Saturday, July 31, 2010

Just a little slow

Ok - I'm a little behind on this whole blogging thing. Not only new to having my own, but also still finding blogs from others that I think are pretty darn cool.

I was in the book store earlier today and picked up this book...

It's great - it's a book of all those little things that we frequently take for granted, but it's really cool when they happen, such as when you hit the elevator button and DING the elevator is there waiting for you...awesome!

As I flipped through, I learned that this idea started as a blog! The first thing I did when I got home, and the first thing that I will probably do each day from now on (or at least for a few weeks) was check it out. It's pretty awesome - I'd highly recommend a visit.

Friday, July 30, 2010


The sun goes down on another week... Where is this year going?!
Hope everyone enjoys your weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What's that?!

Driving home the other day, there were giant spools of rainbow colored tubes lining the side of the road. I should have been paying attention to the road, but got completely distracted by these brilliant colors.

You can only see the pink and a tiny bit of the green, but just imagine these and blue, red, yellow all together lined up every other block or so. I know that they are extremely functional and are used to distinguish the various cables and lines that are running underground. I just thought they were pretty.

I wish the light had been red, but it wasn't, and there wasn't anywhere to pull over, so I had to do a u-turn under the bridge, dig my camera out of my purse, and try to snap a picture as I drove by a second time. Not very safe, but I just had to get the shot!

I had no idea this fabulousness lurked just below the surface!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

House Guests

This weekend we had some unexpected house guests. My step-daughter, her husband and their two babies came to stay on Friday because their A/C went kaput, and the new unit wouldn't be delivered until this week.

While the reasons for the visit weren't ideal, it really was great to be able to spend so much time with them...especially the two grand babies! The boys are so cute and sweet and silly. I had forgotten how fun toddlers were to have around.

There are people my age who are just starting their families. I do not know where they find the energy to do it! Both Joe and I had our children very young, and Amanda has followed suit. This choice has its challenges, but honestly I cannot imagine trying to keep up with a toddler (much less TWO!) full time at my age.

There is an African proverb that says "The laughter of a child is the light of a house." I believe this to be true. You will certainly find the energy to do whatever needs to be done in order to hear a child's belly laugh or get one of these cheesy grins.

Honestly, how can you resist faces like these?

Even Lola was trying to get in on the action. This was a little scary for everyone concerned since she's so big. Mostly she just wanted to check out what was going on, play, and have a little lick now and then. The problem is she doesn't realize how big she is, and one lick from her has the potential to drown you!

Oh well....this we had fun, and everyone survived (even Lola), but I have to admit that the old people went to bed a little earlier than usual Monday night!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The same but different

Hmmm.... These two notes were written about 25 years apart. The top one to me from my mother (who knows why I felt it was scrapbook worthy), and the bottom one from me to my daughter.

Both of them similar in intent and message, but oh so different.

First, my mother called me "do-do" - pronounced "doo -doo". Yes, so kind, but it was a term of endearment. My child would claim to be scarred for life if I were to tag her with a similar moniker.

Second, notice the "added benefit" on the letter to me of how impressive my home keeping skills will be to my future rich husband. Again, things that make you go hmmmm. True, good home keeping skills always come in handy, but I've never known the ability to clean a toilet to "amaze and astound" anyone, and certainly not a man! I guess that was supposed to be the motivator so that I would want to get this stuff done. The motivator on the other note: beauty appointments - getting the hair on your head cut/colored and the hair on your body removed. Kids today have it so rough.

Finally, notice the different chores on both notes. The one addressed to me: straighten house, run vacuum, and clean bathrooms - only 2 hours to complete! I'm left wondering what chores were assigned to my younger brother that day?!

So, what did I ask my Chicken Little to accomplish: run vacuum (same), water the plants, pick up "your" stuff, and bring down "your" laundry (god forbid it say "do your laundry")! All of this taking approximately 30 minutes to complete - if she rested between each activity.

While I'm thrilled to have found actual proof of the "walking-uphill-to-school-both-ways" type of generational differences we all claim to have, I am a little dismayed to actually see how easy the child really does have it.

I'd better get busy, only a few more weeks to come up with all sorts of chores to make up the difference. Otherwise, she won't have any "hardship" stories to tell her own chicks.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I have this hibiscus planted in a pot in my backyard. It has the prettiest yellow flowers with a maroon center. It is LOVING this hot long as I remember to water every day.

The other day I walked out and it had about 10 - 12 flowers covering it. Had to take some pictures quick because those blooms only last a day. It blooms constantly, but not usually that many at one time.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Banana Bread

Sometimes when we buy bananas, they disappear within 2- 3 or days, and other times, they just sit on the counter getting more and more ripe every day. The second scenario is my most recent experience.

This morning, I was faced with FIVE over ripe bananas sitting on the counter. What a waste. I typically have only one thought when I find myself in this situation… BANANA BREAD!

My recipe calls for three bananas, so I just doubled it. I know, I know, baking is a science and you should follow the measurements exactly, but not really. In this particular case, there’s some wiggle room. I kept the eggs exact, but then just added a little less or more of the other ingredients until it the batter looked right.

The best thing about this recipe is that you just throw it all in the bowl together and turn the mixer on. No sifting or adding dry ingredients separately. Once it’s mixed, just pour it in the pan(s) and pop it in the oven. Easy, peasey.

Here’s the recipe (not doubled):

1 1/3 c. sugar
3 ripe bananas, mashed
½ c. shortening or oil
2 eggs
½ t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
2 c. flour
½ to 1 c. pecans, chopped (optional)

Mix everything together. Pour into one loaf pan plus 6 muffin cups. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (for loaf pan – muffins take a bit less time), or until a toothpick comes out clean.

My batch today made three loaves, and they came out perfect. Enough to eat and enough to share! The recipe seems to have a lot of sugar in it, but I think that’s what makes the top of the loaves kind of crunchy, and that is the yummiest part! It is especially delicious when it’s warm with a little butter on it.

The recipe is from one of the very best kinds of cookbooks. It’s from Burnt Offerings, published by Mission Ridge Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Arlington, Texas in June, 1980. I have never even seen this church, and don’t know where I got the book, but I love these compilation cookbooks because everyone always submits their very best recipes to try to impress all their friends who buy the book. Since this book was made prior to the gourmet foodie-snob trendy world we live in today, people kept it simple, and submitted recipes that are easy, quick and tasty. What could be better!?

We have Barbara Harrell and Mary Ann Lenox to thank for this recipe. I don’t know either of these ladies, but I am so glad they shared this with us.

If you decide to try it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the process and enjoy the results even more!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Date Night with Joe & Michael Buble

In March I bought myself tickets to Michael Buble, then I told my hubby what he got me and how much I loved it. :-)

It has been so hot here lately that it’s really hard to work up the energy to do anything, even something fun. The last thing I wanted to do last Sunday afternoon was get ready for a night out. If I didn’t want to get ready to go, I’m sure you can just imagine how thrilled my “date” was to go. He tried to get out of it, but no such luck.

So, we drug ourselves out of the pool and into some real clothes, and headed downtown. And we were not disappointed! The show was amazing!! It was the last show of the tour, and they threw a really swingin' party.

The opening act was a vocal group called Naturally 7. (pic 1) There were no instruments, but they made all the instrument sounds themselves. One person sounded like the drums, one like a bass, a couple like guitars, horns and harmonicas. They were great!

Michael Buble was awesome! I feel like a creepy old lady saying it, but he is so cute! (pic 2) I didn’t know what to expect, or how a big band was going to translate to an arena. No need to worry. It was a great show – at one point he walked through the audience to get to a smaller stage in the middle of the arena floor. (pics 3 & 4) You would have thought those people were going to lose their minds. It felt like a much more intimate venue. I LOVED it! Even Joe really enjoyed the show.

Fun, fun, fun! And temporarily we even forgot all about the sweltering heat outside.


I want to go back to the beach.

Seems like I've been going from one crazy situation to another. Sometimes it's all too much! This weekend I am just going to try to find a little piece of peace and try to exhale.

Hope everyone out there also has a refreshing, relaxing and rejuvenating weekend.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Grown Up Kit

Ok - so the last post was titled "Last One," but I didn't really mean that it was my last post ever even though it may seem like it. It is so difficult for me to make time to blog during the week, but I am going to get more consistent.

Anyway, part of the reason for my inconsistent posting is the fact that I don't have a lot of pictures or much inspiration at the moment. I had hoped that this blog would be an encouragement for me to get more creative and actually do more creating...again, just haven't been able to make the time. I've got tons of inspiration and lists upon lists of things I want to make and do, but I'm a little afraid of making the commitment to DO because I feel like the idea won't come through and my execution of it will be disappointing. Of course, how will I ever know that if I don't start DOING something?! hmmmm... quite the conundrum and, I believe, the true root of all procrastination.

So, the day is drawing nearer and nearer for my Chicken Little's departure. Once she is out of the nest and on her own, it will only be a matter of time before her sky starts to fall and the end of the world becomes imminent. That's just the way she is - it seems with every little challenge, it means all is lost - I've been told that is just a symptom of the teenage brain, so that gives me hope, but still she's been this way for as long as I can remember. (However, with my memory these days, that could mean it's only been as long as the length of time it takes me to walk from the living room to the kitchen.) But I digress...

In an effort to make the child feel better prepared for the end of the world, I presented her with the above "grown up kit" on her 18th birthday.

The college dorm rooms are no longer just a room with 2 twin beds, 2 desks, 2 wardrobes, and one electrical outlet. Essentially, she will be sharing a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 other girls. In addition to the bedrooms, there is one bathroom, a kitchen with a STOVE AND FRIDGE (that is luxury compared to my dorm room), and a living room. Moving into a dorm is like getting real place of your own - they need dishes & all sorts of kitchen stuff, bathroom stuff, plus the usual bedding and school supplies.

The Grown Up Kit - is a great housewarming gift - it feels a bit early for that - but at the same time it is necessary. It's got all you need to keep the mold and stench at bay, as well as some basic kitchen utensils, a few must-have tools, and a first aid kit. Now, if the sky really does start to fall, she can tidy up, whip up a tasty bowl of ramen noodles and get out the band-aids and ibuprofen in case of injury.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Last One...

This is the last of my vacation pictures, and I think it's appropriate that I'm posting it a week later, just as the last little bit of that good vacation vibe is starting to wear off.

I have no idea what plant this is, but it's all over the place near the beach. Even when I was looking at it, I wasn't sure if it was a vine, a bush or a tree. But whatever it was, it wasn't going anywhere! These things were thick with shoots going off and wrapping around everything.

The leaves were like big round saucers, and they were gorgeous colors. The deep green leafy part, up against the yellow and hot pink veins. Very much the colors of Florida.

Pretty, pretty, pretty! Sometimes, you just need a little pretty. Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


So, so, so busy at work this week. Meetings all day, means working all night = no time for blogging. BUMMER!

It's 100+ this week, so just needed something to help me chill out. This was my backyard this winter. I'm sure at the time I was whining about the snow, just like now I'm whining about the heat. Never satisfied. At least I can appreciate in retrospect. ;-)

Monday, July 12, 2010


Shells, shells, shells...shells, shells, shells. I love 'em. I don't know what to do with them, but I have jars and jars of them around the house because I just can't help myself. Whenever I'm at a beach, I am on a mission. It's like a treasure hunt!

If I were alive when shells were currency, I would have been the richest old broad in the tribe - fo' sho'!

The top two pictures are some of the ones I found at the beach near Venice, FL which is famous for finding shark teeth. Didn't find any of those, but I admit I wasn't looking for 'em. Actually, there wasn't much on the beach, but about 3 feet into the water the ground got really crunchy, so I was finding these with my toes. WEIRDO!

But wow - what fun and some gorgeous stuff. And look - I found some small pieces of coral, too. How cool is that?! Most of the time I was about waist deep in the ocean. I'd find something and put it in my pocket (I had on shorts over my swimsuit). By the time I was ready to leave, I could barely haul myself out the water my pockets were so heavy and stuffed with my riches!

The next three are a sampling of the ones I found on Sanibel Island. OMG is all I can say about that place. WOW! I could have spent days out there hunting. I was definitely practicing the famous local move known as the Sanibel Stoop. Step and bend, step and bend, step and bend...

There were a lot more seekers on Sanibel. I was concerned that I may have to take out a few old ladies if we were going for the same jewels. I know - it's a sickness. I admit it - I am a shell-hoarder.

Interestingly, there was NO beach glass to be found. I think I have it even worse for that stuff than for shells. But no complaints here - I'm thrilled with all my pretties.

Ouch! This is the other souvenir I brought home. The result of being so wrapped up in my shelling that I forgot about the consequences of staring at the ground with the sun on your back all day. Luckily, I tan easily so most of it is already brown. Oh well, a small price to pay for the trophies I found!!

I wish shell crafts weren't so cheesy looking and really only appropriate for beach house decor. One day, I'm going to come up with something really cute and fun to do with all these, until then I'm just going to be happy knowing that I have them. :-)))

Drive Home

Spent lots of time doing nuthin'...obviously!

Driving is one of my least favorite things to do, so Joe was wonderful and drove almost the entire way! I'm a much better rider, which gives me a chance to read, snap pictures, and doze. I did take the late night driving shift and got caught up on a bunch of podcasts. 18 hours to get home - even though it rained most of the way, it was much quicker than drive to.

All was well when we got home, and as you can tell we were missed and the puppy was so excited to see us.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Heading Home

We had a lovely, relaxing time in Florida this past week, but I am glad to be going home. No matter how crazy "real life" might be, there is always something satisfying and comforting about going home. Vacation... ahhhhhh! Home.....ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sanibel & Captiva

This has to be one of my new favorite places. Sanibel and Captiva Islands just off the coast of Ft. Meyers, Florida are GORGEOUS!

About a year ago I was watching a show on the Travel Channel about the best beaches for finding shells and these islands were listed as the best. That, of course, meant they went immediately to the top of my "Must Go There" list.

We spent all day Wednesday hanging out, combing the beach for shells - I found TONS (more on that later this week) - and then eating and watching the sunset at the Mucky Duck Pub. It was fab-u-lous! Both islands are relatively small with lots of bike lanes and tons of places to stay, but we just went down for the day. Next time....

The top two pictures I took from my beach chair on the Sanibel beach, and the bottom two I took on Captiva.

Heading home tomorrow - hopefully the trip home will be much quicker than the drive here. I'll be posting pictures of all my treasures from the last few days over the next week.

Happy Birthday!

I somehow missed the Fourth of July. I'm sure that I was NAPPING (yes, I do believe that NAPPING should always be written in capital letters) and recovering from my battle as a road warrior on Friday/Saturday.

Well... a belated Happy Birthday, America! We are so lucky to live here!

And another belated Yankee Doodley Happy Birthday to my brother, who is "a real-live nephew of my Uncle Sam, born on the Fourth of July!" I was always jealous that he got fireworks on his birthday.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Portable Nest

Mid-morning last Friday, we set off for Florida on vacation. Joe ruptured his eardrum recently, so our wings were clipped - no flying for us. Let me just say that there is a HUGE difference between a 4 - 6 hour road trip and a 17 (18, 19...21!) hour road trip.

Whenever I settle in for a long drive with the GPS, my goal, as petty as it may seem, is to beat the estimated arrival time. Our estimated arrival for this trip was 5:00 AM on Saturday (assuming we drove straight through - ugh!). When did we arrive, you say??

8:30 AM on Saturday - and yes - we drove straight through! How did this happen?! Three wrecks, the never ending thunder and rain, and the entire country getting a head start on the holiday by leaving early Friday!

It was brutal! We didn't stop because the middle of the night was the only time the roads weren't clogged with traffic. So, we drove in shifts, arrived 3 1/2 hours late on Saturday morning, and I immediately started my favorite vacation activity....NAPPING!!!

So... the photo above is of my perch during this adventure. Of course, there is the extra blanket because we never agree on the temperature. Ipod (check), book (check), Diet Pepsi (check).... and all is right with the world.

And, then there's all the junk filling the back of the truck. I don't know why I am compelled to tote all of my stuff with me at all times (just in case I might need/want it). What you can't see is the cooler that is sitting right behind my seat keeping me upright for 21 hours.

We made it, we're in one piece and we maintained the peace, so all was and is well. The rain stayed with us until Wednesday. Perfect weather for NAPPING! :-) The last few days have been amazing with the sun and surf, and more to come tomorrow.

More about what we've been doing and seeing later - but check out my new banner - that is a product of our trip to Sanibel Island yesterday. What fun!!!