Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wordy Wednesday: Have You Ever?

A few years ago, I saw this and checked off my list. I was 66 at the time and I had done 66 items!  Well at 70 I've just done a few more, some I never intend to do and others ...yea maybe and I really really want that helicopter ride!  How about you???? How's your take on this life list??? Maybe you can get some done in 2015. Maybe.

(updated to correct some missing ones)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain. 
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch 
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept in an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Pari
s51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason  
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy 
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Travel With Me Tuesday: Cars & More in Turin

Certainly not on my bucket list, the auto museum made Dick very happy and I joked that it was because he was as ancient as many of the cars! Actually, that's only half an exaggeration.  Me? I've never had any interest in old cars but I do like seeing other parts of a city so it all balanced.

Monday, December 29, 2014

AAM Monday: Holiday Excursion

We really haven't done much or gone anywhere this holiday season and that has been fine with me. I didn't do my traditional December Daily pages but I suspect I will next year. Or maybe next year will find us in London or somewhere in Italy...who knows!

But a few years back we went to DC to see the poinsettias at the Botanical Gardens. It was a sunny brisk day and we had a great time. We made a whole day of it and also had lunch in DC. This trip was a bit simpler on an overcast day after Christmas. The conservatory IS just gorgeous. It must have been something back in its day but today it's in a not so great part of town and looks a bit forlorn

Now DC had poinsettias up the gazoo but Baltimore does its best without the benefit of federal tax dollars that DC has. There was a $5 contribution per person which I semi-reluctantly gave but gave in to the spirit of generosity.

The orchid room was bathed in a hazy blue light but did show the difference that light makes for the same plants. The tree of poinsettias looked a lot bluer than those back in the hallway. Both however, were Orion plants. Yes, an overexposed shot but you get the point.

Afterwards, we wandered around Hampden, had an espresso (which I regretted at Midnight...), checked out some vintage shops and had great ice creams at The Creamery. By then it really was drizzling and we decided to drive down to and across 34th Street. Most of the holiday crowds were either not coming or it was just too early. Fine with me, as I jumped out of the car, took a few snaps and then it was home in time to settle in for a bit before the PBS Call the Midwife special and the Downton Abbey review. Please God, do no force me to watch Bernadette Peters for that long ever again.  Is she paralyzed or is it a full body Botox? And really PBS....did we need that may previews?

Well say goodbye to the 34th street lights for this year. Make sure to do a Baltimore run in 2015!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Five on Friday: December 26, 2014

Happy Boxing Day to all! don't know what that holiday is? check it out. As for me and mine, we are just having a quiet day chez nous.

1. Yesterday we had a giant bowl of fish chowder and invited people to come when the felt like it for a cup and a cheese scone. I knew those giant mugs from Starbucks would come in handy some day.

2. As we did very little decorating for Christmas, there is little to do for the dismantling. However, the one missing plastic bin of Christmas things has yet to appear. "I" suspect it is in plain sight up in the attic which is also "his" office. While I avoid going up there, I plan to do a thorough search mid January. But I still wonder...

3. At some point this holiday,  I'm wondering if we can still get ourselves up to Baltimore's 34th Street. It's been a few years since we ooohed and ahhed over this kitchy bit of Hampden fun. A narrow street of row houses with lights going across the street in addition to all the houses blinged out!

2003 - me and my daughter and his daughter

4. I'm have had a good time reading again, and am finishing up The Orphan Train. Definitely a part of American History I didn't know. I recommend it.

5. The Knee Saga continues. On Christmas eve, I had my 'final' checkup with my knee surgeon.  Everything is A-ok, my progress is excellent and I feel very good. No more PT, but continue with exercises at home. Yea!!!

Now you go and have a great weekend...maybe sale shopping or maybe just chill out before a back to work for many.  Holiday Blessings to all.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Worded Wednesday: December 24, 2014

Some Wednesdays it just seems like it's time for a few wise words.  Holiday meltdown coming? Ponder this...

seen here

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Travel With Me Tuesday: Day 3 Lunch in Turin

My dh and I were certainly not on the same wavelength regarding food on this trip. I think he would have picked pizza for every meal outside of breakfast. I was more inclined to have pasta and/or raw or dried meats. As we were so close to the Alps and Switzerland, the dried meat I love was plentiful and affordable.  I wanted local specialties not endless variations on pizza and certainly not so many carbs daily.

I also think that he could not translate the menu fast enough and make a decision fast enough when the waiter was standing there, pencil in hand. Had I felt better, I might have had more patience translating the menu for him. Meals were becoming an issue and I just didn't have the energy for it.

Monday, December 22, 2014

AAM Monday: Cheese on Toast

Back in my years of living in England, one of my favorite home lunches or suppers was cheese on toast and/or mushrooms on toast. Growing up, or even when I was first married and living in Texas, I almost never used a broiler. The broiler was usually on the bottom of the oven, so it was just about on the floor. You'd put whatever was to be broiled on the slotted pan, shut the door and then have to guess how long it might take or when to open the door. Leaning down and peering in was no fun, but even worse was cleaning the large broiler pan which was always a mess.  Then came the days of aluminum foil and covering the tray seemed, to us, to be a wasteful thing as the foil was usually thrown away even if the idea of washing it was occasionally considered.

But there in 1968 England, I had a 'cooker' rather than a range and the broiler pan was now called a 'grill pan' and it was up at eye level. A totally separate bit of cooking equipment. I loved it. Of course, cheese was a big staple in England and back in the late 60s the idea of cholesterol was fortunately not a worry for people. The cheeses we ate were natural and came from 'contented cows', often from a farm not far away.  My favorite was Wensleydale which melted beautifully and on a thick slice of real bread, possibly baked that day at a local bakery, cheese on toast was wonderful. Just add a dollop of Branston Pickle and ah....pure comfort food.

Yesterday, I did my best to recreate this on short notice at home. We had just made a loaf of English Muffin bread and I had slices of swiss cheese as well as some fresh mushrooms.  A thick slice of bread, a layer of sliced mushrooms, a slice of swiss, another layer of sliced mushrooms and another slice of swiss cheese. Into the toaster over, and 5 minutes or so and the broiler there did its job. No way as good as those meals in England but somedays you just have to take what you can get. It filled the tummy on a December day and that was the point.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Travel With Me Tuesday: Trudging Round Turin Day 3

I decided to make these pages as full photos and then a long journaler to tell the story. I like to do that once in a while and not worry about where on the page to put my journaling. A lot of this morning involved trying to find the Apple store and me also trying to find a place to sit down. My knee knew that this trip was not the best idea.

Monday, December 15, 2014

AAM Monday: Legal but not Moral

Some years ago, when I went back to college to finish my B.A. after a divorce, I took several Ethics classes as part of my requirements.  I was at a Catholic college, College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, and one class I really enjoyed was Legal Ethics. I had spent a decade in government/politics and saw the ways the law affected people for good and not so good. Many of the students were planning to go to law school and that was an idea I was considering also. fwiw, I am not a practicing Catholic and rarely even identify myself as Christian. Spiritual yes, religious no.

However, the part of the class I recall most clearly was when our professor asked how far each of us would go to get that 'win' for our client.  Would you do this? would you do that? would you totally annihilate a witness to convince the jury?  When we got into details, I was shocked that so many of my fellow students were very clear that they would do 'anything' to win. Anything. Our prof asked us if we considered that, above a legal standard, there might be a higher moral standard to observe. Many said that would have no bearing on their behavior. As long as the law did not forbid something it was acceptable. (Today, think of the treatment afforded to so so many in recent rape trials.)

Now do note that this was at a Catholic college, and our professor was a Jewish chaplain at Shock Trauma. He was truly a good man but I've often wondered how often he had classes with students who saw no moral principles higher than what the law allowed or at least didn't forbid. Did these students have no internal principles or values or was it just do whatever you could get away with? for the almighty $.   I used to wonder what were the views of students in a secular college? Did ethics and moral values even come into play if these students who chose a religious school didn't seem to incorporate them into future work behavior?

Why am I remembering this now? Well Facebook is riddled with people who seem to think the same way.  WWJD appears to be replaced by "... I don't give a shit how we gathered information from terrorists.' Is this what we have become? We stoop to the lowest level that we rightly condemn in others?

 If so, God help us.

Torture "The world’s governments did not negotiate a treaty banning it under all circumstances because it’s ineffective. They did so because it is immoral, inhumane and unacceptable — even if it works." David Cole, a professor at Georgetown Law

Friday, December 12, 2014

Five on Friday: December 12, 2014

There is a bit of Christmas showing round our house. Not a lot but enough to make it feel a bit festive. We have our skinny old kitchen tree and one band of lights do not work.  But hey, it's a tree and it's up and the cookie cutters are on it so...

Now it's time to get rid of the clutter on the dining room table. Some stuff goes to charity and some stuff goes back upstairs until the reverse decoration process starts.

1. Speaking of that tree, my dh usually is not very enthused about a tree at all. However before my surgery (Nov 11) he asked if he should bring the tree up then! Uh no....and I wasn't even sure I really cared if one went up at all.  Now he believes the tree should have 'more color' meaning MORE real ornaments.  I am not enthused.

2. I am trying to figure out how to back up one folder on an EHD  with my Time Machine. Usually my dh knows some of these odd things but this time he just can't understand why I don't just back up the whole EHD with Time Machine. Mainly because my Time Machine is a 2T and the folder in question is on a 3T. 

3. So far there has been no baking chez moi. I feel a bit obliged to bake something but I am just as happy to miss those calories. Bake something and not eat it? That's not quite in my realm of doable just yet. Maybe these since I don't care for peppermint. Well I tolerate it. Oh who am I kidding. I'd scarf one or two or..

recipe here

4. We got a sweet note from one of the granddaughters. It was addressed as from Mommy and Me but inside the paper was folded into a small square to let me know she was sending me a present.  I suppose she wanted to be sure no one else read it! LOL

5. Fleece! ok, Polartec fleece. I have had a great time getting a couple of vests and pullovers with the daily sales at Lands End.  Now I'd be happy with just one more pair of warm sweats or fleece pants to get me through February.  Moving less than normal still makes me feel the cold more.

Well, that's all from me today. Going out for a bit with a friend and then a German dinner tonight! Hope your weekend is full of good things and that the necessary things get done easily. Ciao!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

TBT: Thanksgiving 1962

This is a photo of my dh back 53 years ago. He was 23 then and apparently home from college in Detroit. I look at the room and it makes me think of the photos from my xh's home back in the 1950s. The styles were quite similar with the glass doors to a (screened?) porch, the doors covered in sheer curtains. The set of encyclopedias in the bookcase that came with them. African violets on the radiator cover? The Saturday Evening Post magazine on a table, and a soft drink in a bottle. A recliner chair for Dad and a lamp that shone light up and down. 

Interestingly, both families had dogs named Mitzi. I don't think Mitzi is a very common dog's name these days at all and I wonder why it was considered a good name for a dog then. Perhaps veterans from WWII started using this name and it stuck? But neither of my late fathers in law were in the military's still a mystery.

In any case, 1962 as it was back then in Washington DC.

Monday, December 8, 2014

AAM Monday December 8, 2014

Today is a busy day with PT and then his going out to lunch with old workmates, the cleaning ladies bi-weekly session, and then the visit of a friend for an exchange of my frozen Hatch chiles for one of her sour cherry cobblers.  I hope in between some of these things to get a nap and/or some good icing of my knee.

Yesterday was a relatively early morning out with friends and the cold air really felt good. I can't say I'd be able to stay out in it for a long time but it gets my brain cleared quickly and I need it, especially in the morning.

Saturday was a 1st post surgery - I started and let dh finish up and mix a meatloaf for dinner. I usually use a jarred sofrito or just a medium salsa for the 'liquid' but when he bought the salsa, he bought one with habaneros, which didn't surprise me. However it did make the meatloaf spicier than even I usually make it for him.  Mrs. Renfro's may be a go-to for us now.

the basic recipe I use for meatloaf

In any case, I didn't have or want any meatloaf but had been craving some shrimp. As Saturday was a serious rain day, I figured the Thai carryout in the next block would suffice and I had a shrimp with various veggies. Not my usual red curry with coconut milk but still very good. I have been rather neglectful of the whole photo taking process lately and hope to get back into my groove. Maybe that will be a week 5 goal.

Anyhow that's some of what's happening round here. Nothing major and that's just fine with me!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Five on Friday: December 5, 2014

Life continues, still a bit slowly, round here. Each day sees more knee recovery but only if I notice things.  My mood has improved greatly after a serious melt down of very depressed feelings on Monday. Just talking it out with my dh seemed to resolve it.  Blessings abound!

1. Grilled cheese....this is something I could still eat most every day, but don't. Such a strange craving except it sure is comfort food, isn't it.

2. My appetite has not come back in full force which I don't mind as I hope to lose a bit more weight while this is the case. However, the Trader Joe's Christmas goodies flyer had me tempted a bit. Not much but a bit. I think a lot of the feeling was good memories of some tasty but oh-so-not-necessary treats in the past. And Porchetta? Oh this one really calls to me as I know I don't have the energy to do one myself any time soon and porchtta is sooooo good.

3.One of the things they don't tell you pre-surgery is about the serious mood swings and unexplained periods of unexpected tears and feelings that nothing is of interest or worthwhile. I call this depression or sadness but it took me totally by surprise. However it's normal and fades.

4. Today I had two excursions out - my thrice weekly PT session and then, while I could just as happily stayed home for the rest of the day, a trip to Best Buy to get a new printer. Oh Epson you have sorely let me down with my still new 'old' one. Neither I nor dh could get it to work right and not suck down ink at the same time. Boo hiss.  I will offer it to others freely but with a big caveat.  I now have a Canon MG 7520. It's a pretty white (very Mac like) and it printed a lovely recipe as my first test.  Time will tell though as I print some real photos.

5. December Daily? or any of the variations going round? I am sorry not to be doing it this year but I haven't finished up my 30 Days of Thankful and really don't have the get up and go to find things so far this December to document. Me sleeping in various parts of the house? I think not. However, that hasn't stopped me from buying the occasional new digital Christmas supply. You never know when you might need a glossy Santa!

Have a great weekend everyone and I hope to get more back into the blogging swing next week.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five on Friday: November 28, 2014

Where did November go? well, for me it was spent in the hospital and rehab so that I could come home today with a brand new, mostly functional knee! For the most part, it's been an easy journey with, while I hesitate to say it, almost no pain or narcotics. I know that isn't everyone's experience but it has been mine and I am truly GRATEFUL. Now on to ....more and more Physical Therapy and practice getting comfortable with a new body part! Oh yeah, and lots of rest. Many friends have said that doing 1 thing a day is about the most they could do for a while. So far, I've found that to be pretty much on the mark.

1. In one day I learned that Vicodin and I are not friends.  I felt as if my brain was outside of my head, which I guess pretty much sums up being 'out of one's mind'. Extra strength Tylenol and I have a good relationship.

2. After the daily sessions of physical and occupational therapy, I have been pretty content to ice my knee with the the trusty AirCast machine. I love the ease of this little beauty.

3. Other than a quick glance at the BBC and WashingtonPost headlines on my phone, I have been content to mostly ignore the news. I believe the world had gone on its not so merry way without my attention. My body is the better for that.

4. There has been a lot of time to think and reflect on  my life these past two weeks. I feel that in some way it's been like being on a semi silent retreat. I have a private room and other than the nurses and PTs I really don't have to talk to anyone if I don't want to. I have been willing to listen to others and hear their stories. As I recently read, sometimes all that is necessary is to say "Me too."

5. What, if anything, do I miss? this view from my window from dawn to dusk. Watching the leaves fall, the wind shaking the limbs, the snow quickly turning to rain and back and forth as Mother Nature played her games with us. The view calmed my soul and reminds me I need to be outside some time each day.

November has been good to me, and I hope it has been the same for you. May we all have a December filled with love and peace.

Monday, November 10, 2014

30 Days of Thankful CatchUP

Trying to get a bunch of loose ends caught up here today and then pack my hospital suitcase. The only thing I am not looking forward to is being awakened every four hours to have blood work done while in hospital. I'm not good with that at the best of times! Hopefully, the drugs will make me a bit less squeamish.

See you on the other side!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

Five on Friday: November 7, 2014

So much of my life recently has been concerned with the upcoming surgery. It's amazing what a time suck that has been but I do go to be tired and sleep well. Good thing since the hospital is no place for sleeping!

1. 30 Days of Grateful - I'm doing this project and enjoying it a lot. Here's yesterday's page.

2. They said at the hospital, when dh (my coach for the 3 days in hospital) had a "Joint Camp "Class, that people often don't feel like eating much the days after surgery. Apparently one woman lost 30 lb! I suspect that included the total of 8 weeks recovery time, but in any case I'd love for that to happen!

3. Yesterday, we had a day of rain, sunny, fog roll in, and a good rain storm. I was continuously adjusting my layers of clothing. But that's what layers are for, I guess. Not just fashion. This was just before the rain storm.

4. This weekend will be packing time for me. One batch for the hospital stay which won't include much more than the basics, and then a suitcase for rehab. Rehab is the time that I  have hopes of using the laptop. Hospital time? more likely free time will be nap time, in'shallah.

5. DH has been given Laundry 101 lessons. He's going to be ok with the washer and dryer, though one time he was about to start the load without adding detergent. Actually, I think with most of our stuff, just the water would do but.... What is going to be difficult for him is putting my clothes away. He said I have so many rules! I think it's that women have more categories of clothing. 

That's all for now folks! Most likely I will be off doing medical things for the next two weeks. We'll see! But in any case, I hope you will have a marvelous weekend and time to be grateful for the many wonderful good things in your life. Try a gratitude list! It really works.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

TBT: Two Brothers 70 Years Ago

While I told another story about my father's family in WWII, this page relates more to my father.

I have my knee surgery on November 11th and I thought that considering how much my father went through, I can count on his support from above.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

30 Days of Thankful: Day 5

I'm grateful for my tea every morning but today I had an especially warm feeling of gratitude for the grandson who bought me this mug. Yes, I'm a USC grandparent. Go Cocks!

Wordless Wednesday: November 5, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

30 Days of Thankful: Day 4

Travel With Me Tuesday: Day 2 in Torino

This is mainly my day in Turin as I spent the afternoon taking a nap after not getting much sleep the prior night. 'His' day was different as he spent a lot of time in a museum while I slept.

30 Days of Thankful: Day 3

Our Jotul seems to have 'an issue' and while it still isn't fixed, he gave it his best.

Monday, November 3, 2014

AAM Monday: WITL Monday

This Week in the Life  project may become bogged down as I have so many things I want to get done before hospital time. I really don't know how much I'll be able to scrap while in rehab and if any project gets put on hold it will be this one. But I do have some days done and if nothing else there will be another sub folder on my computer in the folder of Works in Progress. You know how it is...don't you??

Yes, this day was hospital related. What can I say? That's how it is round here now.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

30 Days of Thankful - Day 2

Many things to be thankful so far today but I picked the first thought I had this am.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

30 Days of Thankful - Day 1

This is going to be made into a 6" printed book since so many of the days this month will find me in the hospital and a rehab. I am making it as simple as can be with either words or a photo or on the reeeeally good days, both.  Today is both, and I've started prepping a few more pages with the numbers. All photos will be the same size though I suspect I will have a few that are horizontal too.

Are you doing this project? It's a wonderful way to look at the small things that make our lives so very good.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

TBT: Children, Tilt Your Heads -1970s

In almost all of the photos of my dh, his head is tilted. I've often commented on it AND the fact that he holds his head tilted almost all the time in real life. Thus, I have little patience for complaints about aching necks when I suggest that a solution might be holding his head up straight. Obviously he didn't get the standard advice of the day from parents or teachers to imagine a string in the top center of his head pulling it straight up. Posture, posture!

But in seeing the photographs of his children in grade school, there it is again...the dreaded head tilt. From the oldest to the youngest. I would say this was a quirk of the American school system except their father does the same thing.  A family mystery.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week In the Life 2014 - Sunday

This is a project I've done in the past and decided to do again with Ali Edwards. I made templates of my own based on older ones of hers and decided to go with 6x8 since I knew I could get a small album at Target or one of the craft stores and even print at home if I felt like it.

I star my week with Sunday so this is the first day. A day spent watching tv but trying to get up during every darn commercial that On Demand now includes. There was a LOT of muting and walking breaks.

And yes, that's how I feel about David Tennant. Of course, I like the happy face better but...

This year's WITL is going to be as simple as I can make it. We all know that such projects are more likely to get done if they're like that, at least for me.  Are you doing this one this year?

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