Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Fragments

An unoriginal title, but it's all I've got. I know I keep saying I'll get back on track here, and believe me I want to, but I just can't seem to make that happen. In an effort to regain momentum I've signed up for the A-Z challenge again this year, Day 1 of which is next Wednesday.

Five days from now.

Ask me how many posts I've got scheduled. Ask me if I've even settled on a theme. Ask me if I'm sure I want to do this.  That last one I can answer. I think. While I don't necessarily gain new readers during the A-Z, I do seem to regain a bit of my blogging mojo, which makes the whole exercise worth it.

Course all of that is a whole five days away, so today let's frag.

It was snowing to beat the band when I left the house at 5:40 AM this morning. Yes, really! I wouldn't kid about a thing like that. It was KA-razy snow too, the kind that creates a phenomenon called snow blindness, where masses of big huge flakes are furiously coming straight at you as opposed to falling straight down. Makes driving a little tricky, but fortunately there aren't too many cars on the road at that early hour and the gym is nearby.

Yesterday we had an eerie fog that grew thicker as the evening wore on. I went to my neighbor's house for Book Club, and while we were there it started lightening. Is this spring? Apparently.

We discussed The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins, and everyone gave the book high marks. It's told in a similar vein to Gone Girl, but I thought Girl on the Train was a better story . I was not a fan of Gone Girl, although I did like the movie. I rarely say that, but in this case it's true.

Speaking of the weather (and aren't I always?)....desperate times call for desperate measures, so here's what we've resorted to-


That's hubs wearing his shades, sitting with his chair strategically placed in the tiny sliver of sunshine that hit our kitchen earlier this week. Kind of sad isn't it? You know what's funny though? The book he's reading is called In The Kingdom of Ice. Ha! How's that for irony? And no, it's not about the Garden State. It's a true story based on an exploration of the North Pole, which he said was initially slow, but since he's still reading I guess it's picked up a bit.

Do you use word verification on your blog? I don't, although I do approve comments and have no real issues with spam. For those of you who insist on using it, what's the deal these days? Sometimes I'm asked to type the word I see, but quite often now the reader is shown boxes of photos and instructed to 'check all that show pasta' or 'check all that show bread'. Feels a little bit like I'm back in grade school taking a standardized test, and I'm just going to say it's an awful lot of work to leave a comment when you have to pass a test to do so. Well, maybe not an awful lot of work, but it's not quick either.

We're cleaning out the basement. I don't think I'll elaborate because I'm going to write about that in the A-Z. It's not my theme because A) that would be boring and Z) I think I told you in paragraph one I don't actually have a theme. What I do have is a kind of-sort of-fuzzy notion of a theme, and cleaning out the basement fits. Well let's just say I'm going to make it fit.

So as I was saying...the weather...here's the bright side-


The snow has finally melted off the shrub beside our back patio enough for hubs to remove the Christmas lights. He missed that bush back in January and once the snow started falling the cords were sent into forced hibernation.  Rest assured we didn't actually turn the lights on in February or March, we just couldn't uncover them for removal.  Even if we had turned them on you wouldn't have known, because SNOW! 

The jellybeans in my kitchen counter display are disappearing. I tell myself I'll just have a couple, but I guess I've been doing that since I filled the jar on March 18th. No little girls home for Easter this year, so somebody's got to finish them off, right?

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Enjoy your weekend everyone! And if you've got some fragments to unload, hop over to Half Past Kissin' Time and add your link to the party.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Hopeful Hodgepodge

Welcome to another edition of the weekly Wednesday Hodgepodge. If you've answered the questions today, add your link at the end of my post, then hop around and see what others had to say.  Here we go-

1. This coming weekend is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. Do you celebrate Easter in your home? What was your favorite Easter tradition as a child?

Yes we celebrate Easter, although this year I think it will be just the hubs and I here at home. I'll still do baskets for my girls and my son-in-law, because you're never too old for an Easter basket. I guess I need to get on that since they'll need to be packed and mailed. 

I have lots of favorite traditions, but the first one that came to mind was getting a new dress, shoes, and sometimes even a spring coat. 


Some years my younger sister and I wore matching dresses, and it looks like this particular year we got purses too. Look at my little sister stylin' that cross body bag before they were cool-ha! I'm the one (right front) with the pony tail tied up in pink yarn. Remember when little girls wore yarn bows? I kind of remember wearing yarn in the form of a headband too. Can't say I miss knee socks, but I do remember feeling grown up when my mom let us wear knee socks instead of tights. Grown women didn't wear tights in the 70's the way they do now. 

2.  George Weinberg is quoted as saying, "Hope never abandons you, you abandon it." Agree or disagree? Share you own thoughts on the word hope.

Agree. I think hope might be my favorite word in the whole English language. It's key to my favorite verse-

"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning..." Lamentations 3:21-23

3. Weigh in with a yay or nay on the traditional Easter candies. Peeps? Jellybeans? Cadbury Creme Eggs, Solid milk chocolate bunny? Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs? Coconut Cream Eggs? Of the candies listed, which one would you most like to find in your Easter basket?

Yay on all but the Peeps, and even those I think are cute. They just don't taste very good. I like jellybelly beans, but can only eat a couple before they make my stomach do funny things. Same with Cadbury Creme Eggs. My favorite would be a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg.  I don't think I'll get an Easter basket though. I guess eventually you are too old. 

4. When did you last feel like 'a kid in a candy store'?

The Container Store makes me feel that way-ha! I know some people don't get that, but I love all the pretty boxes, bins, gift wrap, fun tapes, labels and more. I haven't been to the Container Store since before Christmas though so more recently? Probably looking through my Daughter1's wedding pictures. How to choose, how to choose? They are all so beautiful. 

5. What's something you know you do differently than most people? Does that bother you? Does it bother other people?

Apparently the way I use my iPhone and iPad isn't typical of everyone. It doesn't bother me in the slightest, but it makes my husband crazy. I still love my old-fashioned, in-the-drawer, turn-the-actual-paper-pages calendar and address book. He doesn't get it.

6. Palm Springs CA, Palm Beach FL, or the PALMetto State...of the three spots mentioned, which one would you most like to visit right now? Which have you visited at one time or another?

Much as I'd love a warm sunny holiday in CA or FL, I'm going with the PALMetto State (South Carolina) because my Daughter2 lives there. I am missing my Daughter2. 

Hi Daughter2! I miss you! 

I've never been to Palm Springs, but have spent lots of time in the Palmetto State, and I've been to Palm Beach Florida too. 

7. If you could change the length of a day would you lengthen it or shorten it? Tell us why?

While there are times I might wish for a few more hours in the day, and other times I might wish a day would just end already, if given the chance I don't think I'd mess with the order of the universe. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

So what do the first few days of Spring look like in the Garden State?


Well, they look an awful lot like winter.


Except not quite. You can see the pavement, so that's something. There is not a spot of color anywhere in our yard, but you can see the firepit and the grill which means we're headed in the right direction.


And the 'glacier' in our driveway has shrunk by about a foot in depth and width. Still not exactly small, but we're making progress.  That being said I'm pretty sure this is going to be one of those Easters I'm wearing my winter coat to church. 





Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 214

Hello Hodgepodgers! I've spent the past four nights visiting friends and family in three different cities, two different states, logged a few hundred miles on the car, and am now going to (hopefully!) find that small helping of creative juice necessary for making up this week's random seven. You'll want to keep your expectations at an appropriate level.

And you know the drill...hop back here tomorrow and add your link to the party.


1. This coming weekend is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. Do you celebrate Easter in your home? What was your favorite Easter tradition as a child?

2. George Weinberg is quoted as saying, 'Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.' Agree or disagree? Share your own thoughts on the word hope.

3. Weigh in with a yay or nay on the traditional Easter candies. A solid milk chocolate bunny? Cadbury Creme Eggs? Peeps? Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs? Jellybeans? Coconut Cream Eggs? Of the candies listed, which one would you most like to find in your Easter basket?

4. When did you last feel 'like a kid in a candy store'?

5. What's something you know you do differently than most people? Does that bother you? Does it bother other people?

6. Palm Springs CA, Palm Beach FL, or the PALMetto State...of the three mentioned, which sunny spot would you most like to visit right now? Which have you visited at one time or another?

7. If you could change the length of a day would you lengthen it or shorten it? Tell us why.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lucky You! It's the Hodgepodge!

It's your lucky day! You've landed on the Wednesday Hodgepodge! If you've answered this week's questions, add your link at the end of my post. And go say hi to the neighbors, or at least the one who linked before you. 


1. Share a favorite song, book, or movie title containing the word green.

My favorite book in the world has the word green in its title-Anne of Green Gables.  I also loved How Green Was My Valley. A favorite 'green' film would be 'Fried Green Tomatoes', which is one of those movies I'll stop and watch if I see it playing on TV. 

And I might as well choose a song too. I'm not sure I have a favorite, but I do really like the song Evergreen by Barbara Streisand. She sings it beautifully and the lyrics are timeless. 

2. Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, 'Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.' Would you agree? Are you a believer in luck?

Sometimes true. I'm sure there are some strong people out there who do believe in luck...they just don't rely on it. When you look around and see people who are deemed 'lucky' there's usually hard work and careful planning behind that luck. 

3. Spring water, Hot Springs, handspring, spring fling, spring break, spring fever, offspring...which 'spring' word best applies to something in your day, week, or life right now?

After a weekend away filled with fabulous weather I've now got a serious case of spring fever. And we have a snowflake  in our Friday forecast. WHAAAAAA!

4. What's something you do to make yourself look or feel more confident?

Wear heels. With a great pair of heels I feel like I could rule the world. 

5. It's National Celery Month...are you a fan? If so, what's a snack or dish you enjoy that calls for celery?

I do like celery. Hubs also likes celery, but doesn't like the smell so I try to do the chopping when he's not in the room. My favorite recipe that calls for celery is without a doubt my mama's cornbread stuffing. Gotta have celery in my cornbread stuffing. I also like celery diced up in tuna salad and fix that about once a week. 

6. What's one thing you wish you'd learned sooner?

That growth occurs most often during times of transition or when I'm outside my comfort zone. How to embrace that notion instead of fearing it. 

7.  Would you like to own a second home? If so, where would you want that home to be?

My first thought is no, and hubs and I are completely on the same page here. We've discussed this many times. The idea of a second home is appealing on some level, but in reality what we both really want is a home on the water. 

We love to travel and there are so many places in the world I want to see. I'd rather have my dream house (or something close to it) on the water somewhere, and then go out and see the world when I need a change of scenery. If I owned a second home I'd feel pressure to use it on a regular basis, and that's not really us. Too much wanderlust. 

Unless my second home could be an apartment in London. Or Paris. Or on Lago Maggiore. If I could swing that then yes, I'd probably go for it. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Every spring a mama fox readies her 'nest' on our side hill and has her babies. The nesting site is in the woods, but right at the edge, so we often see her coming and going this time of year. Some years the mama looks a little rough, but she has a big furry tail this year, so evidently winter has agreed with her. 


When the kits are born we love to watch them play. They don't hang around for very long, but are super cute when they're tiny, and they're really playful. Last year two of them found a ski glove someone had dropped and they'd bat it back and forth between them which was hilarious to watch. 


We can sit in our sunroom and the kits don't pay us any attention, but their mama keeps a close eye. The other day we spied her running along the front of the house, on her way out to the road.  


We usually see babies around Eastertime, so hopefully soon. And as hard as it is to believe those trees will be leafy green and provide a lot more camoflauge than she's got now. The creativity on display in nature is really amazing, isn't it? 





Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 213

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday fun here on this side of the pond. I post the questions on Tuesday, you answer, then hop back here Wednesday to share answers with all your friends and neighbors.  See you there!


1. Share a favorite song, book, or movie title containing the word green?

2. Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, 'Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.' Would you agree? Are you a believer in luck?

3. Spring water, Hot Springs, handspring, spring fling, spring break, spring fever, offspring...which 'spring' word best applies to something in your day, week, or life right now?

4. What's something you do to make yourself look or feel more confident?

5.  It's National Celery Month...are you a fan? If so, what's a snack or dish you enjoy that calls for celery?

6. What's one thing you wish you'd learned sooner?

7. Would you like to own a second home? If so where would you want that home to be?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Deep In the Heart of Texas

Hubs and I spent the weekend guess where? You guessed it. We flew out early Thursday morning after a very late short night Wednesday. His co-workers threw him a retirement party on Wednesday evening but I'm going to save that recap for later, because this morning I want to talk about Texas.


UK friends as we call them round here....note-when you move a lot you might refer to your friends via geography. We have Maryland friends, NJ the first time friends, college friends, etc...anyway UK friends otherwise known as friends we met while living in the UK, had a son getting married in the hill country outside of Austin on Saturday, so we made a long weekend of it.

I've always heard people talk about the Texas hill country and I think it lived up to it's billing. We had an absolutely fabulous time, but first things first. Cowboy boots. I needed a pair. I had a pair years ago and was looking forward to the whole boot buying experience. When in Rome, right?

Hubs and I flew into Houston and made the drive over to Austin Thursday afternoon. You may have heard there's a ginormous convention going on in the city of Austin just now (SXSW) so flights were ridunculous. We needed a rental car anyway, so opted to go the Houston route.  It was an easy drive over (I napped, so easy for me anyway) until you hit Austin. What is up with your traffic Austin? Ka-razy, and not just because of SXSW either. Plus UT was on Spring Break so most of the students were away. I can't imagine what it's like on game day.


We eventually got to our hotel, checked in, and proceeded straight to the boot store. As a side note-I wish I'd invented the boot jack. We did buy one because I told hubs I'd have to sleep in mine if I didn't have some way to get them off my feet.

After shopping we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at a place called Lamberts, on W. 2nd Street. Hubs ordered the short rib and I guess what they say is true-


Everything's bigger in Texas! Hubs had me put my hand there for perspective. In case you're interested, I had brisket which was melt in your mouth delicious.


Friday we slept in, then made our way back into downtown. I need to pause here and acknowledge the absolute spectacular perfection that was the weather. Bright blue skies, warm air and a cool breeze, loads of sunshine...it was heaven. I have not been outside without a coat in months, and Texas weather was just what the doctor ordered.


The Texas capitol building is a landmark so we headed there first. Really pretty, and did I mention the weather? We wandered around inside a bit before getting back out amongst the masses to find lunch.  There's a great energy in this city, and it was amped up a few notches because of the SXSW happenings. We had lunch on a patio and soaked up the sun. Our Vitamin D tanks were in desperate need of a refill. Thanks Texas!


After lunch we headed out into true hill country where the wedding festivities were being held-Dripping Springs.  Doesn't that just sound like a sleepy hill country town? Hubs and I had some time to fill before dinner so we mozied down the road to a cute little shop to browse and maybe buy me something pretty. Or two somethings. Or four. My retirement present-ha!


It just so happened Miss Rodeo Austin was in this same little shop also buying something pretty, so the shopkeeper snapped a blurry picture for us. Miss Rodeo Austin was adorable.


We were meeting up with some 'UK friends' for dinner. Two couples we haven't seen in eons so there was Mexican food, and loads of catching up to do before we moved on to the after dinner venue-The Mercer Street Dance Hall. 


Lots of Texas two-stepping going on, which is way harder than it looks. The bride and groom were awesome to watch! Plus, the sweetest thing...the bride actually wore her future mother-in-law's wedding gown to the rehearsal dinner and for dancing afterwards. She had it cut down into a dancing dress and I thought it was just precious. The groom's mama doesn't have daughters, so this was a really a thoughtful thing for this special bride to do.


The wedding wasn't until Saturday evening so we had a whole day to meander around the countryside. We spent a couple of hours right here-


The Solaro winery, sitting on their outdoor patio in the glorious Texas sun. I might be a little obsessed with the weather, but y'all it has been a winter in the northeast. Eventually we drove on over to a little town called Driftwood for lunch at the original Salt Lick in Driftwood Texas.


There was a crowd so we sat under this big tree and inhaled one of the best smells in all the world-Texas BBQ.


We three girls did a few laps around the hotel property before getting ready for the wedding because it seemed right.


The wedding was held in a pretty venue right next door to our hotel. The ceremony took place outside and there were cocktails on the patio before we all went indoors for dinner and more dancing. The bride and groom are both engineers and fully embraced their wedding date. They had a lot of fun with it including a pi(e) plate for their guests to sign.


It was the sort of day you didn't want to end. Perfect weather, old friends, young love, perfect weather. Sunday we flew back home to the tundra. We arrived in Newark on time, but were kept sitting on the tarmac for almost an hour waiting on a 'parking space'. Something was going on in baggage claim too, so collecting our luggage took another hour. We finally arrived home in the dark of night, the pile of snow a little smaller but not small enough, and temps in the 30's. Re-entry here is always a little bit rough, but it's okay.

The stars at night, are big and bright...all around this great land.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Not Quite Spring Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! If you've played along this week, add your link at the end of my post before you run off into the sunshine.  And please go say hi to the blogger who linked before you because we're friendly here.  


1. What's the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word 'spring'? Which phrase best describes the season of spring where you live right now (today)-sprung!, almost there, or still waiting?

When I think of spring I think of crocus peeking through the snow, the fabulous way it feels to leave the house with just a light jacket as opposed to a parka, gloves, and muffler, daylight lasting a minute or two longer every day, and hope. Spring always feels so full of promise. 

As far as the season here currently? Pretty much still waiting. We're having warmer temperatures this week, but it's still not spring. We have literal mountains of snow all around, and not a speck of color anywhere. I did hear a bird singing when I took the rubbish out to the curb this week, and I noticed. I stopped and listened and it made my heart happy. 

2. Bed, couch, stapler, garage door, computer mouse, recliner, flashlight, door knob...which household item containing springs most needs replacing in your home? Speaking of springs...dis you ever own a slinky?

We have a doorknob in our house that I'd like to replace. It works, but is just one of those things I'd like to replace. When your house is for sale that's exactly the sort of thing that gets done too. 

3. March is Women's History Month. Share a favorite quote by a woman.

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." Corrie ten Boom  

4. What's a question that looms large in your mind right now?

What's next? I'm sure I'll have more to say about this, but in the meantime, see #3. 

5. Are you a sugar freak? By that I mean how much do you love sugar? With all the bad press sugar gets these days, have you made any efforts to reduce the amount of sugar you consume?

Not gonna lie... I have a sweet tooth. I don't feel like the word 'freak' applies, but I do enjoy a sweet treat now and then. Everything in moderation, right? I don't drink soda, don't add sugar to my coffee or tea, and I don't snack on cookies or candy on a regular basis.  

I'm a little bit discriminating when it comes to my sugar calories, and mostly indulge if I'm in a restaurant or I'm having dinner in someone's home where a fabulous home baked something is offered. I am the person who upon being seated and handed a menu looks at dessert first. 

I'm not tempted by store bought ice cream, pre-packaged goodies like Little Debbie cakes, or even dessert for dessert's sake. I am tempted by a wonderful home baked pie, cake or cookie, anything from a bakery in Paris, and some of my favorite restaurants dessert menus. 

6. Would you rather have less work to do or more work you enjoy doing?

I'm not currently feeling overworked, so I think more work I enjoy doing. In my opinion one of the biggest challenges in this season of 'empty-nesting' is figuring out where to invest my energy. 

7. Ever been to Texas? Of the top ten Texas tourist attractions which would you most like to see-The Alamo, The San Antonio River Walk, The State Capital, Dallas World Aquarium, Padre Island National Seashore, Houston Space Center, Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Moody Gardens, or Galveston Island?

I made a flight connection in Dallas one time, and I've been to Houston, but I think that's the extent of my Texas travels. Hubs and I will be near Austin for a wedding this month, so maybe I'll get a glimpse of the capital. 

Of the sites listed I think I'd like to see Galveston Island, mostly because I always loved the Glenn Campbell song. I know that isn't logical, but it's the first thing I thought of when I read this list. The other site I'd like to see is the Padre Island National Seashore. The longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world, which sounds like something worth seeing. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday, which gives me an excuse to post another picture from the wedding collection. 


Happy birthday to my very young-at-heart mother in law!