Monday, December 29, 2014

Someone's fitting in quite nicely.....

Merry Christmas!  I can't believe I didn't post anything for a week - and I had some days off in there too!  It must be the change in routine that got me.  Not that there was anything exciting happening....

We had a (relatively) quiet Christmas.  Margene and Dallas came over for turkey dinner, and Margene and I watched movies (White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye - she'd never seen it!!! - and Julia and Julie with Meryl Streep) while the boys played on the computers.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

All dressed up for the Christmas Party!  (no - the soft focus look was not on purpose - I'm terrible at selfies!)

Ralph decided not to go to the party last night, and he missed a fun time.  There were around 200 people there - lots of glitter and sparkle!  Today is our 27th wedding anniversary too - how did that happen!!!!

We had a surprise visit yesterday afternoon.  Mom called around 3:00 and asked if were ready for visitors......of course!  Unfortunately, Ronna's truck had broken down (in Susanville) and was towed to the dealership in Redding and she and Mom came down with the tow truck to get a loaner truck, so they stopped by for a few minutes.  It was a short visit, but a very nice surprise.  Even better, I had procrastinated about mailing Ronna's Christmas present (it was on my to-do list......) so now I could give it to her in person!

I can't believe that my vacation is over - I still have so many things on my to-do list that I didn't get to.  I do it all the time, so I'm not surprised at myself.  The more time I have off from work, the more I add to my list of things to do.  One thing that I can cross off my list today - laundry!  The repairman will be here tomorrow to see if he can save my washer.  I have a funny feeling it is toast, but.....we'll see.  I'm not looking forward to catching up on the laundry, either.  AJ brought back dirty clothes with him, so I'll have an extra load or two anyway.  Bummer!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

So much for trying to post more often - it hasn't worked well so far!  This week I was even on vacation (part of it at least) and I still didn't post.

I had my last Civil War Quilt club meeting last Saturday - I got the last of the material needed to finish the quilt, and haven't touched it.  Since that meeting is at my normal grocery shopping time, and the stores are madness now, I skipped my normal shopping on Saturday, and went on Sunday morning instead.  After shopping, I started cleaning up the leaves on the lawn and driveway.  I got most of the driveway cleared, and it started raining on me.  Bummer (sort of).  I didn't want to, but I needed to, clean up the leaves.  Since I couldn't finish that job, I went in and started my Christmas Baking.  Needless to say, I didn't finish it all on Sunday, so Monday morning, I finished my baking.  I was able to put my cookie plates together and distribute some of them - to Margene and Dallas, and to work.  That pretty much filled my day.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I went to Sacramento for a conference - leaving at 6:00 on Tuesday and coning back at 5:00 on Wednesday.  Two days of conference to learn how to fill out a 3 page form,  Wow!  It was a true line-by-line training session.  Very long and drawn out, but very needed as well.  It was the new Integrated Mortgage Disclosure that is effective next August....which means I may have forgotten it all by then!  It was a good conference, and a fun trip, but it sure broke up my vacation.

Thursday, I drove down to San Francisco and picked up AJ.  His flight was scheduled to arrive at 11:23, so I was planning on leaving here around 7:30 or so.  As I was piddling around after I put Alli on the bus, I checked his flight.....he was landing an hour early!!!  (That was some tailwind!)  I pulled myself together enough to not scare the other people waiting in the airport (it was SFO, so it would have taken a lot to scare people, but still.....I needed to do my makeup and hair!)  I hit the road around 7:00 for the scheduled 3 1/2 hour drive.  Let's just say that the map app on my phone was overly optimistic about the time it would take to get there.  I hit the toll booth stop-and-go traffic a couple of miles before the actual toll booth.   By the time I made it out of there (and into more traffic on I80 and 101) AJ had landed.  I shot him a quick message saying I was on my way, but was stuck in traffic.  His reply?  "Don't hurry - we can't get off the plane until our normal time to de-plane."
He actually got off the plane after I made it to the airport (which was later than the original plan).  Then he had to clear customs and pick up his luggage.  He landed at 10:21, and we left SFO around 12:45.  But...he was home!!!  I had a nice ride back to Redding listening to some of his adventures.

Not long after we got in, Dallas came down, and life was back to normal in a hurry.  I was cooking for an army once again, and telling the 'boys' to quiet down so I could go to sleep.  Nice!

Friday was the annual Christmas Breakfast at work, and I was assigned to bring a quiche, so I was up at dark-thirty to get it in the oven, get Alli ready, and me out the door.  I left for work before Alli got on the bus.  Breakfast was served at 7:00, and officers get to be there early to get everything ready.  Luckily I only had to bring a quiche - the 'guys' were there at 5:00 to cook sausage, bacon, and potatoes for 75 people.  It is a fun tradition, but we are getting so big it has become a big burden to prep for it.  After breakfast, I did the grocery shopping and I "think" I finished up the last of my Christmas shopping, came home and sat on the couch and read,  Period.  I fixed Alli some dinner, but that's pretty much all I did.

Tonight is the Bank's Christmas party, and I will go in at 9:00 this morning and help decorate the country club for it.  Then I need to come home and do some house cleaning/straightening etc.  Alli is going to daycare for the evening tonight, so I'll need to have her fed etc. by 5:30, and be dressed and sparkly myself, and then off to the party!!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's too dark to tell yet if we have any wind damage from this storm - but if we don't, it's not from lack of wind!  I don't know how strong the gusts are, but they were pretty strong.  Ralph woke me up at 1:00 and it was windy, but Alli woke me up at 4:00 and it was wild!!!  I haven't seen any major power outages (one of the big fears of the storm) yet.  We've had an inch of rain since midnight, and I'm sure that it was all sideways.  Today is garbage day, and I waited to put the cans out this morning, and by the time I put the second can out, the top of the first one had blown back.  I geared up in Ralph's rain jacket and my boots, and I'm still damp around the edges.

Luna is fitting in quite nicely now.  My dogs are so patient - she leaves food in her bowl, and they wait a really long time before they will eat it.  She's looking more and more like a husky mix.  The more I look at white shepherds, the more she isn't one.  She loooooves her squeaky toy that Dawn and I picked up last weekend.  It's missing an ear, but is otherwise holding up pretty well.  She has found a few things round the house to chew as well - bad puppy!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Trying to fit a third dog into the family has been "interesting" to say the least.  Hema (Hindu for snow) came to us from an ad in the paper - free to a good home - 1 year old shepherd.  I didn't know that Ralph was even thinking about another dog!  Luna (the latest choice of names for her) came to us with none of her shots, un-spayed, and with fleas.  Lovely.  All the dogs got dosed with flea meds Thursday night, and Luna got another bath yesterday.  (She smelled like flea shampoo and was very clean, so I think they gave her a quick bath before Ralph showed up).  Today is low-cost (which is still expensive) vaccination day at the vet's, so Luna and I will be standing in line this morning.

She's an unusual dog in many ways.  She's still a puppy and wants to play - but Koori doesn't think anyone should be playing.  Koo doesn't snap at Luna, but she snaps at Jasper when I get Luna and Jasper playing tug-a-rope together.  Needless to say, that takes all the fun out for Jasper, so she stops playing.  It's been too wet (for me!) to go outside and see if she fetches or plays with a ball, but she loves tug-a-war.  She has a soft mouth, and is pretty gentle.  I'm not too sure about all that white dog fur, and can only imagine what she will look like after she finds a mud puddle!

She's not extremely photogenic,.., she's hard to catch with the cell phone camera (the delay on the camera has her wandering off mid-picture.)  She has beautiful blue eyes that look like they came from a husky.  She has the shepherd ears, and some of her build is shepherd, telling what she really is.  One of our biggest issues is feeding time.  She seems to be a grazer, which doesn't work well with my two gulpers.  That's getting better on both sides now.  We're still working on basic commands as well - sit and stay don't work well, but she's very polite about it. 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Ralph brought home a surprise last night.  He had seen an ad in the paper for a free dog.  Hema is about a year old Shepherd-cross.  She's very sweet and Ralph is smitten.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Alli and I ready to go to Thanksgiving Dinner at Larry and Pat's:

It was a very small dinner at Larry and Pat's.  Ralph is down with pneumonia, Pixie's husband was sick and her son was working, Angela and family were sick, and Debbie was in Houston.  It was Larry, Pat, Pixie and I - and Alli, but she didn't eat anything.  Pat had so much food!  Pixie and I both brought a couple of sides/appetizers to go along with what Pat already had.!

Thanksgiving Dinner is on at my place today.  Mom, Dave and Lisa came in last night.  AJ is set to Skype with us, and Jeff, Kirby, Jake and Kody will be here as well.  Fun!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, Ralph started complaining that his back hurt and he couldn't sleep in bed, and moved back to his recliner so he could breathe.  Then he started complaining that it hurt to breathe deep.  I finally convinced him (by telling him it might be a blood clot!) to call the doctors's office on Tuesday, and ......his doctor is out for the week, and everyone else was packed with appointments, so he decided to wait.  I convinced him yesterday to go to the walk-in clinic (by telling him that it probably wasn't a blood clot - just pneumonia and they could give him a  shot in his butt and he'd feel better)....and I was right - he has pneumonia in his left lung - but he didn't get a shot,  He's got antibiotics now, and should be feeling better pretty soon - I hope.  He's on Turkey Duty on Saturday!!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The laptop still works!!!  (Maybe it's a little faster because of the shot of caffeine??)  Whew!  I was a little worried, but not too much, until I couldn't get Skype to boot up last night.  AJ texted me and asked to Skype - unusual.  When I tried to fire up Skype, it kept giving me an error message.  I did a total reboot of the computer, and it fired right up, thank goodness.

AJ wanted to Skype because he did not get the winter job is S. Korea, so he is coming home on December 18th.  Woohoo!!!  I know he was disappointed about not getting the job, but I'm pretty happy he will be coming home for a while.  One problem with him Skyping - we end up talking for a while, and it was already a long night.  

I had invited Margene down for leftovers last night - trying to clean out the frig before the weekend, and....we didn't eat that much in the way of leftovers.  Alli had some leftover meat and potatoes, and then I made fresh fry bread for the rest of us to go with some leftover taco meat and brown beans.  I sent Margene home with leftover soup, too - just to get it out of the frig!  Then, I needed to make a cake for a birthday today at work, and I planned on putting some enchiladas together as well.  That didn't happen - I put them together this morning, along with frosting the cake.  My kitchen is a mess!!!!  Margene was invited back again tonight to try again to get rid of leftovers.

Here's what my yard looked like (for a few minutes - the leaves are still falling) after I finished on Sunday - and a pretty nice shot of the fall leaves, if I do say so myself!

Here's the pile of leaves when I was done - and there are tons more on the trees!  I had over 30 piles of leaves in the front yard when I raked them up.  I chatted with a lot of the neighbors that were out walking as well - it's a great neighborhood!

I started putting my block of the month quilt together on Sunday too.  I was not liking it too much the last few months, but.....I really like how it looks all together!

Monday, November 24, 2014

This may not be the best day ever.  It was going just fine.  Alli and I are up and showered, dressed etc.  I took some pictures yesterday that I was going to put on the blog and ........... I promptly spilled coffee on my laptop.  Not a good sign for a Monday.  This is my first post from my Kindle.  Maybe I'll get the pictures up tonight......

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My challenge today, should I choose to accept it:

It cleared up yesterday afternoon, so I have few excuses for not getting the leaves out of the yard.  I was kind of hoping it would continue to rain all weekend, so I could say it was too wet to work outside.  I'm sure my neighbors will appreciate me getting the leaves up before they blow into their yards, though.

Since it was wet in the morning, I did finish up some Christmas presents yesterday!  I won't say too much about them, since the recipients just might read the blog, but.....I am pretty impressed that I got them done before Thanksgiving!  That's not saying that I don't have more to make.....I always overestimate how much I can get done.  Today I am planning on working om my quilt though - in between laundry, etc.  Then.....the leaves!  And maybe some cookies this afternoon???  'Tis the season!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Check out my present!!!

Margene got back from Minnesota yesterday, and brought me a present she made herself.  Note that it is a dragon.....This is a hand-etched agate made into a bookmark - very pretty!  Chewie was very happy to see Mom home too.  He did really well here, but....Mom is home!!!

Today is a day off for me - and my to-do is huge.  I may just chuck the list and sew or something though.....and then wish I hadn't later, I'm sure.  thanksgiving is next week!!!  I have the menu set - thanks to the family bringing the sides.  I will just have to do the turkey, potatoes, and stuffing.  Easy!!!  I'm sure I'll do more, but the basics are covered - everything else is 'just because'.

Book club was Wednesday at my place - the book marks went over well.  How ironic that Margene was making the same type for me!  I sent her home with one of mine last night, too.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I was making my to-do lists yesterday and realized I still needed to make the bookmarks for book club this month - which is meeting this Wednesday at my house - oops!  Luckily, I had them planned - I just had to sit down and make them.  The book this month is "Jewel" by Bret Lott, so.....jewels it is!  I had wanted to play with these metal bookmarks for quite a while, and this seemed the perfect opportunity.

They are much prettier (and shiny!) in person.

It's getting cold in South Korea.  AJ had asked if he could buy a good camera (not that I hadn't told him to get one before he left.....) and the one he wanted wouldn't ship directly to him, so.....he had it shipped here and now I need to ship it to him.  Since I'm shipping a box anyway, what else do you need from here (since shipping is so expensive, let's get it all at one time, okay?)  I asked what I could ship him from here that would make it seem more like "home" since he isn't planning on coming home for Christmas (or at all until summer.)  He asked if I could ship "the blanket that Ronna made."  Ronna's baby quilt will be going to South Korea.  He is also getting a Russian style hat, warm gloves, (both new) a couple of jackets that he left here, and some flannel shirts.  He also decided that it was a bad idea to participate in "No Shave November" at the bank - his face is cold!  Here's what he was looking like earlier in the week:

My Mom will be happy to know that there is water again out in our guest house.  She came in last weekend with "I hate to be the bearer of bad news...."  No!!!  No bad news from the guest house!!!!  Luckily, it was just that there was no water out there - that's fixable!  When the plumbers were here taking out the defunct solar panels, they had turned it off, and didn't turn it back on.  They came out on Tuesday and fixed it.  I had an errand in town Tuesday morning, so he came while I was gone - I came in just as he was leaving.  A few minutes after he left, I heard an odd noise from the garage.....not good!  No 'odd' noises, please!  I went out to investigate just in time to here a phone ringing from the hot water heater room,  Odd, yes - I don't have a phone in there.....  I pulled out the pantry and opened the door, and up on a shelf was a very bright light.  The plumber had been using his flashlight app on his phone, and left it in there (and it was on vibrate too - that was what I had heard more than the ring).  Needless to say, when I called in to the office, he was already on his way back to get his phone.  At least that odd noise that I heard was not an expensive odd noise!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nag, nag, nag.....I was pretty slack on my posting though!  Once, again, I got much for using that 'extra' hour productively I found when we moved from Daylight Savings Time.  I use it sleeping instead of exercising, or blogging, or crafting.....or anything else very productive.

It's been fairly stressful around here lately - probably why I wanted more sleep.  Work - while always stressful - took an 'even more stressful than usual' turn.  'Tis the season for audits, and we've had them back to back to back.  Some audits are less invasive than others, but two of the last three have been looking at loan files - which means I get to organize all the files coming from 4 offices, (and send them back when they are done) build reports, and gather anything else that they may want to see.  The last audit was actually of my department, and we had two people on site for 2 weeks, sitting with someone in my department, getting piles of paperwork, asking questions, etc.  We got a good rating, so it all ended well, but that, added to a busy month-end, made it more stressful than usual.  Whew!  Back to 'normal' stress!

Ralph has been making the rounds with doctors and therapists for quite a while now - it's been over a year since his surgery, and it took 6 months to even get to surgery.  He has one more appointment with a new doctor next week - the endocrinologist.  He is finished with the edema specialist - and has some lovely compression socks to wear and some exercises to do daily to keep the swelling down in his feet.  He is on medication and is seeing a therapist weekly for depression and PTSD - and is on stress leave until the first of the year, at least (he is starting the paperwork to make it permanent).  I think he is starting to feel better physically at least - and it will take time for the therapy and medication to work for his depression.  Ralph's boss sent ME flowers last week, along with a very nice note.

Mom was down last weekend to visit, and brought me a present!  

The cutest little sewing machine ever - a Singer Featherweight.  She picked it up at a garage sale and had it serviced for me too.  It makes my 306 model seem huge and clunky!  (It's been a great machine - no complaints - but this one is cuter!)  I had to try it out Sunday before she left - she took my 306 back with her to have serviced as well, and I didn't want to be without a machine.  The Featherweight sews better than my 306 and it isn't nearly as quirky.  I have 3 of the 4 blocks done for last month's Civil War quilt, and picked up this months fabric yesterday.  I have one more block to do, and I'm done with them!!!!  I picked up the first of two sets of finishing material.  I will be putting the blocks together this next month - if I get to work on it.  I'm already a month behind.....

While Mom as here, we went to the local nursery and got some seeds and plants for a winter garden.  Unfortunately, to plant a winter garden, I had to tear out the summer garden.  What a mess!  The eggplants weren't too bad - there were just two (big!) plants, but the tomatoes????  There may only have been four of them, but we had to hack them to pieces to get them out.  When I was pulling the roots out, Mom offered to watch, and if I fell on my butt, go for help.  (Which would have been a sight to see and very possible - those roots went deep, but I didn't fall!!)  I planted one artichoke and one mustard plant, some kale, and flowering kale plants, and seeds for lettuce and spinach.  Then, just to make it pretty - we planted some pansies out there too.

It may have taken me a while to post, but I posted a lot when I did - be careful what you ask for!!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Finally - enough daylight to see the work done on the solar panels!  But....Ralph had them leave the framework....

I'm not sure what we will do with this area, but it has a nice cement area.  I was thinking that since we have the framework there, I might try some pallet gardens.....I think if I bring in some water, I can get some plants growing back there.  The framework might be just right to lean the pallets against.

Here's the garage without the huge water tanks.  Now I need some shelving to put in.  I'm already missing the hook right outside the door that had my plastic bags hanging on it, so that needs to be replaced too,

Aren't they pretty????

Someone forgot to tell Allison that the time change was this weekend.  We got up at 4:00 a.m.  Since I knew this was going to happen, I went to bed last night at 9:00.  I also took a nap before dinner - rare for me, but I've been running on very little sleep lately.  It never fails - the nights that I stay up just a little bit later are the nights that I have to get up in the middle of with Allison.  Hopefully I've caught up a bit.  And, since baseball season is over, I can go to bed earlier, which means I can get up earlier.  I really need to start getting some exercise in my life - I'm feeling out of shape and fat.  If I can use that as the push I need to get moving......woohoo!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

What a week!  I feel like I say it every week, but this one was killer!  Work was especially busy, so add in Halloween activities, and it is even more especially busy!  This is the first year in a long time I did not dress up for work, and the first year ever that I didn't carve a pumpkin.  Here's the department at work all dressed up:

And one with me in it.....

Ralph was placed on medical stress leave a week ago Friday, and is seeing a therapist for depression (along with medication that he's been taking for about 3 weeks, I think).  He's off for a month on leave - I hope it helps!  We did meet with a financial counselor as well - just checking to see if Ralph can retire soon.  (One more thing added to my busy week).  I'm also in the midst of refinancing our mortgage, and, the plumbers came in and took out the defunct water solar panels (and in doing so, flooded part of the garage).  I also baked cookies for Allison's classroom and made soup and garlic bread for a pot-luck at work.  Whew!  I'm off today to help Meredith finish moving,  They need to be out of the house this week, I think.  They (we?) moved the big stuff last weekend and I'm sure she's been working on it during the week as well, so hopefully this will be the last of it.  They do have a cleaning person coming in, so we don't have to do that part.

Here is why I get a few typos in my blog.  (Not that I need a lot of help)  Indy must sit in my lap when I type, and he kind of overflows my lap.....

Alex shaved!!!!  The bank is running a fundraiser for Men's Cancer Awareness - the men that chose to participate all shaved yesterday (or today - I'm not that clear on the details) and then the women in the bank get to vote (each vote costs $1.00) for their favorite beard.  Here's Alex:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

One morning, the storm was coming in just as I was going to work.  This was a full rainbow across the mountains - too big for me to catch on my camera.  (After the fact, I remembered that I have a panorama setting - duh!)  This was taken just before I got on I-5.

This was taken while I was driving up I-5 (my bad....but it was so pretty!)

Monday night after work, Alli and I stopped for an errand, and had to hurry.  The storm was blowing in.  It caught us on the way home.

This was the view through my windshield as I pulled on to Meadowview.

And this was the storm Saturday night.

And some of the residue in my front yard.

I spent about an hour picking up the branches in the front this morning.  The sycamores really are 'self pruning'!

We got about half an inch of rain in 15 minutes yesterday  just as the baseball game was coming on.  It knocked out our satellite TV for a few minutes.

I have so many branches to pick up in the front yard!  We lost a few of the bigger branches too.

Monday, October 20, 2014


I like the top of it, but I still need a lot of practice for the quilting part.  I didn't get the bottom material as smooth as I would have liked it.  But...once it was washed, it looks okay.  I do really like how the top turned out.

While I was mowing the lawn yesterday afternoon, I realized Randa would be here this week.  She cancelled last week because she had a new granddaughter and was helping out.  Randa here this week was a good thing, but, I had meant to make something for the baby, and I forgot!  I dug around in my patterns yesterday, and made this hat.  I still to make up some booties too, but, isn't it cute!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Book club is tomorrow, and I finished up the bookmarks this morning.  I think they turned out pretty nice - you can almost even guess that they are cellos.

Dawn and I spent the afternoon at the movies - How to Train Your Dragon 2 - which was a nice break.  It's back to work tomorrow.  I didn't get everything done on my list, but I got a good start on things.  I'm sewing the binding on the baby quilt tonight (I hope to finish it tonight), I got a start on cleaning the garage (I took boxes to the Salvation Army and threw a few out) and finished a few projects around the yard,  Not too bad!!  I'm not ready to go back to work tomorrow, but....
I took advantage of the last of the nice weather yesterday and convinced Margene to go for a walk with me on the River Trail.  It took us 3 hours to walk up the north side to the bridge and back - we kept stopping to take pictures.  After we got up the the bridge, Margene realized that none of the pictures she had taken were on her camera.  After a lot of fussing (and swearing) at the camera, she realized that she wasn't pushing the button down far enough.  It was beeping at her, so she thought it was taking pictures, but it reality, it was focusing.  The trip back took just as long as the way in - so Margene could re-rake all her pictures.  I had over 100 on my camera, and here are a few:

Check out the moon in the clouds....

Geese on the rocks and in the water.

Self portrait??