Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Few Highlights from 2014

For the last three New Year's I memorialized highlights in postcard form. This is my version of a Year in Review. I decided to keep the tradition going.  Behold, I present the 2014 Highlights Card.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Getting Ready for Auld Lang Syne

It is almost time for "The Ball to Drop" and sing "Auld Lang Syne". I wanted to remember more than the first few lines of the song and stumbled on an article that gave the lyrics and the meaning. It is a lovely song.

As part of my New Year's tradition, I am looking back on what was memorable this year. It has been an eventful year...with a focus on home and family. As part of looking back, I've compiled the most popular posts from 2014.

Thought I'd share them again here. ENJOY!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Have Yourself a Merry Little....


NYC Christmas TreeThis is the week for celebrations! I'm getting excited about our Christmas Day  plans.  We will be traveling to Wilmington to have Christmas with our daughter and her husband.  Can. Not. Wait. 

Last year was special as we were able to spend time with my husband's family in the picturesque Charlottesville. Lisa's house is the epitome of Christmas cheer. In addition to the lovely decor, there are  sweets and treats galore. If she wanted to, Lisa could run a truly lovely Bed and Breakfast. Danielle were on the phone talking about our Christmases in Charlottesville. A Christmas memory that we make every year we are there is yummy white russians or kahlua and cream. I love, love, love them. And I have no will power when where kahlua is concerned. D. and I were laughing that I usually have a few drinks and they taste just like dessert...and embarrassingly, I often end up a little tipsy. It happens so fast, I never expect it! I'm such a lightweight. 

This year we will be at D.'s house. She's talked about cookies and eggnog and I am so excited. 

I'm going to try to savor the last few days we have left of festive lights and good cheer. In case I don't sign on to say "Hello" between now and then....

I hope you have a  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Getting Into the Holiday Spirit


I've enjoyed lots of blogs sharing favorite yuletide movies and to get into the holiday mood I found myself actually watching a few. Thankfully, the movies I've watched haven't been too sugary sweet.

The first movie I fell into watching was "Dear Santa" (LifeTime). I was drawn in because I was trying to tell if the lead actress was from TV's "Person of Interest". Turns out, yes, she is the same actress. But on "Person of Interest" she's kind of scary/crazy. Though, I think they changed her character as being "for good".  Still...she's kind of dark in that role.

Anywho, her character was not dark in this movie. You could guess that because it was on the Lifetime channel AND the movie is "Dear Santa". But what I did love was that the character was kind of shallow. Not in a "bad" way but in a kind endearingly unaware way, à la "Clueless". 

There is something to be said about focusing on what color scarf you are going to buy without considering if you can afford it. For me, this is a guilty fantasy moment. The movie begins with Crystal (the lead) window shopping. She is looking at a ridiculously expensive party dress  and her biggest worry is if they have it in her size. 

Later, while her new dress is hanging in her closet, Crystal plays a voicemail from her mother that she half listens to. Mom is saying "blah blah...cut off...no more money...blah blah." I loved Crystal's non-reaction. She calls her best friend and says something like, "It looks like I need to get a job. I really have to focus on that." Then she says, with so much more enthusiasm, "Ooh, you know what else I need? I need a latte," and she tells her friend to meet her at their fav. coffee shop. 

NYC Radio City
See how great that is? No actual worry...just a passing thought that is equal in value to the thought of having a latte with a friend.

The movie is a fun Christmas story complete with a Christmas miracle or two. So, if you want a 90 minute pick me up...I recommend this one.

Oh, and I threw in my photo of Radio City Music Hall for extra Christmas cheer!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Birthday Girl!

She's 25! I'm writing this in the wee hours of the morning. Twenty five years ago we arrived to the hospital about this time. As I was being wheeled to the birthing room I was earnestly explaining that I wanted them to go ahead and get the epidural ready. I explained that it was in our birthing plan that I get an epidural and I really wanted it now. 

As you may have guessed, the epidural was not forthcoming. Those were the last few hours that "it was all about me". While my husband didn't actually say the words "high maintenance" it can be inferred. 

And then...at 6:20 in the morning life became all about our sweet girl. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Getting Settled

We are almost completely settled in our new place. I knew when I saw our new kitchen that I wanted a pop of apple green. I'm loving this tea kettle. 

The biggest change (although, I don't think that is the right word) we made is our kitchen table. The white kitchen table we had in our red kitchen was our true taste when we lived in a high-rise in Bellevue. We had a tiny apartment with a "view" of the space needle from our kitchen window. The table was a perfect fit. 

We also bought a craft table with two book shelves. We used this as our kitchen island in the "Centerway" house. It was more streamlined than the island counter that was originally in the kitchen. It also complimented the kitchen table. 

Anyway, we let the buyers of Centerway keep the two kitchen tables. They were such a good fit there and we don't have room for both tables in our new place. 
Kitchen Table

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fun and Funky Deli Downtown

A few weeks ago I met a friend for lunch. We met at a local deli in a renovated tobacco warehouse. Tobacco warehouses are what makes up the historic downtown area known as the Brightleaf District.  Get it? Brightleaf? It's the name of the tobacco leaf that NC and VA developed before the Civil War. The new way the leaf was was cured produced a bright/yellow milder tobacco leaf. 

I didn't mean to turn this into a history "thing".  But I do love how the city is reviving and embracing the older buildings and giving them new life. 

The deli is one of my favorite places to spend a few hours. It is such a cool place with hardwood floors and nooks and crannies. There are so many fun things to look at. I love all the retro things they offer.  It a fun eclectic place to have a sandwich or a dessert and something to drink. And then walk around and imagine all of their fun things coming home with you. cMy friend's office is in

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What's This I Hear About Soda?

Do you remember Emily Litella, Gilda Radner's character on SNL? Oh my gosh I loved her.  The show I remember most fondly started out as "What's this I hear about too much violins on television?" Emily prattles on and on about how violins are wonderful and there could never be too much violins.

I mention Emily because I can't help but think of her when I reflect on the news of last night's mid-term elections. I'm pretty sure I haven't shared my personal political views here but today...I can't help but speak out.

So...what's this I hear about a tax on soda? This tax passed yesterday in Berkeley, CA! I didn't realize that this was a new movement trying to take hold across the nation. I've decided that I'm a little alarmed.

I used to be a soda junkie...albeit a diet soda junkie. The caveat is that "diet" soda is not getting the extra tax.

I surprised myself (and my husband) when I gave soda up in 2011. This was not easy. I drank soda all day long. My past (and current) employer provide soda and juice as well as coffee. I loved that perk. Now I appreciate the fact that my employer provides us with a water cooler. 

So why am I alarmed about this new tax and sincerely hope that the trend stops in Berkeley? I read a virtual bulletin board today and a large number of commenters were very happy with the new tax. Their arguments are that there is scientific "proof" that soda leads to diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and other health problems.

1st of all:  I strongly doubt that there is a scientific finding that claims to prove cause and effect between soda and illness. Instead I believe that the most they can do is make a strong correlation between soda consumption and the sugar related illnesses. I find it alarming that legislation is being introduced that essentially punishes a person who chooses to buy a soda instead of a bottled water. 

I'm sure some will argue that the Berkeley voters chose to tax themselves. I say baloney. Only the voters that chose to go to the polls during a mid-term election made this choice. 

There's a movement in this country to villainize "junk food". People feel that they "know better" than individuals making personal eating decisions. There's the debate about if it's really cheaper to buy fast food or junk food. It's become fairly well documented that food costs really are skewed with "junk food" on the cheaper end. (This LA Times article is just one example.) 

It is also well documented that there are indeed  "food deserts" -- predominately low income neighborhoods that do not have accessible healthy food sources. Trendy, high end grocery stores are typically geographically inaccessible as well as economically inaccessible.   The healthy farmer's market type foods are simply not available to entire segments of the population.

So why do I resent the implications that come from additional tax to "discretionary" food products? It's a slippery slope that sets a precedent that "some" have the power to influence the choices of "others". In fact, the result (maybe the intent) is to punish individuals for making what "some" consider to be poor choices. 

I'm not currently a soda drinker....so I am not directly affected. (Plus I don't live in Berkeley.) Here's the thing...it just feels very wrong. Maybe the new tax will re-direct consumers away from regular soda. If it does, it's likely that it will be replaced with diet soda. Right? And are we so sure that people are better off with diet soda? Not that long ago (in my lifetime) diet soda was sweetened with saccharin which was linked to cancer.

What I'm saying is... I shouldn't have the power to decide for someone else what they should or shouldn't drink. And I don't think others should have this power over me. Personal choices should not be subject to a popular vote.

This? This is what has moved me to talk politics on my blog. Unlike Emily.... I'm not going to reverse my position with a "never mind". 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What I've Been Up To...(And Lovin')

The weather is feeling like FALL...which I am LOVING. I've been enjoying the weather at our new place. I haven't told you much about our new place yet, but it's perfect for us. Our apartment faces the pool. I've spent a few mornings sitting under one of the pool's cabanas. 

Other things I've been enjoying include: 

Time with Sissy~and tea...


Yes Please!
Time with Sis and her sweet 

little puppy!


Time with a DEAR friend from

college! 

One of my absolute favorite people from college came to town twice in the last month! And I was able to see her both times. She is so special to me!

I just love spending time with her. 





My daughter came and we 


 guy's birthday.


These are just snippets of what I've been up to. I hope to write a more "meaty" post soon.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Right Buyers

Photo by: David Jenkins, via TMLS
Photo by: David Jenkins, via TMLS

 I mentioned seeing a townhouse online that looked like a possibility for a new home for us. The house had modern updates that J. and I love. It had accent walls and was bright and airy with hardwood floors. It was, in a word, lovely. The Realtor was laid back. After we had walked through the rooms (at least twice), David invited us to sit down and talk in the living room. It was a pleasure to spend more time in the inviting space. We sat and discussed the things we liked about the townhouse.

Photo by: David Jenkins, via TMLS
We talked about our house. We talked about how much we loved our home and how we made it a reflection of us. We told him that we had not upgraded the bathrooms and that there was no granite in the kitchen. David was unfazed. We told him that we had painted the rooms with bold colors. Again, calmness. He said neutral paint in order to sell a house was an outdated mindset. Character is what clients want. He said presentation is important in finding the right buyers. Good staging and good photography.
Photo by: David Jenkins, via TMLS



Jordan and I knew we found our real estate agent. He got us. He got our house. With his coaching we got the house ready to make the best presentation of our house. Really, staging is a matter of editing. The art was our art and the furniture was our furniture. The work we did was to de-clutter (think HGTV).

Listing my home made me feel so vulnerable. I mean, strangers are going to come into my house and critique it. No one likes to have something they created critiqued. David was a calming force and his confidence was encouraging. The house across the street was listed within days of our listing. The neighbor's had a different style from us. Their style was a lovely formal style. Their back yard had a lovely manicured lawn with well shaped bushes while our yard was more of an over-grown English garden. I worried that our house "wouldn't measure up". (Maybe I have issues....) Not to worry, David said. The buyers that will buy the house across the street are not the buyers that will want ours. Our buyers would be people that are drawn to a more casual and modern home. It's all a matter of getting the right buyers to find your home. 

As you already know, the right buyers did find our house. I feel like Sally Field when she gave her oscar speech. My version is: "You like my house, you really like me." And I'm so happy to hear that they really do like the house and are excited to make it their home. 

--If you live in the Triangle and need a real estate agent, send me an email and I'll give you his digits. I whole heartedly recommend him. 

P.S. All photos in these past posts were taken by our Realtor for the listing. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Right Real Estate Agent

Kitchen
Photo by: David Jenkins via TMLS
"This is where the decision will be made," he said. "Right here in the kitchen." Of course, I'm biased. I like the kitchen. I love the breakfast area with windows on three sides. I love the lighting we chose for the breakfast area. I love the lighting we chose for the "island" area of the prep area. I love how the table and the island work well in the space. 

The kitchen is bright and airy which the natural hardwood floors highlight.
I've always wanted a red kitchen... and this kitchen is red. 

The right Real Estate agent can make a huge difference in how well the process goes and our Realtor is the BEST

When we were entertaining the idea of downsizing we considered townhouses and condos as well as apartments. I'm so glad that we waited to list our house until we were comfortable that we found just the right person to work with.

Selling your house is deeply personal. It is an odd thing to try to remain objective. I mean, who wouldn't love everything we did to make the house modern? Right? Who wouldn't love all the things that we did to put our personal stamp on the place? But, of course, I know / knew that a personal style stamped on your home is not universally loved. So, the trick of thinking of the house as a business transaction and not my home is, well, tricky.
Kitchen
Photo by: David Jenkins via TMLS
We met our Realtor at one of his listings. I had seen the townhouse online and knew I would love it. The kitchen was bright...with white cabinets and black granite counters. There was a window over the sink (I love that!). The lower level had hardwood floors and the family room had a lovely blue accent wall.  I had to see it. It had some of the elements of what we had done in our home like, the flooring and color and a modern look. So we started with the potential of a new / smaller space and made an appointment to see that space with the listing agent. That turned out to be the BEST thing we could have done!
Kitchen, Dining Room
Photo by: David Jenkins via TMLS
I'd like to say that finding an agent based on their listings was our savvy approach. But, no. It wasn't a plan. We had no actual plan and I was a little bit terrified about that.

We met another agent a few weeks before and we talked with her about the market and what we could expect if we listed "now" and if we listed with her. She said the market was surprisingly "hot" right now. She encouraged us to move quickly as summer is nearing an end. I believe she was spot on with both of those thoughts. I decided to feel her out about what we should expect to get the house ready for market.  I told her that we upgraded all of the light fixtures and mentioned some of the features that we thought would matter. She was visibly disappointed when we told her that although we have updated light fixtures and new hardwood floors, had not replaced kitchen counters with granite. She was also discouraging because we haven't renovated the bathrooms. 

I told her...we used bold colors...but colors that we think work."Well," she said, "you'll want to go ahead get your house ready before listing it. You'll want to paint the walls a neutral, etc." But, I didn't want to paint our walls a neutral. What if I painted our walls neutral and the house didn't sell? Then I'd be living in a vanilla house. I said something about hesitating to paint and she said, "You have to commit. Before you list you just have to commit that you will do what you need to and you will sell the house." 

Clearly, she wasn't the "one". But, the agent that listed the modern, bright townhouse? He was the "one" and choosing the right one made all the difference.

I'll write more next time about the "right" fit. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Favorite Space (s)

Well...that didn't last long. I started with true intentions of blogging every day in September. 

#BLOGEVERYDAYINSEPT



What happened? Well...lots of things. My first September post alluded to changes going on in my world and then I dropped off the earth, or the web, as it were. I was actually "dis-connected"/offline. Well virtually disconnected (anyway). 

We sold our house. What?? Yes. You know, we really loved that house. We really enjoyed the updates we made to the house and making it "home". It was really "us". But...it was also a house designed for a larger household. I loved every single room in the house. But really...does an empty nest need four bedrooms? 

After some serious reflection we decided that we would like to live in a smaller footprint. Remember when I told you about our first house? My own words resinated with me.
This sweet house was about 1,000 square feet, which was perfect. We didn't need anything bigger. There is something to be said for a "just right size" home.
There IS something to be said for "just right". Although we loved our lovely, fun, funky home it was too big. Which is, of course, not "just right".

And so, with lots of thought and care, we went about working with a truly amazing Realtor. And "just like that" we sold the house. --Well, it wasn't really "just like that" but we did have a really good selling experience. I will share more on that next time.

In the meantime, I leave you with a picture of one of my favorite rooms.

Photo by: David Jenkins via TMLS

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Still Discovering My Home Town


Durham is decidedly a different place from the town that I left so many years ago. Of course, I'm decidedly different too. 

When I was growing up in my hometown my travel radius was pretty small. In fact, most of my destinations were outside of the city limits in the "county". Tobacco fields were a staple for the area. Pastures of horses and cows were sprinkled through out the area. 

It did not seem odd that the town I called home was known nationally as the "City of Medicine". Duke University Hospital and UNC Medical School are ten miles apart. I was fairly comfortable visiting the campus of both schools and felt that they both are a part of my home.

The schools brought professionals and academics from all over the world. My home town had a small town but diverse flavor. 

While "I was gone" I lived in several places. I spent ten years in the state's largest city which is a banking hub. This is less true today than it was ten years ago. Mergers and reorganizations have changed that landscape. But, when I was there I felt I was living in the heart of the South's metropolis. Looking back I realize that the population in the Bank Town was not nearly as diverse as my home town. 
I also lived in the Seattle/Bellevue, WA area for seven years before moving back to my home town. That was such a great experience. We lived in a downtown high rise and loved it. I had my first Turducken courtesy of my friend that relocated from New Orleans.  

When I relocated back to my hometown I paid very little attention to its foodie hype. I figured it was a sort of city self promotion. Many of my work colleagues had relocated from the Silicon Valley. One was from DC and one from Boston. I remember they talked about Chicken and Waffles. I don't think I had heard of this before and I could not imagine what this combination would taste like. I like chicken and I love waffles, but I had no desire to combine these.

But then I got curious. When I decided this was something I wanted to taste I found that the "Almost Famous" Chicken and Waffles restaurant always had a line. I mean always. But one afternoon one of my friends took me there. We got in because it was something like 5:00 (maybe earlier?).

Okay...I loved it. And I need to go back. 

I love that I am still discovering surprising experiences without leaving town.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Unofficial Start to Autumn

Autumn Sunshine 
Lots happening in my world. I clearly have not kept my blog readers up to date. Both Hubby and I continue to clean out and donate things we don't need. We are also going through years and years of papers. Oh my gosh we have a lot of paper. 

Last week I gave myself permission to "not keep" a momento that I've been carrying around from place to place for the last eleven years. I kept this momento because I wanted to use it as inspiration for a possible project. And, I didn't trust myself to remember what I need to. I've decided that I have what I need to remember. Giving up the paper reminder was freeing. In fact, I have given myself permission NOT to complete the project I had in mind. You know what? Not every good project has to be done. This is something I need to explore more. 

I was mourning the fact that some of my ideas and projects will not be feasible soon. But, now I'm feeling a little relief too. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer Daze


Hi, Hello, Have you missed my bright, shining face? I've missed you.

Did I tell you I found letters from my Grandmother? Of course I had not lost them...but when I had boxes and boxes of un-labeled papers they were quite inaccessible. Anyway, I found them and read each of again. Those are keepers. I don't quite know how best to "keep" them. Do I make a book with them? Right now they are in their original envelopes. Reading these letters felt like getting them anew. Letters from Grandma! What a treat.    

The letters included fun memories of antics we got into at her house during the summers. I think I've mentioned that my sisters and I spent summer days at her house. Mornings usually consisted of scraping new potatoes (outside) under the trees where a nice breeze could keep us cool. The potatoes were for lunch. Grandma sliced them really thin and seasoned them with salt, pepper and paprika and then fried them in the electric frying pan until they were just the right amount of crispy. 

Lunch also included things fresh from Grandpa's garden. Things like tomatoes.  Nothing better than a homegrown tomato on a tomato sandwich. Mayo on white bread and just a hint of salt and pepper on the tomato. That is what summer tastes like. 

Grandpa usually worked his garden in the morning before the summer heat became unbearable. And Grandma usually made a big lunch to feed him after he had worked so hard. They ate the big meal at lunch time. By the dinner time, they just wanted a small light bite. 

*Techno Disclaimer* I've seen a few Pinterest or FB posts that say something like, "I'm glad my childhood was before technology or social media....things were simpler, etc."  I want to be sure that my trips down memory lane don't imply that my childhood falls into that category. I have a very different opinion. 

Technology was part of my youth and I have no regrets about that. I had a small transistor radio that I listened to. Loved its portability and the fact that I was never far from my music. I had a Swinger Polaroid camera. LOVED IT. I also had a Kodak Instamatic and took tons of pictures on that. I had a tape recorder and loved to tape random soundbites that I could replay over and over. And the telephone! I had a telephone in my room. I had the phone numbers of my besties on my bulletin board and usually called one friend after another (under the pretense of getting help on homework). 

If there were cell phones I would have tried to have one. If I could talk my Dad into it, I imagine I would have used all of the minutes within a day or two. I would have loved to take pics with a smartphone and see them instantly! And be able to share instantly. How cool I would have thought that was. 

I think I enjoyed both the technology that was available in the '70s (and beyond) and summer days outside. I'm enjoying my adulthood with technology and social media and I STILL enjoy sitting outside on a breezy sunny day. That's the cool thing about having our technology...we can engage or disengage from it at any time. The added cool thing is that we can use technology to engage MORE with others. When I got on FB, I lived on the opposite coast from my sisters and cousins. FB helped me stay in touch. Now that I'm back on the east coast, I love to stay in touch with my WA friends via FB. Postcards and letters and even phone calls just don't have the same immediacy.

My take: If you want to enjoy a summer day by making home-made ice cream...use the hand crank machine (or an electric one...it's up to you). Take pics (or don't). Post pics (or don't). Eat. (Definitely eat).  The ice cream will taste as sweet with a pic or without. Either way, home made ice cream is a treat. 

That's just my two cents. (That lion didn't invent the phrase. He just overuses it.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What I've Been Reading Lately


You know I've been furiously de-cluttering and giving away things. I'm getting into the "Less is More" groove. One of the obstacles...nay...opportunities...was that I have a ridiculous number of books. I found several books in my "to be read" category. They were not in a single place. No, they were all over the house. One here, one there. 

I did my "organizing" during the weekend, so during the evenings on work nights I dedicated myself to reading the books I've been meaning to find time for. I'm sharing about the books that moved me. 

Let me say that I read one book that I was bored with and thought when does it get better. Turns out...it didn't. I won't re-hash that one for you. (You're welcome.) I do want to mention that it was fiction and it had way too many characters that got to tell their point of view of the same events in alternating chapters. Note to author: some of your readers (me) can barely keep up with the narrative of her own family/husband...much less more than one or (at the very most) two narrators in a novel. 

Interestingly, the books that enthralled me were memoirs.

I read I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship on a vacation last Fall. LOVED IT. This one is staying in my possession...even with my self imposed policy to donate or share books I've already read. I just can't part with this one yet. As you can imagine from the title and cover, it's writers sharing stories of their complicated relationships with their dogs. Many are purely sweet and most are laugh out loud funny.

The Daily Coyote is a book I was reading and misplaced...mid read. {I'm telling you...organized I'm not.} I knew I would find it and during my "cleanse" I did. The first thing that struck me about this book is the breathtaking photography. Shreve Stockton has an eye for amazing images. Of course, the coyote is a pup during the early portion of the book...so cuteness does abound. But, the landscape really stands out, both visually and as an important part of the story. Stockton fearlessly lives her dreams, including riding a Vespa cross country before "landing" in a small Wyoming town for this chapter of her life. I enjoyed the vicarious experience.  One of the things I appreciated is that Stockton tells her story without sentimentalizing it. She never loses sight of the fact that the coyote she cares for is, at his core, a wild animal.

Let's Take the Long Way Home is beautiful and soulful capturing a precious and deep friendship that is so rare. Both women have a strong connection with her own dog before they "really" meet each other. Their friendship grows as a result of the outings that they each take with their dogs.

Their friendship deepens as they each push to further their sculling skills. There is something about sharing in this physically demanding sport that enhances their friendship.

It's a rare memoir that explores the deep bonds that women have in their friendships.

I don't want to give too much away here. The book is equal parts "woman and her dog"; "woman excelling in a strenuous sport" both individually and together; "woman and her best friend".  It's powerful.
Weekends with Daisy may be the best "My Dog Changed my Life" stories I've read.  BONUS: The dog does NOT die! Sharon Luttrell is mourning before she meets Daisy. She's mourning the loss of her German Shepherd, her long time companion. She's mourning the change in her relationship with her children as they pull away in adolescence. Joy and purpose are fleeting for her. 

Luttrell enters a service dog training program. The program is primarily focused on prison inmates being paired with dogs that they train during the week. Weekend trainers/puppy raisers provide additional real world exposure for the dog. The weekend trainer must make sure that the dog learns to stay focused no matter where they are or what is happening. Things like going to the grocery store, or to a restaurant or the doctor. Absolutely every errand or trip that is made includes the service dog trainee. 

It's not all cuteness and rainbows. This type of training doesn't come naturally for Luttrell. It's work. Daisy's primary trainer (and inmate) becomes a mentor for Luttrell adding to the depth and richness of the experience.

After writing about these I want to read them again. I think I read them too fast. I want to re-read and savor. Unfortunately for me....these books are already in transit to their new homes.

Friday, July 4, 2014

HAPPY....HAPPY...HAPPY


The 4th is such a cool holiday. All festive and happy and summer. It usually means hot dogs and cookouts and watermelon or strawberry shortcake. This year was no exception. The plan was hotdogs at Sissy's house...like we did a couple of years ago. But...the A/C in her house stopped working. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Happy Place


It was routine surgery really. But it was my first. I wasn't scared so much as nervous and uncomfortable. The doctor came to talk to me just before I got wheeled into the OR. "How are you feeling?" he asked. I told him where I hurt and he said, "we're going to fix that". Those words were oddly comforting. We are going to fix that.  So nice to hear someone so confident that "it" can be fixed and they can do the fixing. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Do you remember Pesky Squirrel?

It's hard to believe it's been over three years since our relationship with pesky squirrels began. You may remember that when we first moved here we set out to make our backyard a sanctuary for birds and the occasional chipmunk but a certain squirrel was eating all the food. Thus began our battle:
This squirrel is brash, I tell ya, brash!
At first it was just a battle of wits. But then the guy made a hole in our porch screen and helped himself to an un-opened bag of bird seed.
Seriously! A squirrel was bold enough to come INTO the house.  This squirrel just was not to be deterred.  This bird seed?  Must be like crack for squirrels!  It causes squirrels to commit bolder crimes.

I'm not sure when it "happened". I guess it didn't happen all at once. But sometime between then and now the squirrels have become part of our backyard party. I think it became a game that Jordan and I were winning. We cut back nearby trees so that there was not easy access to the feeders. It actually took two years for one of the squirrels to figure out how to get on the feeders. He was aided by some very rogue shrubs that grew up around the feeders. We had to give props to the little guy when we saw the acrobatics involved in the bird feeder dining.

One fella has gotten fairly proficient. But some of the others have tried and failed. They always seem to bounce back...so there's little to worry about. The birds have shown that they can manage to eat with a silly squirrel on the feeder. So we've kind of taken a let's not let it be too easy...but, we don't mind if one or two squirrels are able to outsmart the obstacle course to the feeder. See? What a difference a few years can make.