Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mid week pause

6-30-10 exhausted brain
Catching my breath mid week, because my vacation time off work is only a few days away... and I will be busier than ever!

My Des Moines garden is turning from yellows into its orange phase. I still think nature is now about two weeks ahead of schedule. I even heard one lonely cicada a few days ago. This sound usually reminds me of late summer.

Garden out.... I'll get back to you mid July!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pictures from Dad

6-29-10 reminiscing brain
Dad must be continuing going through some old pictures. He sends me some regularly. Here is an interesting one of him with his sport car… I think it was a 1968 Triumph spitfire.

I also am guessing this picture is after 1968, and could be 1969, since the tree in the top left corner has tornado damage. Our tornado was May 1968. Our house was on the fringe and had only one broken window.

I was too young to drive this car, and funny how it happened that when my sister and I were old enough to drive, Dad got rid of the car. I learned to drive in a 1965 Dodge Dart.

Here is an old picture of me, around 1974.

Here is a current picture of Mom and Dad’s crazy cat, who is a year old now, but still has a lot of “kitten” in him. Here Trey is on the shelf which is about 5 feet off the ground in the screened in porch out back….Dad says this is his new favorite place to hang out. Dad knows I enjoy seeing pictures of cats, since Greg and I have been cat-less for 18 months now.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Trial and error

6-28-10 more weekend reminiscing brain
Saturday, after 9:00 AM breakfast with neighbor friend Sue, over at "Chefs", I had some time to spend creating. I think I caught the passion for pixel type art from my KC neighbor Wil Lala, and I started experimenting.

So I cut up some paper into pieces and starting embracing the joy of art play. Of course, this leads to one thing for me….a MESS throughout the house, from the sunroom. to the art room, to my office. Greg says my middle name is not "Marie".... but instead "Messmaker"

My friend Kelley will be happy to hear that I experimented “in threes”, using the same color pallet.

This picture is a bit out of focus... but you get the idea... these are 8 x 8 inch size without the frame.

I even experimented making prints, since you know I have a hard time parting with my creations. I believe I will frame these three together in one frame.

Before I knew it, I was almost 7:00PM and hadn’t eaten dinner. Luckily I had left-over’s from lunch out earlier with my two co-worker friends and fellow bloggers Lori and Renee, who came to town for the Art Festival. We had an enjoyable few hours together.

So all in all it was a fun, busy, and productive day, even without Greg being home this weekend. What could keep Greg and me apart? A car show on his end, and the art show and wedding shower on my end. Not to worry, we will be spending a lot of time together in July.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday update

6-27-10 breaking sabbatical brain
OMG….. Des Moines had another 1 inch of rain last night…this was early Sunday morning I believe.... I was sleeping in the first floor bedroom and thus the thunder did not totally wake me up.... AND the bad part is that north of Des Moines had even more rain again.... this is two nights in a row of heavy 5 to 8 inches rains.

My co-worker Rhonda’s house is in a low area of town and has flooded badly in 1993 and 2008. She called me this afternoon and said they are once again on high alert for possible water over the Salorville dam on Wednesday noon, which means her house will flood again this year, if those predictions are correct.

Here today for me, I now have water again in the laundry room from the weekend rains… which is making Greg and I talk further about just biting the bullet and getting a sump pump put in. We have talked about this for over 15 years, but our money seems to get spent elsewhere.

I think it is time to save up for this specifically and get it done early this fall.

Today I am spending the day cleaning and I also was able to attend a wonderful wedding shower this afternoon. That cowgirl apron found a new home and this….. along with some other kitchen items, made for a fun "cowgirl" gift package!

I am happy to report Erin liked my gift!

Erin is young and hip enough to probably even have a pair of cowgirl boats in the back of her closet. I'm sure her "partner" Brad will enjoy my gift also. IF I had a daughter, I would want her to be just like Erin. I am such a big fan of hers... and her whole family.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June weather

6-26-10 weekend brain
Only a few days left in June, a month which has been stormy and wet.
This picture from last Tuesday night sums it up well. Some parts of Iowa had tornadoes and received 5 inches of rain.

Des Moines was lucky to only have ½ inch that time around.
Here is graphic of rain totals that night.

I am happy to report we had Wed, Thurs and Friday without rain, and the temperatures were a bit cooler with less humidity on Thursday... a perfect day to mow the lawn. Friday evening I, along with Ann and Sue, helped at the Des Moines Art Festival.

HOWEVER, when I arrived home, I saw on the 10:00 news that there were more storms in northern Iowa again. These were moving south and arrived in Des Moines at 12:45 AM Saturday, and again at 4:00 AM. With this storm we received 1.75 inches of rain.

Gee, this is feeling similar to winter, in the fact that we watch storm after storm come through. At least I don't have to shove the rain.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cowgirl Apron

6-25-10 friendship brain
Last week my fellow blogger and friend Renee posted a blog about aprons. See Here.

This got me thinking about an apron I recently bought. A lot different probably from the aprons Renee's grandmother worn. It's a cowgirl apron. I'm planning this as a gift for someone special. Sorry Molly it's not for you, although I know you would love this apron.

It looks like it could be easy to make, using old jeans. But I sure don't have time to sew at the current moment. So I have recorded this idea in my blog, so Molly and I can refer back to it later.

PS: It is Renee's Birthday today, so go take a look at her blog on aprons and wish her a Happy Birthday!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The color of LIME

6-24-10 inspirited creative brain
I don't like beer, but I have been trying to drink some and serve some to my friends and neighbors this summer..... for the sole reason of ART. My beer choice is Bud Light Lime.

As luck would have it, I have two very talented artists as neighbors who live by Greg in the KC house. Susan and Wil Lala. Their daughter too, is a successful artist in the KC area.

Wil is currently working with aluminum cans as his medium. It's a lot of work to process the cans, cut, and sort.... but I just LOVE his work!

Check out his website HERE.

The name of his ART is "Green Pixel Art".

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Moved by the creative spirit

6-23-10 adult attention deficit brain
Last week after work, I decided to get back to some cleaning. I headed down to my art room and began picking up and temporarily putting my paints in a storage crate. Before I knew what I was doing, I found myself outside painting!

Really, I had no plans to start my fall art project for
Westminster Church until August, but I guess the spirit took over and I was outside using up some old paint for the base coat.

Now if I were truly an abstract artist…. I could declare this piece complete, and create some complex description of what this painting represents relating to the Fall Art Show Theme.

Especially since this year’s theme is pretty wide open….. “Images of God: Perception and Reality”

But I have something more specific in mind and I am crossing my fingers that I can make this happen. It will be a stretch for me to work with this large 4 foot x 4 foot size.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Garden additions

6-22-10 nature brain
So as we relaxed this weekend, some time was spent outdoors. I am happy to report that on Saturday, there was actually a complete 24 hour period where no rain fell.
We enjoyed Saturday evening dinner out with old friends Doug and Joan (Doug was Greg's first boss in Des Moines)... and afterwards relaxed on the back yard patio. It was very pleasant out, as well as Sunday, it was only 78 degrees and felt cool enough to have the air conditioner off for the day.

Saturday late morning, after walking to Chefs for breakfast, our neighbor was having a yard sale, where I purchased a bowl for 50 cents. I added this to my garden as a small bird bath.

Later Sunday when I was out in the garden, I picked some flowers to add to the fence display. This wire rack I've had, so I just used some old jars.

I spotted my first morning glory blossom, and then was frustrated that the bugs are beginning to eat the hostas, as usual.... Then I was amused that I found a heart shaped image in one hosta.... thanks bugs, whoever you are!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The calm before the storm

6-21-10 summertime brain
When Greg arrived home to Des Moines on Friday evening, he found me in the neighbor’s basement, drinking a Margarita and watching the local weather guy warn of a possible rotation in the clouds just south of Des Moines…. Well actually the tornado sighting was an hour earlier, but we just had not come up from the basement yet.

Friday evening there was to be a neighborhood "Jimmy Buffett" party to celebrate the start of summer, but darn, we got rained out… but a few of us did convene indoors anyway, and we had fun. Later after it stopped raining, we did sit a spell on Carolyn and Steve’s back deck and enjoyed the 9:00 sunset.

I love the look on Steve's face in this photo. He is thinking..."crazy gals"...

This time of year, with the long daylight hours, I usually have a high energy peak. And it’s true, I have been running on maximum speed for the last two months. Now, I felt like I was burnt out a bit, so I told Greg that I wanted THIS weekend to just be a relaxing one. No cleaning, no projects, just as much laziness as possible. Greg needed a weekend like this too, since he had worked on a large stressful project at work last week.

So this weekend was the calm before the storm…. Next weekend is a busy one for both of us, and July will be full of activity as well. Some will be fun vacation activities, and for me part of vacation will also include a basement cleaning project (I hope), and also we may be in chaos here with repair work being done on the house, due to some ice dam/water damage in a few rooms. $$ will be spent, but it has to be done sooner, rather than later.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Father's Day

6-18-10 grateful brain
I am posting my Father's Day blog a few days early, since I will be too busy this weekend. This is one of my favorite pictures of Dad, my sister and I. I'm sure Mom was behind the camera. Dad would have been about 31-32 years old in this picture.

Next is another picture from my baby book. One of the first pictures in the photo section, so probably the first picture of Dad and I together. I have always thought that DAD is looking at me like I am an alien.... which it must have seemed like, since I've been told I had colic and cried a lot during the first 6 months of my life. (Sad to say my stomach still is easily upset if I don't watch what I eat.) Thanks for putting up with me Mom and Dad... A crying baby couldn't have been easy.... I'll remember this as I have to put up with you Dad, as you get more cranky!

Next is a unique picture of Dad and I taken in a automatic photo booth around 1958 or 1959 which was in the St Paul train station. It is unique that it is in a metal frame. It's about 4 x 3 inches high. I remember it well. We were waiting to board a train to travel out to Oregon to see Grandma and Grandpa.

This picture is one of the "treasures" I have kept in my safe over all these years.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Safe keeping

6-17-10 reminiscing brain
This is my safe, which I have owned since I was 8 years old. I received this from Mom and Dad as a reward of sorts, for successfully having my tonsils and adenoids out that summer.

I have memories of the whole ordeal and the pain in my throat, and to this day I think this is why I don't really like Jello. Even swallowing Jello was painful.

I recently found my safe in the basement during the start of my cleaning project. It is fun to look inside and see what childhood "treasures" I have saved all these years. More on that in future blog posts.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Over abundance

6-16-10 grateful brain
My neighbor friend, “peace sister” Carolyn must have ESP. She seems to always know the perfect time to show up at my front door. Sunday noon, Carolyn stopped by with some food for me, I think maybe she knew from my Facebook post that I was up late Saturday night and didn’t get out of bed until 11:00 AM.

Thanks for the delicious enchiladas Carolyn. This was a good “lunch” for me about 3:30PM, which gave me enough strength to mow the yard late afternoon, in between rain showers. Des Moines has had at least 5 inches of rain in the last week…. Which has given me back a damp laundry room in the basement, and a garden that is growing out of control. June the garden goes through the “yellow phase”… in July it turns to oranges.

This would be a good time to pull weeds, but now I fear I will be eaten alive by the mosquito crop which has been growing strong with all this rain.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Karaoke anyone?

6-15-10 silly brain
Saturday late afternoon I drove back to Des Moines to attend a party. Ann was hosting another Drake University MPA travel program alumni party. Since Greg didn’t come back to town for this party, even though he is the Drake graduate and I only the wife of the alumni, I took neighbor friend Sue with me, since she knows Ann also.

For Sue and I, we were going mostly for the karaoke part of the party. So we arrived "fashionably" late at 8:00PM, and by 8:30 the music was started. See Molly my new dress was cute!

I can’t believe Ann, Sue and I sang and danced almost non-stop until 12:30PM.
I felt bad for Ann’s neighbors, so I decided it was time to leave… before someone called the police to complain about the music…. i.e.... the “noise”... i.e... US singing BADLY!….

I made and brought my own guitar, since I knew I would be playing back up more than lead soloist.

We had great fun. I was alcohol free, being the designated driver… and since I don’t need to be drunk to act silly… it comes naturally. I'm glad it's not against the law for 50+ year-olds to have fun. Ann, Sue, and I out sang and danced most of the 20 year olds.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Twins again

6-14-10 happy flag day brain
My sister Jan posted a surprise on Facebook this weekend. This is quite an accomplishment for her, since she was never good about keeping secrets.

She bought a new car- a Mini Cooper! Here she is with Sarah.

I knew she was shopping for one, but didn’t know it would be identical to mine (accept for the interior)…. But I’m OK with that.. Although she is a year older than I, Jan and I always were raised a bit like twins.

Here we are with some neighbor kids (Danny, Andrea, and Bobby)... bet you can still pick out Jan and I in the photo.

When Jan visits Iowa over the 4th of July, we might have to see if we can take a picture with my Mini, Greg’s Mini and Jan’s Mini all together.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ready for summer fun

6-11-10 shopping brain
My friend Renee will like this picture. She is the one who turned me onto the women's clothing store J.Jill in the first place. I'm not a huge shopper, but over the past several years, I've had my best luck finding clothes that fit me at J.Jill.

Wednesday evening after work, I met Molly at J.Jill and began my search for some comfortable summer dresses. Molly acts as my personal shopper. If she gives me the thumbs up, then I know what I buy will be acceptable.

I found three dresses and a scarf, total was less than $300 dollars. I actually found more, but I did limited myself, since I try my best to stay on budget. I purchased a black, zinnia-orange, and slate-blue dress, three different styles.

I will be debuting one of these dresses on Saturday at my friend Ann's party. I'm ready for any occasion now this summer. Wedding Shower, 4th of July dinner, Girls Weekend in KC..... just to name a few.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Today's sadness and joy

6-10-10 sad brain
I'm writing a letter...and it goes like this....

Dear Mr. Brown Pelican,
I do see you even though my eyes are covered and I'm hiding behind the chair. I am praying for you, and sending my love. Sincerely, Judy age 6

I am using my blog this year to record activities in my life and also to record events of 2010 for “history” sake, but I’ve been avoiding a big news topic these past weeks…. I just haven’t had the heart to watch or to let myself feel the pain from it all. I have been out of touch so much so, that I didn’t even get the reference my co-worker made yesterday…. She was joking about Obama.

The news story I have been avoiding is the Gulf Oil Spill.
Words used to describe this have been: epic, heartbreaking, tragic, devastating, worst in US history.

I personally cannot bring myself to look at pictures of the dead oily birds and fish. My soul does not handle animal suffering well. As a little girl I had to hide behind the chair as my sister and I watched Sunday night TV. I couldn’t face Lassie being in trouble, or some of the animals, in the Wild Kingdom show, being rescued from harm’s way, or animals preying on other animals.

So there you go….. I’ve recorded this tragedy and sadness in my blog. Daily millions of gallons of OIL are still spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico.... for over a month now since the accident. Funny though... how gas prices have NOT gone up, like normally they would. I think the BP oil company knows we are ready to kick some A$$!

Anyway, I feel helpless. But, during troubled times I still need to remember the JOY that is surrounding me in so many ways.

A recent small art piece of mine.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shoal Creek Living History Museum

6-9-10 rural brain

A few more pictures from Shoal Creek. It looks like a fun place to visit sometime to tour the other parts we didn't get to see on Saturday.

A picture of the barn close to the house we painted. I was told this was moved to this location about 35 years ago, now is in need of repair. They want to save it if they can.

I took this picture for my Mom, since she is a barn lover and belongs to a group in Iowa which is trying to save barns.