It Came With The Frame…

J and I usually take a road trip around the first of the year. It’s a perfect time to chat about our intentions for the coming year. Last year was almost entirely about settling in: new work, new school, new garden, new state…

Things are pretty settled now…

2017 Thoughts…

At all times, keep things simple. This is something  I believe to be at the very core of my being… Complication, and in over your head, are different

Blog on the short side of ONE month–  I can go back and look at every time I wrote, “I need to post more often”. That is the beauty of having this collection of thoughts. Every time I tell myself that if I’d just do it more often, it would keep it simple. Yet…  Makes me feel like a turd… Again.

More art. Actually, “some” would be a better starting place…

Kick ass garden. Of course…  I’ve been outside in my plot as much as possible (on the random sunny/not raining day). The one thing I was most looking forward to when we decided on California, was gardening year round. Not that I’m growing a ton right now, but we’ve eaten something growing in our garden every month since we put in the beds. I’m in a far better spot than I was last year. My dirt has been soaked with several months of rain. It’s now full of fat worms. I’m starting at the right time, not four months behind… It’s gonna be a good year.









There is always something blooming…






Irises in December.











Calla lilies.




A good portion of my houseplants are now living outside year-round. They seem happy.





My CaseyJane. She is always a bright spot.


She sent me a box of fall.





Christmas happened since we last chatted…




I made caramels and apple butter for my work family. This is really the only image I have from the whole process. That’s my mom’s candy thermometer, it’s still right on temperature






Dinner party at Joel and Ryan’s. (Joel is my co-worker, they are also the parents of the two pups we watch from time to time.)


They have a mass producing Meyer lemon tree in their back yard. Its possible I’ve written about them before….

We are making limoncello as we speak. It’s our second batch. We are now experts. More on that later…


My present. Along with ten more pounds.




Steam in the sunshine… and sweet potatoes.




This hat,


is that hat…


For as sad as my peppers were this summer, they came around in the end.


I made green enchilada sauce with them.



Trip to the city to see Leon…
















Irish whiskey.


Happy Birthday, Anne with an “e”…

One of the best interactions I’ve ever witnessed happened over this picture. I can’t do it justice by simply repeating it. But, the words “I’ll kung-fu you mother fucker” did come out.




AA, have you been here?













I made lemon bars with a small portion of the crippling amount of lemon juice I now possess. They are such a pain in the ass to make.

But, then you have lemon bars.


Shellfish stock.


Christmas day hike.





Bisque and crab cakes for Christmas lunch.




Now, you too can have that song stuck in your head.


Christmas and New Year’s Day both landed on Sundays, giving me two, four-day weekends in a row. We decided to go to Portland for the second of those two.

I just like to ride in a car over long distances. If I’m in a car there is no chance I have to do dishes.


Mount Shasta.

I really do miss snow.




Our friend, Peter, was coming home from Portland when we were driving up.


Breakfast food.

Chicken fried steak with an extra side of sausage gravy. So magical.




I notice 11:14 a lot.  This seems the same, but an alternate universe.





Happy 2017!


The place across the way from our hotel had pie. I freaking love pie. They sold one piece for 4, and a whole pie for 10.99. AND you get a free reusable pie bag.   You can’t realize pie is good at all times of the day, if you only get one piece. We did it for science.”Sweet Montana Cherry” was the winner.




The view from this “house”. Wouldn’t that suck…?

I want to be in charge of decorating this place for Christmas…






Perfectly cooked gems are a beautiful thing.








Wynn loves carpet. Especially squishy, hotel hallway carpet.






Portland is the “Rose City”.










And back home…


Elmer’s for breakfast. Remember Elmer’s in Billings? It’s still good.





First day, number 5.


Tomorrow is number 70 for my most favorite person on the planet. Happy Happy Happy Birthday, Janie. You are my sunshine.


Tomorrow is also Free Thinkers Day. Free Think, Loves!

Edward Coffee, Meet Shannon Jenkins…

Hello, Loves!

Right now I’m sitting in my warm house, with my favorite canine companion next to me. I’m healthy, (other than the remnants of a hangover (my salon holiday party was Sunday night)). I get acupuncture once a week, which has pretty much healed my digestive issues. My husband is damn-near perfect. I have a garden.  My family (and in-laws) love me. I get to make people feel beautiful for my job. My co-workers are hilarious, and talented, and I love every last one of them. From where I do my dishes I can stare at my Christmas tree.

Lately I’ve been loosing sight of the little things in life. I just keep thinking about the future and what our life has the potential to be. Not what it is now. This has been a problem with me. I always seem to be working toward something, it’s a very unsettling. Why can’t I just appreciate the now…? I was under the impression that life became easier with age. I wonder sometimes that if I would have had children I wouldn’t have time to think about all this. My energy would have shifted to them. That is both a delightful and horrifying thought.  Is there a hole inside women that doesn’t get filled without children? (Whether you want them or not.)  Does biology beat emotion? I guess I’ll never know. As is, my poor dog gets the brunt of my nurturing instinct…

To top it all off, my photography sucks right now. Whatever happened to getting up at two in the morning to go chase a storm…? I feel my passion slipping away. My work is so ordinary, and recycled.

Fuck! wine, wine, wine…

I just need to work harder.


Honey from Bob’s garden… I couldn’t take it back in the plane with me so my mom sent it. The label fell off the package so it floated around for a bit before landing back in Joliet where my mom relabeled it and sent it again. Isn’t it beautiful.




We are hard cider lovers. However most cider has a ridiculous amount of sugar in it. This brand does not, and it is delicious.


My wedding dress fits in a zip lock bag.


I can’t believe I haven’t posted since before our anniversary. (Well, yes I can.) Just one more thing that makes me feel lazy and unaccomplished.


Baklava ice cream. It’s what desert dreams of being in its next life.


A little anniversary gift from my Mr. Two of my loves: caramel and Montana.


Broke out Hocus Pocus on October 1. I can’t wait until it feels fall here, that may never happen.



Friends in town is one of my most favorite things. Especially this little ray of sunshine.



We went to an art opening for one of J’s classmate’s husband. His work blew my mind. This “little” (it was taller than me) piece wants so badly to be in my house. Check him out…











I miss you, girl… We need a phone date.











My first carrot!! I had to pull one up.





I made pumpkin cheesecake from scratch, including roasting the pumpkins. Two whole pumpkins and I barely got a cup after I squeezed all the liquid out. But a cup is all I needed. I love that color, looks like a 1970’s pantsuit.


Herbs from my garden.


Dressing is also one of my most favorite things. Three times as much onion as it called for. My aunt would approve.


We had a couple people over for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a good day.



After Thanksgiving brew (to move stagnant food along) courtesy of my acupuncturist.


One of my very best friends here has a meyer lemon tree. I ask him to bring me a lemon, he brings 40. Love that man. Limoncello it is! It is brewing as we speak. More on that later…



Hi, Loves! Oh, and I’m blond again. That’s what happens on a slow day when you are surrounded by badass colorists.


I love an opportunity to get dressed up…

Happy St. Nick Day, Loves! I would put candy in your shoes if I could.

Yesterday was International Ninja Day, and I missed it!! Luckily I am married to one.

Until next time…

Enter Title Here…

We’ve lived in northern California for over a year now. We rarely go further than a couple miles from our house. We went slightly further north, for a change.

Napa to start…




We are picnic people…



I’ll take my little bits of fall where I can get them…


Calistoga was another stop…







Hops have THE. MOST. AMAZING. SMELL… If you get a chance to break one open and breath it in, do it!


Grape vines everywhere!









We spent a “happy hour-ish” with pizza and beer, in Healdsburg.





My garden is very hit and miss.

Spaghetti squash happened to be a hit.






She will always find the most “royal” perch in the room.



First day, second year. I think he’s starting to feel settled.


Watermelon was a hit… I think I got three.


Cami and I work together, but not on Saturdays. She sometimes drops Mops off before work, then comes back after and spends the evening with us… Handy.

She is dainty.


Patty pan squash, very hit.




I worked the Garden Club booth for a couple hours during the Solano Stroll… (Annual street fair really close to my house.)





Right before I left for Montana, I broke my favorite lens. Or, I guess I only kind of broke it. It still works, but it’s stuck on 14 mm, and it only focuses really, really close up, it usually hits what I’m trying to focus on. I have a macro- wide angle… I see it as a happy accident, it is now one of a kind.

The crappy part is, I’m out a wide angle lens. If I get it fixed, it won’t work this way anymore…














I never knew they were books…


Color class in the city with Joel and Robby. Joel (darker hair) is the dad of Rocket (miniature pinscher) who we watch on occasion…


Can you guess which one is mine…?






Happy World Mental Health Day!  Considering who most of you are, you have cause to celebrate… I love every last “mental” one of you…


1/2 block is officially the shortest distance we’ve gone for our anniversary meal…

Happy number six, my Love. It’s been a grand adventure…



Last year… (California)



And, the year before that. (Maine)



And, the year before that. (Vermont)



Number two. (New Hampshire)



First… (Maine)




I Like Cake…


I’ve moved around a lot in the last 20 years. “Home” has taken on many meanings… Montana will always be home, in some form.



Day with BFF number 1… PBR and oj. I am back in MT.





My dad is scaling back a bit. He built a smaller shop next to the house. It’s a good move. We spent a day unwinding the old shop. I only fell off the ladder once…



Day with BFF number two…

She started this asparagus three years ago, it’s been in a pot at their apartment  until they started building their house. First ever sprout! I was grateful to witness the birth…







I really try to get chicken fried steak every time I go back. It is my ultimate comfort food. And surprisingly hard to find outside MT. Yes, that is a soup bowl full of extra gravy.


This is where day with BFF number three would be, if she didn’t live in ND.


The Billings farmers market is by far one of my favorite events… And I’m always there with family, which makes it even better.


I talk about Bob’s garden a-lot. If there is a heaven, it would resemble Bob’s garden. I went out there almost every day I was home. I can’t put into words how much I love being there.















Left over fireworks from our wedding….





My grandma’s roses growing in my mom’s garden.


My sister’s cross. We try to do a little spiff-up when I’m back…



Until we meet again….



Back in CA…


I sat staring at this spot for an hour, after a very long trip back. So close, yet so far away… At least I got to sleep in my own bed that night.




J completed his first year of school. His friend Wags gave him a trio of scotch, one bottle for the end of each year. Bottle number one down…







My mom loves this creepy little man, I miss her already…


I’m getting acupuncture every Tuesday. I feel all pro-active and stuff…






Dirt day part two…. My beds are very happy.






Tomorrow the Mr. and I celebrate number six. It is also “One Hit Wonder Day”, that makes me giggle a bit.

The Inbetween…

I’ve missed you… All I’ve wanted to do is hang out outside, which is the opposite of sitting inside on the computer.

Tomato number one. They are still coming in fairly regularly. It’s suppose to be in the 70’s the next couple weeks. Everything (myself included) will appreciate a little sunshine for a change. I can’t live in 60 degree “summers” it’s depressing.


The fourth of July, forever ago… Good food and fireworks, thats all I ever want…


I can’t remember if I introduced you Elon, her and I started at the salon around the same time.









Here is my beautiful squash plant about 20 seconds before it got powdery mildew and died. The East Bay and squash don’t seem to go together. Good thing I started eight more…


My garden is completely different from these pictures. I took out all the underproducing  plants, and replanted. What I have going on now… pumpkins, butternut squash, crooked neck squash, lemon squash, red and yellow beets, carrots, three kinds of lettuce, tomatoes, five kinds of peppers, potatoes, watermelon… We’ll see! For the next three plus years, I will not have to tuck my garden away for the winter. I get to just keep planting…







Rocket, our weekend guest.




I snipped the ends off my squash plants, so they could put all their effort into ripening the already existing fruit, instead of trying to produce more. It looked lovely in my window for a couple weeks, a flower would bloom every so often…


Have a great holiday weekend, Loves! I will be gardening. Like usual…



I mastered bread, then once again I remembered it’s bad for us. If I wasn’t a butter junkie… Fresh bread is the ultimate butter delivery mechanism.




Yoga with the Mr.

We are getting very close to living car free. Soon.


There is a lemon/lime/orange tree steps from or house. They just let them drop and rot, so I have no problem rescuing a few.

Isn’t that the most beautiful orange…? It tasted beautiful too.


These trees belong in a cartoon, like Rainbow Bright.







Aren’t cosmos the happiest flower…? Those, and daises.

The ones I planted are dancing all over the place.


Wild, tame blackberry.


My artichoke no longer looks like this, I had to cut it off at the base due to aphids, they give me the willies like no other. (Stay tuned to see if it grows back.)





Tiny rose bush.




Goji berry bush.




Yay for visiting friends! Matt and Becca were in town from Boston.






And they brought just pulled out of the ocean, salmon…





Bowling with the work crew…








Garden Club…

I’m beginning to realize that my outings involve either garden club or work friends.


Early for work, sunshine… as “selfie” as I get, it’s even a dumb word.

Work is flowing with way more ease. The level of anxiety surrounding it is dissipating. I think I picked a great spot to spread my coiffure love around.






Her days are numbered…


We spent the solstice together, which is rare… the solstice and getting to spend a whole day together.

We knew these days were coming…. we appreciate the time we do get. Like right now, he’s sitting next to me making flashcards… I love holidays.



That cucumber is the first thing I pulled out of my garden.

Gardening makes me happy.


Saying goodbye to another work friend. Celine is moving back to Switzerland.


She’s the beauty in the middle…











The word sassy, is sassy…


Happy Fourth, Loves!!

I get to eat potato salad, and hamburgers, and watermelon. and cookie salad! And, maybe see a firework or two. Perfect.