Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Daybook

 "Every day is a blank page."

FOR TODAY, January 20, 2015

Outside my window . . .my neighborhood is enveloped in fog.  The air is cold and frosty. The dogs beg to be let outside, only to turn around and scratch at the door to be let in again.

I am listening to . . . iTunes.  The soundtrack to Cider House Rules.

I am thinking . . . that I have a lot to do this morning to get ready to leave for a trip tomorrow.  I need to make a list!

I am thankful . . . for our brand new coffee  maker and knowing I can count on a good cup of coffee in the morning. 

In the kitchen . . . grilled cheese sandwiches and clam chowder for supper tonight.

I am wearing . . .  my PJs.

I am creating . . . a blanket for my new granddaughter, due at the end of March!


I am going . . . to Palm Springs to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday!  Dan and I leave tomorrow.  Our son and his dog are housesitting.

I am wondering . . . if I should clean the house . Naahh.

I am reading . . . Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

I am looking forward to . . . six days in Palm Springs with my husband, sisters-in-law, brother-in-law and mother-in-law! 

Around the house . . . I found a bookcase on Craig's list, so I've started unpacking some of my books.  Some have been packed for over a year.  It's like meeting old friends again:)

A favorite quote for today . . . 
Be Brave.  Do not pray for the hard thing to go away, but pray for a bravery to come that's bigger than the hard thing.

Some of my favorite things . . . the Downton Abbey series, beautiful movie soundtracks and toast with marmalade.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . see above;)

A peek into my day . . . keepin' it real!


The Simple Woman's Daybook is hosted by Peggy.  Click here for the link to join in.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Word for 2015

Every day is like a blank page.  What is it about snow days that make that ring especially true, other than the obvious white canvas that lays outside my window?
The day isn't completely empty.  I'll go into work in just a little while, for just a few hours.  Then on the way home, I'll stop at the grocery store to pick up a few necessities.
There's been a trend that I first learned about from fellow bloggers a number of years back, to choose a word for the year, something to focus on in lieu of New Year's resolutions.  I've been hit or miss on this, but I did choose a word for 2014 and it was 'intentional.'  I tried to be more intentional with my time, my words, and especially in my actions in achieving some goals.  I have to say that just planting that seed and being reminded of it throughout the year makes me think that I really was more intentional in my life and, I'm happy to report, I achieved some of those goals.  I joined a writer's group.  I went to a writing seminar.  And I have a proposal for a project that's been floating around in my head for a long time, and now there's a plan.
So this year, I've thought about it, and went to this website to do a little exercise to help me come up with my word for 2015.  And that word is Courage. 
Wow! So unexpected that I would come up with a word like that!  Now that I've been intentional about planning for my goals and surrounding myself with people that will help me achieve them, I need to find the Courage within me to set out and put it all on paper.  And even accept that I may fail at it a few or a hundred times, if that's part of the plan. 
"Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway."
John Wayne
There are so many areas in my life where I can apply this word.  I am going to try to be more courageous about not expecting perfection, from myself or from those around me.  There are so many things I put off doing, because I'm afraid that it won't be 'just right.'  Or afraid of what people might think. 
So, watch out 2015, here I come.  And, just for the record, if a certain friend is reading this and thinks that my idea for Courage might apply to zip lining . . . NOT.  That's still SO not happenin'!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Remembering Aunt Riz

Here we are in that limbo between Christmas and New Year's when it's not really the holidays anymore, but it's not ordinary time again either.  While there are some years when I'm so ready to pull the tree down, sweep up the (fake) pine needles, and put everything away, this year I'm finding the time to be rather peaceful and I just want it to linger.
There's no pressure of preparing holiday meals and baking, no more gifts to wrap, no more frenetic rush of errands to run.  It's just a time to enjoy the tree lights at night, sip some tea and read through  my new books, nibble a Christmas cookie or two, catch up on recorded TV shows. 
This morning, I'm looking out my window as I write this post, watching the snow come down, and noticing how pretty the garland and wreath on my fence look, all frosted with white.  The house is quiet, except for the ticking of the clock in the hallway and the occasional jingle of dog tags as one of the dogs stirs in her sleep.
I wish this interlude could last, suspending time for a while.  2014 was such a tumultuous year, full of twists and turns and surprises.  I would just like to rest for a while and catch my breath, before boarding the next bus to 2015.
Speaking of boarding, tomorrow I will board a plane to head back east for my aunt's funeral.  My dear Aunt Riz, some of you knew her through her blog Gifts from the Sea, passed away on Christmas Day.  For  now, I can still imagine that she is in her cozy home in New Jersey, sipping her cup of tea, surrounded by her beautiful granddaughters. 
She was called Riz by those who knew her and loved her, but her given name was Madeline.  Such a pretty name for a beautiful person, whose heart was as good as gold.  She loved the Jersey shore, seashells, tea, violets, and everything about the Fall.  She was a talented artist and an incredibly gifted cook.  She gave great hugs. After talking on the phone with her, even though we were 1,800 miles apart, I always felt like I had been given the biggest hug in the world.  She just had that way about her, of making people feel loved.  She was the youngest of seven children. She adored her family.
My favorite times with her were spent at the shore and at her kitchen table, having cups of tea.  We used to write each other letters -- the old fashioned kind of letters sent by snail mail -- and the last one she wrote I received just a couple weeks ago, signed with her usual heaps of love and "hot cider and snickerdoodles" (or some variation thereof) and "I'll think of you when I'm having my cup of tea."
I know that her entry to heaven was a joyful one, for her and for those who greeted her.  With lots of hugs for her Bill, her son Billy, my Pop Pop and Grandma, her big sister, and her brothers.  I can imagine them all smiling together, laughing and telling stories, and enjoying a pot of Christmas tea.
I love you, Aunt Rizzi.  With all of my heart.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Daybook

 "Every day is a blank page."

FOR TODAY, Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Outside my window . . .A cold, clear frosty day. The ground is covered with patches of snow.
I am listening to . . . Sara Evan's Christmas album.
I am thinking . . . that I am all but done with Christmas shopping. 
I am thankful . . . for the family and friends that came to our house on Sunday to celebrate my dad and stepmom's birthdays.  One of my favorite things is having the house filled with people I love and getting to feed them all!  It was such an awesome day.
In the kitchen . . .still baking Christmas cookies.  Dan made his now-famous rum cakes which we will share with family and friends.

I am wearing . . .yoga pants and t-shirt.
I am creating . . .memories of our granddaughter's first Christmas.
I am going . . .to start wrapping presents today. 
I am wondering . . .if my dog knows when it's her birthday?  And if she feels neglected that we forgot it last week.  (The vet sent her an e-mail birthday card, which prompted this thought).
I am reading . . .Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good, by Jan Karon.  It's so nice to be back in Mitford again.
I am praying. . .for peace in the world.
I am looking forward to . . . going to a holiday brass concert with Dan this Sunday.
I am learning . . . to roll with the punches.
Around the house . . . Dan built some shelves in our basement for storage.  I can't wait to get the rest of our boxes unpacked.  I'm still missing our tree skirt (using a sheet for this year), the little chicken that holds my measuring spoons, and a Colorado Rockies visor that I lost two moves ago, but keep hoping it will miraculously appear.

I am pondering . . . how resilient and strong people can be.
A favorite quote for today . . . "Raise your words, not your voice.  It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder." ~~Rumi
Some of my favorite things . . . old friendships, new friendships, spritz Christmas cookies.
A few plans for the rest of the week . . .Women's Candlelight Advent service at church this evening, going to a dinner theatre with friends tomorrow night to see Fiddler On the Roof (my all-time favorite), babysitting our grandbaby on Friday so her mom and dad can go Christmas shopping.
A peek into my day . . .

The Simple Woman's Daybook is hosted by Peggy.  Click here for the link to join in.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Checking in and a surprise!

I know.  I don't know what happened to my blog either. I was trying to put a little bit of a holiday spin on it, and everything went crazy and I couldn't get it back the way it was, so I just found something in Blogger's design department that didn't look too goofy.  Because it looked really goofy a couple hours ago.  WHY can't I just leave well enough alone?!

Anyway, just popping in to push the last post with Fall graphics down the page a bit, and to tell you why I haven't had a lot of time for blogging of late. I had a big crowd for Thanksgiving, then Dan and I fell right into decorating for Christmas.  This is our first holiday in our 'new' house, so we've had fun figuring out where our indoor decorations will go, and how to make all the outdoor decorations work for this year.  We figure we'll hit the sales after Christmas to fill in with a few new things.

And the big news is that in amongst all this, we have a grandbaby!  She has blonde hair and big blue eyes and we are completely smitten:) 

Oh, my gosh, nobody prepared me for how much love there is for a grandchild.  It's a giddy, over the moon delight, the same kind of joy as when I had my own babies, but none of the nervousness and anxiety mixed in because of all the responsibility.   There's the skip of my heart when I look at her and see my son, 21 years ago.  There's the fullness of my heart when I see her with her mommy and daddy, and how beautiful they all are.   

I find myself pausing every other sentence as I type this, looking at her photo and those big blue eyes.  This little miracle fresh from heaven. I sense that if she could talk, she would be so much wiser than I.  She would tell me that when life seems to be falling apart, God has way of putting things all back together again far better than we could ever plan.  And the rewards are greater than we imagined.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Fave Five

1. My favorite thing this week. . . cool mail!  I found this really neat blogger named Hannah and she promotes snail mail.  Not just any snail mail, but artsy snail mail.  Some time back, she offered to mail something fun to anyone who left a comment.  So, I did, and then promptly forgot all about it.  Imagine my surprise when this lovely package came in the mail last week, all the way from Australia.  Hannah wrote me a very sweet, personal letter and sent along a packet full of little surprises, including these cute, hand-made teabags.  I promptly set them up in my Halloween teacups!  If you're into 'mail art' (a whole movement I knew nothing about until recently), check it out on Pinterest.  The wonderful, crafty things that people can do will amaze you!

2.  My other favorite thing. . . I found ONE photo from my trip that I put on Facebook!  Pam and Jenny are showing off their flip phones! Time to upgrade, girls!  This is the lovely little cafĂ© where we spent a few hours at the end of a wonderful day. (I'm going to the phone store today to see if they recover the rest of my photos.  So much for being happy with just the experience.  I really want those dang photos!)

3.  Another favorite thing . . . we celebrated Dan's birthday on Monday evening.  His actual bday was last week, but we have found that Mondays are the best days to get everyone together due to busy work and school schedules.  Emily and her boyfriend baked him a cake, and I made a dinner that included one of his favorite foods -- twice baked potatoes.  I made it in casserole form, using this recipe from PW.  So easy, I don't know if I'll ever go back to stuffing all those little potato skins.

4.  I'm back on a walking routine with my friend Joan.  The fall mornings have been gloriously beautiful.  We marvel at the blue skies, the hot air balloons that linger overhead and the snow-covered mountains.  It's a lovely way to start the day.

5.  An evening out with friends from a Bible Study Group that we all belonged to when our kids were little.  Oh my gosh, where has the time gone?  It was so good to catch up and reconnect with dear friends.

Hope you all had a great week as well.  Thanks, Susanne, for linking us all up!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


I've been AWOL again.  Last week, my friend Pamela visited and we had a blast! She is one of my bestest, long-time friends since junior high school. (Yes, that was in the day before they called it middle school).  She was the kind of friend that had her own spot at our kitchen table many an afternoon after school, and she set me up to go to my first formal with her brother.  I was so shy, I hardly said three words (yes, there are those of you who will have a hard time believing that), and he was so sweet and kind and made me feel like a princess.

So, Pam was here for a week and we took a drive to Santa Fe for a few days. And since somehow I lost every.single.picture that I took of our trip! -- argh!! I can't tell you how angry this makes me and I am still seething about my iPhone/camera, can you tell??! -- I am telling myself that having the experience is far better than having a stack of photos. 

Pictures wouldn't describe the easy camaraderie we share, and we talked through most of the seven-hour drive to and from.  We talked about the kinds of wives and mothers we've been and the kind we want to be, what it's like parenting young adults and how you never stop being a parent, frivolous talk and serious talk. Plans for Christmas and gift ideas, and household budgeting (She told me about a terrific new budgeting plan that I can't wait to get started on). We covered it all.  Pam kept us supplied with snacks and drinks on the road, and it was like being back in high school when we went to the drive-in with our own cooler.

We stayed in Albuquerque one night, meeting up with my sister-in-law Jenny, and my niece Elsa.  We laughed ourselves silly at the University of New Mexico bookstore, trying on shirts, trying to find something to wear to Elsa's game that night.  We soon discovered that 90% of the clothing in a university bookstore is actually junior size.  This after multiple trips to the dressing room and trying to contort our bodies into dozens of outfits.

Santa Fe is one of the most beautiful towns I've ever seen.  Jenny joined us for a day of exploring some of the art galleries and a long, delicious dinner at The Teahouse, one of the sidewalk restaurants.  We saw some beautiful churches and took a trolley ride of historic Santa Fe.  If you ever get the chance, I would recommend staying at The El Rey Inn, a Santa Fe landmark that is full of charm and beautiful gardens.

After a few days we returned home for a couple more days of fun before Pam had to fly back east.  We celebrated her birthday with a family dinner -- all my kids were there, they love their Aunt Pam.  And we spent an afternoon with Emily, going to the pumpkin patch to gather up pumpkins to decorate for my front porch.  I'm really bummed that I lost my photos of this process!  It was a gorgeous day at the pumpkin patch, Pam and Emily traveled for acres looking for the perfect pumpkins, and then we came home to decorate with raffia and gold spray paint.  Here's the result:

At least I was able to snap a picture of the finished product.  As for the rest of our adventures, they will remain golden memories in my heart:)