Loopy and I are off to Edmonton with The Fan and Uncle Bug to see... you know who... the Jonas Brothers! The concert is Thursday night. We hope everyone has a safe, fun holiday weekend. We'll be partying with Poopsie.

And in case you haven't entered, there is still time to leave a comment to win an area rug by CSN Rugs. Details of the giveaway are posted here. The lucky winner will be chosen by random number generator and posted on Monday. See you then!

the one where saucy finances steve jobs' new liver

This became a full-on Mac household after Christmas, with Veto treating the family not only to Apple TV but also a Mac computer and an iPhone for Saucy. Later he picked up an iTouch for himself. After the initial chaos involved in changing operating systems subsided and the several meltdowns that followed ceased, Saucy fell into a decent groove with the new hardware. The software, however is a different story.

Last night Saucy came to a horrible realization. She has been taken advantage of, manipulated, ripped off, some might say bent right over... by iTunes.

Witness: since the first (of seven) iPods entered our home in 2006, a total of 269 songs have been purchased in iTunes. Since the last update to iTunes 8.2 (required for the iPhone updates and the Apple TV), Saucy's library of purchased music has gone... missing. Like, photo on the side of milk carton missing. Have-you-seen-Michael-Jackson's-childhood-missing. No sign of it anywhere on the desktop or in the files. Gone. 

In a little experiment, Saucy attempted to download one of the missing Elvis Costello singles again, expecting that the trusty Mac would direct her to the folder that the purchased music was hiding. Instead, she got this message:

iTunes is giving Saucy the option to upgrade the songs she already purchased to be DRM-free versions. DRM stands for digital rights management, meaning the upgrade (at 40 cents per song, $3.00 per album) will allow Saucy to use the music on other MP3 players rather than just the iPods registered to this computer and iTunes account.

Gah! The worst part is, it would appear that the internets have conspired and Saucy's purchased playlist has been wiped from her operating system. Hours of searching last night proved futile and frustrating. Interestingly enough, the Mac operating system directed Saucy and Buddy Budderson to a "purchased history" in iTunes that detailed every single missing song with a convenient BUY NOW button.

The best analogy Saucy can come up with is if Safeway called her and said, "You know those gallons of milk your children have been drinking since 2006? You need to bring us 40 cents for each one. We have a record on your Safeway Club Card so you owe us $325.00, you'll have to settle up before you can buy any more groceries from us, and by the way, your kids are now Vitamin-D deficient because that other milk was lacking." Are you following Saucy's train of thought, people?

Now Saucy has to either a) fork over the extortion sum and pay for the music she already paid for, or b) tell Loopy that her library of Jonas tunes and videos have gone bye-bye and endure the wrath that follows:

Reader, what would you do in the face of digital extortion?

fabulous area rug giveaway

I promised my peeps another amazing giveaway! I'm a woman of my word so here it is... I picked this gorgeous indoor/outdoor area rug from CSNRugs.com for our outdoor living space. I think it will compliment our outdoor furniture perfectly, being black iron with cream and black cushions.

Perhaps you would like one for yourself? CSN Rugs will send one of my lucky peeps a rug from this collection in the colour of your choice, if you leave a comment on this post. This giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada - yes, they ship to Canada!

You must be one of my "peeps" (followers) in order to enter the contest. You can add yourself to the parade of peeps in the right sidebar. Then, just leave a comment on this post.

If you would like a second entry, you can leave two comments but you have to link to this post on your blog. Grab the cute button that I made for your sidebar or your post and leave a second comment. It's hanging around at the bottom of this post.

A third entry? Why not... you can post this link to your Facebook profile too, if you like. But again, you have to leave another comment letting me know... I learned an awful lesson with the Jonas Brothers contest. Too much footwork spreading the contest over so many posts! All comments on this post will be entered into the random number generator on Saturday, July 4th at 11:59 p.m. The winner will be announced on next Monday's post!

Visit the Couristan Recife Veranda collection at CSNRugs.com to look at the colours this area rug is available in and daydream about how one of these beauties will look in your outdoor... or indoor... space. Maybe you will pick the black and white version too.

For our anniversary on Friday, Veto surprised me with five bundles of 24 roses. 120 roses! Yes, your husband does hate him right now.

That made me feel better about all the yard work we had to do over the weekend. Look at the buggy, nasty bits that were strewn about the yard before cleanup this week.

My tiny doormat was covered with the seeds from the trees. There is a downside to living in an established neighbourhood. It seems like we've cleaned the yard for spring every weekend since the end of April.

Even the pergola needed a wash down.

I may not even put ivy and vines in the planters until we return from the Jonas Brothers concert next weekend. Until then, they remain bare and "architectural." Whatever. The longer I wait, the less expensive the plants will be.

We have two of these planters... they are immovable objects. They must have come from a door-to-door salesman who visited the neighbourhood sometime in the last 100 years, the same ones are in many of the yards around here. I don't even mind the cracked base, I think it's charming.

The peonies are finally in bloom. I needn't pick them, Veto's roses filled every vase I own. They can languish on the plant until they wilt away.

I had to wash every piece of furniture down before placing the cushions back on.

Finally... some refreshment. Perhaps you would enjoy a little San Pellegrino water, while we sit and listen to the little water fountain and some Bobby Darin.

Or perhaps you prefer French bottled beverages over Italian? I might offer you some Lorina pink lemonade, while we chill to Nick Drake's "Pink Moon." You will notice that I also have some white roses, these were from The Fan. I had to use a teapot as a vase.

Look at Veto's pink roses... they are just perfect right now... and the coral roses...

The lights of the pergola went up today, twinkling overhead as the sun went down.

The dog days of summer have finally arrived. The only thing that will make this space more comfortable the new area rug beneath our feet. Maybe you will get one, too. Good luck.

the mad tea party

"There will be a tea party " whispered the dragonfly to Alice. "Right here in Miss Saucy's garden. You must find your way there... but first you must find the pink ticket that will admit you."

Alice just had to find her way there, but it would be difficult. She knew it was somewhere in Saucy's garden.

Alice decided to follow the pink ribbon strewn upon the ground, surely it would lead her to the tea party! Unfortunately, Loopy often left a trail of ribbons wherever she went, so this proved to be no lead at all. Soon she heard a voice say, "would you like directions, Miss?"

"I know you!" she exclaimed when she saw the cat. "What on earth are you doing here?" Alice asked. "Head into the Candy Forest" he purred.

Alice was apprehensive. She wrung her hands in fear.

Regardless, she bravely ventured forth. There was nothing to be afraid of. This was Saucy's garden, after all. What could there possibly be to be fearful of?

Soon enough she came across a flock of pink chicks. "Do you know where the tea party is?" she inquired politely. "We have no idea" chirp-chirped the chicks. "Find The Mayor and ask him, he will surely know where the festivities are."

Alice found the Mayor right where the chicks said he would be - near the peppermint patch. "Of course I know where the tea party is" cluck-clucked The Mayor. But before you go, you simply must enjoy some ice cream, the crop this year is excellent!"'

And so she did. He was right, it was excellent this year. When she was done, she picked herself up and began to follow The Mayor's directions. She headed off to find the button vines first.

They were looking a wee bit thirsty, so she gave them a drink. It was a good deed on her part, as Saucy lurrves to pick a patch of pretty pink buttons. Alice knew that Saucy would be disappointed if the buttons were awfully tiny this year.

She stopped to see a few sights along the way.

Then she happened upon the garden fairy who lived in Little Melfie's fairy jar, who was also looking for the party. Alice said, "I took a wrong turn at the button vines, I'm hoping that you know the way." The frogs and the hare laughed. Of course she knew the way! The garden fairy directed Alice over the rainbow.

Whoops, wrong story. Terribly sorry about that. Carrying on...

Alice stumbled through the bundles of roses that Veto brought Saucy for their anniversary. She began to count but it made her sleepy. Then, she spotted a bear fixing tea.

"Yes, this is the tea for the party,"
said the little old lady bear. "Mind you, you'll need one of these pink tickets to get in." And so Alice helped herself and off she went. "What direction?" she asked as she departed.

"Past the butterfly house and beyond" said the old lady tea maker. "But mind don't open the door of the house as you pass!"

Alice didn't hear that last part. She was far too excited. She was on her way to the tea party... finally! Ticket in hand.

Suddenly she came across a lovely cage. She could not resist... she opened the door to peek inside.

Out flew dozens of butterflies! She decided to follow them, as they all went the same direction...

... they led her to a cake stand, whereupon sat a lovely tea party!

There was a chair waiting for Alice, the honoured guest... a spot to enjoy tea or a cool drink...

... and a lovely new frock too!

Tea was served in the daintiest of sets.

Along with the tea, the guests enjoyed the sweetest homemade cake. It was delicious vanilla cake layered with sweet strawberries, which Alice thought funny, since she'd not seen a strawberry patch in Saucy's garden but she had seen button vines, lollipop patches and ice cream growing by the cones. What a funny garden this Saucy has!

Oh, and there were presents! Lots of wonderful gifts, even something special mailed from Amy at Inspireco. It was all delightful beyond words.

Alice was so glad she found the tea party... and her garden friends. And you. Thank you for visiting. If you come back on Monday, you might catch a glimpse of Saucy's entire garden... and find a fabulous giveaway for her peeps! Peep, peep! Peeps to the right!

A Fanciful Twist is hosting the Second Annual Mad Tea Party today. Do pop over for a visit if you enjoy tea, baked goods and tall tales.


{gushy alert}

Five years ago today a bachelor not yet known as Veto took Buddy Budderson, Loopy and I to be his family. It was a massive undertaking: woman with health issues (some known, some unknown at that time), a preteen boy and a little girl with developmental delays and undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome.

He deserves a medal. We are not the easiest people to be around sometimes, but we try. Where there was nothing, he made a family.

I love him more than words can say. He saved us. He brought us together, he made us a wonderful home and he is more than I could have hoped for as a husband.

You see, even though the blog may not reflect it, I am not perfect. I am a work in progress. I make mistakes. Lots of silly mistakes. Without explanation, I make the same mistakes more than once. Like Loopy, I am easily overwhelmed. I try hard but sometimes I just can't get things right.

When Veto married us, he gave up his freedom and his bachelor ways. He slipped into the role of husband and father seamlessly. The children embraced him... but they became teenagers instantly, bringing all that comes with the territory. He stepped up to the plate and assumed the role of leader, father, mediator, and he even keeps me in check when the my mother instincts say, "freak out an strangle someone." He is the model of patience and understanding and I don't know how he does it sometimes.

He treats us like royalty. He spoils us with family trips and movies. He has dropped much anticipated golf tournaments and important business meetings to be there for me when my health has been shaky. Sometimes I feel like a burden but he never makes me feel that way, he reassures me and continues to take care of me, even though I have to start to do more things for myself.

He works so hard to take care of us and although I may not say it often enough, I don't know how to begin to thank him.

And so, even though we say "Love You" all the time, with one single splash of a tear on my keyboard, I need to say to Veto that I love you more than words can say and I wish that things were easier for you sometimes. Thank you for being there when we need you, which is always.

I love this man. Happy Anniversary.