Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Heaven Help Me... I Need A Plan



You know that saying about making plans and God laughing?

On my first trip to California more than ten years ago, there was a mudslide in the town where I was staying. One house fell down the hill and was destroyed. I declared then and there that I would "NEVER" live in a state like California! I was so freaked out that a little rain could cause one house to slide down the hill while the neighbors were fine. It seemed so targeted. What had those people done to deserve that?

No, I preferred the predictable storms of NJ . A snow storm (snow days!) was my idea of "disaster."

Of course, 911 changed my perception of safety anywhere forever. And, reconnected me with Cliff after fifteen years.

Here I am married to Cliff and living in this unpredictable state!

And, if that isn't enough irony for you, I have been invited to participate with other So. Cal bloggers in a volunteer program to increase disaster awareness and preparation among California residents.

Do you hear God laughing? I do!

Actually, I have come to love LA and California -risks and all.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to work with this project over the next few weeks because it will force me to take this topic seriously. It's not that I don't take disaster preparedness seriously, but I am overwhelmed by the scale and scope of disasters in this state, and how to manage a disaster kit in a city apartment.

One statistic I have already learned from reading some of the materials, is that since 1989 there have been 27 major declared disasters in California! Yet, nearly half of us are unprepared.

I am one of those who just doesn't exactly know where to start.

Join me each week as I tackle one step at a time disaster preparedness at home and at school.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pleasantville Post Office

Paris Swap
Today I actually enjoyed a "small town" experience at the post office. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I called my mother and told her this could be "blog worthy."

I mailed a few packages and the clerk gave me some money saving tips about packaging for the future. There was some enjoyable chit chat about the weather. Then we both lamented possibly having to turn on the air conditioning so early in the season. The whole conversation lasted about four minutes, but that is about 3.5 minutes longer than any conversation I have ever had at the post office. Usually it is crowded and I am behind about twelve Ebay sellers. By the time I get to the counter it's all business.

Today, there was no line and everyone was really cheerful. Made my day!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sister Friends Est.1989

Photo 13

Kate and I have been camp counselors, travelers and roommates together. We got our NJ teaching credentials while carpooling to William Patterns College for two years. We spent a few weeks in a Dodge Shadow driving across the US and another month in a Contiki Bus winding across Europe. I could list our shared experiences forever.

Yet, in the five years since I moved out here we, have only spent a few hours together. Visiting NJ is a flurry of trying to catch up with family and friends. Simply put, there is never enough time to just hang.

So this week, spending nearly five days solid together was wonderful. I didn't realize how starved I was for my sister friend.

We did some sight seeing, shopping and eating. While we considered a movie, I didn't want to miss one minute of conversation sitting in a dark theater. I think the trip was as perfect as it could get, minus one thing. We discovered that we missed the Grilled Cheese Invitational Cook-Off. (It was last weekend.) Too bad, because if one food could symbolize our friendship, it would be the grilled cheese for sure. Warm, filling, and dependable. Now, Kate says she'll come back if I enter the contest next year. That alone is reason to get grill'n.

Thanks for coming Kate, now ahem...Piper?

If you are thinking of a trip to LA, these are links to some of the things we did this week...


Toast - Awesome breakfast/ lunch menu. They serve dinner too, but I go for the....grilled ham and cheese sammie- "The Italiano."

Astro Burger- They have an amazing avocado bacon cheese burger and terrific onion rings. I had the grilled ham and cheese. Are you sensing a culinary theme here?

Antonio's- The atmosphere is welcoming. The top notch Mexican cuisine and margaritas make it hard to leave the table too!

Barney's Beanery Their menu is bigger than some town newspapers and the food is good too.


UCLA Festival of Books- Annual book fair event. This year we saw one of our favorite children's authors-Rosemary Wells, Valerie Bertinelli (she looks great!) and a few others. It was so flippin hot that we just parked ourselves in a somewhat shady spot at the Target Sta ge and watched whatever came on.

Arlington West- This is an amazing tribute to our fallen soldiers that is set up each Sunday on the beach. It's a living memorial and place for people to mourn. Truly a labor of love put on weekly by the Veterans For Peace.

Santa Monica Farmers Market

Tokyo Japanese Outlet Good fun! I bought the some tiny adorable animal pans which will get a post all their own.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Felix Is Away- Oscar Can Play!

Oh the "Oscar" in me has been having a field day this morning! I like to work in a whirlwind style that is a bit off putting to Cliff when he is home. Let's just say it's a bit of creative chaos.

This morning I made my own cleaners out of vinegar and baking soda to clean his bathroom. They work great, smell a little bit and the foaming action is very pleasing. I also cooked up a pound of bacon for future recipes. Raw bacon skeeves me so I was happy to get that done.

Oh, and I finished this project. All these things basically at the same time. Random huh?

Necklace Frame

Cliff has our camera in Scotland, so I am using his apple computer camera with less than stellar success.

This was a thrifted cork board and the frame was a shiny "goldish" color. Two coats of Kilz and some craft paint and now it is shabby chic. The little charm says "treasures." My cousin Matlida is thirteen and I really wanted to give her something sweetly sophisticated for Christmas. The teen years are kind of tricky. I think this fits the bill.

Since I am going to Florida next week, I am trying to get a few Christmas presents done to take with me. Postage ends up costing us more than the gifts themselves most years.

In other news, I am anxiously awaiting Cliff's call to say he made it to Scotland OK and at the same time, I am getting things set up for Kate's visit!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

So Many Good Ideas, So little Time

Inspiration from Magazines

1. pig grouping, 2. someday2, 3. Birthday stuff collage, 4. clown garland, 5. Love those little house collages, 6. Love the nest pillow, 7. Chandy in the bath, 8. Two Ideas BH&G 11/06, 9. red and white bath, 10. western touches, 11. western inspired, 12. Kids Menu from Cowgirl BBQ, 13. Cake stand display, 14. vintage views, 15. vintage pillows, 16. vintage kitchen

This past weekend during the "big overhaul" I recycled a dozen or so magazines and updated my flickr set "Inspiration from Magazines." It takes a bit more work, but I actually do look at it. In the past, I have had folders stuffed with great ideas that rarely saw the light of day.

Cliff is leaving for Scotland tomorrow. He is gone on a "man trip" for two weeks. What's a girl to do? Have a big play date with her Friend of Honor! Kate flies in from NJ on Wednesday and I can hardly wait! We'll have lots of time to catch up, tour LA a bit and shop. Things may or may not be quite around here. Hard to predict. Have a great week!

Oh Billy Boy!

Fully Stocked Billy

It's official, I am in love with the Billy bookcase. In fact, should we have a son one day, I think we will name our boy- Billy. The IKEA Billy bookcase has many of the features you would want in a son. It's strong, handsome, well adjusted and from start to finish only required 30 minutes of labor!


On the other hand, we will not be naming any daughter "Fira." Yes, this is a charming little chest of drawers with unlimited potential. At first glance the 50 pre-cut and pre-drilled parts looked like a piece of cake. Nope. Assembling the Fira was frustrating and time consuming. Quite frankly, perhaps created by the devil. Actually, look closer...


It is the work of the devil.

After an nearly an hour and dozens of bent nails I had only two drawers built! Finally, I got smart and glued together the drawers. Good old Elmers! Then once dry, I was able to nail without the drawer collapsing on me. Even so, I bent another dozen or so nails. No, if we have a daughter named after a project, it will be Pink for the pink kitchen. That project was a delightful creative challenge.

Inside the Fira organizer

I am happy with the storage of the Fira. Right now, I even have some empty drawers which is nice because we all know this stuff multiplies!

Thirfted jar filled with ribbon

This large jar was thrifted while donating a big bag of clothes. I plan on wrapping all the ribbon around old wooden spools.

Hot Dog!

This happy fellow had to come home with me. I paid way too much at a trendy vintage housewares boutique in Santa Fe. After talking with the owner for an hour, I knew I had to buy something and this was it. The expression "Hot Dog!" is my teaching trademark and thus I have quite the dog collection. I am so happy that the felted pin cushion that Laura made me fits perfectly in the planter in back. It's fitting too because Laura has her own hot dogs.

Crafting Nook Open

This is the "studio" open for business. The table was my grandparents dining room table. I bought a nice clear desk pad at IKEA and next to it is my cutting pad. Under the table I store Christmas decorations and my salt and pepper shaker collection. I am going to cry when they change the TV systems to digital. I adore my "retro" TV. There is nothing better than sewing along with Lucy and Ricky. There are notes on this photo over at Flickr that tell about the storage on the shelf.

Crafting Nook Closed

This is the "studio" closed up for the night. I made the cover following a standard pattern and it is huge. It only occurred to me later to use the flimsy vinyl cover that came with it as a pattern. Duh! I'll cut it down to size later. The framed bulletin board is from the Goodwill in Santa Fe and it's next on my to do list.

I am toying with the idea of making a curtain to cover the shelf, but for now both Cliff and I are enjoying looking at some organization in this room!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

IKEA Saves A Marriage

I have a note pad that says, "I'm not messy, I'm creative!" I have been very "creative" lately. Has to do with the whole not working thing. Cliff came in the bedroom and said, "Looks like a third world sweat shop in here. You should post a picture of this on your blog."

For Brooklynne

Cliff is very neat. And, not just in the groovy, interesting to hang out with way. He actually folds his t-shirts like the Gap.

In this marriage, he's Felix and I'm Oscar.

A Spare

It was bad, I had fabric spilling out of too small bins on the floor. The bed was covered with more fabric and the project in progress. There were overflowing shoe boxes of ribbon and trim. All the rest of my sewing stuff was jumbled next to the sewing machine.

I had been storing all my supplies in bins in the closet. So when I wanted to work on a project, I had to drag it all out and unpack everything in order to find the one thing I wanted. Who wants to do that everyday when you are on a crafty spurt!? Not me.

Paris Swap Sneak Peek

This was no way to live! So off to IKEA I ran Friday night. In just an hour later, the Little Scion that Could was loaded down with the makings of a real (apartment sized) craft studio! (I had previewed everything online so that I could get in and out of IKEA quickly and as cheaply as possible.)

This was a weekend of creating an organizational system that we could both live with. Soon there will be pictures...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Taking Care of Business

Beaudry Building

When I returned home from Santa Fe I found a letter requiring that I pay a visit to the "mothership."


My TB test was expiring and they let me know that if I didn't have the paper work in by the end of May, I would be "terminated!" That's one way to handle a budget crisis.

As I said before, my salary supports my art! (It's really crafts.) So, I dutifully went to the fourteenth floor of bureaucracy and took care of it.

Maple Street LA

As long I as I was down there anyway...

Fabric District LA

Couldn't hurt to make a few stops...

Ribbon Store LA

This trim store had floor to ceiling beads, trims and ribbons.

Ribbon Store LA

It wasn't well organized or charming. In fact, I had to pull a long string in this room to turn on the lights! The ribbon was only 50 cents a yard and they had all sorts, but this wasn't my main destination. I just bought a few charms and went on my way.

Paris Textiles LA, CA

Everywhere I go that Paris Swap is on my mind!

Michael Levines

Here we are, the stuff of legends!

A Part of the Amy Butler Section


Ooooh Ahhh!

Ah! I am crazy for this whole shelf!

Michael Levines

I found two things on the sale rack. One pattern I had eyed a few months ago. Love when that happens. Still, much of the time this gigantic fabric Meca is overwhelming. I drool and drool, but can not make up my mind.

Michael Levines Loft
Across the street...

Loft at Michael Levin's LA

The loft is Michael Levine's last chance clearance. It's a bargain hunter's fabric paradise- so long as you don't have anything specific in mind. I love digging around the boxes and seeing what I might find. Once I got a piece of suede. I have gotten a lot of denim and bottom weight fabrics for my bags here. This time I got really lucky and arrived shortly after a big dumping of cottons!

4lbs of Fabric from the loft
This is most of the four pounds of fabric I bought.

My TB test is good for five years. My fabric stash will probably last that long too.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thrifting: A Revolving Door

New Things From Old

This "button" came from an old text book I found at school. At some point in the 70's/80's the third graders had a whole chapter in their basil reader about repurposing things. How groovy!

Anyway, I have too much stuff and not enough space. Yadda, yadda, I know most of us have this problem. Except that I am really disabled when it comes to managing stuff and organizing everything in small spaces. My closet has been the biggest problem.

I remember reading this post at The Lazy Organizer. It's about how Lara took away her daughter's toys again and again until she had whittled her things down to just what she could keep picked up. This made her daughter happy. Lara discovered that her daughter managed better and was happier with less stuff.

I think I am the same way. I just can not manage a lot of clothes. I only wear a fraction of the stuff I have anyway. So, I enlisted Cliff to be judge and jury. I gave him many fashion shows and we whittled my wardrobe down to just the best stuff. The rest went to Goodwill. It was amazing how many things I had that Cliff couldn't remember me ever wearing.

My favorite khaki's didn't make the cut.

Cliff felt that they were too faded.

Parting was too painful, so I made them into a bag.

Does My But Look Big Bag

It's a bit wonky because of the curved waistband. The inside is one of the sheets from the Santa Fe thrift trip. I am going to add it to the craft show in November at my church.

Oh, and I guess in honor of disclosure, I should mention that I happened to *peek* inside of the Goodwill when I was dropping off the huge blue IKEA bag full of clothes and other assorted household items. And, I found a few things that wanted to come home with me.

Nobody warned me about how addictive this thrifting business could be!

Enough "Art", Let's Talk About Shopping

Inspired by Ms. Thrify Goodness herself, I went out thrifting while on vacation. Before blogging, I wouldn't have thought to do that. Gotta say, it's much more of an adventure than the obvious tourist traps. And, much more in line with my budget than the Canyon Road Galleries.

First off, there just so happened to be a thrift store right across the street from La Posada, in Winslow, AZ.

Thrift Finds From Santa Fe Trip

For just a buck twenty-five I snapped up the brass tray, pine cone candle sticks and the embroidery hoops. There was a lot more good stuff, but time was of the essence.

At Christmas my cousin told me of her son's strong desire to have himself some cowboy boots. I saw these cuties for $5! I called her right away to see if they would fit him. He's just two, but he is a moose! Using my hand as a ruler, we figured out that all four of her kids can wear these either now or eventually. Yippy- Ki- Yo! Bargain boots for us all!

At a fancy French gift shop downtown I saw this Vera Bradley bag and vowed to find some sort of basket bag for Barb's current Purse Challenge. This white basket weave bag was filthy, but for $2 it was worth a try to make it respectable. I also picked up a linen napkin and a pretty scarf. The Lucky Bingo Chips are magnetic and I plan to use them as math counters at school. I figure a magnet will make for easy clean up.

Some Vintage Sheets From Santa Fe GoodWill

These vintage sheets had to come home with me. I see many more knotted totes in my future. Which is good, because I have big plans for a sale to raise money for missions at my church.

Books Thrifted in Santa Fe

Books are my thrift store kryptonite. Some of these are for me, some are for the classroom, and some are for Cliff. We enjoyed 10 Contemporary Polish Short Stories on the way home. Of course, "contemporary" is relative. The book was published in 1958! The book Make A Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices is a real score because we have used that book many times in Language Arts Cadre and I have been meaning to get it for a while.

My last stop was the Arch Mart Gift & Thrift Shoppe in Needles, CA. I had spied it out of the corner of my eye on the way to Denny's. Really, this place was a bigger deal than finding Spike's doghouse, but they were closed on Monday. So we checked back on the way home. That Cliff is a loving man.

Thrift Shop in Needles, CA

I knew it was going to be great!

I got this 1960's gossip rag which will have it's own blog post.

Needles, CA Thrift Finds

My best thrifty find was this little cup. I also love these little flower place cards and the fact that everything was wrapped in the popcorn bags. I'm going to reuse those as gift wrap later.

I could have bought tons more but, I was out of cash. It's just as well. This week spring cleaning starts. I have to reinstate the "in/out" policy. I have been pretty heavy on the "in" side of things.

Funny thing is, the apartment hasn't grown along with my collections.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Digital Super Highway " By The Artist Known As Jane

This art installment was filmed with a Kodak Easy Share C530 and was made possible by funds from the LAUSD Endowment for Teacher's Creativity AKA- My Salary

*If this seems bizarre to you, scroll down to yesterdays post.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Video Tape, Therefore I Am

On the first day of our trip we saw a woman do an amazing blues rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" at El Farol. Cliff turned to me and asked, " Do you ever just want to ditch it all and become a blues singer?" I reminded him that I have absolutely no singing talent. None.

At the Green Tea & Coffee House he asked me if I ever wanted to throw it all away and become a wandering folk singer? "There's that pesky talent requirement again."

At the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum we saw an amazing video on the life of Ms. O'Keeffe. Cliff turned to me and asked, "Did you ever just want to run away and become a painter?" Naw, I don't have any training or talent in that area either.

SITE Santa Fe
is in their own words, a "contemporary art space." We arrived at about 11 on Thursday and found that we were the only people there. We had the whole museum to ourselves and had three very attentive guides to help interpret the "art."

In the first room, we sat on a couch alone in the dark and watched Steina, an Icelandic "video artist" lip sync to "Let It Be." Actually, it was just a giant close up of her lips syncing to "Let It Be." I can tell you she has healthy gums.

I turned to Cliff at this point and told him I was thankful that I got the teacher discount.

In the next room there were about six long screens with shadows of Steina projected on them. I thought it was a bit freaky. The guide assured me that many students in all grades have been to the exhibit and they weren't scared. "Their teachers prepared them for the art."

I really appreciate the Getty.

Then we watched a pyramid of TV's with nature images which were cut to look like a kaleidoscope. I liked this piece best. The guide told me it was Steina's favorite too*.

Room after room and I started to get a bit peeved.

Was I not cool enough to enjoy video art?

Or, was this colossal BS?

Should I be happy that there truly is something for everyone?

I remembered the first time I saw Warhol's soup can in NYC. I got that. I thought that was pretty funny and cool. I do think almost anyone can make their own Pollack, but seeing those huge canvases in real life was very cool.

No, I get art.

On our way out, I noticed the funders for this exhibit were foundations like the Warhol Foundation. Then it hit me! What the heck am I doing applying for grants to Target and Lowe's for chump change for school gardens and reading programs???

The money is in Video Art! And, as luck would have it- talent is the same as confidence.

So, when Cliff turned to me and asked if I ever thought of giving it all up to become a video artist, the answer was YES!

I am now an official video artist. Cue Maria from West Side Story singing "There is a place for us..."

That was easy. All I had to do was declare it. Some Crest White Strips and I would be ready to lip sync close up too. Maybe I could lip sync to Mrs. Jone's "Yes, I Can Multiply!"

No, the lip sync thing has been done. I have a better idea and I started preparing on our trip home. I am going to collect a bunch of digital cameras and send them out to all my friends and family all over the US. I am going to have them take video of anything they want and send them back.

Then I am going to build a big cabinet with little cubbies for each camera. The cameras will be anchored inside their special cubby so that you can see the postage stamp sized viewing screen. The museum guides at SITE Santa Fe will instruct visitors to walk up to any camera and watch the teeny tiny videos. I am thinking they could pass out magnifying glasses if need be.

I am going to call it a "Digital I Spy Quilt" and connect it to the vast quilting heritage in the US.
I have a slogan. "Digital Video- The New Fabric of Our Lives." Catchy, huh? I know it's a bit of a rip off from the cotton people. I hope they will forgive me.

Now that I am an artist, maybe I can get funding from the National Endowment For the Arts.
I am sure that the exhibit at Site Santa Fe cost bucks. After all, there was a one on one ratio of guides to guests. (To think I have had 30 + students all by myself!)

Frankly, I hope to one day convince my new video artist friends at SITE Santa Fe to run for government. They managed to get $15 out of us and I am cheap people! Clearly they are persuasive. They could just persuade other countries to get along. No wars, just peace man.

I'll leave you now with one of Steina's works called "Warp." Tomorrow, come back for my first video art installment called "Digital Super Highway" it's I'll just let the art speak for itself.

*See, we are simpatico- it's a video artist thing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Santa Fe- Land of Enchantment Indeed

Santa Fe Mosaic

1. Loretto Chapel, 2. San Miguel Oldest Church, 3. Snow Day at Canyon Road, 4. Frito Pie at the Five and Dime, 5. Oldest House in the US, 6. Hotel in Snow, 7. Santa Fe Trip Snow, 8. French Pastry Shop, 9. Canyon Road Horses in Snow

You can click any picture for a bigger view.

I was surprised by these pictures because the light is pretty gray and they seem gloomy. I assure you that while it was cold, and snowy even, the mood was bright. My memories of each of these places are plenty sunny.

Another vacation fact: I took 99 pictures on my trip and only one of them has us in it!

We both agreed that our favorite part of the trip was just wandering around downtown Santa Fe. We went into lots of churches and a few stores. We had breakfast at a French Cafe, lunch at Cowgirl BBQ, and dinner at the Italian restaurant, Pronza.

One night we went out and listened to blues. The other night we went to a coffee house for what was supposed to be poetry night, but turned out to be folk singing. Both were fun.

We loved the Waxlander Gallery on Canyon Road. It was large and had a lot of variety. My favorite was Lori Faye Bock. She really celebrates women aging. That's not an attitude we see much of in LA.

At the New Concept Gallery we saw the works of Lynn's friend Reg Loving. It was definitely cool to "know" an artist on display. Speaking of Lynn, she is doing awesome, for someone in their seventies with a broken neck. She told us a few hilarious stories about her time in the hospital. Surely, attitude and laughter are the best medicines.

Also at New Concept Gallery was a show, "Voices Against the War" sponsored by the Veterans For Peace. The art was amazing and devastating. My favorite piece as called "The Rat Pack" by Kawana Edwards. It featured real rodent bones. Reminded me my days back in NJ dissecting owl pellets.

We only went in three galleries because we also squeezed in both the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and SITE Santa Fe in the same day. O'Keeffee was worth a visit, but a bit disappointing since they only display ten percent of her work at any given time. There were some paintings that I had hoped to see and did not. SITE Santa Fe merits it's own blog post. Tune in tomorrow for that drama.

We stayed at Garrets Desert Inn which was both affordable and right in the heart of Santa Fe. We walked everywhere with ease. Well, until it snowed! It was so cold and we were so unprepared! You would think that growing up in Rochester, NY I would have seen my fair share of snow. Still, it was so beautiful and surprising that I was like a kid on the first day of winter.

Tomorrow I will share Santa Fe's inspiration on my own art.

Romantic Inns of The South West

We've gotten a lot of advice over the last three years. One of the most common suggestions is, "Take a romantic vacation."

La <span class=

La Posada Hotel
(Winslow, AZ) just happened to be just the right distance between LA and Santa Fe for our first night of travel.

La <span class=

It had everything we like in an inn: charm, history, attention to details and a terrific restaurant.

The owner and his wife, artist Tina Minon, lovingly rescued La Posada from certain ruin and have restored her to her former glory. Her rich history has been celebrated.

Art at La <span class=

Tina Minon's varied and fascinating paintings cover the walls and the inn is her gallery. Some of her works are in the Smithsonian. La Posada is also home to art she has collected on her world travels. As a gallery, it's very eclectic. "It's Always the Butler" was my favorite painting. Cliff loved this one. I thought it was, interesting, funny even, but terrible feng shui!

Jackie O at La <span class=

La Posada continues to be a working train station. One would think that the many trains passing would be annoying, but actually there is a certain rhythm to train rumbles that is similar to the ocean.

Train Outside Hotel Window

The guest rooms were simply furnished with some antiques. Each room was named after a former famous guest of the Inn. We stayed in the "Lionel Barrymore" room.

In the adjoining room, the "Amelia Erhart", Vern and Ethel were also enjoying La Posada's many graces.

We couldn't help but hear their discussion of evening television and their plans for the coming day. Unfortunately, their snoring and coughing was not as rhythmic as the trains. When we turned off the lights Cliff summed it up like this:

"I don't feel as if my grandparents are in the next room, I feel like they are right in this room!"

"Gram and Grams" had a few ideas of La Posada. In their words:

Ehtel- "Oh! I'm up!"

Vern- AKKK! Cough! Hack! "What time is it?"

Ethel- "Six AM. I hear they have a complimentary coffee bar downstairs from 6:30 -9:00."

Vern- AKKKK! Hack! Cough!

Ethel- "I am going to take a shower."

Vern- AAAGGGHHHH! Hack! Hack! ( At this point Cliff looks at me with crazed eyes.)

Ethel- "Hey! There's a little clock in this hair dryer!"

Vern- "Ak! Ak! Hack! Cooooouuuuuugggghhhh!

Ethel- "You know Vern, one thing I have to say for this place is, they are so up front about their rates. There is no guessing. A standard room is $99 for everyone. Says so right here on the door."

Vern- HACK! Cough! Akkk!

My advice, if you are ever "standing on a corner in Winslow, AZ," go see La Posada. Pay $3 for their self guided tour book. Wander the rooms, enjoy the art and the gardens. Be sure to enjoy a meal at the Turquoise Room- the food and service are excellent!

Then, go down the road to the Comfort Inn.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Home Again

Our drive through the deserts of California, Arizona and New Mexico has done me a world of good. While Los Angeles has it's charm, it's visually very cluttered. The antidote was this...

Santa Fe Trip 098
I know this photo doesn't begin to do justice to the majesty of the desert as it spread out before us, behind us and all around. At once it was yellow and grassy. Moments later it was red and rocky. I do believe I saw me some purple mountain majesties.

Oh, the mesas! One day, I dream to live on a mesa! This trip has changed my picture of the word "desert" which used to be comic book yellow sand with saguaro cactus. Truly, I love the Desert South West and it's surprisingly varied beauty. You could say I was obsessed with capturing it. No chance of that happening.
Santa Fe Trip 090

The drive there and back was really smooth. We listened to some CD mixes Cliff made. We enjoyed some Hubba Bubba.
Hubba Bubba

One of the early highlights of the drive was discovering Spike's doghouse. As we approached Needles, my husband, the font of knowledge, told me that Spike was from Needles. I hadn't exactly remembered, but it came back to me pretty quick.

Spike's Dog House
Apparently, Spike's home is not the remote desert as he told Snoopy, but outside the Denny's in Needles, CA. Kate and I stopped at many a Denny's on our original road trip so it seemed so fitting that this was our first lunch stop too.

There was time to read. This became a read aloud. No books on tape for us.
Old School No Books On Tape For Us

More Reading Material

Both of these gems came from thrift stores. I got up early one morning and stole away to go thrifting in Santa Fe. We also stopped back in Needles on the way home to check out this thrift store...
Thrift Shop in Needles, CA

How could I pass this up?

But, the best surprise on the road was the discovery of Grants Boot and Saddle Shop.
Grants NM Boot Shop
Cliff was paying for lunch and I went out to the car. I noticed this little store and thought that maybe they could help me with a pair of mules I recently bought that had developed small tears. The proprietor, Ross was so friendly. We had a really nice chat and he sewed up the tears in my shoes. While he worked I found a pair of cowboy boots on sale...for $19!!
Got Me Some New Boots

Truly, getting there was half the fun!