Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pick me up flowers

(Warning: The following post is pretty sappy:)

10 Years ago today, my friend Becca took me to a Halloween party. I was new to town and really didn't any of the people that Becca had befriended who would be at the party. I'm pretty happy I went though, since it was there (at Loren and Jenny's place) on October 31, 2000 that I met my Matty boy.

And now he's my hubby, and a thumpin' good one at that! In fact, last Thursday I had told him that I was having a rough day and on his way home from work he got me a few "pick-me-up" flowers.  One was large and strange and really cool, the others were electric blue and pink and quite beautiful.  Both did their job- I immediately felt better...not just because I got flowers, but because I'm so lucky to have someone do such sweet things for me.

So thanks Matthew, for the pretty flowers, and for everything else! You've made the last 10 years good ones and I look forward to spending the years to come with you.
The weird flower- I love it! Anyone know its name??
Pretty in (blue and) pink

Cemeteries

I understand why cemeteries are usually thought of as unhappy places- it is, after all, a place full of the dead, and death is often an unhappy concept.  Personally, I have never had an aversion to cemeteries.  I find them to be quiet and peaceful, and usually very pretty.  I don't really have any loved ones buried in cemeteries, so that feeling of sadness and loss do not accompany me when I go strolling among the final resting place of others.  

I'm not sure when my fondness of cemeteries began.  I know my mother always found refuge walking through them and I probably picked it up from her.  Also, adjacent to my parents property in Redwood Valley is a small Pomo cemetery.  It is modest and usually quite overgrown with weeds and wildflowers, and it has always been a part of the general landscape of home- not something spooky or foreboding.

Pomo grave with abalone shells 
And if having my home next door to a cemetery wasn't enough to get me comfortable with the idea, my high school was across the street from the only cemetery in town.  It too is a pretty resting place- with a few winding path ways and large shady trees-- a perfect place to be out of reach of the Ukiah High campus police and steal a smoke (of course, I never did such a thing).  I often walked through the cemetery after class to go to meet my mother at work, since the Public Health Department was on the side opposite of the high school. 

Russian River Cemetery in Ukiah, visited by deer
Course, it's not just rural places where cemeteries are pretty and peaceful.  Hollywood Forever in Los Angeles is such a beautiful oasis in the middle of the city that thousands of Angelinos spend their summer nights there, watching movies projected off of one of the buildings.  And I hear they also host a wonderful (and popular) celebration on the Day of the Dead.


When I travel to a new place, I like to *respectfully* take a walk through their cemetery.  There is a lot to be learned there! The history of a place, of its people and culture, is told in the way the dead are buried.  These last few pictures are of cemeteries I have visited recently- 

Granary Cemetery in Boston
Old graves near the church in Boxford, England

Kirk-side cemetery in Fort William, Scotland
Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague


Saturday, October 30, 2010

We Carved Pumpkins!!!

Matthew picked out two beauties: One was tiny and smooth and perfectly round, the other was so lumpy and bumpy that the checker at Ralphs told him, "You better take that pumpkin to a doctor!"


Matthew is carefully planning...


Sherpa is so curious! He loves a pumpkin!


I drew my ogre face on the lumpy pumpkin...


 Pumpkin guts!


Matt's holding the brains!


Almost done...



Spooky! Can't wait to see it at night!


Wishing everyone a very Happy Halloween!!!

A Sweater for Weggie

This is Weggie:


Sometimes Weggie wears sweaters:


This is the sweater that Weggie wants me to make for him- modeled by a kitty that is not Weggie. Weggie likes this turtleneck, but not in pink... I think he'd like a nice cobalt blue with silver and lavender accents! That will bring out his eyes and his colored tips nicely!


So once I am skilled enough, Mr. Weginald P. Quackenbush will have a brand-spankin'-new sweater to wear on those chilly bay area nights! Maybe then he'll finally love his Auntie!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ranunculus!


I love these flowers- although, I admit, I don't know if I am pronouncing them right.  (Maybe it's just my obsession, but it comes out sounding like a magic spell to me!)  I think I had some of these at my wedding- we let the florist do whatever she wanted, so it's hard to remember exactly, but I think we had a few of these multi-petaled round cuties.  I love the colors of the blooms in this picture!

Wisteria

There's a great store that I have just discovered.  It is a pretty small operation- started up by a couple who wanted to furnish their home with rare, beautiful and whimsical things but couldn't find these things in the larger chain home-furnishing stores, or afford the treasures at antique stores. So they went searching around the globe, and bought things for their own home and extras to sell to others like them.  What a great idea!

Now, Wisteria has a great online catalog with new inventory coming along all the time.  They've got a little bit of everything, from small decorative items to make your time in the office more enjoyable to big-ticket furniture. And I want one of everything!

The pics below are my wish list right now.  I am especially in love with the garden crowns! What a way to make your plants feel important!! If you want to check out Wisteria, go to their website:


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Inns of Court

An exclusive school? In Britian? Steeped in tradition? Separated into four houses?
Is it Hogwarts??

No... it's the Inns of Court

The Inns of Court in London are the professional associations to one of which every barrister in England and Wales must belong. They have supervisory and disciplinary functions over their members. The Inns also provide libraries, dining facilities and professional accommodation. Each also has a church or chapel attached to it and is a self-contained precinct where barristers traditionally train and practice.                                           

The Inns of Court are old.  The early records of all four Inns of Court have been lost, and it is not known precisely when each was founded. Records go back to the mid 14th century.
I got to visit last June when I studied IP law in London.  I really enjoyed it there! It is one of the very few things, if not only thing, law related that will make it to virtual happy place. (Extra factoid: Harry Potter movie wrap parties have been held at Temple Inn).


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Marmite

I'll admit it, I brought this little jar of goo home from England because it was just so... English. I didn't really intend on using it, probably beacuse I had no clue how to use it. I heard some people spread it on bread, others with veggies, and some people just drank it down mixed with a cup of hot water.

For me, it was a souvenir--along with lemon curd and HP sauce (I like to bring home edibles :) I stashed it away in my pantry, until a recipe I wanted to try actually called for a teaspoon of it.  I opened up the jar and was surprised! This suff is as thick as tar! I tasted a tiny tad, and it was salty and sour and totally foreign. BUT, I put it in the recipe like it said and everything turned out good.  In fact, I think it turned out better than good, the Marmite made it great.

Since then, I've thrown it into mixes and mashes when I am cooking without a recipe.  Last night, I put it in my Shepheard's pie mix and it was great! So now I'm a fan. This totally unique mystery goo is really very useful. And I've just found out it's healthy! Bonus!

For more than you ever wanted to know about Marmite, visit:

And to see their very clever ad campaign, visit:

The Watering Hole Commercial

OK, I feel kinda lame saying this, but there is a commercial that I actually *actively* watch. When it's on and I am in the other room, I rush to see it.  To make things worse, it's an insurance commercial! But it features a utopian world where there's no such thing as predator or prey and where all animals are best buds. (Normally I am not into animals used in advertising but I think this one can be an exception- I read online that it is all CGI).



So this is what it would be  like if there was no "circle of life".  In reality, it would probably be awful, but it makes for a nice little fantasy- and it's a fun little tune, too! 

The first (real) scarf


So here is the first real knitting project I've completed.  I made a scarf for my mama using a multi-colored yarn.  I don't think I dropped any stitches! And I made fringe (which was way easier than I thought it would be).  I used a pretty cheap acrylic yarn, so its not very soft.  I heard it might soften up with washings. I think I am comfortable enough with the needles  to upgrade to nicer fibers so down the road, I'll have to make mom another, softer scarf. But for now, I'll give her the honors of having my very first knit!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Obi is practicing for Halloween!


Those eyes! Those fangs! That attitude! Obi is telling the other boys that it's time to up their devious behavior for Halloween! I think I'd rather receive one of his "tricks"... rather than a "treat"!
(and yes...that is Linus in the foreground just lounging as usual ;)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jack-O'-Lanterns

It's the Jack-o'-Lantern time of year.  I never actually get around to buying and carving my own pumpkin, although I tell myself I will each year.  Maybe this will be the year I follow through!


I like the traditional look of the one in this picture, it most resembles some of the ones that I would make as a kid.  My dad would usually get creative when we would carve them together, but no matter my intention, mine would usually end up with two triangle eyes, a triangle nose and a jagged smile. It's incredible what some people can create with a hollowed out gourd-  check out the link just to see a few examples.  They are works of art made from squash! Gotta love this holiday!

Fire Dancing

This picture is a few years old, but I love it.  It captures my girls so sweetly! Here, Aimee and Sarah dance in front of a roaring bonfire at Lillie and Ryan's weeding celebration.
It's a dark picture, so its hard to tell who these beautiful figures actually are. So I also took one with flash-

Words from the Shire-

"It's no bad thing to celebrate a simple life!"
- Bilbo Baggins , The Fellowship of the Ring

I am not a fan of Lord of the Rings. Maybe I should reword that, since I have seen and enjoyed all of the movies. I have not read the books and therefore I cannot claim to be a real fan of the series. (I just bought the set and plan on reading them very soon). That said, there are parts of the movies that I truly love- namely the parts that take place in the Shire.  In the beginning of the first movie, Mr. Baggins says the quote I wrote above, and it has stuck with me ever since (which isn't such a long time since I only watched the movies for the first time earlier this year... I've already admitted that I am late to appreciate the whole "fantasy" genre).  Anyway, this is one of my favorite quotes and I hope to one day celebrate my own simple life-- preferably in a shire!

Scottish Breakfast

Breakfast in Oban: Toast, fried egg, grilled tomato, tinned beans, potato scone, grilled kippers, juice & coffee

Not photographed: black pudding, Lorne sausage, bacon/rasher (basically, none of the meats)

Linus & his Scarf

Well, I have completed one knitting project- and it’s a scarf for Linus! I am sure he’s going to love it- you know how popular scarves are with cats this season ;)  It is blue, to complement his beautiful blue-grey coat.  For the winter, he can use it to stay warm in this freezing Southern California weather, but in the summer, I might have to alter the scarf for another purpose.  Linus turns 13 this June, he’s becoming a man! So, this humble scarf may have to transform into a tallit for his bar mitzvah! A few white tassels on the end, maybe an appliqu├ęd Star of David… The wheels are turning!



Sorry these photos are so bad- Linus actually really hates his scarf! And he wouldn't sit still or look at the camera while wearing it.  I think he finds the whole thing ridiculous! Just wait until I make him booties!!




Friday, October 22, 2010

The Burrow with Brother

My big brother is in town today, my town, and I'm not going to see him! And it makes me feel awful. So why am I writing about it here? This is a place for only happy things! Well, to make me feel better, my brother has promised to get the new Harry Potter Lego set of the Burrow and put it together with me over Christmas! 

I haven't played with Legos since I was a kid, and it has been almost as long since I have put together a puzzle. If it was for anything other than the Burrow, I don't know if I would have the patience to see it through! But this will be awesome- and then, over the holidays, we can all play as the Weasleys! OK, I am getting a little too dorky even for me.  Good thing my brother is fully supportive of my Potter obsession!  (In fact, one might say that he started it all!) And this venture into "Lego land" might inspire us to put together all of the Harry Potter sets- the have the train, Hagrid's Hut, Quiddich and of course, Hogwarts Castle!

So now I am really looking forward to Christmas- with Jason and Matt and Mary and Weggie and christmas trees and Legos and the Burrow! Oh, too happy!! (Can I bring my boys too??)
Burrow in a box
Inside Lego Burrow

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm on Twitter

Follow me on Twitter- my user name is: Happy__Things (with two underscores between the words- man, almost every other combination of Dreams & Happy Things were already taken!).  I am still figuring out how to use Twitter, but if you follow me, I think I'll be able to follow you in return!  I don't know if you can follow this link, but here is the address for my Twitter Profile-