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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Flowers: My Husband's Picks

Morning glory vine's first bloom

Petunias in shades of pink blossom
in our circle around the Lila Tree.

Hosta, celosia, ferns, and a petunia
hanging basket frame our gate to the backyard.

Geraniums and wave petunias fill our deck
boxes with color. If you look closely, you can see a
red baseball bat left out near my son's second base.

This photo was my husband's favorite. He has been
asking for a picture that showed the breadth of the
backyard. To the far right of this photo are located our
flower beds that have appeared in previous posts.

These photos were my husband's picks for this week
and also his pics as they were all taken by me with
his cell phone's camera. Thanks, sweetheart.

Hope you like them.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dead Battery at the Eye Doctor's

When I went to the eye doctor's this past week, I mentioned to the receptionist that I wanted my phone number changed in my record. I explained that I couldn't hear well on my home phone but I have a "special cell phone that I can hear better on". For brevity's sake I skipped going into a detailed explanation of the hearing aid compatibility aspects of my Verizon LG. (I doubt she was interested.) The receptionist made the change for me. You would think that request alone would raise a red flag that communication might be an issue for me. But no. The doctor's assistant who was sitting right next to the receptionist during that conversation led me to the examining room all the while talking to me with her back turned to me. When we got into the room, I said, "I don't hear too well and didn't hear anything you said while we were walking." Fortunately, that did the trick and she spoke up the rest of my time with her.

But then, in the middle of my eye exam, my left hearing aid battery died. Perfect timing. I'm in a darkened room, unable to lipread, trying to answer the doctor's questions about my vision. To make matters more awkward, I'm one of those polite people who just hate to interrupt when someone else is speaking! As soon as I could, I cleared my throat and said, "Ahem, would you mind if I just changed my battery?" The doctor being just as courteous as me said "Certainly" and moved his apparatus away from my face. Although at that point, he didn't know what battery I was talking about! He raised the lights for me and when he saw me remove my hearing aid, he said, "Oh, that's right. I forgot you wore those." Thankfully, he left it at that. I changed my battery and got on with my exam.

It did make me wonder though, how does a deaf person who relies on an interpreter to communicate with a doctor manage an eye examine? Does anyone have an experience they'd like to share?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Flowers for Friday: Summer's Here

Asiatic Lilies
Bullfrog sighting! [click to enlarge]

Rusty hanging out by the pond.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Rosy Goodness

I can't believe I forgot to include a picture of my Laura Ashley Hathaway Rose dishes in my blog post yesterday. I got these from Kohl right around the time I decided to stencil my kitchen cabinets. I couldn't believe they came with blue trim around the plate edges, blue inside the bowls, and blue dessert plates. It's like they were made for my kitchen!

I also meant to show you a picture of a mug tree I stenciled to match the cupboards. I got this plain wooden mug tree from Kmart, painted it white, then stenciled roses on its base.

Last, but not least, here is an embroidery project I finished just in time for my 15th wedding anniversary. LOL, it only took me fourteen years to complete. We hung it up today over my sugar and spice cupboard. Click on the photo to see it larger.

Hope you enjoyed your virtual tour of my rose kitchen.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Everything's Coming Up my kitchen!

I took this photo recently while on a walk in my neighborhood. I love roses but don't have any in my yard. Imagine that! But I'm not deprived as roses bloom all year round in my kitchen.

It's quite possible that I may have one of the only rose themed kitchens in the world. I've googled rose kitchen often to look for ideas but I guess I'm one of a kind in my decorating taste. The photos below illustrate how my rosy kitchen has developed over the years.

This is what our kitchen looked like when we moved in. Pretty bland with plain white cabinetry and gray and light pink trim.

I really liked the black and white floor tiles but wasn't crazy about that light fixture.

As newlyweds, our first decorating project was to put up the rose ceiling border you see in this photo. In the summer of 1995 I repainted the cabinets white and changed the trim color from gray to light blue.

In the late 90s, we replaced our black and white kitchen tiles which had become black and gray over time with brand new black and white tiles laid in exactly the same pattern. Before the new flooring was laid, I repainted the kitchen walls and cabinet doors a creamier white and changed the light blue trim color to a darker shade of blue.

Fast forward to the summer of 2006 when I stenciled roses onto the cabinets. This was an idea I had been mulling for some time. Finally I decided to just go for it. Since we had a variety of kitchen drawer/cabinet door styles, I used several rose patterns. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see this better. You'll also notice I used a darker pink paint color where the light pink had been an accent. [You can click on each photo to see it larger.]

This next photo shows a play cupboard my grandfather made for me and my sister when we were little girls. This corner in my kitchen is the perfect spot for it. I painted it to match our kitchen cupboards and added a stencil message "Sugar and Spice Everything Nice". I keep my decorative sugars and spices in the top and my flour, sugar, and baking pans in the bottom.

Here's a closeup of the rose calendar that sits on top of the cupboard. Isn't it sweet?

Here's how our eating area looks today. I just love our more contemporary light fixture and the large sized floral picture on the wall.

I have a few more rose touches to share with you. I inherited this rose sugar bowl from my grandmother. I bought the Home Sweet Home sign at Target.

While accompanying my neighbor who was shopping for kitchen curtains, I came across these lovely rose lace curtains. My neighbor who didn't find anything she liked insisted I get these. I'm glad she did!

Jelly often posts pictures of items she wishes for on her blog, so here's a teapot and an apron I think would be perfect for my rose kitchen.

[Rose shabby chic cupcake originally uploaded on flickr by kylie lambert.] This cupcake was just made for my kitchen. Wouldn't you agree?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Flowers for Friday: Coming Soon Edition

[I've uploaded more pictures this week and am hoping that displaying them in the smaller size will make them load faster for you. To see a photo enlarged, just click on it.]

This hosta is the first to bud.

Soon this whole walkway will
be bordered in blooms.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed
that our hydrangea will
blossom this year.

These buds will open into
bright orange tiger lilies.

This hardy hibiscus is my husband's
favorite. It produces large tropical
flowers and withstands our cold winters.

When in bloom, this mass of
makes quite a bold
statement at the front corner
of our home.

From this angle, you can see a single
Oriental lily
that has sprung up among
the daylilies. We have more of them in our
backyard. How did this one wind up here?

A supersized bullfrog is a new resident
in our pond. Perhaps before the summer
is over I'll be sneaky enough to get a
photo of him for you. Usually he jumps
into the pond when I approach and will
emerge later with only his eyeballs above
water. I think he's keeping an eye on me!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

¡Me Gusta Musica Latina!

Call me loca (crazy) but I love Latin music. When I listen to music in Spanish, I'm not focused on the lyrics I'm missing. I'm listening to the rhythm and romance of the music and sensing the emotion in the singer's voice. I know a little Spanish so if I catch a word or phrase here and there, it's a bonus. Listening to music in English is a different story. Then, I'm conscious of my hearing loss and how much I'm missing of the words.

Here is my favorite music video in Spanish. Try watching it and see if you can understand what I mean by the difference there is listening to a song in another language. Even if you don't hear at all, you can enjoy this video because it tells a story. The song has a lot of tenderness that's conveyed visually through the video.
Watch how the singer with the scarf puts emotion into each syllable. Look for the way the singer in the hat caresses the microphone.

Here's an English translation of the lyrics I found on Yahoo! Answers:

everything changed when I saw you
I converted from black and white to color

and it was so easy
to love you so much
something that I couldn't imagine
was to give you my love
with just a look

everything trembled
inside me
the universe wrote that you were destined for me

and it was so easy
to love you so much
something that I
couldn't imagine was to get lost in your love
and simply step by step
all of me is yours.

Before I spend more
time with you my love
I have to say you are the love of my life.
Before I can love you more
please listen
let me tell
you that I gave you all of me and I can't explain it
simply that's how I felt it

when I saw you

Everything about you surprised me
I converted from black and white to color
I converted

I know it's not easy
to say I love you
I too didn't expect it
but love is like that and
simply step by step
all of me is yours.

If you enjoyed the song above and would like to hear more musica Latina, you can check out the Pop Latino radio station on Yahoo! Music here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Summer of Milestones

Milestone - at Stonehenge
Originally uploaded by neilalderney123

In August, I'll have been at my current employer for 5 years which qualifies me for the pension plan. Hurray!

This month I'll be celebrating 15 years of marriage. In August I'll be attending my 25th high school reunion. Where did all the years go? Of course, I'll write more about those events later.

Looks like this will be a summer to remember.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Shampoo Banana and other funnies at work this week

During an informal department meeting my boss announced that he was going to "Shampoo Banana" the next day. Puzzled I turned to the Web Goddess for clarification. "You heard right", she assured me, "Shampoo Banana is a nickname for Champagne-Urbana [where University of Illinois is located]. "Oh," I replied, "I thought he was having his pet groomed."

This summer I've been fortunate to have the assistance of a wonderful student worker from India. He's a very polite person. He sends me emails addressed to "Most esteemed Sarah". Kind of has a nice ring to it, don't you agree? When he first started working with me, I explained to him about my hearing loss and the need for him to face me when he speaks. Yesterday, he startled the bejeezus out of me when I looked up suddenly and he was right there asking me a question. I jumped and my chair rolled backwards and my arms flew up in the air. He was terribly embarassed but at the same time amused. I helped him out by laughing with him. It was pretty funny. I reminded him that I can't hear too well. To his credit, the next time he had a question, he stayed back a good distance and called my name first. After all, that's the proper way to approach such an esteemed person as moi.

Yesterday afternoon, I picked up the telephone and heard the following words from my former boss in cataloging, "I think I have the answer to your environmental toxicology problem." I said, "What are you talking about?" She elaborated with a few more details and a dim light turned on in my head. "Is this from an email about an electronic journal I sent you?" I asked. "Yes," she replied. "What was the date on that email?" I asked next. "February," she replied.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Flowers for Friday: Vivid Colors in My Front Yard

This planter of jewel toned pansies sits next to my front door.

These impatiens baskets hang in a shady spot in front
of our house. I like the contrast between their delicate
blossoms and the sturdy brick behind them.

Here's a closeup so you can see the vivid colors better.
Notice the snow on the mountain (bishop's weed)
beneath this basket.

My husband planted these celosia like soldiers in a row
framing the gate to our backyard. I was intrigued by this
celosia in the middle that has not only red blossoms but
red foliage unlike any of the others.

This morning glory vine is just getting started.
To see the bright blue blooms it will produce
look at this photo taken by my neighbor Diane
from a previous year.

This strawberry plant actually resides
in our backyard. I wanted to include it
because Jelly wrote such a nice post on
strawberries recently. This plant is also
passed down in our family as it came
over accidentally with some daffodils
from my mother-in-law's yard. *smile*

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

No Kittens Were Harmed in the Writing of this Blog Post

Sadly, however kittens were harmed in the driving of my neighbor's vehicle. :(

When my husband and I walked our dog this evening, I noticed my neighbor in his garage tinkering on a car. I told my husband I want to ask about the kittens. He wondered why as he'd already gotten the end of the story. "I just do" I insisted, not owning up to him I'd blogged about it.

As it turned out my neighbor had a different end to the story than the one my husband had heard. He said there were two kittens under the hood of his car and he had "lost them on the highway". One was alive but the other one wasn't. Apparently he didn't retrieve the one still alive. He made no mention of pulling over to the side of the road.

I explained to him that I was a bit put off yesterday because I'm deaf. (It seemed easier to say that than hard of hearing.) He said, "Oh, you would have heard these ones alright." Then he proceeded to make loud cat noises. My husband tried to explain my hearing loss but my neighbor wasn't interested. Even though I was obviously lipreading him, he turned his face away several times during the rest of our conversation with him.

I'm sorry about the kittens. I wish they had been rescued. And I wish my neighbor understood why I couldn't hear the kittens. He probably thinks I'm crazy.

Kitten Story Update

Kitten's Bad Day
Originally uploaded by asmodeus

Due to reader response to my last blog post, I picked up the phone and called my husband. He had just talked to the neighbor lady and she said no kittens were found.

She explained to him that there are lots of stray cats where her husband works and one must have crawled into the car to keep warm while delivering her babies. Looking the car over in their driveway however, there was no sign of kittens. They must have snuck out of the car....


This Time I'm No Help At All

Fancy Car with the Hood Up
Originally uploaded by

When I was driving home from work on Monday, I saw my neighbor stopped at a stop sign on our street with the hood of his car up. I pulled alongside and asked him if he was having car trouble. No. Did he need a ride? No. He came over to my window and said, "Don't think I'm crazy, but I'm hearing kitten noises." I must have given him a strange look because he repeated, "Don't think I'm crazy."

I watched as he lifted his air filter out to see if there were any small creatures hidden below it. He checked for my reaction. "I'm glad you didn't find any in there!" I responded. He continued checking his back seat and under the car. I didn't see any way I could help him so I drove on home.

Later on while walking my dog across the street from his house, he called out loudly, "Don't think I'm crazy!" This time he had his wife beside him confirming there were indeed kitten noises. I didn't want to create any additional problems by bringing my large dog next to the car so I continued my walk.

I don't know if my neighbor's aware of my hearing loss or not. He didn't seem to understand that I wasn't going to be able to confirm the kitten noises for him. He just thinks I think he's crazy.

I'll send my husband over soon to find out if there really were kittens hiding in the car or not. I tend to avoid crazy people.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Happy to Help You

I enjoy helping people at the library. I don't mind assisting a library patron with even the most basic request like making change or explaining how to operate the photocopier. Helping someone at the computer is a real thrill for me because I had to learn all of it myself when I came back to work after being a stay-at-home mom.

Recently someone who works in the university asked for my help in locating a video project that was made of the local Native American community about fifteen years ago. She had checked out the videos in our library collection and none of them were the right ones. What a challenge! Right away I thought of this "secret" room where a lot of old media is stored. I had visited it once about five years ago when I was working on a library archives project. This room wasn't located inside the library and I couldn't remember exactly where in the university it was. Long story short, I consulted the archives librarian who asked the right media department person who said it wasn't there. Drat. I really wanted to find this. The woman looking for it told me a poet featured in the video had recently died and the Native American community remembered they had never received a copy as promised so long ago. I really wanted to help but there wasn't much I could do since we didn't have a copy in the library's collection.

So I was absolutely floored the next day when this person came into the library to see me with a card and gift to say thanks! Look how nicely she wrote my name on the card!

Inside the envelope was this card:

Inside the card were these earrings!!!

With the card were these canned blueberries. Yummy!

Inside her card, she wrote "...Even if nothing is found, please know that your help is very much appreciated." Awww, I got teary eyed and gave her a hug. I'm not used to this kind of appreciation! I just like to help because it makes life better. What a great day to be at work!

P.S. We still haven't given up hope that the video will be found. We're continuing to ask people around the university. The more people who are aware of our search, the more likely it will be found (I hope).