Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dream Land

I have had the silliest of dreams the last few nights.

Last night I dreamed that Hubby came home with 3 chickens in his arms. I said to him, 'Only three? You know we will need 4 because we have 4 grandchildren! And this means you have to build a Chicken coop and a play house!'

The funny thing is......I have no grandchildren yet. But I do have 4 adult children.

I guess it remains to be seen if this dream comes true.

But chickens?

The night before, I had a dream that Hubby and I were staying at our favorite resort in Phoenix, Arizona in a little Casita all our own.

And inside the little rooms, tucked onto shelves and placed on benches and chairs, were baskets of nearly finished embroideries.

There were colorful blouses and skirts, purses and wall hangings.

And in each basket were the supplies to finish them.

There was a note on the table that said, 'Any of the needlework projects that you finish, you can take home.'
I was ecstatic! A vacation in my favorite place in the world and needlework projects to boot!
That's what I call a 'Dream Vacation.'

Sometimes my dreams can be quite astonishing. Like the recent one I had about a little green apple. In my dream, I had visited a dusty, dark storage building. Inside were items that belonged to my Mother before she passed away.

I searched the shelves for some small memento to take home with me. I was being rushed, as the daylight was fading and there were no lights.

And there on a far shelf in the back was this little green apple pincushion, made of cotton with a little calico leaf.

My Mother and I used to sew these for a shop we had together long ago.

I clutched it to me, a little treasure, the one thing I had chosen.


I had forgotten about the dream, until a few days later when I went searching for some embroidery thread to make my thistle embroidered jacket.

I had a little plastic tote full of embroidery thread that I hadn't used in years.

And when I opened up the tote, there on top was the little green apple of my dream!

And in that moment, I knew my Mother was looking down on me.

When we made the little apples, it was a time in our lives when we were very close.


I keep that little apple next to my sewing machine now. A sweet reminder of those precious days, and the mysteries of dreams.

Sometimes it is not our own dreams that speak to us, but the dreams of others.

Shortly after my Mother's funeral, my youngest son called me.

He had a dream, he said. A dream about his Grandmother.

In the dream, he was driving towards her home. But as he turned onto the final road, he came upon a car on the side of the road. It was a vintage car of the '50's, and inside two young women were calling for him to approach.  

When he walked closer, he could see an old suitcase in the back seat. And in the passenger seat, the young woman called out to him, 'It's me, it's Patricia, your Grandmother!' She introduced the driver, a woman he had never met, but whom he knew of nonetheless, as it was her older sister, Mary who had passed away when he was a tiny boy.


She got out and hugged him, and she was happy and laughing. She told him that Mary had come to take her on a journey. That she had packed her bags and she was ready to go.

And then my son described my Aunt Mary, whom he had never met. He described her exactly.

Sometimes dreams can give you cryptic messages. Once, a while back, I was struggling with a relationship that wasn't working out well.

I had doubts about this person's loyalties. But I couldn't decide whether I should give it one more chance.

And then I had this dream. In the dream, I had met a young mother with a small boy. I invited her to my home. While we sat at my table and enjoyed some tea, her little boy started writing on the wall. I got up to see what he had written. But a voice told me that, 'I couldn't read the writing on the wall.' And then I woke up.

It made so much sense.


Where do dreams come from and where do they go?

Do they live on, regardless of the outcome?

Do they stay locked in the Dream Land playing over and over indefinitely?

Or do they fade away like a glorious sunset, once remembered, but forever gone.
Do you believe in the power of your dreams?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Long Night

The wind is howling outside my door tonight. The wind chimes are crashing together and debris is hitting the house. It has been a long cold season and I am so anxious for Spring.

On nights like this, it is hard to sleep. There is a little grove of very tall trees right next to my bedroom. One is a Hemlock that must be at least 70 feet tall. The wind blows it's long branches every which way, snapping cones and little branches that land on my deck with a thump. Hubby sleeps like a baby, but I lie there thinking.

My dog Whitey slides through his pet door in the kitchen and walks to the glass door of my bedroom from the deck and stares in through the small opening at the bottom of the closed curtains. He is nervous. He hates the wind. He is telling me that he would rather I come out into the living room and keep him company.

So I bank up the fire and put on the tea kettle and settle down with a good book with him lying at my feet. He finally settles down and soon he is snoring, the presence of my companionship to take away his fears.

His loyal presence giving me the same comfortable feeling.

Because outside, just beyond the thin walls and glass, lie miles upon miles of wilderness. If I think about it too long, I can really feel small and alone.

When I look out my windows at night, there are no lights except the reflected lights from my own lamps upon the glass.

We do have neighbors, with only one that is close. We are on the edge of a vast forest surrounding Mt. Rainier.

One night years ago, on a similar wild night, my dogs were barking loudly and woke me up at 3 a.m. Because my children were sound asleep, and my husband had to get up at 5 a.m., I took it upon myself to investigate without waking him up.

I stepped out onto my front porch with my dogs beside me. My presence temporarily distracted them as they snuggled beside me so I would tickle their ears. But then, both together stood up and with ears pricked and eyes facing the same direction, they growled deep in their throats.

I turned to look in the same direction, and there before me, only 30 feet away, was an incredible sight. A very large cougar stood on the wood pile, it's back end on top, it's front end stretched downward the full length of the pile, nearly 9 feet long from the tip of it's tail to it's nose. And it was looking right at me.

A very curious thing happened. My fear was so complete and so instinctual, that I felt myself separate and part of me went through the door before my physical body followed behind, dogs hot on my tail.

Sometimes I wonder at how brave we were to come here, clear raw land, and build a house on the edge of the wild.

We were young and adventurous. We were strong and energetic. We were naive and innocent. We had no idea.

It has been quite an adventure. One that keeps on surprising us, enthralling us, and yes, scaring the wits out of us.

We have seen things and heard things go bump in the night. There are lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

There were rumors when we first came here, of a white coyote. One night I was driving home late after a long day in the city, selling crafts at a show. I was on the last leg of my journey, slowing down before turning the corner at the base of our little mountain road. And there in my headlights I saw this apparition. It was the white coyote running along the side of the road. There was no escape for him, as he was up against a little pasture fence, and so he turned his head sideways, flattened his ears, hunched his back, tucked in his tail and hopped at me with his teeth bared, like cats sometimes do at play.

It absolutely made my blood run cold.

But at the same time, it was a thrilling sight. An albino coyote! And I had seen it!

I was grateful to be inside my warm and safe vehicle with plenty of gas.

But there was this time once, after my children boarded their school bus and I turned my car to go back up the little mountain, that my car could not negotiate the ice on the hill that I had so easily come down from. I tried and tried to drive it up the steep road, to no avail. I had to abandon it and walk. It was eerily quiet that cold and icy morning and I was all alone. The only neighbors were far up the road. It was too slippery for me to walk very fast and the climb was so steep. As I carefully made my way, I heard a very large crashing through the woods along the hill. I couldn't run and was paralyzed in fear. The crashing was coming closer and I could tell it was a very large animal.

As I held my breath and prayed, soon a large brown head appeared. Then it let out a long mournful 'Moooooooooo'. It was a steer! And gratefully, it was held back by a 3 strand barbed wire fence.

He accompanied me up the steep incline from his side of the fence as I kept up a steady conversation with him, and then at the top I said goodbye and he joined his friends and I made a promise to myself that I would immediately get studded snow tires so I never had to walk up that mountain alone again.

I have learned self reliance, courage, and respect for nature. I have so much respect for man-kind, to have survived and thrived for thousands of years despite the harshness of nature and the elements. We have not survived for this long without having a reverence and respect for our life supporting planet. It is so important at this time of our journey to remember to continue to respect her. Vote for environmentally responsible politicians, recycle, don't use harmful chemicals, be kind to our fellow earthlings, the creatures who share our home, be responsible in all aspects of caring, for without this life giving planet, we would cease to exist.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Easy Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie has always been Hubby's favorite dessert. I used to make it from scratch using the original recipe, but it took so long that I would only make it on special occassions.

And even though I still make it for him on his special days, like his recent birthday celebration, now I use this very easy version.

He hasn't been able to tell the difference, and it is oh, so delicious!

To begin, simply bake and cool a two layer yellow cake from a cake mix. I used a 'Super Moist' version.

To make the filling, add:
 1-1/2 cups cold half-and-half cream to 1 pkg. (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix and whisk together. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Use this as the filling between the cake layers.

To make the chocolate glaze for the top:

Mix together
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp baking cocoa
4-5 teaspoons hot water

(I doubled this to make it extra thick on top)

Then just drizzle this on top, letting it drip down the sides.

Such an easy way to make someone happy!

And if you're really lucky, you'll get a sweet thank you for all of your 'hard work'.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Time and Again

Juneau, Alaska 2005
This weekend we celebrate Hubby's birthday. As I make plans and preparations, I am reminded of the passing of time. I have been with this man celebrating birthdays since he turned 16. And now as he comes closer to his sixth decade, time takes on new meaning.

Juneau, Alaska 2005

Time has a way of running away, of passing quickly, of slipping through your fingertips.
You can't hold on to time.
Time is precious.
More precious than gold.  
A commodity that can't be measured.

Juneau, Alaska  2005

It slips away with the tide.
Not only is it another year of celebrating with my sweet Hubby, but the passing of time is also marked by my Mother's passing.
You see, she died exactly one year ago.
On Hubby's birthday.
So now, every year will be marked by two events on one day.
A celebration of two lives.

Ketchikan, Alaska 2005

Time is marked in so many ways. Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Years, Decades, Eons, Eternity.
Time can be well spent, or time can be wasted.
Time can be lost, or Found.
Time can be endless. Or time can go too quickly.
Time can be served and time can be empty.
But one thing is certain;
Time marches on.

Ketchikan, Alaska 2005

To spend so much time with one person marks time in a unique way.
We have shared moments in time.
We have shared memories.
We have shared goals and dreams.
We have raised a family together. 
We have shared a lifetime.

We have shared our youth.
And now we share our later years.
Time has been kind.

Tram in Ketchikan, Alaska 2005

But we are aware of time's limitations now.
When you are young, time stands before you in an unbroken line, like a string of pearls.
But as 
you get older, you can see time's restraint.
Time becomes very precious. Time becomes compressed.
Time has new meaning.
Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska 2005

Time is
Too slow for those who wait
Too swift for those who fear
Too long for those who grieve
Too short for those who rejoice
But for those who love
Time is not

Henry Van Dyke

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska 2005

There is no time to waste.

A Time To Talk - Robert Frost

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, 'What is it?'
No, not as there is Time to Talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Anchorage, Alaska 2005

I am grateful for the time I have had.
And look forward to the time left unspent.
Spent with the ones I love.
Time never wasted.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Hubby

Time in a Bottle

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
Till Eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
to do the things you want to do once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

Jim Croce

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vintage Style Boudoir Bottles

Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style

These easy to make bottles are a beautiful way to add a little vintage luxury to your Bath or Boudoir, and they also make lovely gifts.

Simply start collecting some interesting bottles that you would otherwise recycle. An easy way to remove the labels are to soak them in hot water with dish soap for about an hour. Sometimes you can just peel the label off. But for those stubborn labels and really sticky glue, use a copper scrubby and go to work. I find this works really well and even removes the stubborn glue.

A good source of beautiful vintage labels can be found here: The book I am using is called 'Memories of a Lifetime' - 'Vintage Labels From a Lady's Dressing Room'.  This is copyright free and the images can be either downloaded from your computer via the CD included, or color copied from the book.

I used Matte Photo Paper for my copies. This gives you a sturdy paper for your labels and also copies the colors true. I like Matte because both sides of the paper are the same and you can't go wrong.

I then cut out the images, matching the size of the images with the bottles I have on hand.

A simple glue stick adheres them in place.

This is a good way to use up all those wine corks you've been saving! Craft stores also sell corks.

Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style

Tie a ribbon around the neck of the bottle, cork it, and you are done! You can add charms, ribbon roses, keys, whatever you have on hand. I simply added pretty ribbon.

There are many label styles to choose from to decorate any type of bottle.

You can also use magazine photos, scrapbook paper and motifs, even newspaper illustrations. Always remember to color copy onto Matte Photo Paper for good results and to keep images and print on the reverse side from showing through.

Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style

This is a fun way to use all those bottles that are too pretty to put in the recycle bin. You can personalize them to suit your decor or a lucky gift recipient's taste.

Small bottles can be filled with cologne or floral water. Larger bottles can hold bath oil.

Or they can be used as lovely vases for a special bloom.

Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style

I hope this inspires you to make your own Vintage Syle Boudior Bottles.

Have fun!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Our Life Together - Reunion

As my final year of school wore on, the Vietnam War was winding down, an Oil Embargo was driving up gas prices and inflation, unemployment was high, social unrest was happening over Roe Vs Wade, Watergate, and other volatile issues.

My life at home was relatively peaceful, as I had agreed to stop seeing my steady boyfriend of two years, Blue Eyes, a few months ago.

But beneath the surface, there were things I was not aware of.

My Father's job of 20 years was in jeopardy. He was foreman of a Tool and Dye company, working his way up over the years to become the owner's right hand man. My Father was so close to his boss, that he was given the keys to the business, and even allowed access to his beautiful mountain cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Vacations at this idyllic place are sweet memories for me.

But the oil embargo, the recession, and his boss' advanced age were taking its toll on business. My Father didn't know it then, but after time it became apparent that his boss was in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

Soon, many employees were let go. My Father's boss' sons entered the picture. Throughout the years, his boss had always told my Father that he would pass the business to him when he was ready to retire. He thought of my Father as a son. My Father had no reason to think this would not happen.

But with the onset of Alzheimer's, this was not to be. His sons had other plans for the business.  They didn't have an interest in the business, so plans were made to sell it.

My Father's future plans were placed in turmoil.
But there was time. It was decided that the business would stay open until all orders were fulfilled. There were contracts for the next two years.

I was told that any dreams I might have had for college would not come true. My parents were reluctant to spend precious resources on college for a daughter whom they felt would just 'get married' and waste her education.

On the surface we lived an idyllic life. My Father worked hard to provide for us. My Mother did not have to work all through my childhood.

But there were five of us. My youngest sisters were only 5 and 3.
And so it came to pass that my Mother started working part time every evening with my Father, to save as much money as they could for the inevitable lay-off.

I was also expected to work part time. When I wasn't working or going to school, I was helping out at home. My only fun was cheerleading.

And then I ran into Blue Eyes. I had tried my best to avoid him. He was dating another girl. I had gone on a few dates with others. But I never felt the same way about any other guy.

I was waiting on the corner with my girlfriend in the center of town after a Saturday game, in my Cheerleading Uniform, feeling very uncomfortable in the cold wind. We were waiting for my girlfriend's parents to give us a ride back to her house where I was planning on spending the afternoon.

But my girlfriend made other plans while we waited. She decided to leave with her boyfriend. She asked me if it would be O.K. I said it would, that I would call my parents from the nearby drug store to come and get me.

And as I entered the door, I ran right into Blue Eyes. Literally. It nearly knocked the wind out of me. I took an unsteady step backwards and he caught me. Only he didn't let me go. He steered me out onto the sidewalk, he held me by the shoulders, he looked into my eyes and told me he loved me, that he couldn't stand to be apart from me another day, that we belonged together.

I didn't believe him.

He begged me to listen to him. My pride told me to say 'No.' But my heart said 'Yes, oh Yes.' But I kept my dignity. I did not let on what my heart wanted to say. I told him I could give him an hour. I wanted to see and hear if he was genuine.

So we walked towards the nearby park. As we walked, I listened to what he had to say. He missed me, he said. He couldn't stop thinking of me.

But what of the girl he was dating?

He didn't feel for her what he felt for me.

But what about my parents?

He didn't care. He would do anything and everything to convince them he had my best interest at heart.

How could I say No?

But I was not so easily convinced. It had been months that we were apart. Why now? I was skeptical.

But inside, my heart was leaping.

And during that hour, he convinced me.

I told him I would give him another chance. That I missed him, too. That it was hard to be apart. But he had to know what he was getting into. My parents would be against it. I was unsure about his commitment. He would have to prove himself.

But a little voice inside my head told me that this was my destiny. That I should just jump into the abyss.

So I took the leap.

Next time -' Destiny Calls.'

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