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.
 
xo

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

Besties

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:)

Quotes I love

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Western Colorado Girls' Trip

This will be a quick post, as I'm in between travels! But, I do want to document this past weekend.  It was the first "Girls' Weekend" for my stepmom, aunt, three sisters-in-law and me.  We spent a few days on the Western Slope where my brother Andy and his wife Diane live.  It's such a beautiful part of our state.  Here's a photo of Colorado National Monument.  We went for a drive and photo session.
 
 

Here's the view from the top, looking at Grand Junction, Colorado.



And, here's our group.   Andy, the token male for the weekend, took the picture.  He was also the cook!  And man, can he cook!

  Diane, Jenny, Carol, me, Aunt Ann, and Lois.
 
Andy and Diane
 
Andy and Diane have a beautiful little homestead, that they built themselves.  



The fall colors were magnificent on our drive over through the mountains.  Which made it all the more surprising when we had to take a detour home, because the highway was closed due to snow.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a single picture.  We drove the back roads, through gorgeous mountains.  It took us on a route that took us past Mark (my older brother) and Jenny's house, so we stopped in for a quick hello, and to see a new addition:

Mark, "Kimber" and Lois


Such a great weekend!  My niece, Sami, joined us for a short while, too.  Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of her:(   She is the prettiest one of the bunch:)

On Thursday, I'm off for another road trip with my BFF Pamela.  More photos to come!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mining for gold with Friday Fave Five

Okie dokie, this was a pretty tough week.  I won't go into all the sordid details. Let's just say that sometimes you have to really dig to find the blessings, but they are there, which is what FFF is all about.

1.  The week started off on a really good note, when Dan and I took a drive through the mountains.  The views were spectacular!  We grabbed some coffee for the drive, I took a bunch of pictures, and we had lunch in Breckenridge, once of my favorite mountain towns. 



2.  On Tuesday, I was able to get the lenses replaced in my prescription sunglasses -- after wrestling the salesman to the floor and telling him that he better, or else. . . not really, but he wasn't being very nice.



3.  On Wednesday, Dan and I went to dinner and a comedy show with our friends.  I love this group of friends.  They have been in our lives for as long as we've been married -- in fact, some even longer -- and when I think of the word 'friend', these are the faces that come to mind.  We're truly blessed to have them in our lives.



4.  On Thursday, I got to see #1 Son for just a little bit.  He gave me a pep talk that I needed to hear, and I wondered how it is that he can be so insightful at his young age. 



5.  Today, I took Lilly to the groomer, and she is all trimmed and pretty and doesn't smell bad anymore.  I am really grateful for that! (We still don't know what she rolled in:/)


Now, that wasn't such a bad week, was it?!

If you'd like to share your favorites for the week, link up with Susanne and the rest of the crew!

Friday, September 26, 2014

A grateful heart

Susanne is celebrating 300 posts! for Friday Fave Five.  Wow!  I wish I could say that I've participated in every single one, but I will tell you that I so appreciate her faithfulness in hosting each week.  It does my heart good to look back at the week and find so many moments and things to be grateful for.

This week, I'm going to list five things that fill my heart with gratitude, not specific to this week, but just moments in general.

1.  Naps. A freshly made bed with a soft comforter, cool cotton pillows and a fan.  I don't indulge in naps everyday, but when I do, it's like going to the Bahamas.  I'm grateful for the gift of rest.

2.  Coffee.  Not a morning person by nature, but I do love that extra time when I get up early.  The hardest part is getting my rear in gear and out of bed.  Just the thought of a cup of coffee makes it worthwhile.  I'm grateful for the gift of smell and the wonderful aroma of coffee.

3.  Springer Spaniel ears.  Are so soft and curly and silky.  Scratching Lilly's ears puts us both into a state of calm.  It's funny to watch her almost fall asleep sitting up.  I'm grateful for the gift of touch.

4.  Hearing the garage door in the evening, signaling that Dan is home from work.   I'm grateful that I get to share my life with this man. 

5.  Easy fixes.  I took my car into today to find out about the mysterious squeaking noise. The spare tire was loose.  That's it.  I'm grateful for the light hearted feeling that comes when I've worried about something needlessly.

Enjoy the weekend, and don't forget to look for your own moments of gratitude:)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An ordinary day

 "Every day is a blank page."
 
FOR TODAY, September 24, 2014

Outside my window . . .blue skies and a soft breeze.

I am listening to . . .the hum of the dryer, one of the dogs snoring, and the lawn mower next door.

I am thinking . . .how nice it is to have a day off with nothing on the calendar.

I am thankful . . .for my neighbor and her green thumb.  She just brought me a begonia plant that can 'winter' indoors, and then I can plant it outside in the spring.

In the kitchen . . .banana bread is baking in the oven.  Tonight we're having cod fillets, steamed green beans with bacon, and pasta on the side.

I am wearing . . .capris and tank top.  It is 82 degrees.

I am creating . . .a fall wreath for the front door.

I am going . . .nowhere today!

I am wondering . . .if I'll ever make it through the stack of books I want to read.

I am reading . . .War Brides by Helen Bryan

I am looking forward to . . .my friend, Pamela, coming for a visit just three weeks from today!.

I am learning . . .to be patient with people.

Around the house . . .I'm doing some fall cleaning.  Two rooms left!
 
I am pondering . . .the best way to reach out to someone.

A favorite quote for today . . ."You must do the things you think you cannot do." (Eleanor Roosevelt)

One Some of my favorite things . . .pistachios, writing prompts, old fashioned photos.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . .Take one dog to the vet, the other to the groomer.  Take the car in to find out where the weird squeaky noise is coming from.  Attend the women's retreat at church. Go to my nephew's birthday party.  Take a drive in the mountains to see the fall colors.

A peek into my day . . .This was the view on my walk yesterday morning.

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

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Favorites

Time for Friday's Fave Five, a great way to wrap up the week! If you'd like to join in, link up at Susanne's Living to Tell the Story.

1.  Dan and I have been watching Ken Burns' The Roosevelts on PBS.  We both enjoy history, and the special is filled with original footage and photographs.  There's a story in our family about my great-grandmother and when she was a little girl, Teddy Roosevelt came to dinner at her house and she sat beside him.  This was before he was president.  It makes history more real, to hear anecdotes like that.  I was probably about her age when she passed away.  I would love to hear the story from her point of view.

2.  A good book.  Run by Ann Patchett.  I like stories that are character driven, and this one kept me reading until late at night.  It's hard to believe that this is the same author who wrote Bel Canto.  The books are so different.  I felt a connection to the characters in this book, and love the way she writes.

3.  I had lunch with a good friend this week.  We met as room mothers when our oldest kids were in Kindergarten.  They became best friends, and our friendship grew, and then their family moved in around the corner, and we became neighbors.  There's such a history between us, we spend a lot of time, "remembering when. . ."

4.  Spending time with my mother-in-law yesterday morning.  It's just in recent years that we've had more opportunities to talk, just the two of us.  She is such a smart, articulate, observant woman.  We have several common interests, including reading, sewing, and the well-being of one very special man who is close to both our hearts:)

5.  I made butternut squash soup this week (the squash is from our garden), with cheesy herb biscuits (a secret recipe), for supper.  Soups and stews and crockpot meals . . . just a few of the things that make autumn my favorite month of all.
 
Okay, here's the "secret recipe."
 


To all the other FFF bloggers out there. . . I hope you all had a good week!  Looking forward to stopping by and reading your favorites, too!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Aloha!

Traveling is such a funny thing for me.  I am such a homebody.  I mean, I'm really a homebody.  I'd rather be in my house than anywhere else on earth.  But I do like the idea of seeing new places.  If only I could come home to sleep in my own bed at night.  Weird, I know.  And here's something weirder.  When I am preparing to go on a trip, I'm already excited about coming home, and how good it will feel.

All that said, when I get to a new place, I tend to adjust pretty quickly and leave all my cares behind.  (For about five days.  Then I'm ready to go home.)

Now that I got that out of the way. . .

Hawaii is beautiful. . . .



 My sister-in-law, Jenny, and I spent the week on Oahu.  We rented a car and explored all the beaches on the island.  Went snorkeling, ate lots of fish from the local shrimp trucks and restaurants, and did plenty of beach sitting. We went to volleyball matches (my niece Elsa plays for the University of New Mexico and they were there for a tournament -- which is why we were there in the first place), visited a coffee farm (so cool!) and ate lots of fresh fruit.  And fish.  Did I mention the fish?  Ahi, mahi mahi, opah and shrimp.


 
 
One day we visited the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.  It was quite sobering, and yet there is a reverence about it that is peaceful in a strange way.
 


 
In the center of this picture are ruins from bunkers that were built during World War II.  See the lighthouse at the top of the cliff?
 



There were surprisingly few people on the beaches, especially during the weekdays.  There are no private beaches on the island, so gorgeous views like this one are open for everyone to enjoy.  Since Oahu has only a handful of resorts, most of the people we met are residents of the island.
 


One morning we went to the Honolulu Zoo.  Jenny's friend is a zoologist there. (His wife greeted us with leis and flowers on our first night, it was so sweet).  The zoo is really nice and you can leisurely stroll through and see most everything in just a couple hours.  The flowers are beautiful and the animal habitats are spacious and well-landscaped.  There are some of the most amazing plants there.  This is a Eucalypt gum tree.  As the bark peels away, it reveals a multicolor trunk.  It looks like it was painted with watercolors.

 
 
The beaches are beautiful, and so are the rough, rocky shores on the island.  I could watch the water for hours.
  

 I enjoyed being in Hawaii, and especially enjoyed spending a week with Jenny and getting see Elsa play!  I wish I had more pictures of the volleyball, but my cell phone camera doesn't do well with action photos.  And since I didn't check a bag! . . . and did quite well, thank you, even though my suitcase was stuffed like a sausage . . . I didn't take my big camera.  Next time!

Aloha!

Friday, August 29, 2014

An ordinary week


It's been an uneventful week and sometimes those are the best kind.  Here is my list of things I'm grateful for. 

1.  I started back on my walking routine with my friend Joan.  We both had to take a break for a few months.  Plantar fasciitis for me and a broken foot for her!  So, we're starting out slowly.

2.  I totally canceled out any extra calories burned this week with eating out.  Argh!  Yesterday I met my friend Kathy for breakfast at this place.  I had an open faced omelet topped with goat cheese, spinach, tomato, roasted mushrooms and arugula.  It was to die for and actually quite healthy.  The not-so-healthy was going to the donut shop after exercising on Wednesday:(

3.  A new journal.

4.  Finding this website and writing some letters.  Such a great idea and I feel blessed to get to be a part of it.

5.  I'll leave you with a picture. This little guy feebly crawled on my pen yesterday morning.  After observing him for a little while, I gently placed him in the flower garden. 


 


















How was your week? If you'd like to share, link up for Friday Fave Five at Living to Tell the Story

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On my mind

It seems that Summer has decided to take a little break. We've had cooler temperatures all week and breezy nights that have been great for sleeping with the windows open.  It's nice to have that touch of fall for the first week of school.  Our street is very active now in the mornings and mid-afternoon, with the kids from the high school traveling back and forth.  It's one of those ironies in life that, now that we live only a block from the high school, none of my kids is attending.  All those years of getting them to and from school, life is funny that way.

I've mentioned my trip to Hawaii and yes, I'm excited!  My niece plays volleyball for the University of New Mexico and they have some pretty tough travel duty (ahem), like going to Hawaii for five days.  My sis-in-law, Jenny, and I are going to tag along and add on a few days for an extended stay. I'm going in the true spirit of island living, and taking one small bag with a few changes of clothes and several swimsuits.  And my journal.  And ipad mini loaded up with books. 

I'm back to planning menus, and boy does it make my life easier, even for just the two of us.  (Luke is working evenings, and on the two nights he doesn't work he's often out with friends.)  Cooking for two is fun and we've been trying some new recipes.  Often times we'll grill some chicken or meat and then make roasted vegetables with whatever is on hand.  Lots of zucchini and eggplant from our garden!

We're coming up on my favorite time of year. Fall is just the best!  I'm looking forward to cooler temps so we can get out in the yard and dig up space for  more gardens!  I have missed having a rose garden this year.  However, a month or so ago, I had occasion to go to our old house to pick something up, and saw that the roses were blooming and beautiful.  My first thought was to be sad that I was missing it.  But, then I felt good about having done something that others are getting so much pleasure from.  That goes for our last two houses -- rose gardens planted and left behind.  This next one is going to be ours to enjoy for a long time:)

I like to collect quotes, so I'll leave you with this one:

Life is one grand, sweet song. So start the music. (Ronald Reagan)





Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Daybook


 
 "Every day is a blank page."
 
FOR TODAY, Monday, August 25, 2014

Outside my window . . .A tad bit cool this morning with cloudy skies.  I sense that Fall is making it's way here, maybe just down the road a bit, suitcase in hand filled with colored leaves, pumpkins and crisp mornings.

I am listening to . . .Zac Brown Band, "Keep Me In Mind."

I am thinking . . .how nice it is to have a day off and nothing on the calendar.  Attacking the to-do list today.

I am thankful . . .for the good life I have.

In the kitchen . . .Bay scallops and tomatoes over spaghetti

I am wearing . . .shorts and flip-flops

I am creating . . .a writing plan. Trying to get some of my stories down on paper.

I am going . . .to Hawaii in one week!  My sister-in-law and I are going on a girls trip to watch my niece in a volleyball tournament and to play in the sun.

I am wondering . . .how I'm going to do the above without checking a bag!  It's going to be a challenge, to travel light and leave all the unnecessary stuff behind.  I'm excited!

I am reading . . . The Confabulist by Steven Galloway

I am learning . . . how to scrap journal.  It's lots of fun, lots of cutting and pasting.

Around the house . . . still working on outside stuff.  Dan put a sidewalk in on the side of the house, and now we're going to landscape that area a bit.
 
I am pondering . . .my naval.  Sorry.  That's the first thing that comes to mind when I read this prompt, so just had to say it.

A favorite quote for today . . ."If you don't like where you are, move.  You are not a tree."

One Some of my favorite things . . . Blake Shelton songs, Colorado peaches, fun postage stamps.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . breakfast with Kathy, haircut, renew my passport, start walking again with my friend Joan.

A peek into my day . . .I planted an assortment of veggies this year, just to have something in our raised beds that we built in May.  The eggplant is going nuts! They're really good when they're picked small (baby eggplant -- so cute!).  Also zucchini and butternut squash.  The rest of our stuff didn't fare so well.  Note to Marie:  the celery never really took off:( 

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

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sneaking in with last week's favorites

Before the weekend is over, I want to squeeze in my favorites from last week.  It's an odd assortment, but sometimes that's what life gives you!

1.  Amoxicillin. For the second time this year, I have strep throat.  I'm so grateful for this wonder drug that has me feeling better in a snap.

2.  Bagels and my friend Terry.  It's been way too long since we've seen each other, but when we do make a coffee date, we know just where we're going.  Our favorite bagel shop.

3.  Postage paid catalog returns.  Need I say more?

4.  Getting a mammo -- and knowing I don't have to go again for a whole year.

5.  This photo, taken at a baseball game earlier in the week.  See the heart?

 
Here's to looking for beautiful moments in the week ahead!
 
Thank you, Susanne!
 

Friday, August 15, 2014

This Week's Favorites

 
1.  It's been a pretty routine week, and that's the first thing I'm grateful for on my list for Friday Fave Five.  On one of my days off I accomplished quite a few chores that needed to be done. . . washed the car, weeded the garden, made a run to Costco.  It feels good to be caught up.

2.  I've had a project in my head for some time now and just can't get it out of the planning phase. This week, I found someone who is going to help me get it organized and going. I'm grateful for the teachers that show up in my life when I need them!

3.  I'm going to copy one of Susanne's favorites and list this post, because I think it should be shared as widely as possible.  It's  given me some "perspectacles" and I hope it does for you, too!  Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt.  Love it!

4.  Our Firstborn started classes today.  After taking a couple years off and working, he's decided to go back to his first love and do something in the medical field.  It's exciting to see my kids figure things out and get excited about their goals.

5.  We had a playful moment in water aerobics yesterday, when our class was 'buzzed' by a hot air balloon!  One of the gals jumped out of the pool to take this photo.  It's been such a hoot having class outdoors this summer.



How was your week?  If you'd like to share, link up with Susanne and the crew at Living to Tell the Story.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August?!

I can't believe it's almost the middle of August and I haven't posted since July.  The summer has gone by so fast!  I no longer have kids at home going to school (#1 son is taking classes, but he lives on  his own), so my calendar doesn't change much as far as daily routines go in the fall.  However, I still feel the need to pack as much as I can into the summer before it's over.

Last weekend, Dan and I went to the mountains with a group of friends.  One of the couples has a cabin in the most beautiful spot.  We took a walk one morning.  Lots of pine beetle kill in the area, but already there are little seedlings popping up throughout the area, replenishing the forest.  




We went to the Winter Park Beer Festival, where the weather was gorgeous . . .



. . . until we started to pack up to leave.  That's when the skies opened up and there was a torrential hailstorm.  Hail the size of marbles.  Yes, they hurt!



We had a campfire one night, and I tried to get a photo of the full moon.  It didn't turn out all that great, but here's a glimpse.


We spent the rest of the weekend eating lots of fabulous food, the girls went to a craft sale (twice!) and found some cool stuff, and we all took naps in the afternoon.  I'm sure it was all that fresh air, not anything about how old we're getting or anything.
 
Our water aerobics class is finishing up the summer with an end-of-the-summer-blitz, going every day for three weeks. The class is a combination aerobics/ornithology class, for all the birds we see.  Besides the ducks that occasionally take a dip in the pool with us (they stay at their end, we stay at ours), we see geese flying overhead, a night heron perched in one of the trees yesterday, and earlier in the week there was a Swainson's Hawk perched on a light post, watching over the class.
 
I've been working feverishly to stay caught up with my two online classes, while determined to finish James Michener's Hawaii before a trip there in a few weeks.  I like to read about places where I'm traveling, however, I should have given myself a little more time for this one.
 
Enough rambling.  I'm hitting 'publish'.  Be back soon! 
 
 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Corn-Zucchini Saute

Sandra at Diary of a SAHM is hosting Cooking Thursdays again.  If you like trying new recipes like I do, check it out. 

This is a recipe I've had in my file for a few years.  It's especially nice to make in the summer when veggies are in season here.
 
 
CORN-ZUCCHINI SAUTE
 
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
3 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped
2 ears of fresh corn (I have used canned corn)
1/4 c. water
1 Tbs. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheese
 (I like to use crumbled Feta, but cheddar or Monterey Jack is good, too)
 
~~
 
Saute onion in oil until soft.  Add garlic and cook for one minute.
Add zucchini and tomato.  Cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in corn, water, parsley, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with cheese, cover and let melt for a couple minutes.
 
 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Daybook


FOR TODAY. . . July 30, 2014
 
Outside my window . . . very cool, (just 61 degrees), with a slow, steady rain.
 
I am thinking . . . how nice it is to have the day off. 

I am listening to . . . piano music on Pandora.
 
I am thankful . . . for a visit from some college friends earlier this week.  The kind of friends where you just pick up from where you left off the last time, even if it's been a year or two or three.
 
In the kitchen . . .Sweet Pork Slow Cooker Chili or as close to a version of this as I can get with the ingredients I have on hand.
 
I am wearing . . .denim capris, peasant top and sandles.
 
I am creating . . . a new planner using this system.  I love it!
 
I am going. . .to stay home all day and get caught up on my lessons for online classes and desk stuff.  And reading:)
 
I am reading. . .Hawaii by James Michener
 
I am looking forward to. . .seeing my brother and my niece tomorrow.  Having lunch with them and my dad and aunt.  A weekend with the house to myself.  Dan is going to our friend's cabin for a weekend with just the guys. A brand new month of summer that begins on Friday.
 
Around the house. . .things are in good shape.  I cleaned for my friend's visit earlier this week, so I'm all caught up.
 
A favorite quote for today. . .
"We shape our dwellings and, afterward, our dwellings shape us."
Winston Churchill
 
Some of my favorite things. . .orange tea, a special gift shop in a town that's up the road, an occasional rainy day.
 
A peek into my day. . .


 

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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Favorites

I'm joining Susanne today and listing five things that blessed my week.

1.  I'll start out with a trip to the dentist.  Yes, it was a blessing for me.  I don't particularly like going to the dentist, but growing up my parents made sure we had regular checkups, so I'm faithful about going every six months for cleaning.  When our insurance changed over this year, there were a few months that we carried our own policy, so we really pared down our benefits to bare minimum.  We're back on a full plan now and the first thing I did was make an appointment.  

2.  After the dentist, I went for a pedicure.  It's all about the foot massage.  Ahhhh.

3.  Free online classes offered through our public library.  I may have mentioned this in another FFF, but I'm taking a new class on journaling and enjoying it so much. The instructors are always well-qualified and you meet the nicest people in the online classrooms.

4. Religious freedom. I know, it's a big subject for such a little blog post.  But, as I walked to church one day (another blessing, that we're so close), I couldn't imagine living in some parts of the world where I would be fearful to do so.

5.  Dan and I attended my nephew's piano recital last night.  The teacher is the same one who taught my kids.  It brought back a lot of memories of past recitals.  I am always in awe of people who are musically inclined, because I am so NOT.  Music and the gift of those who share it, is a huge blessing!

Do you have any favorites this week?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Yarrow

Last week, I went to lunch with Carol, my favorite stepmom.  We ate at one of our favorite restaurants and afterwards browsed at a thrift shop where we both admired some beautiful antique Fiestaware and liked it so much that we each bought ourselves a service for eight.  With all the matching serving pieces.
 
Well, not really, about that last part.  But, one can dream, right?
 
After the thrift shop, we went and clipped some yarrow to use for dried flower arrangements.  It grows wild along the sides of the road in one of the nearby neighborhoods. This variety is bright yellow, but there is also pink, yellow and red yarrow.
 
 
When it's fresh, it has a strong, lemony aroma.  We cut a big bunch for each of us.  At home, we took the leaves off while they were still soft and let the flowers dry out.  If you wait until the plants are dry, the leaves are sharp and stickery.  When they're soft, they just peel right off.
 


The color will fade as they dry.


We've had such hot weather lately, that it's hard to imagine Fall being here anytime soon.  However, when it does, I'll have a nice arrangement of dried wildflowers and memories of a sweet summer day.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Recycled vintage

I was poking around on Pinterest the other day, and came across some ideas for repurposing vintage jewelry.  (If you go there and search "vintage watch bracelets" there are some really fun ideas that pop up.)

I got to thinking about some pieces I have that are meaningful to me, but I rarely, if ever, wear.  So, this is what I came up with.  This was my grandmother's wrist watch, given to her by my father when he was on leave from the service, back in the 50s.  I took the band off and put it on a chain.  The little tassel was picked up at Hobby Lobby.  Amazingly the watch still keeps time!



I saved the band, in case someday one of my nieces might like to have the watch in its original form.