Monday, December 27, 2010

Our God Dogs Frazier and Oliver

Meet Frazier and Ollie our God Dogs. They belong to our friends Steve and Paula Craine. They recently went on Vacation to Florida and we volunteered to have their boys come stay with us while they were away. I am sure you have already noticed how much Frazier lookes like our Milford! But Frazier is his own dog, and from the inside out he was nothing like Milford at all. Neither of them were. That is comforting in a weird way. I don't want to find that other dogs are like Milford, because then neither of them are or were special, and that's not right or true. Ollie and Frazier are as different from each other as either of them is different from Milford. Ollie bold as brass one minute and hiding in the corner the next, and Frazier preferring to hole up alone in his kennel most of time until he would go rip roaring out the door chasing squirrels both real and imagined. It was fun having dogs in the house again, but it did help us decide that we are not ready to have a dog of our own yet. We like the freedom of being dogless, we like not having dog hair everywhere, we like leaving food on low tables without fear, we like spending all day running around town without thinking we need to head home to let the dogs out...No, we are not ready yet, but we will be soon enough.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Consolation Prize

As soon as Steve and I got over the disappointment of not going to
DC we had to get over the disappointment of not going to we did what works best for us and we turned to retail therapy. Facing another 3 years in the kitchen designed for a bachelor we decided to trade in our old kitchen table for an island with breakfast bar. I gained much needed work surface, two cabinets, and two drawers, some more display space and on the far side, a place for my most used cookbooks. We added some groovy tractor seat stools and voila a kitchen I can live with! The best part is now I have a work surface that faces the TV in the living room, so now I can watch and chop at the same time! I did wonder though, why this island, though smaller than my kitchen table actually seemed more useful to me, and it came to me, its the height. Its the same height as a kitchen counter and so makes for a usable work surface. The table, unless you were sitting down, was too low to use in that way. The table is not gone though, its been moved upstairs in my sewing room, hoisted up on bed risers bought at Bed Bath and Beyond and is now my big work table up there. I guess we could have saved a lot of money and just put the table on the risers downstairs, but what it would have gained in functionality, it would have more than lost in style...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hunting the Hunter Hunting the Hunter

If you look through our family pictures you are bound to notice there are
far few pictures of Steve than there ought to be. That's because he is usually the one holding the camera. Maybe that will change now that he upgraded to a better quality digital and I inherited the point and click Kodak for my own personal use. So now with both of us armed with a camera I might catch a shot of him too now and then like I did in Ashville not long ago. We were on the Biltmore Estate looking for photo opportunities when I spotted Steve stalking the statue of Dianna Goddess of the Hunt looking for the perfect angle, so I began hunting him as he hunted her. Its not the best photo in the world, but I like the concept of it very much. Maybe I should make a game of it, collecting shots of him taking pictures and see how many different poses, angles and wierd moments I can capture...Photographing the photograper hmm, I think I will give it a shot.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Biltmore Estate

Just a few weeks ago Steve and I took a mini VayCay. We went to Ashville NC, to visit the Biltmore estate. We bought the Christmas Candlelight tour with bonus day ticket. So we arrived at the estate at sunset and toured inside visiting all the rooms decorated for Christmas and lit by candlelight. There were musicians in the atrium playing beautifully, and the rooms all had decorated trees in them, and fires blazing in the fire places. It was lovely. I would show you pictures, but they did not allow photography indoors.

We went back the next morning to see the estate in the daylight and we took pictures then. You can imagine how grand the inside was when you see what the outside looks like! It is definitely on par with the great houses in Europe! Its open year round and offers all sorts of activities on the grounds from Horseback riding to segway tours...We think maybe we'll take one of those with Zach on one of his visits if he is interested...The only thing is they weigh you to make sure you do not exceed the weight limit for the horses or the segways, which thankfully I don't...but had better be in private! The things I'll do for a little adventure...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back from the Long Arm quilter

My Diary quilt is finished and hanging on the wall. I have taken to sending many of my quilt tops out to be professionally quilted on a long arm sewing machine. My hands have only so many stitches left in them and I am saving them up for my really dear projects. So my lap quilts, little projects like the diary quilt, some baby quilts I have in the works all get sent to my Long Arm quilter. She did a great job on the diary quilt and it makes me wish I was half decent at machine quilting, or had a spare $10,000 or so laying around so I could buy a long arm sewing machine...maybe one day, you just never know. I have been finding that I actually am reaching a lot of my long term goals and dreams, so why not add that to the list? After all, it could happen!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Do you know what I know

I am getting better about keeping Christmas Secrets, but there
was a time when I could scarcely keep my mouth shut. Its not that I didn't want people to have a surprise on Christmas morning, it was that I could not live with the uncertainty of whether or not I had made a good call on the the gift I had chosen! I was always desperate to know if I had hit the mark or missed it by a mile, and the only way to know for sure was to spill my guts. So I often would. I have moved on from there though in recent years and can now keep a Christmas secret with the best of them. Is it because I have more confidence in my gift selecting capabilities, or do I care less about whether or not my selection is well received? I think its actually due to the fact that as we have all grown older, and as the amount of money spent on gifts has increased, we have all come to see the wisdom in asking each other what we really want and then really getting it for each other, so there is less mystery all around. The gifts that are truly a surprise are the trifling gifts that if they are a good call are a source of delight, and if they are off their mark, then the heartache is proportionately small, in line with the amount of money and thought spent on them. So I guess I have not gained any great self control after all, but there for a minute I thought I had made a great leap forward.
The picture by the way was taken in the garden at Biltmore. He looks like he is about to whisper something good in your ear, does he not?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mom's Mijita

We are dog people, and have always been dog people. So when Mom decided the time had come to get a dog we were all on board. After some looking and asking around Jenny announced that she had just the sort of dog Mom was looking for. That's when Mija and Mom both hit pay dirt. Mija could not ask for a better situation. She is loved and fussed over and has a life that pound puppies dream of. Her boy was even adopted into the family and Junior now lives with Jamie , Sue and the kids. Mija and Junior even get to see each other once in a while. And for Mija, once in a while is enough. Junior, a chiweenie, is a spitfire and is about all his mom can take.

Mom has the dog of her dreams. Mija is good natured, smart, full of personality. She stuffs a remarkable amount of dog in that tiny little frame of hers. She may be small, but she is all dog! There is just enough mischievousness in her to keep things interesting, but not so much as to take the joy out of having her around. Like the rest of us, Mija is a chow hound and it was not long before she succumbed and put on some weight. The good news is that like the rest of us, She is learning that less is more and has started off on the long road back to slimville.

I wonder when Steve and I decide to start looking for a pup if we will find one as good as Mija? We will get to have some furry company in a few days. Our friends the Craines are going to Florida for 10 days and we are going to keep their two dogs for them while they are away, Frazier is a rat/jack russel mix, and Ollie is all jack russel. It will either send us strait out to find a pup of our own, or it will remind us why we decided to wait in the first place.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

Have you ever been taken by surprise by something that struck you as uncommonly beautiful? So beautiful that you could look at it for ages? That happened to me on my recent trip to Ashville, NC. It was around 4 in the afternoon and Steve and I had just gotten in to Asheville and were trying to find our way to the Marriott. I looked up and saw the dome on the First Baptist Church and from then on I was useless to Steve as a navigator, at least until we had driven far enough from the dome that we lost sight of it. It was love at first sight! Maybe it had to do with the angle of the late afternoon fall light, or the backdrop of autumnal colors, whatever it was won me over utterly and completely. I could have feasted my eyes on it for hours, too bad we had a time schedule to stick to. The next day before we drove home Steve took me back to the church so that I could get a photograph of the dome. I thought it might prove inspirational for a quilt or mini project somewhere down the line. At the very least I can look at it and study it to my hearts content now. I love the colors of the dome, how the verdigris of the cupola seems to spill out onto the tiles of the dome and trickle down. Maybe its the colors that I find so striking. Celedon green is a favorite and pairing it with the terra cotta makes both colors more than they are alone. I don't know, but whatever it is, I want more!