Thursday, March 27, 2014


It was bound to happen sooner or later -- but it was more of an event than I'd anticipated.

I was cooking dinner and as usually happens, whenever I put the oven on over 400 the smoke alarm goes off -- even though I Do clean the oven!

So it went off Saturday evening.  When it happens our routine is to open the back and the front door to get the air flowing through. It is a pain because it scares the cat half to death.  Well Saturday evening it went off twice.  Scruffy complained loudly.  Unfortunately I was so concerned about stopping the noise that I didn't close the  back screen door.  It is just a regular size door but the screen slides back into the door jamb.  It's not easy to see and we have walked into it a couple of times.

So I finished cooking dinner and then we ate.  It must have been a good half hour later when Barry took the dishes into the kitchen and noticed the back door was still open.  No sign of Scruffy anywhere.  For the next half hour we went all around the house and yard calling him.  I didn't think he would go far but by now it was getting dark and we all know what happens around the creek after dark. We went up and down the street calling, but not a sight or sound of him.  The gate security came by and helped us look.  

After about an hour I decided to get in the car and look in the next street over.  I rolled the windows down and began moving slowly down the street calling him.  Three streets later there was still no sign of him.  It was now nine o'clock and since this is a retirement park, I'm quite sure I kept a few people awake.  On returning to our street I decided to go around the block once more.  I was quite sure that if he heard me he would answer.  He nearly always does.  

Sure enough half way down the street, maybe three doors away from us but on the next street, I heard him cry and then give his excited little yips he does when he's trying to tell us something.  He was up on a long verandah that runs along the side of a house and he couldn't get through the bars.  I walked him to the back steps and picked him up. But as soon as I put him in the  car he jumped out of the window on the other side.  There was no way he was going in the car, besides he was quite sure this was our house, because he immediately ran up the steps to the front door.  The houses here all look so much alike except for the landscaping and the configuration of the porches.

Fortunately my husband appeared at that moment.  He had stayed at the house in case Scruffy came home.

Long story short -- we got him home safe and sound -- and not very repentant I have to say. Remember the story when my sister was here?  Well he's eyeing the back door now in the same way!  So I'm keeping ever vigilant!  

Honestly, I don't know who was more exhausted, him or me.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


(See previous blog).

My sister had a photo of the famous birthday cake described in my last blog and sent it to me.  Thank you Kaybee.  I don't remember seeing it before.  I have two corrections to make.  First Little Gran was 74 that day and second, by the looks of me in that photo I must have been 13, 14 years old. I think I look older, but I know where the house was in which this photo was taken and we moved from there in   1953.

This must be one of the last photos of our family together, except my father was probably taking the photo.  From the back left are, my mother, my brother (deceased aged 48), me aged 15 approx.
Maureen,  (the little girl who lived a couple of houses away), my sister Kaybee, Little Gran, (looking a youthful 74 years)  and the notorious birthday cake.  

Too bad Dad wasn't in the picture.  I can't recall ever seeing a family photo with us all in it.  So I'm glad to have this photo.  My initial reaction is that we all look so normal.  Truly this was one of the happiest times of my teenage years, but my overall feeling was that we were a somewhat dysfunctional family.  Or perhaps it was me that was dysfunctional -- I would not conform to my father and brother's opinion of women as being useless and feather-brained.

Thank goodness for Little Gran who was a great role model for me and kept me on track without even knowing it.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Yeah! Creative Tuesday is back!  I have two reasons I'm happy about that.  First, I need some kind of a prompt to get me started on a new piece of work, and second, because we have two weeks to create something.  I seem to need the time to decide what I'm going to do, and then when I do it I don 't feel too pressured.

Well, this week you get two for the price of one.  The theme this week is to "jump right in" and get started in Creative Tuesday, after its absence of four months.

So this is my first contribution:

Ducks and frogs are on my mind, because unlike many places, our spring is really here -- in fact it has been here all winter.  The spring flowers are almost done and the frogs are in full voice.  Orioles are around but haven't visited our grape jelly yet.  They have arrived about 3 weeks early.  My plumeria has put forth an abundance of new young leaves and our African Tulip tree which was such a mystery last year, now has eight or ten buds sprouting new branches or maybe they are large leaflets.  We shall see.

The second piece I have done was by mistake.  The first post on Creative Tuesday about beginning again this month had drawings of all kinds of cakes on it, so I jumped to the conclusion that the theme was to be about celebrating with cake.  I immediately thought of a memorable time when I  was about 10 years old (in 1947 !) when my grandmother was staying with us.  We called her Little Gran as opposed to Big Gran, (for obvious reasons) and it was her 72nd birthday.  We decided to surprise her by baking a birthday cake and putting 72 candles on it.  It was so exciting for me as a child to see so many candles on one cake.

 So there you have it -- my two entries for Creative Tuesday.

Please see the next blog for a photograph of the famous birthday cake.
To see other contributions to creative Tuesday please click HERE  and then why don't you jump on in and join.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Little Blogging ... More Art

It seems that if I spend a lot of time blogging I don't have time to do my artwork, so I have not posted as many blogs lately.  But here is some more of my artwork.  The flowers are done especially for the 'girls' in our family -- one for each.  I have already posted three, now here are two more:


This one I called Deep Rose.  It is for my sweet grand- daughter.  She asked for a deep dark rose.
I chose an iris for my daughter-in-law who is beautiful, tall and elegant, so I called it Elegant Iris.

The bird is a song sparrow, one of whom has been frequenting our birder feeder a lot.  I enjoy drawing birds and will probably do more soon.  The Orioles are on their way back and we are putting out grape jelly to encourage them.  They LOVE grape jelly  -- and so do humming birds.

A song sparrow has a loud insistent song and competes with the house finch in our area to dominate the spring-time singing.

I have also done some more tangles.  I find these good to get my hand back in to do more drawing after not having done much for a while.  The colors, the balance and the detailed lines help me to regroup my talent and my 'drawing eye'.

These first two are more conventional but the third one below is a little more complicated and marks a new direction for me to do these tangles on colored paper, so that I can leave some areas uncolored.

I did this one on yellow card, but the scan didn't bring out the yellow enough.  Still, I like doing this kind of tangle rather than those that give me definitive lines, it gives me more avenues for creativity. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I don't mean to diminish the damage that our 'monster' storm did, but we in Southern California are so spoiled.  I know that Los Angeles and north really did get lashed with floods and downed trees, but we here in San Diego were let off relatively mildly.

We on the coast had about 2 inches of rain (our yearly total is 10 inches), but 2 inches in 2 days is certainly not unheard of around here.  There were also a few downed trees and large limbs around the county that were brought down by the rain and the high wind. There was some coastal flooding in low areas, but there always is.

But all week we had been regaled by weather forecasters of the coming 'stormaggedon'.  We were warned to stay indoors, turn off electronic appliances in the event of thunderstorms, be ready with sand bags, tie things down that might blow away.

We were more concerned about the creek at the bottom of our yard, flooding.  For the past year it has been hardly more than a trickle and the ducks have had to walk through the water because there wasn't enough to swim in.
Well we did have a good number of down-pours and since this is our first winter here we watched with a little anxiety. I took these photos in the midst of a lull in the storm.

This was the view from our back porch

This from the bottom of the garden.  There's an eight or nine foot drop down from the small tree to the creek bed.

The wind swooshed the water downstream toward the sea about two miles away.

The ducks had a wonderful time, paddling like mad up stream, then turning around and letting the current sweep them back down again.

Along the edges of the bank the water covered some of the greenery giving the ducks an ideal place to forage for food.  Talk about "lovely weather for ducks!".  They were in duck heaven!

The evening brought more looming clouds and the promise of more rain.  And yes, it did rain hard overnight, but by noon today the creek was way down.  The sandy soil just lets it all run away, so there isn't much fear of flooding.

But Scruffy was all set for the bad weather!

Thursday, February 27, 2014


FRIDAY SHOOT-OUT:  Stained Glass

When we bought our house last year, one item we had to deal with had to with stained glass.  The previous owners had installed a very nice understated stained glass window design.  The only problem was that it incorporated their initials -- which of course are not the same as ours.

There are two large windows on the front of the house.  Both are inscribed with this logo.  This photo taken from the inside looking out of one of them shows the initials.  We found out where the previous owners had had the window designed and installed and looked into replacing the center panel.  Turns out we had to take out the whole section just to remove the initials. Originally we thought of replacing them with our initials, but when we calculated the cost of the whole process for both windows, we decided that was one expense we didn't need along with all the other moving costs.

So this is what we ended up with for the time being:

Eventually we decided we would like to incorporate the sign of the fish on that center pane, since we are a Christian family and want to identify ourselves as such:

I am looking around to see what would be the most effective and least expensive way of incorporating the sign of the fish into our windows.  I don't think it will be by means of stained glass, but you never know.
This is my contribution to Friday, my Town Shoot-out.  To see more contributions and some beautiful stained glass please click HERE.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Well to tell you the truth I'm about all-computered out!!  Had to buy a new lap top and that was bad enough, then had to transfer everything from the old to the new.  That wasn't such a problem.  I managed to to do it over a few days.

BUT THEN...trying to figure out Windows 8 has been driving me crazy!  Why do they do it???  It took me a while to figure out Windows 7, then just as I am feeling comfortable and at ease on that, along comes Windows 8 and it feels like they changed everything!  It took me two days to figure out how to download five photos from G mail into My Pictures and to find Photo Gallery.  Spending hours on the computer every day doesn't do much for my usual happy disposition, I'm sorry to say.  Who are these people who think everything has to be new and different?!!

So by this weekend I was about ready to quit computers for good -- never mind blogging!  But here I am back again.  I'm sure 'they' count on  us being addicted to them, so we won't give up.

Well, on to happier things...

Yesterday we had a gorgeous sunset -- one of many we have had in recent weeks.

Two more shots of Scruffy keeping watch over Kaybee's room waiting for the second she opens the door to dash in and take possession.  (She's allergic to cats so we had to TRY to keep him out of her room).
Later, snuggling up with his sheep blankie, exhausted from keeping watch and giving in to sleeping in the office area.

A rather insistent seagull waiting for scraps from Kaybee and I as we ate fish and chips at the harbor.  We don't ever feed them as that brings penalties of their own kind, but they are smart enough to know that bits and pieces get dropped.  We saw a seal pop up right here as we ate but I couldn't get my camera out in time.

Later after our refugee from the snow and ice returned,  we did a Skype on Ontario's Family Day.  (What a great idea for a holiday!  Even the kids get a day off school.)  Here you can see Moth on the computer screen, a photo taken by one of our family as we Skyped.  This was my first ever Skype.  So it was a landmark.

I've still got a few more bugs to work out with Windows 8 and Windows Chrome but I guess I'll be back.  Incidentally, I am still visiting and commenting.