Monday, November 30, 2009

open house...

Did you know that there are many people out there who are totally ready for Christmas...

...have every gift wrapped and under the tree...

...and even have the table set to the hilt?

I'm not sure what they plan to do with the next four weeks...but yesterday some of them opened their doors to the community and allowed us a peek inside. What fun we had touring the homes...from country charmers to grandiose...and picking up decorating ideas here and there. The Christmas Home Tour features a specifically selected group of homes...and is a fundraiser for the food bank. I'll take you along to visit more of the homes another day...soon.

Now that I have seen how it should be done...I'm ready to pull out the boxes and start decorating. It will be a simple task...since I have no intentions of decorating my bathrooms, office, laundry room or closets. And the table really doesn't need to be set until Christmas Eve...we might want to use it before then.

One other 'open-house' that I attended over the weekend...

...was a baby shower for Micah...who is already three weeks old.

Lisa's sister planned the shower...and opened her home to family and friends for a welcoming party for the 'most laid back' guest of honour. He prefers the night life at this stage...and likes to sleep during the day. Emme gifted her little cousin with the hat she knit last week...and as you can tell...he was overjoyed! Though he was quite oblivious to the goings on...he is a precious and much loved addition to the family.

Have a wonderful Monday...

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Let's not allow the beauty of the advent season to be lost in the bustle of activity that we find ourselves in. My prayer is that I will pay attention to what really matters and not worry about the rest...that I will be aware of God's presence in my life and know His peace...that I will have joy and a sense of humour...and that I will be the 'hands and feet' of Jesus to those around me during this advent season.

Sunday blessings...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday's knit picks...

It's 'show & tell' here today...and all about knitting! Way back when...I was the lucky winner of Knitting Mania's 100th post give-away...hand knit wristlets.

If you go back to her will notice that she had them displayed on a beautiful antique glass hand. (And check out all her felted purses while you are visiting...amazing work!) My intention was to find exactly that hand...and have them as part of the bedroom decor. After checking antique stores...and every other place I could think of...I gave up on my vintage hand. It my not be antique...but my daughter found a hand that works just Eddie's Hang-ups...a place that specializes in display fixtures for stores. So...after many one-of-a-kind hand-knit by Christina vintage wristlets have found the perfect resting place. I think they are actually meant to be worn...and would match my cream coloured jacket quite nicely...but I quite like them where they are. Thanks so much, Knitting Mania!

And, in my favorite knit-pic of the week...

...Maelyn is wearing her mommy's dress, and it fits her just fine. It was hand-knit by Grandma Baerg for Heidi about thirty years ago. After all these years in the cedar's finding a new life. How special is that?

The grands have been here this week...and Emme spent some time working on her knitting...

...on a knifty-knitter, which is rather like a giant spool knitting loom. We pulled her first little project off the loom last night...

...a hat, which is perfect for a very small head...or a teddy bear. What fun!

Have a wonderful weekend...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

a perfect day to be thankful...

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them,
is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
W.T. Purkiser

It seems like the perfect day to be thankful...
regardless of which country I live in.

I wish all of American friends and family who are gathering around a table somewhere today...a most blessed Thanksgiving celebration.

It's Camp Grammy over here for a few days...Emme, Spencer and Ryder came with their overnight bags. Ranen will join us for awhile today...and we'll have a fun time. As long as I remember who needs to be picked up where...and at what will all be good. So I too have family gathered around my table...nothing fancy on the menu though. We will think of you and your pecan we eat red finger jello.

Enjoy the day...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

experiencing san francisco...

It was our first visit to San Francisco...and a most interesting one it was! Cable cars, trolleys, bridges and hills...

...and tours on open-top buses were all part of the package.

We stayed at an historic hotel...right downtown...and were told it was best to leave the car at home since parking was at a premium. Since leaving the car behind wasn't really an option...we paid to have our car stored for the duration of our stay...and travelled like they do in San Francisco! We put many miles on our shoes...and used every form of transit available...and truly experienced the city.

We know from past experience that the best way to learn a little about a city is to take a narrated tour...the 'hop on-hop off' variety. And that is exactly how we began our visit to San Francisco. We learned so much...and hopped off at our favorite spots.

We found out that the chances of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge when it is not obscured in fog...are about one in seven. Despite the odds...

...we had sunshine and clear blue skies! We hopped off when we arrived at the famous landmark. It seemed the perfect day to walk the bridge...and so we did.

The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1935...and so it became the global symbol for both San Francisco and California. It is 1.7 miles long...90 feet wide and 220 feet above the waters below. An average of 40 million vehicles cross the bridge annually. And one other bit of info that I had a hard time wrapping my mind around...the cables used to suspend the bridge are over 36 inches in diameter.

We passed bikers, tourists, maintenance guys and painters...the job of painting the bridge is never-ending. When they reach the end...they start over!

We saw many of the famous landmarks...

...including the historic city hall. It was the venue for the marriage of Marilyn Monroe and Joe De Maggio in 1954 (I don't actually remember that)...and has been featured in many movies.

We drove through neighbourhoods with Victorian homes...some which have become quite well-known over the years.

These 'Painted Ladies' they are a row of seven homes along Alamo Square park...often seen on postcards of San Francisco.

The yellow house in this row of seven was made famous in the filming of the television series Full House.

Many Victorian homes were destroyed by fire following the great earthquake of 1906...but those that remain are jewels along the streets.

The Presidio...which served as an army post for three nations for over two-hundred years (Spain, Mexico and the USA)...was transferred to the Park Service in 1994. It is now a national park, within the boundaries of the city.

Within the park are large subdivisions of former military housing that are available for lease...if one happens to have unlimited resources.

This particular home is renting for $5000 per month...and that does not include the car parked at the curb. San Francisco has the second most expensive real estate in the to London, England.

We passed through Chinatown...and Little Italy...

...rode uphill and down...and gazed up through a maze of trolley cables as we toured. We spent a good deal of time at Fisherman's Wharf...

...observing and sampling!

We ate at the Boudin Restaurant...home of the famous San Francisco sourdough. There are no secrets at this bakery...we watched the bread being baked from an observation deck...while on the sidewalk the crowds gathered at the windows.

Pier 39...which lies a few blocks from Fisherman's a 45 acre complex on the waterfront...

...where one can spend a lot of time shopping, eating, people watching or watching the sea lions. The best fun is always free!

A large colony of sea lions spends the winter months right at this pier...a most amazing site.
I was planning to include a short video clip...but I'll leave with you this still image...since blogger wouldn't upload my movie. They looked pretty cozy!

We tried each and every mode of public transit...

...and rode the cable cars just for the fun of it.

We took the F-line train to the waterfront...along with all the locals...

...who were all too preoccupied with their blackberries to enjoy any of the sites we passed!

I'll leave you with one final image of Powell Street...and it's famous cable cars...a museum in motion.

That's all for today...but one of these days I'll be back to take you by ferry to that island you see behind us in the photo. Just for a visit!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

together in unison...

We gathered to pay our respects...friends, neighbours and family...remembering a kind, thoughtful man who had touched the lives of many and will be missed. To us he was a neighbour...and until recently we would see him working on his yard or riding his bike. Those days are over.

The funeral was held in a Catholic church...with great acoustics...a wonderful place to make heavenly music. It has been used as a recording studio by choirs on many occasions...and we have attended concerts at this very venue. We noticed that all the songs were sung in unison at the funeral...and only the melody line was printed in their songbook. Since the songs were mostly unfamiliar to us...we towed the line and sang melody...just like the rest of the throng. Toward the end of the service, there were a few familiar hymns...and without giving it a thought, we broke into harmony. Elmer sings bass...I sing alto...and we don't really need notes...we just harmonize. The moment the funeral was over, the lady in front of us whipped around and asked us if we were from a choir. Well, no...but we grew up singing in choirs and in church...and at home. Well, she almost insisted that we go sign up for the choir. I was speechless for a bit...and then informed her that we don't actually attend this church. "Oh. Well you should convert...we need you in the choir." We laughed about that as we left.

It was a lovely tribute to a man whose time on earth was over...and we came together from all denominations in a Catholic church...and remembered Lambert...and sang in unison, songs of praise to our God. But is there some reason we can't sing harmony? I wonder.

Monday, November 23, 2009

is that for real?

The fireplace? Fake.

The rockwork? Fake.

The candles? Fake.

I found remote controlled...
battery operated candles for the mantle over the weekend...
and was thrilled.

They will be much safer.

As I put them up on their lofty perches...
I had to think that pretty much everything here is fake.

But the mantle is real...
real hundred-year-old fir from our old barn...
as is the floor.

And the hearth is real slate...
and on it is a real New Zealand Ikea sheepskin.

And my mantle is empty...
ready for greenery...maybe that will be real.

Coming soon!

Oh...and the fake pillar candles are were at Home Sense..
if you need some.

Have a REAL good Monday...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Your faithfulness...

After a week of storms...I was reminded again that He is faithful no matter what may come my way.

(click link to listen)

I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing, or filled with longed for things?
I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness
I don't know if these clouds mean rain
If they do, will they pour down blessing or pain?
I don't know what the future holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness
Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness
Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars still shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness
I don't know how or when I'll die
Will it be a thief, or will I have a chance to say goodbye?
No, I don't know how much time is left
But in the end, I will know your faithfulness
When darkness overwhelms my soul
When thoughts and storms of doubt
Still I trust You are always faithful, always faithful
Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness
Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars still shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness
I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing, filled with longed for things?
I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness.

Friday, November 20, 2009

move over Rachel Ray...

Chef Marg took centre stage last night...and together with her most capable assistant, cooked up a buffet of yummy appetizers.

Stephanie ~ Marg

Marg is often out hiking, biking or watching basketball...but who would have thought she would become the queen of quick appetizers? That was one show I couldn't pass up!

I'm not so good at reading flyers...most advertisements are lost on me. Hubby, on the other hand, tends to pay a little more attention to the 'junk mail'...and it was he who pointed out a big ad for 'Chef Marg' and her cooking demo at the Grand Pappy's Furniture Christmas Extravaganza on the evening of November 19. I had a good laugh...and circled it on my calendar...and showed up last night just to be sure there was someone there to sample her cooking. I knew from past experience that any of her offerings would be worth sampling.

What a fun time! If they never sold any Frigidaire appliances last night...they certainly could have sold cookbooks. My favorite was the Artichoke and Roasted Pepper Dip...definitely worth checking out.

I couldn't hang around the appetizer table all night...and I already own a kitchen full of appliances from Grand Pappy's...and so I wandered about with the crowds. Just to look!

I really did need new cushions for the couch...and what better time to buy them then now?

Have a great week-end!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

the window seat...

The storms have been rolling through all week...and our power supply has been been rather unreliable.

Ranen found the perfect spot for an afternoon nap at grammy's...a window seat with a front row view of the storm. She was quite intrigued with the seagulls...swooping and sailing in the wind.

We spent a lot of time on the window seat...since the lights went out right after I took these pictures...and it was the brightest spot we could find to read books during the storm.

We have a little generator...which needs to be started manually...and will run the pump which keeps the water out of our basement crawl space. The one who needs to start the generator was over at the farm tending to things in the storm...while here at our house the water continued to rise...very quietly. We now have an exceptionally clean basement.

Playing games by candlelight sounds like fun...dealing with water where it shouldn't be, not so fun!

Enjoy the day...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

from big sur to the redwoods...

If you enjoy a scenic drive...and don't mind winding roads with next to no services...California Highway #1 from Cambria to Monterey is the road for you. It seemed to me to be the road the bikers prefer as well!

The highway winds it's way along the coastline...where the Pacific Ocean meets the San Lucia mountains.

The views in the Big Sur area were stunning...even more so because of the fall colouring on the ground cover, which was some type of succulent. Big Sur is a ninety-mile stretch of coastline...several hours south of San Francisco. It has three state parks within it's boundaries and is a popular place for hiking. We stopped at a few lookouts to drink in the view and then carried on our merry way...since we had a hotel reserved in San Francisco that night.

We spent a few fabulous days in San Francisco...the city of bridges, cable cars, and so much more...but I'll save that for another day.

From San Francisco we travelled north through Napa and Sonoma...

...among the world's premier wine producing regions. Napa Valley alone is home to over 400 wineries. We enjoyed our lesiurely tour of the area...and were amazed to see vineyards even on the highest and steepest of hills.

Yountville is a small town in Napa Valley that bills itself as the culinary capital of the area...and so we thought we would check it out. The car needed gas and we needed Yountville was at the right place at the right time. A world class restaurant in the town books reservations two-months in advance...but we were looking for something that needed two-minutes notice.

Bouchon Bakery on the main street looked more our style...and we enjoyed our French pastries on their outside patio. And don't let the appearance fool you...we discovered the bakery is a very popular place and the line-ups are usually out the door. If you'd like to check them out, but aren't planning a trip to Yountville anytime could also visit the Bouchon Bakery in New York or Las Vegas.

Yountville may have lots of great places to eat...but we discovered that their one and only gas station was like something from another era. The self-serve pump didn't like our Canadian credit card and with no attendant on site...we may still be there if a local patron hadn't stopped by to help us out.

Several hours north of the wine-growing country...we reached the Redwood Coast. The redwood forests have giant trees that are over three-hundred feet tall...

...and we even found one that we could drive-through. We like drive-thru's! It's called the Chandelier Tree...and is 315' tall, 21' in diameter.

We drove the Avenue of Giants...

...a 31 mile avenue winding through a series of old-growth groves. It was the best place to view redwoods from the car. We stopped at Founder's Grove in Humboldt Redwoods State Park...and took a hike in an ancient forest.

Coast redwoods only grow naturally in a narrow forty mile strip along the coast of northern California and southern Oregon.

We checked out the Dyerville Giant...believed to be the largest of all redwoods when it fell in March of 1991. It was 370 feet tall (taller than Niagara Falls)...and was thought to be 1600 years old. Now it lies on the forest floor where it will stay for centuries.

We felt small!

It's an awesome place to visit!

Still in Humboldt county...not far from the redwood groves...we passed by a herd of elk grazing next to the road.

These gals were checking themselves out in the appears. A little further down the road we came upon this sign...

...and smiled. I'm thinking they have a live billboard!

Off to one side stood the boss. Needless to say, we never took the Davison Road exit to view elks!

And so ends my travelogue of our meanderings along the coast of California.