Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leaping Into the Hodgepodge Vol 68

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge...be sure to add your link to the bottom of my post so we can all stop by and say hi. Here are my answers to this week's questions-


1. The Hodgepodge falls on the last day of the month this year, a leap year. How will you spend that extra day?

Nothing too extraordinary...I'll spend a portion of the extra day waiting on Mr. Tile Guy to touch up the grout in my bathroom shower. We put a new shower in last spring and he recommended a grout re-touch a few months down the road which is where we are now.

I'll do the usual laundry-dust-meal prep, return some library books and drop off/pick up dry cleaning and hopefully finish my book club book so I can pass it on to a neighbor. I'll also spend some time organizing the trillion or so travel docs I've accumulated so far for my Asia trip happening later this spring + our graduation travel happening in May + our post-graduation family vacay happening after that. Being your own travel agent is time consuming.

2. What has recently required a leap of faith on your part?

Parenting. My girls are young adults now and I need to trust that I've poured into them what's needed in order for them to make wise decisions. Not as easy as it sounds.

I think most healthy decisions are a delicate balance of reason and emotion best reached after you've talked all the particulars over with God. At this stage of the game I have to trust that message has been sent and received.

3. We're one week into the season of Lent...are you marking these forty days in some way? Giving something up or adding something extra to normal life? How's it going so far?

I didn't grow up with the tradition of giving something up for Lent although some years I have chosen to do just that. This year I borrowed an idea I'd seen on Kelly's Korner and I'm sending a handwritten letter or a card to someone via snail mail each day of the Lenten season. I'm writing family, the children we sponsor through World Vision, friends who may need some encouragement, and anyone else who is brought to mind. I am loving this exercise!

4. When was the last time you sat beside a fire?

We have a gas fireplace in our family room but rarely turn it on. In fact we didn't use it at all the first two years we lived here but last fall I had it inspected and we've run it a time or two. Not often because it wreaks havoc with the already too high gas bill, but once in a while on super cold days we'll flip it on. Haven't had many of those this winter either. We had an outdoor firepit built last Spring and have really enjoyed that. Here's some of my family chillaxing over the Christmas break-



I think December was the last time we sat out there but I look forward to more of that once winter wraps up.

5. Surf and turf is on the menu. Do you order as is or do you ask for just the surf (lobster), just the turf (steak) or a menu so you can select another option?

Surf and turf.
Bring it.

Is it kind of obnoxious for a 51 year old woman to say bring it?
No need to respond....I think I already know the answer.

Just to reiterate-I am way younger in my head.

6. If you could have any television show back, not in reruns but in new episodes, what program would you choose?

I asked my hubs this question and we had the same answer. The first thing that popped into my head was The Andy Griffith Show. So sweet and funny, plus the whole family could watch without anyone needing to squirm or suddenly remember they needed to check on something in the other room.

It seems like most of the comedy shows that today bill themselves as 'for the family' will eventually decide to explore super serious, often controversial issues. They start off as family fare but once they gravitate towards these topics they become too overtly p.c. and inappropriate.

You could watch Andy with your grandma or your teenager or your 7-year old and everyone felt warm and fuzzy when the credits rolled.

7. They say an elephant never forgets. These days would you say your memory is more like an elephant or a gnat?

A gnat.
A gnat that has been stomped on by a big fat giant elephant.

The dulling of my memory is my second least favorite thing about mid-life.
My suddenly non-existent metabolism gets the blue ribbon in case you're wondering.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

This is the last day of the February photo challenge and, as has become my custom with this venture, I'm breaking the rules. Today's prompt is 'something you're listening to' but I prefer Monday's prompt which was-'something you ate'.

Of course I do.

I had to bring snack to Bible Study this week so I made a recipe I'd seen on Pinterest-Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze.


Positively scrumptious!

You'll find the recipe here.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One for the Money, Two for the Hodgepodge

Before I post the questions for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge I'm going to subject you to my picture for today's photo challenge prompt-'money'. I actually have something that works for this one.

If you read here you know my hubs travels all around the world and he typically comes home with a bill or two of currency from where ever he's been. Most of Europe is on the Euro now which I suppose makes life more convenient but definitely not as interesting.

Anyway, I have some odds and ends bills from hither and yon and recently had a few of them framed and matted. The money isn't uniform in size which made the project a little challenging but I'm really happy with the finished product-


From l-r we have United Arab Emirates, China, India, Brazil, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, and South Africa. That's a start.

Now on to the questions for this week's Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog and then come back tomorrow to link with everyone else who plays along. Be sure to add a link to my blog or the button (code is in my sidebar under the button-just copy and paste) in your post. That way, visitors to your blog will be directed back here so they can join the party too.


1. The Hodgepodge falls on the last day of February this year, a leap year. How will you spend that extra day?

2. What has recently required a leap of faith on your part?

3. We're one week into the season of Lent...are you marking these 40 days in some way? Giving something up or adding something extra to normal life? How's it going so far?

4. When was the last time you sat beside a fire?

5. Surf and Turf is on the menu. Do you order as is or do you ask for just the surf (lobster), just the turf (steak), or a menu so you can select another option?

6. If you could have any television program back, not in reruns but in new episodes, what program would you choose?

7. They say an elephant never forgets. These days would you say your memory is more like an elephant or a gnat?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Real Life, Blog Life on a Monday

Sometimes its hard to put the right words together. Sometimes your days and your head and your heart are filled with stuff you don't feel comfortable putting out there on your blog. Because the story isn't yours you don't say a lot about it here.

Behind every little blog there is a lot of life. My niece is a part of ours and as such we're part of a story that isn't being told here. She's been in the hospital essentially since mid-August. All but roughly 2o days since first being admitted and diagnosed with leukemia have been spent in hospital. Six months.

In writing about the everyday nonsense that I record here I'm not pretending her story isn't happening. I want to be respectful of her privacy and also allow her story to be told in first person, by her. Or her parents. The thing is, that story is the backdrop to our lives right now and some days I struggle to write about the trivial. Let's face it, most of the stuff we blog about is trivial.

I have two choices. I stop writing or I write but refrain from talking about a piece of our very real family story on a daily basis. I've opted for the latter because writing has become a necessary outlet, but every now and then I feel the need to acknowledge here that a big chunk of our everyday life is not being talked about on my blog. And that's okay.

It was a quiet weekend here at the ole homestead and no, I don't live on a farm but I like that phrase. I live in the suburbs. With a lot of wildlife all around. So kinda like the woodland version of a homestead. What was I saying again? Hubs worked out his schedule so he could spend the weekend with his brother and sister in law and our niece. Sometimes when families are separated by geographical distance you need to get on an airplane and be near. I drowned myself in paperwork and attempted not to lift off the ground in the icky cold wind. It's still February in case anyone had begun to think otherwise.

How did I fill the rest of the weekend hours?

Well I got that pesky tax organizer submitted to the accountants so yay me! I also met with our attorney about updating our wills.

Wills and taxes.
Don't be jealous.

I had my second lesson with a local photographer.
I vacuumed.
I wrote.
I talked to my girls on the phone.
I listened to music.
I ran some errands.
I went to church.

I thought about the A-Z blog challenge coming up in April and tried to come up with a plan. If you'd like to join the fun go here to link up and get details. I participated last year and really enjoyed it. I used that month as an opportunity to record some of our happiest travel memories and it helped to have a theme. I sorta kinda maybe came up with one for this year's challenge.

It may or may not involve travel.

Remember how I said I have a big trip this spring?
Moving on.

The Oscars...did you watch?
I'm all about the fashion.
My favorites were Gwyneth Paltrow, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, and George Clooney's date-Stacy Kiebler. She had the best accessory, wink wink.

I wish I had Robin Roberts arms.
Just sayin'.

While I did a lot of writing this weekend I did not do a lot of picture taking. I made an attempt at capturing one of the February photo challenge prompts and that was Day 26-'night'.


There is something very comforting to me about seeing the moon in the night sky. No matter if its gloriously full and bright or the tiniest sliver of a fingernail it is a reminder at each day's end that Someone far bigger than me holds the universe and each one of us in it in the palm of His hand.

Friday, February 24, 2012

These boots were made for walking

I really do want to be caught up on the February Photo Challenge but I just don't see that happening. Today's prompt is 'inside your bathroom cabinet' so here's a picture of my shoe.


You followed that logic, right?

'Shoe' was yesterday's prompt, which I missed, so in the crazy mixed up random that is my blog I decided to skip photographing the inside of my bathroom cabinet and am posting a picture for the shoe prompt instead. The inside of my cabinet feels way too personal, plus why would I ever want a picture of that?

Course you may be wondering why I'd ever want a picture of my shoe and the answer to that question is I wouldn't, but I did take one recently in anticipation of the shoe prompt so I'm running with it.

This shoe is never kept in my closet because it's almost always muddy. It was purchased (along with its mate of course) for one of my girlies many moons ago, just prior to a Young Life Service project trip. They spent most of the project week in Romania that year standing in water that looked something like this-

circa 2006

We threw their clothes away when they got home but hubs power washed the boots and I wear them for hiking. They also brought home a nasty cough, hearts overflowing, and a boatload of memories that all the power washing in the world cannot erase.

Every kid, Everywhere, For Eternity.
Not just a slogan.

In all our many travels while living abroad if you ask my girls what was their favorite trip they both immediately say Romania. It was hard, get-your-hands-dirty, kind of work.


It was Jesus loves the little children of the world.


It was life changing.


There's my boot!
On the foot of my daughter.
In Romania.

Sigh.
If only these boots could talk.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Time keeps on slippin' into the future

Backing up to last Saturday. I know. I'm all over the place lately and I'm pretty sure I said I was going to get my writing act together this year.

One can still hope.

Today's photo challenge prompt is 'shoes' but since I'm making my own rules these days (have I mentioned that?) I'm posting one of the prompts I missed. Day 17-'time'.

If you'll recall we were in Tennessee last weekend. Once daughter2 made it over the mountaintop on Saturday, we piled back into the car and headed over to Cades Cove. For those of you who've never been I highly recommend.


Cades Cove is a wide valley surrounded on all sides by gorgeous mountains. Are there any other kind? Its the most visited spot in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and a great place to hike, bike, think, and dream.


An 11 mile loop wraps around the cove and cars meander along this road keeping a close watch out for wildlife. We've been coming to the Smokies, and in particular Cades Cove, for a long, long time.


When the girls were little we liked to count the deer as we drove thru the park...


Still do.


Sometimes you get lucky and will see a bear.
No bear this trip but we did see lots of daffodils in bloom.
In the middle of February.


Not sure I've ever seen that here before.


In addition to all the wildlife there are churches, cabins, and a gristmill dating back to the 1800's.


Even with all its many visitors Cades Cove remains a place of serene beauty.


And for us, this picturesque little corner of the world is a place where some of our most treasured memories were born. A place where little girls learned to love and appreciate God's creativity...


and the beauty that is found in spending time outdoors with the people you love most.


It still is.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Proud to Answer the Wednesday Hodgepodge Vol 67

Welcome to this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge...so glad you're playing along today. Add your link to the bottom of my post and then go check out what everyone else had to say. Here's my .02-


1. February 22nd is National Be Humble Day...what makes you proud? What keeps you humble?

What makes me proud-my children.
What keeps me humble-also my children.

Kids are so honest.
I don't mean that in a bad way.

2. Where is the catch-all (aka dumping ground) in your house?

My hubs is a bit of a neatnik and is not a fan of the catch-all. That being said, he does empty his pockets on the kitchen counter by the garage door but he doesn't leave it there indefinitely. I leave mail on the counter and once he looks thru it I move it to the desk in the office, the shredder, or the trash. I keep my purse at the kitchen desk but always take it upstairs with me at night along with my phone. I also no longer have toddlers or school aged children at home which drastically cuts down on the need for a catch all.

3. Do you make it a point to visit State/National Parks when you travel or even in your own hometown? What's your favorite?

Yes. Wherever we've lived we've always checked out the nearby parks. Weather permitting we spend some time most every weekend hiking in nearby State or National Parks.

My favorite? Yikes! I don't think I can choose. To make it easier I'm going to stay within the geographical confines of the USA. If I let myself cross the Atlantic this post will never end. I think Acadia National Park in Maine might be one of the most beautiful places on earth....


but my heart belongs to the Smokies and East Tennessee which I wrote about yesterday...


4. How would you define honor?

To me honor and integrity go hand in hand. A person with a high degree of integrity is honorable. Having honor means telling the truth, keeping your promises, and doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

5. Angel's food or Devil's food-which cake do you prefer?

Hmmm...cake or cake? I prefer cake. Okay, if I have to choose I will say Angel Food. I'm a huge fan of anything chocolate but I love the lightness of angel food cake. Top it with fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries and its a heavenly dessert. Appropriately named too.

6. What's the most recent road trip you've taken? Where did you go and how many hours did you spend in the car? Do you like to zoom to your destination without stopping or leisurely wind your way there with stops along the way? What is your car snack of choice?

We took a road trip this past long weekend. I wrote about it here so I will refrain from re-writing. We went from Northern NJ to East Tennessee, a whopping 11 1/2 hours in the car each way.

We mostly zoom to our destinations but we do stop for lunch and/or breakfast. We had our pup with us this time so we had to make a stop or two for her benefit. Ours too if you want to get all technical. When we're traveling south we like to leave before the crack of dawn to avoid a lovely phenomenon in these parts known as rush hour traffic. Or gridlock. Take your pick.

Anyway, this time we left at o'dark thirty and drove for about three hours then stopped for breakfast. Sometime mid afternoon I mentioned that I was kind of hungry. Hubs looked at me and said, 'You're kind of high maintenance this trip.' It was funny but maybe you had to be there.

You know how I said my hubs is a bit of a neatnik? Well that extends to the car too. My snack of choice would be pretzels but they make crumbs so no can do. I settle for twizzlers and clementines.

7. Recent headlines told how a preschool child in NC had their packed lunch from home taken away and a school lunch substituted by a school inspector who deemed the homemade lunch unhealthy. Reportedly the parent was then billed for the school lunch (chicken nugget meal) although an update to the story says the parent was not billed. The inspector was conducting a routine inspection of the classroom-he/she was not there solely to peek in the lunchboxes.
The packed lunch contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, an apple juice box, a bag of chips, and a banana. You can read the story here. Your thoughts?

The details to this story have changed several times since it first broke so I'm not entirely sure what really happened but I have a few thoughts anyway-
  • I thought the packed lunch sounded pretty healthy. It was missing a vegetable but there was no dessert so not too bad and very much like something I might have sent with my own children.
  • Some kids do not eat vegetables unless mama is standing there watching. I rarely packed veggies in my kids lunchboxes...they both ate lots of vegetables but we had salad almost every night and always at least one vegetable for dinner so I never worried about it at lunchtime.
  • I taught school many moons ago and have seen a rambunctious child open their packed lunchbox to find a koolaid drink, a gogurt, chips, and a cookie. This does not a happy kindergarten teacher make.
  • If a parent wants to pack the lunch I just described I might not like it but I do believe it is their right as the parent to pack it.
  • If schools are serving lunches then yes, I do believe they need to be healthy.
  • Are chicken nuggets healthy? I always viewed them as a fast food option.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

Today's photo prompt is 'where you work'. I don't have a job outside my home and while I could post a picture of my office I think it would be more fun to tell you where I'm going later this spring-

Shanghai-Taipei-Hong Kong.

The beans are officially spilled.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Smoky Mountain Majesty

If you're looking for this week's Hodgepodge Questions you'll find them here.

Hubs took a couple of vacation days at the end of last week and we spent the holiday weekend in one of our favorite spots-the Smoky Mountains. We hadn't seen his parents in several months and his brother kindly let us use their cabin with the spectacular views so we loaded up the car and drove down on Thursday. In the pouring rain. Surrounded by trucks on all sides. Ugh. The left lane is for passing, not loitering!

Oh let's not get sidetracked with a rant...moving on...


It's a long drive, almost twelve hours, but its worth it. About the time we crossed the Tennessee state line the skies cleared. We had dinner 'in town' near the folks then wound our way up to the tip top mountaintop and settled in to the cabin for the weekend.


We had our pup with us too and let me tell you, she was in her glory. She's a mountain girl at heart-


Friday was absolutely gorgeous with temps in the mid 50's. We ate lunch on the deck and didn't need to wear a coat. In the middle of February. High on a mountain. Ca-razy! But oh so nice. The sky was that gorgeous color I love too which is just icing on the cake when you're in a setting so lovely.


Friday afternoon we drove a little further into the park to a place known as the Y-


Not sure if that's the official name but that is what everyone calls this picturesque little spot...it's a good place for skipping rocks-


Or sitting on one...


Someone may have taken a dip...


We spent a fair amount of time this weekend sittin' and rockin'...


because that's what you do when you have scenery like this staring back at you-


We chatted with the parents, cooked dinner, and played Dominoes.
We exhaled.

Saturday dawned bright and beautiful and was once again mild. The day managed to get a whole lot brighter when, just before lunch, Daughter2 arrived. She drove over the mountain from uni to spend the long weekend with us...what a treat to see this sweet face in the middle of February.


She's grading papers.
If you knew her at age ten you would understand how much fun it is to write that sentence.

We took advantage of the weather and spent the afternoon in Cades Cove. I'm going to save that bit for a separate post on Thursday because I may have some pictures and this post is already long. ahem. I will post a photo here in my efforts to catch up on the February Photo Challenge prompts I missed-


I'm counting this as Day 21 with the prompt-a favorite photo of you. For me, photos are more about the memory than the composition. Perhaps that's why I just snap away and don't pay enough attention to light and detail. My father in law took this one. For the record this is not THE favorite photo of me but it is A photo of me with my favorite boy so I think that counts. Plus, you really cannot have a bad picture when the Smokies are your backdrop.

We made a big pot of spaghetti Saturday evening, played more Dominoes (Hubs won. He'd want me to say that) and talked on into the night.

It poured rain all the livelong day on Sunday. We headed down the mountain to church and then to a fun lunch where we met up with a few peeps. Mary (Life in a Small Town) and her hubs joined us and it was fun to catch up with her in person.


We have real life connections-she went to high school with my hubs and college with both of us, although hubs and I are 'older'.


Monday dawned too soon, too fast. There was just the lightest dusting of snow on the mountain and then no snow to speak of the whole way home. I rode with daughter2 for the first hour until the place where the road splits and she heads south and we head north. My heart splits a little there too. Sigh.

We didn't get home until after 10 last night and we were pooped. Hubs drove the whole way but still, being the passenger wears a person out too. Course he got up and went to work this morning and I got up and am still in my pjs drinking coffee.

I'm going to wrap this up with a picture for the Day 19 photo challenge prompt-'something you hate to do'-


...leave this view behind.

Questions for the Wednesday Hodgepodge-Volume 67

I've been away all weekend and have lots of catching up to do on my blog. For now, here are the questions to this week's Hodgepodge...come back tomorrow to link answers and see what the neighbors are saying-

1. February 22nd is National Be Humble Day...what makes you proud? What keeps you humble?

2. Where is the catch-all (aka dumping ground) in your house?

3. Do you make it a point to visit State/National Parks when you travel or even in your own hometown? What's your favorite?

4. How would you define honor?

5. Angel's food or Devil's food-which cake do you prefer?

6. What's the most recent road trip you've taken? Where did you go and how many hours did you spend in the car? Do you like to zoom to your destination without stopping or leisurely wind your way there with stops along the way? What is your car snack of choice?

7. Recent headlines told how a preschool child in NC had their packed lunch from home taken away and a school lunch substituted by a school inspector who deemed the homemade lunch unhealthy. Reportedly the parent was then billed for the school lunch (chicken nugget meal) although an update to the story says the parent was not billed. The inspector was conducting a routine inspection of the classroom-he/she was not there solely to peek in the lunchboxes. The packed lunch contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, an apple juice box, a bag of chips, and a banana. You can read the story here. Your thoughts?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Houskeeping

I hosted a luncheon yesterday for my gourmet group. Each person prepared a dish and the theme was French food. Ooh-la-la everything was tres delicieux. There should be some accent marks in there somewhere but that particular task remains outside my current skill set. Ha-doesn't that sound so much better than saying I haven't got a clue?

Anyway lovely luncheon, lovely day.

Which reminds me...I need a trip to France.
Immediatement!

There is a lot going on around here lately. I need to stop and smell the roses this weekend so while I will take some pictures for the photo challenge it's likely I won't post them until next week.

This is not breaking the rules.
And yes, Thursday is too the weekend.

Also, I have some things I want to write about and the words are not fitting with photo prompts like phone and button and drink. I'm going to step back, put words into sentences, and get a grip on all my swirly thoughts these next few days.

Before I do that though, I will post a picture for Day 16 of the February Photo Challenge. The prompt is-'something new'.

I had to get a new passport last fall. So sad. My previous passport was wonderfully worn and extra thick...a trip to the embassy in London to have extra pages added ensured I wouldn't have to replace it before its expiration date. It was chock a block full of visas, stamps, and memories. Flipping the pages in my passport makes me happy.

Life goes on.


My new passport arrived in the mail just before Thanksgiving and until last week it was blank. Who wants a blank passport?? Although I have yet to take a trip with this one I did have 'something new' added to it so that's a start.

Some countries require visas for entry.
My new passport now holds a visa to one such country.

I realize I'm doling out details bit by bit but there's still a few hoops to jump through before our trip happens. Rest assured I will be spilling out more words than you can handle once I get started.

It is not France.
Or England.

But there will be passport stamp(s) involved.
And I will be showing that visa to someone somewhere.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Presidential Wednesday Hodgepodge-Vol 66

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Add your link at the end of my post and then go see what the neighbors are saying. Here are my answers to this week's questions-


1. George Washington-Abraham Lincoln-Thomas Jefferson...who would you most like to meet and why?

I think any of the three would be fascinating but I'm going with Jefferson. He authored our Declaration of Independence and I'd love to hear what he has to say about America in the 21st century.

2. What's your favorite chain restaurant?

In general we prefer to eat somewhere besides the chain restaurants. We only have a couple in our town anyway-Burger King and Paneras. I don't do Burger King but I do like Paneras. I guess if I have to pick a chain I'd say Chilis. I wish we had one of those here.

3. I spied this question on the Bears at Home last week and she gave me permission to steal borrow it.

When you look back on your life do you imagine you'll think about the goals you failed to meet with regret? Or will you look at what you accomplished and say it was good?

I don't have a lot of regrets. I think there is always more to do but when I look at what I consider my most important job-raising children-I will say it was good.

4. Grapefruit-take 'em or leave 'em? Given the choice between an orange and a grapefruit which would you choose? Would you prefer it served as is or squeezed into juice?

I love grapefruit. I also love oranges. Isn't this my usual response to any question involving food? I prefer the actual fruit as opposed to the juice but I like that too so either way is good.

5. When was the last time you cleaned out a closet? Is there a closet in your home that currently needs cleaning? What are you waiting for?

I cleaned out my bedroom closet sometime after Christmas so that's quite recent. My closets are in pretty good shape but let's not talk about the boxes in the basement, k?

6. You get to have lunch with three famous people...who would you like to see round your table?

This one's hard because I feel like the three would need to mesh in some way...Nigella Lawson, Princess Kate, Bono.

7. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your ability to parallel park?

I lived in England.
I give myself a 10.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm using the random space today to post my picture for Day 15 of the February Photo Challenge. The prompt today is -'phone'.

Huh?
I just could not get my head round this one so I went with an older favorite photo....


My girls, then ages 13 and 15 and my precious niece at the age of 9 in the requisite picture of a London phone booth.

2003.
Feels like a lifetime ago.
Feels like yesterday.

I haven't mentioned my niece in recent posts but I know many of you have been keeping her in your prayers as she battles leukemia. She continues to need your prayers and please know they are very much appreciated.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I heart the Hodgepodge Questions-Vol 66

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope your day is filled with love and chocolate. Before I post this week's Hodgepodge questions I'm going to subject you to my picture for the February Photo Challenge. Today's prompt is-'heart'.

This has been on my kitchen island for the past two weeks-


Honestly, it's a good thing Valentine's Day isn't at the end of the month. The fact that there is a candle plunked down in the center of these conversation hearts does not deter me in the least. Perhaps I should keep it lit?

Now on to something else I love...the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer the questions on your own blog and then hop back over here tomorrow to share your answers.


1. George Washington-Abraham Lincoln-Thomas Jefferson...who would you most like to meet and why?

2. What's your favorite chain restaurant?

3. I spied this question on the Bears at Home blog last week and she gave me permission to steal borrow it-

When you look back on your life, do you imagine you'll think about the goals you failed to meet with regret? Or will you look at what you accomplished and say: it was good?

4. Grapefruit-take 'em or leave 'em? Given the choice between an orange and a grapefruit which would you choose? Would you prefer it served as is or squeezed into juice?

5. When was the last time you cleaned out a closet? Is there a closet in your home that currently needs cleaning? What are you waiting for?

6. You get to have lunch with three famous people...who would you like to see round your table?

7. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your ability to parallel park?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

This, That, and the Other

I have lots of little bits and pieces to share today and since I know you're waiting with bated breath I'll dive right in.

I had my first lesson with a local photographer on Friday afternoon. We're starting at the very beginning since that's a very good place to start. Did you know there was math in photography? Nobody told me there'd be math. I really enjoyed the lesson and felt like my brain hit the engage button....it's been on idle for a while now. He left me with a couple of pages of notes which is a good thing because even though my brain engaged it still feels a little bit rusty. He also left me a small assignment to complete before my next lesson which I'll probably try to incorporate into the February photo challenge.

Speaking of the February photo challenge...was there a prompt yesterday? Yes, yes there was. I know I said I like to follow the rules but I took a pass on Sunday's word-'inside my closet'. I recently cleaned and reorganized my closet so it's actually quite tidy at the moment. You'll have to take my word for it though, because that felt just a little too personal to put out there.

Even for me.
ahem.

Back to the weekend...hubs was in Turkey on business last week and returned home Friday evening. We may have opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the fact that he has no work travel scheduled for the next month. Whoohoo!

'They' said we'd have some snow Friday night into Saturday but we awoke to what was really just a dusting. It spit a little off and on all day but nothing accumulated. The temps however, plummeted over the weekend. I guess February felt the need to remind us we shouldn't get too comfy with the milder weather we've had so far this winter.

We carried on with our Saturday plans which included driving closer to the city to attend a big dog show. We've got the fe-vah. Puppy fever to be more precise and its sweeping thru our house. Hubs especially has been stricken, but it's contagious you know. We have a Gordon Setter who is the sweetest thing on four legs and we're in love with the breed.


Look at that face. Setters in general have lovable personalities and that's my #1 criteria in a dog. We knew there'd be a lot of Setters at this particular show and we hoped to talk to a breeder or two.


You don't see a lot of Gordons around and it was so much fun to see a whole gaggle of them. I know a bunch of dogs are not called a gaggle but there are so many long legs in this bunch the word seemed to fit.


We're pretty set on another Gordon but we've also toyed with the idea of an English Setter. Hubs says he'd like one of each-an English, an Irish, and a Gordon. Uh, I might be crazy but I'm not that crazy!


The Gordons are black with tan markings but the English have varying coats. This guy is black and white which in dog speak is known as blue belton. Gorgeous. And guess what today's photo prompt is-'blue'. There ya go.

Anyway, we did meet some breeders and we'll likely put our name in for a puppy to arrive late summer. Gives me time to get my head around it.

We had our 'Valentine dinner' on Saturday evening. Actually we eat out most every weekend but we designated this one as our Valentine dinner because Tuesday doesn't sound as romantic as Saturday. We had a long lovely meal and talked our way thru five courses while the wind whipped outside and snowflakes danced in the moonlight.

Yesterday afternoon we went to see a movie-Safe House. Holy moly it's intense. And there is mucho violence. Can I ask here why parents feel the need to bring their ten or twelve year old child to a movie that has been rated R because it is inappropriate for a ten or twelve year old? Why?? I had a knot in my stomach watching this one and I wondered if they did too. Or if they didn't? Either way it's a problem.

Today I'm heading to the doc's office for some 'jabs'. In England they use the word 'jab' when they're prepping you for an immunization. fyi-if you tell a child they're going to have an immunization they might not catch on right away but if you say jab they pretty much catch on immediately. Anyway, a while back I mentioned some fun plans we have in the works for later this spring and I need the 'jabs' in order to carry on with the fun. Three jabs in one visit. Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sunshine on My Shoulders

Y'all know I don't blog on the weekends, but I also like to follow the rules. I'm posting a picture for Day 11 of the February photo challenge, just like the rules say.

Are there rules?
In my mind there are rules.

I didn't take this photo today but I did take it recently so I think that counts. Today's prompt-'makes you happy'. As soon as I saw that one I knew I would post a picture of my favorite thing-sunlight on water.


From the smallest puddle to the widest sea, the twinkle of sunlight on the water speaks right into my soul.