Friday, January 29, 2010

A hard night's night

Remember when you had an infant and she would wake up every hour upon the hour screaming at the top of her lungs and you would bolt upright in your bed and fly to her crib and throw fifteen pacifiers in her direction until you could get your bearings and figure out if she needed food, a diaper change, or maybe she just couldn't go one more minute without a glimpse of your face? And then in the morning your husband would say, 'Oh was she up during the night?' Well that's how I am with the dog.

I don't know what was going on here last night. I was sleeping (see paragraph above) but apparently the dog had some issues. And these issues involved drinking gallons of water all night long followed by thousands of trips outside all night long. And after maybe the third trip out I sorta opened one eye and noticed because husband was not happy. At all. Did I mention husband has been in Japan and it took approximately 743 hours to get home and he is feeling a little something known as the jet lag?

After one of the later episodes, which occurred sometime after he tried confining her to the crate in the basement (think coyotes howling) but before he left her in the garage and said it would be best if I kept her away from him today, I realized something was going on. What can I say? I'm a deep sleeper. Our house is alarmed and every time you open a door to the outside a voice tells you the door is open. And evidently the door was 'talking' up a storm last night. I was blissfully unaware. So annoying to the one who is aware.

My pup is usually a champion sleeper so I have no idea why she was having such a hard time. She will be 8 years old in a couple of months which is supposedly 56 in people years. dogs suffer from interrupted sleep the way women do when they hit mid life?

I don't know about that but I do know this

...she and the husband are best buds and I'm pretty certain they will be again.

He just needs to sleep on it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book

A few weeks ago I won a little something in the 'I Win You Win' giveaway. You can read the background here but essentially Robin started something fun on her blog and today is your chance to be part of that fun.

We are 'sharing' a book called Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Jones Gunn. Robin (the blogger, not the author) chose this book because as she was reading she could see so many similarities between the main characters friendship (they were originally pen pals and in 40 years had never met face to face) and the friendships we make through blogging.

The book is being passed around from blogger to blogger and I am the most recent 'owner'. Today it's time to pass the book on to another reader and that's where you come in. If you have a blog and would like to be the next reader just leave a comment on this post and I'll drop your name into the proverbial hat. I'll announce the winner on Monday and send the book on to its new 'owner'. There are a few things you agree to in accepting the book-
  • Read the book (preferably within a 4 week period of time)
  • As you read feel free to make notes in the margin or on a favorite chapter of the book.
  • When you're finished write the date and your blog address on the inside of the front cover. You can also tuck in a book mark as a small gift or even a surprise gift card or some other small prize. Have fun with it!
  • Place the book on your blog and continue the “I won…You Won Giveaway!
  • Lastly let Robin know when you have your giveaway up and running. She will keep a running list on her side bar of this books journey.
This has been fun...don't forget to leave a comment today if you'd like a chance at the book.

Finally, in one last little bit of 'book' news....several people asked to see a picture of my 'blook'. That's what I'm calling the bound copy of my blog. I wrote about it here and this is what mine looks like-

I did not include comments as it would have made the book too big. You may have noticed I use far far too many a lot of words. I also include lots of photos in my blog posts and I'm happy to have them saved in this format. It's not an inexpensive thing to do but I love it so keep your eyes peeled for the sequel.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Random You've Been Waiting for

I love a clever title. I can spend a lot of time thinking up blog post titles. Can you get paid for that? The weekly random dozen over at 2nd cup of coffee has waiting as its theme this week. Everyone's invited to join in the fun...just post your answers on your own blog and go here to link up with lots of awesome bloggers-

1. How good are you at delaying gratification?

Are we talking chocolate or are we talking buying a new car? It matters.

2. Maybe a marshmallow wouldn't be too difficult a temptation for you. What food (or anything else) would be most tempting?

I think I may have mentioned I like chocolate. Shoes are also tempting. And pottery. I’m a broken record here….chocolate, shoes, and pottery…that’s me in a nutshell.

3. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being saintly) how patient are you?

I’m a very patient person. I have other issues but lack of patience isn’t one of them. And I'm not putting a number here. I was told there would be no math.

4. Have you ever waited for something in life only to be disappointed upon realization of the goal/object/etc.?

This question sounds deep and weighty and I feel like something should come to mind but I got nothin’.

5. Are you a person who takes shortcuts?

Driving-yes. Life in general-no. I think my compulsion to follow the rules has been discussed in an earlier random.

6. Which line is hardest to wait in?

The Department of Motor Vehicles, anytown USA. I speak from experience on this one folks.

7. Did you wait to discover the gender of your unborn child until its birth?

Yes…both times.

8. Are you more patient with children or the elderly?

I like to think I treat both groups with patience. If I have to choose I’ll say children since I’ve spent the bulk of my professional life working with children, often children with particular needs who do things slowly, differently, or not at all.

9. Did you ever sneak a peek at a present?

No…I would absolutely hate that. Who does that?

10. What is the longest you've ever waited for anything?

My dad to return from overseas whole year which felt like ten to a 7 year old child.

I also waited a good long time for my second child to make an appearance. She definitely took her sweet time getting here. Totally worth it though.

11. Who has more patience, you or your significant other?

Hooray for easy….that would be me. Husband would not disagree.

12. Which of the following songs about waiting is your pick for the best? (OK, you may substitute another, if you like.)

A) Anticipation by Carly Simon

B) The Waiting by Tom Petty

C) Right Here Waiting for You by Richard Marx

D) Wait for Me by Rebecca St. James

I’m a Tom Petty fan but I’m going out of the box on this one and will say, 'Wouldn’t it Be Nice' by The Beach Boys... Go ahead and sing along…you know you want to.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Like a River in my Soul

This post is part of today's One Word Blog Carnival…hop over to Bridget's to read more posts about this week’s word-peace.

Once upon a time there lived a happy family. They made their home in a place where rivers run into the bay...s
ome of the happiest days and hours and moments of their lives were spent aboard their boat on one such river. The boat was always squeaky clean since the Mr. Captain loved to polish and shine. And there were food and drinks aplenty on this boat because the Mrs. First Mate saw that it was so.

The mermaid child and the golden haired miss…. they are there too in the river memories. Their tote bags packed with hats and books…brightly colored towels, flipflops and sunscreen. The mermaid child and the golden haired miss…the fair skinned beauties.

Bumpers stored, hats tightened, ropes let loose. A careful hand on the wheel as the boat slipped from the dock and floated gently down the river. There was a place where the river grew wide and it soon came into view. Everybody holding on?” was yelled over the wind and the water and the engine as the Mr. Captain accelerated and the boat seemed to fly. The happy family would laugh and let the wind blow their hair and the sun hit their faces and the water splash their skin until the flying slowed and they were once more floating round one bend and then another. The Mr. Captain knew the river well, where the water ran deep and the sand ran high.

And then they were there. In Red House Cove. No other boats, no other people, just still water and soft silence. The quiet hum of the boat's motor settled as the anchor was dropped and they let the silence of this space wash over them all. How lucky they were. So very many boaters on the river near the bay, but not here... Red House Cove was like a secret space, unspoiled and serene.

The sun rose higher and the air grew sticky and hot. They spent time swimming and napping and thinking. They watched a blue heron whose home was in the marshy grass at the waters edge. They had long talks and they made big plans. Worries seemed smaller here…dreams seemed more than possible. And in this place of quiet beauty God felt close enough to touch.

The clock ticked and the anchor was lifted. With reluctance the slow ride back began. They liked to watch the water sparkle as the sun danced one final waltz upon her surface. They marveled at God’s creative genius streaked like paint across a fiery sky. They wondered how a world could ever deny Him...'The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of His hand.' Psalm 19:1

Peace wrapped itself around each one like a warm soft blanket. It settled in the soul. No words were needed. None were spoken.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Guess what? We're Normal

Have any of you published your blog into a hard cover book? I did this just before Christmas and I love it. And I'm especially glad I've inundated you with pictures in every post because who doesn't love a book with pictures? I used this site and I'm happy with the finished product. And this really has nothing to do with anything except my mom has been reading my 'book' which reminded me that I wanted to mention it here.

Just giving you the heads up....My husband is traveling so I may have more random words than usual this week.

Saturday was a beautiful day...sunny and almost mild. For January anyway. My husband flew to Japan on business Saturday morning so the pup and I drove to my moms house to spend the night. We went to church on Sunday morning then drove back to my house to spend a few days together. That's something I love about my new home...I'm only a short two hour drive from my mom.

Speaking of things I love/don't love about my new home...Friday was good. Several people asked me what repatriation is all about. I wrote about it in this post but in a nutshell...when you move to a foreign country you experience culture shock. Over time you adapt to your new country's customs, speech and way of life. You live in the foreign country for several years. It becomes home. And then one day you return to live in your real home country. You experience something known as reverse culture shock. And every now and then you need to talk about it with someone who understands the feelings and the phenomenon. And Friday was our day to do just that.

We talked all day. I only cried once. Besides all the talking we did a few exercises that went something like this-

List three things you miss about life there-

1. the village life
2. British humor and language
3. my friends

only 3?

List three things you are happy not to have to deal with here:

1. ridiculously narrow parking lots and spaces
2. a dorm sized refrigerator/freezer that is not frost free
3. 17 varieties of lightbulbs in a single house

List three things you are happy to have here:

1. closets
2. big wide roads and car parks
3. an ice maker

etc. etc. etc. It felt good to talk and laugh and set some goals. Oh, and to be told we are normal...always nice to hear that. Have a great Monday!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Seven Years and a Few Million Memories Later

My Friday is going to be filled with talking. And a little reflecting. And some analyzing. And a whole lot of remembering. A woman is coming to our home today to meet with the hubs and I as part of our repatriation package. Sorta like repatriation counseling? Actually I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen today but I know she is going to be here all day.

We had expatriation counseling prior to moving overseas and the wonderful woman who met with us way back then spent two full days at our home in Maryland. When my husband told me she was coming and that we should plan on two full days I remember thinking WHAT? Two days? To talk about life in England? Where they speak English? Seriously? Ignorance is bliss y’all.

But I’m not ignorant on this whole ex-pat/re-pat thing anymore so when hubs said the person coming today asked for a full day I didn’t even blink. I have snacks and lunch ready, I’m putting on the coffee and I’m steeling myself to spend an entire day discussing our experience as ex-pats and our gradual transition ‘home’.

And thankfully on Wednesday someone gave my husband this -

I think it is quite likely I will be breaking into it before the day is over.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Let's Review Shall We?

It was one year ago today that I entered the blogosphere. What kind of word is that anyway? A totally made up word is what kind. Anyway, it means that today is my blogaversary. Again, the word? Also totally made up. And aren't you glad to know that after one full year of blogging I can still use so many words to say so little?

I had absolutely no idea what I was doing back on January 21, 2009. My husband had been encouraging me to start a blog because apparently I have a lot of words and also a lot of opinions and he needed them to go somewhere besides pinging around the inside of his head. Technology is not my friend but I jumped in anyway, muddled through the set up, and relied a lot on the kindness of my children and strangers. I remember being completely surprised at my first comment. Huh? Someone who doesn't know me is reading this? Oh wait, they do know me. My first comment was from our former Young Life leader in England. Oh I do love those Young Life people. I envisioned my blog as a journal of sorts and I guess that's more or less what it has turned out to be. Some days serious, some days not so serious. I like it that way I think so for now no major changes. I am trying to post more regularly mostly as an exercise in self discipline...writing about nothing takes an enormous amount of self discipline y'all.

I have a little giveaway going on in honor of my blogaversary (we need a new word here Mr. Webster) and I'll announce the winner in a minute. I thought I'd steal borrow an idea from Letterman (not a fan anymore, sorry) and do my own 'Top 10' sure to read all the way to the end to see if you won my fabulous prize. My pretty good prize I mean.

Top 10 telltale signs that you're a blogger

10. You have a camera and you're not afraid to use it.

9. You don't even try to hide the fact that, yes you are actually taking a picture of your dessert when you are dining out.

8. Your family all piles in the car to go somewhere which could be France or could be the dry cleaners...and your child and or your spouse says, "Mom/Honey do you have the camera because you know you'll want to write about this."

7. You steal ideas use recommendations from people you have never met for paint color, barbecuing pork chops, furniture rearrangement and establishing some new holiday traditions.

6. A black bear leisurely lumbers through your back yard while you are standing on your deck and you think, "Wow, I hope he comes back so I can get a picture for my blog."

5. You start cleaning out closets, organizing the pantry and finally de-junking the basement, not because you have suddenly acquired more self discipline, but because you are thinking those before and after shots will be good for three or four posts- minimum.

4. You re-evaluate your sense of pride and decide yes, it is fine to discuss- your age, the anguish of ab flab, the fact that your internal thermometer has gone haywire, and a whole litany of child rearing issues beginning with potty training right on thru how and when to have 'the talk'.

3. You're glad you have a pet because not only does she love you unconditionally but also because she can always be counted on for 'material'. Same goes for small children. And teenagers. Really kids of any age.

2. You begin to pay closer attention to all that is beautiful in this big wide notice and appreciate more of the little things...a changing leaf...a rainbow...a tear.

1. You are grateful for the strangers who have come into your life. People you have never actually met but who make you forget that you have never actually met. People you would someday love to sit with for coffee or a glass of wine while you have a nice long face to face and heart to heart chat. Strangers you call friends.

And most especially you know that while there is much heartache and sadness in this world there is also much kindness and joy. And it is meant to be shared.

Thanks for reading...for sticking with me through my move and my moods and my musings...for your encouragement and humor.

And now without further ado, the envelope please...well, the tiny little folded up piece of paper my husband drew out of a basket this morning please....the winner is...

That's you Lumberjack's Wife...Congratulations! You can email me your address and I will send some goodies your way.

And yes, I realize I should have photographed the prizes unwrapped for all the world to see but my favorite little shops always ask, 'Would you like that gift wrapped?' and I cannot say no.

I may still have a few things to learn.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A pre-party Random

I'm joining in the weekly random over at Lid's today. You're invited too! Just answer the questions on your own blog and link them up over at 2nd cup of Coffee. Also, I'm having a little giveaway on my blog on Thursday in honor of my one year blogaversary. If you mention it in a comment your name will be dropped into the official hat making you eligible for a prize. I wrote about it here if you'd like to join in the fun. Now on to this week's questions-

1. I was thinking about how Jon Bon Jovi never seems to age much. His hair is smaller nowadays, but he still manages to look like a boy somehow. And then that made me think of the story of Dorian Gray. Question: If you physically lock in one age for yourself, which would you choose and why?

I don’t know if I can pick a particular year but I believe it was about age 42 when things started going awry. So definitely pre-42. If we’re talking strictly physical appearance then I’d probably want to be in my 20’s again. Why? It’s pretty simple…my perfectly flat stomach. However, if we're talking anything other than physical appearance then I would not want to be in my 20s again. I like my age and with age comes a certain amount of wisdom.

2. What is the best dish that you cook or bake (your piece de resistance?)?

Hmmm…I like to cook and I like to bake. I make a good Italian Cream Cake. Lemon bars. Enchiladas courtesy of my mama. (My mom is an excellent cook and most of my cooking skill came from her)

3. When you feel blue, what is one strategy you use to help yourself back to normal?

Pray, take a walk, bake, do something nice for somebody else, call my mom or my sister, play carefully chosen music, eat peanut m & m’s.

4. When was the last time you danced in public?

November 13, 2009. How’s that for specific? We went back to our university for my husband’s fraternity’s '55th anniversary-on-campus' celebration. We danced a fact it was so much fun that for a minute I forgot I wasn’t 22.

5. Do you consider yourself a realist or dreamer?

A dreamer.

6. As a parent, what is one thing that you have done well?

I have prayed for my children every day of their lives. I’ve spent a lot of time with my girls…we’re close. We talk. I try to listen. I try to remember what it was like to be 12...16...21. Mostly though I’ve prayed a lot and I think that has been everything.

7. Which is your favorite character on the Andy Griffith show?

We're huge Andy Griffith fans in our house. I love Barney but I'm going to say Opie, especially the very early episodes. I married him. Well I married his clone. Except 'my Opie' still has all his hair unlike the grown up Ron Howard.

8. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you know about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

I would give myself a pretty high mark here, maybe an 8. I taught in the city of Richmond Virginia and on MLK day every year all the faculty in the city schools attended a huge event centered on his life and legacy so I’ve been pretty well educated.

9. Have you never been mellow? Have you never tried … to find a comfort from in side you? (Sorry, Jorge was singing that song just now, and it just seemed to be perfect timing as I was creating this week’s questions.) REAL question: What is your #1 driving pet peeve?

That was my first 8-track cassette tape. Loved Olivia! And I know some of you have no idea what I’m talking about but I know Linda will get it.

My driving pet peeve? People driving slow in the fast lane (passing lane). AAAHHH. This makes me bonkers. I know I talk a lot about the challenges of driving in the UK but I will say this…you never see this happen there. People get in the fast lane to pass and then get back in the slower lanes. They do not drive slowly in the fast lane. And if you drive in the fast lane other than for passing you will very likely get a ticket.

10. Which color best represents your mood today? Care to elaborate?

Oooohh…very Barbara Walters-ish. Yellow. I’m mostly always yellow. Yellow makes me think of sunshine and happiness. In general I'm a pretty happy person.

11. If your spouse were an animal, which would he/she be?

Again with the Barbara Walters line of questioning…I’ll say a lion? I found this description of a lion personality here:

'Lions tend to be aggressive go-getters. They are not afraid of taking risks and are visionary in nature. They are fast-paced and are task-oriented. Words like pioneer, direct, confident, and bold describe the Lion. The most important thing to a Lion is being in an environment that achieves results.'

That about sums him up. Except he also has a bit of the otter personality in him too. From the same site-

'Otters love to be around people. They are a party just waiting to happen. Words that best describe an Otter would be fun, spontaneous, enthusiastic, fast-paced, and people-oriented. An Otter wants to be in an environment where they are appreciated and liked by others.'

He is task oriented when he needs to be but he is a total people person too and somehow finds a balance between the two. He’s a good guy. If you were having a party and none of the guests knew each other my husband would have them all bonded as if they were life long friends before the night ended.

12. What activity takes up the bulk of your time on an average day?

Probably all things meal related...planning meals, shopping for meals, cooking meals, cleaning up after meals. I can drive my family crazy by asking them first thing in the morning what we should have for dinner? But someone has to always be thinking about that right?

Mama please take my kodachrome away

Have you ever felt so totally and completely overwhelmed by a task that you think about it almost 24/7 but you don't actually do anything about it 24/7? Well that is where I am with my scrapbooking/photography. Holy moly I am the queen of procrastination when it comes to sorting, filing, copying, and scrapbooking my most recent photos. And I am using the term 'recent' very very loosely. I mean recent may refer to photos we took in NYC over Christmas and it may also refer to photos we took in Athens Greece in 2007. And it may possibly even refer to photos taken pre-out of the country move which occurred in 2003. Yeah.

I did some scrapbooking in the UK...slow and steady but steady nonetheless. Then we got crazy busy with blogging move preparations and I told myself that I'd put it aside and really get it organized and caught up once we moved. After all, I wouldn't know anyone in my new little town and I would have hours to fill happily scrapping away. Well that's not happening. Somehow I am filling the hours and it's not with scrapbooking. It's not even filled with organizing the scrapbooking.

We have a huge walk in closet in our office and when we bought the house I had visions of organizing all my scrapbooking supplies in this closet. We had a closet organizer out to give us a quote on customizing the space and we decided we needed to pay college tuition instead so the closet sits un-customized. And unorganized. And I need another quote or at the very least a trip to Michaels and Home Depot to diy it. I have another huge walk in closet in a bedroom upstairs and half of my scrapbooking supplies are sitting in that closet. Also unorganized. Then there are the old photo albums and boxes of pictures that have been in storage but are now sitting in my basement. Guess what? They also need organizing.

Am I giving you a headache? Because just thinking about this job gives me a headache.

My husband is going to be traveling quite a bit in the next two months and I have decided to make this my project while he is racking up the frequent flyer miles. I am determined to dig in and make sense of the boxes and photos and supplies currently residing on all three floors of my house. My husband is neat. Very very neat. I know the scrapbook chaos makes him a little bit crazy so he tries not to open those closet doors. I try not to either but I see it in my sleep. I don't need to open the door to know the closet fairy has not come because, oops, I am the closet fairy. Time to dust off my wings and get busy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod...aka a post about sleep

I'm trying to write more in this new year but I'm realizing some days I don't have a lot to say. It doesn't stop me from saying stuff but when I stop and think about what I'm writing sometimes even I roll my eyes.

We had a pretty low key weekend. The highlight for me was flipping our mattress around so that I am now sleeping on the correct side of the bed. We bought a new mattress for our bedroom when we moved into this house. And we got one of those mattresses where you lay down in the showroom and tell the salesman about all your aches and pains and they adjust accordingly. And your side of the mattress may be different than your husbands side of the mattress because apparently I have neck, shoulder, low back pain and he's got nothin'. Incidentally I got a new pillow too and voila, neck pain is gone. Don't you like that I can work a French word into a post about nothing?

Anyway, because we got this special mattress we each have a designated side to sleep on and as it happens when they delivered the mattress I had them set it up so that after 25 years of marriage I'm now sleeping on the 'wrong' side of the bed. And I didn't even notice. My husband commented on it the very first night. We got in bed and he said, 'Why am I on this side?' Hmmm. We have a set side? Yes, yes we do as it turns out and after 8 houses and 25 years of marriage I should know this. And it also turns out that my husband cannot sleep on the 'wrong' side of the bed. And it has taken me six months of having his knees in my back and clinging to the edge of the mattress to realize that he is never going to be able to sleep on the wrong side of the bed and consequently I will not be able to sleep. So on Saturday we flipped the mattress and all is right with the world once more.

So this weekend we slept. We saw a movie. We took down the outdoor lights since the bushes are no longer drowning in snow. And you know I don't mean 'we', I mean hubs took down the lights because that's his department. We made a big pot of white chili. We napped on the couch. And we watched a lot of football and tried to decide which team we actually support because we feel a certain amount of loyalty to a number of teams. This is part of the baggage that comes with a lot of clear cut 'home team'. On the bright side though, having a lot of 'home teams' means there's bound to be someone we like in the Superbowl. Which we can watch live as opposed to how we saw it in England which was- we didn't. It started around midnight so yeah...never saw it. Plus football is not something the Brits get excited about. Unless of course we're talking about 'football' and then they get crazy excited. And when I say they get excited about 'football' I'm actually saying they get excited about soccer. Oh and don't ever call it that should it come up in conversation with an Englishman.

And while the weekend may sound a little bit low key aka boring it was not. We've had so much going on for the past week/month/year that this was actually nice. In the words of that ancient Greek
bloggerpoet Homer, 'There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.'

Just make sure you're on the right side of the bed.

Friday, January 15, 2010

An at home version of The Melting Pot

So it's Friday and we don't have any special weekend plans. Well other than not cooking tonite but that's not really a special plan. That's more like a standing order. I never cook on Friday nights, house rule. I think it's been in place since 1984. It's been in place long enough that if my husband comes home to find me cooking on a Friday night he is disappointed. He loves my cooking but he enjoys going out to dinner too, especially on Friday nights. This quality always goes onto my mental list of things I love about my husband whenever I feel the need to make a mental list of such things. If you know what I mean.

On Fridays we generally go someplace low key, maybe our local Italian restaurant or more often our local pub. Did I tell you we have a pub in our little town? It isn't exactly like our favorite pubs in the UK but there are similarities which we love. For one thing it's old. The building is on the list of National Historic Landmarks and was built I think in 1927. It has wood beams and a low ceiling and the tables are just a teensy bit crowded together. And they are friendly and already know us which is nice. The food is pub like steak and kidney pie but they do hamburgers and fish and chips and a few more substantial dishes. It's fun, kinda like a hangout.

Anyway, back to my not cooking. Last Friday night I made an exception and actually we all cooked...we made fondue and it was scrumptious. The daughters bought the dad two fondue sets for is strictly for chocolate. He loved the gift because when we eat fondue we all think of happy ski trips to Austria and France. When it comes to cheese and chocolate France gets an A+. Lets many times have I mentioned French cheese on my blog in the course of a year? I'm thinking more than a few. It's highly deserving though so I'll probably bring it up a few hundred more times before we're through.

Fondue is a fun family's casual and relaxed and we had such a nice time talking and laughing and remembering and of course tasting. We started with cheese fondue using the recipe found here.

We cut a loaf of French bread into cubes for dipping and we also sliced some Granny Smith apples which tasted really good in the cheese. We had some champagne too because I'm pretty sure when you eat French food you need champagne. We ate a lot of cheese and afterwards we all felt the need to play a little Wii and pretend to burn calories with some pretend sports. Incidentally, can you throw your shoulder out fake bowling because I totally did something to my shoulder that night? After our 'workout' we were ready for the dessert fondue. It was chocolate and it was heavenly. We used the Ghiradelli Ultimate Chocolate Fondue recipe which you can find here. You're welcome.

We cut a buttery pound cake into cubes for dipping along with bananas, strawberries and pineapple. The fruit was good but the cake was my favorite. Big surprise I know.

It all felt very celebratory and I think if someone mentions fondue now I'll not only think France...I'll think New Jersey too.

And I'll think about my family happy and relaxed at our kitchen table...sharing fondue, talking and laughing and making new memories in our new home in a brand new year.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

General folderol

Don't you just love that word? It means nonsensical talk or writing so don't say I didn't warn you. I have two fun things to tell you about today the first being this...I won something! Yay! It's a book and is part of a blog carnival called I Win You Win hosted this month by Amy at All Things Ro. The carnival was started by Robin several months ago and the prize is a copy of the book Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Jones Gunn. Here is how the whole thing started....and I'll let Robin tell it (and I mean Robin the blogger, not Robin the author)...

'As I finished the book up the other day I began to think about the two women the story centers around. The story begins with two pen pals in elementary school and they continue with their friendship for many, many years through letters and emails, but they have never actually met, not until things change for the main character. Her life takes an unexpected turn and she finds herself face to face with her long time pen pal. I began to think of the similarities between the two women in the book and all of you, my fellow bloggers. As members of this unique internet community we enter into each other lives as we read each others posts, as we comment, share encouraging words or just a well needed giggle now and then. But what I enjoyed as I read this book was the depiction of the friendship these two women shared. They had been intimately involved in each others lives but had never been in the same room with each other, never shared a cup of coffee over the kitchen table, never wept in each other arms. Yet they still shared in the deep bonds of friendship. The relationship the two women in this book have is a real friendship, as real as friendships get. I found the similarities between the book and the blogosphere to almost mirror each other."

Now, here is where the fun begins. Robin had the wonderful idea to 'share' the book. I think I'm the fifth person to read it and winning comes with a few responsibilities which are-
  • Read the book (preferably within a 4 week period of time)
  • As I read the book I am to make notes in the margin or on a favorite chapter of the book.
  • When I'm finished write the date and my blog address on the inside of the front cover. I can also tuck in a book mark as a small gift or even a surprise gift card or some other small prize but I'm supposed to have fun with it.
  • When I'm through I'll put the book on my blog and continue the “I Won You Won" giveaway. Then you'll have a chance to win and keep the sisterhood of the traveling book for that post in the next few weeks.
The next bit of fun is for NOW....I am approaching my blogaversary. Is that word in Webster's? I think not. Anyway, I hit 'publish post' for the very first time on January 21, 2009 and I think that calls for a little celebration don't you? I'm not too techie and I use too many words so I'm going to keep it simple...leave a comment on any post I write between now and January 20th and mention my blogaversary. You will then be eligible to win fabulous prizes. Not really. But there will at least be a prize and I will try to make it fabulous. I like big adjectives though (note my overuse of the word spectacular) so fabulous may be a relative term. I will for sure drop your name in the hat for a chance to win something 'good'. And of course I will be using a hat as opposed to one of those random integer generators because I think I just told you I'm quite the techie. Let's also say if you link to my blog in any of your posts between now and January 20th I'll drop your name in the hat twice, once for commenting and once for the link. lurkers...if you de-lurk and become a real life honest to goodness follower of my blog you'll be entered twice too. Lurkers need encouragement y'all.

I will close the comments at 6 am Eastern Standard Time on January 21, 2010 (ooooh so official!) I'm sure I'll mention this at least 42 times once or twice on my blog between now and the BIG DAY so stay tuned.

Whew! Who knew planning a party was so exhausting?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Random Continues in 2010

A couple of serious posts this week so today its time for a little bit of fun…come play! Answer the questions on your own blog and then hop over to Linda's to link your answers.

1. When was the last time you craved a food--what was it, and did you cave?

Christmas chex mix…of course I caved. I have no willpower. I did however dig deep for enough self-discipline to toss the remains last week. I thought twice about it but like I said, if its within arms reach I’ll eat it so it had to go. Oh and I linked to the recipe in this post in case you have never experienced the deliciousness that is Christmas Chex Mix.

2. M & M's or Skittles?

Do you really need to ask? M & M’s of course. Preferably peanut.

3. Have you ever read the Bible completely through?

No. I tried last year but it became quite stressful so I shifted gears. I was getting all hung up on missing a day here and there to the point that I was missing the whole big picture. My bible has a plan in the back and I quite often follow that so I’ve read most of the Bible through but some days I just needed a Psalm or to read a familiar passage. I think it's an admirable goal but I haven’t managed it yet.

4. How long does it take you to really wake up in the morning?

Couple of seconds. Seriously. I’m a total morning person which I realize is obnoxious to the non –morning types, some of whom may or may not live in my house.

5. Have you ever been on a cruise? If not, would you like to?

No. I have a little something called motion sickness. Cruise lovers always try to convince me I could do it but I know my limitations. I love to travel though so put me on a plane or in a car and I’m good. Well, as long as I remember the Dramamine I’m good.

6. Who is your favorite actress?

Loving Sandra Bullock these days.

7. ______ is something that I will just never understand.

um. Obama. Oooh...a little politics thrown into the random. Sorry/you're welcome.

8. How much of a technology junkie are you?

I like technology and definitely appreciate the convenience of technology until it doesn’t work and then I hate technology. And figuring out new technology does not come naturally to me but as long as I have children to pester for help then I do okay. Oh and I’m not someone who has to have the latest gadget. My family had to literally pry my old phone out of my hands for the upgrade. Once I upgrade though I fall in love with the new product and won’t want to let go of that when its time either.

9. Do you enjoy selecting greeting cards for people, or is it more of a cultural "have to" for you?

I love cards….love choosing them, writing in them, posting them, receiving them. Next question.

10. When was the last time you got a new style/haircut?

Kind of in July. I say kind of because it’s supposed to be my old cut just with the new stylist. He’s almost got it right and he did match the color to perfection so I can’t complain too much. I like this guy. I don’t love him like I loved my girl in the UK but I have thick hair with a natural wave in the back and lots of it. He’s done an excellent job at not making me cry. All my hairdressers complain of carpal tunnel when they finish drying my hair. And may I just say that I have moved many times in my life and finding a new hair dresser rates right up there in the top three most stressful aspects of the whole deal?

11. What do you enjoy shopping for most?

Shoes. Or pottery. Preferably Italian. And preferably shopped for in Italy.

12. What's the last thing you think of before you leave the house?

Did I turn off the iron/stove/coffeemaker? Did I set the alarm? Don’t ask me how many times I’ve left the house and returned to double check one of the above knowing perfectly well there is no need because that would be a whole ‘nother post and would I’m sure require some pretty deep analysis.