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Even BETTER Than Art!

Some things are just more important than art!

Today I got the opportunity to babysit my grandson and granddaughter for the first time in quite awhile. Their mama has been off on maternity leave, so the times they’ve needed help have been few and far between.

Now she is returning to the workforce, but will be able to work from home most of the time – the best of both worlds. Then when she has to in to meet with a client, I’ll be able to back her up.

Today was one of those days.

Daddy had Josh ready for school when I arrived, so all I had to do was comb hair and supervise teeth-brushing, load the baby into the stroller (thank goodness Josh was there to help me – it had a little trick I would NEVER had figured out to get the straps locked!) and walk him a short distance to his classroom.

Lexi was enjoying the ride, so we took a little detour – good for both of us – got her out in the fresh air and me off my behind!

Then it was bottle time – NOT her favorite! She decided she didn’t want it, so we switched to cereal.

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Then it was off to bed. Seemed like the blink of an eye and she was up again. We played and played. I enjoyed getting to know what she likes and what she doesn’t like, and before we knew it it was time to head off to pick Josh up again.

Back home we tried another bottle. Turns out she likes it better when she gets to hold it by herself! She’s not even 6 months old yet. I was pretty impressed.

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Da’ came over to visit for a little bit (yeah, I had my boyfriend over while I was babysitting!) and we all played some more.

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Going down for second nap was even easier. Guess she realized everything was going to be okay with Gaga doing it.

Then it was Josh and Gawgs time. Well, mostly. He’s been itching to get on his ipad and Daddy said it was okay, so we got that out of the way 1st.

Then it was reading and little Suduko. I don’t know where the time went.

Lexi will be up soon and we’ll play some more, then head out to Josh’s soccer scrimmage. By the time Mommy and Daddy get home we’ll be tired, but it will be a good tired.

Nope, I didn’t get any art done today, but who cares? I got to bond with my darlings, and that was WAAAAAAAY more fun!

I’m Happy

One of the things I like about me is that I don’t sit around waiting for “happy” to find me. I go out and look for it. Every. Single. Day. And when I find even a little bit of it, I grab on and embrace it and feel grateful for it.

Gisland3-wSunflowers are such happy flowers. I never see one without smiling!

 

I admit, I’ve been very fortunate. We’ve gone through some rough times and we’ve had a terrible thing or two come our way. But many, many people have it a lot worse.

I’ve never in my life had to wonder where my next meal was coming from, or had to chose between medicine and food for my children, or paying the rent or the electric bill. I’ve never been COMPLETELY alone. I’ve never been dependent on drugs. I’ve never had to watch a child self-destruct to the point of losing their life. I’ve never had to fend for myself. I’ve always had a roof over my head, enough to eat, and someone to love and have them love me back.

So, I can see that I don’t have a reason to NOT be happy.

That’s not to say I don’t get depressed from time to time, but it is mostly short-lived. Even on my worst days, I can usually find a reason to smile. I refuse to let life and all the crap it can throw at you get the better of me.

But a lot of people who are in the same situation I am, are not happy. They can’t see how fortunate they are. They want more, and more, and more, and are incapable of enjoying what they have. They have an attitude of “I’ll be happy when…”

For those people, “happy” will never come, because “happy” is not dependent on what you have, it’s a way of living your life. Not a destination, but a means of travel.

So how do you find “happy?” It is not a passive thing. It’s an active endeavor. You have to go out and look for it. It rarely walks up and smacks you in the face. Sometimes you have to look hard – under bushes and in the shadows to find it. It’s looking for the silver-linings in the storm clouds, learning to dance in the rain. It’s accepting that there is no one or no thing that can make you happy. It has to come from within.

Now, I’m not going to lie. I feel happy when I eat a scoop of ice cream. That’s easy. But I am also happy in the middle of a huge blow up with Mr. Tattered. IF I remember to be grateful that I have have someone I love enough to fight with instead of just walking away from them. I’m happy when I get my feelings hurt and am crying. IF I remember to be grateful that I have someone in my life that CAN hurt my feelings because I care enough about them to care what they think of me. I’m even happy when I am the most depressed. IF I remember to be grateful that I’m only going to feel like that for a short time, and then I’m going to pull myself up by bootstraps and come up with a plan to correct whatever it is that’s dragging me down.

I have learned that happiness follows gratitude.

So I make a point of thinking about what I’m grateful for every day. It’s amazing what a difference it makes.

I hope you are having a life full of happy. If you’re not, don’t waste another minute; get out there and find it. Life is too short to live without it.

 

 

 

 

Finally Working on the Decks

There’s nothing like time constraints to make me get my tush in gear.

I have under 2 weeks to get my 4 Inspiration Decks done and in the mail. The soft deadline is September 1, but if history is any judge, not everyone will make it, and it will be extended. My hard deadline is September 3, the day before we leave for Europe. I suppose the possibility exists I MAY get them out sooner. Heeheehee!

I don’t know why I’ve let so much time go without getting started. I really do love making them. But, I guess I’m just in such a habit of waiting until the last minute, it comes naturally. But then again, with nearly 2 weeks left, it isn’t QUITE the last minute! I’ve cut it closer on many projects, I’ll tell you!

So, today I got the gesso onto both sides of 2 decks (104 out of 208 cards!)

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Only 2 more decks to go.

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AND, I got fonts selected for the sayings and printed them out.

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I’m getting excited!

Are you getting tired of vacation photos yet? I hope not!

vancouverfromgrouse-wVancouver from the top of Grouse Mountain

I KNOW – I Said I Wouldn’t

But it just isn’t that easy.

Somewhere in the back of my head, I keep telling myself I need to be ready, just in case something amazing falls into my lap.

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I’m not going to actively search out another creative business, but it’s only prudent to have all the information in hand in case of need, right? I mean, look how different my life looks now than I thought it would 5 years ago. Things happen. Ideas pop up. Resolve goes away. Not to mention I can’t stand the idea that I might miss out on something. Heeheehee!

An then there are these little treasures. Daphne’s Diary. They are so stinkin’ cute.

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I can’t really explain why I seem to NEED them so badly. But I do. When the latest edition wasn’t available at Barnes and Noble, I got on the internet and discovered that only did I miss the first two issues, but there are 4 (yep, FOUR!) that have come out since the last one I bought. But, thanks to the WWW, they were only a mouse click away, and soon the six issues I’ve missed will be in my hot little hands. Well, waiting for me when we get home, anyway.

I don’t know if that is a good thing or not. They are too pretty to cut up and I need more magazines stacking up like I need another hole in my head. But it’s done.

And if THAT isn’t bad enough, there’s this.

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Yes. Stampington has yet ANOTHER publication that I’m not going to be able to resist. I tried. Really I did. When the presale was announced, I closed my eyes and stuck my fingers in my ears and yelled “LALALALALALALALALA!” The urge passed and I went on my merry way. But then there it was mocking me at the bookstore (you’d think I’d know better than to go anywhere’s NEAR the periodicals by now!) and I caved. It wasn’t even a close call.

I double dog dare you to walk away without one. It is GORGEOUS! The photography is insanely good, and the whole premise of the magazine is to see the amazing in the ordinary. Who wouldn’t be a sucker for that?

I HAVE to stop this. Yeah right. We’ve been down this road before.

Your laugh for the day? (At my expense, of course!)

I have been less than thrilled with the performance of the camera on my iphone 5 ever since I got it. Inside, outside, didn’t matter, the photos just aren’t as crisp as I’d like them to be. Well, today we went to get new sim cards from from T-mobile for their international plan in preparation for out next trip. So, I had to take the phone out of its case to access the existing sim card and happened to notice that I never took the film off the back of the phone. So all this time, I’ve been taking pictures with a plastic film over the lens! Yikers!

AND……yet another photo from Alaska:

canadianwaters-wThe waterway north of Vancouver

Our Justice System

I had a brush with it today. NO! I didn’t do anything wrong, I just had jury duty. Sorta. Well, almost.

I got my summons, looked to see if there was any way to get out of it without telling a lie, and decided I couldn’t.

Somehow I’ve managed to go my whole life without having to do it, and I think my conscience got the better of me. You know, civic duty and all that crap. Don’t get offended. I KNOW it is, but I don’t have to like it.

In my mind, it’s kinda like unfettered capitalism. It’s the best system there is, but it has problems, and I think we could do a better job of it. I just don’t want any part of it. I don’t want to be a defendant, a witness, a victim, a juror, or even a plaintiff. I just want to stay clear of the whole thing.

For starters, I am a mediator – NOT a decider. I am a terrible judge of character and I don’t like being put in the position of having to determine who is telling the truth and who is lying. I don’t like having to figure out if the defense has been able to keep pertinent facts from coming out. I don’t like having to guess if the prosecution made a premature decision on who the bad guy was without looking into all possible suspects. I’m not good at reading between the lines to figure out if a witness has an ax to grind, or just completely blew the line-up. I never know if I have all the puzzle pieces, or if I’m trying to make pieces fit, that really don’t. The bottom line is I don’t want to be responsible for making a mistake that will alter the course of someone’s life.

And it isn’t about justice anymore. It’s about clearing cases for the prosecution, and “winning” for the defense. It’s become some kind of weird game. Even when the “state” learns that a horrible mistake has been made and an innocent person has years of their lives stolen from them, they don’t want to admit an error was made. We’ve seen it happen over and over and over. Somehow we gotten away from what I always THOUGHT was the point, and that was discovering the truth. The OTHER bottom line is, I probably watch too much cop stuff on tv!

ANYWAY. So, I got there early, signed in, and sat and sat and sat, got released for a 2 hour lunch, then came back and sat and sat and sat, and finally got cleared to go home after 8 hours. Fortunately it counts as having served, so it’ll be awhile before I have to do a repeat performance. Hopefully by then I’ll be old enough to not have to do it anymore. Heeheehee! And as boring and uncomfortable as it was to just sit around, it was a heck of a lot better than the stress of actually being on a jury would have been, so I’m going to call it a win.

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Aside from how good it felt to get released, the best part of the day was getting to have lunch with my daughter, who works downtown, not too far from the courthouse.

And….my Alaska photo of the day…

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Have a GREAT day!

 

Pretty Much Perfect Quiche

I am a quiche fan. For me, one of the hardest parts of trying to be vegan is giving up quiche. Not that I CAN’T do it, but it is one of life’s little joys that I’m not ready to completely give up yet. One of these days. But not yet.

Eating quiche out at restaurants can be a little hit and miss for me, because so many of them are made with meat. So, it is something I needed to learn to make at home.

Somewhere along the line I ran into an article about “ratios” rather than recipes. I never have been very good at following recipes. I always think I can do it just a little better. So “ratios” work very well for me. And the ratio for quiche is 1/2 cup liquid (be it, milk, cream or milk substitute) to 1 egg – 3 eggs to 1 1/2 cups liquid for a standard pie pan. Then just increase or decrease the quantity to feed the number of people you want to feed. Less for a personal sized quiche, more if you’re using a larger baking dish to feed a crowd.

And then there are a few other tips that will aid in getting perfection!

So, let’s make a quiche. From the ground up. Keep in mind, this is an outline, not a “recipe” so keep an open mind!

Before you get started preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Then regardless of what size you are going to make, the process is the same. Choose your baking dish, then you’ll need your “crust.”

It is usually a pie crust, be it store bought and ready to fill, or your grandmother’s recipe. Mr. Tattered is not a pie crust fan, so for him I use a filo dough base, layering 6-8 sheets of filo with a quick spray of olive oil between the sheets. If I’m doing it for myself, I add a few sesame seeds sprinkled in between one layer.

Then choose a cheese. Cheddar seems to be one of the most common, but we prefer goat cheese or gorgonzola or feta. We like a little stronger taste. If it is a crumbly cheese, just spread the crumbles. If you’re using a block cheese, you’ll need to grate it. The amount you use isn’t critical. You want to pretty much cover the bottom, but if you like a cheesy quiche, piling in a little extra won’t hurt! Today I’m going with a healthy amount of gorgonzola.

Next up comes your fillings. Most will have at least SOME veggies (although it isn’t necessary.) If you’re using just meat, cube it (in the case of ham) or crumble it (for bacon) or otherwise cut it up for any other kinds. Really you can use whatever you want, but it does need to be precooked. Just spread it on top of the cheese.

If you’re using fresh veggies, you’ll want to saute them first to reduce the water content. Trust me on this, if you don’t, your quiche will not want to set up and by the time it finally does, the eggs will be tough. In my quiche today, I’m using onions, garlic and spinach.

Now spread them over the cheese (or meat.)

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Your “custard” which gets poured over the top will consist of your eggs and milk (I prefer almond milk, but if you’re a regular milk drinker that is fine, and for a richer taste – and lots more calories – you can use cream) plus whatever seasoning you want to use. Since I’m using a standard pie plate, I’ll start with 3 eggs. Yes 3. One of my eggs had a double yolk!

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The seasoning can be as simple as a little salt and pepper, or you can use any number of different herbs and/or spices. Let your creativity shine! I’m going with salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne today. Whisk them all together well, and pour over your fillings.

Then put your creation in the oven. Since baking times differ from oven to oven, set your timer for about 40 minutes, then check it. You want it to be set up, but still just a tiny bit jiggly. I try to catch it just a few minutes before it is completely done to add a little fresh tomato to the top. If you do it too soon, it’ll get that water we were talking about into the custard. Also, if you’re using a pie crust and it is browning faster than your custard is setting up, you can cover the edges of the crust with foil and continue baking – just don’t cover the custard.

Once it is done, let it set for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

And ta-dah! Perfect quiche!quiche3-w

 

Enjoy.

Ooooh….Almost forgot to add a photo from the vacay!

inspirationpoint-wInspiration Point, above Skagway

 

My Poor Pathetic Garden

Once upon a time my garden was a place I treasured. I spent many, many hours planting and adding decorations. I wanted it to look like an old English garden that had been a little neglected – eclectic, with surprises everywhere you look.

For the most part, I think I did a pretty good job, except that I was too anxious for it to look that way and planted things a little too close together, and before I knew it, I had a bit of a jungle going on. My chief drip irrigation officer (Mr. Tattered) was frustrated that he couldn’t get to the drip lines to check for leaks. I didn’t do anything to make it easier for him, and next thing I knew, we was butchering my plants to get to the leaky lines. Add to that the water crisis we are facing in this area, and my love of the garden diminished dramatically.

In my head I was planning a simplification that would give him the access he wanted and save some area for me to still have the look I wanted. But, we began to travel and getting the improvements made took a back seat. While we were gone on this last trip we had to limit the watering to only two days a week, and with 100+ degree days most of the time, it wasn’t enough and I came home to humongous weeds that didn’t seem to mind the reduced watering, and a whole bunch of plants that DID. I am so sad to see it in such terrible shape.

I wish I had taken photos of the mess before I started working on it so you’d get the whole effect. There were a few 6′ tall weeds, and a bunch of 1′ spread out low weeds, but I pulled them before I decided to do this post. The bottom line is, my once precious garden is a mess. A big, fat dead, or dying, mess.

steps-wWhat USED to be moss around the pavers…

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Even some of my decor has been woefully ignored. This little darling is faded almost white instead of it’s former lovely red.

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We intentionally let the lawn die since we are switching over to a “fake” one next week, but it makes the whole backyard look even worse!

deadlawn-wOn the right hand side you can see even the pyracantha is in distress…

The only bush really thriving is the one we transplanted from the Mt. Shasta house (I don’t even know what it’s called)

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and this darling little volunteer that the birds must have planted which I think is a variety of Lantana.

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I don’t know how much sprucing up I’ll get done before we leave on our next trip, but I must confess, seeing how AWFUL everything looks is providing me with the motivation to at least get started – like I needed to add yet another project! Heeheehee!

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