Friday, March 18

Poppies

I have begun work on Golden Poppies. But I am seriously low on greens and blues for the background, so I ordered some fat quarter bundles and I am awaiting their arrival before I continue. I ordered from Hancock’s of Paducah so I know it will be a while. I have other sites that I get faster delivery from, but I wanted bundles to build my stash back up. The closest quilt store is over 50 miles away, can you believe it?

The poppies don’t look like much against the white background, but when I lay down some dark blues and greens they should pop. And the quilting will help as well.

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I have been playing golf as usual, and the California Poppies are just beginning to sprout in the chaparral. They are seriously a lot more vibrant orange than my poppies. Oh well. Orange thread should ameliorate that problem. It is what it is. In another week or two the prickly pear cactus should be in bloom—the blossoms that will become pears are just now budding. I’ll get pictures.

Around here, the bougainvillea is goin’ to town. I just love this magnificent bush. It’s not only beautiful, it provides privacy and blocks the streetlight below our bedroom. And it knocks me out every morning when I open the doors.
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Everything is waking up on our terrace. The photo hardly captures the vibrant colors of the succulents. We had a good storm recently, which knocked off a bunch of the red bracts from these bougainvillea. The flower is a tiny 1/4” white flower. You can see them in the above photo if you look real close.

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Here is the definitive on the house—they sent an independent soil engineer out to look at our houses and he says the soil our house sits on, which is clay and expansive (it’s quite infamous in these parts), and when it got wet it expanded around the perimeter of the house, creating a “bowl” effect, which is why only the interior, non-load-bearing walls are affected. Makes sense. Houses in California are very flexible because of earthquakes, so settling cracks are the norm. Although these are not true settling cracks, the idea is the same. They are going to watch it for a while (i.e. bide their  time) to see what it does through the wet winter, which so far has not been very wet, and then they’ll fix it. I have to say, nothing has gotten worse, in fact the biggest crack seems to have closed a tiny bit—but that could be my imagination, no way to tell. They don’t have to lift up the whole foundation or anything, just re-attach the walls and ceiling and move the baseboards. One day of work. We were thinking we’d have to move out. Nope.

Here’s today’s golf picture. This is the Greg Norman course at PGA West (La Quinta) where we used to live. I forget which hole this is, 15 maybe. So beautiful. Speaking of golf, my game is okay, this week was not as good as last, but I have a little shoulder problem I can blame. Not rotator cuff, but “Frozen Shoulder.” Who knew…it’s age-related…but they say to move it and stretch it a lot, and golf actually makes it feel better, so there you go. It does limit my range of motion to an extent, but just on the front nine. By the time I hit #10, it’s all loosened up.

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Friday, March 4

Alive ‘n Kickin

I haven’t posted in a while because it has been business as usual around here, but we are going great guns.

Our weather has cooled down somewhat and there is [a little] rain in the forecast. We and our neighbors went golfing yesterday at Casta del Sol, which is a challenging executive course with many elevations and drainage culverts to get over. I shot a 94. If only I could putt…

JJ went with us, and he played! This was a momentous occasion as he has not played in over ten years. The “Golf Gang” has been after me to get him out there. He started out great, our jaws dropped (he used to be a pretty good player). But it wasn’t long before the “old muscle memory” kicked in and things went downhill. He has an odd twist/loop in his swing and he tries to “kill” the ball, which never works. He sat out a few holes and said never again—final answer. He doesn’t like it enough to want to learn all over again. You have to get up early, which is definitely not his thing, plus it’s a long process to learn golf. You have to practice. Thinking back, I remember all the lessons I took, how long and hard I worked at it, and the grief I took when I first started playing club golf. Oy! I don’t think I’d relish starting over at this stage of life either.

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Casta del Sol: Not the prettiest golf course, but nice enough. And short. And cheap.

It is early spring in southern California, and that means golden poppies, our state flower. If we get a wet winter, which we didn’t, whole hillsides  are covered in beautiful golden blooms for miles in every direction. Maybe up north…they got a good soaking in northern Cali. But not here, not yet anyway.

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I am thinking of doing poppies for my next piece but I am having trouble finding the perfect color fabric. Golden poppies are closer to orange than yellow, but the oranges I have are ORANGE, and poppies are not yellow. I guess it doesn’t really matter much, but whatever it is, I need to get into the studio. I’m getting twitchy!

Around here, we got our pavers sealed and they did a terrible job. It got late and they ran out of light and they didn’t get up all the sand before they applied the sealer. They came back and repaired it and it looked worse. Then they sent out the A Team and wire-brushed what sand they could and it looks better, but still a disappointment. I am looking forward to the rain this weekend because there is a fine layer of dust on everything.

It’s always something, right?

The gaps between the walls and ceiling/floor have not gotten any worse. We appear to have stabilized. The builder sent out a structural engineer and a soil engineer who determined that our problem lies  under the slab, where the soil is clay and therefore expansive. In layman terms, the slab torqued. They’re actually flexible, who knew. Next, the building engineer is going to map out the floor to see where it needs shoring up. This will be interesting—what do they do, lift the house off it’s foundation? They all assure us it can be fixed, that they’ve seen worse. I am tired of people marching through my house looking at and taking pictures of the damage, but I am strangely calm about it. I mean, what can you do? We can’t move, we’d never be able to sell, and we love it here. Meanwhile our neighbor on the other side is now having the same problem. That makes five homes on our street. That I know of.

That’s all the news. We’re healthy, and that’s the most important thing. Everything else is just stuff.