Saturday, April 23, 2011


I think most of you know me by now.  Even with taking some time off from the business in Walla Walla, WA to visit my Mom in California, that I would find something to paint and distress.  I think it's in my blood, and even when I wasn't painting, we took a couple of days to do some thrift store and consignment shopping.  You have to know how hard it was for me to pass up some incredible deals at one of the local consignment stores.  There were quite a few items I could have picked up and easily doubled my money on.  But with train travel, and the high cost of shipping, they will have to be left behind for someone else to find and fall in love with.
My Mom had an old wood rocker that has been sitting out on her back patio for a number of years.  So many years, that the finish had all but been worn away by time and weather.  It barely took any effort with some sand paper to get it ready for some new paint.  Boy, did it soak up the paint, but I wasn't concerned with completely covering it, as I have learned, when distressing a piece, it doesn't need to be perfect to make it look old.  A little scratching here and there, a coat of glaze,and my Mom now has a new rocker in her family room.
The same was done with a little step that I had used previously when I lived in Modesto to help me get up onto my high rise bed.  My Mom took possession of it when we packed up and hit the road, and she absolutely loves it in her kitchen to help her get to the higher shelves.  But she was ready for a little change, so I painted it the same color as her walls, distressed and glazed, and Mom is happy with the results.
I have to say, the project I had the most fun doing, was using some throw away stuff that I took off my Aunt's hands last Sunday, some sample paint in my Mom's storage shed, tissue paper, twine, and some Dollar Tree flowers.  From the picture, you can see the wood piece, which is actually the top of a little tiny tabletop table, which we couldn't figure out what anyone would use it for.  I love those blue Ball canning jars too, don't you? 
I had the friendly neighbor drill two holes into the wood for me that I had marked for him, and then painted it.  When it was dry, I distressed it and glazed it and then went about using twine to wrap around the lip of the jar, and then tie it off on the back of the wood piece which stabilized the jar to the wood.  You could also use wire if you like, but I like the rustic look of the twine.  Then some white tissue paper was crushed inside the jar and three bunches of  white hanging tulips were inserted into the jar.  The end result was a success.
My days are coming to a end here in California, but no doubt upon my next visit I'll have some other ideas for some great little decorating items that I'm sure my Mom will love!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Actually, as you read this, I'm already in California, by way of buses and trains.  With the rising cost of fuel, and doing the math, it was so much cheaper to take Amtrak to California, than drive or fly, and with only having been on Amtrak once before, for a very short trip, (under an hour), I thought it would be an adventure, and an adventure it was.
My day, or should I say night, started out at 2am, by rising and loading up the pickup with my luggage and heading to the Amtrak station in Pasco, WA.  I had been notified by Amtrak the day before, that train service was cancelled and that I would have the pleasure of riding a bus from Pasco to Portland, OR.  So after checking my one piece of luggage, and picking the brain of the clerk at the counter with several of the questions I had about train travel, I waited an hour for the bus to arrive and begin my journey.
I have to say, the four plus hour bus ride from Pasco to Portland was extremely enjoyable and relaxing.  It helped that I had the two seats by myself, where I could place my carry on bag with all my electronics on the seat  next to me, and read and nap to my heart's content.  Before I knew it, the time flew by and we were in Portland.
The Portland Amtrak station is truly a beautiful place.  It beckons to the past era of train travel with it's vintage look.  It was clean, had a little shop for magazines, food, and drinks, especially coffee, where the line was quite long when I first arrived.  What wasn't so great, were the hard wooden benches I had to occupy for well over four hours while I awaited the arrival of the Coastal Starlight train which would be my home for the next 16 hours.
Finally, around 2:30pm, twelve hours into my day, I boarded the train and found my assigned window seat.  I was amazed at how much leg room there was and how at first the seat was so comfortable.  But by the time we had arrived in Sacramento, I was cursing that seat and couldn't wait to get out of it.  Sixteen hours is a long time, and if the price of a sleeper room wouldn't have canceled out why I was taking the train in the first place, (well over $240 ), I would have upgraded in an instant. 
It also didn't help that I had another passenger next to me that obviously didn't adhere to the travel etiquette to not violate personal space.  There were no arm rests between the seats to mark your own territory, and he was more than willing to extend his elbow into my ribs for most of the entire trip.
On a more positive note, the scenery was fantastic, and with the help of an almost full moon, I also was able to take in the snow covered terrain during the night as I tried to cat nap until our 6:30am arrival in Sacramento, CA.  There I waited again for a bus that would take me to Stockton, CA where I would board my final train for a short 30 minute ride into Modesto where my Niece was waiting to pick me up.

I'll be in California until the evening of the 27th, where I will reverse my travels, but this time, unless there will be changes, I'll have three separate train rides to get me back into Pasco by the evening of the 28th.  Until then, I'll be enjoying the company of my friends and family here in Modesto, delight Craig with copious amounts of home cooked meals and goodies as he passes through the area several times a week, and believe it or not, miss getting my hands dirty working on projects.  But not to fear, there is an oak table and chairs sitting out on my Mom's patio that is just screaming for a make over............Home Depot here I come!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I know that I haven't exactly kept it a secret, but I just can't help letting the world know, just how much I love this man.  Today is his birthday, and although we don't usually do anything to celebrate such things as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, I couldn't let the day go by without at least acknowledging it for prosperity on our blog.

It's been the norm for us, over the past 6 years, to be separated from family and friends, but now, with Craig driving team, we find ourselves separated from each other.  It's a new normal for us to get adjusted to, but honestly, with Craig in my life, it has been anything but what I thought normal would be, and I thank God for that every day.

He is the best of men, his ethics beyond reproach, his sense of humor never fails to make me laugh, and he makes no bones about how much he loves me every single Happy Birthday Craig and I hope you know just how much you are loved in return.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Cori and I have been working fools the last couple of days, especially since the big Farm Chicks Show in Spokane is less than 2 months away.  We know it is going to sneak up on us, and we want to be as prepared as possible for this huge undertaking.  We have our "to do" lists tacked up in the garage, and believe it or not, I dare say there is more floor space in the garage than there was a couple of weeks ago, as we are trying to complete as many projects as we can.
First up is this coffee table we got for a steal for only $5.00.  It is so solid, and when we saw it, knew that all we would have to do is redo the table top.  But then, as always, we got to thinking.  Looking at the wrought iron framing around the bottom of the table, we knew it needed a shelf, but how could we make it functional, but yet fun too?
We decided to do a dry brushing of a great red that Cori had used in the past, which let the wood grain show through after I had sanded it down to bare wood.  Then remember those yardsticks I mentioned in my last blog entry?  We cut a piece of plywood and covered it with all the old yardsticks we have purchased over the past few months.  After attaching the shelf with brackets to the framing, we sat back and admired a great looking coffee table.
But we didn't stop there.  A few weeks ago, we snagged three old oars at an estate sale.  I sanded them down to bare wood and then Cori and I dry brushed a coat of white paint on them.

Taking a bit of inspiration from one of the numerous catalogs that Cori receives daily, we taped off areas on the oars to paint red.  Once dry, they were distressed and then a bit of espresso bean glaze was used to give them an aged look.  I would love to have the room at my own home to hang a couple of these on the wall!

Saturday, April 02, 2011


I couldn't completely stop blogging about trucking, after all, with having lived my life out on the road for five years, it kinda gets into your blood.  So how is this for I said, I was out for five years, and always hoped for a new truck that hadn't been trashed by a previous driver that smoked, because no matter how much Frebreeze you use, that smoke stink never goes away.
So along comes Roy, not even a year under his belt, and he gets to enjoy a brand new, fresh smelling truck.  Now as Craig likes to tell me, if I had chosen to drive along with him, we probably would have had that new truck together, but no amount of bribery, new truck or money wise, can ever convince me to drive a commercial truck, heck, just driving our pickup is big enough for me.

But I am so very excited for Craig and Roy that they have taken possession of a new 2011 Kenworth T660 with all the bells and whistles, and a new APU to boot.  It was like Christmas morning yesterday morning when they got to move into their new digs.

They were given a load out of Toppenish, WA to pick up this morning, and after arriving there, they were beeped with a message to drop the trailer and bob tail to Aurora, OR to take over another team's load into Phoenix.  Seems that team, who had also taken possession of a new truck the same time as Craig and Roy, already had engine problems with it.  Hold on, it gets better.

As Craig and Roy make there way towards Aurora, they also start having some issues with the truck, and are routed to the nearest Kenworth dealership in Yakima, WA to have it checked out.  I just received a text message saying that they were back on the road again, without finding anything wrong, but with the usual "keep an eye on it" instructions from the mechanic.

All in all, Craig likes that there is so much more room, that the seats can fully recline, and after five years of hearing me complain of not having a cup holder in the three trucks we had, a Freightliner, an International, and a Peterbilt, he was happy to report that the Kenworth does indeed have two cup holders!


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