kitchen for awhile.  Today we went out to lunch so Popcorn for dinner.  I know that sounds so non-nutritious but we do it every Friday for our date night while watching a fun movie.  We are still alive.  The rest of the week we eat healthy stuff.  Don't fret too much. 
I am free time.  I have been running around like a crazy woman for weeks.  It has been so busy and fun and now I am ready for a little routine time for awhile.  I have been studying  and writing so much too.  Love all the stuff I have been doing...just need a few quiet days.

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...just how much I love the Lord and how much I rely on Him to keep me calm and productive and happy all the time.  If I start to feel like I am slipping into a funk, I focus on how much gratitude I feel for all of our blessings and then it just melts away like snow.  I feel his arm around my shoulder and I just keep going knowing I am never alone.  Faith in Him is the very best way to rise above our fears.

I am hearing...our washing machine in the laundry room spinning out Jim's work clothes from today.  He and Dave, his best friend that just retired...they are two happy campers), have been working on cementing in a bunch of fence posts that will secure a retaining wall up behind the new workshop they are building. We are very close to the foundation pour at this point and then things will move pretty fast.  Should be all done by summer's end if not before.

One of my guilty pleasures...afternoon naps.  They are so delightful and I like to spend some time on Pinterest before I fall asleep.  If I do this I am good to go for another several hours in the evening.  If not...not so much.

Pet Peeves...when I plan on doing something simple like calling an insurance company and it sits on my desk for days.  I really do not enjoy chatting on the phone too much.  Especially to a phone tree.  Ugh!

I am get in my jammies soon and cuddle up with a blanket and my popcorn and my Sweetie in front of the fire and watch a movie.  I do love Friday date nights.

I am quoting...A Sign I saw:

I love that don't you?  That is passion and commitment!

If I could change one thing it would be...lack of heartaches for us all.  That no one would say and do things that hurt other people so much.  Of course it won't ever happen but it is a nice place to think about.  I think they call it heaven!  I think simple kindness and respect would change the way this world turns on its axis.  I liked this one so much from the last Daybook I did that I am repeating it.

An enjoyable movie we have watched lately...Downton Abbey.  Why do you make me love you and then hate you, Julian Fellows? (The writer of the series.)  The happenings of season 3 will live on in infamy.  Hating the notion of having to wait 9 months for season 4.  I should just stop watching it until it is cancelled and then watch them all at once.  But of course I won't.  Wild horses cannot keep me away.  Susan, Netflix has season 1 and 2.  Watch it!  You simply must.

I am curious many things that I lie awake at night with them running through my mind.  I cannot fathom people who don't have something to be curious about.    I am curious about them.  It is the basis of learning.

Plans for the rest of the week...It is now Saturday and I am about to go for a manicure, then home to do some work and then off to a retirement party (the good kind that is held in a home not a restaurant banquet room with lots of long speeches.)  Tomorrow I am giving two presentations on the new program called Family Tree.  Monday, home work and work work to do, Oakland Tuesday for more work, Wednesday I have to start working on a new project and I need to go and buy a bunch of wedding and baby shower gifts for March.  Wow, I hope Friday will be something relaxing but I am not counting on it.  Love to be busy so all is well.  Some time in the week needs to be set apart for some outdoor photography with the tripod.  And I want to start thinking about decorating for Easter since it is early this year and I need to get my Valentine's Day stuff down.  And I want to do this because Jen and Lowell and their four daughters are coming to CA the week of Easter!  Big surprise and we are so happy about it.

One of my favorite things...February's promise of Spring being just around the corner.  And the pink blossoms coming out on all the plum trees and tulip trees!  Woohoo!

A photo I am sharing this week...

We are planning a trip to Charleston, SC and then driving up the East Coast to Rhode Island in the late spring.  I am so excited to see homes like this.  I will be booking our flights this week and setting up a car rental.  Such fun and it is really sneaking up on us fast.  I must get prepared in a hurry.  Any suggestions would be welcomed.  I think this home above from Pinterest is absolutely dream house.  Well, one of them anyway.  :-)

❤♡♥♡❤♡♥♡❤♡♥s, Bon

Thursday, February 21, 2013

San Francisco With The Girls

On Thursday the 7th of February, Jennifer and Laura and I went over to San Francisco to see the Girl With The Pearl Earring.  The  traveling Dutch Masters Art Exhibit is just wonderful and I wrote about it a few weeks ago when Jim and I went to the preview.  You can read more about it here

We had to be there early as our appointment to view the art was at 9:30.  So we were up early to battle the compute traffic and find a parking place near the De Young.  It was rainy and miserable out.  It was the first day that didn't feel like spring in a long time.   Everything went flawlessly and we got in right on time and the viewing of the painting and some of Rembrandt's etchings and painting was great.  I love how they limit the number of people in the gallery at one time so that you are not knee deep in others.  It really enhances the experience so much to view the paintings with no one in front of you.

The other thing I loved about being with our girls is they enjoy the same pace of museum viewing that I do.  Not to mention any names but...this is not the case when I go with their dad.  We women basically love looking at what we came for and some of the rest of the collection, but do not feel bound by every piece of art and its caption.  Similar pacing is essential when doing museums and shopping with others.  We three are single-minded on both of these which makes for a perfect day, each and every time we do it. 

 I enjoy being with them so much and I love to watch them interact with each other.  Sometimes it feels like they have their own special language.  When they are together it is like no time has passed.  They are such a blessing to me and the closest thing to having my own sisters that I will ever experience in this life.  There is always a longing for them within me when we are all in separate places.  But that does make each and every time we are together all the more special.

We were all going to wear Pearl Earrings
 to the exhibit but none of us actually did!

Note it was not even threatening rain when we came out of the museum.  The clouds parted and it was sunny and bright the rest of the day.  Our next stop was The Ferry Building.  The girls love to go there so we did whatever they wanted to do.  You know me, I enjoy it all.

The Ferry Building is right on the water and has the big clock on the front of it.  It faces the Bay and Treasure Island and Oakland.  It was once the place where people caught the ferries to cross the bay or they disembarked here after coming west from Oakland.  It has been turned into a shoppers delight for all things gourmet, fresh cut flowers, chocolate, baked goodies and one of a kind gift items. 

 It has also got some fun little eateries and a nice deck overlooking the bay.  We sampled a few little things they had.  Each weekend morning the whole place is alive with a big farmer's market and music and people cooking all kinds of wonderful breakfasts served on paper plates from portable carts out on the Embarcadero deck.  It is honestly so delightful with the early morning sea breezes and the wafting aroma of outdoor cooking and the squawking seagulls.  It is one of our favorite places to take pictures.

Here are some shots of the inside of the historic building.  This was taken on a different trip quite early in the morning.  By the time the girls and I arrived it was teaming with City dwellers out enjoying the day.

The California Seal tiled on the floor.

A recently added mural

Truffles, the mushrooms from Italy, 
not the chocolate...
are all the rage in fancy cooking these days. 
 We saw them every where all week long! 
Extremely pricey!

The knit shop...

It is not good to be cute in everything you touch... 
So glad I am not afflicted with this curse.

Did you know that San Francisco is only 3 miles east to west and 7 miles north to south.  It is a tiny City with a big impact.  So even though we were on the further most eastern point at the Ferry Building, it didn't take us long to go to the ocean where we had lunch at the Beach Chalet.  This is one of our favorite places as the view of the ocean on a good day is spectacular and the prices are reasonable and the food is very nice.

The Beach Chalet

The ground floor of the restaurant is a little art gallery of murals that have been painted years ago reflecting life in the old days in San Francisco.  They are very pretty and cover the eight foot walls.  Times have changed indeed. Note, not a skinny person in the lot of 'em!

Below...upstairs to the dining room

The view!

The Club Salad with Filet Mignon.  Yummy!

It was a nice relaxing lunch/dinner and then we headed for home for instant jammies and the movie about The Girl With the Pearl Earring.  We all loved the movie and thinking about having just seen it that very morning.  We were all amazed by the resemblance between Scarlett Johansson and The Girl.  And dessert was, Mr. Darcy!  Is there a woman alive that doesn't find Colin Firth delightful in any role?  He was good as Vermeer.  A perfect ending to an incredible day.  Ahhh, I miss the girls.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine's Tea Party


Today I am posting a little interlude to my lovely time with Jennifer and Laura.  I wanted to share some photos from my first attempt at hosting a bonafide afternoon ladies' tea.  Around Christmas time I was blessed to have a chance to spend part of a day with two of my great friends, Maureen and Michelle.

We went to our favorite little tea room in Benicia for lunch to celebrate Maureen's birthday.  We all had such a wonderful time just chatting and sipping herb teas and an idea was born that we should do a tea for some of our favorite people around Valentine's Day.  I volunteered to have it at my house although I hadn't the faintest idea how to do it.  So I started reading and pinning all about teas on Pinterest.  Maureen had done one before and so we just decided to go for it.  It was a lot of work but so much fun to pamper our friends for a few hours.  Here are some of the photos:

This tea was such a group effort
Maureen made the sweet garland of  
sparkly red, pink and white hearts.
Laura helped me design the tablescape.
Doesn't that sound official? ...
OK, we set the table together. 
With Barbara's glass dishes and teapots
 and Lanette's napkins.
 she also brought lemon tarts for the party.

Is it beginning to sound like you 

were the only guest, dear reader,
and everyone else was helping? 

These are the actual Valentines Jim and I exchanged.
Not the first time we have chosen similar themes
for our cards. 45 years of practice! 
( Not including 4 years of dating.)
I guess he is keeping me!

Laura brought me the candles from
 the shop where she works in RI

Jim set up the tables for us and moved 
a bunch of furniture to make room! 
He did a ton of work to make this
 all happen behind the scenes,
 including making a fabulous frittata.

 The menu you see on the plate above
would be right here if I hadn't
accidentally erased it!
Whoops...too late to fix it now...almost midnight!

Laura and I wrapped all these little boxes of chocolates
 and she made the tiny hearts with the sweet sentiment on them.

I made these tiny little fruit kabobs.  
Took forever like knitting a sweater or something!  

Stuffed the celery with pineapple cream cheese
 and another plate of pimento cream cheese celery bites.
Gotta get those veggies in somewhere, right?

Mini cornbread muffins with jam 
and a 'simulation' of clotted cream

A little open faced sliced baguette with cheese, onions
 and mayonnaise that Jennifer once had at a
 tea in the UK!

I attempted Scones!  Moi!  I know,
 I can hardly believe it myself!

I dipped some strawberries!
We had some fun little cookies also 
and chocolate of course. 

Maureen made these darling little bits of cupcakes.
  She made them from a wedding cake batter. 
 Scrumptious I tell you!

Maureen also made some chopped 
egg tiny finger sandwiches
 and some olive walnut and cream cheese
 ones and Michelle
 made a delicious bunch of cucumber
 sandwiches. She also washed
all the teapots and filled them all with
 hot water 
and did the major part
 of the clean up.

Everyone participated in this part!
We had a great time laughing and talking.  
There is just nothing like friends 
you have known forever and loved.  
I'd love having any one of them
 for a sister any day of the week.

In fact, that is exactly how I feel about all of them
they truly are my sisters!

Barbara gave me this beautiful Cake Plate/Cloche 
with a double piece of cake
(Marketplace size equaling 
 enough cake for six people!)  She is
most assuredly a Sweetheart!
It is disappearing slowly but 
staying 100% fresh under glass!
Photo taken five days after the tea!

Maureen made one of these gorgeous 
Victorian paper cones called tussy mussies for each of us
 and stuffed them with little treats to take home.
We hung them on our hall tree so all 
the treats would stay inside them. 
We missed those who were unable to make it! 
We'll have to do it again sometime.

I think with a little practice we could give
 The Camillia Tea Room a run for their money!
What do you think?
I wish all of YOU could have joined us!