Friday, January 25, 2013

Dear Friends . . .


. . . if any one of you is still out there!

As you can see, I've been on hiatus for quite a while, for reasons I won't bore you with.  The thing is, my heart is actually in a different place right at the moment -- since last summer, I have been immersed in the genealogy of my ancestors, a project I've found both exciting and absorbing.  I decided that at this point what I would like to do best is start a family genealogy blog; it feels important to me (at my age :) to get the information down somewhere for my relatives to see.  I had thought of making a book for everyone, and maybe some day I will do that, but for right now I want to do posts that someday will be gathered up, I hope.

So . . . since I can't maintain two blogs, this one will remain on hiatus until further notice.  Rest assured that if/when I open again, there will be balloons and fireworks and a huge giveaway and and and . . . 

If you're interested in anyone's family history outside your own (and why would you be?) you can pop in at Living in the Past: The Ortman-Berneburg Blog, where I'll also be talking about the trials and tribulations of getting mired in the sands of time -- it's rewarding, of course, but also extremely frustrating.

If you stop by, let me know what you think!  Thanks for all the beautiful communication that went back and forth on this blog -- 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Queen for a Day


Last Friday I had an experience that will be with me until the day I die:  I attended a retirement party given in my honor at my university.  It was an incredible extravaganza (I have some very creative colleagues) that included not only speeches but songs with rewritten lyrics, a video of people talking about me, and . . . 

 The front of the crown

A crown!!! This amazing piece of art was made by my dear colleague Margaret, an artist as well as a university employee.  Margaret poured all her talent into crafting this beautiful memento.  I wore it for a minute, but didn't want it to fall off and break, so it sat on the pillow she also made.

It includes many things that are so meaningful to me -- the snakes represent my long interest in the Medusa; there's a griffon and a dragon, representing my overall interest in mythology, words related to my teaching and books, books, books all over it.
 The interior of the crown

 It was such a wonderful event -- I felt that I could hardly deserve all of the attention and affection.  Happily, my son and daughter were there, as well as my husband -- I wasn't sure my son would make it, but I browbeat him until he came.  His comment:  "I didn't know it was going to be this big of a deal!"

 The side of the crown

It was a big deal, seriously.  I was sure I would cry, but in fact I laughed all the way through it, it was so delightful.  The only time I choked up was when I had to give thanks for everything they'd done.

  Me, looking silly/happy in my crown
Here's a fuzzy cell phone pic of me wearing the crown.  It was a very, very happy day of my life. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Yikes! It's been too long --


I've been away far too long!  Ana Eugenio was kind enough to post a comment wondering if everything was fine with me.  It is!  Here's what I've been up to:

1.  I was sad for a while after my sister left -- it's so hard to say goodbye.  We live so far apart and get together so seldom, and the wonderful time we have together is always tinged by the knowing that it has to end.

2.  I've started on South Beach diet and have been enjoying myself so far.  No problems, and the scale is starting to go down.

3.  Still dealing with the aftermath of Open Studios, though my house is looking more normal than it did.  I have to take all the (many) pictures I didn't sell to the storage space, and that necessitates rearranging everything, but a friend and I are going to get that done on Thursday (I hope).

4.  Been working on my collage class, not sure I'm happy with anything yet.  I did a nice picture in watercolor class, though (!) and I'll post it soon.

 A collage -- does it make any sense to anyone?

5.  I got the results of my DNA analysis from today -- more about that in another post!  It's soooo interesting.  And a gigantic sinkhole of time, as I'm sure some of you know --

6.  On Wednesday I have an appointment with someone from the Small Business center to talk about my small business!  I'm hoping to get some advice and guidance.

7.  It was 92 degrees today!  It's November!  And supposed to be in the 50's by Thursday -- I'm just confused . . .

8.  To my American friends -- tomorrow is the big day.  You're probably already planning to, but please:  vote, vote, vote!!  It doesn't matter whom you're voting for -- but the process is so important for us to participate in as citizens.* 

So that's a little bit of what I've been up to.  I'll write more details tomorrow, and visit to catch up!  Hope your week has started well.  

*and good luck, BHO -- :)    

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hey everyone --


I've had a great week with my sister.  The first time she came here, a couple of years ago, we did "big" things -- whale watching, Big Sur, the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.  But this time, we kind of hung out and did things close to home.  Of course, Saturday and Sunday were given over to Open Studios, but Sunday night we had friends and family over for a steak barbeque and that was a lot of fun.  

Sea lions at the wharf

We went to my watercolor class on Thursday, and yesterday we went to A Work of Heart to do a class called "Juicy Collage."  We all (including daughter) came out with collages we were happy with -- pics tomorrow, I hope.  It was big fun.  

Pelican outside Stagnaro's

Today we went down to the wharf, bought the requisite t-shirts, had lunch at Stagnaro Bros.  on the wharf, and stopped by Marini's, where they have every candy you've ever dreamed of, including chocolate covered bacon.

Then we took a drive down West Cliff, stopping to watch the surfers at Steamer Lane.  It was a nice relaxed day to end our time together. 

Steamer Lane surfer

We had a pizza dinner and then played cards, just us girls (my Loved One was playing in his darts league).  

We had a good time together.  I'm sad she's leaving tomorrow and even sadder that we live so far apart (me:  California; she:  Minnesota).  But at least we got to spend this week together.  There's something about people who have known you your whole life -- you never feel quite as comfortable with anyone else . . . 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A brief hiatus


Hi everyone -- I'm probably not going to be able to post again until the middle of next week.  My sis is here, Open Studios starts Saturday, so I have a full schedule for the next few days.  Hope you all are having a great time, and don't forget me!  :)  I'll see you soon. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oh boo hoo - and other things.


My sister arrives tomorrow and I have so much to do and I hardly slept a wink last night.  Woke up about 2:30 and that was pretty much it for the night.  Must get myself going so everything is nice for her arrival!

Here's Buttercup, minding the Open Studios greeting table.  She's sitting on the bookmarks to make sure they all lie flat :)

Isn't she big now?  But she still looks sweet.  On the first day of Open Studios, we kept her in the bedroom with my Loved One, watching a football game.  But the second day, I allowed her to wander around and join in the fun -- and she was a big hit.  She is so darned sociable -- she'll go right over to greet people coming in, allow herself to be scratched, and so on.  And she only bit one person :p   That person started to scratch Buttercup's tummy and you know how cats are when you do that -- they can get kind of aggressive and scratch you with their hind feet and bite you.  It was just a little bite, and it was all in fun (I hope the lady thought so!).  In my experience, cats aren't that fond of strangers -- our other cat heads for the hills and hides whenever someone comes into the house.  But Miss B is as friendly as she can be.

     A planter in my garden with mission bells -- 

I have to wrap it up and get busy, but I did spend a nice time with a friend this morning, catching up -- she is an artist who does wonderful things with journals, makes purses, and so on -- you might visit her at Redwood Mountain Musings to see what she's up to.  And check out her Etsy store -- she has nice digital downloads but really, look at the purses.  They're gorgeous.  Great to see you, Chris!

A great Tuesday to you all -- 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Raindrops and 5 Fact Friday


It's been sprinkling here, so I went out in the garden to take a couple of pictures.  It's also 5 Fact Friday, and that's fun, so . . . 

1.  My favorite movie is Cinema Paradiso.  No matter how many times I watch it, I always wind up in a puddle of tears.  There's something that really speaks to me about the man's life, and then it's so sad at the end when the . . . well, maybe I shouldn't post a spoiler.  If you've seen it, you know what comes at the end.

2.   I love roses.  This is my little teeny tiny Tequila Sunrise rose -- it's about two years old and it's finally a little more than a foot tall.  It has two beautiful blooms.  I also have Hot Cocoa, Westerland, Blaze of Glory, and Joseph's Coat.  I have to give credit to the woman who tends my garden -- thanks, Jana.

3.   I love Shakespeare, ever since I was about 13.  I like so many of the plays -- but my favorites are the plays in the Henriad -- Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, and Henry V.   What I like even better, though, is to teach Shakespeare to students who think they won't like it.  They most usually do.

  Here's the other bloom on the Tequila Sunrise.

4.   When we were little, my German grandma would make us spaghetti noodles sauteed with butter, sugar and cinnamon.  I've never know anybody else who's eaten this.  Anyone ever had it?

5.  The first dog I ever had was a Shetland Sheepdog named Bonnie Lassie.  She was a wonderful dog.  She was easily trained and very well behaved.  When my parents had parties, my brother would dress her up in pajamas (with her tail coming out the fly) and send her down to the living room.

 A single Westerland rose --

So those are my five facts for today -- what are your five facts?  :)