Friday, May 30, 2014

Five on Friday: May 30 2014

1. One of the pitfalls of doing scrapbook pages from another year is that  I (you too?) tend to forget which year this actually is. I was doing some data entry from a spreadsheet to a data base at one of my volunteer jobs and I must have entered three dates before I caught that they were September 2014. Uh...that hasn't happened yet, has it? But for a moment I wondered if this year was 2015 and last fall WAS 2014.  Fortunately, the original mistake wasn't mine! Phew!



2. Do you want to see pretty things for free? How about this magnificent art, now free, from the Met.  Other than the one above, there are downloadable Picassos, ancient art, Rembrandts etc. Apparently, initial demand crashed their site. Apparently, I was asleep for this announcement.

3. Mangoes. I adore them and while I miss the luxury of having a maid present me with a plate of beautiful mango slices, I'm grateful that they are now readily available in Maryland. This was not the case 30 years ago. Some things do remain the same if you have to eat the mango on your own. For me, it's 1. always eating it over the sink and 2. spending endless time getting those pesky fibers from between my front teeth. Time to get more dental floss during the height of mango season.

4. Years ago, I bought a peony plant and planted it as near to the house as I could so I'd see it and enjoy my blossoms. Of course, these stubborn little gems take a while to actually bloom. I think it was close to 5 years. When they did, ugh...I had bought a deep fuschia peony plant.  What I want is a variegated pale pink or white or either of those two colors.  I may finally bite the bullet and buy the kind I want this fall. And then wait....



5. The humidity has returned.  That is a statement, not a complaint but you know what I really mean!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

TBT New Office in 2001

Just look at that computer. I was thrilled with the new office, even if it wasn't really furnished yet, and was darn cold.  But take a look at that computer! It was a new model and fast. Looking at it now you'd think it was ages ago.


Monday, May 26, 2014

AAM Monday Project Life

It's been a bit slow round here lately but I do have weeks that have been done.  Today may be the day that I do the past week or two or maybe not. You can never tell how a Monday works out.








I think some of the weeks that I'll be doing now will be one pagers. That's the beauty of Project Life and all the weekly scrapping styles like this. Totally flexible!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Five on Friday: May 23, 2014

1. Sometimes hanging out on Pinterest is a rabbit hole of time gone but other times you see something terrific or clever or a combo of those. Here's one.


2. Ok, back to my thoughts. As much as I get rid of clutter, more seems to rise to the surface. I know, dear God I hope, it will balance someday but other times I feel as if I'm on a hamster treadmill.

3. Summer class registration came early this month and I finally got round to signing up for classes I wanted. I decided to take water aerobics and give my knee a break but found I could not sign up for the yoga at the same time. Since I pay the same amount whether I take one class or ten, I didn't quite get it. The water aerobics is Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the chair yoga is only on Friday. I planned to skip Friday aerobics so I could do the yoga but there was no way the computer could understand that! I will just tell my yoga teacher I'm coming but not signed up 'officially'. Hope that works for her.

4. You wannna see gorgeous, as in drool on your keyboard gorgeous, well take a look over here.  I don't know if I really want to make such things because I know I would eat it all! ALL.

5.Tis the season - for salads. Mason jar salads. I have been meaning to try this method for some time but with the cold, cold winter we've had I really wanted more substantial food. I would have been better off with some salads but comfort won out.

Peppermint has one of the clearest descriptions of how she makes hers. One Little Bird Mason Jar Salads. I'll have to check for some 1.5 pint jars amongst my canning supplies because I agree, a pint is not enough. If not, head to WalMart fast!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

ThrowBack Thursday - May 22, 2014


As we are in the season of graduations, here's a high school graduation shot of my 2nd son in Paris. A great picture of him on what must have been a beautiful day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Travel With Me Tuesday: Spain 2008 Granada

This turned out to be one of my most enjoyable days in Spain. The beautiful weather certainly helped. Seeing the Alhambra was a very moving experience for me. The Arab architecture and design were things I was often unable to see in the years that I lived in the Middle East because of conflict and revolution.  A cultural gap was filled.





Monday, May 19, 2014

AAM Monday - Reading and Not Reading

We are great buyers of used books, both for ourselves and for a boys' middle school in Washington DC - Washington Jesuit Academy. But as you readers know, volume in should at least try to equal volume out. However, our favorite book donation site has closed their annual book sale and thus the site where most of our 'read' books go is now history. Fortunately, my dh has found another location where we can donate but I seriously will miss the ability to donate at Stone Ridge and buy at their famous sale.

For me, this means that I am trying to cut down on my purchase of books. I'm even trying to cut back on the # of books that I request from the library. There are always new books in the newspaper that catch my fancy. Ok, in magazines, on Goodreads, well most everywhere. I can't bring more in!

What I've decided to try and do is read books I already have on my shelves, in boxes, here and there all around my house. Try. You know how it is when you buy something that you like, think you'd like or that just is a 'good buy'.  Then it sits round your house and later you look at it and wonder...What was I thinking? why did I buy this? oh I forgot I had this!  Well, that's the process I'm in.


Some of the books I found and started have almost immediately gone into the Give Away category. Out into the universe for someone else to try. Others have been ones I felt I should read and decided I just don't want to read. This stage of my life is not Literature 207 or some externally dictated must. If I don't want to read it, I won't.  No guilt.

Now there is an increasing large pile for my dh to add to the database he keeps of donated books for tax purposes. Fortunately, it's also up to him to get those books out of our house.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Five on Friday: May 16, 2014

1. Yes, it is now the season for air conditioning. I knew it would come soon, but considering this is about a month later than our normal, I can't complain, today i.e.  Complaints most likely in about August.

2. You love fonts too, don't you? Then check out this site that Elise Blaha Cripe found.  The fonts are free and they have great ampersands. Fun, fun, fun.



3. Slowly, quite slowly, I'm working my way through the Photo Artistry course. There are so many good things to learn that I know I need to take my time. I've been pretty good about using PSE shortcuts, but there are so many more. Use, use, use each new one until it's etched in both my memory and my fingers. btw, I bought this course for the sale price. If it's at the $297. price when you check, do know that it goes on sale for half price periodically.

4. I rarely let my iPhone run out of a charge mainly because I rarely talk on the phone. However for those who do, this is pretty cool since it doesn't change the size or weight of your phone.


5.  It appears that I will be able to take a break from Hospice cooking for about 6 weeks.  When I go back, I expect to spend a whole day making about 3  meals to be frozen for the next week. I hope this works out for all of us. July traffic going to and from the Eastern Shore can be a nightmare. (Beach traffic for those of you not familiar with my area.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Travel With Me Tuesday: Spain 2008 Gibraltar

After our day in Ronda, we headed off to a bit of Britain - Gibraltar. An amazing site to see just coming up out of the water like that. A money change to the British pound from the Spanish euro.

The day was very windy and overcast which was also weather that induced us to buy some leather coats for ourselves. I hadn't planned to get a coat but it's one I've worn a lot since then. A good buy!



Monday, May 12, 2014

AAM Monday: Reflections on Time


Yesterday, we took a drive down Interstate 81 to Harrisonburg, Virginia, to a book sale. We haven't been down there for quite a while, a year or more, and it was a beautiful day for the drive. I have always been aware that the drive takes us through Civil War territory but it's mostly been in the back of my mind. Not on this trip.



This year, the road was dotted with signs and a lot of sprucing up of towns that played a role in the many Civil War battles.  If Northern Virginia is Mosby territory, my dh told me that the Shenandoah valley is Stonewall Jackson territory.  Both Confederate officers, Colonel Mosby and General Jackson, still have Virginia schools named after them which tells you that you are in the South.

This is the 150th anniversary of many of those battles and it got me to thinking. 75 years ago my dh was born. That means that when he was born, it was also 75 years ago that these battles took place.  Just one lifetime away. 

When I was a child of about 10 we drove from Maryland to Florida one winter for a very special Christmas vacation. Before interstates, this was quite a drive, and I clearly recall my father pointing out the 'Sherman' monuments' as we entered the deep south. Homes that had been burnt in General Sherman's March to the Sea from Atlanta, no longer existed except for brick chimneys and the occasional wall. The areas we drove through back in 1954 still reflected a defeated Confederacy and the poverty that remained after this scorched earth policy. Had I really understood this it would have made me realize that I could be seeing people a bit older than myself who had grandfathers who fought in our Civil War, or the War Between the States, as it is still known in this part of the US.

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, May 12 a day in which 17, 000 lives were lost in a 22 hour period. "Clubbed muskets, and bayonets were the modes of fighting for those who had used up their cartridges, and frenzy seemed to possess the yelling, demonic hordes on either side." By dawn, when Union forces approached the trenches,  "They were lying literally in heaps, hideous to look at. The writhing of the wounded and dying who lay beneath the dead bodies moved the whole mass..." 

Just two lifetimes ago.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Five on Friday: May 9 2014

1. It's hard to believe it's May. Today I felt like I was back in an English day, with mist and damp, neither not hot nor cold.  Kind of strange but not bad at all. I think the day has ranged from the 50s to a projected 70s.  I doubt the latter.

2. I saw this on Pinterest and I can see it being really good when we finally get our hot day. With the current skyrocketing price of limes, I suspect it will be with lemons instead.Thank you Shutterbean for  Cilantro Limeade....um!



3. Oh those exercise classes. I am really up in the air about which ones to sign up for or rather which ones to drop. I'm still pretty sure that the aerobics will have to go since I really don't feel so hot afterwards. I know good tired/sore and that is not what I'm feeling. Sigh.

4. There is still no shrimp for me, as my treat after having the 2nd shot in my knee. I used to make it a habit to get myself a BIG chocolate bar from Trader Joe's when I either had blood drawn or got a shot. 1lb for $4.99. Oh dear god it's good.


Getting shots is rare and the blood work is only twice a year. It's not like I was getting one of these bars weekly. But this week I decided to buy something a bit better for me and went to get shrimp. Darn if they weren't out of shrimp! Maybe I was meant to buy chocolate I thought and settled for a Caramel Snickers. Not as good and so not as large!

5. Still on the edible note, I have not seen too many herbs for sale except at $3.50 a plant. Admittedly big, but for things like parsley that I want all over the garden, I may have to resort to seeds this year. "They say" that Mother's Day is the date for tomatoes but as I don't have places that have both enough space and sunlight, this is not part of my gardening plan. But my herbs? oh yes.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

This n That

There are a bunch of things I need to do today and some of them are dependent on either other people or the weather. Things I cannot control of course.

I am getting truly antsy about the volume of things I want to donate that are sitting around in bags. But if the weather is rainy they can't go to the location that is out of doors and uncovered. This woman is great about getting so many things to people who can use them but the location is weather dependent. Come on sunny days! I realize that my plants need the rain to overcome the dry weather we have been having, dry with some pretty gusty and consistent winds.  I want rain all night and sun all day. Is that too much to ask?

Then there is a newsletter I want to finish writing and be able to send out - in a final form. However, I am waiting on info from X, who is probably waiting for it from Y. This is not weather dependent but human dependent.

I do have a bunch of things I can do IN the house, W/O input from anyone else.  Can do, but right now without the incentive to do. I believe it is a case of rainy-day blahs. Can you still have a nap before noon? Maybe I should just have another cup of tea. Tea gets me going even if it doesn't even have caffeine. What about you? what gets you going when you just don't wanna?
rainy blah day in Lisbon


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Travel With Me Tuesday: Spain 2008

As I get more of these pages ready for their album, I'll be sharing them with you. I hope you enjoy a chance to see some of the beauty of Spain and Portugal through my eyes.

This day, back in February 2008, was a trip from coastal Spain up to Ronda. Lots of winding mountain roads and the continued challenge of being sure we were ready to eat when restaurants were open. His stomach didn't always agree with Spanish customs.




Ah yes, I still has my red hair then, over all the gray!

Monday, May 5, 2014

AAM Monday: From Then to Now

Lately, I've been busy working on pages from the Spain and Portugal trip we took back in 2008. I'd hoped to have all the pages done before Persnickety Prints had their semi-annual sale, but it didn't happen. That's ok, as I was able to buy the credits I need, and more, so that when it IS done, I can print the pages right away. I'm drawing down to probably the last ten pages or so which means I can see it happening this month.

What has been striking to me is how much we've changed since 2008. Now I know it's 6 years ago but like those early years of life, a difference of 6 makes a lot of difference.  A eight year old has gone through many many stages that are unknown to a two year old. A seventy, or nearly 70 year old, feels a lot different than a sixty-four year old does. I didn't know that!



So much of the middle years of our -my - life seem to have flowed on a somewhat unchanging level. Or so it seemed to me at the time.  There were the hints... The baby weight of #2 child didn't come off so naturally in my 20s.  I didn't fathom wrinkles until my late 30s. The first time I couldn't read small print at night led me to reading glasses in my 40s. Daily medication came into my life in my 50s and regular visits to a doctor and dentist were added to my calendar.  In my 60s I reluctantly added exercise to my life.

These are the outside things that changed. But the inside ones are more subtle. At 64, I was ready to do a lot of travel with my dh. And we did! So much so that each year I wanted to do less. Each year, especially since retirement, I was more content to stay home and relish the days in my own home. I wanted less from the outside world and found the constant shifting of place, language, environment to be tiring and taxing.  A lot shifted internally that I wasn't aware of except to find much less pleasure in things I once enjoyed.

Who knew there was a homebody waiting to come out? I may do more than Whistler's mother did in this portrait, but perhaps the real shift of the 70s is from an external focus to an internal one. I hope I reach my 80s to find out!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Five on Friday: May 2, 2014

Ah May with her flower and winds and variable temperatures. At least it's not hot, as in Hot, yet.

1. Yesterday's cook session taught me that the days of baking anything at Hospice are over. It was warm out, but cool inside Hospice, but baking brownies made the kitchen as hot as hades. My companion in the kitchen and I had sweat pouring off our brows. Our faces were beyond a bit of Southern Glow! Sorry oven, your days are over.

2. My lilies of the valley have sprung up with the afternoon warmth. They are my favorite flower with the most delicious scent. Sadly, I have yet to get the pips I bought last month in the ground yet. It was either too cold or too wet. I hope it's not too late for them to take.

3. Yesterday I had lunch with a friend in downtown Annapolis. It's been quite a while since I had to park in the garage there, and was rather surprised to see prices of $2. per half hour. I may have to practice my parallel parking skills to avoid this kind of thing. This little French place was a great spot to have lunch and worth the garage hassle.



4. We have been trying to figure out a short trip to Colorado and once again forget just how darn big the Western states are. Going from x to y always seems to involve a day's drive. The trip may not happen.

5. As I was cooking at Hospice last night, my dh went out to dinner with a friend. He asked if I wanted a crabcake, I did, and I had forgotten just how good they are at this place.  $32. for two crabcakes and two sides or $19. for my single crabcake. I wished I'd had two!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Circa 1930

This is a photo of my dh's sister who was born in 1929. She is with her Aunt Evelyn who was always called Aunt Inin (sp).  My dh adored his aunt and she led a glamorous life in Europe and around the US. She was always willing to take her young nephew on trips including a train trip from Washington DC to San Francisco. Truly the way to travel when travel was a luxury.

I believe this photo was taken in Washington DC, where they all lived, amongst the beautiful cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin. The trees, originally planted in 1912, would still be young in 1930 and the Cherry Blossom Festival was a mere 5 years old then!


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