Monday, March 31, 2008

Goodby Dear Friend, We'll Miss You...

Today marked one of those new beginnings for a great co-worker, employee and most of all, friend. This is Ralph. He's the best. I've worked with Ralph since 2000, really before that, but we didn't know each other very well then. He's worked for the department for over 17 years. He's a United States Veteran and proud of it. You can see his cake. It reads, "Ralph's Finally Hittin' the Bricks Best Wishes on Your New Horizons" and to you dear friend I hope you have some wonderful new horizons. You deserve them.
I'd like to tell you a little bit about Ralph. He's very private. (I did get his permission to do this blog segment. He just wanted to know if he had to read it. I told him "no". But I do have permission in case you are wondering.) He refers to his family as just that, family. Sometimes we'll hear about the son, the daughter, the son-in-law or the daughter-in-law, the grandkid, I think you get the picture. Heather (another co-worker) and I thought maybe this was a weird cult thing. Maybe Ralph just didn't name his kids. And maybe they found spouses without names too. It was just too ironic. Anyway, Ralph is private, friendly, onery, I mean ONERY, and a complete class act. A God given class act. I haven't met too many of these in my 39 years. Or maybe I just didn't adore them like Ralph. You see he's from the old school. He knows when to speak his mind, when he does this, he's kind. He's kind, he's fair and the thing I like most about Ralph, he's honest and has a GREAT sense of humor. We have to have one in the setting we work in otherwise we wouldn't look as good as Ralph does when we retire. Ralph has this dancing twinkle in his eyes that I am going to miss. It's that kind thing I told you about earlier. He's kind, but his mind will be reeling with all that oneriness that I told you about too. He's just too kind to let that sneak out sometimes, but sometimes he can't resist. He's all about family, loyalty and good times. Good times because you only live once and loyalty to know the Good Lord up above is watching those good times. Isn't that right Ralph? Oh, I forgot, you won't be reading this. I should go on...Ralph is leaving the department on a good note. That's the time to leave. He's healthy, vibrant and has a wonderful family to spend those good times. He says he's headed to the mountains on his motorcycle this summer. Heather and I wonder, is he really going by himself? Remember he's private. He may not share "those things" with these two girls, but that's okay, that's Ralph. And I might add, we really do believe him. We wish Ralph the best. We really do adore Ralph. He has endured a lot with us. Marriage, births of babies, death and divorce and ultimately the best of friendships. Oh, I need to add, some pretty darn good jokes too! This was a bittersweet day. That's the best I can describe it. We are happy to see him happy. We are sad not to see him as we once did. Best wishes, you deserve the very best of beautiful new horizons. Goodbye dear friend, we'll miss you...

I threw in this picture for Ralph IN CASE he reads this. This landmark greets us "hello" every morning and "goodnight" every evening. Ralph will have many new landmarks on his horizons, but this one shall be imprinted forever somewhere in the folds of his heart.

Friday, March 28, 2008

It's in the Stars...

Here are just a few of my stars. My hubby and I changed the decor in our livingroom last spring. It used to be dark blue and off white with a mild gray carpet. Now we have "maple sugar" walls with 3 of them sharing an almost off white color on the top half. I was away at a conference for 3 days when the painter painted this room. I was disappointed in the top of the 3 walls. I would have immediately changed the color to a little darker had I known. It looks too much like my old walls. Oh well another day. This room changed my whole aura. The walls used to be covered in everything crafty. Now I have less "stuff" but more stars. I love my stars. I painted this once blue shelf a dark chocolate brown and added some pretties. I try my best to find stars all shapes and sizes. So far so good, but the search continues. Anytime I travel anywhere I'm looking for these babies. The one below was found in Moberly, a town 25 miles away. I picked her up and couldn't decide where her permanent place would be. By accident I

found it. The phone rang, I sat her down on my mantle next to my granparent's antique mirror. I came back into the room and "PRESTO" she's where she's meant to be. Now I'm certainly convinced I need, no I have to go back to the same store to get another one. One on the opposite side of the mirror would be a match! Notice the little berries. I have a few other stars, one of which I found on sale in St. Louis a few months back. It's a huge white, wooden star set in a black box type frame. I love it when I find a bargain I can brag about. That doesn't happen to me too often.

I think this one is especially pretty and suits my colonial/primitive yearnings.

This special little angel was found in Hiawatha, Kansas ten years ago. My dad was working there, so of course my mom and I had to go check out the local shops. She looks like a Native American/Colonial type angel doesn't she? I love her. It makes me think of my dad. We visited him several times while he was working there. He made great friends in Hiawatha. Everyone deserves great friends. This special little angel is mine because I think of my dear ole dad, he was a great friend and a brilliant star...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Casablanca Lily

This is a Casablanca Lily. Isn't she amazing? I saw my first Casablanca in Texas in 1995 and have been in love ever since. When I first moved into the house I live in now, my grandmother gave me a bag full of Asiatic Lilies. They are typical yellow, orange, and red lilies that are commonly seen in the summer. Fortunately for me, a Casablanca had snuck inside. She was the beauty of the show when they all bloomed that summer. I knew the Man Upstairs was telling me something. I cleared out all of the other lilies and let this bulb bloom. In the next 2 years I had a stalk with 6-8 amazing blooms. The birds and weather took their toll. I purchased 6 new bulbs last spring. I had one single bloom on each stalk. I was thrilled. Somewhere on the internet I read not to pick the blooms during the first year. This is suppose to help them grow bigger and more beautiful every year. Believe me, this was a true test of self discipline for me. This year I am expecting a bit more from them, I hope I'm not disappointed. I have also read that one of the meanings of Casablanca Lily is "a gift from Heaven". It has to be. The color is mesmerizing and oh so pure. I can't even begin to describe this flower. She is truly an amazing gift!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

SingSong: "My Mutts, My Mutts, MyMuttsMyMuttsMyMutts

I think we've known one another long enough, it's time to meet the family. I'll start with the Mutts, the girls. I'll introduce my hubby another time. He'll have to be in his element, it's getting close, it will be soon. I'll let you know when I'm ready.
So here we are: Kia on the left and Annie on the right. Kia aka: KiKi or Keeks and Annie aka: Annie Peanut or Annie P. Since I don't have children, these two are my spoiled rotten girls. Annie was spotted at a Wal-Mart Parking Lot Special Give Away. She truly thinks the parking lot is her home. We made one trip back to Wal-Mart after I lugged her home in October, 2003, and she took off. Ran, ran the parking lot like a mad raccoon. She had to be looking for someone to take her back to her real family, I dunno, we haven't taken her back to Wal-Mart since. I'm afraid one of these days she'll hitch a ride back to the Wal-Mart Parking Lot Special Give Away locale.
Kia was adopted after my beloved Boxer, Frankie Beans passed. It was June, 2004, my hubby read an ad in the local paper about some puppies being found, a very giving lady wanted to make sure they didn't go to bad homes. I called, she was very nice. She found 4 puppies in the ditch. They had been starved, possibly beaten and were a mess. She took them all to the vet and they were doing well. Kia was suppose to be part Shar-Pei and part Mastiff. I couldn't imagine. Look at her, does she look like part Shar-Pei part Mastiff? I don't think so. Lab I would dare to guess. The nice lady brought the puppy out for us to see. She was mostly bald with little patches of wannabe hair. "Good Grief" I thought to myself. She stunk, looked a mess. After a few pleasantries I kindly told the lady that my hubby and I would take a quick ride, discuss it and let her know. "We'll take her!" my hubby said proudly as if he wasn't going to get his bid in. "Good Grief" I channeled Charlie Brown. I couldn't fathom this bald, naked puppy thriving in our home, never growing hair, being in her naked splendor for the rest of her dog days. She'd be the mutt butt of bad jokes from all the neighborhood dogs. They'd be rolling in their grassy yards, hooping it up when we'd walk by for our nightly strolls. After my hubby made his surprising announcement, Kia licked my face and the nice lady cried. Kia found her way home...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter Everyone...

Look who we saw peddlin at the Flower Peddler a few days ago. Isn't he an eyeful? I just wanted to hang out with him for a few minutes. I guess he was getting a little R&R before the big day. He wasn't working too hard, just hanging out and greeting folks. Happy Easter everyone, be safe in your travels, and have a beautiful day.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Magical Friday...

On Friday, mom and I headed to Old St. Charles with Aunt Debbie. She took us to Magpies for a tasty lunch. But I have to tell you, my heart wasn't in it. I knew THAT house was just up the block. I spied it secretly as we walked past, heading to the restaurant. I didn't want to eat, I wanted to relish in the past. My heart pitter pattered. The magic, stewing. Remember the house I told you about the other day? It's THAT house. I couldn't wait to get inside. Why? Because, the magic is stewing. I stoically ate my lunch, not tasting the red ripened strawberry dessert that was placed on the table before us. All I could think about was the primitive, colonial goodies that my heart desired since my last visit. I was getting the shakes. Light headed? I think I could smell the creaking wooden floors from a block away. Finally, we headed in the right direction. My heart and hands were beginning to tremble. My knees kept pace with my feet, but they wanted to buckle. We arrived at the corner, walked the short, narrow, brick laid path and lo and behold. The front door, THE FRONT DOOR to my kind of DisneyLand.
I took a deep breath, opened the door and stepped inside. I was in Colonial/Primitive Paradise. I was too chicken to ask to take pictures inside. Plus EVERY TIME I got my nerve up, an innocent stranger would get their big, 2008, head in my shot. I couldn't ruin true beauty with a human from 2008! No, the pictures would have to be clean and humanless. Lots of tables, lamps, candles and folk art pictures filled each and every room. There were little resin bunnies, candles, berries, treenware (Have I mentioned I love, LOVE treenware) and needful things. Here are just a few items you may find there. Like I said, I took no pictures inside, these items are very similar and maybe the same. The rooms in this old house and primitive shop are huge. The floors are wooden, creaking every so often. The little electric flickering candles twinkle in every room and every window. I wish I could bring my suitcase in and just stay a while. Just a little while. I would love to move this house to central Missouri for me, my husband and furkids (Or maybe they could just stay in the house we live in now). I would never leave. Just add a kitchen (there is none since it is now a shop) and I would be set. I would have to work from home. No way around it, I would have to. No more vacations, my hubby can take them without me. That would leave me in paradise. Okay, Back to Old St. Charles, the rooms are huge. I went through most of them twice. I needed to. I didn't purchase anything that day. Although there was a huge candelabra that beckoned me. It just couldn't beckon me enough for $220. I could work my magic with that candelabra, let me tell you. We left, on to find more stores, I felt like I was leaving home. I felt the magic tickle my heart as soon as I stepped out the door. Not to worry, it's still there, that magic, dancing in aura, waiting for my return.

Goodbye favorite shop! I love you...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Why Cranberry Flats?

I tend to do everything backwards. The older I get, the worse this problem hangs around. I should have started this project with a little explanation of "Why Cranberry Flats"? Well, here it goes. Several years ago I tried my hand at primitive craft making. I was really into it for awhile and made some really cute things. Of course I learned the hard way and listened to some questionable advice. However, I loved it. While I would be sawing, sanding, painting, repainting I would daydream that it would be wonderful to have a little shop where I could do this kind of thing all day everyday if I wanted. So what would I call this shop, well of course "Cranberry Flats". Dunno why, just thought it was catchy and primitive. The funny thing is I don't even really like cranberries unless they are in orange scones or muffins. But just look at this plant. Vibrant rich burgundy colored berries and tiny leaves. The blossoms are beautiful too. What can I say, I can picture acres and acres of flat land and cranberry clumps. Or I can picture flats full of cranberries ready for a holiday season. There is something about red berries I love, not to eat, but to see. It makes me happy. After visiting quaint primitive shops, I just want to get armfuls of berries to put around my house. Around my candles, around my mirrors, around my lamps, well I think you get the picture. They are primitive. I'm not sure when my love of primitives came into play. I just know when I go through a specific store in Old St. Charles, I feel like I'm home. I can't explain it, I know the feeling as soon as I hit the door. It's almost magical. I just want to take my suitcase and settle inside. I love the old wood, the simple lines, the candles and the mysteriousness of it all. I always wonder what stories this house could tell. I bet it would tell me, "every room had cranberries".

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I have finally put all of my snowmen and women up for the season. It's a tradition I started many years ago. They come out to play on November 1st and go into a deep sleep on March 1st. Only this year, as usual, I was running late. Oh well. I love it on November 1st, because it's like Christmas all over again. I always forget many that I have. Most are gifts from friends and relatives and some I've bought just because I HAD to HAVE them. The ones you see in the picture are in my kitchen on my microwave. The 2 little salt & pepper shakers were made by a dear friend I work with, he's pretty talented. My hubby surprised me with the chef snowman. I love him, oh, and my hubby too. Goodbye dear snowpeople, I can't wait to see you again, but I do need that bountiful break of summer.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monkey Bread

A few weeks ago, on a cold snowy Sunday, my hubby asked for Monkey Bread for breakfast. I've only made this one other time and didn't care for how it turned out. But look! Voila!!! Looks pretty good doesn't it. It was mighty tasty and he loved it. There are some fantastic recipes on It's one of my favorite sites. I really spend toooo much time on there. It was definitely fun to "monkey" around that Sunday!!