Thursday, April 29, 2010

What about prom, Blaine?

Name that movie. This week's Flashback Friday theme is 'your highschool prom' and I'm thinking its going to be all about the pictures. I don't have a lot of memories from the actual event but I do have a lovely picture. Aren't all prom pictures oh so lovely?

I went to a huge highschool. Our senior prom was held at a catering house that people could rent for banquets and weddings and such, and it could accommodate our very big crowd. I spent four years of highschool homeroom sitting beside the boy whose family owned the place because alphabetically that's how we rolled.

I didn't have a boyfriend then so a friend played matchmaker. I haven't seen that friend since highschool but we've recently connected again on facebook. Don't you just love the miracle of the internet? Anyway, she put us together and I went with a very nice boy. We talked on the phone a few times and we went out once before the prom I guess to make sure it wouldn't be extraordinarily awkward but essentially the prom was our big date.

I definitely remember the theme song. Having a theme song was the tradition in our school. Several songs were put on a ballot and sometime early in the year the whole class voted. My brother graduated a few years before me and his theme was Precious and Few. Some songs are just meant to be a highschool prom theme.

Ours was ' The Goodbye Girl'. The movie had come out the year before and I don't remember what the other choices were but this one fit that prom theme genre. One class before ours used Kiss Today Goodbye and Point Me Toward Tomorrow...try putting that on a souvenir glass. Because isn't there always a souvenir glass? When we saw my in laws at Easter they brought a few things from their house to hand over and one of them was hubs mug from his senior prom. Always and Forever in case you're wondering about his theme.

Back to my memory...we didn't get a limo..maybe some people did but I don't think that was as popular then as it is now. I did get my hair done. And there were flowers. And I will preface the posting of the picture by telling you that it was 1978 so be kind.

My daughters laugh at this picture...they say it looks like we're getting married and I guess they do have a point. The off white Gunny Sax dress, the baby does have a bit of a wedding feel I suppose.

I don't have any specific memories of the actual event. We had dinner, we danced...I think you know how I feel about 70's music. It was a fun night. David Gates was the lead singer for a group called I need to tell you this? I feel I need to tell some of you this. Because some of you who read here weren't even a twinkle in your parent's eye when I was at my highschool prom.

'...Goodbye doesn't mean forever...Goodbye doesn't mean we'll never be together again...'

I'm sure that lyric is why we chose the song as our theme. There is something that makes soon to be graduates feel nostalgic and they want to hang on to those days for a little bit longer. When you're 17 and you're leaving friends behind to venture out into the world those lyrics are comforting. We had no inkling there was a facebook in our future. In fact we had no inkling there was an internet in our future. All we knew was that these were the people we'd known since childhood and we weren't quite ready to say goodbye.

Visit Mocha with Linda for more prom memories...better yet, share your own. Or post your prom picture if you're reading this on know you want to.

Its all in the mind

I'm heading out to the gym this morning because later I must go shopping for a swim suit and ew. I'm hoping the gym will do something magical today to make the swim suit shopping bearable. Is anyone else surprised when they see themselves in the three way mirror? Do you find yourself thinking, 'That's not what I look like?' I remember when I could buy a bathing suit because I liked the color or the pattern. I didn't have to think about things like fabric and holding things in and covering things up. Everything was right where it should be. And there was nothing extra. Now it is all about tricking the eye.

Of course today I may be distracted from the swim suit nightmare by the blinding whiteness of my legs. It has not exactly been sun bathing weather in these parts...34 degrees yesterday morning. Yeah. We're supposed to hit 80 degrees on Saturday so there's hope. Monday I will visit my wonderful hairdresser who will perform a little magic of his own and make my hair look sun kissed too. The battle against aging is harder some days than others.

Most days I feel much younger than I actually am. But very soon I will find myself standing amidst a gaggle of 20-something girls. And there is nothing quite like standing amidst a gaggle of 20-something girls, tanned and slim in their adorable little sundresses, to make you realize that no siree, you are not one of them an.y.more. Whoa, when did that happen? How did that happen? Wasn't that just me? Apparently not.

Oh I know with age comes wisdom and lines around the eyes mean you've lived and blah blah blah. It's not that I dislike my age. I don' fact I like it very much. It's just that what I see on the outside is not what I feel on the inside. And sometimes that is disconcerting. And standing in front of a three-way mirror without a tan, in need of highlights and dressed in a swimsuit would for sure be one of those times.

Y'all have a great day too!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Forgive me but I seem to be lost in the random dozen

So glad we didn't put any plants outside got down into the 30's last night. brrrr. But the sun is shining this morning and the plumber is on his way and its random dozen day so all is good. Join in the fun and link your answers over at Lid's.

1.Have you ever been so lost that you were really afraid?

No. Annoyed yes, but afraid no.

2. Have you ever been to an island?

Many times. Starting with the day I was born in the city of Honolulu on the lovely island of Oahu. And we’ve taken lots of island holidays… Aruba, St Thomas, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Capri.

Then there is my most favorite island of them all. England. Course island is not the first thing that comes to mind when you say Great Britain but still…it is an island.

It’s maybe not your palm tree, sipping something tropical thru a straw in a coconut while watching waves delicately lap the white sands kind of island... I'd say that England is more of the sipping a pint in a cozy pub on a damp and chilly gray sky day variety... and that's good too.

3. Are you more of a thinker or feeler?

I think this is the hardest question. I am a thinking feeler.

4. Do you tend to see issues or situations in life as black and white or shades of gray?

There are some issues I do believe are black and white. But there are many issues that are shades of gray and I make room for the gray.

5. If you were stuck on an island, what book would you hope to have with you (Let's pretend the Bible is already there, so you can't say that.)?

Anne of Green Gables. I never get tired of reading this one.

6. What are you most afraid of?

Not making a difference in the world.

7. Would you rather lose all of your old memories or never be able to make new ones?

Ick. Don’t like this one. I’m going to say no new ones. But ick.

8. Pretend I'm looking at a scrapbook page about you. There are three spaces for you to drop in individual pictures. What are those pictures of, and why did you select them?

A picture of me with my sibs… because we shared our growing up years and they know all my strengths and failings and still love me. They'll even forgive me for posting this picture.

A picture of me with my hubs and girlies on a holiday in Italy somewhere in the world….because we all love to travel and we've laughed and explored and loved being together in places far from home.

A picture of my little family in England…because those were years that changed us and that bound us to one another in a way I really can't describe.

9. If you were re-doing your wedding, what would you do differently? (If you're single, tell me one thing you would do if you were planning a wedding OR huge party.)

Well, I’d love to have it recorded on videotape. When we married videotaping your ceremony was a fairly new concept. But I would so love to be able to watch it now and also to share it with our girls.

10. Tell me one thing you know/believe about forgiveness.

Wow…I’m pretty sure entire books have been written on this topic so its hard to choose just one thing. Hmmm…I know this: Because of God's indescribable grace and mercy, I’m forgiven.

I like this little blurb-

‘Forgiving is love's toughest work, and love's biggest risk. If you twist it into something it was never meant to be, it can make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator. Forgiving seems almost unnatural. Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do. But forgiving is love's power to break nature's rule.’ ~Lewis B. Smedes

11. You're waiting in a doctor's office. What is your favorite way to pass that time?

Read. That’s pretty much my favorite way to pass the time anywhere.

12. If there were a clone of you in a parallel universe what is one way you hope she/he would be the same as you and one way you hope she/he would be better?

I would hope she would mother like me. And she would definitely hate carbs and love to exercise.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Such are the dreams of the everyday housewife

So today was one of those days that had me wondering how I ever managed to have a job and a life. Course back when I had a job I didn't have a blog so there's some
hours minutes accounted for. I like my mornings. More specifically I like my morning routine which is really not so much a routine as it is drinking lots of coffee in my pjs while I read my favorite blogs and then write a post of my own.

Today began with a needle in the arm and without coffee. I can handle the needle but I need my coffee. I don't care at all about skipping breakfast...I rarely eat breakfast early anyway. But please, just give me my coffee and no one will get hurt. The needle is no big deal...just a follow up of a follow up of a follow up on my cholesterol which you can add to the ever lengthening list of things that fall apart as you age ever so gracefully.

Anyway, it was done, I came home and had coffee. On to the next thing which was gearing up for another adventure with needles. Hers...

Oh she was not a happy camper. She does not like going to the vet. She's so funny because she prances right into the office and lays flat out on the floor and all the other people waiting admire her behavior and tell me how lucky I am to have a dog who just plops down on the floor while theirs is clambering over their shoulders or wrapped around their neck all while barking madly in their efforts to escape. Not mine. She lounges. And doesn't make a sound.

Course they don't go in the exam room with us. She somehow manages to wedge herself all the way into the corner and there is no getting her up. So the vet and I end up in a ridiculous pose down on the floor with me trying to lift her backside and the vet calling plays like go left, go right, hold. I count the hours spent at the vet as part of my daily aerobic workout.

And lets not talk about what that cost. Oh. my. word. We needed to refill the tick and flea meds and refill the heartworm meds and of course pay for the visit and then there was some additional medication and some blood work to check her thyroid and If ever a pet owner should have purchased pet insurance it was this pet owner. We had a mixed breed dog for 15 years before this pure bred expensive sweetheart entered the picture. And the dog we paid $0 for and who was of the Heinz 57 variety rarely set foot in the vets office. This sweet thing on the other hand?

She had a file the size of War and Peace by the time she was six months old.

C'est la vie. That's another to-do done and it's back home to take a shower because I'm sure I have dog drool somewhere on my person. The next thing on my list is to go have some passport pictures made for a visa I'm hoping to need later this summer and may I just say that was tres unpleasant. The picture taking I mean, not the trip. I asked the girl to do a retake but its still awful. And I'm never sure if I'm permitted to smile or not smile because immigration is strict about that kind of thing these days. She said she thought I could smile but not to go crazy. Um. Okay. Did I look like I might go crazy on ya?

I ran a couple of errands before heading back home once more and it's late afternoon and I'm just now getting online. I'm supposed to be looking at flight availability right this very minute yet, here I am on my blog. And I know you're glad because truly, this is scintillating stuff, isn't it? Actually I've already looked at flights and its going to require a clearer head than mine which is slightly distracted by the thought of what I'm making for dinner, who will stink on American Idol tonite, and what song will be re mixed on Glee later. I heart Tuesday night tv. What was I supposed to be doing again? Oh yeah, hubs wants me to go along on one of his work trips this summer and it may not pan out so I don't want to get too excited. I will tell you this much...we have a bazillion and then some frequent flyer miles, but using them? That requires the tactical skills of an army battalion. Or at least more coffee than I've had today. Which is why I'm currently brewing coffee.

And... we've come full circle, back to my first thought on this post. Amazingly I used to have a full time job where I was responsible for stuff. Lots of stuff. And people too. Sometimes I think I got far more accomplished when I had a paying job. And I toy with the idea of a job but my hubs has a stressful job and its nice for me to be home taking care of life. I mean someone has to take the dog to the vet, meet the plumber (that's tomorrows fun), let the piano tuner in the house or for that matter, book the piano tuner, arrange summer storage for daughter2's belongings, manage the calendar of hair/dental/doctor/appointments, return library books etc., etc. not to mention being ready and available to hop on a plane when the opportunity presents itself. Is there a job that allows time for that?

I didn't think so.

Monday, April 26, 2010

There's an ocean out there

Daughter1 graduates from university in too soon and I've been waking up in the middle of the night wondering if I've imparted all the wisdom she needs for such a time as this. Probably not. Although she might say I have lectured talked her ear off. And then some. I don't think I ever really lecture but sometimes one of my daughters will say, 'Mom you don't need to lecture', so apparently I do. Lecture, I mean. These 'lectures' generally come after we've heard/witnessed someone else's bad behavior and my kids like to say, 'oh great, so and so did something stupid and now we get a lecture.' Sorry kids but yes, that's how this mother's mind works. So and so, who we barely even know or maybe know not at all, behaves badly and I immediately think, 'My kids see the problem here, right?' Let me just make sure.

Anyway, graduation...happy time. Scary time. Emotional time. A while back a friend shared this analogy with me and I like it. Alot. You (my sweet daughter) have been moving along thru the river of life, mostly floating peacefully and although there have been a few rapids along the way you essentially have had no choice but to stay within the riverbanks.

Graduation day.

Suddenly you have reached the mouth of the river although, fyi, it's not really a sudden thing at just feels like it. The river opens up wide now and empties into the great big sea where boundaries are out of sight and opportunity stretches out in front of you like the horizon.

I suppose there are lots and lots of little things I want you to keep at the top of your brain as you survey the mouth of the river....

Be a good employee, on time and cheerful, willing to go that extra little bit.

Stay out of debt and live within your means which, incidentally, are not going to be the same as our means to which you have become accustomed.
There is something very satisfying in creating your own budget, paying your own bills, and buying something you have worked and saved for.

Make doing something for others a part of your everyday life.
Thinking too much about oneself tends to make a person less grateful...less vulnerable...less loving.

Have balance.
Work and play and eat and sleep and exercise.
Too much of one and not enough of another will make you feel discombobulated.
And we both know how very much you dislike feeling discombobulated.

I could go on but then you might say I was lecturing. And I know you already know all of this and you are perhaps the sweetest, most selfless person I've had the privilege to know so I don't really need to say anything at all. Because you feel things. Deeply. And that will serve you well.

When I step back and really think hard about this milestone in your life, I realize there are actually just two things you need to remember ...

We are loving you and praying for you every single solitary day of your life.
We are your biggest fans and your greatest supporters.
And when you are turning 50 and I am turning much more than 50 that will still be true.

God knows you by name.
He knows every hair on your head.
He has a plan for your life and all you really need to do is listen.

And jump into the sea.

Friday, April 23, 2010

It was 1980 something...

I have a lot going on in the next few weeks and much to say but my head is swimming so I thought today I'd join in with other bloggers over at Kelly's Korner in telling the story of 'how I met my husband'.

Kelly has tons of readers and they are all ages but I think for the most part they are young. Er....younger than me anyway. But you know what? Couples who have been married a long time? They have a story too. We have a story. And in my head, most days I do not feel that far removed from the twenty year old girl I was when I met my hubs.

We met in college. Hubs is a Tennessee boy. I spent most of my growing up years in NJ although both of my parents are from out west. My dad was in the Marine Corps and we landed in NJ, he retired after we'd been there a few years and we stayed. My older sister had gone to college in Tennessee and was still living there and missing family which is what prompted me to look at schools down south.

Hubs and I had a history class together the first quarter of our sophomore year and he says he noticed me then. My roommate and I were both in the class so we'd come in talking and move to our seats and continue talking and he says he and his roommate (who was also in the class) thought I was pretty and they also thought I was unfriendly because I never talked to them in class. Hey, I was from NJ. And I'm not saying people from NJ aren't friendly but one of the first things I noticed when I got to Tennessee was that everybody talked to you, whether they knew you or not. It is something I love about the south still and now that I've lived a few
millionplaces I can see how he might have thought me unfriendly.

Anyway, he knew who I was and I knew who he was. Honestly, everyone knew who he was because he knew how to have fun. Lots of fun. Life of the party fun. I was in a sorority and he was in a fraternity so we were at lots of the same events too. Oh yeah, and he had a girlfriend. Anyway, we 'officially' met when one of my best friends started dating one of his best friends. He and the girlfriend had been on/off all year and were more or less 'off' when we met. Not completely but eventually. Obviously, because we're married.

It wasn't until the very end of spring quarter that my friend 'accidentally' left her keys at the fraternity house and asked me to go with her to pick them up. Hubs was there, out on the deck, sporting a black eye and a broken hand. The black eye was from baseball but the broken hand was from something else. See paragraph above regarding 'life of the party'. He asked me out on a date and I like to tease him and say I felt sorry for him, you know, black eye, broken hand... but I'm pretty sure it was the twinkle in his eye that made me say yes. We had our first date that next week.

We drove up to the mountains to a fire tower you could climb. Thinking back I'm not entirely sure you were supposed to be climbing there but college kids were always climbing that tower. On the way home we stopped at Dairy Queen because he was horrified to discover I had never in my life eaten a corn dog and he felt it was his duty to get me one.

We were very much on again off again the first year and a half but I did meet his family quite early on in the relationship. As soon as I left their house his dad told his mom that he knew I was the girl hubs would marry. And he did. 26 years ago this June.

Hubs grew up in a small town. When we got married we flew to our honeymoon destination and that was only the second time in his life my hubs had been on an airplane. In the next three months he will be in China, Kenya, South Africa, Turkey, Italy and blah blah blah for work travel....we have moved eight times, lived in five states, and spent six years living abroad. We sent our daughters a continent away to university. We have friends from coast to coast and coast to coast. Literally. We have packed alot into these 26 years.

When you are starting out you think you know, more or less, where life will take you. We never in a million years imagined this life. But we did imagine that whatever God sent our way we would share it together. And we have. We may look a little older on the outside but on the inside?

We are still the kids who climbed the fire tower.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The CIA. Not that one. The other one.

Yesterday I went on a little field trip with my gourmet group. We went to the CIA...that would be The Culinary Institute of America. It's located in Hyde Park, NY, about a two hour drive from here and if it weren't so far away I might be tempted to enroll. Then I remembered our tour guide telling us that some courses require you to eat 20-30 cookies every night (you have to write a couple of paragraphs on each one) and I realized that while I could have done that at age 20 without gaining a single ounce that would not be the case now so, no. I guess I'll have to settle for a day trip.

We arrived at CIA (that's fun to say) just in time for our lunch reservation. The campus is beautiful and overlooks the Hudson River.

There are five award winning restaurants on campus which make up what they call Restaurant Row and you need to book ahead if you're going. The students cook, serve, and learn to manage the restaurant as part of their coursework and I definitely would like to go back and try all of them the French, Escoffier.

We dined in their Italian restaurant called Caterina de Medici which is housed in what looks like an Italian villa. The chandeliers came from Murano and a lot of beautiful pottery is used in the decor. We had a set menu since we were a group of 20 and the meal was fab-u-lous.

We started with a Tuscan white bean soup with escarole and tubettini, and for the main were served a braised beef with polenta, glazed cipollini and baby carrots.

The beef had been slow cooked and it was like perfectly tender it just fell apart when you touched it with your fork. Sorry. Forgot to take a picture before I took a bite.

Dessert was a warm chocolate lava cake with caramel sauce and gelato.

So rich but so so delicious.
Yes, I needed two pictures.
How else would you know there was 'lava'?

After lunch we were given a guided tour. These are available even if you are not with a group but call ahead to book if you're thinking of going. Our guide was a student and she was adorable. She said she had no desire to be on television but she so totally could be on television.

The main building which houses the classroom kitchens was originally St. Andrews on the Hudson, a Jesuit monastery. The student dining room was the original chapel and when they inquired about removing the stained glass they learned the windows were the creation of Tiffany's apprentice before Mr. Tiffany was Mr. 5th Avenue. They are extremely valuable so they stayed. The main hallway is lined with Tiffany is an absolutely beautiful building.

We weren't permitted to take photographs inside as the students were in class. The rooms are surrounded by windows into the hallway so you can observe without interrupting. The curriculum is designed so that each student takes one class for 7 or 8 hours each day for three weeks and then moves to another. Wouldn't you love to take a class called chocolates? We looked in on one classroom where the instructor was demonstrating cream fillings...he is a very well known German chef and is credited with bringing Creme Brulee to the Americas. I wanted to blow him a kiss thru the glass but I refrained.

We passed the cake decorating and the bread baking and the aroma...oh my. Nope. I could for sure not go to school here. Our guide did point out what she called one of the most important buildings on campus and that is the gym. I'm pretty sure however, that no amount of working out would offset eating 20-30 cookies a night at my age. Which, btw, is not 20.

We of course made a stop in the gift shop and some in the group made purchases in the bakery. The program is intense and the students are on their feet for long days. And if you are in the baking track you might have to report for class at midnight. Yes. That would be another reason I could not go to school at the CIA.

The campus is beautiful, the food is wonderful, and the program is impressive. A really enjoyable day out...lots of fun without any espionage whatsoever.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Write the Randoms that the Whole World Reads

Okay, maybe not the whole world but a few of you read here. It Looks like we made another weekly random. How many Barry Manilow lyrics can I incorporate into this post? More than one apparently. Come play along by answering this week's questions on your own sure to link your answers over at 2nd cup of Coffee...we can't smile without you. Okay I'll stop now.

1. Ever had any run-ins with the "library police?"

Well, nothing on the scale of George Washington, that’s for sure. Maybe a few cents here and there...

2. Do you have a special organizational plan and place for wrapping paper, gift bags, etc., or do you just purchase whatever you need as you give gifts?

Hmmm…organizational plan? That would probably be good. Lets say at the moment I have a semi-organized plan. What I have is organized but I don’t have much in stock.

3. Have you ever been in (first-hand witness) a natural disaster?

Not really. We did experience a hurricane in Maryland one year that downed some huge trees, one of which crushed my neighbors car...we lost power for several days too. Hubs was out of town and it was my birthday and my mom was visiting. We played a lot of board games by the light of our camping lantern. I’ve had better birthdays.

4. What's your favorite Barry Manilow song?

I’m going with Weekend in New England but it could also be I Write the Songs or of course, Mandy. My hubs once rode in an elevator with Barry Manilow and his bodyguard. That would be Barry's bodyguard, not my hubs hubs doesn't actually require a bodyguard.

5. What's the best costume you've ever worn?

Nothing really stands out..when I taught school and I was required to be dressed in costume for a class Halloween party I was either Raggedy Ann or a chef. Not sure you'd call them great costumes but I could manage the costume and a room full of kindergartners who had consumed too many treats, all without losing my mind so for me they were great. And the kids loved them.

6. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?

It’s a toss up. I love words. Have I mentioned that here before?

7. What's your favorite breakfast food?

I love eggs fixed any which way (except raw, ala Rocky) but my absolute favorite breakfast is probably French Toast. I couldn’t begin to even guess when I last had any though. My standard breakfast these days is a bowl of Special K with Red Berries and skim milk. It’s pretty good.

8. Have you ever purchased anything from an infomercial?

Only one thing. Well technically it was 7 things. It was a Time-Life CD set of seventies music. And it was/is fantastic. This was shortly before my hubs 40th birthday and I was throwing him a 70s’ themed party so we’d been looking for music from our youth. We had been over at a friend’s house and had come home very late. Exceedingly late. We flipped on the TV and the infomercial for the CD set was playing. Hubs got a little carried away in all the excitement and after he placed the order he felt the need to phone our friends and share the good news. Ooops. Forgot it was the middle of the night. Fortunately they were good friends. We still listen to that set a lot and it was worth every single solitary penny. The day it arrived we invited our friends over and we sat in our family room and listened to the entire set (yes, seven complete discs) while the kids played downstairs in our playroom. They periodically opened the door and shouted, “Would you parents turn that music down??!!”

I figured there'd be lots of Barry Manilow links on the Random today so instead I'm going to link to a song from the set we bought that we’d all completely forgotten about until we heard it on the CD...ya gotta love the 70's.

9. Have you ever crawled through a window?

Uh, no.

10. Do you believe in love at first sight?

Not really. Extreme interest at first sight-yes.

11. How many pairs of jeans do you own?

Roughly five…give or take a pair or four.

12. If someone were going to bake a cake to honor/represent you, what would it be? (Think creatively, like Duff and Crew on "Ace of Cakes.")

Perhaps a suitcase? Windsor Castle? A stack of books? Any of those would work for me.

Bears, and Boxes, and Boys! Oh My!

Y'all there was a ginormous bear in my yard last night. Oh my word you cannot believe how positively humongous he was. I need to run get the thesaurus because seriously, there are not enough great big adjectives to do it justice. Where is the photo you might ask? Well you know what? It's dark up here in the NJ countryside. And bears are also dark. Pretty sure God came up with that whole camouflage thing for their protection except I'm kind of wondering what in the world could take out a bear this size. A cannon maybe? Did I tell you he was colossal? Behemoth in fact. (Thank you Mr. Roget).

My hubs had a business dinner last night...a lovely Italian meal whilst I was home eating a scrumptious supper of microwave popcorn but, I digress...anyway, he got home a little before 10 and when he came in the house he asked what had happened to the bird feeder. I said I had no idea, that it was fine this afternoon. He went to the kitchen door and as he prepared to step outside he whisper yelled (effective in this case) to GET THE CAMERA! THERE'S A BEAR!!! I was on it for once and came up to the door and looked out into the pitch blackness and saw... nothing. At first. Once my eyes focused I took a step back inside. He was gargantuan. Hubs went all the way out to the deck railing but it occurred to me how fast a bear can move when he wants to and I hung back. I mean he was going after the finch food and even the squirrels, possum, and chipmunks don't bother with that. He must have been really really hungry.

Note to self-do not let the dog out in the pitch black night without a reconnaissance mission first.

I took two pictures before he lumbered on up into the woods and I'd post them for you but essentially they are two fuzzy black squares. My photography skills amaze even me.

I did snap a picture this morning of the bird feeder. Goodbye my beautiful yellow's come down to you or us and I'm gonna choose us.

On to an exciting note of another kind...boxes. I recently won a giveaway and my prize arrived in the post yesterday. In the mail. Sorry. Some habits die hard. Anyway, I won a drawing over at Chaos Theory. Courtney is an American grad student in Budapest so go say hi. Budapest is an amazing city and Courtney posts some beautiful pictures in between her studies. In fact part of the prize was a lovely photograph of their Parliament building...

and a gorgeous scarf...I can't wait to wear it because the colors are mine. Thanks again Courtney!

And finally...boys. I suppose I should say men but that didn't complete the alliteration so boys it is. Yesterday I was catching up on some blog reading after being out of town for a few days and it dawned on me that three of my very favorite blogs are written by men boys. So here's a little link love on this beautiful Tuesday morning...and no, these are not compensated endorsements, just some of my own personal faves...

Billy Coffey-maybe my favorite's like getting a short story every single morning. He is a gifted writer and has a book coming out later this year.

Pete Wilson-a preacher in Nashville who is sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful and always completely transparent. Great discussions occur in the comments here too.

Jon Acuff-hilarious. Seriously funny. Except on Wednesdays when he is seriously serious. His website, Stuff Christians Like, is also the name of his recently published book available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and local Christian bookstores. I'm a huge fan.

So there you have it. Oh, and I'm playing Bunco today which would also have worked in my post title but eh, not as exciting as bears, boxes and boys now is it?

Monday, April 19, 2010

My weekend? I'm so glad you asked...

I've read some blogs from time to time where a blogger mentions they are going to hear Beth Moore speak and that they will have lots to say about it when they get back but then they never really do say too much about it and I always feel a little disappointed. I get it now.

My mom and I flew home from Tampa last night and I drove back to my house this afternoon. And as I drove I thought about how to put the weekend into words and decided there were two problems with that-

1. there are no words and
2. there are far, far, too many words.

I don't think words can really do justice to the experience which is perhaps why the LPM blog puts together a video/music clip without any talking points. The video seems to capture everything you see and hear and feel and think and hope and pray while you sit and listen to Beth Moore teach. I think I will just say if you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak in person, don't miss it. You're welcome.

I will however say a word or ten about the music. I was a fan of Travis Cottrell before the weekend and I have a couple of his cds but he and his band are just incredible in person. And I have to mention in particular a woman who sings with him who I think might be named Lici... my word, she can sang! I had to look her up when I got home because seriously she rocked the house. The music and the teaching and the whole weekend...incredible!

The event ended about noon on Saturday so after lunch my mom and I drove out to see a friend of mine who I met in England.

My friend V lives about 40 minutes outside of Tampa and it was so great to sit in her beautiful home and catch up in person. I haven't seen her in almost two years but it felt like yesterday. Don't you love friends like that?

Our flight home on Sunday wasn't until 2:15 so we went to a 9:30 church service. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the former Youth pastor from the church we belonged to in Maryland (almost seven years ago) is now the senior pastor of a church in the Tampa area. I'd been in touch with him on facebook and he said he wasn't preaching Sunday because their Youth pastor was preaching but he would be playing in the band so we should come on over. And may I just interject here and say that I think Youth pastors are some pretty special people...anyone agree?

I think there are times when God places a person in our lives at just the moment we are needing what that person brings. Such was the case with J. We all loved him and his whole sweet family but he sparked something in my oldest daughter's life in particular that was timely in a way that only God can orchestrate...our lives intersected for just a season but he helped set her on a path through her teenage years for which we are grateful. And sometimes it feels good to say to a person that you felt their influence, that they planted a seed that grew, and that you appreciate it more than you can say.

And while I was away my hubs took care of all the teak furniture, participated in a charity walk for cancer, and built a mini patio outside the garage door so the pup no longer has to trek thru mud when she comes into the garage and then the house. He has the energy of his younger self but unfortunately not the back of his younger self. He says it is aching today. Ya think?

I'm pretty sure he's a keeper.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Benvenuto! Ciao!

That's welcome and hello in Italian. I thought a little Italian would make a nice segue into this weeks random. Maybe not but anyway here we go...another dozen courtesy of Lid at 2nd Cup. Come play along and be sure to link your answers back to Linda's blog. Grazie!

1. How do you feel about "Gladiator" sandals, also called "Roman" or "Jesus" sandals? A fashion yea or nay?

If you are Kate Moss-yay

If you are me-maybe. With the right outfit and a tan and a few more walks uphill. Maybe.

2. What is your favorite pizza?

Margherita. Although I cannot tell you the last time I ate pizza. I love it but I have mustered up all my will power to resist in recent months. No small feat as I live in North Jersey and it's kind of famous for its fabulous pizza.

3. There are plans in the works to sell roughly 1,000 items from Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas. This means you could buy Picard's chair for your family room. If not a Star Trek item, what prop, background, set, etc. from what TV or movie would you buy if you could? [Ex: Hurley's "I Love my Shih tzu" shirt from LOST, the plantation home "Tara" from Gone With the Wind, or Tracy's tambourine from the Partridge Family.]

If you're dreaming might at well dream big...How about the Hamptons beach house Diane Keaton's character owned in the movie 'Something’s Gotta Give'?

4. Name a local food or restaurant that your area is famous for.

Besides pizza? Well, there is The Best Bagel shop in NJ...

Yes, of course I took a picture. They do have fabulous bagels but I cannot tell you for certain that its the only bagel shop in NJ claiming to be the best.

5. What is your current favorite snack?


6. Hypothetical: You are required to be a reality show contestant. Which show would you choose based on your probability of success? (You cannot choose "none.")

A. Dancing with the Stars

B. Biggest Loser

C. Survivor

Survivor. But only if hubs came too. You know, to do all the gross stuff. And all the hard stuff. Essentially I’d swim in crystal clear waters and work on my tan. And naturally I'd participate in the challenges because I think I may have mentioned here once or seventeen times that I'm a teensy bit competitive.

7. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being uninhabitable and 10 being cleanliness that meets the standards of OCD, how clean is your vehicle's interior?

My car is very clean. I can’t say its a 10 because I’m sure there’s some dog drool on the back window courtesy of the super model so I’ll say 8+. Keep in mind I don’t cart around young children anymore which helps immensely in the cleanliness department.

8. It doesn't feel like Spring until _________.

The eyes begin to itch and water and the daffs pop open.

9. Something that made you laugh really hard recently is ____.

The husband. He's a funny guy. And I mean that in a good way.

10. Tell me about a goal you're working toward.

Really? I'm gonna need to lie down for this one. How about figuring out what I want to be now that I'm all grown up?

11. Share a thought-provoking or inspiring quote this week.

I've been reading lots of quotes appropriate for a graduate since my daughter is graduating in 20 something days, not that I'm counting, and I especially like this one...

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

Henry David Thoreau

Good advice for a college grad. And I think not bad advice for her mom too. See #10.

12. oops...I was so proud of myself for scheduling this post and read it this morning and realized I left off #12-... Name one thing that you do as a parent that you absolutely know will make your kids happy. If you're not a parent, feel free to substitute "friend" or nomenclature that works for you.

shopping, making their favorite foods, kids are in college (well, my oldest graduates in 20 something days...did I already tell you that?) we love to have family dinners, shop and have our toes painted together...its the little things ya know.