Sunday, November 29, 2009

A lot of a lots

I have been away from my computer for most of the past week due to the fact that I was cooking. A lot. And had a houseful of company. A lot. And my daughters were home and we needed to talk. A lot. And laugh. A lot. And today I am feeling slightly overwhelmed by all the words in my brain so I'm just going to dive right in and leave a few here.

Thanksgiving. Lovely. Filled with family and food and my sweet daughters and two little nephews who we loved having in the house.

Oh and fyi- little boys are completely different than little girls and I'm not talking about just the obvious here. Little boys can make all things silly. And little girls can talk. Boy can they ever talk! After dinner one night we sat around the table and my two daughters were telling stories about this and that and I wish you could have seen my nephews faces. I should probably add here that my girls talk reallyreallyreallyfast and they were telling these stories in a sort of tag team fashion and those little boys were completely mesmerized. Not so much with the content but more with the speed and all the words and the animation on my daughters faces. They sat absolutely frozen in their seats looking from one girl cousin to the other...kind of like a tennis match. They were trying their best to follow what the girls were saying but it was pretty much futile. My husband says they shouldn't worry though...that's how he feels most nights at the dinner table when the girls and I get to talking.

We were really hoping to have some wildlife in the yard to show the boys while they were here but I think the forest animals knew this was a holiday in which to lay low. Of course just a few hours after everyone took off we glanced out back to see 8 wild turkeys.

I suppose they knew we'd had our fill of bird on Thursday and Friday and that it was safe to come out. On Sunday morning we awoke to deer in the yard...four of them. Maybe they were with family for the holiday too and are just now getting back home. They are beautiful, particularly the bucks, and I did take a couple of photos but they were thru the window and the glare is bad so I'm not posting. I can't step outside to get their picture anymore as they freak when they see me raise my hand to my eye. I've tried telling them its just a camera but they're not taking any chances.

After all the company left on Saturday we went to see The Blindside. If you haven't seen this movie get yourself to a theatre...such a heartwarming story about love in action and how that impacts a life. Oh, and take some kleenex because you'll need it. And of course after a good cry you need food so we stopped at a favorite pizza place on the way home.'s the anti-turkey.

The girls were headed back to uni on Sunday but before they left for the airport we did pull out the Christmas decorations and had a little tree trimming party complete with eggnog. We drink our eggnog in our German Christmas market mugs because that makes us happy. It was fun to pull out all the decorations this year. When we moved to the UK we only took about half of our Christmas boxes with us and the rest went to storage so a lot of the items we hadn't seen in several years. I have lots of Snow Village pieces and none of them came with us to the UK since the electrical current there is scary and is also the reason why there are no outlets in the bathrooms. The plus side is water boils instantly in the electric kettles there. Ooops-tangent. Told you...words...I have a lot of them.

Anyway, when we decorate our Christmas tree every year it is tradition that hubs hides the pickle ornament and the girls have to find it hidden in one of the Christmas trees. Except of course my husband gave up years ago putting it in the tree and now they pretty much have to look all over the house to find it. Hiding a pickle ornament is supposedly a German tradition that says whoever finds the pickle will get an extra treat from St. Nick. This is perhaps more of a myth since the Germans I know have never heard of it but its still fun.

This year hubs left the pickle in a really obvious spot and the girls walked by it a couple of times before daughter1 finally noticed it hanging on the clock case. Whoever finds it hangs it somewhere on the tree...not sure they view that as an 'extra treat' but that's all I got.

I can't finish this Thanksgiving post without a brief mention of the angel pie. Firstly, these cuties baked the pies this year.

Let's just take a moment here.

If you are thinking that it looks like scrumptious custardy wonderfulness then you would be correct. Several people asked me last week for the recipe after I mentioned it in a post and I fully intended to publish it right here on the blog because I'm nice like that. However.... my sister in law was here and she threatened to have her husband hack into my blog and remove it if I dared and my brother in law is a bit of a computer whiz so I'm thinking I best not. I am on email though, wink wink.

Whew. Like I said...a lot of words. I feel better now so thank you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The random in which I mention angel pie...a little slice of heaven

The weekly random dozen lands a day early this week due to the holiday. If you'd like to join the fun just answer these questions on your own blog and link your answers here. Happy Thanksgiving!

1. Are you sticking to traditional Thanksgiving foods this year, or are you being culinarily adventurous?

Traditional…don’t want a revolt here now do we?

2. Tell me something concrete that you're thankful for. (Something you can literally touch, see, etc., not a concept like "hope.")

my home…we have been renters for the past six years while living overseas. We loved our house in the UK…it was completely charming but we couldn’t really put our own personal touch on the paint, window treatments, flooring. Plus the house had lots of wallpaper and we didn’t want to put any holes in the wall so all my pictures have been hung too high for the past six years…we just put them where there were already hooks in place. I’m not complaining because I truly did love that house like it was my own and the owners were wonderful people and did I mention the garden..sigh. Still it is fun to be in our new house this year and we’re really enjoying decorating and making it feel like home. I especially love my kitchen and am excited about all the cooking.

3. You knew the flip side was coming: Share about something intangible that you're thankful for.

I like your example-hope. Where would we be in this crazy mixed up world without it? Hope for a future and hope for eternity.

4. Share one vivid Thanksgiving memory. It doesn't have to be deep or meaningful, just something that remains etched in your memory.

Nothing specific springs to mind and in fact it is probably the 'sameness' from year to year that I love the most. I enjoy thinking back to Thanksgivings growing up...helping my mom in the kitchen, my dad carving the turkey, family all around the table, the smells...happy times. This is what I've tried to recreate in my own family. I love to have extended family and friends at the table somehow makes the meal more special.

5. What is one thing you know without a shadow of a doubt is going to happen this Thanksgiving because it always does, year after year?

Well overeating comes to mind. I'm determined not to but I'm pretty sure I say that every year.

6. Do your pets get any left-overs?

Are you kidding me??? Of course.

7. Does your family pray before the big meal? If so, do you join hands while seated, stand, repeat a formal prayer or offer a spontaneous prayer? Who does the praying?

Well, we pray before every dinner and we always hold hands and we always stay seated. And it is the same on Thanksgiving. The 'who' will vary...probably my hubs but sometimes it is one of my daughters and sometimes me. And it is always spontaneous.

8. Will you be watching football in the afternoon? If not, what will you be doing?

definitely watching football unless of course I'm napping which is also a favorite Thanksgiving day activity

9. There are two distinct camps of people on the issue: How do you feel about oysters in the dressing/stuffing?

No oysters in the stuffing...I love oysters but no no no-not in the stuffing on Thanksgiving. Must not mess with perfection.

10. Do you consider yourself well informed about the first Thanksgiving?


11. Which variety of pie will you be enjoying?

A tiny sliver of pumpkin with lots of whipped cream because I must save room for my very favorite-angel pie. If you are not familiar with this deliciousness you should is a meringue crust with a custard filling, topped with whipped cream and shaved German chocolate. Oh my.

12. Do you feel for the turkey?? (This is a humorous throw back question related to the 12th question in another Random Dozen!)


Monday, November 23, 2009

Oh What a Night

Late December back in 63...what a very special time for me as I remember what a night....okay, so it was actually late November in 2009 but it was still special. And I do know that Frankie was talking about somethin' completely else but I feel the need to spout Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons lyrics today. So I'll just hang on to what I got...I don't have much but I got a lot...let's see...time to walk like a man and get this post written. That's really bad I know but I can't help it. I'll stop now. Well maybe.

My father in law turned 75 in August. We weren't together for his birthday but we did get him tickets to see Jersey Boys in NYC since we knew he would be in town for Thanksgiving. My in-laws arrived this weekend and on Sunday we took them into the city for dinner and the show.

The show is awesome. It is so much fun and the music...oh it just makes you happy...when they break into Sherry I dare you not to smile. Hubs and I had seen the show in London with our girls and we all loved it. We loved it just as much this time around too. I think the NY version has a bit more of an edge to's a little more 'Jersey'...they did throw out the big naughty word a few times and we don't remember that so much in the London version. But the guys who made up the original Four Seasons were Jersey boys from the rough streets of Newark so I think the language was probably pretty accurate. Regardless the show really is all about the music which was fantastic!

We saw the 3 pm performance and after the show we walked across the street to Gallaghers Steak House for dinner. There are probably 14,325 steak houses in NY city but Gallaghers is an old (1927) and well known institution. The tables are covered with red checked cloths and the walls are covered with photographs of the many famous people who have dined there through the decades. And the steaks...


I could probably produce an entire photo album of my husband with waiters around the world...he always makes friends with the waiter wherever we happen to be...after our meal these nice gentlemen brought out a scrumptious chocolate mousse cake with whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate syrup as a birthday surprise. I'm sure I don't need to tell you it was delicious... or I could just say Who loves you pretty baby? Do you think Frankie was addressing chocolate in that song?

After dinner we took a cab to Times Square because you gotta see Times Square when you're in the city at night.

Can you tell this city makes me a little bit giddy? I love the beautiful countryside we live in but I'm so thankful to have easy access to this amazing place too. We headed to Rockefeller Plaza next...I mean why not???

We're here, the air is cool but not bitter and the city is already looking so festive. Here is the official tree (wrapped in scaffolding) being made ready for the official lighting ceremony to be held officially on December 2nd. It's officially massive...they say the ideal tree for Rockefeller Center is at least 65 feet tall and 35 feet wide but most years they are at least ten feet taller than that.


Can't take my eyes off of you...

I'm so looking forward to coming back in to NYC when our girls are home for the holidays and several times during the month of December. We have tickets to see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall the week before Christmas...we haven't been to this show in many years and it is truly 'spectacular'...ooh, I just remembered how much (and how often!) I like to use that word.

It was getting late and although we wanted to staaaaaay, just a little bit longer we made our way back to the car, forked over the equivalent of a semester's worth of college tuition to release our vehicle from its space in the garage and headed for home.

Oh what a night indeed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Pre-Thanksgiving Post

My husband has been in Taipei on business all week and I haven't. I'm not bitter though. I confess that I did have to pull out the ole map to see just exactly where Taipei is located (allow me to save you a trip to's in Taiwan, off the coast of mainland China. You're welcome). Gracious, what did we do before Wikipedia existed??? Well my house we had two entire shelves of bookcases that held something called The Encyclopedia. And I have older siblings so basically the set we owned was out of date before I ever needed to access them. And you bought them from a salesman who walked from house to house or rather 'door to door' with his suitcase of encyclopedias. Then the world went a little mad and we stopped answering our doors and stopped being at home and Al Gore grew up and poof along came the internet and remind me again how in the world I ended up on this topic? I betcha even Wikipedia can't answer that.

As I was saying...hubs phoned this morning to tell me he was getting ready to go to bed on the floor. His hotel room sounds interesting. He says it is beautiful and his room is two stories high yet he is sleeping on the floor. He has had some new foods too...I don't think I'll elaborate but let's just say it's a good thing he is an adventurous eater.

Anyway, don't feel too sorry for me because I made a little trip of my own this South Jersey. It's sorta like Taipei I think except my mom lives there. One of the nicest bits about being back in the states is that I am close enough to pop in for a couple of days. My pup loves it too...she's all about a new place to explore plus my mother just might have a soft spot in her heart for my crazy dog which basically means my pup ends up eating roast beef at pretty much every meal we have there.

My mom and I had a nice visit...we did a little shopping, played some Rummikub, and talked a-lot. My sister and her little boy and my brother and sister in law all came over for dinner on Wednesday night. My nephew is three and adorable. And busy. Very very busy. And he likes chocolate. Props to you moms of toddlers...if you are in the midst of those days they are exhausting. But rest assured the exhaustion fades and what you remember down the road is all the sweetness.

My life is beginning to feel like my life once again. I like to be a little bit busy. I like to have a few things on my calendar. I like to see and do and go and meet and learn. My in-laws arrive tomorrow, my daughters on Tuesday, and my sister in law and her family on Wednesday. It will be a full house here next week and I am looking forward to so much. What you ask? Well...

taking my in-laws into NYC, a show on Broadway, hugs and kisses from my daughters, complaining about how much they sleep when they are home, watching them sleep, talking, more talking, lots and lots and lots of talking, seeing their toothbrushes, hairbrushes, straighteners, shoes, pjs, jackets, and you get the idea, in the bathroom and bedroom and wherever they land, sharing the cooking traditions that go along with the Thanksgiving meal, baking pies, eating pies, wearing my Harrods apron, corn pudding, playing pool, nephews visiting, hubs having some r and r, a beautiful table, cornbread stuffing, watching old family movies, taking pictures, blogging, football, sharing, praying, laughing, and feeling grateful

just to name a few.

Monday, November 16, 2009

12 at 12

It's time for week 12 in the random dozen meme  hosted every Wednesday by Linda over at 2nd cup of Coffee.   Everyone's invited to the party....just answer the questions on your blog and link here so we can all come and visit.

Here we go...
1. If you could master one sport, what would it be?

2. When you make a major purchase, do you go with your gut instinct, or do you do research to make an informed decision?

My husband always seems to know what all the bells and whistles are that we are looking  for so I generally go with his recommendation.  

3. There is an old kids' game that says you can find out what your movie star name would be by using your middle name as your first name and the name of the street you grew up on as your last. What is your movie star name?

Ann Farmington

4. Would you rather give up your favorite music or your favorite food?

I don't like this question.  Just sayin'.  I mean I can't imagine any circumstance where this would be necessary I giving up a single favorite food or an entire food group?  A favorite genre of music or a favorite artist or just a favorite song?  I will give up a single favorite food...I gotta have my tunes.  Plus I'll be honest and admit I have quite a lot of favorite foods so in giving up one there will surely be another to take its place.   

5. There are two types of banana preferences. One is pristine yellow, almost to the point of being green; the other is spotty and more ripe. Which is your preference?

Pristine yellow.   Over ripe=banana bread

6. Your favorite tree is?

Japanese Red Maple

7. On a scale of 1-10, how tech savvy are you?

I’m going with a 3…I mean I did manage to create my blog all by myself so that’s gotta count for something right?

8. Has H1N1 touched your family?

Not so far!

9. Are you an analytical person, or do you just accept things the way they are without questioning or scrutinizing?

I think it depends on what we’re talking about here.  Maybe that means I'm analytical :  )  If we’re talking about something that falls under the realm of the mysteries of the way God works in the universe then I’m accepting…if we’re talking about some of the things going on in the realm of politics and our government then I’m analytical.   And angry but I guess that's another post.

10. Is your personality more like that of a dog, cat, or Koala?

Not sure what the personality of a koala is so I’m going with a least that's the one I aspire to- happy, loving and completely they sleep all night and then get up and take a nap...who doesn't want that?

11. Do you keep in touch with friends you made years ago?

Absolutely…I just wrote about this on my blog on Monday

12. You are checking out at a grocery store. In the express lane, there are more people than the regular lanes, but of course, their load is less than those in the regular lanes. Which lane do you choose (assuming you qualify for the express lane) and why?

Ahh…the mind game known as the check out line….I would most likely go for the shorter line rather than a long express.  I normally scan the contents of the carts and I also like to eyeball the people in line to decide ahead of time who looks like they might have ‘issues’ when they check out.  With just a few items though I’d most likely go to a self checkout line which all of our stores now have.  

Good Morning Yesterday

Have weekend will travel or something like that. It works for us anyway and this past weekend was no different as we boarded a plane very early Saturday morning and headed back to East Tennessee. We were off to re-connect with friends from college...hubs was in a fraternity back in the day and they were celebrating the anniversary of their 55th year on campus.

I've been a lot of places all around the world but truly there are not many spots more lovely and peaceful than East Tennessee. The weather was perfection and the friends 'old'. And I mean that in the very nicest sense of the word. Because really there is nothing like old friends....friends who knew you when...friends you lived with and played with and laughed with and loved. Friends who when you see them take you right back to your 20 year old self. Friends who married friends and who are still married and who are still friends.

Some of these friends we've seen off and on in the years since graduation but others not so much. In fact some we hadn't seen in 27 years. It's easy to reconnect though...the bonds of these friendships were forged in the the land that lies between childhood and full on adulthood...days that were carefree in a way we didn't must be lived and looked back upon before the freedom of those years can be fully appreciated.

We weren't able to be there for the Friday night festivities which was disappointing but we did put in a full day Saturday and then could say we danced the night away and I have the aching feet to prove it. Just fyi-my feet never hurt when I was 20.

There were stories told and re-told and maybe re-told again. They are still funny. Well, we think so anyway. There was a walk thru the bookstore, a ride through campus, and a visit to our favorite deli for lunch. There was also some picture taking...

These girls and I all married fraternity brothers in the summer of 1984. And we are all still married 25 years later. Go Us!

This adorable girl gave me a baby shower back in 1988. We were living in Richmond Virginia then and we spent lots of time with K and M. The guys liked to take their Hobie Cat out on the lake and we used to have dinner at their house pretty regularly. In fact my husband successfully managed to get their baby boy to eat his carrots. Baby boy was at the party this weekend too. He is 25. Yeah. Time is funny.

We're older now...neither the mirror nor the calendar lie. Or my aching feet for that matter. These 'boys' are scattered far and wide...some working and some retired...some with very young children and some with grandchildren... some wildly successful and some still fighting demons...they are military men who make us proud, businessmen, lawyers, professors, engineers, husbands and fathers and above all 'brothers'.

Once upon a time they landed together in a place called The White Castle and for a moment the world was their oyster... their friendship the pearl. And the pearl remains.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Silly Old Bear

Do you know what is on this corner?

This amazing building ...The New York Public Library

I joined some new friends today for a tour of the library followed by a delicious lunch in Bryant Park. As an aside, let me just say once again how much I love New York...this city is just so alive and you feel that the minute you arrive. I only took a few photos mainly because these women don't know me very well yet so I thought it was best not to overwhelm them with my camera obnoxiousness right off the bat. I held back y'all...I promise.

Anyway, there are two enormous lions outside the entrance to the library and they are known by the nicknames Patience and Fortitude. They were given these names originally by Mayor LaGuardia in the 30's because he said these were qualities he felt New Yorkers would need to survive the economic depression. I'm pretty sure the names still work.

Anyway, the building is absolutely is neoclassical in style with lots of gorgeous marble and carved wood ceilings. And of course there are all those books...miles and miles of books and periodicals and maps and more...over 75 miles worth, much of it housed under Bryant Park. And let me just tell you that if you think catalogs and magazines pile up at your house you haven't seen anything...imagine receiving over 10,000 periodicals per week!

Now, if all those books and all those magazines and all that architectural beauty aren't enough guess what else they have right here in their very own collection?
They have the real live, honest to goodness Winnie the Pooh. Well, not real live but you know what I mean. And all his friends are here too... all except Roo that is. Not sure what happened to Roo but our tour guide pointed out that it appears the Milnes owned dogs so I do have a theory. Anyway, they are absolutely too cute for words and look very well loved. The toys were given to Christopher Robin Milne between 1920 and 1922. Pooh came from Harrods Dept. Store in London and these are the toys that inspired the stories.

Course if Winnie the Pooh isn't your thing you can also walk down this staircase which is indeed the staircase from 'the movie where Carrie Bradshaw gets her prince'...they filmed the wedding scene from that movie here.

Or maybe you recognize this view which was used in The Day After Tomorrow...

Or you may not recognize it because in the movie some snowwaterhailtornadotidalwave thing was rolling straight down 42nd Street and headed right for the lobby.

Which, incidentally, is magnificent. After our tour we walked around the corner to Bryant Park which is a pretty little patch of green surrounding the library.

Here sits a statue of William Cullen Bryant for whom the park is named...he's all dressed up for Christmas. We had a lovely lunch in this little spot right in the park, hence it's name Bryant Park Grill. There is a bit of fall and a bit of Christmas happening but it's all good....I love the vines growing around the building and the food was excellent.

There just happened to be a little Christmas Market going on right here so we managed to squeeze in a teensy bit of shopping before heading home... such a nice day.

And I know what you're're thinking that if this isn't overwhelming people with pictures than what in the world is?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let Freedom Ring

There is a place of quiet beauty sitting on some land that once belonged to the wife of Robert E. Lee. This land sits across the Potomac River from Washington D.C. not far from the Pentagon. Arlington National Cemetery. On this land more than 300,000 men and women are buried, veterans and military casualties from every war dating all the way back to the Civil War and right up through our more recent battles in Iraq.

I’ve been to this place of quiet beauty many times. My dad is buried here. His funeral was held on a bitterly cold December day and we smiled and said he would love it that we all had to stand out in the icy rain…he was a Marine after all. Pride and sorrow and gratitude and hope…you feel them all as you stand beside a grave in Arlington National Cemetery. One grave among thousands. Hundreds of thousands. The beauty and the silence and the order speak to you. And you love your country a little bit more.

There is another place of quiet beauty sitting on land far across the sea. It sits up on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel. Close to 10,000 American servicemen and women are buried here. France has granted the United States a special, on going concession to this land, free of charge, free of tax. The U. S. flag flies here. Our flag. In France. They were grateful.

I’ve been to this place of quiet beauty just once. Pride and sorrow and gratitude and hope…you feel them all when you stand on a sandy beach in France on a windy spring day. You think about the boys who went into the sea and who died on that beach as men. You think of their fear and you stand in awe at their courage in spite of that fear. And you love your country a little more.

There are cemeteries like these all around the world…in England and Belgium, in The Philippines and Luxembourg, Tunisia and Panama. Every day men and women sacrifice much, sometimes everything, for our freedom. Freedom we don’t really think about most days.

Today is Veterans Day…a day set aside to honor these brave souls…take 2 minutes today to thank a veteran, to say a prayer for a soldier fighting far from home, to help a family left behind in some practical way, to write a note to someone who won’t be spending the holidays with their family, to donate to one of the many organizations that offer assistance and support to those returning home injured and hurting. Freedom is precious. And costly. In this season of Thanksgiving I want to remember to be especially grateful for mine.

Randomness and Italy...two of my favorite things

It's Week 11 over at Linda's so come play along and link your answers here. I love a meme that lets me blog about Italy.

1. What was the last song you listened to?

Barlow Girl- Need You to Love Me…such a pretty song.

2. Have you ever had “buyer’s remorse” over anything?

No…I’m not an impulse shopper.

3. What is something in your life that you are thankful for now that you didn’t think you would be at the time of the event? (Something that seemed ill-timed, inconvenient or hurtful which turned out to be a good thing)

Moving my sensitive 10th grade daughter out of her all American highschool filled with friends since grade one to an International School in a foreign country. Honestly my husband and I stressed about that aspect of the move more than anything else. As it happens that was one of the biggest blessings of the entire experience.

4. Do you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade every year? If so, do you have a favorite float or balloon?

I love the parade…one year we were in NYC the day before Thanksgiving (you can watch the balloons inflate) and Florence Henderson was the grand marshal. We were sitting in a little cafĂ© and daughter2 said hey, there’s Mrs. Brady! Sure enough there was Florence Henderson coming in for breakfast.

5. Share a quote, scripture, poem or lyric which has been an inspiration to you lately.

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

6. This is meant to be a fun question, and this is a G-rated blog, but please share a “guilty pleasure,” something that you enjoy that’s probably not the most edifying, time-worthy or healthy thing you could be indulging in. Did I mention--G rating?


7. What Thanksgiving food are you looking forward to?

I’m sorry, I can’t possibly answer this one. I love the entire meal, especially mashed potatoes because they are not a Jillian approved food so are a rarity in my house. I also love the corn pudding, stuffing, and angel pie…can you tell I’m looking forward to a carb fest?

8. What is your favorite book to read to children, or what was your favorite childhood book?

Another hard one…my favorite book of all time is Anne of Green Gables which I wrote about here. I also loved the book Crow Boy when I was a girl…a really heartwarming story with a wonderful message. I read literally thousands of books to my children so I’m not sure I can choose a single favorite. When they were toddlers some favorites were More More More, Moose in the Garden, and Are You My Mother? Some of my best memories though are reading to them in the middle years…all the Anne Books (we cried), Charlotte’s Web (we cried), Where the Red Fern Grows (we cried), A Dog Called Kitty (we cried). Basically we have a love affair with books in my house and we’re a blubbering mess of emotion…just ask my husband.

9. Do you collect anything? (Feel free to post a photo.)

Italian pottery…and it’s best if I go there and fetch it myself. Here is a sampling…

fig pitcher from the town of Nove just outside of Verona

my favorite bowl and serving utensils...also from Nove

I love the color and shape of this bowl. I also have a cake plate and candlesticks that are the same design

From the Southern part of Italy near Sorrento...lots of lemons on all of the pottery there. I may have more.

This table sits in my sunroom and came from a village called Ravello on the Amalfi Coast. We stood in this little spot and it is truly one of the loveliest little towns in all of Italy...the table is wrought iron with 6 separate tiles that fit together.

That's a sampling for you...too many pictures? I think not.

10. Gift bags or wrapping paper?

a mixture of both

11. Share an after-school memory from when you were younger. What was your routine like on an average day?

Hopping on my bicycle, riding to the Duck Pond, playing basketball in our neighbors driveway, riding to the train station to collect my dad from his evening commute, family dinners, arguing with my sister about cleaning up the dinner dishes, ping pong games with my brother after he made his post dinner milkshake, homework, talking for hours on a phone whose cord stretched practically next door, a television with only 3 channels plus PBS, sharing a room with my younger sister, my mom sitting on my bed listening to my worries when I felt anxious and couldn’t sleep…I remember a pretty happy childhood.

12. True story: Once, in a job interview, I was asked this question and told there would be no clarifying; I simply had to answer the question: “When you’re fishing, do you feel for the fish?” So what about you? When you're fishing, do you feel for the fish??

Whaaaat??? Were you interviewing for a job with the CIA? My answer is no.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cold medicine and blogging go together like chalk and cheese

In other words...I remembered a few things this weekend and I've taken a cold pill so look out...

1. Mexican food is as good as I remember. Hubs and I went out for Mexican food on Friday night and it was delicious. Really good Mexican food would for sure make our list of the top 3 things we missed most about home while we were living abroad. If we were actually keeping a list which of course we weren't because mostly we loved everything about our years in England. Well, obviously everything except the fact that there wasn't any good Mexican food. Oh, and the crazy driving. And parking. And trying to open a bank account. Or get a repair done. Where was I going with this again?

Oh can get every kind of wonderful ethnic food in the city of London...actually all around the UK...except great Mexican. Oh, there were a couple of Mexican restaurants around and every now and then we'd get such a craving for it that we'd convince ourselves those restaurants were not too bad. So we'd trek in to one place that made pretty good salsa and pay our four pounds fifty for a coffee cup serving of chips just to satisfy the craving. We were always bitterly disappointed and would ask ourselves why why why do we keep going back?? I guess because we're the hopeful type. Anyway, Friday night we went to a place we'd heard about thru the grapevine and it was totally yummy. I feel better just knowing its there.

2. I like Bocce ball. Seriously. I haven't played since I was a kid but we spent the night at a friends house on Saturday and we just had the best time playing on their Bocce court.
They have an official court which I told my husband we could do in our back yard but he pretty much nixed it because a. you need a lot more space than we would want to devote to an official court and b. our friend explained they had equipment brought in and big rocks moved and then a tennis court type material laid on top and blah blah blah...I decided I want a few more pieces of furniture and we need to buy daughter2 a car and it's almost Christmas and really winter is coming any day now and I will most likely not be outside playing Bocce ball when there is a foot of snow on the ground so...impractical. But fun. Have I mentioned on here before that I'm slightly competitive?

3. Old friends are comfy. Like I said we spent the weekend with some old friends...actually the Mrs. was hubs boss way back when. There were a few other folks there too and we just talked and laughed and warmed our feet by the outdoor firepit in between the bocce games and the fabulous homemade meatballs. We stayed in their adorable little guest cottage which used to be a doll's house but they raised the ceiling and have converted it into the most fantastic space for guests.

I told my husband we could do this in place of the Bocce court. I mean we for sure get a whole lot of houseguests and how fun would it be to have a place to send them for them to relax in their own little cottage?

4. My girlies will be home two weeks from tomorrow to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. And if you want to get all technical that isn't something I only remembered this weekend....I just like saying it. chalk and cheese. And do you know what else I just remembered? I have now worked that expression into two blog posts...just wondering what that says about the content here?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

circa 1965

A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.
~Marion C. Garretty

Happy Birthday little sister!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

If it's Wednesday it must be Belgium

Okay so maybe it's not Belgium but every Wednesday is the fun random dozen meme hosted by Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee. We're into week ten so come play along and link your own post here.

1. It's early morning, about 2:00AM, and you're driving home. You come to a red light and sit there. There is no one in sight for miles around. Do you wait it out or run the light?

Of course I wait. I always follow the rules.

2. If you had the chance to re-do the last 24 hours, would you change anything?

I might think twice about sampling 3 desserts at the German luncheon I attended. I imagine I still would have sampled strudel, German chocolate cake, and cream does a girl choose?

3. When you reply to someone's comment on your blog, do you reply in your comments or go to her blog and comment? (Or email her)

If I have their email address then I generally send an email (you noreply-comment@blogger people need to get with the program!) If I don’t have their email (hey noreply people-post an address already) then I will reply on their blog. Lots of times I comment on a blog but don’t go back to that post to look for a response which is why I tend not to respond in the comments section of my own blog.

4. Your favorite Disney movie is:

I’m pretty sure this is the hardest question of the week...if we are we talking cartoon then it's The Little Mermaid. If we’re talking regular film…The Parent Trap…love both the original and the remake.

5. Do you recycle?

Yes. It’s the law here. See question #1.

6. Games of strategy or games of chance?

Love them both. I pretty much love all games. And I always play by the rules. But of course you already knew that.

7. Do you have any recurring dreams?

No…I very rarely remember my dreams.

8. What did you learn from your first real job?

I had a regular babysitting job beginning at age 12, one sweet little girl who I cared for almost every day for two hours after school. I always knew I loved little children and I always wanted to be a mother and this job affirmed that. My first real paying job was as a counselor at a Christian camp called Sandy Cove. I always imagined I'd be assigned to the youngest group but lo and behold they put me with teenagers. And I loved that too. And I've worked and volunteered with groups of teens most of my adult life and I think maybe that summer job went a long way in teaching me how I want to relate to my own teens and those who have crossed my path thru the years. Actually I learned a whole lot of things in that summer camp job... so much about myself and about God and about getting along with people, about appreciating the beauty of creation, about living and working with people of all different backgrounds and beliefs, about strength and stepping out of my comfort zone...these are lessons that have stayed with me all my life.

9. Do you buy or borrow most books?

Depends where I’m living…I have a great library in my little town here but when I lived in the UK I ended up buying almost everything I wanted to read. Let’s just say if it was copyrighted post 1983 it wasn’t readily available in our little branch. And let's just say the ladies who worked there were not overly friendly or overly helpful which put me off making requests.

10. What fashion trend of the past did you say you'd never wear again but did?

I can’t think of one. Here’s my fashion motto so to speak… If a trend looked fabulous on me at age 19 or age 21 then it will now look fabulous on my daughters ages 19 and 21 and it will not look fabulous on me an-y-more.

11. When do you start Christmas shopping?

I pick up bits and pieces as I travel throughout the year but otherwise, dedicated shopping…not til December for the most part.

12. Have you ever been so happy that you literally jumped up and down for a few seconds? If so, what was the occasion?

Well, just a couple of weeks ago we worked out a way for my youngest daughter to come home for two days. I didn’t think it was going to happen and I did actually jump out of my chair when hubs said we had the points and could get the flight that way. Sometimes I just need to see my girls face to face. sigh.