Thursday, April 8, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 4/8/21

 The weather has been warm and quite lovely here in the central valley of California. This is the time of year you will hear us saying repeatedly, "This is why we live in California..."

We bought a rototiller because we have big plans for an enlarged dahlia bed. And by "we" I mean me. It is causing us to do quite a bit of prep work to get things ready for planting. And by "us" I mean Mark. :)

Last year we planted some anonymous dahlia tubers given to us by a friend. We had no clue whether they would even bloom. Some did not bloom. But three of the plants were beautiful. So now I'm obsessed and I think our bed is large enough for about 25. I've searched so many sites to find the names of the three that bloomed last year. 

This one remains a mystery so I'm still researching. (EDIT: I think this might be Sweet Nathalie but I'm still checking.)

But I'm pretty confident that this is Foxy Lady
and this is Linda's Baby. Isn't this one GORGEOUS?! My favorite part, aside from the beautiful color, is the edges of the petals.  When we dug it out (and again by "we" I mean Mark--ha!) we got a big tuber that will need to be divided. I'm hoping to do a swap with the person I hold responsible for my obsession with dahlias--Erika (@hello.erikabea. I'm such a newbie--she has at least 150 different varieties! 

Do you have high school football in your area? Mark and Aaron have both been refereeing on Friday nights. Mark didn't have a game on Friday, so he was able to go watch Aaron.
Sunday for the first time since the shutdown, I went to church in person, not online. Our church is still not doing services indoors--just in the parking lot, and they have only had two services outdoors so far. It felt really good to see friends in person. 

Coffee was available, along with donuts on this pegboard.

There was also a place for photos, which was a really nice touch.

Levi took a picture with his friend. Can you see Gabe doing a bit of photo bombing? This picture makes me smile each time I look at it.

Our Easter dinner tradition is to have crepes and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Most years (excluding last year when it was just the two of us), we usually have about 20 people. This year is was just the eight of us. When we have a large crowd, we use paper goods.  But this year I saw a cute picture in Better Homes & Gardens on folding napkins to look like bunny ears so I tried it out.

Of course, the kids still wanted an Easter egg hunt. We had Aaron and Christa do the hiding.
My friend, Doris (@madebyabrunnette), posted some pictures of different flavors of Peeps. Are you a Peeps fan? Mark likes the original flavor. But turns out there are so.many.more to choose from! So I had the idea of chopping them into bite-sized chunks, putting them in bowls numbered 1 through 10, passing the bowls around and having everyone guess the flavors.

These pictures are thanks to Doris, as I completely forgot to photograph all 10 flavors.

I did not find Blue Raspberry. However, we did have Root Beer Float, as well as white chocolate raspberry and chocolate caramel swirl (two of their specialty flavors).  I was sure everyone would guess root beer float by the smell alone, but nearly everyone guessed brown sugar. Aaron didn't like any of them, rating them each 1 on a scale of 1 to 10, and including a quote from Andy Bernard from The Office: "This peep flavor is bad." 
Charlotte declared herself a Peeps Guesser Extraordinaire, and then proceeded to rank all the flavors really low with the exception of the original. 
So I didn't turn anyone into a newly minted Peeps fan. And while I said that the person with the most correct answers would win all the remaining Peeps, no one was willing to claim first prize. But I think we all had a good time anyway.

Seen in the neighborhood--obviously a pink lover.

Seen on Twitter--a depiction of the mountain ranges in the US. I found this really fascinating for some reason.

And that's it for this week. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 4/1/21

 Welcome to the first day of April. No foolin'--a fourth of 2021 is already gone!

Ilone, the manager of Thrift on Blackstone, has been busy with yet another art installation. Yes, an art installation. At a thrift store. This one is her best yet. I don't know how she will possibly surpass this one.

Thousands and thousands of paint chips were donated. She found a pattern for a dragon from some guy in Iceland (I think that's where he was from...). She enlarged each section and went to work. I'll begin with a picture of Ella next to the head to give an idea of the scale.

I love the flames in front--made from thin sheets of plastic and then melted with a heat gun.

3D scales...

I can't believe that this guy is a teenager! He is so special--he is fun and funny, is content with what he has, doesn't ask for much (in fact, asking for a birthday list usually ends with him saying "I don't know..."), doesn't complain, and is very generous with saying "I love you."  We are so grateful that we have had extra time with him this year, a bright light in a challenging year.

We decided to head to the coast on Sunday. It was a beautiful day and we spent it in the Monterey/Carmel area.
We had lunch on 17-Mile Drive. A family had their golden retrievers with them, who spent an hour retrieving a tennis ball. Very entertaining.

Then we went into Carmel and had brunch at our favorite restaurant, A.W. Shucks. Now that we are in the red tier, we were even able to eat indoors, which felt quite "normal." There were only two other people eating inside and they were 10 feet away from us.

I bet you are wondering right now what was crowned the GPOAT--Greatest Product of All Time. Well, the wait is over. Google Search topped Microsoft Windows. Go ahead. You can google it. :)

The Morning Brew says next year's tournament will be the Worst Product of All Time. Should be interesting. "Early projections for the #1 seeds include scissors packaging, Amtrak wifi, lettuce as a bun, and fitted sheets."

In the yard...

Our friend, Dotty, gave us some of this beautiful ground cover several years ago--creeping phlox.

Miners lettuce. According to Dotty, it is a weed, kind of decorative and also edible. This is the first year I remember seeing it.
And then yesterday, Dotty stopped by with a vase full of my FFOAT (favorite flowers of all time), lilacs. When I lived in Oklahoma until fourth grade, we had a lot of lilacs. It is a memory from childhood that I think of each spring. I didn't think they grew well here in the central valley, but this week alone I have seen three lilac bushes/trees in our neighborhood. Now that Mark and I are turning into gardeners, we will have to look into planting one in our yard too.

This morning, since the kids are on spring break, we thought it would be fun to go have lunch at the zoo. We optimistically paid for parking. And then as we neared the entrance, we saw so.many.people! We have a season pass and therefore did not have to make reservations for entrance to the zoo like non-pass holders. But still...I couldn't capture in one photo how long the line was. The zoo opened at 9 a.m. and this was 11 a.m.--so I don't know how many people were already in the zoo by this point.

Nobody was comfortable with being around that many people. So instead, we went through the Chick Fil-A drive-through and ate in the back patio. The food was good and the conversation was, as always, entertaining.

Have you been following the fascinating story of the huge container ship blocking the Suez Canal like I have? If so, then you know by now that it was finally freed, thanks in no small part to an act of nature--a full moon affecting the tides! 
Happy Easter weekend.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 3/25/21

First of all, let me thank those of you who wanted the link to The Morning Brew newsletter. I'm slowly getting enough referrals to qualify for the next level of merchandise. :) There are a couple of you who are "no-reply commenters" and thus I have no way of responding back to you. So if you have been wondering why I never reply to your kind comments, it is because of the "no-reply" status. If you are interested in changing your status, here is an instructional link:

So in the "real" March Madness, aka men's college basketball, there have been a lot of upsets. 

In the Greatest Product of All Time version, thanks to the Morning Brew, there were a couple of overwhelming victories in the Elite Eight round. 

Here are the Final Four. And votes are being cast to choose the champion. I'll report next week. Who would you vote for--Microsoft Windows or Google Search? Are you surprised Legos got as far as it did? 

 Last Saturday I was able to sew virtually with my quilting buddies from the annual July retreat. We are hoping to have a retreat in person this coming July. Nothing would make me happier.

Mark's brother, Pete, and wife, Jane, keep us posted with their shenanigans in Idaho. They worked on some amazing snow sculptures this year. I'll see if I can get some pictures of their snow art--they are really outstanding.

I'm more likely to have quilting fabric in my cart than clothes, especially this year given that I hardly wear anything other than yoga pants and a sweatshirt. But nevertheless, I have been known to add just one more item to my cart in order to get the free shipping. Do you do that too?

Happy weekend.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 3/18/21: March Madness

 March Madness. How I love you.

I begin paying attention to college basketball when March Madness nears. Mark and I each fill out our brackets--even though we do it in a nonconventional way. We only fill out the current round. If we fill out the brackets all the way through to the championship game, it is easy to be blown out of the water in the very first round. And then it's no fun anymore.  It is more fun (for the two of us) to reset at the beginning of each round and then keep track of our total correct choices. The winner earns a whopping $1--our standard bet.

The other day we were watching the Big 10 tournament game and I noticed the logo at center court. Fabulous! It made my color-loving heart beat a little faster.

Apparently, it has been around awhile, maybe prior to 2011, but I've never noticed it before. I found someone via google who thinks he figured it out: starting at the 12 o'clock position and moving clockwise, the colors correspond to: Ohio State, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Penn State, Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan, Iowa and Illinois. 

And if you are wondering, yes the Big 10 has 12 schools. Go figure...

For two years, I was in a March Madness challenge using Painter's Palette fabric. We were able to choose a total of eight fabrics for our bundle and give it a name. People voted for their favorite palettes and participants advanced to the next round just like the basketball version. It was really fun. 

2017: Peach Blossom Festival. I have yet to make a quilt out of these beautiful fabrics but I do have a plan.

2016: Magenta Madness.
This group of fabrics ended up with some other beauties in my Cumbrey Crossing quilt:
This year I found yet another twist on March Madness. I subscribe to a daily newsletter called The Morning Brew. It is a short read each morning summarizing news of the previous day (if you are interested in subscribing, I'd love to send you the link--I'm trying to earn free merchandise--ha). At the end of the newsletter each day, they usually have a fun little quiz.  Anyway, this year they are crowning "the greatest product of all time." They have set it up just like March Madness basketball bracket.

Because these are a little hard to read, how about each division?

Which would you choose in each pair-off? It was a fun conversation the other day with Levi and Charlotte. Voting is already taking place on their Twitter feed, and winners have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Drumroll please:

Microsoft Windows
Google Maps
Boeing 747
Nintendo 64
Air fryer (!!)
Google Search
Uber app

I'll keep you posted next week with the final results. But just for fun, leave a comment with your choice for winner of Greatest Product of  All Time!

Mark went to Costco the other day.
No kidding...

Ella lost a tooth. And a picture of Aaron at the same age.
Then a couple days later the second one came out. 
While Ella was losing teeth, this one was doing something entirely different. And I know...the hair :)

My precious calla lilies began blooming. I do not like Easter lilies but I think calla lilies are beautifully elegant.
Experimenting with the "stagelight" setting on my iPhone.
While the fruit trees are in bloom here in the valley, Mark's brother, Pete, and wife Jane, who live close to Jackson Hole, are doing a lot of skiing. 

And taking pictures of the random animals they come across in town.

The other day my neighbor asked if I had had my hairdresser do a "fade" on my hair. Nope. The pandemic took care of that for me. The last time I added any color to my hair was March 10, 2020. I always wondered what color it would be if I grew it out. And honestly, I never, like really never, look at the back of my hair. Nobody I see on a regular basis cares about my hair--husband, grandkids, etc. So after she asked that question, I was curious about how it looked. Here you go...I kind of like it.

We all seem to be on computer screens way too much.

I sewed something truly hideous the other day. It took me all day to do it. When I put it up on the design wall, I was kind of amazed at how really bad it was. I'm not saying that this was a first-time thing with me and I will show it eventually. Once I get over the shock.

But in the meantime, this...

Happy weekend.