Saturday, May 30, 2009

8th Annual Pet Parade

Today was the 8th annual Pet Parade in Redwood City, but my first time attending. What fun! I didn't know what to expect, but it was an afternoon filled mostly with dogs and people. We did see one cat, some gerbils, two bunnies, a rat, and two alpacas, too. It was held near the old courthouse in the old downtown which is actually becoming a spiffy area. There were many vendor booths, mostly catering to dogs. Several rescue organizations had booths including the basset hound rescue which had about seven together in an area. It looked like a herd of basset hounds!

There were also demonstrations with dogs who could jump hurdles and catch frisbees in mid-air. Everywhere you turned people were walking with their dogs, in costume or without. All the dogs behaved quite well. When we got home, we did not let on to Gracie and Nip that we had spent the afternoon with, ...gasp, dogs!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Creamy or Crunchy?

I discovered Almond Butter recently and is it yummy. It really tastes pretty much like peanut butter so if you like that, you'll like almond butter. I haven't tried the Trader Joe brand yet (which I bought today) but I presume it will taste like the Barney Butter I recently had. I always prefer crunchy; creamy just seems so plain. Which do you prefer?

And what goes great with peanut or almond butter? Why, chocolate of course. Our famous chocolate here on the west coast is See's Candies. This is the traditional chocolate to have for any holiday or occasion. My sis and I picked out these chocolates today to fill a one pound box (her idea, not mine!). After having my free sample at the store (that is a tradition there; every customer gets a free piece of candy each visit), and one at home, I've had my fill. I can only handle so much sweets.

But they certainly were picture worthy. I do love See's chocolates. One of my fondest memories is getting the special Easter candies (from the Easter Bunny, of course) in my basket each year. I loved the solid chocolate bunny, but the big deorated candy egg was really special. The memories are just as good as the candy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Pansey For You

Just some lovely flowers to brighten your day. I happened upon these in a planter at work today. I was photographing a lecture and walking back to the main building, when I found a planter box between the preschool and the youth & teen center just chock full of blooming flowers.

Of course I had to stop and take pictures. When have I ever passed up a beautiful flower?
It's always a nice diversion in my day when I get to take photos.

Next time you spot some beautiful flowers, stop and take them in. Nature is all around you, if you just open your eyes. And isn't that a great way to take a break in a busy day?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Take the Money, Please!

Every time I receive a letter from the IRS or state tax board, I get an uneasy feeling in my stomach. In January, I received a notice from the state of California's franchise tax board. Apparently, I had made a mistake in my 2006 state income taxes. Okay, so I sent them a check. Then in February, I received a different proposed assessment notice about another mistake they found in the same tax form. Okaaaaaay, again. I sent them a check. Last month, I received a refund check for 2006. Thinking it was for 2008, I called them because the amount did not match my expected refund. The person I spoke with said it was for 2006 and I should cash it (which I was more than glad to do so). Last week, I got another letter only this time it was a bit threatening in nature because it said I had only 10 days to pay the last assessment or it might be turned over to collections and a lien could be placed on my home.

Confused again, I called the state. A very pleasant lady told me that I should not have paid the last one so fast because it was only "proposed", not final. Gee, they didn't tell me it was optional! Because I paid so fast, they saw that as an overpayment on my taxes, so they promptly sent me a refund. Except now I owe them again. Even she said she didn't know why the state would do this since it needs the money so badly. So now I must wait for the "erroneous refund" letter to come in the mail and then send them a check back for the amount I originally paid them. Are you still following this? Hopefully, the next check I send will put an end to this! Have you had any crazy experiences like this? Maybe I should write to Arnie....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Garden Days

I spent three lazy days this Memorial Day weekend. Even the garden fairy spent her days reading her books. I spent one whole hour today just searching for my passport. Why? Because I heard on the radio today that starting in August the name on your plane tickets much match your I.D. exactly. Since my driver's license doesn't match exactly, I decided I would get a new driver's license.

You must bring other forms of I.D. to the D.M.V. so I wanted to check out my passport just to make sure the name was correct. The funny thing is that when I was organizing my art and craft space last March, I just happened upon it in a stack of papers. I could not have told you to save my life that it was there. So I was very happy that I discovered it. However, I did not put it back in it's correct place (that would be a file titled "passports" in my important papers box). So, I looked in every logical place at least three or four times.

Later today, I was doing something totally different and putting some papers away when I happened upon it in a basket that I had actually looked through earlier (even though it should not have been there). Lesson learned: put things away where they belong and don't wait until later!

Now, I can make my plane reservations for Silver Bella and know that my ticket will match my I.D. Whew!

These are my tiny roses. I planted them last summer and they are all blooming now. They were not too happy when I had them in the sun but now that they get more shade, I can tell they are happy. I like my plants happy. Happy plants make me happy, too. (So does the gnome).

Since I love my cats so much, I often get cat gifts and people expect to see cat items all over my house. However, what you'll find are lots and lots of bunnies, both inside and out. As much as I love cats, bunnies are just so cute and whimsical that I can't resist them.

Here are two more of my baby roses, just starting to blossom. I also bought two pansies at the farmer's market on Saturday, they are just waiting to be planted in their new home.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

In honor of Memorial Day, I've posted a picture of my Uncle John somewhere in the Pacific on August 9, 1943 (he lived to age 74). My dad was serving in Europe during this time; unfortunately, I could not find a picture of him during his Army days. Each Memorial Day, I usually watch a few old war movies on TV; it always makes me think about what my dad experienced as a young man. Yesterday, I watched six episodes of the World War II series Band of Brothers. I was emotionally exhausted by the time it ended. No matter how many times I watch these movies, I am always affected by them.

I've read that many young people today are not familiar with the Second World War. There is much to be learned from that war; it's a shame if the history is not passed along. I can only hope that they hear the amazing and inspiring stories of the men and women who both fought and lived through that era.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I Decorate, Do You?

Do you like to decorate? I do. I like to decorate big and small. That is, I'll decorate a room or I'll decorate a small object. I made this scrapbook page above to record how much fun and joyful it is to decorate something. There's nothing like the feeling when you've completed something and it really resonates with you. I decorate to make my living space cheerful, beautiful and inspiring. Sometimes it takes a long time so it's often a work in progress until something just clicks. And then every so often the need arises to change things up.

I enjoy decorating my front entrance outdoors. There, you'll find many of my statuary friends. Included would be bunnies, gnomes and fairies. Sitting amongst the plants and flowers, they just make me happy.

When I create something, I never consider it finished until it's decorated properly. People normally know when a card or letter is from me because no envelope arrives without decoration of some sort. Shouldn't all mail be happy mail?

If my cats would let me, I'd decorate them too.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gracie and Nipper Pose for Class Lesson

A special hello to Carole from Nip and Gracie. You can't see their whole bodies in these pictures but that was actually the point. I was taking photos for last week's lesson in Art That Happens to Be Your Life, the photography class I'm taking. We were doing shots that did not include a whole person (or cat in this case) but rather just what was needed to convey something about them. So Nippy nicely posed for me underneath a tablecloth while Gracie played peek-a-boo behind the sheer curtain.

I'm enjoying taking the class although I'm finding it challenging to find subjects. Many of the women in the class use their children or other family members as subjects. Since I don't have children or many relatives for that matter, I don't have ready subjects at hand. Granted, I do love taking pictures of my cats and I know I have more photos of them than anyone or any thing else. However, I really would like more practice with people. Luckily, my coworkers have been very cooperative and indulge me. Then again, I can always find a cupcake. :-)

Damask Bird Notebook

Isn't this fab? I happened upon it at Target recently and could not resist it. It usually takes me a few years before I actually write in them - lol! For now, it will serve as decoration and that suits me fine.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Garage Sale Finale

I mentioned that I got some faux food for this wire bowl that I posted yesterday. The apples and ceramic oranges were just perfect.

I could not resist the faux raspberries and strawberries. Not sure where they'll go just yet.

I also got this tea cup with gerbera daisies. The cup is actually white although it doesn't appear that way! Speaking of white, I picked up a set of white sheer curtains as well. You can never have enough sheers.

And now for the answer to yesterday's question about this photo. Did you guess what this is? If you guessed a tic tac toe set, you are right! I wish I knew more this set. I tried Googling it but didn't find anything. If you have any info about them, I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Adventures in Garage Sales - Part II

Here are a few more of my finds... this wire bowl was just $1! What a great find. I went back the next day and purchased some faux food to go in it. I got a deal on some green apples and also a bag of ceramic oranges. They look perfect together. I love the antique feel of this piece.

At a different house, I found a little trove of vintage jewelry. I picked up a beautiful strand of pink pearls, two heart pins, and two pairs of rose earrings. Not sure yet where these are going to go or what project, but I know I'll find a use for them. I'm thinking maybe as embellishments for a project at Silver Bella.

More jewelry finds... the top left is a pin and the black rhinestone piece is a lone earring. Love the blue bling earrings I can pin onto something. The gold rhinestone earrings may find a home in the Wonderland Mobile class at Silver Bella in November.

I absolutely love this last set. Can you guess what this is? The set contains five bunnies and five cabbages. I will post the answer tomorrow. They are heavy metal (brass? pewter? not sure...). I got this for just $2 which I thought was hilarious because she wanted $5 for a plastic set of fruit and this was worth so much more to me.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Adventures in Garage Sales - Part I

I really like to go treasure hunting at garage sales and flea markets. Last weekend was a big day for garage sales so I spent one morning stopping by several of them. One of the best was from a home stager who was discontinuing her business. She had all kinds of goodies and I bought a number of items. One of my best finds is this tin vase with flowers for 50 cents. A must buy! More photos to come... Have a great Monday!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chocolate Rose Cupcake Delight

She did it again. My sis found this most gorgeous of cupcakes at Whole Foods Market this week. Knowing I would love to photograph it (and she'd like to eat it), she brought it home.

So I got out all my gear to shoot it upon arriving home from work while I still had light.

But of course, who followed me all around? Miss Gracie! Once again I had to multi-task to get the shots and make sure she didn't eat it!

Gracie managed to get just one very tiny lick in (cats cannot have chocolate as it's very dangerous for their health). Whew! We have discovered she really just wants the frosting. Go figure.

And I was quite content with my photos. However, I do need to get an auxiliary light since I have light coming from just one window. Nonetheless, I enjoy taking photographs, especially of beautiful subjects.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My T.J. Maxx Find

I just couldn't resist. T.J. Maxx had all kinds of items on clearance recently and I saw this sitting in a beautiful damask patterned box. It is actually a candle holder, but I can't do candles because I have a sensitivity to fragrances and scents. So, I just placed a rose fashioned from ribbon on it. But the faux crystals are so lovely. What a yummy addition to my pc/tv/craft room.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Love Surprises

I just love coming home to surprises. Here's what the mail-lady brought today. What's more fun than getting a colorful package in the mail?

When I opened the box, this is what I saw. How beautiful!And underneath the beautiful bow was gold striped tissue. Inside of that was a roll of vintage white paper lace.
And underneath the lace were two vintage rose buttons and a brass cat charm.
Aren't they delicious? I have to thank Carole whose blog is A Bohemian Market. I was one winner of her recent giveaway and she was just so generous! Carole is also the proprietress of A Bohemian Market Etsy store with many fabulous vintage finds. And what a sweetie she is - check out her blog and store for a treat. Thanks so much Carole - Miss Gracie checked out the buttons and cat and gave her feline approval!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Equal Time for Nipper

It has come to my attention that Nip might not be getting as much web time as Miss Gracie. So this one is for the Nip. Isn't her milk mustache just adorable?

The flowers aren't real but did that ever stop a cat from trying?

Darn, I love to lay on my back in the sun.

A classic Nipper portrait.

Yep, this feels good.
Nipper's usual daily ritual:
  1. Ask for the faucet to be turned on to lick the drips
  2. Wait for humans to go into the kitchen
  3. Hop on counter and beg for strawberries
  4. Bump the strawberries with head
  5. Eat chopped berry
  6. Jump down and eat crunchies
  7. Walk to dining room window and watch for possible birds
  8. Get comfortable on sofa and nap until 5 pm