Friday, December 19, 2014

You Are A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.

Less than a week 'till Christmas and I am doing OK.

A nearby village, that for a few decades had gone through difficult times, reinvented itself and its image to become a go-to place for people in the area.  It had once been a steel town and people were employed and prosperous there for generations.  In the seventies that all changed when the foundry closed and the jobs went away. Around the year 2000, the town fathers and mothers decided to come up with a plan to turn things around and bring new life to the often empty storefronts and streets.  The old movie theater that was built in 1906, was restored and remodeled by volunteers and now shows wonderful indie movies and hosts many musical and comedy acts.  Entrepreneurs saw the foot traffic and opened restaurants which brought others to invest in interesting shops along the walkway.  The town is alive again and festivities are held almost every weekend for people of all ages to enjoy.

During this season of light and hope, the kickoff for the holidays is the Firebird Festival, where a structure symbolizing the Phoenix that has risen through the ashes and is reborn is celebrated.  A local artist and a large band of volunteers give of their time for a few months to build this bird and it is always a fabulous sight.   Thousands come to town to see it's lighting and it is just as important to the spirit of the people of this once dying town as it is to its economy.

Then, in the dark hours of the early morning, on the day of this celebration this year, a sneaky Grinch came to town and burned the Phoenix down. 

"The Grinch hated Christmas!  The whole Christmas season!
Now please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.

It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right. 

But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
(Dr. Seuss).

Through social media, the news spread quickly.  Hundreds of townspeople quickly gathered at the site, bringing wood and tools and the rebuilding began within hours. No, it was not the bird that it had been, it was better.  It was the heart of the people who brought the Phoenix back to life and on that evening all those from our Whoville, assembled and celebrated and sang.  The flames lit up the sky and their spirit was renewed, once again.

"That's a noise" grinned the Grinch, "that I simply must hear!"
He paused, and the Grinch put a hand to his ear.

Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small
Was singing without any presents at all!

And the Grinch, with his Grinch feet ice cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling,.  "How could it be so?"
(Dr. Seuss)

 The celebration went on, the night was more appreciated, and the grinch who thought that he had stolen the night, didn't. 

However you celebrate the holidays, I wish you joy and contentment and for love to surround you. Keep your spirits high and look for the good in everyone - even a Grinch, because perhaps, he needs hope most of all.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Adult Attention Deficit Disorder and Me

Holidays are almost here, and I have slowed down but I am doing OK.

I used to pride myself on being disciplined and no matter what the odds, you could count on me to get things done. Now, it is not so much.  I need more time to accomplish tasks and in this maƱana time of my life, timetables are never thought about and I often get distracted doing the simplest of things. The "I have to do", list has become "I'll get to that another time".  I have lost my focus and my need to "ACCOMPLISH".  Getting from A to B usually has me stopping often and checking out other things that catch my fancy.  Last week, while cleaning out items in my basement to make room for outside furniture, I found myself, instead, looking through old photo albums and reading journals that had been packed away.   The chairs I planned to bring in are still outside.  This week I have company coming and there is much to do. I have good intentions and I know that all the important items, like Thanksgiving dinner, will get done (fingers crossed).  Other things will be attempted, probably done or possibly not, but I will be forgiven.  They all know that the old grey mare ain't what she used to be and they will be OK with that. Others will bring the desserts, so if the turkey isn't quite finished, we can live on pumpkin pie and fine wine.


It isn't always easy to get to the finish line. 

This video is not in English, but dogs speak all languages with their eyes and their tails.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


I bought my favorite candies for the little Trick or Treaters (+1) and I am doing OK.

I do not believe in ghosts or poltergeists or things that go bump in the night. Nope, not me.  I am sensible and believe there is a reason for everything. Practical Arleen, that is who I am.

There are those moments though.

  -  On a Sunday morning 11 years ago,  I received an IM from a dear friend who had passed away the day before.  Her name popped up on my computer and the message was just 10 numbers. I could not believe my eyes and stared in shock at the screen  I called for my husband to see it and we tried to figure out what we were looking at and what did it mean.  My friend lived alone and there was no one who could get on her account.  There had to be an explanation, but we never came up with one. And the numbers, well, we have never figured a meaning to those either. 

  -  Then there was that incident 12 years ago, shortly after my parents passed away (within 7 months of each other).   My sister  lived in their house and one night, as she lay sleeping, she heard my mother's voice call her name over and over.  It was so loud in her head that it woke her up.  She then heard a noise in the kitchen and quickly ran to it.  A fire had just started in the old heater.  She was able to get it out quickly but had it been a few moments later, it would have been too late. 

  -  My mother would often say that if there was such a thing as reincarnation, she would want to come back as a large bird and fly over all who annoyed her in life and poop on their heads.  After her funeral, the family gathered at her home.  As we all sat out in her garden speaking of memories and times gone by, Hubby came walking from the backyard and yelled that some big dirty bird let it all go on his head.  Funny, I always thought Mom liked him.

I will leave you with this one last tale.

  - A story was told on radio news last week about a British lady who had passed away.  This woman was known to be a phonoholic and so when she was being laid to rest, loved ones put her cellphone in her casket. Her granddaughter, seeking comfort, would, on occasion, send her texts.  One day, she was shocked when she received a reply.  It said, "I am watching over you".  Before you strike up the theme of The Twilight Zone in your head, I will tell you it was not the deceased who came a'calling.  Her batteries were definitely out. What it was is that relatives had closed her account  after her demise and the phone number was put back into circulation. The new owner had received these messages from the distraught survivor and decided to answer, thinking someone was pranking him.  The family was upset, but I do hope they all had a good laugh afterwards.  It certainly gave a lot of people a chuckle, including me.

Voices from beyond?  Nah, they were just computer glitches and coincidences. I do not believe in ghosts or poltergeists or things that go bump in the night.  Nope, not me.  I am sensible and believe there is a reason for everything.  Practical Arleen, that is who I am.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Please Look At The Dot

I should be out raking up leaves, but I am hoping they will eventually blow onto my neighbor's lawn and that will be OK (for me).

Last week, I accompanied hubby to get his once every four years driver's license renewal.  The lines are usually long and one could possibly spend hours sitting in the hard chairs getting hemorrhoids while waiting for their number to come up.  I walked in and was pleasantly surprised at the size of the crowd.  Rather than what I expected, I saw only about 50 or so souls who were totally engrossed in their smart phones. Nobody spoke to each other, because communication is now done by text, not talk.   Everything went along quickly and we were out of there in record time. 

A few years ago, when I first started this blog, I wrote about my experience at the Driving License Center.  It did not involve taking any test, it was just to have my picture taken.   Here is a rerun of that post.

Is this photo OK ma'am?
Every four years you have to renew your driver's license.   This is never a pleasant experience because as much as you hated your last picture, this one will be even worse.  Aging does not usually improve a person's appearance unless, of course, you are under 30. That expression  "you are not getting older, you are getting better" does not include the chin area.  Anyhow, around your birthday you get that letter to report for your latest mug shot which you will be identified by for the next  few years . You try to get there early before the bags under your eyes set in.  However, everybody else has the same plan, so you end up standing up against a wall for an hour or two because seating is limited, and then that look of fatigue takes over your face.  Finally you get called and you are told to sit in this very low chair, look straight ahead at the circle, and snap, the deed is done.  Five minutes later you receive your new, not improved, license to drive.

This was my year to do the deed. I prepared by getting a hair cut, but that didn't turn out well.  I kept up with my moisturizing and used some facial tanning lotion to hide my maturity spots.  I brushed my teeth with super-whitening toothpaste and practiced smiling in front of the mirror.  None of this helped.  My new license picture showed what I looked like, rather than how I saw myself,  but I figure that in four years, I will be more objective and think it was quite flattering.  There are some blessings to failing eyesight.

On another note, while I stood waiting at the DMV to be called for my photo,  I made some observations.  I noticed that most of the younger people were busy on their smart phones texting,  They were probably typing in, "I am getting my driver's license, so it's time to part-tee"  to their 300 friends on Facebook.  Other people waiting included  a man with one leg, a man in a wheelchair, a man on oxygen, quite a few older folks with walkers or canes and people complaining.  My conclusion was that there are probably many cars out there on the bad roads of Pennsylvania being driven by texting teenagers, senior citizens with handicaps and those ticked off and suffering from road rage with their hand outstretched and their finger pointed upward, all following me.

Be careful out there, better yet, take a train.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Closing Another Chapter

The cool winds are blowing, a new season is upon us, and I am doing OK.

It was a magnificent summer with wonderful sunny days, pleasant temperatures and almost enough rain to water my plants and keep them healthy.  I was so grateful for all the beautiful days that we had and all the blessings that it brought. 

There was flower power in May.

I started out choosing the colors that would surround me.  I always tend to select the purples, salmons and whites, but this year, more reds found their way into my gardens.

I was so relieved to see that even though we lost more than a few trees last winter because of the horrendous weather, my woods still look lush and beautiful.  Everything has its time and as with life, new will replace the old.

In June, the family all got together and we went crazy.


In July, we visited friends and enjoyed sitting on their porch watching the sun come down on the lake.

At home, the local Shakespeare company came to town and presented Twelfth Night, performed with a Johnny Cash-like character and some music from from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly thrown in the mix.  It was interesting and surprisingly fun.  Ardent fans of the Bard of Avon might have been offended, but I loved it.  Willie reinvented! 

One of the proudest moments of my life came in August when my 14 year old grandson was chosen to throw out the first ball at a Philadelphia Phillies game.   He showed no nerves, but his grandmother was shaking all over.  He was good luck for the team, as the last place Phillies won that night. 

August was harvest time and boy, did my tomato plants produce! Most days, I could pick at least 25 large, beautiful fruit. They were and are delish, but there comes a point where your acid intake makes your innards rebel. Friends, family and the local food bank benefited from my stomach problems.

During the summer, we had our semi-feral cat (Miss Circle) guarding our gardens (and the finch feeder).  She does not think the birds will see her.

And then three new baby kittens came out of the woods led by their tramp of a mother. (We found homes for all, except the mom who we could not catch).

We never got away this year to exotic resorts, nor did we travel to exciting cities.  We stayed mostly at home enjoying the company of people we love and savoring these moments in our lives.  It was comfortable.  

This summer was a gift and I just love living in the green hills and valleys of Pennsylvania.  I look forward to the next season and will be fine until winter arrives.  If it is anything like last year, I hope to be out of here in a quick minute.  There is no place like home, when things are good.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Oh Momma

I refuse to accept that summer is (almost) over, and I am doing OK.

I am always saddened to hear stories where parents and children do not get along.  Sure, we all have disagreements and frustrations, but we usually make it through because there is need and love.  I think that most people do their best at parenthood and even though we all make mistakes and are not perfect, our hearts are usually in the right place.

My mom came from the "greatest generation".  She was born during the First World War, lived through the terrible depression, lost her mother as a teenager,  and contracted TB while pregnant with my older sister.  She never talked about those times; they were things we learned mostly from other relatives.  Her health was always iffy, but somehow she lived into her eighties.  I remember always worrying about losing her.  However, maybe because of her difficulties or in spite of them, she had the most wonderful sense of humor.  She had a quick wit, and the times I remember best were when all the family gathered together and the house was full of laughter.  Despite all the troubles in their lives,  the stories they would tell were happy.  A picture in my mind is of them all sitting around the kitchen table slapping their knees as they laughed hysterically over some small matter.

She has been gone 13 years now, but it often seems like she is always with me.  I see her eyes in my daughter and granddaughter, and I remember her smile when I look at things that I know that she would love.  She was a kind woman, a strict parent (most were in those days), and knew no bounds when it came to love.  She was a good teacher for us all.

When my parents died (seven months apart), we cleaned out the house and disposed of much of their possessions.  However, she was a collector of notes, letters, cards and inspirational writings that she would find.  Many of these we could not part with.  Recently, my sister came across something that she had kept.  I think I remember it sticking in the corner of her mirror in her bedroom or maybe on her dresser.

Here it is and it is something that is appropriate for my time in life.

A Prayer For Those Growing Old
(author unknown)

Lord, Thou knowest I am growing older

Keep me from becoming talkative and possessed
with the idea that I must express myself on
every subject.

Release me from the craving to straighten out
everyone's affairs.

Keep me from the recital of endless detail.  Give
me wings to get to the point.

Seal my lips when I am inclined to tell of my
aches and pains.  They are increasing with the
years and my love to speak of them grows
sweeter as time goes by.

Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally
I may be wrong.  Make me thoughtful but not
nosey; helpful, but not bossy.  With my vast
store of wisdom and experience it does seem a
pity not to use it all.  But Thou knowest, Lord,
that I want a few friends at the end.

My mom is still teaching me and making me smile.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Key to Happiness

Our summer weather has been outstanding and I am doing OK.

There are millions of studies costing billions of dollars being done by people, reportedly experts, who research things that most times a person of ordinary intelligence can figure out just by living life.   Last week another one came out saying, "The formula for happiness is to have low expectations." They even took the time to show us a mathematical equation proving this.  I wanted to recreate it for this  post,  but it was difficult and they told me not to set my sights too high or I would be miserable.

I think that I am like so many people who are happier when we have great expectations, no matter how it may turn out.  Happiness and disappointments come and go, but the joy of possibilities is the greatest thrill of all. I wouldn't want to have missed out on any of them.

So said Christopher Columbus, Edmund Hillary, Leif Erickson, Marco Polo, Neil Armstrong and all those other not-famous people who followed their stars no matter how rough the course might have been.  To paraphrase a famous quote  - the journey teaches you more than the destination.

I will continue to find laughter in my disappointments because it is how I cope  and I will never give up my anticipation of joy, no matter what the PHD's say.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Home Run

I try to always be hopeful, and that helps keep me feeling OK.

I usually wake up early, really early. Last night, I completely skipped the sleep part just to get a head start on my day.  There is something I have to do and since it isn't pleasant, worry kept me awake.  To pass the time, I took to my handy-dandy iPad to look for something that would lift my spirits.  I came upon this story about a 105 year old lady who with just the help of a walker to steady herself, is in seemingly good health both physically and mentally.  Agnes was  chosen to throw out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game and so not to disappoint, she practiced and practiced to get it right.

And here is how she did:

Every day is an opportunity, no matter your circumstances. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Being Perfect

Beautiful summer days and I am doing OK.

I was choosing a new picture for my header and I loved this one of a double Hibiscus that I have growing in my garden.  The flowers only last for a day or so but they are a magnificent sight when they just get to full bloom.  I thought it was a beautiful picture to end the month of June.  However, when I enlarged it, I saw that there were spots on it and I hesitated because it was not perfect.  I had a few others to choose from, but I kept going back to that flower.  Sure it might have been a little past it's crowning moment, it had a bruise or two, but it was looking up to the sunshine and was taking in all it could. 

Then there was this cookie I made:

My taste buds didn't notice the broken candy.  It was yummy!

Being imperfect is just perfect!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Being Targeted

I had another birthday and I am doing OK.

I woke up this morning (always a good thing) and reached for my iPad to look for some good news to start my day. As I perused the headlines, I noticed the ads on the right hand side.  The first one was for a funeral home, the next was for wrinkle cream and the last one was about the five signs of a heart attack.  Here I was hoping to start my day off on a positive note.  However, I might look into that wrinkle cream as it does promise me that I will look 10 years younger with a face as smooth as a baby's tush.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Words To Live By

It's a beautiful day in my neighborhood and I am doing OK.

Maya Angelou
Last week, a great lady, Maya Angelou, left us.  After reading many of the tributes paid to her, and hearing a recap of her life, I decided to look further on the Internet for more details.  I came across this:

“I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

I have nothing to add.  Maya said it all.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It Has Been Awhile

I never really went away, I was just resting and am doing OK.

Things happen in life that makes you pause, so I did. 

Spring came, the rains fell, the flowers bloomed, the pollen spread, we all sneezed, and the world went on.  I will not talk of the bad, but will look ahead for hope and joy even if it sometimes eludes me for awhile.  I know it is there, it will just take more effort.

Most of my gardens are completed, although, I will fiddle with them and continue to move and replace plants until the first autumn leaf falls.  This year, for the first time, I had to ask and pay for help.  I realized that I could not shovel the eight yards of mulch by myself anymore.  It was hard to make that decision as I pride myself on being self-sufficient and able to "do it all".  However, being found slumped over a large mound of shredded wood is such an undignified way to go.  I still helped spread the mulch over the gardens and I had pride (and my breath) doing that.  I also learned the lesson of acceptance.

My children and grandchildren took me to Longwood Gardens  for Mother's Day.  What a wonderful day that was.  We walked and walked and saw such glorious sights. 

Earlier in the day

Later on
In a few weeks my California family will be visiting us so they can see what rain looks like.  With the terrible drought in the west, coming east to our lush, green Pennsylvania seems like the best choice for them and for us also.  I am hoping, though, that the sun will shine and there will be cool breezes and starry nights for us all to appreciate.  However, no matter what the weather brings, I know I will get my joy back when my daughter and her family arrive.
Thank you to those who inquired about me when I was absent from Blogland.  Your concern touched my heart.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Say It Ain't So

I "pansified" my gardens, and I am doing OK (today).

After the winter from hell (hell must have also frozen over), I could not wait to color my little world with flowers.  When the temperatures finally went up last week, and buds were seen on trees, I drove to a local nursery and over-purchased many pansy plants, probably too many. I desperately wanted spring to finally arrive and I needed to surround myself with new life.  What a glorious weekend we had with temperatures reaching up to the low 80's.  Friends were seen, dinners were eaten outside, and blossoms on the trees were more appreciated than ever before.  That horrid season was over, done with, gone, ended, finito. Winter was now just a bad memory.  Planning for the better days ahead was the conversation heard most.  Then, Sunday, a new weather report was issued and it included the words, "freezing temperatures and snow".  How could that be?  It is April, for goodness sakes. This morning I saw on the news that this was already happening to areas in the south and the poor, weather-plagued Midwest. Snow, hail, winds, slippery, dangerous roads were all brought up again, and our hearts sank with that prediction.  However, what I saw next gave me encouragement and hope.  This new arctic blast will only last two days and then it is smooth sailing ahead.  The sun will shine again, buds on the trees will continue to open, the colorful birds will nest and my pansies will survive this latest blast.  We all will survive!

You just have to have hope, high hopes.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Are Your Socks Too Tight?

The date says spring, the snow to come says differently, but I am doing OK

I have read quite a few books about the Kennedys and one of the things that impressed me was how the family would sit down to a meal and discuss what was going on in the world and how each person could make it better.   Everybody was encouraged to be part of the conversation, including the youngest child. 

When the stars align in the right way, we also like to sit down to a family meal.  It is not always easy as life is busy and the grandchildren's activities are varied and many.  However, recently most of us were able to get together for my daughter's birthday.  Our conversations were not as cerebral as the Kennedy's, but we touched on subjects that seemed important to us; like how does one wear their socks.   For the past few years, my granddaughters have worn different patterned socks on each foot. We all agreed that was a bold statement about being individuals and we praised them for having their own style. Listening to all this, I never thought that "my" sock habit would come under scrutiny, but then I saw my daughters glance down to my shoeless feet.  A look of horror and disgust came over their faces. What great fashion faux pas had I committed now.?  My socks matched; they were clean; there were no holes.  They were warm and comfy and I thought acceptable in the presence of company.  However, it was not the socks that brought criticism, it is how I wear my socks" that seems to be their concern.  I wear them loose at the toes and to their reproaching eyes, it is not acceptable.  Who knew?  I turn my toes up, I like to stretch out; I like wiggle room; I want my toes to live free.  Apparently, this is "gnarly". I listened to their objections, pulled them tight, and they all breathed a sigh of relief.   So now, after this deep conversation, I realize that when my children tell me they are coming over, I should pull my socks tight, or they might be making one of  those 
"What's going on with mom?" calls.

I never thought that my socks would give me away.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Art of Being Busy

Snow is finally melting and I am doing OK.

My life used to be extremely busy, but I didn't notice because that was just the way it was.  The treadmill of my life was constantly on.  There was always something I had to do, someone that I had to assist, and places I had to be.  Then I retired to do with time as I wanted and I did not do well for quite awhile.  I have slowly adjusted and accepted life as it is because that just is the way that it is.  I do socialize quite a bit as I am very fortunate to have good friends and a wonderful family   I also found a volunteer job where I am needed but it is only for a day a week which leaves 6 other days to fill with busy work. That is easy to do in the spring and summer as there is much outside that I enjoy doing or visiting.  The winter, though, does drag on. Last week I found myself washing my walls.  I started by wiping a spot by an electrical outlet,  but then I noticed more that needed my attention and three hours later I had completely cleaned most of the walls on one floor of my home.  Yes, I know what you are thinking.  "Arleen has gone over the edge."  You may be right.   "Busy work" is not fun and not satisfying and Lordy, Lordy, I should be able to think of more interesting things to do with my time.  However, looking at a You Tube the other day, I realized that there are so many other people out there who also seem to have time on their hands.

Washing a wall gives you a clean wall, but who cares.  Making people laugh by doing silly things is much more productive.  

Next week I may start training my cats to do something funny and maybe will enlist hubby. I'll see what they do with an aluminium foil ball. Video to follow.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Flying into the Sun


When spring comes, I will be OK

Some of the blogs I have read today have to do with people seeing the birds coming back to their area. Two of my favorite writers, Cro,of Magnon's Meanderings and Joanne, of Cup on the Bus wrote about their sightings of Cranes and Blue Herons.  Any sign of the promise of the coming spring brings great joy to us who have been beaten up with the storms and solitude of this wretched winter.

Due to the oversupply of bird feeders in my yard, we have become "destination point" for many species of the northeastern American continent.  One lovely thing about the snow (yes, I said lovely) is that it is a wonderful backdrop for the colors that these birds bring.  We have hundreds of Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Red-Winged Black Birds and I am always in awe of the beauty that these creatures add to the landscape.

In December of 2012, I was awakened by my husband in the morning and told to look out the window.  Sitting in the tree closest to my house sat Turkey Vultures that appeared to be looking in my window contemplating dinner.  That was not exactly a happy greeting to start the day.   I wrote about it in a post then and included was this picture.


Not an encouraging sight.

This year, though,  they have been replaced by more pleasant looking Pheasants.  Yes, we do see them in many of the fields and farms in my area, but never have I spotted them in my yard.  First we saw the rooster.

and if you have noticed my header picture, you will see his hens in the background.

He walked among the brush towards the creek which flows through our wooded area.  The ladies stuck together, I supposed discussing the merits or not of their chosen one. 

I tried to follow them with my camera, but once deeper in the trees and the bushes, their color was morphed into the background. 

Hopefully the scenes from my backyard will change soon and instead of the above, I will look out to this.

Looking forward to a season change and the sight of many Goldfinches.

Right now, though, I wish I was surrounded by Flamingos and sipping a yummy tropical drink.

Friday, February 14, 2014

All You Need Is Love

So much snow, so much anxiety, but all in all, I am doing OK.

When I was young, I was a hopeless romantic.

I am no longer that starry-eyed idealist, but I am still sentimental. However, marriage is not easy and everyone has had their good and bad times.  Hormones take the place of thinking in early love, and after 46 years together, mine have gone the way of my high heels (which are in the back of my closet covered with dust).  But hey, I can still be wooed by chocolates, as nothing says love like  good candy.  My sweet tooth is still intact.

I told hubby to forget the flowers this year and because of the icy roads, we will forgo a dinner out. I have a frozen pizza in the fridge and that sounds just fine to me.  However, we will exchange funny cards and have a good laugh.  We will enjoy some fine wine, share a bag of M&Ms and then he will fall asleep in his old man's chair and I on the couch.  It is just comfy that way. 

There is a lot to be said for "comfy"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

To Keurig or not to Keurig

Digging out from the snow most days lately, but I am doing OK.

I love the smell of coffee, but have never enjoyed its  taste.  I learned at an early age how to perk a good pot for my parents, but after tasting it, I decided to stick to milk.  My mom also had a rule that children should not drink this caffeinated drink until they were of a certain age, and it was always assumed it was when we moved out of the house.  Being Irish Americans, we were allowed to drink decaf tea when we reached 12, and that has been my drink of choice since then.

Hubby also does not drink coffee, although in the past few years he does have a cup at work when he gets there in the morning.  We have happily gotten along without a coffee pot taking over precious space on our counter top for 46 years.  However, when our children left home, three of them went to the caffeine well and became junkies. I broke down and bought a small coffee maker that I keep on a shelf in the basement, only to be taken out during the holidays.  Any other time the unwritten rule is, if you want it, bring it with you.

Then Keurig became the next big thing and everybody had to have one.  I just dismissed it when friends showed me theirs and gushed over it ad nauseam.  "See, Arleen, it makes tea also" they would say.  With my old lady attitude, I would say, "I've got a kettle for that."   Eyebrows would raise and they would walk away probably talking about what an old fart I was.

In November, hubby made a quick run to the store to get some butter and came home with a large box.  He had this guilty smile on his face and presented me with a Keurig.   I sent him for butter and he came home with a big, expensive coffee maker.  I was not happy and the shock on my face when he told me how much it cost turned his smile into a frown.  He gave me all his reasons for buying it ( it was on sale) and because I felt somewhat bad about my negative reaction, I relented.  He placed it on the counter and set about making some fancy brew.  

He is happy, my family is happy and they are all wired happily together.  Things could be worse.

Maybe, when no one is looking, I will make myself some hot chocolate on that machine - but I will never tell.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Well, Hello New York, It's Us.

Remembering back to last month and doing OK.

My Christmas gift to my family this year was to take them all to New York City to see the sights of the holiday season.  Fourteen out of sixteen smiled and said, "Great", although I know some of them were not as enthusiastic as the others.  However, they did not want to hurt my feelings so the tickets were purchased.  We live about 2 1/2 hours away by chartered bus and on December 21st, we all hopped aboard and I kept my fingers crossed.

After two successive weekends of snowstorms, we were lucky to have chosen a Saturday that was sunny and warm.  We arrived in the city an hour early, so we rearranged the schedule and began our tour at Toys R Us (for the grandchildren) which is on 44th and Times Square.

 It was early in the AM so I did not expect it to be crowded.   Wrong, wrong, Wrong!  Apparently, word got out that Arleen's family would be there, and thousands came to join us.

We then proceeded to lunch at Becco's on 46th and 9th, one of my favorite NY restaurants, not only because of the food, but also because of their good, cheap wine.

After lunch we sprinted to Rockefeller Center on 50th and 5th Avenue. There we were greeted by what could be described as the population of a mid-sized country and they had also brought along 13 of their relatives.  Oh, how glad I was that I had that wine at lunch.  Here my schedule said "2 hour free time" and we all broke up into small groups.  Most of that time was about getting through the crowds.  We found refuge in the Museum Store and took our pictures of the outside scene from inside that very pleasant store.  We also bought a few wonderful items.

I was born in New York and lived my first 16 years there.  The city excites me, I love everything about it, including the multitudes of people and all its craziness.  My children grew up in rural Pennsylvania; they like hills and dales, fauna and flora, deer and birds and cows. Wusses', all of them.  Next time though, if I suggest a trip to NY, I will plan it for the spring when millions will not be there to see a damn tree that was grown in Connecticut.   (It was very beautiful though.)

We did a lot of walking, saw quite a bit, (Times Square was a trip in so many ways) and despite the crowds, it was a good day.  I had a great time, made some fond and funny memories, and will always love, love, love New York. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What Polar Vortex?

Staying inside and I am doing OK.

My daughter and her family, who live in the Monterey Bay area of California, visited us during the Christmas holidays.  Because of the large snowstorm we had, they delayed their return for a day.

At 5:30 am on Saturday morning, they left for home when the temperature here was a bone chilling -6 degrees.

The next afternoon they sent me these pictures.

7 yr. old Poppy "in the moment.".

Everything is Zen in California.

However, back in Pennsylvania, Baby Buddha, in my not so Zen garden, is freezing his buns off.