Thursday, March 31, 2011

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes...


The weather forecast is saying we may get anywhere from 6-9 inches of snow later tonite.

Words fail me.

Not really.
I always have plenty of words.
I think what is called for today are some happy thoughts, don't you?
In no particular order here are some things that have made me happy in recent days~

These shoes~

I'd been admiring them every time I passed the store window and on Monday I caved.
I may have purchased a sweater first that had just a hint of this shade of green in it so I'd have a legitimate excuse to buy the shoes.

Daughter2 left a message on our answering machine on Tuesday.
She has the absolute sweetest voice.
It was a nothing message...just hi/how are you sort of thing, but I've listened a few times because I love the sound of her voice.

It doesn't take a lot to make me happy.

Clean sheets.
Is there anything more wonderful than sleeping in a freshly made bed?

Dancing with the Stars...lame I know but tis true.
I've never watched this program before but its fun.
I'm rooting for Kirstie Alley.

Daughter2 is directing a play for a theatre class she's taking and yesterday she shared with me what she considers the best part of the whole directing experience....

she gets to use a clipboard.

If you knew her you would smile.
She is her mother's daughter.
I love a good clipboard.
I might also like to be in charge.

Airline miles.
I just booked flights for my girls to come home for the Easter holiday.
The four of us have not been together since Christmas.
And the two of them have not been together in this house since Thanksgiving.
I am more than a teensy bit excited.

This picture was taken in Tennessee last Easter.

This year we'll be celebrating in the lovely Garden State with its April snow showers and freezing temperatures.
They might want to re-think 'sleeveless'.

On March 31st, 2002 the sweetest pup in all the world made her debut~

We had our pick of the litter and we're all so glad we picked her...

She is nine years old today.

Sixty-three in dog years.

She acts more like a nine year old child than a 'senior'.
Just sayin'.

We love this dog like we've never loved another~

Thus concludes today's list.
You will notice a spring snowstorm is nowhere to be found.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge Foolishness...Vol 20

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday glad you joined the party! Add your link to the bottom of my post and enjoy hopping around to meet the neighbors. Here are my answers today ~

1. April rolls in at the end of this week and in celebration of that infamous date (April 1) answer this question-what is something foolish you've done?

I bet if I asked my kids for an example there would be plenty to choose from but here's the first thing that popped into my head...

Back when hubs and I were newlyweds I went to bed one evening around 11 and woke up to get ready for work as I normally would. When I got up I felt so tired and nauseous I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it to work that day. I hated to call in sick though so I persevered, got in the shower and tried to imagine what had happened overnite to cause me to feel so rotten. I had this back and forth in my head about what to do and in the end I decided I just felt too bad to go to work, that what I needed to do was go back to bed. So that's what I did. As I crawled back into the bed I glanced at the clock. It was 12:35 am.


No wonder I felt horrible...I'd only had an hour's sleep. Why had I thought it was morning? Hubs rolled over and said, "What are you doing taking a shower in the middle of the night?" He thought it was hilarious and I definitely felt like an idiot foolish.

2. With April comes Easter and that classic edible treat known as tell me...what's your favorite way to eat/fix chicken? That's wasn't what you were expecting was it? I 'fooled' you. teehee

A few years ago I might have said fried but I never fry chicken anymore and to be honest it doesn't really appeal to me like it once did. My favorite way to have chicken is on the bbq...I'm not too particular about the sauce or marinade, I just love the flavor of grilled chicken.

I do confess to loving the Chick-fil-a sandwich which technically is fried chicken but, since the nearest Chick-fil-a is a two hour drive that is a very rare treat.

3. What's the best museum you've ever visited? Or your favorite? Or the one you'd most like to visit?

This is hard...I love museums and have been in hundreds. My favorites are probably The Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square and The Tate Modern in London. I'm sure it has something to do with the city in which they are set.

4. You know what they say about April showers....what's your preference-a bath or a shower?

I must have a hot shower every morning in order to face the day. I do love baths too though, and a long hot soak in the tub is one of my favorite ways to relax.

5. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"-fact or fiction? Why?

Speaking as someone who has spent a lot of time living away from people I love and being married to a spouse who travels, I'd say this is mostly true. Being separated from someone I love causes me to think about them throughout the day, to miss them, and to really look forward to time spent together. It's easy to take the people around us for granted when we're with them 24/7...I think a little 'missing' is good for a relationship on occasion.

6. What's your favorite product made/grown in your home state/province?

Can I say no-self service gasoline? Truly. It might be my favorite thing about living in are not allowed to pump your own gas.

If I must pick an actual product I'm going with Jersey will not find sweeter corn anywhere.

7. What is going on in the world today that affects you the most?

I guess one of the biggies in this season of life is the economic climate. I think of my daughter in the job market and another soon entering and I pray they are able to find jobs which allow them to support themselves and are also a good fit for their skills and temperaments. And as hubs and I inch nearer and nearer to retirement and are trying to make sensible decisions about where to live, invest, spend our time/money, well let's just say it's challenging.

We pay too many.
And our government spends too much.
That affects us.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I can't end a post on a depressing note like taxes so here you go...this is sure to make you smile!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No foolin''s question time

I so dislike hitting publish when I'm still in edit mode.
That's what happened here on Monday morning...before I had a chance to add question #7 to the list this post went flying right on out into cyberspace.
Save and publish look nothing alike yet I continue to hit one when I mean the other.

I think I've got it together now...
at least I hope so!

Here are this week's Hodgepodge questions...
see you back here tomorrow (Wednesday) to link answers-

1. April rolls in at the end of this week and in celebration of that infamous date (April 1st) answer this question-What is something foolish you've done?

2. With April comes Easter and that classic edible treat known as tell me...what's your favorite way to fix/eat chicken? That wasn't what you were expecting, was it? I 'fooled' you. teehee.

3. What's the best museum you've ever visited? Or your favorite? Or the one you'd most like to visit?

4. You know what they say about April showers...what's your preference-a shower or a bath?

5. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"...fact or fiction? Why?

6. What's your favorite product made/grown in your home state/province?

7. What is going on in the world today that affects you the most?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's a million little things...

I have a headache. I've had it since yesterday. Today looks like a sunny blue sky day and I'm trying to get myself motivated to do some of the many tasks that need doing around here but I have a headache. Did I tell you I've had it since yesterday? On top of that I had a nightmare last night that woke me up about 3 am. My heart is still racing. Essentially, I'm a mess. Perhaps I'll go back to bed and begin again. Did you stop in here today to hear about my headache? Let's talk about Saturday instead-

Saturday we headed over to the tile store bright and early to purchase the tile we'll need for our master bath shower re-do. I'm going to start abbreviating that MBSR because its too much to type, especially when you have a headache. Anyway, the tile store is always a little overwhelming to me. We know what we like but then I get in there and see the number of choices and it all becomes a giant blur. Hubs and I are amazing though. We can walk into a tile store and glance at their selection of no less than twenty hundred tiles and we always, without fail, make a beeline to the most expensive option. Of course once we see that one everything else pales in comparison. The lady making a purchase beside us went for a style that was $5.95 per square foot. Ours was not. Perhaps that explains why I've had a headache for two days?

We finally got out of there (oh, the math!) and drove on into the city to meet some friends. Old friends...friends we got to know when we were both living in the UK. They are Texans and we haven't seen them in person since they moved back to the Lone Star State in 2007. The minute I laid eyes on them though, the years in between just rolled right away...don't you love friendships like that?

Since it was chilly (especially for Texans!) we had arranged to meet at the American Museum of Natural History. I think it was full of stuffed animals and dinosaur bones and oh there were also some gems...I remember the sparkly bits. Mostly we just walked and talked and we didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the exhibits because, hello... we had some serious catching up to do!

After we'd roamed around inside for a while we went out into the daylight to find a place for lunch. We ended up in a restaurant we'd eaten in once before and they put us in a cozy corner table where we had our lovely lunch and more talk. They are the parents of two boys and we have two girls and the four of them were all pals back in the day. In fact Daughter1 went to the prom her Junior year of high school with their son1.

Doesn't her hair look beautiful?

I miss my UK hairdresser.

Where was I? Oh yeah. I have a headache. And we were in NYC. After lunch the sun was shining and it felt warm enough for a walk thru Central Park so that's what we did-

NYC on a blue sky day makes me happy.

We wandered and we talked.
Mostly we talked.
And said goodbye too soon.

I wish they were still just a few streets away.
I wish they were still close enough to say, 'Hey, let's meet for walk...a trip to Italy to shop for pottery."

If I'm wishing I might as well go big, right?
She would totally agree.

They have a child getting married this summer. I still picture him in grade 11 but somehow our 'kids' are old enough to be out of university and on their own and getting married. Married? Hmmm...that doesn't sound right.


I guess it is.
Next time we see these friends we hope we're all sitting in the warm Texas sun watching their 'child' say I do. I'll bring the kleenex... we all know it's the little things, right?

"Friendship isn't a big thing-
it's a million little things."
~Author Unknown

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lucky Thirteen

Maribeth over at Dackel Princess does a little something she calls Thursday Thirteen and since I feel like a list today I'm doing the same. Everyone go say hi to Maribeth. After you read my list of course!

1. American Idol-I guess I'm in the minority but I am feeling pretty eh about this season's contestants. So far there isn't a single one I find myself looking forward to hearing from each week, no one whose singing makes me want to hop over to Itunes and download their song. There's a bright spot here and there but mostly, eh. I do look forward to seeing JLo's look every week-she is beautiful, and to hearing what kind of crazy Steven Tyler will bring, but otherwise-eh. And I think they need to be a little tougher on some of the contestants. Tough doesn't have to be mean but most weeks I miss having Simon there keeping it real.

2. Did I mention it snowed here yesterday? And last night? And it's the end of March? Just checking.

3. We are re-doing our master bathroom shower. The old shower and dry wall behind have been removed and since we're tiling the shower floor a special tub had to be ordered which will take 'a couple of weeks' to get here. Give or take. Ahem. Yesterday the tiler was here all day making the dog nervous with his hammering and sawing and whatever it is carpenters do. The original time frame on this job was three weeks. They removed the existing shower March 9th. Raise your hand if you think this project is going to take longer than three weeks?

4. Daughter1 has been in D.C. for a few days. She was due to fly out at 7:30 last night and she sat on the plane for a good long while before the flight was cancelled and they were taken back to the terminal at 9:30 PM. We finally got her re-booked on a flight for this morning and waited while she rode the metro back to her friend's house for the night. Nothing about travel is easy anymore, is it?

5. We have our neighborhood book club tonite. We read My Father's Paradise by Ariel Sabar which is described as 'a son's search for his Jewish past in Kurdish Iraq'. While its not a book I would have picked up on my own I've found it really interesting and an easy read, not something I was expecting given the description. One of the things I like most about being part of a book club is that it gets me outside my reading box. I've read some great books that I know I would have missed if they hadn't been a book club selection.

6. I love using the kindle app on my ipad. I didn't think I'd like an electronic reader but I do. One of the bonus features? Reading in bed without turning on the light...the ipad screen allows me to read and hubs to sleep undisturbed so everybody's happy.

7. We are meeting friends from the UK in the city on Saturday and I can. not. wait. We haven't seen these friends since they moved back to Texas in 2007. Their son1 and our daughter1 were big pals in high school and he's getting married this summer which I'm still trying to get my head around. Their son2 broke our daughter2's collar bone when his head collided with her shoulder in a friendly football match. Just so we're clear-my daughter wasn't in the match...she was on the sidelines. She is a magnet for stuff like this. She would not disagree.

8. We still have not booked a holiday.

9. I'm getting my hair cut and highlighted tomorrow. I can tell you right now its gonna be a good day.

10. I have struggled with my family room mantle since we moved in here. It has two story windows on either side and a mirror that reaches two stories above the fireplace too. I love it but it is tricky to decorate which is why I finally had a decorator come out and give me some advice. I've ordered something per her suggestion and I can't wait for it to arrive. Here is a before picture taken from the upstairs hallway...please disregard the dog asleep in the chair....her life is rough-

I'll post the after in a couple of weeks because nothing happens fast in the world of home improvement, does it?

11. Why is Easter so late? Why is the date so apparently random every year...sometimes it's early March and other years it's late April? We normally go to Tennessee for Easter but since we're headed south in early May to-what else?-help a child move-we've decided to have the girls come home for the holiday. I can't wait!! I still make Easter Baskets for my girls and I enjoy that. (So do they!!) And I especially look forward to sitting in church and looking down the pew and seeing my whole little family all together. Sigh.

12. I just googled my Easter question and am gonna share what I've learned because I think a blog post can be both random and educational-

The answer is-it's complicated. In short, Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox. The long answer is too long, even for my blog but if you're curious you can read more here.

13. Did I tell you we have snow?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Partly Hodgepodge with a chance of snow-Vol 19

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. I hope you brought your snow shovel and boots because I think you may need them here today. Ca-razy forecast!!

It's been fun having so many participants here on Wednesdays and it now takes me a couple of days to get around to them all. I encourage you to hop around too...not everyone is able to link early so check back periodically and see what blogs have been added throughout the day. Part of the fun of the Wednesday Hodgepodge is getting to know new bloggers every week. Here we go~

1. Sunday was the first day of spring. So they say. Ahem
What is your favorite outdoor springtime activity?

Snowshoeing, sledding, slipping and falling as I wheel the rubbish bin to the know, the usual springtime stuff.

Oh I know the 6-10" of snow predicted to accumulate today will eventually melt and one day in the near future we'll experience true springtime weather. In the meantime I guess I can get my head around one more cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows.

My real favorite outdoor activity in springtime is hiking.

2. Who would you want to come into your kitchen to cook dinner for you?

Heston Blumenthal or Raymond Blanc...if someone is coming to cook for me I want amazing.

3. When was the last time you flew a kite?

I think the last time we did this was 2004. We spent many a summer holiday at the beach and always reserved at least one evening for pizza and kite flying on the sand.

If I close my eyes I can almost feel the late day sun on my face.

4. What topic puts you to sleep faster than anything?

Html talk or really any talk relating to the inner workings of my computer. I just want it to turn on when I hit the power button. I don't need to know how it works. Oh, I'm impressed that you do and I'm more than a little bit grateful there are people in this world who are not bored to tears by this sort of thing. People who actually enjoy making the computer magic happen. Because to me that's how a computer works~by magic, right?

5. What flowers do you associate with specific people, places, or events?

I'm reminded of our wedding day when I see orchids. Gerbera Daisies make me think of Daughter1 because they're her favorite and have been for as long as I can remember. Poppies will forever make me think of England. And I remember a little town in Italy and one of our most special family holidays ever when I see big blooming hydrangeas.


6. What significant historical events took place during your elementary school years?

I was in elementary school during the tumultuous 60's and the early 70's so all sorts of events were happening that made history. Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were both assassinated when I was in the second grade but I don't remember much about either of those tragedies. In the summer just before I turned nine we landed on the moon. I remember watching with my family on our black and white tv.

I guess the biggest thing that comes to mind though, is the Vietnam War. My dad was a career Marine and he spent my entire 3rd grade school year in Vietnam. I remember taking him to the airport to fly out and I remember him telling me to be a good girl for my mother.

This is a picture (four actually) from the scrapbook my mom made...

It's me along with my three siblings sending happy birthday wishes to my dad on the other side of the world. I'm holding the word 'Dear' and I have to say I'm pretty impressed with my mother's creativity. No skype, no cell phone photo sharing...just good old fashioned photography sent via snail mail back in 1969.

I remember starting the 4th grade and telling my new teacher I wouldn't be at school one day because we had to pick my dad up at the airport. She asked how long he'd been out of town and when I said a year tears sprang to her eyes. I remember feeling so proud when he came into my class later that same year and showed slides and told us a little bit about Okinawa and the country of Vietnam. I remember being a little disappointed he wore his civilian clothes.

The innocence of childhood is so precious.
I think we've lost a little of that in today's technological world.

7. Do you swear? Do you pseudo-swear? (you know- crap, shoot, friggin' ?)

No. I can't say that a word (or pseudo-word) has never slipped out, but swearing is really not at all a part of my vocabulary. I think its a habit that people pick up and like most habits it's hard to break. I am especially not a fan of women using the big word. ick.

8. Insert your own random thought here-

I've seen this several places lately and I had it on my facebook page not long ago so if you're my facebook friend sorry for the repeat. I can't help it-this just makes me smile. Hope it makes you smile too!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dear Internet Mom

Note: If you're looking for this week's Hodgepodge questions you'll find them here.

Last Friday I had an errand to run some distance from home. As I was driving I found myself caught up in the dialogue of a call in radio show which centered around a recent online essay written by a mom of two small children (a 3 yo daughter and a 20 month old son). You can read her original post here but essentially she says she loves her son more than her daughter. (Did anyone else think YIKES?!!) She doesn't say she doesn't love her daughter, just that she loves her son more. She went on to write about imaginary worse case scenarios and how she could envision living without her daughter but not without her son...that she hopes this third child she's expecting is a girl so she can "start over with a little girl..."

Do you think people have opinions about this?
You betcha!

I've thought about what she said and did and I've decided I'd like to offer her some free (unsolicited and perhaps unwelcome) advice. In responding to some of the comments she received the author took issue with people offering advice but hello, it's the internet. When you put something out there that might be considered controversial you've got to assume you're going to get some advice. Is that a bad thing? Did she post the confession in hopes of somehow making the relationship with her daughter better or did she publish the confession to make herself feel better?

Dear Internet Mom...

Your words made me sad. For you and especially for your daughter, but for you too. Those must be some hard feelings to feel. Your children are little, still so very, very young...the age where thirty minutes spent with a strong-willed, cranky child can feel like thirty years. At age three a child's personality is not set in stone. Its still forming and developing and you as the mom play a huge role in that. How we respond and react to our children absolutely influences their present and future behavior. If there are qualities in your daughter that are difficult to take then do the hard work of figuring out a way to direct those traits and tendencies in a more positive direction.

And it is hard work.
Really hard.
The kind that means letting go of self for the greater good of your innocent three year old...the kind that pays off in the long run.

When you say you love your son a little bit more than your daughter do you really mean love? Or do you mean 'like' because I do think there's a difference. If what you meant to say was, 'like' then I would say of course there are moments in our kids lives where one may be easier to 'like' than the other. Children go thru stages and phases depending on age and maturity and disposition. Child A plucks our last nerve and pushes our buttons while Child B warms our heart and then suddenly Child A matures a little bit and Child B enters a new stage and your feelings do too. In fact when your 20 month old son is three you may discover he isn't as 'likable' as he is right now.

Hearing a mother say, "I'm having a hard time liking you right now" and knowing your mother has said "I love your brother more than you" are two very different things. One is something we can laugh about later while the other is something that can worm its way into a child's heart never to be forgotten.

The author has written a follow up piece (she kinda had to) in which she defends her 'honesty' and says this needs to be out there in a public forum because she isn't the only one who feels this way. That if we're going to be honest in a 'my house is messy' fashion we need to go all the way and be honest about everything.

My response to this is no-we don't.

I think the idea that everything we think and feel needs to be said out loud is a flaw in our current culture. At the very least it doesn't all need to be said in a public written forum that a once difficult three year old little girl may read down the road someday. She won't be three forever.

Is an internet audience filled with anonymous (and judgmental) readers really the place to go to deal with these feelings? I've never felt what you're feeling but I have no doubt you feel it. And you probably speak for more than a few other parents out there too, but does that mean we need to blog about it? Dear Internet Mom-Before taking it to the internet did you try sharing these feelings with a close friend, sister, minister, spouse or, if none of those options were available, then a neutral third party such as a therapist or even a parent help line as opposed to Blogger and the world wide web?

Why does every thought we have need to be laid bare online just because other people have the same thought?

How does putting this out there help you and your daughter improve your relationship? You've received harsh criticism from one side and amens from the other. In the end though, you are left with your feelings, maybe more guilt than you had prior to writing or perhaps a sense of justification in feeling what you feel because you're not alone, but still, no real solution.

As I listened to callers on one side of the issue or the other what I found myself thinking about was your formerly anonymous, now named by name, 'difficult' three year old little girl. In responding to commenters who say they hope your daughter never reads the post you (the author) say you hope she does. That it will somehow help your daughter understand you were not a perfect parent.

You know what?

Kids don't really want to know the depth of our imperfections.
And as you'll learn soon enough, most kids don't need to think their parents are perfect...only that their parent's love for them is.

She's three. Your son is less than two. You have no way of knowing what life will bring their way and you may one day wonder how you ever entertained thoughts such as these. I pray your daughter never knows. Relationships grow and change and nothing requires our best effort quite like parenting.

At this stage of the parenting game the future likely seems light years away....a distant horizon that will take eons to reach. The day when you no longer have little ones underfoot is so far out along that horizon its impossible to grasp. I can't explain the tricks of time but trust me when I tell you these three year old days will be just a fuzzy blur in the not so distant future.

People say it all the time but cliches are cliches for a reason...time flies.
You can change the way you feel.
You can establish new habits and ways of connecting with a three year old.
You can have a relationship you truly cherish with this girl who will be an adult in the blink of an eye.
At the moment, you are the adult.

There is a lot of life to be lived between now and her grown up days.
Cherish it.

She may one day decide to blog about her mother.
You may think you won't care.

I think you might.

Springtime questions in a week filled with winter

Here are the questions for this week's Hodgepodge...
see you back here tomorrow (Wednesday) to share and link our answers.

1. Sunday was the first day of spring. So they say. Ahem.
What is your favorite outdoor springtime activity?

2. Who would you want to come into your kitchen to cook dinner for you?

3. When did you last fly a kite?

4. What topic puts you to sleep faster than anything?

5. Which flowers do you associate with specific people, places, or events?

6. What significant historical events took place during your elementary school days?

7. Do you swear? Do you pseudo-swear? (You know crap, shoot, friggin'?)

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Say it isn't SnOw!

Good Monday morning on this second day of Spring.
Nothing says spring quite like falling snow and icy roads, does it?
I'd seen a possibility of a 'wintry mix' (two of my least favorite words, by the way) in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday but this-

I was not expecting to wake up to this today.
I think they are calling it 'flurries' but my deck is saying otherwise.

Falling snow, icy roads, and black ice are not words that should be found in a blog post on the second day of spring.

Unless they are used to say how happy we are not to have them around anymore!

It is sort of pretty.

Not as pretty as Friday though, when we had one gloriously warm and picture perfect day.
Isn't March always just a big tease?
In my head I know this and snow should not surprise me... but it does.
Warm sunny days just put everyone in a better mood.

Even my dog agrees.
She loves to be outdoors and lays right up against the house...I think she's afraid she might miss something if she strays too far.
A crazy picture I know because we have a heating vent in front of the glass and there's all sorts of reflecting happening there.
That's because it was SUNNY!
The way Spring should be!

And I was worried I'd have nothing to talk about this Monday morning.

In that sense the weather never lets me down.

In other exciting weekend wrap up news (admit talk is exciting) we laid low.
Hubs didn't get back from his across the sea travels until the weekend was almost over and then he needed to ease back into our time zone.
Easing back into our time zone usually involves a nap on the couch.
And because I'm a good wife I empathize with his jet lag and I nap too.
I think it's the least I can do.

"With rushing winds and gloomy skies
The dark and stubborn Winter dies:
Far-off, unseen,
Spring faintly cries.
Bidding her earliest child arise; March!"
~Bayard Taylor

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top o' the late in the afternoon to ya

It's still St. Patty's Day, right?

My mom and one of her friends came up on Tuesday to keep me company for a couple of days while the hubs is out of town and we've had a really nice visit. All of our galavanting though, did put me a little behind in the blogosphere and in real life too...sadly that tax organizer did not complete itself while we were out gabbing, shopping and playing games.

We went out to eat before they headed back home today and as we sat down I noticed two women sitting at another table, both wearing light green sweaters. I thought to myself, how funny...those two women are dressed almost exactly alike.

I'm sharp, aren't I?

We had our St. Patrick's Day meal a few days early since hubs was going to be away so guess I kind of forgot what day it was today.

That happens a lot lately.
It's one of the side effects of an empty nest.
And hormones run amok.

Anyway, I am part Irish.
My great-great-great-great grandpa was born in County Kildare Ireland back in 1756.

What am I wearing today you may ask?
I'm wearing brown.
In honor of the potato.
Okay, I just made that last bit up, but since it's now almost 5 o'clock if I change clothes it's going to be into my pajamas.

I do feel the need to see a splash of green around here somewhere today though, so here you go- of my favorite green spaces in all the world.
I know some friends who read here will recognize it and smile too.
And for those friends and for all my friends, both in real life and online...whether you're a stone's throw or an ocean away...this Irish blessing is for you today-

May joy and peace surround you,
Contentment latch your door,
And happiness be with you now,
And bless you evermore.

Slán go fóill!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Your Lucky Day-Wednesday Hodgepodge-Vol 18

Welcome to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge...if you're playing along be sure to add your blog link to the bottom of my post so lucky readers will know where to find you. I try my best to get to all the participating blogs but it usually takes me a couple of to see all the different directions people run in answering the very same questions.
Here are my answers today...

1. What would you do if you found a pot of gold? Let's pretend that pot of gold is worth exactly $1500 (which would actually be more like a cup of gold at current values). Anyway, let's also pretend you have to spend it as opposed to making a donation somewhere. Now, tell me what you would do with that cup pot of gold?

We have so many projects going at the moment my head is spinning. I feel like every room in my house needs just a little tweaking before I call it done. Is a house ever done? We're getting new furniture in Daughter1's bedroom so most likely my cup of gold would go towards that purchase.

2. Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any way, shape, or form?

My Irish lad with the Irish name and the Irish charm and the red hair to go with (okay it's mostly gray now but he's still a red head at heart) is away on business this St. Patrick's Day. I fixed our traditional dinner on Saturday night because we love it...corned beef and cabbage with potatoes. So good but such a heavy meal. I did make a light dessert, green of course....sugar free lime jello whipped together with low fat lime yogurt. It was yummy and refreshing!

3. Have you been bitten by the Spring Cleaning bug? What spring cleaning job most needs doing at your house? What spring cleaning job are you most dreading?

Nipped but not actually bitten. Its hard to get motivated while the bathroom is mid-redo. That's creating a lot of dust so I'm inclined to wait until that's completed before I dig in to the actual scrubbing. We are doing several home decorating projects, primarily in the bedrooms so I'm cleaning out closets and organizing in there as we go. My most needed job this spring is probably to have my windows washed. It would also be the most dreaded. And you might as well toss in washing the window treatments too because that job also ranks right up there on the do-not-enjoy list!

4. lime-shamrock-sage-forest....your favorite shade of green?

Our bedroom is painted a lighter shade of sage's restful and beautiful and I love it.

5. Thomas Jefferson once said, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it." So... do you believe in luck or do you believe we make our own luck?

I think there are people for whom some things in life seem to come more easily than they do for the rest of us. Of course we never really know what goes on behind the scenes in someone else's life, do we? Perhaps they are looking around thinking the same thing about someone else. I think hard work pays off and adds meaning to the end result. I'm not opposed to a little luck but I'm not relying on it either.

6. Monday (3/14) was Pi Day. Get it? 3/14 is Pi Day. Those math types are so clever, aren't they? Since I'm not one of them tell me what's your favorite piE (the edible kind)?

Angel Pie...followed closely by coconut cream.

7. That same date (3/14) was also the birth date of the late physicist, Albert Einstein. I bet he knew the value of pi. What do you think is more important and/or valuable in life...intelligence or common sense?

I think you need a bit of both in this world. Intelligence without common sense can land one in a heap '0 trouble. Can you have common sense without intelligence? I think if someone has a lot of common sense they've gotta have some brains in there somewhere!

8. Insert your own random thought here...

Like everyone, my heart just breaks for the people of Japan and all they have suffered and continue to face following the earthquake and tsunami there last week. Sometimes this world seems upside down. I heard this beautiful song by Selah sung in church on Sunday...a gentle reminder that there is absolutely nothing that cannot be redeemed...

(the lyrics aren't showing up but you can read them here)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Corned Beef and Hodgepodge

Here are the questions for this week's Hodgepodge...thanks for playing along!
Answer the questions on your own blog then come back here tomorrow (Wednesday) to link your answers with the rest of the internets.

1. What would you do if you found a pot of gold? Let's pretend this pot of gold is worth exactly $1500 (which would actually be more like a cup of gold at current values). Anyway, let's also pretend you have to spend it as opposed to making a donation someplace. Now tell me what you would do with that cup pot of gold?

2. Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in any way, shape, or form?

3. Have you been bitten by the Spring Cleaning bug? What spring cleaning job most needs doing at your house? What spring cleaning job are you most dreading?

4. lime-shamrock-sage-forest...your favorite shade of green?

5. Thomas Jefferson once said, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." you believe in luck or do you believe we make our own luck?

6. Monday (3/14) was Pi Day. Get it? Pi =3.14. Those math types are so clever aren't they? Since I'm not one of them tell me what's your favorite piE (the edible kind).

7. That same date (3/14) happens to be the birthdate of the late physicist Albert Einstein. I bet he knew the value of Pi. So...what do you think is more important and or valuable in life... intelligence or common sense?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yin and Yang

It was weekend-lite around here once again.
By 'lite' I mean we didn't get a full weekend since hubs had an early morning flight out yesterday.


You shouldn't feel too sorry for him though because
his view will be something like this for the next few days...

You shouldn't feel sorry for me either...

here's my awesome view...

Did I mention, ugh?

The plumber and tile guy (I'm sure he has a more official title) along with tile guy's assistant came to get the master bathroom shower re-do underway at the end of last week.
Things started off with a bang when assistant tile guy dinged my upstairs hall foyer ceiling as he was carrying the old shower doors outside...


I've zoomed in here...the ding itself is small.
Unfortunately, not so small that it doesn't smack you in the face when you walk up the stairs.
And it's an actual gash as opposed to a scrape, which tells us that the entire ceiling will need to be repainted as opposed to patched.
Patching a ceiling is never smooth sailing.

Just to make things sightly more problematic...

that little patch of ceiling is part of a much larger space which includes our downstairs foyer, the family room and the upstairs hallway...

Its a whole lotta ceiling.
Plus (yes, there's more) the ceiling is two stories up on either side of the staircase which spells good times if you're a painter.

I'm thinking they will try for a patch but I'm pretty sure I will not be happy with that.
And I know for certain my hubs won't.

Other than that they were exceptionally neat and tidy.
I'm sure they'll make it all purty once the work is finished, but this sort of thing gives me a knot in my stomach.
Hubs happened to be home when the 'incident' occurred so he was able to talk to the tile guy but now it's up to me to 'discuss' it with the plumber who is the project boss.

I detest this sort of task.
I like for life to always be very pleasant.
Very pleasant with no unpleasant unpleasantness.

Hubs, on the other hand, lives for this stuff...tell me again why he's not the one negotiating repairs with a work crew while I lounge on a beach somewhere warm and lovely?

Okay, so technically he's working and not 'at the beach' in a - sitting in a lounge chair- kind of way but still, you know what I mean.

In other weekend news we finally found a mirror for our dining room wall.

I needed something above my server and am really happy with the way this looks...we still have to decide what's going atop the server itself but having the mirror up helps.

Let me tell you-hanging that mirror was quite the project.
Somehow hubs has thrown his back out (he claims he did it painting upstairs but I think that's his way of getting out of finishing off that last bedroom) and he's been in agony all week.
Did that stop him from hanging the 50+ pound mirror?

No it did not.

I'm sure whatever is wrong with his back is nothing a 12 hour flight can't fix.

So now tell me, is your fuse slightly shorter than normal when you and your significant other attempt a project like this?
A project that involves one of you barking orders while holding something extremely heavy and completely awkward while the other one snaps back that she is not a mind reader?

We used to have a boat and hanging that mirror reminded me of our days docking the boat.
We'd be floating gently towards the dock and hubs would begin telling me to grab ropes and bumpers and blah blah blah and even though we were on our boat everysinglesolitary weekend I would act like it was my first time on the water and would drop ropes and trip over his feet as he tried to keep us from smacking the dock.
I think you get the picture.

Hanging this mirror was a bit like that.

I think its partly because hubs is a perfectionist.
He takes approximately 637 measurements while we awkwardly hold the very heavy mirror up to the wall no less than 42 times, all the while trying hard not to drop it or ding the paint.
Then he measures some more to be sure it is 100% exactly centered because if that mirror is one millimeter too far left-right-up or down he will never be able to eat a meal in there.
He would not disagree.

I guess it could also be partly because I'm sorta clumsy.
And directionally challenged.
'Oh, you meant my left, I thought you meant your left.'

The good news though is that the mirror is up!
Once we got it on the wall we were pretty pleased with ourselves and we smiled and congratulated each other and admired our new purchase.

What disagreement?

I tease him about his tendency towards perfectionism.
He teases me about my tendency to be clumsy and directionally challenged.
He's yin and I'm yang and together we make a whole.

And life is never ever dull.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Frankie and Annette

Daughter2 is on spring break this week.
She is in an undisclosed Florida city with 10 of her closest friends.

Relax....I know the city, I'm just not sharing it here.
In fact, I have the street address complete with house number because I'm a nagging mom like that.
Did I log on to google earth to check it out?

Hubs and I agree that spring breaks back in the 'olden days' were a far cry from the spring breaks of today.
For starters, we didn't know anyone who took a cruise.
College kids couldn't afford that when we were in college.
Can they afford it now?
Mine can't and I'm not quite to the point where I'll pay for a cruise.
If I'm paying for a cruise I'm going to be on it.
And heaven help the families who find themselves on a cruise with 100+ college students.

Also, we didn't take a trip with our friends every single year.
Some years we just went home and hung out with the folks.
I went to uni a fair distance from my family and I enjoyed trips home.
Mom cooked my favorite foods and took me shopping...I slept in my own bed and saw friends and didn't feel cheated in any way by not having a trip to the beach every Spring.

My senior year in college I spent Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale with four of my best friends.
We shared one small and tacky, but delightfully inexpensive hotel room and since it came furnished with just two double beds we took turns sleeping on the floor every night.
You had to step over that lucky person to get to the bathroom.

No renting gorgeous beachfront homes with jacuzzis and private pools and room to sleep 15 when I was a college student.
My dad would have looked at me like I had two heads had I even suggested such a thing.

Hubs was my boy friend back then and he had also gone to Florida with friends, however they were in Daytona Beach some four hours away.
I was always a responsible girl, a rule follower, and not a wild child.
But 20-somethings are 20-something and I was 20-something so one day I borrowed my friends brand spankin' new RX7 and drove to Daytona to see him.

By myself.

No cell phone.


No phone call to the parents letting them know what I was up to.


My friend didn't think twice about loaning me the new car her dad had purchased for fact, she suggested it.

And now, you are in for a real treat.
Because I am about to post a picture from that long ago day and unlike a lot of 'old' pictures around here I know precisely where this one rests....
in my husbands wallet.

Sometimes my hubs will meet a person who doesn't know me and when they inquire about his wife he likes to show them 'my picture'.
Then, when I eventually do meet these people who only know me from the photo, they scratch their heads and think that I cannot possibly be the 'wife' in the wallet.

If you meet my hubs someday he will very likely show it to you.
My hubs loves this picture.
When I was writing this post I had the photo ready to upload onto my blog and he came in the room, saw it, and got a huge grin on his face.
Honestly, when he looks at me, I do believe this is the girl he sees.

Back in 2005 we were in a little village in Italy purchasing a lovely table.
We had been happily chatting with the shopkkeeper when it came time to pay.
As hubs opened his wallet the shopkeeper caught a glimpse of my photo circa 1982.
He pulled hubs aside and in his oh so charming Italian accented English, with a worried tone in his voice, asked, 'What is this? You have zee beautiful wife....why you need zee girlfriend too?"
"This is your girlfriend in the picture, no?"

Well, if you want to get all technical,'s his 'girlfriend'.
His girlfriend from 25 years ago.
The girl she was when she was just a girl.
Before she was a wife.
Before she married him and bore his children and shlepped from state to state and across the ocean with him.

I'm here to tell you that kind of stuff ages you ya know.
And also that Italian men call all women beautiful.

A reel has been playing over and over in my head this week every time I think of my daughter...

Is she being sensible?
Is she wearing sun screen and her hat?
She's so fair, I hope she's wearing her hat.
Is she eating right?
Has she spent all her money?
Has she spent all my money?
Is she re-charging her batteries for the second half of the school term?

As I run thru this laundry list of thoughts it helps if I try to remember my 20 year old self.
The carefree girl with the tanned legs and hair flying in the wind.
The girl making plans, dreaming dreams, and feeling excited for all that lay ahead.
The girl who was ready to take on the world.

The girl still lingering in the gap between adolescent and adult.

I hope my daughter is wearing sunscreen.
I hope she's eating and resting and re-charging.
I hope she's being sensible.

And I hope especially that she is tucking these friends inside her heart...
that she takes a picture in her head of these years where her hair flies in the wind and she too lingers in that most magical gap.

Wednesday Hodgepodge Mardi Gras Style- Vol 17

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge and our own little Mardi sure to add your link to the bottom of my post and click around to see how the rest of the internets answered...
here are mine-

1. The season of Lent begins on March 9th this you participate and if so, in what way?

I didn't grow up in a denomination where 'giving something up' was common, but I can appreciate the meaning behind that idea. I do like to focus my head and heart in the days leading up to Easter so I usually find a devotional to read that is geared towards that. This year I ordered a book called Bread and Wine-Readings for Easter and Lent which is a collection of writings featuring C.S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, Martin Luther, and more.

2. Traditionally pancakes are eaten on the day known as Shrove Tuesday which is the last day before Lent (March 8th this year) So....butter and syrup? Blueberry? Chocolate chip? Ewwww, no thanks!! What's your pleasure when it comes to eating pancakes?

I like pancakes any old way but blueberry are my favorite. With syrup and a side of crispy bacon. Did we have pancakes last night? No, but if we had they'd have been blueberry.

3. Spring is coming. (It is coming, right?) What's your favorite springtime flower and do you suffer from seasonal allergies? That's two questions I know but they're lightweights.

Tulips...I love them and they are one of my favorite flowers period. I bought an unusual bunch in the market the other and really lovely!

I've always had seasonal allergies but this year I don't even care...I am so ready for spring I say bring on the Allerest and the Visine AC and the sunshiny warm weather please.

4. "Our opinion of people depends less upon what we see in them than upon what they make us see in ourselves." Author unknown. Agree or disagree? Why?

There are definitely people in my life who cause me to take a hard look at myself but certainly not everyone I know falls into that category. And I think when I am immediately drawn to a person its not necessarily because of something in's generally due to some quality they posses. That quality could be something I lack or something I have in abundance.

I guess what I'm saying (see, even I don't know what I'm saying) is that for some of my relationships the quote rings true, for others it does not. Does that make sense? I hope so because answering this one strained my brain.

5. Since it's "March" and also the season of Mardi Gras...have you ever been in a parade? What's the best parade you've ever seen?

I've never marched in a parade but my favorite ones to watch are the slightly hokey home town 4th of July celebrations. I think of all those summers spent living in small town Maryland sitting on the curb with my little girls as the fire trucks and swim teams and scouts passed by. Candy was tossed, balloons were set free and miniature flags were waved to the sounds of a high school marching band....

Oh be still my heart.

Once the parade wrapped up we'd head to the pool for an afternoon swim before packing a picnic dinner and making our way over to the Naval Academy grounds..a
nother parade, this one with marching military men...

Afterwards my girls would comb the grass in search of four leaf clovers, turn cartwheels in the setting sun and hula hoop until it was dark....

We'd snuggle close together on a blanket and watch fireworks rain down on the beautiful Severn River.

I love a parade.

And summer.

And blonde headed blue eyed little girls.

6. You would jump up and down and shout for joy right now if someone told you_________?

...those same sweet girls, now fully grown, were standing just outside my front door.

7. How clean is your car on the outside? Inside? Is there junk in your trunk?

Have I mentioned the weather here lately? Yeah. Rain, snow, and sleet combined with salt on the highways do not a clean car make. We have rain with a chance of snow forecasted for Thursday so I'll probably wait until the weekend to have it washed. The inside isn't bad although it could use a good "Hoovering" due to the aforementioned rain, snow, sleet and salt you encounter everywhere you go around these parts.

For the record-there is absolutely no junk in my trunk.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My mother in law has a birthday this week. I wrote a post about her this time last year which you'll find here...go ahead and click know you want to.

I'm blessed in the m-i-l department...Happy birthday m-i-l!