29 June 2010

Friends for Life

Back in February my honey and I went to a Fat Tuesday Fundraiser with our friends from St Mary.
We asked our daughter to take our picture before we left because, we rarely get all gussied up to go out.  Don't mock my tights and boots,  it was February and I get cold easily!  Besides as you'll see in a later picture, I think it was a good omen.

The night was a blast, with lots of good food, dancing, chatting and catching up with those friends we love but rarely have the time to see anymore now that our kids have grown up and we're not planing overnighters or standing in the yellow box to  pick our kids up from school.

Friends like these here.  We first came together because our kids went to the same school and we all attended the same church.  Now, even though our kids have all moved on to different schools and different phases of their lives, once in a while we're lucky and we get to hang out together.  Look at them!  They're not only each and every one,  stellar human beings but,  I trust the one on the far left so much, I let him deliver one of my grandchildren!  The woman in the black dress has the same love for farm animals that I do.  You'd a thought we invented chickens!  The guy in the middle with the big smile, he's always gonna make you laugh and he gets your husband out of the house to relax and play poker now and again too.  However, now that I think about it, you wouldn't want to let him deliver your baby.  He's married to the chicken lady whose smile is never, ever not present on her face. She makes you feel good just by shining all her positive energy towards you with that 1000 kilowatt smile.  The lovely lady on the far right, she's a dear too, married to the guy on the far left and combined, our kids have gone to school together for the past 16 years.  Two of them are still going to the same University as we speak.  

You may think we're old but, we can keep up with the best of them.  It's at least 9:00 PM and we're still takin pictures of ourselves.  You learn how to do that when you have teenagers.  They think they're the only ones who know how to wield the camera or the cell phone to capture and email their photos all over FaceBook and the internet.

No way man, we can do it too!

As you go through life and the seasons of it change, you must change with them.  There is a time when your friends are your pals from school, your peers.  You usually have your girlies to whom you tell all your secrets and you're sure they'll be there for you always.  You start dating and you may even think you fall in love a time or two. You may meet friends in college whom you'll still know a century later.  One day you might fall in love for real and you'll marry and build a family of your own.  Some friends come with you and some stay behind.  That's the way it's supposed to be.  Every friend, every person you experience is an important part of the seasons of your life.

Your kids go off to school and you make friends with the parents of their pals and with the people you work with.  You may be part of a church community and lasting friendships are made there too.  Soon you make friends with your spouses friends and co-workers, business associates.  Your kids start growing up and as you are chasing them around town trying to keep up with their antics, you make new friends who are doing the same thing.  There are those who start writing a blog and surprise!  Lots of new friends in cyberspace become friends for real.

Some people are in our lives for a moment in time and some for a lifetime.  Some friends are with you through thick and thin and some you don't see for 10 years at a time but when you do it seems as though it were yesterday as all your memories come flooding back.  They are all important and they all leave an impression.  They, along with the experiences you have with them help to shape your life.

But if you're lucky. Really, really, lucky, you have one friend whom you love more than all the rest.  He loves you back and he sticks with you through thick and thin, day in and day out.  He sticks with you even when you don't deserve it.  He is the one who stands by you,  lifts you up when you're down and keeps you grounded when you get too crazy.  He sees you at your best and at your worst and he loves you the same either way.  If you're lucky he still makes your heart soar after he's been there and seen it all for 25 years by your side.

These two were celebrating Mardi Gras too.  They danced the night away long after some of us had gone home to bed.  They've been there at that St Mary Fundraiser for as long as I can remember, and they always leave a sweet and lasting impression.  And that little omen I talked about before with the tights.  I just have to get mine a wee more sparkly!

So today,  I want to wish my beloved a Happy 25th Wedding Anniversary.  You're  my very best, my most beloved and dearest  friend. We've raised five kids together who are all amazing in their own way.  I won't write about them now because it's not their turn.  I hope 25 years from now we look just like this couple and we'll still be 'cuttin' a rug', after all these years.

Happy Anniversary My Sweetie.  Loved you then, but love you more now, and will love you more still.


Me xoxoxo

24 June 2010

Primer Me White

Hiya all, I'm home!  My Mom's 80th birthday celebration in Idaho was a great success.  My sister and her husband hosted the most fantastic party in her back yard, which looks like a spread from Home and Garden Magazine.  Seeing that Idaho is so green and full of vibrantly colored flowers this summer, it was a big shock to come home to this.

The entire inside of the cottage has been coated in primer.  The windows are covered, for protection, in plastic with blue painters tape which, even now is painted white!

If it helps those of you who are not complete and utter fans of white, the kitchen island will be a gorgeous shade of green.  But it does have a white marble top.  Sorry.

Things are moving along at a clipped pace now.  Even since these pics, there has been incredible progress.  This fireplace now has a hearth and the wall is almost covered in stone.  I promise more to come on that in a future post.

For all ya all who have no interest in religious stuff, especially of the Roman Catholic persuasion, you can skip on down to the next picture because, this won't be pretty for you.  Bye, bye now.

Can you see (through all this white) the niche above the stairwell?  An aside — no one has fallen down that pit yet but, the railings can't go in until after the wood floors do, so be careful!  Anyway, back to the niche.  When I was traveling in Italy, I noticed that all over the Country they honor Our Blessed Mother with her own little niche.  She is lovingly placed in homes, plaza's and churches.  I have a special fondness and devotion to Mary,  and I thought in my cottage she should have her very own niche.  There will be photos of my family and friends on the walls so I can remember the good times, and there will be my statue of Mary in her niche so I can see her every day and remember that she said YES to God. 
My awesome, artistic and amazing electrician Rick, put a light in to shine on her.  I know her presence will bless us.  After all, she's the mother of Jesus!  What better way to get closer to Him than through His Mother?

Okay, hi again to my non religious friends!  "You know I love ya like my luggage."  These are just some of the cabinet doors primed white (and ready to paint white) in the cottage.

How do you like our doors?  Pretty basic cottage don't ya think?  The door knobs are on back order for four weeks.  Of course they are!

The newly remodeled Master Bedroom has some space saving built ins and a window seat.  Think I'll ever be sitting there reading a good book?  I can't imagine it at this point but,  won't somebody please tell me it's true?

I think you've seen about as much white as you can handle in one post.  I know I have.  So here is a photo I took in beautiful Kuna, Idaho.  Bet you don't know where that is.  Me either.  Every time I go visit my sister there I get lost for 3 days.  So. Cal beach chicks who are direction impaired, don't do long, flat, winding roads too well.  But, can you see the rainbow?  Right smack dab in the middle of the sky?  I know that's a sign.  A good sign that all will go well in the next couple of weeks as our Cottage By The Sea transforms back into our home sweet home.  

P.S.  Andy's coming back to help us move!  Remember Andy?

Love you more than all the white primer and paint being sprayed in the cottage today!




16 June 2010

WARNING! Proceed At Your Own Risk

I think there should be some kind of warning out there to protect the innocent if they should decide to remodel their home.  It should say, WARNING!  Proceed At Your Own Risk.  I'm thinking it could be flashed on television screens throughout the world during Prime Time.  Maybe there should also be a handbook, say in the toilet paper isle at the grocery store; just so nobody misses it.  In addition,  perhaps there could be a blog on the internet detailing the inherent dangers of remodeling.  It should include chapters like this:

1.    How The City Building and Permit Department Can Put Your Life On Hold (For As Long As They Want).
2.    Architects vs Designers and the Hazards Of Both
3.    Why Contractors Get In Pissing Fights On A Regular Basis With Architects and or Designers
4.    Why Contractors Get In Pissing Fights With Each Other (See other entire book on the conundrum which is Testosterone.)
5.    The Emotional, Spiritual and Overall Effects of Construction on the Family
6.    How to Drastically Change Your Life In Nine Easy Months
7.    How To Keep Your Marriage Intact During A Remodel (Part 1)
8.    How To Keep Your Marriage Intact During A Remodel (Part 2)
9.    The Effects On The Well Being Of Animals Uprooted During Construction
10.  The General, Overall, Flakey-ness Of People In The Workforce
11.  How The Bad Economy and Needing A Job,  Does Not Seem To Affect the Overall Competence of People In the Construction World
12.  Why Construction Is A Great Job For People Who Only Want To Work Four Hours Per Day
13.  208 Reasons Why Your Construction Project Will Take Two Times Longer and Cost Three Times As Much As You Had Anticipated
14.  Why There Are So Many Shades Of White, Blue, and Green
15.  What Do You Do When You Have To Make So Many Decisions That Your Mind Goes Dead
16.   Is There Life After A Remodel
17.   How To Pick Up The Pieces And Still Count Your Blessings

This is a photo of our little cottage before we started in, with the jack hammers and axes, and busted all the glass out, ripped doors off and day by day caused general mayhem.  

This was just last July!  So peaceful... ~sigh~

Peaceful and serene and QUIET.  Well, except for the noise a house full of teenagers make.  Put in perspective you'd be surprised how much better acid rock sounds than the conversation and four letter words used by a construction crew!  

The little deck in our backyard went from the scene pictured here, of family enjoying the dappled sunlight filtering through the trees, to summer nights having friends over for bonfires and to make s'mores around the fire pit.  There were lots of surfboards and wet beach towels strewn about and if you looked really hard you might find me tucked up in a corner reading a good book.

Now it looks like this.

Inside the cottage, pre destruction, we celebrated birthday's and lived our laid-back beachy life style.  Well, as much as you can lay back when you have all these yahoo's around.

Then suddenly we could see plumb through our house.

We tore out and added on.  We destroyed and rebuilt.  I started a blog for Pete's sake because I needed a creative outlet when they put all my pens and paints and canvas in storage somewhere.


Slowly, ever so slowly, they started to rebuild.  

Dirt was hauled out and new footings were poured. 

New staircases were designed and built where there were none before.  I'd love to show you all that there stuff but, I'm too exhausted from all this construction to even link back.  So if you really, really, really wanna see any of that, like if you have a lot of spare time or you're really bored one day, you can hop on over to my archives when you have a free hour or so.  I know, I know.  Nobody could ever, possibly be that bored.

One day amongst all the chaos I discovered this little Geranium clinging to life by the side of the house and I thought,  by golly, if that little flower can survive this construction — so can I damn it!  I took it as a sign.  But if you know me you'll know that I look for a sign in everything.  I'm Irish.  And Catholic to boot.  I just can't help myself. 

The innards of the house started to be put into place.  Wiring, plumbing, ducting and the such.  I didn't understand it, I was confused and bewildered.  I thought I was just days away from picking out a new sofa.  

Let me tell you friends, innards take a long, long, long, long, time.  Apparently, they are a very important part of the building process.  But for me it was just kind of boring and maybe even a little embarrassing.  Anybody remember when Katie Couric let them show her colonoscopy on television?  Seriously, all her innards and bits right there on national TV.  Embarrassing and even a little bit boring, just like when they put the innards in my little cottage.

So, for the long, long, long, long, time it took the contractors to put it back together, I blogged about other things.  Like my beautiful, (if I do say so myself) kids, and my adorable grandkids, and surf and sand and the beach life down here in our little town.  I told you all about the antics of my puppies and my fat orange cat.  (May he rest in peace.) For all we've gained we've also suffered loss.  Pets,  family members and precious friends have passed, and all our lives have changed in so many ways.  Life keeps on going though and we are the stronger for it.  

One of my favorite quotes is from Eleanor Roosevelt who said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." That paradigm, and my faith in God, are what gets me through the tough times, helps me to look forward to the great times and count all my blessings in between!  

Don't you just love this carpet?  I'm thinking about it for my family room.  I'm sorry, was I talking about innards or God or blessings or something? I get off track easily these days.  Remodeling will do that to you.  You now see why chapters 7 and 8 above are so important.  My mind keeps racing about thinking of stripped throw rugs and dreaming about what I can do to reinvent my old furniture into new furniture to fit my little cottage.  I stalk blogs and live vicariously as they dress tables with sea shells and glass floaters.  My tummy gets tingly when I see overstuffed white sofas and dreamy shades of blues and greens on the walls.  Hubby gets excited over innards hence, innards have to come first.  First things first.  Patience is a virtue damn — it.  Have I really said damn — it twice in this post already?  I'm sorry.  Have I already said I'm sorry too?  I'm sorry.

When they started doing the drywall it was kinda cool.  Look at those fun stilts this guy got to wear when he was drywalling.  "Could you get down off those so I can just try them on for size," I said.  "Nope," he said.  "Your husband told me not to let you play on the stilts."  So, from then on I wasn't that crazy about drywalling either.

Then guys who install siding came and they did their thing.  The guys who hang shingle came and did there thing too.  There were lots of guys doing lots of things and I'm sure I didn't get pictures of them all. From the look of the job site at the end of every day, I don't think you'd want to see those pictures anyhow.

Oops, sorry.  Sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad.  I sure have.

There, is that better?  Will you forgive me now?  This blog aint called Cottage By The Sea for nothing you know.

Then they started installing cabinets and cupboards and drawers.  Even a window seat or two.  Don't you just love my little windows.  I had them installed on either side of where the cooktop will sit.  They open outward and let a soft breeze that smells like sea salt in.  Absolutely loverly.

Now the painters have come.  They painted everything white.

Even stuff that wasn't supposed to be painted white.  It made me cry.  It made hubby throw up.  At least we were on the same page concerning that one.

Have I ever told you what an awesome city San Diego is?  We have this place called Balboa Park and...
Well, that's a post for another time.  I'm trying to update you on cottage progress here.  One thing at a time Tia. 

One thing at a time.  

As the sun sets on another day here at the beach, my little cottage gets closer and closer to being finished.  Of course a cottage is always a work in progress, is it not?  The beauty in that is that, I have found that I love sharing it with you, my friends, old and new.  So in the next couple of weeks I'll be back with updates.  I'll take you with me every step of the way kicking and screaming if I have to.

I'm flying off to Idaho to celebrate my Moms 80th birthday now.  I'll be back on Monday and right back on this ol Apple, writing and posting pictures of my kids again probably, since I'm pretty sure there's not a chance in hell that the contractors will show up at all when we're out of town all the awesome progress I know will happen whilst I'm away!

I'm gonna have my attitude whipped into shape by then too.  I Pinky swear.

Love you more than all the white on white, and the white that's supposed to be wood, in the cottage right now.



P.S.  I hereby profusely apologize for using the word innards so many times in one post.  

12 June 2010

Surf's Up

What's up?  Surf's up!  It's time for those lazy, crazy, days of summer.  Everything is starting to smell like coconuts and freesia surf wax around here.

My girlies, these lil sisters here,  are all set for summer surfing again.  One just graduated college; that blondie on the right.  And the other one will be officially finished with her Sophomore Year of High School in, (as she informed me this morning) only FIVE more school days.

Not that they both don't  l.o.v.e.  school... Ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaa, ha.  But, summer's here and this is how they feel about that.

This is often their Modus Operandi for getting to the beach.  And they don't have far to go either.  Sometimes it can be a little intimidating though because, they have to pass right by this thing.

I wrote all about this thing in my post;
Can We Keep Her?

If passing by that lady is too disturbing (or in my sons case, enthralling), there are a few other routes we take, like this road less traveled.  This path leads right down to Cardiff By The Sea.  You know who lives there don't you?

This is Rob Machado.  He's one of the worlds greatest surfers,  a living icon and pretty much the soul of surfing.  But, here's the best part; Rob is Goofy Footed just like my Goofy Girl!

Ha!  You thought I wouldn't catch ya.  You scrolled right over that link underlined up there and didn't get to see my Goofy Girl.  Really, you must go back and check her out.  I promise it will bring you a laugh.  She skates and surfs Goofy Footed and not only that, when she skates she wears Stilettos!  Go check it out.  You know you want to.

Back to this guy.  Rob is also the spokesman for Hurley and he heads an Educational Foundation which supports environmental programs in Southern California.  He hosts a renowned surf competition for boys and girls right at this beach in Cardiff every year.  Besides that, the eyes have it!

The thing is though, Rob, do you think you could get a little trim on the fro before some of my friends on the East Coast or from the Mid West come out to see you?  They're gonna think we're all perpetual adolescents out here in Cali.  You know like,  putting fun forever?  Oh yeah, we are!

In Southern California surfing is a choice for PE.  High Schools have surf teams and they compete against neighboring high schools for CIF Championships.  Or you can go club surf if you want to.

Competition starts early in the morning.  I mean 5:30 AM early.  Before the sun comes up, early.

Surf is a winter sport because during the school year that's when the waves are the best.  It's cold out there so they wear a winter wetsuit.  Wet suit or not, I never go in the water in winter time.

I just sit in here and eat donuts.

These are the times for the heats.  You've got to find your team and then your time.

"Maaaaaaagie!  It's 2:30, time for your heat," I say.

And what they say is true.  NO ONE LIKES A DIRTY BEACH.  Duh.

Again I yell sweetly remind my daughter, sitting here on her towel with her BFF, Shelly.  "Sweetie, darling, honey pie, your heat is up now.  It's your turn to surf, surf, surf.  You're gonna win, win, win.  Do it for your team, team, team!"  And my girl replies, "mmmm, but, mommy me and Shelly are having a snack here."

This one, she surfs because its fun.  She just wants to be out on the water catching waves gettin' her groove on.  She's definitely not in it for the competition.

But this one...
Ya better watch your back.

If you're not into surfing, we can take out the kayak.  We call her LOLA.  Wait, don't all sailing vessels have a woman's name?

Or if kayaking aint yo thang, how about we just play in the sand and find seashells?  Imagine it,  can't you just feel the warm sun on your back right now?

So grab a friend

Get your board.

Or heck you silly goose, just climb in the minivan and I'll drive you.

But, come on 'down the beach' this summer and relax your cares away.  That's where we'll be.

Come on down and play with us!

After we're all done playing and it's time to come home and rinse off all the sand and salt water.

Cooper might just wrap you up all warm and snuggly.

Then we'll have a glass of vino and watch the sun set, and we'll all live happily ever after.

Love you more than all the waves we'll catch this summer.  (I say that metaphorically because, I'll actually be under the awning eating donuts.)