Friday, October 31, 2008

Coffee and pumpkins

Today, I woke early and came downstairs to the usual coffee that my husband always makes. If he ever leaves me, I'll have to get an automatic coffee maker, one that grinds the beans. I would feel absolutely bereft if I awoke to a coffee-less aroma. My husband makes the best coffee in the world. Well, at least I think so.

He boils the water, and then pours it through a glass Melitta coffee pot with the cone top and filter. We have to buy the pot at a special place (in Amishland) because everybody uses automatic coffee pots these days.

But not my husband.

Even when we go on vacation, and there is an automatic coffee pot in the home, he'll still bring his beloved Melitta pot with us. He's such a cowboy.

So when I come downstairs in the morning, my coffee awaits. I get out one of my favorite coffee mugs from the cupboard in my pink countertop kitchen and then I look out the windows of this big, beautiful house. Sometimes I can catch a glimpse of him, out there on the property, walking with George in the early light. This place seems to agree with him. It's very calming.

Today, he carved some jack-o-lanterns for us. When I carve jack-o-lanterns, I use a pattern and make awesome designs. But I sort of like these that my husband did. Let's call them rustic, shall we? I've put one of them in the greeting above. Another one had three triangles, two for the eyes and one for some other orifice, I suppose. I think they're sweet. As I write this on Thursday evening, they're out on our front porch, for the owls and fox to see. And George. I think he's out there somewhere.

Today I drove us to Baltimore again, back to Johns Hopkins to visit the oncologist. There are a million and one things for me to remember. It makes me wonder what people do who are alone and have no one to figure out their pill doses for them. We found out he'll have to be on chemo for an entire year. It's the type of chemo you can take orally and it's for 5 days each month. So you're not sick the entire time. Just most of the time.

Ok. I'll stop talking about it now because I don't want to get depressed about it.

A friend stopped over from school today! I really miss my job. I miss my friends. I miss the children. And I miss the normalcy that life used to be before the tumor returned. But I know that I'm where I should be. And that's a really good feeling.

Oh, and guess who ate the entire apple crisp last night?
(it wasn't me).

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

And PS ~ Thanks for visiting. It's sort of like having friends over. Every day. I'll ask my husband to make us some more coffee, ok?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Somebody's happy

It's funny how little things contribute so much to our happiness, isn't it? Like the quiet of the day, listening to the birds outside.

Or the feeling of contentment knowing that your treasured things are around you (and not packed away in a box somewhere).

And how about the scent of apple crisp wafting through the house? Now that's an evocative scent. It smells like fall. Like everything's gonna be ok. It smells like home.

What has come over me? Could it be the kitchen with its pink countertops that's making me enjoy cooking? Or is it because it's something that will make someone else so happy? I'm going with both reasons.

Tonight for dessert, I made a lovely apple crisp. C'mon, you know you want some. It's the easiest thing to make, and I found the simple recipe over at Dlyn's, one of my blogger friends. Go check it out.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hunter Wallpaper Winner Announced

"I think Sasquatch went this way . . . and judging by the footprints,
he's wearing heels again."

Congratulations to the winner, Noble Pig for her clever dialogue using the hunter wallpaper that's on the walls of the breakfast nook in my home. Cathy, e-mail me at to claim your prize.

And as for the rest of you, I was chuckling these past two days reading your funny entries!

I really liked Ellen's
Hey, isn't that Country Girl's house over there?
Nah, she lives over this way.
Did your dog just clone itself?
Nah, I think the brandy is getting to you. Look, there's CG's house over there - I can see the pink counter tops glowing in the window!

And Annette's Ya know Bob I have lived here in Alaska my entire life and still can't seem to find Russia.

And Willow's castle that kept sinking into the marsh.

Miss Maddie's
Bob, isn't that Dick Cheney hunting over there?
OMG it is, hurry lets go this way fast you know what kind of aim he has!

And Debra's
Harry and Bob wait patiently across the field. They know that every day, like clockwork, Heather takes a shower and dresses for work.

All of them gave me a laugh and I really appreciate your efforts! Thanks to all for playing the hunter wallpaper game. Jolly good show, all!

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Monday, October 27, 2008

Contest announced!

(click to enlarge)
I need a laugh. And I need it bad, ok? The other night, while I was sitting in the breakfast nook looking at what I consider to be really bad wallpaper, I imagined the little hunter men pictured to be talking to each other. What they're saying, I have no idea. But I was not drinking, nor did I partake of any crazy wild mushrooms. I just thought it would be funny.

So please, readers, put on your thinking caps and come up with a funny caption for any one of these four wallpaper frames. The person with the best caption, the one that actually makes me chuckle, will be the winner of one of these six prints.

This is the wallpaper from the 1960's that is on the walls of the breakfast nook of the home to which I've just moved. I was seriously thinking of taking it down, but a couple of people said, "No! Not the hunter wallpaper!" One of these people was a grandchild (currently in college) of the former owners of the home. The other was my husband.

So please, make me laugh. C'mon ~~ it shouldn't be that hard! I just can't come up with something clever right now. It's as if I'm all clevered out at the moment.

Contest will run until 9 AM Wednesday morning, Eastern Standard Time. After that, the judging begins. I will send an 8x10 print of your choice (see link above for choices) directly to you, printed on e-surface paper with a lustre finish.

There is no limit to the number of captions you submit. One caption per comment, however. It's easier to judge that way. Winner will be announced Wednesday evening, 6 PM EST.

Until Wednesday evening, my friends.

My husband is doing fine, by the way. It's one day at a time.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Time to relax

When I was young, I could go all day. I could run up stairs and then down, and I had so much energy and was considered very strong for a woman. And now, well not so much to any of the above. Oh, I can do physical labor, but it just takes longer. And after today, I just want to go to bed and sleep all night.

And I've got a long way to go. This is the mudroom and I'm leaving these photos dark because if I published them any lighter, you'd see all the flaws. And we can't have that now, can we?

This is the room between the garage and the kitchen. We use it as an entry way and figured if it's a mudroom then we ought to use it as such and keep all our boots, hats and scarves out here. It's just a thought right now. It will probably end up being way too cold to do this and then we'll go to plan B. Today I washed all the windows in the room and scrubbed the woodwork. Not all of it. I got tired after awhile. The floor is something we'll adress later. But the curtains look nice on the windows. They're old ones I had and they go well in the room.

I also did a lot of other things today, all of them involving moving things around and cleaning and polishing. My in-laws are coming tomorrow to stay with my husband while my son and I go to my father's memorial service at my sister's house. My eldest son will meet us there and then ride back here tomorrow evening to spend the night. I wanted to have a bedroom ready for him, and everything looking nice for our guests.

If I can figure out how to record George listening to that bird clock, I'll post it. If anyone knows how to do this, please let me know. Do I have to upload it to Youtube or something?

Another great meal tonight, thanks to Adrienne, who gave me the recipe over the phone. We had sauteed shrimp w/cilantro and ding dang diddly, was it ever great.

Here's a shout out to Adrienne's friend, Lorraine. Hey, girl! Now you know what a dork I am!

Thanks to all my blogger friends for the warm and kind wishes. It makes all the difference in the world.

Well, until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Friday, October 24, 2008

A quiet existence

It was a beautiful day here in Maryland and I spent it unpacking all my linens and setting up the master bedroom to my liking. I also worked on a small project for school.

My husband got the hedge shears and trimmed the vines from the breakfast nook room. He's unbelievable sometimes, but he took it real slow and I think it made him feel good to contribute.

George spent the day chasing squirrels and let me tell you . . . he's in doggie heaven here because he's hit the jackpot for squirrelville. They're ubiquitous little fellas! And Rich, if you're reading this, I put a link just for you so's you don't have to look up that word. I know that vocabulary is your passion and, like you, I don't think a day should go by without using new words and learning their meaning. It's fun, isn't it?

You'll also be glad, or surprised, rather, to hear that I am actually doing the cooking every night. Regular readers know that the real chef around here is my husband, but I'm letting him take it easy right now. I'm sure he'd just love to cook our meals (not really) while I play with pictures in Photoshop, but I am just such a good wife (again, not really) that I'm donning my June Cleaver apron every afternoon and whipping up gourmet meals (I won't even say it again) for my husband and our son.

Actually, I've been doing surprisingly well. Every meal this week has been met with good reviews. I've made some nice breakfasts and dinners and tonight I even julienned the carrots. Ding dang diddly! I just don't know what's gotten into me. Oh, wait. I do know. It's this kitchen! I am in love with the kitchen in this house, and it's not just because of the pink countertops. Well, really, it's despite the pink countertops and the stovetop with the mind of its own. It's just a good feeling that emanates from this room. (Another gift for Rich).

After seeing the kitchen picture, I realized that I probably should have straightened it up some but what the heck.

Saturday I will be seeing my entire family and I'm really glad about that. It's the memorial service for my father and we'll all be together. My husband will be staying home because that would just be way too much for him. His folks are coming out to spend the day with him.

So, until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Welcome home

This is the front door of the home to which we've just moved.

I know I said before that the original house was built in 1740 but I read somewhere that it was 1769. The addition was put on in 1810 according to the same literature. And yes, George Washington visited the property because of the vantage point that afforded him the observation of British troops that were landing in the Elk River in August 1777. This is one of the highest spots around.

And before I go any further, I just want to say how amazing you all are. I want to thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment and for just being supportive with everything that's going on in my life right now. So, thanks.
Things are a little bit overgrown at the moment, but it shouldn't take too much work to clean it up somewhat. Above is the breakfast nook. Try to picture it without all the vines. It's really quite lovely inside and has a heated floor which is really nice on these cold mornings.
Here's a view looking straight up from the front door. We don't usually use this door, as we go in through the garage, up the few steps into the mudroom and then up the steps to the breakfast nook.
George is content and has been respectful of my husband's need for quiet. It's nice to have our son staying with us right now because he's been pretty helpful in keeping George entertained.
You are a good boy, pup. Dad will be feeling better soon.
I'm just taking it one day at a time.
Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sharin' the love

Me on the left, Adrienne in the middle and my sister Char on the right. Somewhere in there is my friend, Karen, but she got lost in the shuffle. We aren't crying, we're laughing. They came out that weekend not to help me clean, but to help me pack for my move and to cheer me up.

I never wanted to just come out and say what's been happening in my life because it's not all about me. It involves my husband and some things are just personal, you know. But he told me it's ok to share the basics, especially if it would make me feel better talking about it. I don't want pity, nor does he. God, I just couldn't deal with that.

My husband is a cancer survivor. Brain tumor, May 2004. It was traumatic, to say the least. And slowly, over time, life returned to normal, albeit a new normal. He had some short-term memory loss, pretty specific to names. Horses names, peoples names, that sort of thing. But other than that, you'd never know to look at him or talk with him. Amazing.

Then at the end of June, he lost his job due to the state of the thoroughbred breeding industry in Maryland. He quickly landed another position in Pennsylvania, but we could tell from the start that it wasn't working out. He wasn't happy, but we needed the job.

In September, however, during a routine screening for tumor recurrence, the latest MRI showed some changes. A visit with a surgeon at Johns Hopkins confirmed our worst fear. The tumor had returned.

And then my father passed away. I couldn't go out to be with him because my place was here with my husband. I had to say my farewell over the speaker phone.

This specific brain tumor has an exceedingly high recurrence rate. Known as a glioblastoma multiforme, it's a bugger of a thing. And so far, he'd beaten the odds. For four and a half years, he astounded his doctors at Hopkins, surprising them by staying well.

Surgery was highly recommended and the sooner the better. We'd already scheduled the move for this past Saturday, and the only opening for the surgery was Friday. We could have gone with another surgeon, but we wanted the best. And so Friday, it was. To make a long, scary story short, my husband is doing well at the moment. That's really all I want to get into at this time and I'd really just like to forget the whole weekend. But I'll tell you what I will always remember . . .

How does one move into a home under these circumstances, do you think? Well, we did it with the help of our friends and family and I don't know what we would have ever done without them. My sister, Char came out first thing Saturday morning. My youngest son was there helping by taking care of the dog and cat and helping us pack. Then my husband's sister, Helen and her husband Bob showed up at the new place in time for the movers to arrive. Adrienne and Bobby, who arrived at our old place on Friday night, and helped us until my husband arrived home from the hospital on Monday, were a Godsend. One of my friends from work who lives nearby brought dinner on moving day.

Everyone unpacked our things, setting up our furniture, our books, kitchen things, bed linens, and even set out familiar pictures of our family for my husband and . . . it was amazing. I don't know how I will ever thank all these people. And when I brought my husband home from the hospital to our new place, he slowly walked around, looked at everything, and sat down. He was completely overwhelmed that people would do all this for us. And with tears in his eyes, he told me that this house was wonderful. And that it would all be ok.

So this is my story. This is my life. I am fine. I'll be back when I can. I still have much to do and have taken some time off my work to be with my husband.

So, until then, my friends . . .

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Taking a small blogging break

Visitors can still catch me over at my other site, A Picture A Day, but for now I am taking a small break, hopefully returning within about a week's time.

I guess this may come as a surprise to most, but we are moving back to Maryland this weekend. I've been dropping hints lately, but I can be pretty subtle sometimes, I guess. We had great expectations for my husband's current position at the horse farm we moved to only 3 short months ago, in Pennsylvania, but things just haven't worked out. And so, when a caretaking position became open at this place, we felt it was the right thing to do for now.

Now, mind you, there aren't any horses here. It's very quiet. However, if I listen hard enough, I can hear the ice cream man in the distance, visiting the houses in the nearby neighborhoods.

I'll be back soon, after we get settled. There's more things going on but I just don't want to get into all that right now. I'll be autoposting as much as I can on my other site.

I'll be thinking of you. So until then, my friends . . .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


My friends came out this weekend for an overnight. You remember Adrienne, right?

This is her mom, Karen who's been my friend since I was around 19 years old.

Adrienne wanted me to take a silhouette of a tree. It didn't turn out as nice as I would have liked, but nonetheless, here it is for what it's worth.

George was happy because he had more people to play fetch with.

We cleaned out some rooms and packed some things away. I guess you could call it fall cleaning. I took them on a ride over to the historic place I mentioned last week. They also helped me choose the contest (see below) winners. Lots of entries this time and thanks to all who participated! Just a long, quiet weekend with beautiful weather.

Well, it's back to work today. How was your weekend? Anything fun happening in your neck of the woods?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Contest winner announced

The winner is announced in my Weekend Giveaway Contest! I can't believe how many contestants we had. Those of you who pimped this contest on your own blogs were awarded double entries for this game. So, may we have a drumroll, please . . .
Starwood Gal is the winner!! And just because I had so many slips of paper to choose from, I decided to pick a second winner as well. And that is, Deb!

Thanks to all who played. Starwood Gal, and Deb ~ please e-mail me at

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Friday, October 10, 2008

Autumn Giveaway Contest Announced!

Time's Up! Winner to be announced soon!

You could win one of 6 prints, sized 8x10. All you have to do is choose one, just one, and write your choice in the comment section. One comment per person, please. I'm going to be pretty busy all weekend, so I decided to leave this post up until Sunday, October 12 at 6PM EST. I will then draw a number and announce the winner, who will have the print sent directly to them via Your photograph will be printed on e-surface paper with a lustre finish. With the exception of the last photo, each of these photographs has appeared on my A Picture A Day photography blog. Please note that I have added the border for effect only. Your print will not have this border (unless you have it framed in this style). To view a larger size of each picture, on the post in which it originally appeared, click on the link under each. As an added bonus, if you pimp this contest on your own site, you get two votes. Just leave me the link in the comment. So get going, get choosing. There is no rush to decide. But remember, the contest closes at 6 PM Sunday!

Golden Glow

Hello, Mum

Misty Moisty Morning

Last Hurrah

Quiet Thoughts

Saffron Paint

I'll try to continue to post on the other blog while this contest goes on. Until then, my friends . . .

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Scent of a woman

I don't know about you, but I enjoy good perfume. For years, I have only owned two scents, but I have several samples of other perfumes that I have fun with. I find these samples on Has anyone visited their site?

Now, mind you, the samples aren't free (unless you're ordering a perfume), but for two or three dollars a vial, you can get several to try on for size. They last quite a while, and it's fun.

My favorite scent of the perfumes that I've tried is Keiko Mecheri's Ume. I love the description:
Unexpectedly decadent, this intoxicating meditation on umé, the Japanese plum, marries sweet and salt, fruit and spice, ethereal lightness and velvety richness. Japanese plum, persimmon and the delicate apricot-like osmanthus blossom provide a succulent sweetness that dances a breathless tango with deeply alluring Oriental moss, woods and spices. An unforgettable fragrance that would have suited Josephine Baker herself – marvelous and unique.

It almost sounds good enough to eat, doesn't it? And honestly, who doesn't want to dance a breathless tango? Now, that's just exciting!

At LuckyScent, you'll be invited to peruse reader reviews of the scents offered, and for convenience, fragrance samples are sorted into type: fresh, incense, and soft are some examples. I usually just go for the "Top Pics" under the cult following. It's where I found Catherine Memmi's Attitude: Like the honeyed sheen of polished wood or the easy grace of an impeccably tailored silk suit, this fragrance speaks of comfortable elegance. For the confident woman who knows she doesn’t need to raise her voice to get things done.

You know what? Sometimes the descriptions are just as delicious as the scents themselves.

Oh, and the two scents I own are Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue. What are your favorites?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Around the bend

Follow the long driveway down a tree-covered lane in Maryland, and you'll soon come to a house. A house that has stood since 1740.
It is said that on or around August 25, 1777, General George Washington stood on the widow's walk of this home to view British troops under the command of General Howe that were landing on the Elk River.
This home is situated on one of the highest spots in the area and must have afforded an excellent view of the over 250 ships that had sailed up the Chesapeake Bay which were carrying 15,000 to 18,000 Brisith troops.
Soldiers in the Continental Army set up an encampment on the property.

General Washington went on to stay at a local hotel before taking leave for Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Two days later, General Howe stayed at the same hotel, in the same room and was waited on by the same servant. He, too, was headed to Chadds Ford where our troops fought his, greatly outnumbered, in the historic Battle of the Brandywine. He and his troops then moved on to Philadelphia to capture that city.

I'm just in a historic sort of mood today. Don't mind me.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .