Monday, March 27, 2017


Yesterday I took a day trip with my friends Mary and Cindy. We drove up to the mountain town of Leadville to check out places for a rehearsal dinner for Mary's son Liam and his fiancee's wedding in July.

It was such a beautiful day, starting out as every road trip should with a stop at Starbucks to get coffee for the road.

The three of us have been friends since our kids were little. I met Mary in the school gym when we would sit on the floor and watch our sons play basketball.  Cindy and I met through a Bible study group, which Mary eventually joined, too. We met for the dozen or more years that our kids were all going through school. A couple of them are still in college. Though we don't see each other weekly anymore, we've become family for one another.  I love seeing these friends, and spending an entire day together was just a huge treat.

Cindy grew up in Leadville, a picturesque, historic little mining town that is at an elevation of 10,151 feet. We got the grand tour, including the house she grew up in and the church where she and Mike were married. We strolled the main street, stopped in at a variety of restaurants where the proprietors could not have been more friendly or helpful. And we did a little shopping. My husband would have been disappointed had I not;)

For lunch, we went back to our favorite restaurant that has a big patio out back with a gorgeous view. It would be a great place for a gathering. We stopped at a bakery to inquire about cakes, and to get coffee/tea/hot chocolate for the ride home.

Such a wonderful day, spending time with these two dear friends!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Five Spring Favorites

It's the first Friday Fave Five of Spring. A new season and a renewed effort to keep up with my favorite meme at the end of the week.

It's been one of those weeks where it's hard to narrow it down, but here are five things I'm grateful for:

1.  Celebrating this grandson of mine on his first birthday! I hold him whenever I possibly can, knowing that in a short time he'll be walking and won't want to be held (sniff). He is so round and roly poly and happy all the time.  Just a delight.

2. We Facetimed with the Wisconsin contingency and all the grandkids got to see each other. It was great fun watching their reactions to one another. The 3-year-old is the only one who really understood what the heck was going on, but there was lots of waving and smiling. Kids don't hold back, I love that.

3. My son Joe is taking a literature class this semester, and I've read a few of the books along with him. We've had some great discussions. I read some of Truman Capote's works -- a first for me. At Joe's suggestion, I started with Breakfast at Tiffany's. He is a wonderful, sensitive writer and his short stories are just lovely. I haven't read In Cold Blood and I'm not sure if I will, but I'm really glad I read his other works.

4.  I found a new favorite at Starbuck's -- an Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato. It's not as sweet as it sounds, and I sometimes ask for less caramel.  But, as prepared it's only 200 calories, so that's something.

5.  Last but not least, I had a really nice week at work. It was a quiet week, and I was able to get caught up, completing the transition to our new billing system. I'm feeling quite capable and techie right now.

How was your week?  Link up here to share!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Our library has a quarterly adult reading program. It's a lot like the kids' summer reading program, where you read a certain number of books to earn prizes. This is a lot more low key. For this winter the theme is "Chill with a Good Book." You pick up a scratch card at the reference desk, and there are suggestions for three different kinds of books.  You can go with the suggestions or read something of your own choosing.  When you read three books, you return the card and it goes into a weekly drawing. The prizes are things like a library mug filled with chocolates. At the end of the quarter, all the cards go into a pot for the 'big drawing.' One year I one a $25 gift card to the mall!

Sometimes, you can earn extra points for weekly drawings by writing a short book review, which goes up on the bulletin board.

Here are some books I've read as a result of the program:

1. Read a book that takes place at least 5,000 miles from where you live.  My choice was Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper. I love this author. This story starts out in 1961 rural England. Sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnesses a murder, committed by a family member. Haunted by the experience for the next 40 years, she is finally able to confront it again, when the family member is dying.  This takes the story back to pre-war England, where the details are unraveled. I love books that jump around in time, and this one does it well, giving you just enough information to move the story forward and keep the reader in suspense.

2. Read a book that is less than 220 pages. For this selection, I chose Beehives, the second in a mystery series of three books by Mary Coley.  My friend gifted me this series after I visited her in Tulsa and we traveled to Pawhuska, the town of Pioneer Woman fame.  The books take place in this area, and it was especially fun to read the first one (Cobwebs) and recognize landmarks from Pawhuska.  Beehives is set in nearby Osage Hills State Park. 'The protagonist is Jamie Aldrich, a recently widowed science teacher, who has a knack for coming across dead bodies.

3.  Re-read a book from your youth. This was easy for me, and I immediately dug through some boxes in the basement for my copy of Bambi by Felix Salten. I decided to Google the author first to find out the history of how this delightful tale, considered one of the first environmental novels ever published, became an animated Disney movie. Felix Salten was an Austrian author and critic, who wrote the book in his native language. It was eventually translated and published in the U.S., as were several sequels. The sequels were first published in English, as Salten was a prominent Jew and his books were banned in 1935 by Adolph Hitler. The story of Bambi is a coming of age story, as the roe deer learns the ways of the forest. It is also a poetic tale of the beauty of the earth and how all the animals connect with one another.

I'm on my second card and have chosen to go my own way on a few of the selections.  More on that in another post.

Happy Wednesday,

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Spring

Yay! Today is the first day of Spring! The season is really strutting it's stuff this year, as witnessed by the Chanticleer Flowering Pear tree outside my window.  I've been watching it for the past couple of days, and this morning I'm seeing the first blooms.

Our temperatures hit 80 degrees this weekend, so we took the opportunity to turn over some dirt for (I promise, Sweetie) one last flower bed.  

It was lovely being outdoors this weekend.  The iris bulbs that I got from a neighbor last fall, are sprouting up nicely.  Daffodils, hydrangeas and crocus are popping up.  I stopped by our library last Friday and the planters out front are bursting with pansies and tulips.  I love that our town puts so much effort into gardens and landscape.

 And, how can I post about Spring unless I include a new baby?  This is Chloe, my friend Terry's 5-month-old miniature Australia shepherd.  We met for coffee yesterday and sat outside on the patio.  I wish I had a nickle for every person who stopped to coo over her and give her a pat.  It seems no one can resist a puppy and she brought lots of smiles to an already beautiful, sunny spring day.

We may get some snow later in the week, and that's okay.  It was great having a little taste of Spring and a glimpse of warm weather ahead.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Thoughts on a Wednesday

Hard to belief that it's March already, and another month has flown by.  Here's what's been going on this week:

1. On Monday, I drove up to the town where I went to college to see an art exhibit that was featured in our alumni magazine.  It's been up there since the first of the year, and I'd been meaning to take a drive up, since it only ran through February. It was a beautiful, cool but sunny day.  The drive up to Greeley wasn't exactly relaxing -- there's a lot more traffic now than when I used to make the drive 30 plus years ago.  But, I'm glad I made the trip.  The art gallery is on the older part of campus, where I lived as a student, so I strolled around and memories kept popping into my head of the wonderful years I spent at UNC.

2.  I did a bunch of cooking over the weekend, recipes for the cookbook and some baking for Joe and Sam.  One of our family favorites are these cinnamon rolls.  The recipe is called Clone of a Cinnabon, and they are delicious! I use the bread machine to make the dough and it couldn't be simpler.

3.  I'm finishing up a book challenge with our local library.  One of the suggested reads is a book from childhood.  I chose Bambi by Felix Salten.  I loved it as a child, reading it over and over again. I'll do a post about it soon, and the other books I chose for the challenge.

There's a trace of snow on the ground this morning, but the skies are cloudless and blue once again!


Thursday, February 23, 2017

10 Years Over the Backyard Fence

This month marks the 10th anniversary of Over the Backyard Fence.

That's just mind boggling!  So much for thinking that I don't have a lot to say.

To mark OTBF's anniversary, I'm going to re-post my first entry. My reasons for blogging have remained much the same through the years. Back then, I was a stay-at-home-mom, hoping to find other like-minded women who were home with their kids and enjoying the homemaking experience. Now, I enjoy connecting with bloggers who are empty-nesters and share in this new stage of life.  In a way, blogging is like having pen pals.  I like writing newsy notes, and look forward to reading what other bloggers have to tell about their days and their lives.

Many thanks to all of you -- bloggers, friends, and family -- who take time from your day to stop in and 'chat' with me, over my backyard fence.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Welcome to my blog. Years ago, I grew up in the same town where I'm now raising my own family. I remember summer afternoons, or warm weather days after school, when my mother and our next door neighbor would chat over the white picket fence that separated our back yards. They often happened to meet up when they were out hanging laundry or taking it down from the clothesline. They would chat, their little ones hanging onto their legs, us older kids knowing better than to stand and listen, so we would play elsewhere in the yard where we could hear their every word. My mother was so blessed to have a neighbor who soon became her best friend. Both my mother and the new neighbor had moved to our town from out of state. Both women were stay-at-home-moms (as many were in the 60s). Both women had left behind their parents, and hardest of all, their sisters. So they found one another and grew a friendship that lasted for 35 years.

Times have changed and although the neighborhoods in my not-so-small town still look the same, they've changed, too. I work from my home so that I, too, can be a stay-at-home mom, even though my children are all school age now. From my office window, I look out on the street where we live and watch my neighbors drive off to work each day. A few years ago, there was another woman like me who lived across the street, and we once admitted to each other that just the sight of our cars in the driveway gave the other a sense of comfort, to know that "someone else" was at home, too.

My back yard is edged with a "privacy fence" like the rest of the neighborhood. I'm not sure that either of my next-door neighbors even has a clothesline. (I do not). I don't feel isolated. Well yes I do, and that's why I love reading blogs written by other stay-at-home-moms. But if I need some human contact I can jump in the car, meet a friend for coffee or volunteer at my kids' school where the staff is always looking for warm bodies to help out. For the most part, I like working from my home. Yes, I always have to make the coffee, but since that was sometimes an issue when I worked in a "real office" at least I don't have to deal with that. My office mates are cooperative and cheerful, even if one does sleep and shed on my daytimer, and the other snores occasionally while asleep under my desk. I can take a break and blog when I want to, and no one looks over my shoulder asking what I'm doing. And when there's a warm, sunny day, I can sit on my screened-in back porch and listen to the birds chirping, put my feet up and take my coffee break out there. Sometimes, though, I look longingly at those high fences and think how nice it would be to find a friend on the other side.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, February 20, 2017

 Outside my window . . . blue, cloudless skies. It's a school holiday, so the street is quiet and there aren't the usual groups of students walking and chattering, heading to the school a block away.

 I am listening to . . .the soundtrack for The Cider House Rules.

 I am thinking . . . that I'm going to attempt to rise above some worry that has been plaguing my mind this past week.  I'll hold the person in prayer in the morning and then try to let go.

 I am thankful . . .for my husband's handiwork.  This weekend, he made a knife block for a drawer in the kitchen -- much tidier and safer to be sure.  And a shelf for the laundry room.  He's a keeper.

One of my favorite things. . . my new sneakers. They're sooo comfortable. Great arch support.

I am creating. . . a sanctuary within my home.

I am watching . . . the Father Brown mystery series on PBS.

I am reading. . . The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

I am hoping. . . to finish up some desk work today, and still make time to get outside for a while and enjoy the beautiful weather. 

 In the kitchen . . . I am cooking up recipes for a family cookbook that my friend Pamela and I are putting together. Well, we're supplying the recipes and pictures. Her daughter Lori is our publisher!  Yesterday, I made Turkey Spinach Meatloaf.  And a batch of chocolate chip cookies, just because.  Tonight, I'm making Pecan Salmon and a spinach salad.

I am learning . . . to slow my pace a bit. That life isn't a race to the finish line. That I can be satisfied working on a project a little at a time. This is big for me!

 A moment from my day . . . snail mail! All the way from the UK, a sweet note from an Etsy shop regarding an order I put in.  I love postage stamps, so this was such a treat.

Post Script . . . I'm really struggling with Facebook these days. I turned off my account before the election, because I just couldn't handle all the political statements. Even from people I agreed with! it was so much sparring and trying to have the last word.  I'm back on, but now I find myself wanting to comment all the time about the state of our country and what's going on. I feel an obligation to speak out, however, I don't feel that FB is the forum for it.  I have a small circle of FB friends and I very much respect their opinions and don't feel that I need to educate any of them.  So, I'm trying to control my 'trigger finger' when I want to Like a post, just for the satisfaction of saying, "Yeah! Take that!"  I miss the old days when FB was just a social place to catch up with friends and family. And I feel that I've become one of the people who have steered away from that.


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