Sunday, July 29, 2007

How creative am I?

76% -hmmph who knew? ...and all this time I thought my mojo had gone missing!

You Are 76% Creative

You are beyond creative. You are a true artist - even if it's not in the conventional sense of the word.

You love creating for its own sake, and you find yourself quite inspired at times.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger

Today I was tagged a "Rockin' Girl Blogger" by my new FREAKY friend, Suzy. Thanks girlie :)

So it is my duty to pass it onto five people.
1. Shayna Lou
2. Tone
3. James
4. Dawn
5. Bethany

You're all rockin' bloggers so enjoy your awards, ladies. Put them on your blog, wear them proudly, and pass them on down!

5 things

Fun little blog challenge that was posted over at ScrapFreak-

Name 5 favorite television shows:

1. The Sopranos (started watching this on A&E -omg LOVE it but hate waiting a week between episodes so I may have to start renting the DVD's)
2. Greys -still havent seen the last season -waiting for it to come out on DVD.
3. Forensic Files, First 48, CSI -any of the who dunnit kinds of shows. Love learning about all the ways they track people down and solve murders/crimes. TOTALLY makes me wish I'd gone into the field of criminalistics.
4. Desperate Housewives was always fun -haven't watched last season yet and haven't heard much buzz so I'm worried it's gonna suck.
5. Will and Grace -love to catch the reruns on late night tv except I usually laugh so much, it's hard for me to get to sleep.

Name 4 favorite memories:

1. Without a doubt, the pregnancy and birth of each of my kids. Absolutely loved being pregnant and would do it again and again if I could.
2. Family vacations -love getting away and experiencing a few carefree days together.
3. Christmas '94 when my hubs surprised me with my Abby dog. She was wearing a big plaid bow and ran to meet me as I came down the stairs Christmas morning. I was so surprised -it was love at first site.
4. The last two trips I took back to see my mom. We talked and laughed and cried... kind of bittersweet still, but so precious.

Name 3 things you want to do before you die:

1. See my kids grow up to be happy and successful. Hopefully see them married and having babies of their own -that I get to snuggle, squeeze and spoil rotten.
2. Visit Europe -a long visit so I can soak everything in, see TONS of stuff and take a zillion pics.
3. Own my own (extremely successful) business.

Give 2 names that you would use NOW if you were going to have a new addition to the family:

1. Restif Cleaning Co.
2. City Ambulance
Suffice to say, if I were to announce that we were expecting a 'new addition', my hubs would either shit or have a heart attack!

Name the one thing that you're working on now to improve your life:

1. Concentrating on 'the big picture' and what I want from life -working toward that goal even if it's just baby steps -not waiting for it to come to me.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Good times ...gooood times.

I spent the last few days with my bestest pal Shayna Lou, chatting about everything -and about nothing at all, just chillin and laughing at the stoooopidest stuff -there's just nothing like hangin with a good friend ...good times. Honestly, any chick who would brave 9 hours in the car, with 2 of her offspring, to come visit me and my hooligans, ...erm -family, in the fog and gloom, is pretty freakin cool, don'tcha think?!

We had lots of fun just layin low, not doing much of anything -which is one of the things I totally dig about her -we don't have to *do* anything but we still manage to have fun. We're just cool like that. :) One afternoon we managed to sneak into town (kid free! oo-weee, ooo-weee!) and browse the aisles of the local scrap store. Notice how I say we 'browsed'? Yeah, well, that's because I refuse to admit that I purchased even so much as a really cool set of giant paperclips to alter... nope, not gonna admit to anything. See, it was brought to my attention (more than once -lol!) that I am currently the weiner in the unoffical scrap-crap hoarding competition that we always seem to be having -lol! WHATEVER -I still think it's a pretty close race. Yeah, my name is Leafa and I'm in denial.

On the plus side of things, I was inspired (or was it pressured -lol!) to alter a picture frame, whilst Shayna knocked out the key-utest little altered box the other day. It's a plus because I haven't touched my scrap stuff in MONTHS! -just haven't had the creative mojo workin lately... felt good to get in and create a little bit and the ideas definitely started flowing the more I picked through my scrap stuff. My frame isn't completely done yet -just a few little touches to add... might be able to get in and finish it up tomorrow. I'm actually looking forward to creating again. :) I'll miss having my partner in crime to chat with while I play though.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Candy from Strangers

pfffft! -anyone got a quarter?!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tempting as it may seem...

just say 'No' to crack!

a bit of closure

Mom's funeral was simple but beautiful. My Aunt Phyllis played the organ while she and my Uncle Darrel sang a duet. Uncle Darrel also sang a solo that was incredible. It's hard to believe he's 80 years old -he's definitely still got it goin on -lol! Mom didn't want flowers -just a single rose upon her casket. I got her a beautiful orange-ish rose with a bit of greenery -it even smelled pretty!

After the service we drove in procession behind the hearse to the cemetery. I was touched to see the respect that folks in the south still show by pulling off to the side of the road -even the on-coming traffic pulled to the shoulder and stopped. One man on the opposite side of the road even took his hat off -now that's class! :)

We weren't at the cemetery all that long. The pastor read a few passages and a poem, said a prayer and it was time to go. At that point, my Uncle Darrel handed me the rose from on top of my mother's casket and said 'for peace' -it was a gesture of kindness I'll remember forever.

From the cemetery, we all headed back to the house -which is probably no more than a mile away. Our friends Mindy and Anne had gone ahead after the service to get everything set up for lunch. They were such a help -really, really good people! When we got back to the house, Aunt Ruby put Mom's rose in a pretty little vase to show it off. There was tons of food and of course, sweet tea. As we ate, we looked at pictures and swapped stories about what a great gal my mom was. It was a nice afternoon.

That evening, my Uncle Bob's family came into town and stopped by for dinner. They were on their way back home to upstate New York, after spending a week at their place in Florida (must be nice, eh? lol!). We had a huge dinner of BBQ chicken and leftovers from earlier in the day and of course, we did some more reminiscing about my mom. One thing I've noticed about folks in the south... when someone dies, everyone starts cooking, food gets delivered to the family and then then they eat and eat and eat and EAT -lol! Seriously, I've never seen anything like it!

After dinner when it was a bit cooler out, I took a walk up the road to see Mom one last time before my early morning flight back to California. I think that was almost more difficult than her funeral. Needing to let go of some of my grief, I sat down in the grass and had a good cry. Finally, in the twilight, I stood up, brushed myself off, laid the rose at her grave and said goodbye.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

It's been a good day :)

Went to church this morning and then to Sunday school with my Aunt. When my mom was well she used to attend the same class so, many of ladies knew her and offered their condolences -so sweet. Throughout the morning, many other people flagged us down and expressed their sympathies, as well -my mom would have been touched to know how many people cared about her.
Aunt June and I went shopping this afternoon and bought the plates and napkins for the get together they're having here after Mom's funeral tomorrow. I know my mom wouldn't want everyone to be mourning -at least not in the typical sense -so we bought pretty, floral plates and bright orange napkins (orange was her favorite color). We also found some mints -like the kind you get after a meal in a restaurant- in bright yellow packages with a smiley face on them. Now, you might think that's sort of tacky but my Mom would have laughed -she would love the idea that we're celebrating her life and the fact that she's no longer held back from all the things she loved to do. Kind of the 'Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happended." philosophy, I guess. We're also going to put out a bunch of pictures and snapshots for people to look at. I wish I'd thought to bring some of the pictures I have, from home. But then again, it isn't really one of those things you think about when you're packing at a moments notice, y'know what I mean? *sigh* Oh, well.
While we were out, we bought a bunch of thank you notes, too. I'm sure I'll have permanent writers cramp by the time I'm done thanking everyone for everything. Anyway, this paper shop has cards you can buy individually, in bulk. Such a cool way to do it. I got a ton of cards -I hope I can find enough room for them in my already over-stuffed luggage -lol!
Okay... enough slacking. I'm off to help clean up for tomorrow.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

a debt of gratitude

Thank God for my family.
Making the arrangements for Mom's funeral has been a whirlwind experience. I've only been to a handful of funerals so I would have no idea where to even begin if it weren't for my Aunt June. She's handled just about everything and been a great help to me in the few tasks I've had to tackle. The funeral is on Monday morning at 10:30 followed by the burial and then everyone will come to the house. The cemetery is just down the road about a mile or so -easily within walking distance, so I'm sure my Aunts will visit her often. It might seem kinda weird but it makes me feel better knowing that she'll still be close by her family. From the cemetery I can see the trees at the bottom of my Aunts' driveway.
Today has been more normal... well maybe not "normal" but more calm I guess. Lots of phone calls and making lists of thank you cards to send. Making notes of who's who because I know I'll never be able to remember once I'm back home. One thing's for sure... there are lots of good people back here in TN.

I'm looking forward to getting back home. The kids have been having waaaay too much fun at the lake without me -hhmmmph! The temperature has been in the 100+ degree range -I'm NOT sorry I'm missing out on that! They tell me they've been riding dirt bikes early in the morning before it gets too hot, then heading down to the lake to wake board, ski and swim the rest of the day. I'm sure they'll all be little brown nuts by the time I see them next.

Friday, July 6, 2007

July 5th became her Independence Day

Hey all -just a quick check in to let you know that my mom quietly passed away thursday morning. Her condition began to rapidly deteriorate last friday which was when I got the call that she wasn't doing well. I had a hard time getting a flight out of our little podunk town till monday morning.

After about 13 hours of traveling, I got into Tennessee at about 11pm monday night and got to see her at about 11:30 or so. My Aunt June told me that she kept telling Mom to hang on till I could get here but, things were getting bad so fast, she wasn't sure she'd be able to -but Mom was a fighter and she held on for me. When I got to her bedside she was awake and her big smile told me that she recognized me :) she was able to hug me and sort of whisper that she was so glad to see me. I'll cherish that always.

Tuesday and wednesday she was mostly unresponsive with the exception of a couple of times she was able to let us know she wanted water, which we gave her through a modified syringe. Her system began shutting down and by thursday her breathing was so shallow it was almost imperceptible -the machine that was supplying her with oxygen was the only thing keeping her alive. At that point I made the most difficult decision of my life and decided it was time to let her go. With my Uncle Darrel, his wife Phyllis, my Aunt June, Aunt Ruby and her husband Bob and I, gathered around Mom's bed, we held her hands and said goodbye. About 30 minutes later she was finally at peace.

As difficult as these last few days have been I feel an almost strange sense of peace, myself. Aside from knowing Mom's in a better place, free from all the machines and treatments she endured multiple times a day, I'm so grateful my prayers were answered and she didn't struggle or linger on and I'm especially honored that I was with her.

Yesterday and today we've had so many visits and phone calls from people expressing their sympathy. It warms my heart to know how loved she was by so many people and I'm deeply proud to have been her daughter.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

summertime and the livin is easy... and really, really busy!

Holy moly! Can't believe it's been almost 3 mos since I updated this thing. Lot's of things happening around Rancho McBirdie as of late... After a rough patch with some kid issues, we *seem* to have things under control again (knock on wood!) and we're cautiously optimistic that we're getting everything back on track -time will tell. Thank goodness for my meds and margi's... that's all I'm sayin'!

Summers up here on the north coast are anything but typical compared to what I grew up with in the Sacramento Valley. We get a real mixed bag when it comes to weather and it changes at a moments notice. The most obvious difference to me is the mild temperatures -high 50's to mid 60's, usually. We get lots of clouds, fog, wind... rarely does everything align and leave us with a 'typical' summer day of sunshine and warm temps. That said... we've had some awesome weather lately, we pretty much stay outside from early morning till it's too dark to see -lol!

We've been keeping busy the past couple of weeks, tearing out our front walkway, big ol' rock bordered planters and some of our lawn. Finally got our new walkway/patio poured yesterday. We had the slab stamped with a slight texture pattern. We're getting ready to go out and pressure wash all the dye powder off, so I'm kind of excited to see how it came out. Either way, it'll be nice not to have to walk through re-bar and gravel to get to the front door! :)

When we started the front yard project, Jack borrowed a backhoe from a neighbor to do all the heavy demo work. While he's had it, he's also been working on the kids' track down in the lower field. The kids have been on their dirt bikes non-stop -even the neighbor kids are hauling their bikes over to ride -it's not huge, but it's pretty cool and the kids love it!

A couple of months ago, Jack and the kids planted a beautiful vegetable garden -it's huge! With the exception of a few things, it's really filling in nicely. The bell peppers and carrots were duds this time 'round, but I think there may still be time to get some started. Yesterday, Jack and Matt got the garden weeded -no small chore! I can't wrap my head around how the weeds manage to grow *so* much faster than the stuff they've carefully tended and given all the TLC to -it's crazy I tell ya!

While the guys were busy bonding over concrete and garden chores yesterday, I spent my day running through the mall scrounging for summer wear. Granted, even on a good day, I have trouble finding clothes that I like (ie: that fit), but factor in that it's July and the stores are already getting in sweaters and clothes for fall... I was doomed before I even started. I did manage to find a couple of tops and some mediocre capri's but I swear, I must have tried on hundreds of different things. Ahhh, for the days of my youth, when I had to actually decide between items because they ALL fit! *sigh* (note to self: must start exercise regime immediately!)

Tomorrow morning I'm heading out to TN for a week or so to be with my Mom and the rest of my TN fam. I'm dreading the long flights but I spent some time wandering through Borders yesterday and bought tons of books to keep me occupied. I understand my Mom is almost constantly sleeping now so I'm sure the extra reading material will come in handy.

Tuesday, Jack is taking the kids up to Trinity Lake to spend several days with friends, boating and riding dirt bikes. I'm disappointed to miss out on that time with them but wouldn't miss this chance to see my mom for anything.

I really need to get busy, I've got lots of stuff to get done today. I've got lists to make, laundry to do, packing... yuck, the fish tank needs a good scrub,... and the fridge needs to be cleaned out... ugh... maybe I should nap first.
Okay... my update has turned into a novella and now It's past noon... oops! there goes my nap!