Tuesday, December 30, 2008


My Garage body parts arrive at 7a.m.

These guys were incredible!

I have been shoveling snow off this pad for 5 weeks - I am so HAPPY this is finally going to be installed. Mother Nature has not been our friend.

Do you think she's still mad about the trees?

By 10:00 the walls were up and they began to put the roofing in place.

This "street side" of the church with the parking area was so big and flat - I am so excited that the added bonus of the garage is some dimension - some interest to this facade. Can't wait to landscape!

It was cold and slippery and I retreated several times because it was just too scary to watch.

The siding went on quickly - it "almost " matches the 165 year old siding that is on the church.
I am VERY happy.

Unfortunately it began to snow and they called it a day.

I have days when the weather wears on me and I miss Laguna Beach and I miss Anguilla. I have found a wonderful blog - Lime in the Coconut- and whenever I feel this way I go to Linda. Just the title page makes me feel "at home". She posts a beautiful photo of a wind blown palm and it transports me. It is not that it makes me homesick - it simply feeds that part of my soul. If you missed her holiday blog with photos of her home.....have a Rum Punch and enjoy the ride. It is such a refreshing break from formality....bright colors, inventive accents, a home where warmth and humor flourish.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Just a little something to take your mind off your post Christmas let-down.

Next we'll get worked up for New Year's Eve.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Maybe I should have spelled "SCARVES".
Maybe I should have stayed in Anguilla.

It's an inside job today - the wind chill right now is -34

yes -34

you read right -34

This is my temporary kitchen - pretty limited. Like the telephone cords? It's the communications hub of the home.

The stainless sink unit will go into my studio when the new cabinets are installed.

And this is my total storage for food, pots and pans, small stuff hiding in the big bucket. The window sill is deep enough to hold cannisters but it's so cold I keep the matchstick blinds dropped down all day........all I can see is snow anyway.

and these are the new cabinets - just waiting for me to put them together! I've been walking past these boxes for 6 weeks......have to get worked up to start this but I'm thinking today is the day.

This is the other big job - picking the paint off the tin ceiling.

I think I'll alternate - one is an overhead job and one is a sit-down job

First, one more cup of coffee.

Friday, December 19, 2008


With all the snow and then sub-zero temps - I never got out to the deck to string lights on the trees. Last night was my last chance - snow was not deep and it was warm (25 degrees) - I knew if I didn't do it then - I wouldn't do it this year.

Lookin' good.......


From my lower level - this is what I woke up to .............the window sill is at ground level.


you can barely see my neighbor's roof

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I am sure this is boring for many of you - but for me, having been in CA for so long .........
well I just can't get enough of these beautiful images.

All my trees are still standing - leaning a bit after this last storm - but still standing.

Tonight will bring a BIG storm

My garage was supposed to be installed on Monday but may be delayed now as they are falling behind due to weather

My little neighbor girl said

"It looks like Toyland"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This is a different Christmas Story - but one I promised my daughter Meghan that I would tell....it's a family classic.

I am not proud of what I am about to tell you - but neither am I going to apologize ......if nothing else, I am honest.

We had a wonderful family room with an 8 ft mantel over the fireplace....a large artificial tree and a 6 ft bay window in our eating are. These areas were festooned with garlands and lights and ALL the ornaments the children (3) made through the years.... AND all the ornaments given to them through the years. There were Disney Characters and storybook characters and Cool Whip lids with photos glued to them. There were frames of yarn and buttons, decoupage and needlepoint, lots and lots of popsicle sticks and balls of spray-painted macaroni. We had the bread dough characters made just for us, gingerbread men and flat, felt snowmen......candy canes, choo-choo trains and on and on...................... It was a history of our family and I loved them all. I loved them all in the family room.

then in the living room there was MY tree. I LOVE my tree...it is void of color - it is nearly naked and you can see the trunk and the branches...I liked to call it the "architecture" of the tree. I have used the same gold and silver striped ribbon for 20 years....the same gold and silver beads and the same pearls for 20 years!!! I have only a few ornaments , mostly clear glass. It is like recess from Christmas . It is not a status tree or a decorator tree - it is a simple, clean, sparse, lovely but unpretentious tree.

When I opened my shop in '98 - I needed the artificial tree for the display so all the kids ornaments were hung on the garlands in the bay window and over the fireplace. In '99 when it was time to decorate Meghan said "lets hang all the stuff on the big tree".

"But then we won't have things in the family room"

"Yeah - we have plenty - I want my ornaments on the big tree this year"

"But these ornaments always look so great over the fireplace"

The debate went on and Meghan (by then an adorable teenager) SCREAMED at me that I never really wanted their help and hated their stuff and stormed upstairs and reaching the landing she turned and yelled "YOU'RE A CHRISTMAS TREE NAZI" and hurled an ornament over the balcony at me.

I ducked. I was stunned, furious and mortified ....because she was right.
I begged her to come back down - she wouldn't - so after all the ribbons and pearls I hung every one of the childrens ornaments. And when I lit the tree - it was beautiful.

It was a day or two before we spoke - when I was given the chance I apologized and told her she was right and the tree was beautiful. She said "Really ?? Because I was thinking YOU were right - it looks like crap".

And that is the story of Yours Truly, the Christmas Tree Nazi.

Happy Holidays.


For my CA friends - this is S N O W. Under this mound is my GMC.

Some wonderful neighbor had already plowed my new slab and cleared a parking area - but I had to dig out the car and the mounds of snow around it

The doorbell rang early....school was closed. The churchyard has the longest hill in town and has always been the destination for sledding so the kids were asking permission.

a relic from summer

Monday, December 8, 2008


The trees outside have been "righted" and are still standing a week later. The snow has continued and the temp has rarely been above 15 degrees so I haven't finished the lights. IT IS REALLY COLD and I am NOT used to this.

Turning attention inside - decided that I would get the biggest tree I could find so as to distract from the mess. Didn't really think that through. It is so tall that I had to just throw stuff at the top - literally - what ever stuck stays.

Not my best work


I did, however, love the effects of seeing the stained glass through the tree.....I have no color on the tree so wherever you see blue and purple and bright green - that's the glass showing through. I do love that.

Bought these lanterns in CA in '06 and they have been packed away since then. Fun to finally get them out........washing all those glass panels - not so much.

Monday, December 1, 2008


The snow started in the afternoon - then the wind picked up......... by morning 2 trees were down and one is leaning.

Need to make some adjustments tomorrow if the snow stops

I guess I needed to be reminded who was in charge


It's hard to put this in perspective - I need a human. The green trees are about 12 ft tall - the white ones are 6 1/2 ft.

Since all the bushes had been trimmed there was no place for me to string Christmas lights and seeing as this is my first holiday here - I was NOT going to be cheated out of decorating. I went to the local tree lot and bought trees and put them in stands in the front and on the back deck.......HA!!

I had great helpers - if I had to get down on the ground like that I 'd never get up !

Thursday, November 27, 2008


  1. It is Thanksgiving Day and I have SO many people and things in my life for which I give thanks.

    The blankets were pulled off the new slab yesterday and the message I put in the wet concrete seems so appropriate for the day.



The snow melted (mostly) so I took advantage of the weather. People actually slow dow when they drive by - I'm sure they're all talking about the crazy Church Lady who is still working in the garden

This is going to be a new entrance to the garden flanked by trees

Two weeks ago my friend Nancy and her son Hunter helped me get these last trees and pines in the ground. I always have great plans but I could never had done it all without their help. I bought the mulch but the weather turned before I was able to cover the plants - so this was a reprieve

I'm so excited!


" 'cause I'm the Queen of Denial "
just having a little "Oh My God" moment. There was snow everywhere and it was warm and sunny in CA ........so - while the world was buying snow tires and Christmas Trees - I bought a car load of palm trees and ferns.
I feel much better

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


What a difference a day makes

and now it begins....................


I know I have many months of work ahead - but at least I am at a point where I can have people visit . My girlfriends actually ASKED if they could come out for lunch - I didn't even have to bribe them...........AND they brought the lunch!

For a bunch of Catholic schoolgirls who spent years in church........this is our new alternative for Sunday Services mea culpa

We sat and chatted and laughed and finished the afternoon with coffee, tea and biscotti.

It was delightful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I haven't slept in days.........I am out of my element building a garage and the weather adds major concerns. Do I need a curb? some say yes - some say no ...windows, no windows, what if it snows..........on and on....
The first trucks arrived at 6:15

The ground had been covered with insulated blankets since last week.

The bobcat tore out all the existing asphalt and then the loads of gravel arrived

The cement truck arrived shortly after sunrise

I went with "no curb" and hope I won't regret it


breakfast of champions

how did we get anything built before ---
Mountain Dew ?

They said they were working but I think they're doing the Electric Slide

final buff





I have hopes for building a garage....after having over 100 inches of snow last year and with the Farmer's Almanac predicting even more this year..........I am panicked about living alone with no garage. "Digging out" is not on the top of my list.

Because my church was dropped on this site so long ago - I have to go to the county and apply for a variance. I have to present these photos and show that I have no options for the placement of the garage.

The hearing goes well.....it's so easy when you just tell the truth.



All that was done to prepare for a new propane tank.....I switched the position of the tank with hopes of building a garage.