Monday, January 30, 2012

Proud of My MIL!!!

Here she is with The Maven, summer of 1989!

Political leanings aside, I admire the people who work the voting venues so we may vote.

My Mother-in-Law works the voting sites tirelessly every time there is an election.
She must be sworn in at 6am and then cannot leave until 9pm.
She has done this every election since I have known her.
She will be 77 years young next week.

I admire her beyond description.
She is a true patriot who feels that the individual CAN make a difference.
No matter who we vote for, we are in this together.
My second mother is an inspiration for not just her family, but I hope for everyone.

Every Vote Counts!
We should always exercise that right.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Can You Guess What These Are?

Here's a more expanded look.
My friend, CG, also known as Center of Gravity when she comments,
 grew these in her vegetable garden.

They are Yellow Pear Tomatoes and are the size of Grape Tomatoes.
They are absolutely delicious.  When she first gave me the tub, I just popped them into my mouth like grapes they were so tasty.

Mr. T and I finished them up in a salad yesterday and tonight we will be including
some broccoli CG brought from her garden in our dinner.

Things taste so much better when they are home grown, don't they?

Bumby was playing "The Princess and the Pea" last night trying to take in the nice cool night air.

 I couldn't resist taking her picture.
She doesn't like tomatoes.
More for us!
Thanks CG!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

When Pocket Doors Go Rogue....

Who knew these little wheels could cause such a commotion for so long?
Our house, built in 1963, has a lot of things going for it:  sturdy construction, character, beautiful yard, (now a new roof).  But with that 1963 construction date come a lot of quirks. Lots and lots of doors in this house and two of them are pocket doors.
One that protects a very private and necessary room.  
Our "master" bathroom.  Did I mention small "master" bathroom when I talked about quirks? 

 You can see for yourself the spaciousness that is shared by not only two good sized adults, but by one Bumby the cat. (Much to Mr. Tennis' chagrin). And this brings me to a pet peeve about the lucky people looking for houses on "House Hunters". A master bath with two sinks is not a necessity, it is a LUXURY! 
Every once in awhile our bathroom pocket friend would jump the tracks and it would take a great deal of noisy wrestling (bad words included) to get it back "on track".

Finally the door one day in December, no it was November, said "enough" and simply spit off one of it's wheels.

Being the handy people we are in the home repair area, we called our friend John.  He can do anything!  
It's not like we didn't make an effort ourselves, but even the people at Home Depot couldn't tell us how you replace a pocket door.  One guy did mumble something about having to rip the wall apart.

John came and took a look.  Popped the molding off and pulled the door out. "Rip the wall out" didn't come into play thank goodness.  But those wheels did.

No local hardware stores had such things.  "Special order" was talked about and we waited for the new wheel (cost $1) to be shipped from California. Whaaat? I could have had The Writer and Sammy just bring it with them when they came for Christmas.
It arrived.
John attached it to the door, which while waiting for said wheel to come in, he had spruced up with a new handle-thing and babied the wood a bit.

"It doesn't fit the track", said John one week before Christmas when the house would be full of lots of people.   
Apparently in 1963 pocket door wheels were smaller (like the bathrooms) and since the new wheel came from CA we (John and I) figured no smaller wheel existed. He even looked for a used one.

Mr. Tennis would have to continue (and yes, me too) to shower and do bathroom things behind the curtain until John could come back and go with Plan B:  remove closet pocket door, put the wheel off of that door onto nicer looking (now) bathroom door and then close up pocket area in closet and put some sort of bi-fold door there.

Well, Christmas came and went, roofers came and created chaos and we went to California for a vacation (where the wheel came from).  John and I played telephone tag for a week and finally he came TODAY!
It's done! 

 He did it! 

Pay no attention to the person in orange taking the picture
 - I have NO idea who she is (look at that hair!  Has she no shame?)

With old 1963 wheels! Mr. T can rejoice (in private now).

And I get to see John again when he figures out the door situation for the closet (and yes, I have not cleaned out the closet since my shameful post about it.)

I think I will surprise John and do that before he comes back.
Gotta go.

Monday, January 23, 2012

When Worlds Collide...Or, Meeting Annie Reid and Family!

The blogosphere is a strange place at times.  We are invited into people's homes and lives and feel like we KNOW them.  
Sometimes we exchange emails and online friendships are formed.  Rarely do we get to meet the people behind the blogs.

I got to meet two of my favorite bloggers in one month! 
 On different sides of the country!  
First there is Sue, who I mentioned in my last few posts, of Country Roads Antiques in SoCal..

THEN, I got to meet someone right here in Orlando while they were vacationing with their family.

                                    Annie Reid of  The House That Jade Built .                                    .  
I don't know how I started reading her blog, but her interesting and unique sense of house-decorating-style and her honest, laugh inducing posts about her young children made me keep checking back with her.

To know Annie's life, you really need to check out her blog and go back almost two years from now.  Her life changed in an instant when she found out during her third pregnancy that their family was to be blessed with a special angel who would come to be named Ollie Faith.  What an incredible journey the entire family has had and I am grateful that I have been able to follow along through Annie's blog and eventually through her mom's blog, the irrepressible Janie Fox -  you must check her out at Janie Fox Talks! 

Annie let me know that she and her handsome hubby, Jade and the three kids would be visiting the Orlando area in January 2012.  Right when we were in California!  But we made it back in time before they left and met up for some dinner and face time with Annie, Jade and the Reid kids.

Mr. Tennis went along with me and as we were driving there, he said "this is really strange going to meet people you've never met and only know online".  I agreed it was strange, but because some of our blogs are so personal, I feel that I've gotten to know a lot of you "out there" pretty well.  I equate it to meeting up with a long-time pen pal.

Well, let me just say The Reid family is the real - deal - terrific.  

Everett and Aubrie are just as charming and adorable as I expected from reading about them from their mom's and grandma's posts.  And SMART!     I can see why they keep everyone on their toes in that family!

Of course, Miss Ollie Faith was as beautiful as I knew she would be.  And she is obviously adored by not just her parents, but by her two older siblings who wanted to make sure she was part of all the action during our dinner together.

As if it wasn't great enough just seeing these folks in person, they came bearing gifts for The Boston Lady!  I took home this special painting done by Annie's talented sister, Abbie and showed it to the two painted subjects.  Abbie captured them perfectly.

Now if they only would have posed perfectly.

There, we finally got it.

Mrs. Janie Fox sent a goodie bag along too - so appropriate - I will have fun going through this book and Mr. Snowman will be a reminder to me each year of this family.

this cup that Janie sent along kind of sums it up, "from a friend".

Because I feel like I've made many good friends 
here in this unique world of blogging - we just haven't all met yet.

Thank you so much Annie, Jade, Aubrie, Everett, Ollie, Abbie and Janie
for such wonderful surprises for me and for sharing your life's adventures with all of us.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My, My, My, What Did TSA Think About This?

I made some unusual purchases while in California.
  One for me, two for other people, who will understand why I bought the items for them.
  I hope.
Mr. Tennis sure didn't get it and I am convinced the security scanners were scratching their heads when my suitcase went through the x-rays and they saw images like this. (Or whatever their version of it was - probably a big blob)

The bucket is for me because I like enamelware.
 I bought it at the Melrose Swapmeet and the guy who sold it to me said it was from Russia.  Uh huh.  Not sure about that, but I just knew I liked it and it was old. And a pretty blue. Russian blue? LOL

Now, who wouldn't want an old mattress spring?

I picked this up at Country Road Antiques in Old Towne Orange, CA where my blogging friend Sue hangs her hat.  Please stop by and see all the goodies she has out everyday.  Her place is a one-of-a-kind experience, complete with wonderfully helpful staff.  I can't wait to go back!
For some reason I just felt my friend, Country Mouse would have a use for this.
I gave it to her today and she didn't look at me like I was totally nuts,
 so we will see what use she makes of it.
(CM, I will need photographic evidence that you actually were able to DO something with it - Mr. T won't believe it otherwise.)

Bought this old pencil sharpener for another friend, who will remain unmentioned, since I haven't given it to her yet, but I bet if she's reading she's guessed it's hers.

 Got that at Country Road Antiques too.

Sammy and The Writer were the real adventurers at Sue's store. They bought this fantasticly rusty, rustic, huge chandelier to hang over their dining table.

It normally will hold votives..

I think it looks fabulous with the bare bulb down the middle when they don't want to light all the votives.

Well, the only thing I noticed is that my suitcase straps were
"un"velcroed, so I know those TSA people had to have taken a peek.

Crazy Floridians...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Joshua Tree National Park - Truly a National Treasure

We took advantage of the cool temps of January to go to Joshua Tree National Park, a place we've wanted to visit since seeing some pictures The Writer took when he went there with Sammy.

Hot, hot in the summer, but it was cool, cool the day we ventured there.  Not just in temperature, but in what we saw as well.

The Joshua tree name was given by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the Mid-19th century.  The unique shape of the trees reminded them of the biblical story of Joshua who reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer.

The area also has enormous, beautiful rock formations created by underground pressure over the last several million years.  You can see the distinct stripe of sediment cutting right through the middle of this one.

From a distance the rocks look smooth, but they have a very rough porous seeming surface.  They remind me of the rocks formed in Florida from the coquina shells we have here, but in fact these rocks in Joshua Tree are actually granite.

So many hostile looking plants survive in this environment.  I only say hostile because they do not invite you to get too close.  They survive because they are so hardy and well armed.

Lots of creatures live underground around here. Rattlesnakes, lizards, rats, insects.  I didn't see any wildlife while we were in the park although I badly wanted to see the little Kit Fox.  Perhaps a trip at dusk or early morning would show some of the creatures that live here.

We did have the curious Stanley, who learned how to walk between the rock walls.

Such a big boulder being held up by much smaller ones.  Seems like I could have just pushed it off.  I didn't dare try!

Remember that small spikey plant in the picture earlier?  Look at the beautiful "tendrils" that form on each "branch". Maybe this is a form of blooming for it.

This one had tiny pinecone-like growths on it and felt more like an evergreen than a cactus.

As the Joshua Trees age, they get more "arms".  What a view this one has at the top of "Key's View" where we stopped because of the incredible vista.

About midway through this picture you can see the San Andreas Fault. It's above the small hill on the left of this picture, you may be able to make out the distinction in ground level - it looks like a thick brown line in the picture.  We are on the "safe" side of the fault. The west coast of California, as we all know, is on the other side.  It runs directly through San Francisco, hence the devastating earthquakes that city has survived.

Another vantage point at Key's View.  Those mountains in the distance mark the end of the US and the beginning of Mexico on their other side.  We were lucky to have such a clear day to see this.

Back at The Sweet Pea Ranch we had another beautiful sunset.

AND, I finally got to see one of the desert bunnies, right in our front yard.  There were many hopping around at dusk.  Right before I saw this little guy a group of small Quail scurried through and that's what made me get my camera.  Too late for the funny quail, but managed to catch Peter Rabbit!

A few people have asked me where we found our rentals.  There is a wonderful website where we have found rentals, here in Florida, in California, all over the country at reasonable rates.  Most are people's own vacation homes so you get a wonderful feel for what an area is like from a local's perspective.  Take a look if you are interested. .  We always have a unique experience when we use the properties listed on this site and meet some wonderful property owners, such as those that own The Sweet Pea Ranch.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Desert Weekend

We are safe and sound back home in Orlando with a reliable internet connection and some fierce coughs/colds.  This was unique time of year for us to visit, especially our weekend in the desert.

Summers there are scorching, but we experienced cool/cold weather during this January visit. And it was so dry!!!  Coming from uber-humid Florida, we especially noticed it.  Fortunately the lovely place we stayed had humidifiers throughout the house and that was a saving grace for some of us.

Let me show you some pictures of this very unique desert home called "The Sweet Pea Ranch".

Decorated and furnished in what I would consider Mid-Century Modern design.

The Bottle Wall - you will see how this one-of-a-kind wall looks at night, lit up!

Spare bottles for more projects...

Outdoor fire pit - too cold for us Floridians we had a nice toasty fire inside in the fireplace.

Cozy kitchen

Suebee, you want that cooler, don't you?!?

This cabinet held their finer glassware and also functions as a bar.
Concrete floors...

Cute pillows on our bed.

The Guest room.

Bathroom, rough brick walls, yet as nice as can be.

Wood beam ceiling in bathroom and large skylight.

Lots of retro light fixtures such as this one, my favorite.

Outside target practice with BB guns.  Couldn't get them to work, but I knew you rusty types would like this picture anyway...

The other guest room!  Where The Maven bravely slept each night.

Although she had to fight Mr. Tennis for the privilege - he loves Airstreams.

Sunset from the backyard.

What do you see Stanley?

He was fascinated by these easily spotted jetstreams in the cool clear skies.

Back porch at dusk.

See?  I told you that bottle wall would make sense.  So pretty lit up at night.

What a clever idea!

Good night, Sweet Pea Ranch.

Next I will have a post and pictures from our day at Joshua Tree National Park where we saw lots and lots of these:

Joshua Trees, of course!  Anyone know why they have that name??  I will tell you next time if you haven't googled it already!

Good to be home!  Animals happy. Washing machine, very happy.