Pumpkin Cottage

Pumpkin Cottage
sit and visit a spell

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Posing in Front of the Galaxy 500

Tell me this isn't a treasure. 
Gosh, all mighty, I am so happy my mother forced us take photographs.
Back row: Father, Mother, Cousin Moitoso, sister Dulce, brother Ilidio
Front row: Joe and me
Joe is 6 and I am 4.  Yes, we both had blond hair.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Birthday

Nicholas, my second son,  turns 21 today.  Honestly, where does the time go?  As the result of an ugly divorce,  his older brother came to live with me and Nicholas stayed with his father. It wasn't as cut and dry as all that but that was the end result. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't wonder what I could have done differently but in reality it wasn't my decision.  At the time, there was very little I could do  without causing more damage.  It is a legal system, not a justice system,  after all, and the one with the most cash  or better attorney (same thing) still wins.

On the day of his birth, the pediatrician told me he didn't know if Nicholas would make it through the night.  He was born early, he had a low birth weight, it was turning into a cold winter and he had an extreme case of jaundice.  But survive he has with a taste for pickle juice, hot salsa and salty chips.

Twenty-one is a golden age.   A milestone.   The age when suddenly adulthood can no longer be denied.
We love you dear heart. HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Nicholas in my mother's garden. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is synonymous with crafting.  With a heart full of gratitude and family all around.
The get along gang wishes you and your loved ones a heart full of blessings.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Apple Pie

Up the hill to Oak Glen for apple pie.  Let me tell you it was cold and crisp. 
Jacob loves apples and this kind lady allowed us to sample them all.  We prefer tart apples.
Our taste test resulted in two favorites: Pink Lady and Arkansas Black. 
The lady recommends the use of three flavor varieties ranging from tart, to medium and sweet for pie making.
We are sticking to tart.

While visiting Riley's farm, we took a tractor pulled wagon tour through the property. 

This is our tour guide Seth.

Seth explained that some of the orchards we were visiting were over
100 years old and had been planted from seed.  Trees are now planted
by graft.  In the days where trees were planted by seed it would take
15 years for the trees to finally be profitable.  He also explained that four
seasons are required for proper apple growing.  When the temperatures drop
it signals the tree to drop the sap into the truck and go dormant for the winter.

The name Apple Valley was already taken when Oak Glen was renamed.  The
hills are full of a variety of oak trees including Black Oak, Live Oak and a rare combination of

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Photos from Roger's Garden

Looking just a bit disapproving.
Never met a heart I didn't love.
Owls are a symbol of growing up in the 70s.
Had to have a snail to hang over my kitchen sink.

Monday, November 21, 2011

VoVo Remembered

A few weeks ago Holly's teacher asked her if she visited with her grandparents.
"Oh, yeah," she said.  "I see my VoVo all the time but only in my dreams.
My VoVo has a lot of friends."  It was a little while later that the teacher
realized that Holly was talking about someone who had passed away.

This little story was shared with my siblings because it is such a great comfort to think that VoVo 'has so many friends.'  When I told my sister last night she said, "Of course, mother always had lots of friends."

My mother had a wonderful relationship with Holly.  She would always say, "That one, I take in my soul."

I understood what she meant. She loved her so much that she could not bear to leave her entirely.  Holly always stayed physically close to VoVo.  While Jacob would ask to visit the rehab center. he would stay physically distant.  Holly wasn't shy or scared.  She would get right up and sit on VoVo's bed.
They are connected through eternity. 

Last weekend we took the long road trip up north to help my brother move. Holly had asked if we were going to visit VoVo?  What other four year old asks to visit a cemetery?  Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time but I promised we would visit at the end of December.

Yesterday, on the second anniversary of VoVo's death, as we sat in church, Holly asked, as she pointed to the altar, "Will VoVo be up there?"  It was no small feat to get all eight of us out of the house by 8:30 but there we were children, grandchildren and a great grandchild because we all knew it mattered to VoVo.

After mass and breakfast, we headed to Roger's Gardens in the pouring rain.  Nothing would have made VoVo happier than to see all of us laughing together.


I had to do a double take on this one.  To the left of my niece, Christine, is a woman
that just for a split second looked just like my mother. Christine says she feels VoVo's
presence all the time.  She finds VoVo's tokens: pennies and bobby pins every where.

Holly, Antonio and Jacob or as they refer to themselves "cousins."
VoVo's legacy lives.  We all gathered in a garden to recall our

Friday, November 11, 2011

Champagne Glass

I have been dreaming about champagne glasses
like my mother used to have.  These are preferrable to the flute
type champagne glasses that have been the rage for the past 30

This pair is from the 60s and super fancy with their ribbon of silver.
Plain glass ones would be welcome, too.  We are on the hunt.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Holiday Shopping and Road Trip Ideas

My Favorite Things in Nevada City, California. Oh yeah. 
Looks and sounds like a lovely shop with a Glitter Girl Studio.

Definitely a shop for the get along gang to investigate
during the next visit to Sacramento.

A Holiday Open House in Grass Valley might also fit in nicely.

Window shopping at the Mission Galleria Antiques Mall
in downtown Riverside. 

Mrs. Darlings new shop is housed here.  Even before
the kids realized that this was Mrs. Darlings' space
the kids were feeling at home.

Christmas road trip possibilities:

Christmas Tree Lane, Fresno

San Diego Holiday Art Festival

Holiday of Lights, Del Mar 

Mission Inn, Festival of Lights 

Altadena's Christmas Tree Lane 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Little Turkey Army Finished

These little guys have kept me happily crafting.  This time of year
is so conducive to staying in the warmth of home, with old movies
on the telly, and hot tea brewing.

Now it is time for them to go out into the world to help other families
celebrate Thanksgiving traditions.

That little guy in the middle seems so chatty.  Each has a unique

Saturday, November 5, 2011


My oldest sister, Mericia, was so faithful.
Not the faithfulness that is convenient or
simply housed in a church building and then
put of  away the rest of the week. Not
the faithfulness of today were we talk about
Jesus and the love of God and then forget
to vote our faithfulness to help those less
fortunate then ourselves: the poor, elderly and children.

In the photograph above, she is just full of
joy as she has her first child baptized.
I don't believe another
photograph exists that so clearly expresses her happiness.

It was her faithfulness that 
carried her through the battle of her life.  Cancer.

Today marks the twentieth year of her passing. 

Her children missed growing up with their mother,
we missed our sister and our mother
missed her daughter to her dying day.
During the last year of Mericia's life,
our mother provided around the clock care.
They were both very brave.

We, kids, used to joke that
you had to be sick for our
mother to really care. It was our
way of denying and of coping.

What I gained by losing both my father and sister
so early in  life was you mustn't take anything
for granted.

Life is precious.  Don't squander it away.
There is no time like the present.
I learned that grace is getting what you don't deserve. 
I learned to not leave the house mad.
To risk loving even if it your heart gets broken.
To not complain, at least, not often.
To smile even if you feel like crying.
To live every day as if it were your last.  
To not have regrets.
I learned that through your own suffering
you can help others.
Jesus came for everyone not just the people
you agree with.
And that God is good.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Miss Staci

Big sister Michele with new baby, Staci.

A Tia's (aunt's) pride and joy long before I had children of my own.

That's Joel (we come from a long line of Fred Sanfords---
I am coming to join you honey), Joey, Christine (my oldest niece),
Larissa (in the middle), Michele standing behind Staci.

Happy Birthday, Staci
May you be blessed with good health
Memories to keep you moving toward the future
And love to fill and sustain you through the difficult
Patches of life.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cottage Loving

The cool weather should be coming.  The changing weather
gets me dreaming about cozy cottages. 
This little cottage is situated on the island of
Pico, Azores.  So close to the ocean you can taste the mist.

I want to have a little house with sunlight on the floor, 
A chimney with a rosy hearth and lilacs by the door,
With windows looking East and West, And a crooked apple tree, 
And room beside the golden fence, for hollyhocks to be.

Nancy Byrd Turner
These lovely words have been painted
on the wall of my powder room for nearly eleven years.
It is still as true for me today as the day I painted them.
I still don't have a chimney but I have a crooked apple tree and
hollyhocks in the garden.

Here's to the lovely golds, oranges and yellows of November.