Monday, November 12, 2012

I've Missed You!

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, with no time to write anything of substance. I am finally getting through some of my list of things to be done, and now have the luxury of updating here - what a treat! I hope all is well in your world - I will be visiting your blogs as soon as possible.

Since my last posting, we had the fun of hosting a dinner party for some of Gregg's colleagues who were/are visiting from Spain and Italy. It was a pleasure to meet them and break bread together. He enjoys the international aspect of his work very much: the travel, learning about and adapting to the different cultures, the food, art and architecture - and (of course), the business. Since it's not worked out for me to go with him on one of his work trips as yet, it was lovely to welcome his colleagues to visit us here.

We used a few of our airline miles to visit our nephew Phil and his girlfriend Rachel in the Bay Area. My grandmother was brought up in San Francisco, and I haven't been back there since I went with her in 1989. I forgot how much I absolutely LOVE that city. I could easily re-locate to Northern California - the light, the combination of the beach and the sunshine, the feels very familiar and comfortable to me. I have happy memories of visiting relatives the city when I was a young girl. We made more happy memories with Phil & Rachel, walking all over downtown, the waterfront,
and then staying with them in Walnut Creek and taking a day trip to Napa Valley. We'd never been to the wine country, and thoroughly enjoyed the two tastings we experienced.

We were fortunate to get to see our friends Caron & Tom (Caron used to live in Poulsbo) while we were in the city. They met us for drinks the first night at Boudin's Sourdough Bakery/Restaurant.
Gregg, Caron & Tom
At V. Sattui Winery in Napa Valley
St. Francis of Assisi statue at the entrance to Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa
Rachel, Phil & me at the beach before heading to the airport
After returning home from that weekend, I began to prepare for a conference call with a potential client in the Northeast who is interested in our DVDs and having me come to speak; I am excited and happy to be working on that. I also promised Caron that I would make some beach wreaths for her fabulous online store, Caron's Beach House, so I've been deep into hot glue, seashells and beach glass.

Caron also has a blog, Everything Coastal, which is great fun and full of good ideas. We were so sad when Caron closed her Poulsbo store, but the good news is that with her online presence, EVERYONE has access to her fabulous finds. If you are looking for inspiration for your home or a gift, check out her site!

I've also been busy "stalking" David on facebook. He is having a wonderful semester in Italy and is making the most of his opportunities. Being able to text and "facetime" with him helps tremendously to keep us aware of how he is and what's going on, much more than back in the days when I spent a term abroad. It's such fun to see all of the facebook photos and to be able to use instant messaging - that is a blessing, in this case. He has been able to travel to Venice, England, Ireland, and will go to Scotland and Spain before coming back home for the holidays. We miss him, but are thrilled for him to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

My beloved husband is a huge help to me in pretty much everything, but he does not enjoy household repairs or maintenance. Gregg would rather sweep the driveway, rake leaves, wash dishes or even run the vacuum than wield a hammer. He also works full-time and has a long commute, so his free time is limited. With the start of our rainy season upon us, I decided to take matters into my own hands and put sticky, sandpaper tape down on our porch, to prevent people from slipping and falling when they approach the front door. The problem is that I waited about two weeks too long to do it, and we had rain before I got the tape in place. Wet wood = no-stick sticky-tape. So I swept the porch and scrubbed it with a wire brush, and then used tacks and a staple gun (thank you, Joanne!) and got the job done. It was fun (although Latte was much more of a hindrance than a help as I worked), looks good, and it is a relief to know that the porch no longer resembles a skating rink.
One day this past summer when Gregg and I were taking a walk, we found 5 pretty wooden chairs for sale on the side of the road for $30.00. We continued our walk for about 20 feet, and I stopped and said, We have to go back and buy those chairs. They were a great deal, and David might need them for his apartment at school. So we went back, bought them and promised to pick them up later (wondering all the while if we could get five of them into the back of a Honda Accord; we could, and did).

Once we got home, I started to get attached to those chairs. Plans for their future began to develop in my mind, and those plans did not necessarily include David. I decided that we could give him some other chairs for his place, and went to buy some spray paint. Remember the beach glass table which I spray painted turquoise? Well, here are the newest members of its family:
Aren't they pretty? Of course, I forgot to take "before" photos.
The chairs were a very nice, natural honey-color, and I know that I've just ruined them as far as "Antiques Roadshow" is concerned, but I wanted a different look - and this is it. As we're planning to have about 18 people here for Thanksgiving dinner, we'll be needing all the chairs we can get, and these puppies now have some time to dry. I am thrilled with the way they turned out - for $30, plus a few cans of primer and paint!

Starting in January,  my friend (and spiritual director), Bev and I are planning to teach a class. It will be based upon the "Journey of the Heart" journal of Kathryn Antyr Costa (of Collage Diva & True North Arts blogs - see my sidebar). Kathryn's work is creative, inspirational and insightful. She walks the talk - she practices her ideas in her life, and the results are inviting and beautiful. Bev and I are looking forward to sharing this with you; if you live in the area, we would love to have you join us. I'll be posting more as the details are set, but it will begin in mid-January, and will be held at Bev's office on Bainbridge Island. Leave a message here or on facebook if you are interested.

Katie's Comforters Guild has been keeping me busy with receiving donations of fabric and sending fabric out to those who are willing to sew. I am grateful to each person who volunteers any time or talent for our guild - we need each one of you in order to keep bringing comfort to children who are in the hospital! If you have any interest in sewing or making fleece blankets, please let me know here, or over on the guild's blog or our facebook page - we have lots of fabric to share!

Are you still with me? If so, thank you - as I said, I've missed you! It's good to be back.


ChiTown Girl said...

Wow, Karen, you HAVE been a busy little beaver, haven't you?

I'm so glad you got to enjoy some time with friends in CA.

The chairs look awesome!

Kay said...

Wow....what a whirlwind of activity! Living abroad for a semester sounds fascinating...but all the more fun since you can follow along in real time. : ) Love the chairs. I am never bold enough to pull something like that off. I'm sure it will be so pretty in place. You have been busy...and I've missed you too! : )

Karen said...

Yes, you do live in the middle of a hurricane! Glad you are living so alive! So many new things beginning...and needless to say, you are blessed.

Heather said...

I think when I see that people aren't posting much, I tend to hope and pray that instead of there being something wrong, that things are actually busy, and life is being lived. And yours sounds like it most definitely is. With beautiful things.

I am just come up from air and all the sickness and Zoey is finally, finally, her little spunky self. So .. quilt tops and some blankets are being packed up tomorrow. I have another box going to little Izzy's mom as well. Feel bad that it has taken this long but life decided to keep me on my toes.

Let me know when they arrive and I will talk to you soon.

Elizabeth said...

I am always so excited to see your blog at the top of my blogroll, and I've missed your posts. This one is chock-full of joy and industry! I'm really impressed with your ability to do handiwork of the house variety. I'm so intimidated by it -- lazy, actually! :) I really love the colors that you painted the chairs. I have similar ones, dull pine, in my dining room that I will, perhaps, paint. One day. :(

And I LOVE hearing about your possible east coast trip and would love to know more if and when it happens!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Traveling, visiting and working. That is YOU!!!! :)
Loved reading this update and now I need a nap; you've been all over and doing everything!!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE those chairs! They are the
Your front walk and porch is awesome; so inviting.
I have a feeling you were working on your front porch at the same time I was painting my front (and side) porch!
Wishing you and yours a beautiful Thanksgiving!

kell said...

Karen, you are so busy! I haven't been reading many blogs lately either but I love reading yours. Your porch and chairs look amazing, and I love that your David is having a wonderful time too. Take good care x