Friday, January 25, 2013

Baby Steps

Hi to all.

Remember those projects I talked about at the beginning of the year? Well, one of them hasn't been going too well.  Yup, that one about growing this blog and posting more often.  Yeah, I'm already a failure and it's still January : )

But, I have been successful at a couple of other things.  First, I have seeds and bulbs for this year's garden already, and will be starting them next month in my laundry room/mud room (believe me, Tallulah is making darn sure that there is ALWAYS mud on that floor). I've been saving cardboard egg cartons for the past year so I have little planters for my seedlings, and I'll be able to just transplant both planter and plant.  I've also put seven rose bushes in the backyard (all pink, different varieties), and two in one of the front yard planters.  Right now, they barely have leaves, but I'm sure hoping for fresh roses in my house this summer.  Roses do very well here in Central California.  Remember my next door neighbor's rose bush? 
It was gorgeous last summer.  Too bad the new owners let the bush die.
I've also finally started with obedience training with Tallulah.  I was VERY nervous before the first class, because, quite frankly, sometimes Tallulah can be a royal pain in the butt.  I had visions of her running amok in the dog treat section, getting the two of us banned for eternity from PetCo, but it's actually going well.  Her first class was this past Tuesday, and I didn't have to apologize to anyone for anything.  Believe me, that's a first.  I have to say, Tallulah was quite impressed with PetCo.  When we walked down the aisle that has the huge bags of dog food, I swear she genuflected. 
Waiting for my commands.  We do homework every day.
So, two of my goals for 2013 are underway.  I'm taking baby steps.
The rest of the time, I've been on a laundry binge, because I just acquired a wash machine.  For FREE!  I've never owned a washer before, so I've been gleefully running the machine every day for the past 2 weeks.  I don't own a dryer, but a couple of rolling clothes racks from Walmart do the trick.  I'm just so thrilled I no longer have to go to the laundromat.  When spring comes, I can put up a clothesline in the backyard.
Isn't she a beauty?  Yeah, I know I'm a dork for being so impressed with a washer, but when you've done without one for as long as I have, it's a BIG deal to finally get one.
Thanks so much for your visit.  I look forward to reading your comments.

Friday, January 11, 2013

It Was Just Mom and Me

My favorite kinds of music are Big Band and pop standards from the 1930's to 50's, and I'm convinced it's my mom's fault.  From age 2 to almost 5, I had my mom all to myself mornings and afternoons, Monday to Friday. My older brother and sister were in school full time, and my younger brother wasn't born until I was nearly five, so for nearly three years, from 8:00 to 3:00, it was just Mom and me.  Although I missed my sister (didn't miss that pesky big brother), I have very fond memories of being the center of attention, of going everywhere Mom went, of helping Mom hang clothes on the clothesline, of listening to the radio with Mom.  She listened to a station out of LA, KMPC, which, at that time (early 60's), played Big Band and pop standards from the 40's and 50's.  So, while everyone else my age was growing up on rock n' roll, my first and most vivid musical memories are of listening to Perry Como and Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Patti Page, Glenn Miller, Jo Stafford, Rosemary Clooney . . .  Who else my age knows the lyrics to "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" (listen to it here) and "A - You're Adorable" (listen to it here).  Of course, after I went to school and realized that that kind of music wasn't hip, I pretended to hate it, but deep down inside, I still had a fondness for it.  It took a lot of growing up before I was able to simply be myself, and love what I loved, regardless of whether or not it was considered stylish or cool.
Since I love that old music, I consider it a natural extension  to have a fondness for old radios.  I even have the 1950's radio that Mom and I listened to, and it still works!
But I've always wanted one of those big old radios from the 30's or 40's, the kind that you see in an old movie.  I love how the radio was a piece of furniture in those days. And I finally found one, in an unlikely place.
When I initially moved to the Central Valley, I was VERY disappointed with the thrift stores here.  I was accustomed to finding at least one treasure (and often many more) every time I visited a thrift store in Orange County, but here, I rarely have any luck when out thrifting. Everything is junk. And not even old junk. Or junk that could be transformed into something better. Just junk. So I was shocked when I found this 1930's radio for $20.
It doesn't work, and one of the tuner knobs is missing, but it was a great find anyway!
I enjoy listening to vintage radio stations and old radio shows on my computer, so sometimes I'll pretend my radio works, it's 1940, and I'm in my living room, listening to another adventure of Boston Blackie, or to the swinging sounds of the Glenn Miller Orchestra.  My favorite site to find big band music is vTuner Internet radio, which you can find here. You may also listen to old radio dramas here.  I always think of my mom when I listen to that old music, and I fondly remember those days when it was just Mom and me.
Thank you so much for your visit. I really enjoy reading the comments, and look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year

Happy New Year to everyone!

2012 was a very difficult year, so I'm looking forward to a better 2013.
I spent most of last year in survival mode.  Most days, all I could do was get through the day.  Money was extremely scarce, the roommate (and son) were crazy, and the job was miserable.  It was pretty depressing and sometimes scary.  I was beginning to wonder if I needed to change the name of this blog, because I was beginning to think that the best was behind me.  It's kind of hard to dream and plan for the future when all you can do is survive the day.  And I'm a person who dreams big, and always tries to have something good to look forward to. For me, the anticipation is often better than the event, but I enjoy them both anyway.  So, it was tough not being able to plan for the future, not having anything to look forward to.
So, I've decided that in 2013, I'm leaving survival mode behind, and making some big plans.  Luckily, my autumn and winter bills are extremely low, and I'm getting more hours at work, so if I shop carefully, I'll have enough money to implement at least a few of my plans.  I always have a huge list of stuff I want to accomplish, but I'll only share a few of them with you:
1. Blog: Grow and improve this blog and my photography skills.  I started blogging almost a year ago, and I'm often surprised and touched at the kind and encouraging comments I receive.  I really appreciate my followers and enjoy talking with you.  I just wish you all lived on my street so we could talk in person.  I haven't posted very often during my first year, in large part because who wants to read about someone who is just in survival mode?  Boring, boring, boring.  So, I need to post more often.  I also need to improve my photography skills.  Any advice you can give would be appreciated.
2. Get another job (or a second job).  NOT in retail. 'Nuff said.
3. Train Tallulah.  Miss T. is VERY sweet, but she is 90 pounds of unbridled enthusiasm, and that could get someone hurt, especially since strangers don't realize that she is a puppy (because she's so big), and even those that know her (including me) often forget how young she is, and often expect better behavior from her than a 10 month old pup is capable of.  I'm so glad to have my Sweet, Awkward Doofus, and I don't ever regret adopting her (even when she chewed up one of my Hallmark Snoopy Christmas ornaments from 1982. And my job interview shoes. And 3 pair of socks. And two skeins of yarn. And an electrical cord. And . . .  ) However, a dog that big needs training and socialization, and I need to learn how to control her better. So, I've enrolled her in puppy reform school kindergarten at PetCo.  I'm also hoping that we can meet some younger dogs that she can play with.  I think she's kind of bored with me : )
Her paw is almost as big as my hand!
4. Paint the inside of the house.  Right now, I'm living with the tan paint color that was on the walls when I moved in.  It's nice, but it's just not me.  I'm not a neutral kind of girl.
5.  Landscape front and back yards.  Three things sold me on this house when I first toured it: the large remodeled kitchen, the cozy brick fireplace in the living room, and the huge backyard.  Ever since I read The Secret Garden when I was a girl, I have always wanted a lush English country garden, complete with climbing roses, and all sorts of old fashioned fragrant flowers. Not an easy feat in sunny California.  But I think it's possible, and I'm determined to create that quiet, peaceful, "secret" place in my backyard, for reading, daydreaming, and afternoon naps.
The front and back yards don't look much different now than from when I first saw the house:
The backyard even came with a small potting shed. 
The shed looks tiny next to the tree.
As you can see, the backyard has great potential; it just needs lots of plants, and a lot of hard work.  If anyone has any experience in this, or has any ideas for it, feel free to offer advice.  Keep in mind, I'll be doing the majority of the work alone, on a strict budget.
The front yard is just boring.  
The tree has grown quite a bit, and I've planted lavender in the planter, but otherwise, it has changed little.  It definitely needs more landscaping.
As you can see, I have lots of projects for this year.  I can't wait to see them through to completion.
I hope that 2013 is a great year for everyone.
Thank you for your visit. I look forward to reading your comments.