Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Little Sermon

Today is Holy Family Sunday.  As much as I love Christmas mass and hearing the story of the Nativity every year I always find myself touched by the readings on the Sunday after Christmas.  Maybe it is because Christmas is a time we spend together as a family and I am usually basking in the afterglow of that family time.  Maybe it is because as we near the end of the year and look forward to a fresh start in the New Year this particular Sunday is a good time to reflect and put things into their proper perspective.  Maybe it's because I am exhausted and emotional after the holidays and the readings catch me in a vulnerable state.  Or.... maybe it is because I love my family and look at it as my life's greatest treasure.  Hearing words of wisdom on how to live as a holy family is the perfect way to end the year.

This is the reading that struck a chord today and the lector who read it brought it to life for me.

COL 3:12-17

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another, 
if one has a grievance against another; 
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love, 
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, 
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, 
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, 
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs 
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed, 
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

We just spent a week with our grandsons, daughter and son-in-law.  Watching a young family in action!  I forget how much work goes into raising good kids.  It is a full time job!  Diligence cannot be underrated.  Parenting is one of life's most important jobs, in my humble opinion.  That being said, if your family has no children, it is still important to treat each other with kindness, gentleness, patience and forgiveness.  There is still much to be thankful for and there is still love.

If you have made it to the end of this "sermon",  God bless you and your family now and in the New Year!  Thanks for reading.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Naked Cheese

Are you a Pinterest enthusiast?  If so, you need to stop reading right now!  You have more important things to be doing instead of reading my blog.   You have halls to be decking, an elf to put on a shelf somewhere, food to be making that is not only delicious and nutritious but in the shape of a reindeer or a sleigh, gifts to wrap that look better than what is inside the box and holiday cards to print and sprinkle with glitter!  So many Pinterest ideas and so little time!  Meanwhile, people like me have time to play golf in December instead of making my ham into the shape of a Christmas ornament.  Call me Scrooge....but I might just put Martha Stewart into tears with my lack of craftiness.

Let me prove my point.
The other night I was going out to a winery with a few friends and since we were allowed to bring food to the winery, I volunteered to bring a cheese plate.  I was very proud of my 4 cheeses displayed on my pottery platter.  Proud, until I showed up at my friend, Ski Buddy's,  house.  She had also decided to bring the shape of a very cute snowman!  My cheeses suddenly slumped into depression at their unfestiveness.

Cheese plate vs. Pinterest Cheese Ball Snowman
The win goes to Mr. Cheese Ball Snowman.

I must admit the cheese ball snowman was delicious as well as very cute.  Though uncreative, my cheeses were delicious.  I think they had a complex all night long though, they felt so naked next to Mr. Cheese Ball Snowman.  I would also like to point out that there are more decorations in this one picture than there are in my entire house.  Not really, but close!

Christmas is one of those times when my minimal efforts become glaringly apparent.  I'm just not a Pinterest person.  I find it is not good for my self esteem.  All of these people have time and energy to do all this stuff and post it on Pinterest, this makes me feel like such an underachiever. Seriously... who has time for all this stuff?  No one is ever going to be able to try everything on Pinterest.  We can't decorate our homes using all of the beautiful ideas or cook all of the yummy foods or try all of the unique and life changing ideas, there just aren't enough hours in the day, especially if you play golf!  Maybe my "all or nothing" mentality is the problem.  If I can't do it all, I just won't do anything.  I'll admit, I have used a few Pinterest ideas.  Mostly, I just look at it for about 3 minutes and get hives and click back to my Facebook page or SportsCenter.

Exhibit 2

My nativity scene:

 I've got Mary, Joseph, a shepard, some animals, the Wise men 
and I even threw in some angels and a distant church.

Ski Buddy's nativity scene.
It looks like they are in Bethlehem instead of on a shelf!  There are rocks, and sand and moss!  
So much more creative.

Of course there is also my daughter's nativity...
arranged by my grandson!
Boys - animals - girls.
Maybe she should post this on Pinterest!

If you need me this week, I'll be playing golf while my nativity set wanders around the shelf wondering where their rocks and moss are and my cheese looks for it's fluffy parmesan cheese coat.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My New Addiction

I have a confession...I have a new addiction.  It is a hokey, silly, slightly embarrassing addiction.  After my bah humbug Thanksgiving post I am probably the last person you expected to get hung up on sappy Hallmark Channel movies.  I am blaming it all on lousy weather and being home alone for a week.  I was in hibernation mode a couple of weeks ago.  Every night I seemed to end up on the Hallmark channel watching the movie of the night.  Before I knew it a couple of hours had passed and another very attractive couple had overcome an obstacle or misunderstanding and was living happily ever after under my watch.

 The constant stream of Hallmark Christmas movies is my "go to" choice when I just can't find anything worth watching on the tube.  Yes, I could probably just turn it off and read, clean the house, write my Christmas letter or even just go to bed but I get hooked so easily!  They are so predictable and yet adorable! Especially after the 3rd or 4th one you was cold and gray outside give me a break.  Obviously I have very low standards in my viewing choices and am a hopeless romantic.  Plus, I've already seen every episode of House Hunters.  I'm such a sucker for a boy-meets-girl-inevitably-there-are-complications-they-work-through-the-complications-and-live-happily-ever after movie.  There are no vampires, no explosions, no shooting, no inappropriate subject matter, only formula happily every after movies, rated G.  Yes, come to think of it I am a thirteen year old girl underneath it all.

Living Happily Ever After,

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving

"They" have stolen Thanksgiving!  The proverbial "they" have decided that Thanksgiving is not important, or at least it's not as important as say....Christmas.  I challenge you to go to any store today and find Thanksgiving decorations, table cloths, or table settings except maybe in the way back on the double discounted sale section.  They are gone!  As soon as Halloween was over the shelves were wiped clean of anything orange, brown, yellow or black and replaced with red, green, white, silver and gold.  No pumpkins, pine cones, pilgrims or cornucopias to use when the family surrounds the table on Thanksgiving.  Apparently I was supposed to do all of that shopping around Labor Day.  Oops!

I challenge you to find this section in any store today.....except maybe the grocery store.
As someone who lives in the moment (procrastinates until the last minute)  I have been a little mad and little sad that Thanksgiving will be a mere blip on the radar and Christmas has bullied its way into our stores and our psyche.   I'm blaming it on "them"...the marketing geniuses.  I like Thanksgiving!  It is about being thankful, eating lots of delicious food, being with family, plus there are no gifts involved!   Not only does the absence of  Thanksgiving frustrate me but the presence of Christmas decorations, commercials, and music makes me a little crazy.  For some reason all of this bombardment is making me anxious.  It makes me feel like I should have the house decorated and the gifts bought, wrapped and mailed by now.  I am so screwed!  I was busy trying to have Thanksgiving here.  There is so much life to live before I even start thinking about Christmas and all its trappings.

I am choosing to honor Thanksgiving and will try not to let Christmas creep into my life until December!   So cheers to Thanksgiving!  Bring on the lists of things we are thankful for and the turkey, pumpkins and pilgrims.  I, for one, will leave my fall wreath on the door until AFTER Thanksgiving!  Please join me.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Finding Extraordinary in the Ordinary

 I've been struggling with whether the blog is still relevant.  Every once in a while I'll go back and read some of the old blogs and think to myself, "That was good!"  or  " That was such an interesting perspective, I'm just not thinking these days.  I need to pay more attention or be more creative.".  Self congratulating and criticizing all in the same breath.  I'm sure you have noticed my posts are getting farther and farther apart.  I don't really want to make this a boring journal.   Who wants to read about that?  Maybe my mother....but certainly not anyone who didn't give me life.  Mothers read anything and everything their kids write and love it, that's why we love them.

At least three times every week I consider a topic for a post, and it will simmer for about five minutes, because lately that is my maximum attention span, and then I think....."Nah, I've already written that."  or "Booooring!".  Then I'll think,  "Maybe my life has just gotten too boring....or I've become boring."  Then I silently scream inside my head "Ahhhhhhh, a curse worse than death!  Say it ain't so!".  Maybe I should go hang gliding or base jumping, those aren't boring.  I can write about what it feels like to be scared to death and free all at the same time.  Instead, I have taken my dog to the vet for x-rays on her broken leg about 4 times in the last 7 weeks, that's almost the same as base jumping, right?  No?  You need more?  Me too!

She does not realize sometimes that she still has a broken leg.
Hope springs eternal!

When I read my old posts, I realize I've done a lot of traveling.  Which I'm very thankful for, it gives me something nice to write about and some beautiful pictures to post.  Every day life is so....ordinary.  I need to remember that the ordinary makes me appreciate the extraordinary. Wouldn't it be nice if I could just figure out more ways to make my every day life extraordinary?  Why do I need to wait for those "out of the ordinary" people, places and things to make me feel more alive or to inspire me to write something interesting?  I need to make the daily experiences special.

With this in mind as I look over my pictures on my phone from the last month, life hasn't been all that ordinary.
I got to see Kelly....and the Liberty Bell on Columbus Day.

My artistic photography effort,
 Independence Hall reflected in the modern Liberty Bell museum window.
There is even an American flag in there!.
Of course I couldn't resist the pink flowers.
Speaking of travel, wasn't I? Last Thursday night was one of those ordinary Thursday nights at home.  While watching TV, because that's what I do on an ordinary Thursday night, I stumbled upon Anthony Bourdain's show, Layover.  Three episodes later I was drooling over his trips to Italy, Spain, France and Turkey.  I was thinking if I had my own show I'd be a cross between Anthony Bourdain and Samantha Brown.  Not quite as profane and irreverent as Bourdain but not quite as perky as Brown.  I thought I'd provide a link for you to get the idea of what I mean and came across this You Tube video of them and it is absolutely hilarious!  It also confirms that I really enjoy both of them.  Imagine my surprise this morning as I read the newspaper and discovered that Mr. Bourdain will be in none other than Wolfeville, Nova Scotia this week attending the Devour Food Film Festival.  Maybe he and I have more in common than I originally, food, travel and Nova Scotia.  If I lived there I would absolutely check this event out, hint, hint. If you go, tell him I said "Hello, and I've been internet stalking him".

Over the last few ordinary weeks, the weather has been extraordinary.  Ever since I wrote this post the weather gods have seen to it to provide us with absolutely perfect weather.  This also explains why I have not been writing much.  I've been outside playing golf and running/walking.  I tricked myself into exercising by signing up to participate (note I did not say run) in a 5K the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I figured I needed a goal and nothing like the shame of finishing a 5K in over 40 minutes to get this 50 something year old woman off the couch and onto the sidewalk.  I'll let you know if I accomplish my goal.  Don't worry it's not a lofty goal, I'm not into setting myself up for failure!

Just one of the extraordinary days we have had lately!

Finally, I have witnessed some extraordinary football.  Extraordinarily good and extraordinarily bad.  We went to Baton Rouge for the LSU/Ole Miss game.  There is something special about going back to your Alma mater for Homecoming.  The memories just flood back!  Oh, to go back knowing what I know now....things might have been very different or just the same....and that is a whole other blog post.  The football game was epic!  The campus was beautiful.

Nice Homecoming decorations!

You know you are in Louisiana when you get drive thru daiquiris!
Even though most of the days over the last few weeks have been pretty ordinary, they have also been extraordinary.  Sometimes all it takes is a blue sky and a cool breeze or a straight drive on a beautiful golf course.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Let's Get Physical

How many of you look forward to your annual physical?  OK, you people are just weird!  I look forward to my annual physical about as much as I looked forward to final exams in school.   I wish my annual physical was as simple as taking my car in every 5,000 miles to get the oil changed and the tires rotated.  "That will be $49.95 ma'am, see you in another 5,000 miles".  Unfortunately, my aging body now resembles a car with over 100,000 miles.  I'm at the point when all the parts need to either be replaced or are on the "watch" list.

I always stress out weeks ahead of my physical. I fear the dreaded blood sucking so they can see what my cholesterol levels, triglycerides, sugars, salts, amount of wine I consume on a daily basis and whatever else a blood sample tells them.  Can't they just put a strip on my forehead like they do toddlers these days to find out if they have a fever and use it to find out all my vital blood facts?   It would be so much more pleasant for both of us that way.

After the results come in my side of the conversation goes something like this... "Yes doctor, I know that I should limit my alcohol, salt, sugar and exercise more.  I even do sometimes....really!  At least once a week  month!  Well, I exercise!  One out of four isn't bad.  And that ever creeping weight...just the result of all that good wine and restaurant food we now have the time and money to go out and enjoy....oh, and I'm getting older dammit".  Apparently, getting older results in the metabolism slowing down.  Getting older should have a few physical rewards... I'm still waiting to find them.  Youth is wasted on the young!  Can I just have my 25 year old body back?  Shoot, I'll settle for my 40 year old body, the one I should have appreciated more when I had it!  I keep remembering words I heard before, " You are never going to be as young as you are today, so enjoy today!".

I "passed" my annual physical without any red flags.  Of course, I'm still supposed to "limit" my alcohol, eat right and exercise....duh.  Just once I want to go the the doctor and have them tell me to slow down and eat and drink more!  Just once!  That is a physical I would look forward to!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Am I Delusional or Optimistic?

I keep reminding myself that I "wanted" to come home from the shore.  I am the one who said it was time to leave the green grass, the water view, the garden fresh vegetables in the backyard, the cool breezes and the friendly familiar surroundings.  For some crazy reason I thought, as I do every year, that it would be Fall when I got home.  The calendar says it's Fall, the sun and the moon say it, even the sweaters and boots in the stores say it.   According to all sources....except the weather, Fall is here.  I continue to hope against hope that someday Houston will suddenly turn into California and have low humidity and moderate temperatures in September and October.  I hope to arrive home to lovely evenings we can spend outside on the patio without being carried away by mosquitoes and sweating profusely.  Am I delusional or optimistic?

This is what my windows look like in the morning.  No, it did not rain!
It is so humid,our double-pane insulated windows even sweat.
When I walk into my kitchen and see the windows look like this, I know it will feel like a hot wet blanket outside.  Not something that screams, "let's go out and play golf", but I do anyway.  Eternally optimistic....or delusional?  Yesterday I played golf.  I drank a ton of water and sweat it out as fast as I could drink.  Yes, it was 90 degrees and humid like you don't even know unless you live in Texas or Louisiana.  The rest of you can just forget it, you don't know humidity like we know humidity.  Believe me, I felt delusional by the time we finished but it was probably just dehydration.

I bought a new shirt to wear to a football game in a couple of weeks.
Guess who is playing in the game?
I am hoping that since the game is at the end of October, I will be able to wear a 3/4 sleeve shirt and be comfortable.  Plus this cute shirt did not come in a tank top.  This is just the kind of thinking that continues to get me in trouble and disappoints me over and over.  Inevitably it will be hot and humid.... but a girl can hope..right?!  Delusional or Optimistic?

Speaking of football.... I still have hope that my team will not disappear into oblivion this season.  They are going to win some of the big games, I just know it!  Delusional or Optimistic?

 I examined a few other things in my life and realize this is a common theme!  I have always thought of myself as an optimist but maybe I'm just delusional.  I prefer to think of it as optimistic!  How optimistic of me....

I have been home for almost a month which means  it's time to go somewhere! So this weekend I'm going to escape the heat and humidity!  I'm heading up to Philadelphia to visit my LG.  Optimistically I am hoping for nice crisp clear weather and trees full of yellow, red and orange leaves.   I'll let you know how it goes!

Are you optimistic or delusional?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How Long is an Hour?

I's 60 minutes!  But why is it that some hours fly and others creep?  Our perception of time passing is skewed by the events that fill that time.  When you love what you are doing, the time seems to fly.  When you are driving down I-81 through Virginia... the time will inevitably creep ever so slowly.  Well, at least that has been my experience!

In no particular order here are some of the fastest and slowest passing hours this summer.

Endless Hours

We spend many hours with our family and friends at the shore and somehow time just slips away.  I like to say, "it gets late early up here".  I blame it on being in the Atlantic time zone.  The sun sets so late in the summer that before you know's late.  Those hours go by very quickly!
Any hour spent at our neighbor's house or our house watching the sunset, eating dinner or just visiting  will fly.
Sometimes we wish time would just stand still!

The Hour or Hours I Wished Would Never End

Ever since I bought our croquet set many, many years ago I have wanted to have a family croquet game on the lawn at the farmhouse.  I had visions of a very Gatsbyesque event.  We had thrown around the idea of dressing in all white and having a lovely game sometime during the summer.  We even tried to schedule a game but to no avail.  Then one afternoon it just happened!  I love it when things "just happen".  Jehnna did a beautiful job of documenting that evening here.  It was a very civilized and classy evening, complete with our own butler.  I really have no idea how long we were out there but the time flew by and before we knew it the sun had set and it was time to move on.

One of the rules was you had to continue holding your drink during the entire game.
Who knew croquet could be a drinking game?!.

The Hour That Lasted Forever

Our drive home never seems to go by quickly enough for me.  Most of the hours crawl by while I stare out the windshield wishing we were "there already".  I am just not one of those people who loves a long car trip.  I think too many car trips have burned me out.  However, there is one hour on our drive home that stands out as THE LONGEST HOUR EVER!

I had been warned and knew it was going to happen.  TJ had a very important conference call one of the days we were driving.  He gave full disclosure and told me when it was and that it would last about four hours.  I would have to be the driver during the call.  I was fine with all of this.  What we did not plan on was that there are very few areas on I-81 in the mountains that get good cell coverage.  No cell coverage while driving meant we had to find a city....on top of a mountain... with a good cell signal... for the conference call.  Meanwhile, Sadie the dog and I got to cool our heels and ....wait.  I was prepared to drive during the call but not just sit and wait it out.  I was fairly patient for the first three hours of the call.

Sadie and I did a lot of walking during the call.  We found a nice park and walked.  We ate lunch.  We walked more.  I went into the strip mall and shopped.  I read my email.  My patience wore thin, we were burning quote a loved one.  I was getting tired and bored and just wanted to "get there already".  The fourth and final hour of the call was the last straw and seemed to last another four hours.

The idea for this post happened right here...the sight of.the longest hour of our drive home!
The longest hour may or may not have resulted in me pitching a spoiled brat hissy fit.  FYI having a spoiled brat hissy fit only makes an hour last a lot longer.

The Best Hour of the Week

Our pastor likes to say that the hour we spend in church is the best hour of our week and sometimes he is right.  This Sunday was surprising.  I already had more than half of this post written last Sunday before church.  Imagine my surprise when during the homily the priest shared a little levity at the end.  It played right into his point but it also made me do a double take.  He did an entire list of things that ended this lead in,

"Isn't it funny how.....

-$100 looks so large in the collection plate at church and so small at the mall?
-we all cheer when a ball game goes into extra innings or overtime but groan when the homily runs 5 minutes too long?"

I know exactly what he means!  Isn't it funny how fast an hour spent watching the sunset at the shore or playing croquet on the lawn with some of your favorite people can go so fast and how slow an hour in a parking lot in TheMiddleofNowhere, VA waiting for a conference call to end can go by so slowly?!

Hope all your hours are full, fast and endless!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The End of the World, As I Know It

Four days ago I was ready to leave!  I think it had something to do with the skunking incident, plus the rain plus the fact I was just plain tired.  I wanted to go "home".  There comes a time in every summer when I am ready to go home.  It usually happens when I am tired and usually on a rainy day.  I think to myself, "I'm ready to leave, I'm ready for air conditioning, eating out at restaurants, retail stores within two miles, mindless television, city water and sewage, and last but certainly not least, college football."  Usually I get over this phase on the next sunny day when I am reminded how beautiful it is up here at this time of year and I remember how hot and humid it still is back home.

Serenity next door at the pond 

Last night I had a dream, more accurately... a nightmare.  I am not a psychiatrist nor do I play one on television but if I were one who analysed dreams this one would be a doozy!  In my dream I was outside chatting with friends in a driveway of one of our former residences and I noticed an interesting cloud formation.  That cloud formation turned out to be a mushroom cloud!

An image that might just wake you up from a sound sleep too!
In my dream I remember thinking, "Cool clouds....wait, that looks like an explosion!  Oh SH*#, what do I do now?"  I woke up immediately  from my dream and drifted in and out of sleep for the rest of the night.  All night I thought about what I should do or would do in the case of a nuclear explosion.  These are not sleep inducing thoughts.  I also had the song by R.E.M., "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" running through my mind all night long.  Not much sleep happened! Do you know how hard it is to sleep when you are thinking about why you dreamed up a nuclear explosion and what you would do if there were one?  Do I run to my family, do I drop to my knees and start praying and ask for forgiveness for all the wrongs I've done, do I run and help those who need it, do I just run for cover and hide?  These are the thoughts that ran through my all too awake head last night.

This morning in the light of day, whew, I figured out what this dream must mean, because even though I don't play a psychiatrist on TV, I will stay at a Holiday Inn this week.  On the eve of my two day marathon of packing and closing up the house for the season, I am looking at the end of my life as I've known it for the last three months.  Eureka!

Sadly, my summer of sandbar walks, large quantities of fresh garden produce right outside my back door, simple living among family and friends is coming to it's inevitable end.  POW!  Just like that it will be all over on Wednesday, until next year.

no more sandbar sunsets
no more garden fresh veggies
no more fresh cut flowers all over the house
no more beautiful peaceful commute's the end of the world as we know it..........and I feel fine.   I guess.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Romantic Day and Night in Halifax

We have had many visitors this summer!  Between all of our children, their spouses, our grandchildren and various friends visiting, we have had a lot of people around the house.  We love sharing this place with our family and friends.  Keep in mind that for most of the year we are alone together.  We also spend a lot of days and nights alone since TJ travels for work.  This being said, the prospect of getting away together before we leave Nova Scotia was attractive.

We planned to drive our last visitors, Mr. and Mrs. NYC, to the HFX airport and then go into the city, maybe have lunch, wander the streets, stop in a few shops, eat a nice dinner at a nice restaurant and then spend the night in a hotel downtown.  This was the plan, it was a loose plan.  We probably both needed to get away and maybe actually talk to each other.  It's been a while since we actually have been alone and able to just be Lisa and TJ.

We woke up this morning and our guests were busy packing, TJ was busy trying to do a day's work before skipping out of the home office and I was upstairs drying my hair before my romantic getaway.  Sadie the dog was just wondering what the commotion was all about.  She went to the door to go out and was let out.  Apparently she was in hot pursuit of none other than Pepe Le Pew who was under our deck!

"I was enjoying a nice morning under your deck and was very surprised by your dog!"
 "She scared the PEW right out of me!"
The people downstairs heard Sadie crying and then......the smell!  Mrs. NYC came running upstairs saying, "Close the windows! Sadie found a skunk!"  By the time I got downstairs TJ had Sadie on her leash, the house wreaked of skunk and so did the dog!  Did I mention the smell?  Yikes!  We all started our emergency readiness tactics by searching the Internet for skunk smell removal mixtures, closing all the windows and making "what's that awful smell" faces.  This was when I saw my romantic day and night plans go right out the stinky window.

TJ bathed Sadie (because at this point she is HIS dog!) in Dawn dish soap, it was all we had available at the moment and swift action was needed.  The smell seemed to lighten and we tied her up to a tree far, far away from the house to dry off and waft her perfume to the great outdoors.  Meanwhile the house still stunk!  We discussed plans for the rest of the day and decided heading out early was a good idea if for no other reason than to just get out of the stinky house!

"What is that horrible smell?  Oh, it's me!"
Things settled down until we were loading the car with all the luggage and it started to rain.  TJ went to untie Sadie from the tree and get her under the porch when she made a bee line straight back to her old friend Pepe Le Pew!  NOOOOOO!  Yes, she was skunked a second time and this time was worse than the first time.  This is when I sacrificed my day and said I'd drive to the airport and give up 4 hours of my day, TJ could stay home and relax.....and clean the dog again and live with the skunk smell, in the rain.  I'm such a giver....I don't think I knocked him down when I ran to the car but I might have.

TJ did the peroxide, baking soda, Dawn treatment and the tomato juice treatment just to be on the safe side.  We also heard if you use blue Listerine it gets the smell out so we have done that too.   Now our dog has lighter hair with a reddish tint and smells like mouthwash and skunk.  The good news is that it finally stopped raining and the sun came out!  The house does not smell like skunk anymore and we are hoping the mothballs TJ put under the deck have made Pepe decide to relocate.  How romantic is that?

Alone, at last.....

I have thought about what to write in the blog over the last few weeks and imagined I would write about something beautiful, inspiring or thought provoking when I finally had time to sit and reflect.  Then it hit me in the face, literally!   This is our last week at the farmhouse.  It will definitely be one to remember.  I hope Sadie smells more like a dog and less like a skunk by the time we have to spend 40 hours in a car together.  Yes, isn't that something to look forward to?!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I Hope You Dance

It's officially been one month.  A new record for my blog neglect.  It isn't that there haven't been any blog worthy events in my life over the last month.  There have just been too many.  Where do I begin?  The last month has been busy, wonderful, exhausting, exciting, compromised and some of the best weeks of my year.  It's funny how when we are living our memories we don't really realize how much we will look back and think how wonderful they were.  It is my goal to appreciate those moments "in the moment".  I try, believe me!  I try!  I made a deal with myself early in the summer to try to have meaningful conversations with people and to be "in the moment" when I was with someone but then all the busy-ness of the summer happens and I find myself scattered and unfocused.   In retrospect I did a lot and had many great times but with so many options I also missed out on a lot of moments.  We have to make choices and I hope I made the right ones.

We danced the night away on July 19th!
There were many opportunities to dance over the last few weeks.  I love to dance!  First, we danced in Madison, WI at Marathon Girl's wedding celebration.  There was karaoke, a live band, a long summer night and we danced with some good friends, their children and our oldest daughter and her husband.  After that fun night we flew with our two older grandsons back to Nova Scotia.  We did the Gigi and Grampy dance for the next 4 days.

Picnic lunches and legos!

It's been a long time since I had two kids under the age of 7!  Grampy and I had the boys for a few days and we suddenly became "young" again.  Unfortunately, we still had our old bodies but our schedules and activities were young.  I went to the Koolaid Kid meeting with my grandsons and saw how the young mums around here do it.  They do it well!  I also remembered why I am a night person.  It's because after the kids go to bed I can finally put my feet up, relax and regroup or stay up much too late with my cousins and wake to regret it the next day.  Either way it has always been my favorite time of day.

Koolaid Kids 2014
The next week involved what I will refer to as "The Games" dance.  This is a dance where you try your best to participate in or watch as many of the Christie/Brown or Brown/Christie Games (depending on which family you belong to) over the course of a three day weekend.  This dance also includes preparing and eating the usual daily meals that must be fit into the few unscheduled hours of each day. Add a few late  nights into the dance and you sometimes feel like you are dancing with yourself as you catch yourself coming as you are going. There are hundreds of people who attend and participate in these games so the possibility of visiting each of them over the three days requires a lot of dancing.

2014 Softball teams

The Games ended in style this year.  It was the 40th Annual Games!  There was a major celebration to commemorate this event which included a live band for our annual barn party.  My second weekend in a row with a live band, I must be living right!  The band, Big Fish, was awesome!  It was also a lot of fun dancing with all four of my children, their spouses and my husband, not to mention all of my cousins and friends.  I think I can accurately say we left it all on the dance floor that night!

Their "I love to dance" gene is sufficiently intact
The next weekend presented itself with more live music and dancing.  Yes, I am living right!   We all went to Prince Edward Island for a concert which featured Alan Doyle, Jimmy Rankin and Blue Rodeo.  So many opportunities to dance!  The day ended up being a perfect concert day, not too hot, not too sunny, not too cool and and not too buggy.   We had plenty of room to dance and let's face it you can't listen to Ordinary Day and not dance!

If you get the chance to sit it out or dance....I hope you dance!
Over the last few weeks I was doing a lot of dancing, there was the Gigi dance, the Mom dance, the Cousin dance, the Friend dance, the Wife dance, the Mother-in-law dance, the Daughter dance, the Sister dance, and the Me dance.  That is a lot of dancing!  No wonder I feel like I did not do all of them to the best of my ability.  I just have to accept that you can't do it all.  Oh, but I try!  Why do I try so hard?  I just hate to miss out on anything.

I not only danced with my one year old grandson, I danced with all of my kids and we had some really good times together.  There is no better thing if you ask me.  So, that's what I have done over the last few weeks.  I may have missed out on some very fun nights with my cousins, I may have missed out on some quiet time alone, I may have missed out on a lot of things but I danced!  And when you have the chance to sit it out or dance I hope you dance too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Art of Mowing

Mowing grass is a summer pastime up here!  Many people spend countless summer hours mowing their grass.  I am counted among them.  Most of us have very large plots of grass to mow and a rider is the required equipment unless you have absolutely nothing else to do with your time and want to push a mower... for days.

As I said in my last post, since we are blessed with 16 hours of daylight in the summer, things just grow!  The grass especially!  Throw in a little, or a lot, of rain and you get shaggy, deep grass in no time at all!  Mowing once a week just doesn't always cut it.  hehe!

Spending two to three hours riding circles or lines around the yard gives you a lot of time to think. "I wonder how people make those cool patterns in their yard when they mow?".
This is my best mowing pattern so far.....
 "After I finish I should go and weed those strawberries.".  "I'll bet everyone is on the beach relaxing and talking about interesting things, while I am riding back and forth in my yard.".  "I love how the yard looks right after it is mowed, so nice and neat!".  "Damn, this ground is bumpy!  My spine is not going to like me tonight!".

"I hate trees!  Well, I hate having to mow around them."

 "Maybe I should blog about this."  The list goes on and on with the profound thoughts that run through my head while I mow.  It's a vast wasteland in there people!  I don't dare listen to music while mowing because I am sure I would mow over something or the mower would start making funny noises and with my earbuds blasting away my favorite tunes I would never hear the broken parts churning around or notice the large tree branch I just captured.

Mowing attire is quite fetching.
There are sunglasses, to protect my eyes.  A hat to keep my hair out of my eyes and to protect my already sun damaged and wrinkled face.  Protective ear gear is a must!  I wear leather garden gloves because when you mow around all those damn trees there are many low hanging branches that seem to be right at face level and I have to give them the stiff arm, quickly duck so I don't get smacked in the face when they rebound, and keep mowing along.  I always wear the oldest pair of running shoes for the job as to keep my nice shoes nice. On this particular day I was forced to wear my husbands rain jacket because it was a bit cool, windy and spitty.  Turns out it was the perfect time to mow....I sure wasn't missing any quality beach time.

Choosing the right day to mow is certainly an art.  You don't want to mow right after it rains.  The results are large clumps of wet grass randomly strewn around the yard.  You really don't want to mow on a really hot day, you need to be on the beach instead.  If you mow too long after the last mowing the yard looks more like a hay field with clippings that could be baled.  Then again if you mow too soon after the last mowing you could just be wasting your valuable time.  Windy days are good to mow because the clippings can just blow around and disappear.  Cloudy days are good in my book.  My delicate skin does not bake in the sun and I don't feel like the rest of the world is having fun on the beach without me.  FOMO (fear of missing out) is at it's peak on sunny days.

It is a bit funny that we have a very tiny lawn at home and pay a very wonderful man every week to come and mow, edge and clean our yard.  A job that takes him all of 20 minutes.  Up here I spend 2 1/2 hours mowing the farmhouse yard and another 1 1/2 hours mowing three cottage lawns.  If only Oscar could come up and help!  The view up here is a lot better than the view from our yard at home, so I guess it is a good trade off.  Yeah, right!  I must say though that I take some strange pleasure in admiring a freshly mowed lawn.  Must be the same side of me that loves the look of freshly vacuumed carpets.  Like I said's a vast wasteland up there.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Walk

I went for a walk yesterday.  If I ever get bored up here, and it's not pouring rain, I should remember to go for a walk.  I headed towards our cottage, headphones on, a mission in mind.  At the end of my driveway I noticed my Neighbor Who Knows All was at the end of his driveway.  I stopped and we chatted about the day and I was on my way.

Along the way I was passed by a few people I know and they all waved and I waved back if I could tell who it was...I probably waved even if I didn't recognize them.  I enjoyed the breeze/wind and admired the flowers in the ditches.  I thought I'd take a detour and walk among the cottages instead of on the road.  I had not been down some of these lanes this summer so it seemed like a nice diversion.  I stopped for a few minutes and visited with the Pioneer Girls on their deck.  A little farther down the lane I chatted with Dave of All Trades, who was getting a ride home, in the golf cart with one of my Georgia cousins.  We talked about the lovely weather, when my other Georgia cousins are arriving and things going on at the farmhouse this year.

I continued up the lane and passed my favorite little cottage.  We did not chat, but I nodded to it with appreciation.  I checked out our beach to see if it still had sand after Arthur blew through here on Saturday.  We do!  This is going to be a lovely beach summer!  Plenty of room for kids to play, adults to sit in chairs and walking in for a swim won't be as treacherous as it has been!

Finding a place to put a beach chair last year was a challenge!

Plenty of room this year!

I stopped for a chat with Aunt Leadfoot and Aunt Chowder Queen on the deck of "the cottage".  I walked a little bit farther to my cottage to check and see if the renters were there.  They weren't, but I admired my cottage, because I just love my cottage.  I decided to walk home via the road.  When I got to the road my Friday Golf Friend stopped to get her mail...and chat with me (I assume).  We discussed the golf plans for the week and regaled my hole in one.  Yes, this is my cheesy way of working the fact that I made a hole in one into the blog!  I'm still in shock and think it is amazing that I made a hole in one on July 4, 2014, no less!  A day to remember.

The Friday Golf Girls...and witnesses!
I said "goodbye" to my friend and headed back home.  I walked most of the way home without visiting anyone until....a car pulled over in front of me and just stopped along the side of the road.  I wondered why they were there when I noticed I knew them.  It was Garlic Guy and his wife.  They had stopped to ask me if I wanted any garlic scapes.  "Of course!"  He said he'd bring them over that night or the next day and he and his wife headed on their way.

All of this, on one walk, in an effort to get my 3 points on the "stupid health challenge". Well, maybe it isn't stupid, but I am, for agreeing to participate in it while I'm up at the shore....or maybe I was smart.  I'm not sure my level of activity was up to par with all the stopping and visiting but I was walking and standing for a very long time.

So....if I ever get bored or lonely up here I will just go for a walk.  No wonder I love it up here!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

An Ode to June

I began the month of June in Nova Scotia and I'm ending the month in Nova Scotia.  If I sit back and look at the interim I should be exhausted!  June isn't even one of the long months like August that usually feels like it has 40 days.  If you are one of those people who must always measure progress, accomplishments and things you "got done", then June was a good month.  I did not realize it until I just sat down here and tried to figure out what to write in one last post in June.  Maybe if we all took time to reflect and look back at where we have been and what we have done we would be a bit less critical of ourselves and realize... we rock!  

The month began up here on our week of planting the garden and opening the farmhouse.  The weather was a bit cool.  Even the horses were wearing sweaters!  Spring was way behind in it's arrival.  We stayed inside and began the sun porch renovation/improvement.
Sunroom "before"
One month later, bring on the sunsets and parties!

When we were here at the beginning of the month the weather was cool, very cool, unusually cool, cool enough to have a fire in the stove every day.  TJ managed to plant his garden with hopes it would warm up and his "babies" would grow.  The 16+ hours of daylight up here at this time of year definitely helped.  Surprisingly, even when it is cool and a bit wet at times... things just grow!

The garden at the beginning of June
and at the end of June!
I picked my first lettuce today....salad tomorrow!
On a different note, during the month of June we witnessed many Catholic sacraments.  We were present for two Baptisms at church up here on June 1.  When we were back in Houston for a mere two weeks, we witnessed a First Communion and the Anointing of the Sick.  Our first Sunday back here there were two Confirmations at mass.  All we need is to see someone become a priest and receive Holy Orders and then listen in on a Reconciliation and we will be done.  I'm just going to count the wedding on May 3 in the sacrament collection.  That is a lot of churchgoing in one month!  Believe me, we need all we can get!

In the month of June we traveled through 16 states and 2 provinces.  TJ gets extra credit for 2 more provinces since he went on several business trips in June.  Like I said, if I think about it....we should be exhausted!
Right around mile number 2300 in the month of June.....

Another measure of a month comes in the form of food.  I told TJ that when we were back in Houston for those two weeks I was going to make a point of eating out every night.  This was in preparation of my 3 months of restaurant deprivation while I'm up here at the farmhouse.  There just aren't any restaurants nearby.  I do exaggerate a bit because I'm sure I will eventually leave my small world up here and venture out a little and maybe even dine at a restaurant or two while I'm away but not with the regularity I eat out at home.  Of course, this never results in my waistline shrinking, go figure!  Suffice it to say we ate out most nights during our couple of weeks in Houston in June.  We also had several good meals on the road with our friends and family.
My birthday dinner night!
We also celebrated our anniversary and Father's Day in June!

Speaking about food.....wasn't I?   After all of that eating out at restaurants and driving through 16 states I needed to reel in the food and drink consumption a bit.  I once again agreed to join Marathon Girl in a Health Challenge for four weeks.  When I say Amherst Shore is not a place to limit your food and drink I mean it!  The word challenge takes on a whole new meaning up here.  Today alone, I passed up rows of homemade cookies, cakes, breads, cinnamon rolls, and candies without tasting or buying one!  This is not right!  I don't get homemade goods like this at home....ever!  Plus, we have 16+hours of daylight which equals at least 4 meals and countless evening hours for cocktails doesn't it?  What can I say, I am a sucker for a challenge....or a glutton for punishment!

June saw the longest day of the year and the farthest point along the horizon for our sunsets.  Since we were here in December and saw the farthest the sun sets in winter and now the farthest in summer , as a sunset junkie,  this a check on my bucket list!
June sunset

December sunset
Yes, I know.  Awesome...right?!

So, June has been a very long, full month.  I had planned to post this June, but it never got finished so here it is July already!  I guess if June can't have the most days in it at least it can have the most hours of daylight in those days so we can enjoy June to the max!  I certainly did!

start of June
after a month of 16+ hours of sun!
Happy Canada Day!
Her beauty never ceases to amaze me!

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