Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 One Little Word

Song - While My Guitar Gently Weeps by George Harrison

Wishing you A Very Happy 2013!

I still have a house full of "Christmas" because I am painting like crazy to get some new pieces ready for a show going up next week at the Lafayette Gallery "Tokens of Affection"!

It feels so wonderful to be painting again!!  Yippee!

Here is one of Sergio Romo on the final game of the Division Championship.  I still need to work on the rain, the shadow color under his arm and the background crowd a little but I just love the energy in this painting!

The GIANTS have clinched the NL Championship

I will show it to you when it's finished!

If you have never heard of "One Little Word", check it out on Ali Edwards site or on Big Picture Classes.


In 2010 I chose the word "intention" for me to use for the upcoming New Year. It turned out to be a great word as I would pause and set an intention (or game plan) before moving forward.  

Last year it was "balance" which ended up being too general of a word for me. 

During the last month,  I have been "feeling out words" for 2013.

I have narrowed it down to several which each has a pull for me.







But one word that is sticking with me is "Simplify".  As my life gets more and more complicated, simplifying feels like breathing room. 

A concious effort must be made to simplify anything - paperwork, household possesions, shopping, eating....every thing that piles up!

According to the dictionary -

: to make simple or simpler: as
a: to reduce to basic essentials
b: to diminish in scope or complexity : streamline <was urged to simplify management procedures>
c: to make more intelligible : clarify


‘In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.’ ~Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jingle, Jingle, Jingle, Jingle.....

Song - Let it Snow by Chris Isaak

Pulling out my old recipe cards
this morning
got me thinking about how much joy
comes from the little things in life.

I looked over recipes
written by 
my mother
my grandmother. 

I even have one 
that my dad invented,
a family favorite
that we only make on
Christmas morning
 - The Crawford Fizz!

I did do a little baking with my Grand Niece while she was visiting.  We made these fun reindeer cookies but they did lose their shape a little in the oven!

I wanted to share two recipes with you today in time to prepare for Christmas. 

One is for our favorite Tahoe Brunch Casserole with a few of Mr. B's changes included and the other is for dad's Crawford Fizz.  Enjoy!

Tahoe Brunch Casserole
(Mr. B's changes are in parenthesis)

Serves 8

This recipe should be prepared 24 hrs in advance.

3 Tbs butter, softened
12 slices white bread, crusts removed (or good Sourdough leaving crusts on)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, trimmed, sliced
2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
salt & pepper, to taste
1 1/2 lbs mild Italian sausage (or ham)
1 lb Cheddar cheese, grated
5 large eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh parsley

Butter the bread with the 3 tablespoons softened butter and set aside.  In 10-inch skillet, melt the 1/2 cup butter; brown the mushrooms and onions over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Cook the sausage, drain well and crumble into bite-sized pieces. (or just use Ham) Grease a 13”x 9” baking dish; add and layer half of the bread, mushroom mixture, meat and cheese.  Repeat the layers, ending with the cheese.

Mix the eggs, milk, mustard's, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium-sized mixing bowl. (Also add 1/8 tsp Tabasco Sauce, ¼ c Sherry) Pour over the meat and cheese casserole.  Cover the casserole and refrigerate overnight. (It may need a little extra egg mixture on it in the morning)

Heat oven to 350°.  When ready to bake, sprinkle the parsley evenly over the top of the casserole; bake uncovered for 1 hour or until bubbly.  Serve immediately.

Crawford Fizz

3 ice cubes
3 oz Orange Juice
1 tsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. Rosa's Lime Juice
3 oz Gin (optional but highly recommended)
3 oz Vanilla Ice Cream
1 egg (optional)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

And remember, don't drink & drive! Seriously, this dog was pulled over at a parking lot the other day and he doesn't look too happy about it!  Apparently he plays Irish Rugby so I think he can take care of himself!

“Joy comes to us in moments – ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”  - Brene Brown, Daring Greatly.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Holiday Treat for the Ladies

Song - Shopping Clothes by The Coasters

Ladies - After a long day of Christmas shopping, stop by a little Herbal Cosmetic shop located in Walnut Creek between Nordstrom's and Macy's.

There will be a young gentleman outside asking you if you would like a free sample.

That's the ploy.....don't fall for it......

I repeat "Do NOT fall for it !"

Once you get one sample, he suggests you enter his studio.  Then he has you hooked!

Because as soon as this gorgeous man starts rubbing lotions and potions on you while looking deeply into your eyes, you are a goner.

You will buy anything in his lovely little shop.

The real clincher is that you may have a free 45 minute facial with this young man.

I have one for tomorrow which I am canceling.  Otherwise Mr. B will have to mortgage the house!

If any of you do go by and can resist his sales technique by just walking (or running) away with the "free sample", please let me know.

I will admire your strong sales resistance!!!!

As I walked away with my hip little bag of goodies, I had a good laugh for the rest of the day as to how gullible I am.  And I kept looking into shop windows to see if I actually had SUCKER stamped onto my forehead!  Don't you just love a good laugh during this busy season?  Even at my expense?  Somehow it relieves the stress of it all.....

I'm just saying....beware in downtown WC!

"Salesmanship, too, is an art; the perfection of its technique requires study and practice." --James Cash Penny 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winter Whites

 Song - In A Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

The sky's are white and my garden is mostly white this time of year.

The garden still has a few white roses holding on for as long as they can.

I do love to grow Paper-white Narcissus indoors until they become so tall that they can no longer hold up their fragrant little heads. I replant them out in the garden for next years display.

White Primroses are spread through out my garden in the winter and my little white Snow Drop flowers are already blooming!


But every winter I get a little sad......maybe it's the gray sky's or too much indoor time.

My garden is resting for the season. Well kind some spring flowers are already to bloom, but the trees are bare and most of the yard is still.

The animals have burrowed in to their homes and life seems to slow down.

Mika has burrowed onto my lap just happy to be watching me write this blog!  - Well, she is a sweet winter white too!

It is the natural cycle of life.

And it is a time for us and nature to renew our energy for the upcoming spring.

And knowing that, I can relax.

By lighting a few candles and curling up by the fire with a good book or wonderful music is what renews me.  What about you?

Hot tea or Chocolate?
Flannel sheets on the beds?
Cozy slippers?
Warm meals and laughter with friends and family?
Long walks on a crispy trail?
Filling up the feeders for the hungry song birds?
Journaling, sketching, planning next years vegetable garden?
Baking or cooking?

What fills up your well?

Tahoe Winter 2011

 “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”  - Edith Sitwell

Saturday, December 1, 2012


 Song - Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen

Just returned home from seeing BRUCE and I am so hoarse, I will have to whisper this blog to you.

I have survived Thanksgiving.

Thank you for asking....

While the boys were home, Mr. B and I took them to the lighting of the old Danville Oak Tree.  We strolled the streets of Danville, shopped, ate, enjoyed the lights and watched Father Christmas & the Snow Fairy light the Christmas Oak Tree.

My son Jon and his girlfriend Megan spent some time with us during their Thanksgiving break.  On Saturday we went to the Bering car museum in Blackhawk. 

This one was made out of Tulip wood

Although I am not a car buff, I can appreciate the beautiful artistic design of these cars from former years.

I also have been helping care for my Grand niece & Grand nephew ( 4 & 5 years of age).

While they are great kids, I just can not keep up with them.

I am old.

I am tired.

They know this.....

I am not used to answering 38.5 questions per minute.

My niece is in Germany for 12 days and my sister-in-law, my mother and myself have taken on the roll of caretakers for these two little sweetie pie's!  But as you can see from the photo below, they are still testing the waters......just to see if Auntie Jeanette can keep up.

I thought we would make a reading fort on Thursday, kinda like in the movie "The Holiday" but they decided it was a tickling, wrestling fort instead.


I thought they would come out talking like those two little lovely British girls from the movie "Olivia" played by Emma Pritchard and "Sophie" played by Miffy Englefield and like them, they would want to discuss deep feelings and ask me interesting questions but oh no.....Oh way. 

"The Holiday" staring Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Jack Black, Kate Winslet, 

When I returned home from dropping them off at Grandma and Grandpa's for the evening, I came home to find the fort occupied.

Mika and Max were just as exhausted as I was and that fort was looking pretty cozy.

I have also been spending lot's of time at several veterinary hospitals lately seeing specialists.

Mika was just diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis or Westie Lung Disease.  She...well "we" will see a Cardiologist on Tuesday.  The outlook is not looking too good.

Max is putting on a little weight (which is good) but he takes 14 meds per day and well as IV fluid every evening and has acupuncture every other week.  

But the reason for my hoarse voice.......(I'll bet you thought I forgot)!   is that I just returned from an incredible Bruce Springsteen concert tonight!!!  Sorry for the poor quality of my photos but I only had my cell phone with me.


We were three rows up from the stage and 4 seats over. Great seats (thank you Eric)! Incredible seats!

It was so very incredible!  A great three hour show. So much energy.

Mmmm...maybe I can get him to come over to my house and chase my two little charges?

Live music is a wonderful thing.

"The best music, you can seek some shelter in it momentarily but it's essentially there to provide you something to face the world with."  - Bruce Springsteen

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Change of Seasons

Song - The Turkey Song by Adam Sandler

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and weekend!

In Northern California, the weather has been beautiful.  Crisp in the evening but we have been enjoying breakfast and lunch outside.  The trees are putting on an incredible show of colors for us to enjoy.

My three boys were all here for Thanksgiving which thrilled my heart!  Our table was full of friends, family and food.....oh my.....way too much food!

The silver was polished

The table was set and the candles lit

The family china was ready

as were the kids!

Mr. B was cooking two turkeys - one traditional and one "his" style 
(this year I think it was BBQ Tequila lime - yumm!)

We all held hands and were grateful....very grateful for so much happiness in our lives.

Ohhh....then comes dessert!

It was ready to go.....

Then it was all over....and after wrapping up leftovers and washing many dishes, 
 we went to bed with very full tummy's but very happy hearts.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Leaf Peeping

Song - When the Leaves Come Falling Down by Van Morrison

Mr. B and I have been so busy with Thanksgiving preparations that we have not walked around our garden for the last few days.  The other day I noticed that our October Glory Maple Tree in the backyard was still somewhat green but yesterday it had already been lit on fire by the crisp Autumn air.

The Japanese Maple tree in our front yard is framed by my kitchen window, so I have been watching her turn colors slowly.

Momijigari from the Japanese momiji, "red leaves" or "Maple tree" and kari, "hunting", is the Japanese tradition of going to visit scenic areas where leaves have turned red in the Autumn.

I wish you all a wonderful and heartfelt Thanksgiving.......

"The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."  ~ Henry Miller

Thursday, November 15, 2012

 Song - Sounds of Autumn


"We could learn to stop when the sun goes down 
and when the sun comes up. 
We could learn to listen to the wind; 
we could learn to notice that it’s raining 
or snowing 
or hailing 
or calm. 
We could reconnect with the weather 
that is ourselves, 
and we could realize that it’s sad. 
The sadder it is, 
and the vaster it is, 
the more our heart opens. 
We can stop thinking 
that good practice is 
when it’s smooth and calm, 
and bad practice is 
when it’s rough and dark. 
If we can hold it all in our hearts, 
then we can make a proper cup of tea."

from "Wisdom of No Escape" by Pema Chodron
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