Thursday, March 20, 2014

Charlie's 55th Birthday Celebration!

Here it is....March 21st (already)...
and I just can not wrap my head around how time is flying! 
I mean, really! Warp speed!
Charlie's 55th Birthday was last week. 
Our son, Whitney, came up to celebrate with us. 
What Charlie didn't know was that Stephanie
 (Whitney's BFF) was coming with him!

As planned, we poured drinks and then went straight to game time! 
I ran across a vintage copy of Password in the window seat...
and needless to say, it was such a blast!
Dinner included barbecued fish, steamed broccoli and organic rice. 
Charlie manned the bar-b-cue and Whitney handled the side dishes. Stephanie helped....
It's always a party when these two get together!!!
After dinner, it was time for chocolate cake! YUM! 
Then, of course, it was time for PRESENTS!
A vintage Tiki mug from Whitney & Stephanie.
A new Charlie Brown mug from Charlie's God Daughter, Mia.
And, a new hoodie/jacket with a tropical logo to wear 
to the Kon Tiki in April!
A great time was had by all! 
Happy Birthday, Charlie!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sometimes I hate Technology!

Dear Blog Followers....

Apparently, there seems to be a blog glitch and I have been unable to upload photos or updates.

Do know that I am still here...trying to figure out why suddenly I cannot post new posts to the Scattered Journalist. at 11.

~ peg

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Season of Giving

It's the most Wonderful time of the year!
This is the time of year when we count our blessings and plan our gift-giving. It won't be long before Santa begins his annual journey 'round the world! We plan feasts, we bake and create and we shop until we drop (well, almost!).  

We think about all of the people who have come into our lives, people who have made a difference in some way during the year...friends, loved ones...strangers. It is during this reflection, interestingly enough, that I find myself wishing that I could give back to each one with a little remembrance. A little thank you for the smile they shared, the phone call they made, the time they took to listen to me.
When I was small, gift giving centered around the children. Grandparents, parents, friends and Santa showered us with surprises that were lovingly left under the Christmas tree. My mom always said that Christmas is for the children. Now in my 60's, I continue to embrace the magic of giving. While I strive to work in my studio year-round, I especially love to create at this time of year. 
Our kitchen is always awhirl with activity!

Trays and trays of shortbread, pounds of espresso chocolate bark,
loaves of pumpkin bread and lots of peanut brittle
 are prepared annually for everyone.
Special attention is given to the wrapping to complete the presentation!
The advent calendar reminds us of the approaching celebration. 
The Nativity is gently unpacked and displayed.

Special notes ♪ ♪ are handwritten inside Christmas cards.
The Christmas tree takes its place in the corner of the room and
waits to be adorned with colorful lights and decorative treasures. 
Art projects of long ago reappear just in time for the holidays!
 Stocking stuffers are carefully selected for
each recipient and wrapped with love.
Letters of wishes are written and left for Santa with a cup of milk and
homemade cookies.  Bits of carrot are left for the reindeer. 
Like a well rehearsed dance, we repeat each wonderful tradition year after year. Silently, without even thinking about it...the traditions are renewed and embraced with love. These small gestures are gifts from the heart. Many don't cost a dime and yet, they are all priceless. With every ornament we hang, every task we complete, we are giving with love.
So, as the season of giving begins, may your preparations be wrapped with love. Give with your's the thought that counts!  I'm looking forward to the hustle and bustle of baking and creating! I hope you are, too! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Autumn Bliss

We have just bid farewell to a very hot and very humid summer. And, as I went about my errands last week, I noticed that the merchandise in the markets and specialty stores had quietly shifted from beach gear to wool jackets, flannel shirts and faux pumpkins. Swags of decorative synthetic fall leaves are strung up everywhere. Bags of miniature candy bars line the grocery shelves.  September's morning sky is streaked with pink as it weaves in and out of wispy clouds. We can feel the shift in the weather....we catch the subtle hint of dampness in the wee hours of the morning.  And, we want to bring out the quilts, lay a fire in the fireplace and bake cookies.

What is it about Autumn that reels us in?  Acorn fever (the love of Autumn) is stealth in its approach...but even when I am not looking for it, I know immediately when the first hint makes its presence known.  It very often times comes on the heels of my birthday in July. Just a hint... Sometimes its the way the gentle breeze switches direction. Other times, its the damp warm September dew that appears on the grass. I can't help but take a deep breath and feel myself re-center. The delicious anticipation of my favorite season sends me to the moon and back.  Autumn. When the leaves begin to, yellow and rust... and acorns begin to fall and scatter on the road.

Children are back in school and I am reminded of a line from You've Got Mail..."Don't you love New York in the Fall? It makes me want to by school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." That is so me. I did that, too, one year. I sent a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils to my husband at work. And, I was thrilled that he knew exactly what I was saying!!!


Each year, in early October we return to Yosemite National Park.  We honeymooned here in 1985 ~ four nights in a cabin without a bath. We had rain, cold crisp mornings and no crowds. I think we've only missed two years since that trip. This annual trek is a magical time...days without a plan. Nights with starry skies and the sound of owls hooting in the distance.
Fresh air. Bike rides. Lots and lots of picture taking. Like we are seeing it for the first time...again!!!
In the evening, before dinner (and, sometimes after dinner) we sit out on the porch of our cabin to enjoy the sunset. We are in no hurry. We have a drink, kick back and rediscover what a vacation is really supposed to be. 


Nature is at its peek in the fall. We take pictures of fallen leaves....every one, a different specimen. Milkweed pods pop open and release their feathery seeds. They sail just above the meadows on the tiniest of breezes. 
Sometimes it takes just one leaf to start the ball rolling......
An afternoon autumn shower will find us back at the cabin...
just inside the door...listening to the rain's opus.....
A walk after the rains brings us to moss covered boulders. The cracks and crevices are highlighted by the light from the overcast sky.  
Here are some of the treasures we found on our walk.
I love the lacey leaves...
Can you feel Autumn? See it? Even in black and white, it is so pronounced!
(I was trying out my 'Ansel Adams' setting on my came out pretty good, I think!).
As we walked down the bike path towards the Chapel, we noticed a bit
of color peeking thru the evergreens. 

Deep breath..... I did not want to hurry ahead.
I needed to walk s-l-o-w-l-y.
...savoring each step as we got closer.
We walked around the bend....and, then, like the sun after a storm.....
It is overcast this morning....the sky is getting light....time for our morning walk. Roxie stands at the ready as I grab my phone, my keys and the lead.  And, this morning, I'm wearing my flannel shirt.
It's Autumn!!!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Birthday Eve

Roxie and I walked this morning...and, since we have doubled our route she seems to think we need to do it at double speed! 1.2 miles in just 20 minutes! Holy moly, Lady Poops-a-Lot, let me try to keep up!

Actually, it's a beautiful morning and I have done the basic, daily chores (fill the fountains, p/up random Roxie droppings, emptied the dishwasher, two loads of laundry, pulled some more-than-dead plants from the sizzled-out garden, hauled the trash containers to the curb....oh, and made the bed)...and now, the breeze is sailing through the big pine and delicious!!!

I was going to go down into the studio this morning...but got side-tracked by some packages that came in the mail.  You see, tomorrow is my 62nd birthday. My family, close friends, and  (former) co-workers  will tell you that I prefer to be out of the lime-light when it comes to my birthday. It's not that I don't enjoy a's just...well, you know....sometimes a bit awkward. So when the packages started to arrive (I do love snail mail, btw!)...I decided not to wait...and opened them up.

First up, a book on 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems from my sister, Candy and her family. Truly, a fun collection of household helping trivia!!! Who knew that soaking a baking dish with stuck-on grease can be easily remedied simply by sprinkling with water and a bit of table salt??? This will be a handy, go to book for sure!!!

Then, a well-traveled box arrived with a familiar stamp on the corner ('reuse me')...and I knew immediately that this was from my long time friend and partner-in-crime-during-our-teenage-years, Tisa. (She had reused the box I had sent her birthday gift in!).

What a great blast-from-the-past! Tisa and I had discovered and fallen in love with the works of Rod McKuen during those formative, teenage years. We discovered his poetry and his LPs: The Sea.....The Earth....The Sky. His narratives put to inspirational music. Well loved....well worn...played often! And, still play with just a bit of scattered skips and pops. I will certainly enjoy reading his work again!!!

A third package arrived (sounds almost like Christmas, doesn't it?).   Look what I found inside!!!

Susan Branch's brand new, hot-off-the-press book, A Fine Romance ~ Falling in love with the English Countryside!  Susan and the friends at the studio (Kellee, Sherri, Alfredo and Bonnie) popped it into the mail the day the eleven pallets of books were delivered!!! It even has a little ribbon bookmark!!!
As the facilitator of the Friends of Susan Branch Facebook page (the gals at the studio call me the 'President'), we (the Susan Branch fans all over the world and I) have been anxiously waiting to see this journal of her 2012 trip to England. A labor of love to be sure and a year in the is so exciting to finally see it up close and personal!

A card from Dad was in the mail, too, with a wonderful birthday check! This will be earmarked for either additional art tools and supplies or shopping when we are in Yosemite or the central coast this fall.

Dad and me.  He's been a parent for 62 years!
So, birthday #62 is under way...quietly...with the gentle breeze in the trees outside and surprises in the mailbox from friends and loved ones. Perfect. 
...btw....this 62-thing is just that....who feels 62?!!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Fountain of Pearls


I grew up in South Pasadena.  Back in the day, the 4th of July was really boring because fireworks were not permitted. One year, just a couple of days before the 4th, my friend, Tisa and I hopped on our bicycles and rode to Alhambra where the Unimart/Disco Fair/Two Guys, a membership department store, was (I’m not sure which one it was at the time!). We headed for the fireworks stand that was on the end of the store parking lot.  After much window shopping, we selected a packet of snake pellets and a Fountain of Pearls.

On the 4th of July, my grandparents had come over to our house to play cards and have barbecue.  After dinner, the bridge game resumed so I went outside to meet Tisa. She had her overnight tote, ready for another sleep-over.  After depositing her stuff upstairs in my bedroom, I grabbed the bag of fireworks and we went out to the front yard.

While we waited for the sun to set, we lit the snake pellets and watched as they expanded into a trail of ash. It seemed like it was taking forever for it to get dark. Just before the sun began to sink below the horizon, we came up with a scathingly brilliant idea. We thought it would be funny to paint a ‘stop line’ on the street across from my house.  We ran to my garage and found a can of white spray paint. Back on the street, we carefully painted a line from the curb to the center of the street.  We painted the word “STOP” beneath the line. It almost looked official!
Finally, it was dark and time for the Fountain of Pearls!  We set the cone-shaped firework in the middle of the street and Tisa lit it. We quickly sat down on the curb and watched.  It began to spit and sputter and then.....nothing!  We stared in disbelief! We were sure we had been gypped!

After a long, anxious pause the sparks began to shoot up. A few short, scattered sparks sputtered first...then, the display shot into the night sky nearly two stories high!  The cone exploded with sparks rocketing straight up, illuminating the entire street!  We started laughing hysterically! The roar of the firework shower continued for what seemed to be forever! We began to wonder if it was ever going to stop!

Hearing the commotion and seeing the bright ‘something’ in the street, my parents and grandparents jumped up, dashed out the front door and stood on the front porch, watching in disbelief.  This made it even funnier!  My dad, however, was not amused. A few selective words were exchanged between my parents before the adults retreated into the house.  Tisa and I began to laugh again.   

We sat there on the curb, hysterical with laughter, retelling the story and laughing into the night.  At one point, a car came down the street and suddenly slammed on its breaks right in front of us, stopping at our faux ‘stop line’! Another round of laughter ensued!
Finally, when we had caught our breath and had settled down, we knew it was time to call it a night. When we were sure we were all laughed-out, we returned to my house....via the back door!  As we climbed up the stairs, the sound of our muffled giggles indicated to my parents that we were safely inside for the night.
Tisa and me