Something on your mind? ? ? :-)

If you would like to leave a comment to tell me what you like or if you would like to share an experience you have had, have suggestions for new adventures, or would just like to share what's on your mind, please feel free to do so! I would really, really love to hear any feedback you would care to offer!

When you click on the comments link at the bottom of the post, you will be presented with choices for logins, if you do not already have one of the accounts listed, or you do not choose to login with that account, you can always choose the anonymous option, in which case your name would come up as Anonymous! If you choose to use one of the other log in options, your name would appear as the public name you list for that account. For example, mine would appear as Willow's Quiet Corner, and, of course, your email would not show!

Thanks! And, again, thanks for stopping by! I really hope to hear from you and to see you again soon! Let me know how you think I am doing! :-)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gardening and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

I come by it honestly.  I get it from my mom.  She cannot pass up a yard sale or a good bargain, no matter what it is or whether or not she needs it.  (Well, . . . to be fair . . . that has actually changed now! :-) ) But, I remember once, I believe it was when I was still in high school, we were out shopping and happened upon the clearance section.   She saw this amazing thing and just thought it was a magnificently good price.  

I believe our conversation went something like this:

Mom:  "Wow, this is a good price!"  holding it in her hands and turning it over and over, examining it with great glee.  "I think this is a really good price!", practically smacking her lips in anticipation of having found THE find of the decade.

Me, staring dubiously at it:  "What is it?"

Mom:  "I don't know, but it sure looks like this is a great price.  Go ask somebody what it is."

And being the perfect child that I was and am, I'm sure I obediently and cheerfully scampered off to inquire what it was, . . . this thing that we just had to have.

Well, if memory serves, it turned out to be something like a bracket to hold a tape deck or something, and I believe she did buy it.  But, whether we actually used it or not . . .    ;-)   Of course, my mom may have a wee bit of a different take on the story, but essentially, that is how it went.   . . .  ummm, . . . well, I may have taken a little bit of artistic license with the story . . . but, . . . it's mostly the way it happened . . .  ;-)

So, it truly is not my fault that when I go into an art store for one colored pencil, I end up buying a dozen pencils, some paper, and maybe some paints, etc.  It is not my fault that when I walk into a bookstore, just to pick up one book or magazine, I walk out with $100 worth of stuff.  And, I can't be held accountable for when I go to buy embroidery floss and have to have one of every color they have.  Or, when I buy coloring books (no, I have NOT grown up), I end up with dozens of them.  And then, like today, when I went to the nursery just to buy some compost and sphagnum moss for my planters, I ended up buying two more trees.

Two more trees.  I think that I may have mentioned before that I already have too many trees.  You'd think I live on a farm like my dear cousin over on her 9 acre farm with room for an orchard.  But, no, I live in the city on a very, very teeny tiny parcel of land.  Roughly about 40 feet by 50 feet, of which about 800+ square feet is taken up by my house and another 200 square feet, or so, is taken up by my driveway.  And, . . . well, you get the picture.  

As you can see, that leaves very little space for trees.  And I now have 11 trees.  Well, twelve, . . . if you count the dragon fruit cactus, which will get as large as some of my trees!  Granted, the trees I buy are of the dwarf variety, but honestly! ! ! !  I would say it is a sickness, but I think I have already established that it is a genetic thing!

Well, anyway, the reason I was put in danger of this new tree spree is the weather this past week.  We went from torrential rains (ok, a little bit of an exaggeration, but we did get lots for a long period of time), and freezing temps (ok, another slight exaggeration, but we Southern Californians are a spoiled lot, if we have to get out a sweater or jacket, it counts as being freezing) to the most beautiful weather in the world, which is why we all crowd in here like ants on candy.  It has been perfect.  Spring fever has officially struck.  This was a perfect weekend.  Blue skies, warm temps, slight breeze . . . just balmy!  The kind of weather that makes you want to be outside.  Even now, as I write this at about 7pm, I have the windows open and it is just heavenly.  You get the picture . . . anyway . . . 

So, yesterday I got brave and decided to finally tackle the removal of all the rest of the dead basil bushes that had taken over my back yard.  I got them all out but one before I gave up exhausted.  Well, before you decide I'm a complete and total wimp, you should have seen the size of those babies!  And, I had already weeded the rest of the yard and still had to do the watering.  (Shhhhhhh . . . don't tell my cousin how many baby tomato plants I had to pull up.  The basil will soon be trying to come up again, too.  Thousands more little seedlings I'll have to pull up. The joy just never ends!)  

I should probably have taken the time today to take out that last lone basil skeleton, but . . . I was sooooo over that task and sooooo ready to move on to getting closer to having my planters ready to plant.  So, after hitting the local farmer's market as I do on Sundays, and after I had gotten the rest of my shopping done, I headed over to the nursery and got the compost and moss, and as everyone knows, when you do that, you MUST pick up a grapefruit tree and a peach tree.  There is just no getting around it.  I think it is a law or something.  Besides, the grapefruit tree already has about 5 grapefruits that are almost ready to pick!  So, my official tree count is now this: 1 lemon tree, 1 Meyer lemon tree, 1 lime tree, 1 orange tree, 1 grapefruit tree, 1 peach tree, and 5 plumeria trees (3 white, 1 pink, 1 red).  Hmmmmm, looks like I will have to learn how to espalier the fruit trees in order to be able to actually walk through this little patch of heaven on earth that I call home . . . .  Honestly, what was I thinking? ? ? ? ? ?  And, if truth be told, I would have to confess that I was even eyeballing the apple and cherry trees, too!  And, with the cherry trees, you have to get two varieties for pollination! ! ! !  Aiii-yai-yai!

Anyway, when I got home, I got the soil mixed and some of the planters ready, but there are a lot more waiting.  Perhaps next weekend I can get the rest of the soil ready and in and start planting! ! Yayyy! ! ! !  But, it's going to take another trip to the nursery . . . perhaps I need a bit of a tree intervention before I go back . . . 

Speaking of shopping . . . after I got what I needed at the farmer's market, I headed over to the supermarket to get the rest of the things on my list.  I was just walking through one of the aisles, minding my own business, and just look at what jumped right off the shelf and right into my basket!  The cheek! ! ! 

Do you remember the email that went around a while back about the 5 minute chocolate cake recipe that you can make in the microwave in your coffee cup with just a few ingredients?  Well, . . . .  these are even worse.  All you do is add a few teaspoons of water to the mix (mix well), squeeze the caramel or fudge pouch over it and microwave for 30 seconds.  30 seconds, people! ! ! !  You then get tortured, because you have to wait 2 long minutes, just staring intently at it while it taunts you mockingly with its gooey goodness before you can dig in.  Instant molten caramel cake and instant molten chocolate cake!  Somebody needs to be punished! ! ! !  I haven't tried them yet, but I hope they suck.  If they don't . . . . I could be in serious trouble.  This is just WRONG! ! ! ! !  Wrong, I tell ya!

The photos in this post are of some of the pages out of my coloring books.  I use colored pencils (I love Prismacolor® - they now make watercolor pencils - you just color like you do with a pencil then brush with water - but I just use the regular color pencils for my stuff.)  My cousin thought that I should share them, so here they are!  Proof that you are never too old to color?  ;-)  

Colored pencil does not seem to photograph well.  At least not in the light I have available.  Some of them come out looking a little grainy or spotty, but they are not that way on the original.  Also, the pages didn't stay flat when I was trying to photograph them, so some of them are a little curved . . . you see that in the text at the bottom of some of them.  The text is really straight at the bottom, not curved!  But, hopefully, you will enjoy them even with these imperfections!  And, just a note - not all of the flower pictures are from the same book.

The one above is just getting started.  I only have a little of the indigo undershading started.  It takes me forever to do one because of all the layers of color I put on them.  I have dozens of books, . . .  and if I never bought another coloring book, it would still take me the rest of my life to get the ones I already have all colored!

I couldn't share any pics of my garden in progress, 'cuz it is just waaaayyyyy too messy out there right now.  But, maybe when I get it all ready, if it comes out the way I hope . . . .  We'll see!

Anyway, gotta scoot for now!  See ya' later!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2011 ! ! !

For the photo/visual interest for this post, I am including some photos of some of the drawings I have done.  In part, to try to give me a little incentive to start doing my art again.  I hope you enjoy them!  I'd be interested in any feedback you might have on them!

Anyway, for my post, I say out with the old and in with the new.  We say good-bye to a year that seemed to be filled with catastrophes and natural disasters.  The world economy is still struggling, unemployment/underemployment is skyrocketing, bullying is reaching new unprecedented heights and the weather has been really crazy.

The year started out with record setting snowfall on the east coast and seems to be ending with more deadly weather events throughout the nation.  And, in between, there were fires, floods, earthquakes, and tsunami's in many parts of the world.  I will recap some of the headlines over the past year here:

January - 12th - The devastating earthquake in Haiti

February - 18th - A man flew a plane into an IRS building in Austin, TX in order to commit suicide and killed another person in the building in addition to himself
27th - The earthquake and tsunami in Chili

March - 15th - TSA began using full body scanners - people who don't want the scan can opt for a 3-5 minute full body pat down with agents going up under clothing and into people's private areas in their search - if you refuse both and choose to try to leave, you are subject to an $11,000 fine

April - 5th - West Virginia mine explosion 29 people were killed
15th - Iceland volcano erupted forcing the cancellation of about 95,000 flights over Europe
20th - BP oil rig explodes - not capped until 7-15

May - 1st - There was an attempted bombing in NY Times Square - thwarted only because the bomber didn't know how to build the bomb correctly

June - 27th - two Russian spies arrested and deported from the US

July - Numerous fires in southern California 
Heavy monsoons flood approximately 1/5 of Pakistan's total land area killing about 2,000 people and affecting about 20 million others
25th - Wikileaks releases war documents

August - Did I miss something?  No major things to report for August?
  ooops!  correction: I received notification that I missed these important events for August . . .
  Three monsters were born: Colleen, Linda and Trang . . .     :-)

September - 9th - gas explosion in San Bruno, CA kills 9 people

October - 4th - toxic sludge in Hungary floods into 7 towns where 9 people are killed and 122 injured
13th - Chilean miners begin to be brought to the surface after nearly 70 days trapped nearly 1/2 mile underground
29th - more explosive devices found on two planes bound for US from Yemen

November - 23rd - N Korea shells S Korea - causing an extreme increase in tension in the area and threats of N Korea using their nuclear weapons

December - 14th - Florida gunman kills himself in city school board meeting after terrorizing the board
Dec - so much rain has fallen in southern California we are way over the usual season totals and are well on our way out of the drought we have been in for the past several years - over 17 feet of snow has fallen in the Mammoth Lakes ski area to date and there have been a lot of mudslides in the burn areas

Some of the notable people we've lost over the past year:

Barbara Billingsley, Tom Bosley, Jill Clayburgh, Tony Curtis, Dino de Laurentis, Blake Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards, Eddie Fisher, John Forsythe, Al Haig, Richard Holbrooke, Dennis Hopper, Lena Horne, Art Linkletter, Rue McClanahan, Edwin Newman, Leslie Nielsen, Fess Parker, Lynn Redgrave, J.D. Salinger, George Steinbrenner, Joan Sutherland, Charlie Wilson and John Wooden

A couple of other noteworthy things that have happened this past year:

Joran van der Sloot was arrested in Peru on June 3rd, unfortunately it only happened after he had killed another young woman.  

One of the US hikers who were arrested in Iran for allegedly trespassing into Iranian territory on suspicion of spying was finally released.  At this time, the other two are still being held and there is no word on when, or even if, they might be released.

Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates have started a campaign to get some of the world's wealthiest people to pledge to give away most of their fortunes during their lifetimes or after their deaths.  Some of those who have already signed the pledge in addition to Buffett and Gates are: Michael Bloomberg, Barron Hilton, George Kaiser, George Lucas, Bernard and Barbro Osher, T. Boone Pickens, David Rockefeller, Denny Sanford, Ted Turner, Diane Von Furstenberg and Mark Zuckerberg.  The combined wealth of the thirty-some individuals who have signed this pledge would amount to the total wealth of some countries.

As I sit here writing this, the tune, Auld Lang Syne, is running through my head.  This year definitely won't be one of those about which I reminisce fondly.  I feel quite battered and bruised by this year.  However, it feels like a good way to close the year out anyway, so here are the lyrics (at least the standard English translation of the old Scots tune/verse as reported by wikipedia):

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and days of old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since days of auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give us a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


I, for one, will be quite happy to put 2010 behind me and look forward to a fresh start.  I'm tired.  Totally exhausted.    I have a lot I want to do.  I want to not feel like I am battling the universe on a daily basis.  I want to finish getting my house painted (inside and out) and to get all the other upkeep that needs to be done done.  I want to finish putting my garden area together.  I want to get everything more organized so I can focus on other things.  I want to get home and feel like doing something.  I want to start painting with watercolors again.  I want to start drawing again.  I want to start crocheting again.  I want to learn to knit.  I want to start doing things for other people who need help.  I want to learn to do a million more things.  I know I won't get it all done in 2011, but I sure hope to put a big dent in my want list.  But, if I can just get to a more peaceful place, I will feel like I have made some good progress!

I truly hope 2011 will be a better year for me and for all of you, too. May it be a year of happiness, health and hopefulness for all of us.  

2011.  2 = 1+1.  It looks like it should be a balanced year, right? Anyway, have a magical and wondrous New Year! ! !