Sunday, January 6, 2008

Raining Cats & Dogs!

My oh has been raining now for about 2-1/2 days straight. Last night it was pouring with rain so loudly that it kept waking me up. So far we haven't had any mudslides. We've certainly learned from the past mistakes when the hill has slid into the street and also a few years ago when a sink hole appeared and closed one part of our street for 3 years (while the city, county, etc decided who the road really belonged to before they fixed it!)

In spite of the rain, or maybe because of it, I got lots of things done today. I started out with my usual Sunday breakfast pancakes, read the LA Times, did some hand washing, sewed a really cute reversible headband, and made a reversible tote bag that I'm going to use in place of plastic bags, etc as much as I can. I figure if I leave it in my car I'll be better at using it. The bags I regularly use have ended up hanging out in my farmers market basket, which is in my bedroom-not really convenient when you're at the store. My mother, who's a professional seamstress, took a look at my tote and said that my sewing, "has really improved". HIGH praise from her, believe me! I nearly fell over, but I just smiled and silently patted myself on the back :-) The tote seemed like it took all day, but I kept stopping to do things here and there like talk to my former next door neighbour who came by for a visit, eating lunch (homemade split pea soup), going online, etc.

Next up....a hot water bottle cover. That looks fairly basic and should be done within the hour. Well, that's the plan anyway. I need to be done before 8pm, so that I can relax and watch Amazing Race and then find out what the heck happened on Desperate Housewives. It's too bad that tonight is the last original episode (at least that's the rumour) unitl the writer's strike is over.
Only 20 days until Garth!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bunny le Rue has left the building-temporarily

As I write this I am reminded that this time last year we were all in shock from the sudden passing of our great friend, John. It still seems impossible that a year has gone by already. On Monday it will be a year since his funeral and yet it seems just like yesterday we all stood together and remembered our dear friend. Among the tears were also laughter with the memories of John living on long after he is gone. I still think back to things we did and laugh out loud. I have grown close to his mother and father and often see them around town and feel privileged to know them. I still feel his presence every now and then. When I hear a great Disco song; when I'm cooking something and have a question; when I 'm trying to coordinate some clothing or fabric, organizing my closets, etc. He is never very far. He is sorely, sorely missed. He still manages to cross my thoughts at least once or twice a day. Most of all I think of his smile and how brightly it shined.
Love You Juanito! :-)
Te amo, me amor
Vamos a bailar cuando la musica esta perfecta con sus amigos, me amor.
Deportes bien, juan! :-)

Note: After writing this yesterday, I decided to come back and edit a little. It felt a little too much like a final goodbye and that's not what it was meant to be at all, but a love letter to a dear friend.
Tomorrow it will be a year since we all said our final farewells-even at your funeral you made us laugh! Between the priest who you couldn't understand in either language, to the cell phone ringing in the middle of the priest asking a question about you (that got big laughs from our pew), to Hathor nonchalantly mentioning when it was time for the wine (can't remember what it's called) that this was your favourite part. When I said, "oh he liked this part?" She replied, "no, he finally got to drink some wine!" To us having a rather heated (but friendly) discussion about how many flowers to put in each vase and then how many vases to put on each table. After a while I finally said, "you know if John were here this wouldn't be a problem! He would just look at it and say _________" That got a good laugh. I also remember how you made me clean my closets for days on end starting as soon as I got back from the funeral, and even when I refused after the 3rd day of organizing you still made sure I got in a quick 10 minute session-then you went to Hathors house to help her out.
Hasta manana!

Happy New Year and a quick catch-up of last years doings

Wow! I didn't realize it had been so long since i'd been here. Summer (the season) came and went and brought with it lots of laughter and fun and then we went into the holdiay craziness between halloween (which is not technically a holiday), Thanksgiving, Christmas and here we are the week after New Years.

So, let's see...going backwards...

*Movies with Margaret. We took advantage of having a couple of weeks off and went to see Ps. I love you. She loved it and cried-a lot; I liked it, but didn't cry. It just made me want to go to Ireland and continue my search for the perfect, fun male. Apparently, they're all living in Ireland.
*Dance Party at Christine's house. Turns out you can only do so many dances when you have monkey arms before they all start to look ridiculous. Great music and lots of laughs! Good Times.

* Crazy winds (80+ mph!) kick up ash from the Wildfires and make the sky an eerie brown colour, very reminiscent of what it looked like in July when the fire was at it's height-scary! They also kick up enough ash each day to completely cover your car and turn it black with ash and soot. Good news was that once you started driving it just blow right off.
I spent lots of time sewing thanks to the website lighting a fire under my sewing machine. I pledged to handmake all of my presents this year and am proud to say that I was able to accomplish that with minimal whining, crying and seam-ripping. Note: for some reason that i am unable to figure blogspot will let me add pictures of my projects, but i can't move them. So, in the interest of keeping an orginized blog I am not going to add them until they can live in the correct spot.
In the latter part of december I spent time with my friends Summer and Christine at Christine's fabulous new house having a craft and sewing day. Didn't get a lot done (due to a one hour apron taking about 6 hours to sew), but we had some great laughs, sang some Christmas Carols, ate a great lunch, and watched many amazing things come out of the kitchen.

There's Summer (left) and Christine (right) wearing the aprons I made for them. Summer's is from her 80's themed birthday party (it has strawberry shortcake fabric) and Christine's is from Christmas. She had just been lamenting how she wished she had an apron when she saw Summer pull out hers and watched me cut out one for a friend. Teehee...she didn't know i'd made one for her! I gave it to her right after she mentioned it and boy was she surprised!
One of Christine's friends (tara?) made this lovely little California Cookie. She actually made a man too, but I didn't get to see the end result.

Earlier in the month Summer hosted a Sunday Afternoon Tea and Book Exchange at her house. I was able to find both a hat ( a lovely white felt number) and a beautiful dress (from H & M) at the thrift store. The hat was all of $1.99 and the dress was "half price" coming in at a whopping $2.50! Not too shabby. I even bought a couple other dresses, but this one fit like it was made for me.
That's me on the left and Christine in her borrowed hat looking fabulous as always. Boy, I tell ya growing your hair out AND wearing a hat might not be the great idea it's cracked up to be. I really wished someone had told me that my hair was sticking out like 2 little antenna's and maybe I should have pulled the hat down a little. Oh, well, it did look pretty nice all things considered. Especially since for me it was a "do-over" from summer's 80's themed birthday party where my outfit sucked! I had been wanting a do-over for a long time and since she wasn't going to have another 80's party I figured I'd better do it right for the tea party/book exchange.
The table layout for the tea party before it was demolished by hungry tea drinkers. Summer spent a lot of time making the food and labelling each thing. It was just gorgeous! You'd never know that a half hour before the party started that she was bailing water out of her bathroom!
Everyone I know (okay, not really, but it was a lot of us, including me) had a birthday in late October through November.
For my birthday I wanted to go out dancing, so in the interest of not looking comletely scary, my friends met me at the mall and helped me pick out a swanky top to wear with my swanky jeans. We first went to dinner at the Sojourner restaurant and due to me not being able to eat cake there (or anywhere for that matter) one of my friends, Nancy got the waiter to make up a plate of orange slices drizzled with chocolate sauce and the whole waitstaff came over to sing happy birthday. Awwwwww! We then decided to brave a club that we thought would be fun, turns out our idea of fun and other peoples ideas were completely different. Since when did it become okay to be rude to people! I have never seen so many rude people in one place! Blech! Once we realized, simulaneously, that the dj had been playing the same song for the last 20 minutes and that we just couldn't tolerate all the nasty-attitudes we decide to wander a block over to another club that had a dance floor about the size of my kitchen. However, the dj was really good and we soon got our dancing mojo back (although, that being said, the dj did recycle some of the songs-in the same order about an hour later, much to our surprise and dismay). We met some, um, very interesting men that wanted to dance with us. Let's just say that...well, I don't even know waht to say about them, except that they were good dancers, but as for getting social clues...didn't get a one! Oh, well, we made it fun!
Thanksgiving turned out to be extrememely stressful! I decided not to cook a turkey this year simpy because they are very expensive (when you buy organic) and I don't really eat that much of it. So, all I did was prep, cook, clean for two whole days! NOT FUN! And because I didn't have a turkey to guide my cooking time I ended up with things that didn't finish at the same time. My cornbread dressing was too soggy; the butternut squash casserole was cold; the salmon was cold by the time it got to the table. And then...when I was done with the eating and yes, the washing of those damned dishes (again!) I still had to make the pie. I'd decided on a apple crisp, which can't really be made that much in advance, so I still had to make that after everything else. Never again! Oh, and keep in mind I also had made a homemade breakfast, so i'd made breakfast, the thanksgiving meal and then for fun made a desert also when all I wanted to do was sit the hell down! Note: Christmas and New Years were much better :-)
The cutest baby (sorry, no picture due to blogspot issue with moving photos) was born on October 31st! That's right, my friend Adriana had her own sweet little pumpkin on Halloween. Keep in mind this is after months and months, well, nine to be exact of her exclaiming that no way, no how was she going to have this baby on Halloween. She was scheduled to have him on November 2nd, but she ended up having to have him a few days early.
Christine had her birthday party. Christine decided that she'd have a karoke party for her birthday. Let's just say there was a lot of singing, dancing anda a whole lot of laughing. My cheeks hurt the next day from laughing so much. Christine's friends from back east, Ethan and Stacy came to visit. We hit it off so well, that we all wanted them to move out here! Somehow I don't think that's going to happen, but we're still going to dream.
Don't remember much about September, but a return to "normal". In other words the summer ended and it was time to get back to our regular jobs. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

final count down...

It was a crazy (and fun) last few days...

With all the final painting of designs, glitter and whirlwind of costume making we still found time for a few good laughs (between cordless screwdrivers, impact drivers, screws galore, hot hot hot weather, costume issues, applying flamingos, and later flamingo leg warmers made from duct tape to keep them from falling through to the road and causing sparks)! Minor detail :-)
In the days before the parade I had been talking with John's mom and she wasn't sure if she was ready to come down to the workshop to see him. I hadn't wanted to call her until John was completly ready. On Thursday afternoon John's mom,dad and uncle joe all came down to the workshop. I'm not sure how it all worked out, but somehow in all of the business there was no one around in our area when they came, so they were able to have a quiet visit by themselves (and me and John of course). His mom was very overwhelmed and cried at first when she saw him. His dad and uncle joe were very happy with how it all turned out. Actually the whole family was very thankful and happy with how John looked. His mom kept commenting on what a great picture it was and how wonderful it was that he was smiling so brightly. I'm am so thrilled that they loved it as much as I did. How could you not help but smile when looking at him. It's funny those of us who knew John would talk to him as if he was there right along with us and people who'd never met him kept referring to him in the first person. It was perfect!! He still managed to make us laugh (and cry). We had some damned good memories to look back on.
We got him screwed up in the window minutes before his parents arrived- I didn't want to put him up too early since we were still messing with paint and glitter. He probaly wouldn't have minded the glitter one bit, but the paint would have been an issue
Here is his mom. She had just finished carressing his face and giving him a kiss. His dad insisted that she take a picture with him. It's a wonder this picture turned out since I was crying right before it was taken.
Sarah and Angelica getting the flamingos ready for their big moment in the sun...

Rebecca gets a sewing lesson from Michelle before being let loose in the costume area. She worked really hard and made a very cute skirt!

Sewing solo for the very first time...

Success! Almost done and still smiling.

Summer sewing the finishing touches. And, yes, she really was THAT happy to be finishing up.

Dance Rehearsal in the parking lot. 2 days to go...

Kristen giving her costume a first twirl. And yes, she actually wore it for the dance rehearsal.

Monica doing her best impression of a pretzel leans through the roof to put up the last (we hope) of the straw skirt/hut roofing.

Christine is finishing up drilling holes for the flamingo legs. A thankless job, but somebody had to do it. We had to lift the grass up to do it because once you drilled in the "grass" the hole closed up and you couldn't find it-very strange. Later Christine also finished up the bamboo fencing designed to keep the public off the grass..

Kim puts the final touches of paint and glitter on the float. Looks AWESOME!!

WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The float looked incredible! We had such an awesome group! Everybody pictched in and helped out with whatever was needed. No one complained and best of all their was a lot of comraderie and laughing.


four days to go...

The little grass shack/hut/house is really coming along! We added the hanging door thing-y, which is both a blessing and a curse since just about everytime you go through it something gets hooked on it and you get stuck. Amusing for everyone else :-)

Lordy it was hot!! I think this was the last day I wore my apron. I figured since we were done painting I could put it away for awhile. I sure did miss having the pockets though.
Here's my friend John. I was looking at this picture and thinking wow, he looks bigger than life, and then I realized...he really was that way. He had a smile that could quite honestly light up a room. His father has the exact same smile, which is a little strange sometimes. It's almost like seeing John as an older man. Now, it's time for us to put our focus on costumes...

I bought this fabric for Adrienne while she was living in Oregon many months ago. I described it over the phone and ended up buying some in a similar colour for myself. Great fabric!! It had a lot of movement to it. Adrienne and her friend blair prepare to start the costume magic.

Costume fittings over...she likes it!!...maybe we should add a little bit of tulle to the back...

final days before parade...

Monday Summer and her mom, who was in town for summer's 30th birthday party came down and helped put the finishing touches on the float. Here she is putting up some (fake) bamboo around the doors and windows for a tropical touch. The final of Monday.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

One more week...and counting

Sunday was get stuff done day...who knew? My new friend, Christine, came down and we just powered through stuff on the ever lengthening list of things to do. Christine even learned how to sew on Sunday! She was so excited she asked if I wanted her to sew my skirt too! And I said, "yes". Okay, so it did take her awhile, but part of that was the machines fault. It may have taken us a really long time in the hot hot sun, but we finally got those darned button-thingy's on the window frame and doors.

My friend John, on the left, passed away in January. After many years of being together for Solstice (and knowing him for over 20 years) I just couldn't imagine not having him around this year. So, we had him blown up and a friend of ours cut him out so we could put him on the float. I used an old photo I had of the two of us and asked the photo lab if they wouldn't mind changing the shirt and scarf colour from red to pink for this. Happily they obliged. He is shown here with a beautiful banner of Dorothy, another parade mainstay for many many years who also passed away. Below he is getting prepared to be cut out. I have to say I did shed a few tears when this was going on and had to look away a few times. Keep reading all the way to the bottom for an amazing thing that happened once he was finished that day. ..
Now, we're getting somewhere! It's the end of Sunday and we're happily posing with the finished (for today) product. We got soooooo much done! A HUGE thanks to Christine!

It's hard to see as the floats were starting to stack up on top of each other, but here is a back view of the float.
...and a clearer side view. We're almost done with the doorways, the bamboo doorway is up, the "roof" is on, and we've started putting up the "grass" roof on the hut/shack/house.
Okay...I have to tell you a little story about something special that happened with John, but first a little history. Many years ago I was working as a Preschool teacher and I was trying to decide whether or not to do a huge project. I was out on the playground trying to decide what to do when I got a drop of water on my arm. I remember looking around and thinking, 'okay, there's no rain, no birds, no anything...what was that?' Then, it happened again, only this time a little girl who was playing in the sandbox leaped up, ran over and said, "did you feel it?!" "Feel what?", I said
"The Angel Tear. Did you feel it?", she said.
"Why are the angels crying? Are they sad?" I asked
"No, they're crying because they're happy", she says forward to me working on getting John ready for the float and parade. I've been working on him for about an hour. He's been cut out, glued down, and I've just finished putting some twine-fabric stuff around the edges for a more finished look. I put John inside the float to protect him. I decided to sit on our fake grass and have a little snack before going home. While sitting on the grass I get a wet plop on my arm. My first thought is, Damn! A bird just pooped on me!, but I can't see anything but a clear bit of what looks like water on my arm. Then it hits me...IT'S AN ANGEL TEAR!!!
I quickly ran inside to get John's best friend and took her outside to tell her the story. What a great treat! It's nice to know he approved...of himself:-) and that he's happy with what we did.
Love ya Juanito! (my name for John)