Prepare to Leap

Have you done everything you wanted to do in February?

Oh, well. That's OK. Because this year you get a 29th day to do more in February.

Doesn't it seem odd that adding a day and making the year longer should be called "Leap Year"?  Yeah, yeah, I know why we do it. I'm just thinking that leaping ordinarily closes a gap. Sure, I suppose an argument can be made that leaping lengthens a distance and thus is an appropriate analogy for adding a day to every fourth year, and I've had a couple of long-jumpers in the family so I can appreciate the value-added, so to speak, but I can't shake the feeling that the marketing department is manipulating my emotions and trying to make me feel joyful about a longer wait until my birthday. Leap Year, Schmeap Year. Let's get to my birthday already!

Alright. Since we've got all this extra time on our hands, let's glance back over my shoulder to see a lovely Saturday drive to Moonstone Beach after which I backtracked to charming Paso Robles to visit the Goodwill store, public library, a Thai restaurant, and the comfy Paso Robles Inn.
Sure I could have done like all the other tourists and visited the eleventy hundred wineries winding through the coastal foothills, or enjoyed a fresh seafood meal within sniffing distance of the actual Pacific. Or I could have at least snapped a few shots of the amazing scenery to decorate my world-famous neighborhood-famous? humble blog. But I decided to enjoy the getaway in my own style and so the unglamourous thrifting and book-browsing and Thai-food-eating were not captured in visual images, except in my memories.

Speaking of doing things my way...

...I'm finding myself writing more these days. Drawing words. Like you sometimes see in the movies about last century. Before we typed everything on keypads and touch screens. Back around Nineteen ninety-something? Remember analog writing with pen to paper?

It feels good. It could lead to more writing here, and fewer photos. (Oh, wait. Hmmm. Looks like the "fewer photos" is already happening. Not so much for the "more writing here". But it could happen.) Perhaps some experimentation with focused essays or stories or haiku or comic strips or.... nah, I'm not making any promises about what you will or will not encounter here.

Because I rarely know myself until I park my fanny in the chair and try to bring some order to the chaos that is My Mind.

I'm currently enjoying a book about Julia Morgan Architect, who has inspired me since fifth grade when I had a summer school class in architectural drawing. Yeah. It was back in the glory days when we voluntarily signed up for "enrichment" at the local public school. During summer. And we bought popsicles at the 9:30 a.m. break. For a dime. I also learned to play guitar in summer school. And to sew. And to count to ten in Japanese.

Back to Julia Morgan.

And the photographs in the Julia Morgan Architect book.

And the memory images that populate My Mind.

I graduated law school when I was 40. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a practicing attorney, but that's a story for another day.

The dean of the law school I attended was petite and quirky. She was a graduate of Boalt Hall Berkeley. She taught Torts to every incoming class of first-year law students. I'll never forget her.

And now she's all mashed up in my mind with Julia Morgan. They are both boundary-breaking Berkeley-educated females, small in stature and mighty in will. That's not so unusual I guess, but the more I learn about Julia, the more I wonder if the dean is Julia reincarnated. These two women keep dancing around and around in my thoughts.

Kind of like the llamas that made me laugh when Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars came on while I was driving through the green hills on my way to the coast Saturday. What started out as a singular image multiplied in My Mind until the hills were alive with the Sound of Llamas. The song is entirely ruined for me forever (in a good way) because of this, and now it will be for you, too:
via Pinterest


Oma Rides the Rails

I don't know about you, but when I want to celebrate dead Presidents I like to hop on a train and visit loved ones. So before the sun came up on Saturday I was "all aboard" Amtrak San Joaquin 711 northbound.

Before too long the sun came up. It does that every morning, but it's special to watch the sun rise over the fields while swaying gently in a comfy window seat in Car #2.

This is Mr. Conductor. He took my ticket and complimented my wardrobe. He especially liked my polka dot tights and Teva sandals. Who can blame him? 

He didn't mention my swirly earrings, though.
 Next time I'll snap some pictures of the train itself and/or the train station for the pleasure of the GrandBoys. They are pretty big fans of all things train-related. Look. In this reenactment of my journey Number One GrandSon is pointing out Oma's Stealth Train. It's invisible.
I enjoyed a lovely visit up north with Oma the Great for a couple of days before I had to return to our Little House in the Valley. And when I arrived home I found a personal invitation to the upcoming celebration of all the years of Miss Bee's life. (Two.) 

My Spring social calendar is rounding out nicely I think. I'll be exploring some local scenery in a few days, so check back for highlights from the further Adventures of Oma.


Tangled Threads

It is good to unplug and interact with the real world. I'm not bored or blocked or done with blogging. But I'm conflicted because I cannot seem to stop this:
 I am knitting cotton "warsh" rags
warm outer garments for little lumberjacks

and February Baby Sweaters.

Green seems to be the flavor-of-the-month.

And speaking of guacamole, on Tuesday my Balentime Sweetie whisked me off to SeƱor Pancho's for my favorite plate of shredded beef mini tostada. So between Mr. Last's loving care and my knitting obsession I've neglected my blogly duties. 

Some day maybe I'll find the balance that is just right.

Or not.

In the meantime, carry on. I'll meet ya back here when I can.

Keep doing all the good things you are doing.


Around Here

 Green things are pushing toward the sun...
 Yellow daffodils are blooming in anticipation of St. David's Day.
The Irish have St. Patrick's Day; the Welsh have St. David's Day.
Traditionally celebrated on March 1.
I hope to one day trace my paternal family history
back across the pond to Wales.
In the meantime I enjoy the daffodils in honor of my ancestors
and the approach of Springtime.

This little ray of sunshine lit up our day when we played 
inside and outside this afternoon.
She loves to run "round and round" and swing and slide.

I've been knitting a lot, reading a little, 
cooking very little -- well, I made delicious beef stew in the crockpot early in the week that we enjoyed for a couple of meals.
And that's what I've been up to...
...around here.


Comment Allez-Vous?

Or in English "Hey, how ya doin' ?

I'm doin' fine, thank you.

Temperatures are rising and daylight is lengthening with every passing day. By the end of February it will be early Springtime in the Valley once again. Usually it sneaks up on me, but not this year.

We've been getting ready for Springtime ever since October.

Today we planted our blackberry patch along a particularly sunny and soggy section of the Back Wohl. Progress on the Wohl itself stalled temporarily while our efforts were needed elsewhere, but it will resume in a couple of weeks.

Also planted my new flowerbed under the kitchen window today with two beautiful hydragea bushes that have been potted since purchase last year. They are actually not beautiful just yet, but itty bitty leaves are sprouting on the ends of the dead-looking spindly branches so they should be looking very pretty come Eastertime. I know from experience they just look dead and lifeless during the winter, but they are faking and will fill out with huge leaves and blossoms once again during the happy warm season.

I have the seeds to plant my yellow and orange "sunflowerish" bed across the front walk from the sweet peas in about two weeks. Sweet peas seem to have taken a little growing time off, too, and I expect one night they will have a freakish growth spurt and we'll walk out the door in the morning to find a tangle of vines tripping us about the ankles.

Um, yeah, no pictures just now. This is more of a catch up post.

I'm painting a pretty description of colorful happy spots that are at this moment NOT photo-ready. You see, the truth of the matter is that for all of this accomplishment there has been a whole big bunch of digging and dirty shoes and sweaty clothes. Not to mention some swearing at the dread scourge Bermuda grass. I loathe and despise Bermuda grass. But we're not mentioning that right now. Back to dirty, sweaty, tired, aching, aging adults who require hot baths and naps just to recover from yardwork (me and Mr. Last). This is the ugly underbelly of the beast, my friends, but you might as well know the truth now. We make it look good in pictures, but behind the scenes it's not so glamourous.

We are old.

And we like to garden.

Deal with it.

In other news...

I'm currently reading three different books, with a couple more waiting in the wings; I impulsively started knitting a sweater for one of the GrandBoys and then immediately interrupted impressive sweater progress because I had an overwhelming need to teach myshelf to crochet hexagons. Oh. And I baked a batch of outstanding peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

For ten minutes I laid out the atlas pages for my wallpaper-the-bathroom project, but when that appeared to need some careful thought and calculation (and perhaps repainting the bathroom), I wisely bundled it all back up carefully and slid it back under the bed for another day.

Other than that, things have been pretty quiet around here lately.

Au revoir, mes amis.

(French for "Good-bye, my friends.")


Three Things I Love About Thursday

Borrowing a meme from the Youngish One, here are three things I love about Thursday:
  1. Today is Ground Hog Day. That alone makes this Thursday loveable.
  2. But. Also. It's Friday Eve!
  3. Sometimes on Thursday night we pretend that it's Friday night and have a special dinner or a movie or both. And we really feel like we are starting our weekend early AND that we are getting away with something because everyone else has to wait until Friday night to start the weekend.
What's not to love about Thursday?