Thursday, November 29, 2007

Granddaughters Update

I can't believe just how fast they are growing up !!

Jillian Grace

5 years old

Tori Aleese

8 months old

AND just because ....

Northern Virgina Sky

My view this morning as I was leaving for work

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fun Monday - # 20 - Unfinished Projects

Blue Momma at Life in the Fish Bowl is our host this week (her first time) and she has done a wonderful job - which is more than what I did. I had every intention of signing up - had the pictures I would take figured out and every thing. My name doesn't show up on the list !! Not her fault, I re-checked the comments once and then again ... and low and behold, I forget to sign up !! Just another thing on my list of unfinished projects .... go figure !!

I will start out small.

Aren't these sunflowers the most beautiful ones you have ever seen ?

I started this cross stitch project quite a few years ago - back when SJ lived in the house before the one she lives in now and when she had her kitchen decorated with sunflowers? SJ - now, how long ago was that? I don't quite remember. Now, her MIL decorates her kitchen with sunflowers, maybe I will get this done before she changes her theme too ! Don't hold your breath !! PLEASE ... I would feel real guilty if we lost someone in the blogoshpere because of my inability to actually finish something.

I will end this BIG !

I moved into my townhouse in September of 2001. That's six years ago. The basement has been a project since shortly after I moved in. Upstairs is done. The middle floor is done. The basement .... half done ??

This is the laundry / storage room. It looks cluttered but it really isn't. Just a bad angle. There actually is a lot of room to move around - with things stored in bins and on shelves around the perimeter. (There are magnets on the front of the washer also).

At the bottom of the stairs, if you look to the right there is actually some order and space. (I confess ... it's only been this way for a couple of weeks). I want to put up a second Christmas tree up down here so I had to get busy and clear it out. (sorry, it's a bit dark but that is what happens when you wait till the last minute to take a picture). If the sun had still been shining - it might have been a better view. There really is a TV in the middle of the entertainment center (don't tell anyone that it isn't actually plugged in at the moment.)

Turn to the right again and it looks a bit more promising. This is just a small section of my movie collection - filed in alphabetical order (yes, I am weird) just like in the movie store. And yes, before you ask, the CDs are in alphabetical order by artist also!

These still need to be put on shelves (in order of course) but you will soon see why that hasn't happened yet!

No, a tornado didn't hit this part of the basement.

In an effort to make the other side of the basement usable, I put all of the unopened boxes and miscellaneous stuff behind the love seat which is in the middle of the room as a divider (just pretend you can't see behind it, OK?) The plan is to tackle one box at a time (yea, right ... I've been saying that for six years). If I haven't seen or used this stuff in six years, do you really think I need it? Maybe, I keep telling myself - especially all the pictures of my family taken over the years that will eventually make their way on the wall to the left (that you can't see). Anyways, that's the plan. The wall there is bare, just waiting for me to give it some style. As a matter of fact, most of the walls are still bare and I have all the stuff to put on them, just haven't got around to doing it yet (in six years). Granted, not all of the stuff has been there the whole time. I have added to the collection in the last six years (like the southwestern stuff I have purchased on my trips to Colorado). I do have great plans !! One of which is ....

to get this fish tank up and running again !!

I need some type of intervention, don't I?

Also, I went on a cruise in June of this year. Have I posted anything about it? No, because the pictures have been downloaded off the memory card to this computer but I am overwhelmed by the quantity of them and don't know where to start. Winter is coming - what better time than then, when it is cold outside and I can relive the warmth of Bermuda by posting then.

AND ... I haven't printed a single picture since I recieved my digital camera for Christmas last year !! When a memory card gets filled, I just buy another one! I have albums and albums just waiting to be filled and added to the vast amounts of the ones already filled. They are on a ceiling to floor bookshelf that you can just see in the picture above. The old way, you had to have the pictures developed in order to see what you got. Modern technology is the reason for this unfinished project - it is so much easier to look at them on the computer!!

Make sure you pay Blue Momma a visit and see if anyone else procrastinates as bad as I do.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


"Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together."

-Vesta M. Kelly

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Different Kind of Wish List on Black Friday

Today is (was) Black Friday ! Many, many crazy folks (not ME !!) hit the stores early in the morning with their wish lists in their hands. In the mail today, I received a church newsletter with it's own wish list. I am compelled to share because what it said is so powerful.

* Wish, in the name of the Bethlehem Baby, no child on earth would go to bed hungry tonight, and that every child had a bed in which to sleep.

* Wish that three gifts for the Baby might be faith, hope and love shared among us.

* Wish that "...fear not, I bring you good news of great joy" was a reality for all people, no matter how fearful we get sometimes.

* Wish for "peace on earth" in our hearts, in our homes, and in our world.

May you find joy in this upcoming holiday season through some "wish full" thinking, one prayer and one act of kindness at a time.

Along with all the shopping, decorating, eating, partying, celebrating and such ... Please remember the "reason for the season".

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thoughts to Ponder

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep ...

You are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ...

You are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness ...

You are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation ...

You are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death ...

You are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married ...

You are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful ...

You are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold some one's hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder ...

You are blessed because you can offer healing touch.

If you can read this message ...

You are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Have a good day, count your blessings and remember just how thankful we all are.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fun Monday #19 - A Trip Down Memory Lane

Fun Monday this week is being hosted by Karisma at Karisma and Kids. This is want she wants us to do:

"I want you to take a trip down memory lane, and keep right on going, right back to your childhood. And I want to hear "THAT STORY". You remember the one? Yes, you do! The one your parents, siblings, extended family or friends, would never let you forget, live down or get over!"

I was a perfect little angel when I was younger, so my story isn't that fantastic, BUT here goes !!

I am the oldest of six siblings. Three brothers followed me before I got any sisters. So, this episode took place when Brother #3 was just a baby. And, I wasn't even in school yet.

We lived in military quarters in West Point, NY and I don't remember what we were looking at, but Brother #1 and Brother #2 were standing on the couch and looking out the window. I wanted to join in. They wouldn't let me, so I pulled on the cord to the venetian blinds (remember the wide slatted, heavy metal kind) and they came crashing down right on Brother #2's head ! I don't remember if I ever got to look out the window, but I do know that to this day, my brother has a pretty little scar on the top of his head where hair just won't grow. I don't see him often because he lives in CA, but he has never let me forget what I did.

Make sure you pay Karisma a visit and read all about everyone else's memories.

Sorry this is so late BUT it is very difficult to post when you have no electricity !! It finally came on after a half hour or so ....

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Random Sunday Funny

I received this in an email and just had to share !! (No harm meant to anyone who lives in the states mentioned - it could be any state inserted ).

NTSB Report

The National Transportation Safety Board recently divulged they had covertly funded a project with the US auto makers for the past five years, whereby the auto makers were installing black box voice recorders in four-wheel drive pickup trucks in an effort to determine, in fatal accidents, the circumstances in the last 15 seconds before the crash.

They were surprised to find in 47 of the 50 states the recorded last words of drivers in 61.2 percent of fatal crashes were, "Oh, SHIT!"

Only the states of Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama were different. There, 89.3 percent of the final words were: "Hold my beer and watch this!!"

Hope you have had a Good Weekend !

Monday, November 12, 2007

I've Had Better Days

Tonight, I am tired. Emotionally tired. I've had too much time to reflect on times to come. I hope that the grief that I feel right now will never return - but realize that my day will come - even 20 years from now will be too soon.

In the last three days, I have attended 2 funerals. I thank the Lord that it wasn't for any one in my immediate family. But still ...

A week ago this past Friday, I received a voice mail message from someone I didn't recognize at first. I thought about it for a few minutes, then realized who it was and returned the call. It was my former sister-in-law. We haven't really kept in touch all that much, but do exchange Christmas cards each year. I figured out the reason for her call before I actually made my return call - her father had passed away - my former father-in-law. I wasn't overcome with grief but felt sad just the same. When my ex-husband left me, his family kinda left me too. Up until my former mother-in-law passed away in 1991, I tried to keep in touch by sending pictures of the boys, cards and such. After a while, I stopped when I never heard anything back from them - my boy's Nanny and Grandaddy.

It made my feel good, that my former sister-in-law thought enough of me to let me know of his passing. She told me that her Daddy always liked me even after I wasn't married to his son anymore. I decided then and there, that I would attend his memorial service/funeral to show my respect and to support his daughter in her time of grief.

I called my children the next day to let them know. Neither one of them would be there on Saturday, it turned out. The older one told me that he wouldn't go unless his Dad called him. His Dad never called. The younger one told me that he didn't even really know his Dad, so he wouldn't have known his grandfather either. I tried to include their paternal grandparents in their lives when they were growing up, but without their father doing his part ...

On this past Wednesday night, I received a phone call letting me know that my friend/co-worker's mother had passed away earlier that evening. I had met this woman. She was only 59 - less than 10 years older than myself. I had spent time with this woman and her family many times, as recently as this past September. I have supported her daughter (my friend and co-worker) through the many, many months of her illness. This phone call broke my heart and I was truly overcome with grief - for her daughter, my friend. She had just lost her mother, her best friend. Right then and there, I decided that I would be there for her in her time of need. Her mother was no longer in pain and had moved on to a better place, a place where her strong faith in God had taken her.

So, on Saturday morning, I attended my father-in-law's funeral. The cemetery is right next to the church. It was a small, informal service with a simple burial right afterwards. It was his wish to be cremated. I saw former family members that I hadn't seen in a long time (about 14 years at least). I saw family members (children) that I had never met. I saw my ex-husband and his family. I wish that my boys would have been there too. I did my part, I paid my respects to my former father-in-law. He has been reunited with his wife. My hope is that his children will now pull together and be there for each other as families should be. By his own admission, my ex-husband knows that he shouldn't have drifted away from his father's life after his mother passed - he regrets that he didn't have the chance to say goodbye. I hope that he realizes that each and every life is precious and that he tries to reconnect with his two oldest sons. I can't force it, but I can hope.

On Saturday evening, I went to the funeral home for the visitation with the family and viewing of Melonie's mother. There were so many people there. There were so many flowers, including the ones that we, as co-workers sent. It was the first time I had seen Melonie since her mother had taken a turn for the worse, a week or so before. It was very hard, but Melonie is so strong in her faith, that I knew she would be OK. I viewed the video from her parent's 40th Anniversary party last year, that they had playing and realized that that was the last time I had seen her mother smiling and so happy. She had been diagnosed shortly after. She put up a strong fight until the very end.

Saturday night, I didn't sleep very well.

This morning, I attended Melonie's mother's funeral. It wasn't a solemn service at all. They celebrated her life and her faithful service in the church. So many memories were shared, some of which I had the privilege to be a part of. The drive to the cemetery was a lengthy one and it was uplifting to see the officers who were controlling the traffic at the intersections, stand with their heads bowed as we drove by. It turned into a route through country roads and the fall foliage was a sight to see. Her final journey was just as colorful as her life was. Afterwards, the family invited everyone to their church for a time of reflection and fellowship and very tasty home-cooked food. As I was saying my goodbyes, Melonie thanked me for coming and also thanked me for being a friend. She has been so strong through the last few days, it was at that moment, we shared a few tears, as friends.

My father-in-law and Melonie's Mom - May you both Rest In Peace.

Fun Monday - # 18 - Mother May I?

HOOTIN' ANNI is definitely a hoot this week. This is what she wants:

Stand up from where you are (at your computer) - Take 30 giant steps in any direction and take a photo. Then, take 15 baby steps backwards and take another photo. AND don't forget to say "Mother, May I?"

I live in a small townhouse and had to make a decision - Up or down. Up won hands down because there is no way in hell that I will show you the disorganization that appears if you go down !

Taking 30 giant steps in any direction would have put me smack into a wall, so I compromised and took 30 normalish steps to the left at each turn and ended up in the corner of my bedroom, looking directly at this:

This plant was an orphan when I got it. It's mother stuck it in a corner on her porch and promptly forgot about it. I love plants and couldn't bear to see it wither away and die. So, I brought it to my house. I water it, I talk to it, I give it light - it has found a loving home. Maybe, as a Christmas present to this deserving plant, I will transplant it into a bigger pot.

Taking 15 baby steps backwards put me in the hallway right at the top of the stairs. Directly in front of me wouldn't have been a decent picture, as I would have been taking a picture directly into the mirror in the bathroom. So, I turned to the left and this is what I saw:

I took these pictures during a trip to the Outer Banks about 5 or so years ago. I was rather pleased with the results, so I framed them and hung it up on the wall in between my bedroom and the bathroom.

Take a bunch of bloggy steps and visit Anni to check out all of the other Fun Monday participants to see where their steps took them.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fun Monday - # 17 - Holiday Traditions

The holidays are quickly approaching - They will be here before you know it and I haven't done a bit of shopping yet !!

This week, The Humble Housewife is the hostess for Fun Monday.

She wants to hear about or see a holiday tradition, recipe or event. It can be any holiday you like or that is special to your family. With Thanksgiving and the Winter holidays coming up, those would be especially apt, but anything that is special for your family is fine. If you have pictures - it's a bonus! Whether it's your Mom's famous stuffing recipe, going caroling on Christmas Eve, Diwali dances, or even the inevitability of Great Aunt Polly having one too many brandies and knocking over the Christmas tree - I want to hear about it!!!

Growing up in a big family always made Thanksgiving an enjoyable day. The entire family (it got larger as we each married and had families of our own) would gather at Mom and Dad's for Thanksgiving dinner. Mom would do the turkey (and sometimes ham) and other good stuff and we each would bring along a dish or two to add to it. The card table would be set up in the living room (the "kids" table) because the dining room just wasn't big enough to accommodate all 6 six kids plus. As the years went by, different ones left the area and we no longer had to use the card table. There were a couple of years where we had guests that had no family in the area, and they became our "extended family" for the day. (Heaven forbid, I ended up dating one of them for 7+ years - but that is a subject for another day). Mom and Dad have within the last year moved all the way across the United States near SJ in CO, so Thanksgiving in VA is now, a much smaller affair.

The house where I grew up had no fireplace, so we hung our stockings on the banister of the stairs. We used one of our socks instead of a store bought stocking. Being the oldest (and a girl) I always picked out the longest pair of knee socks I owned. I believe that my brothers always felt cheated but rest assured, we were all treated equally. The fact that I had the longest sock didn't mean I got more !!

Ever since my boys have grown up and left home, I attend the 11:00 Candlelight Christmas service each Christmas Eve at the church I attended growing up. When they were young, I would get them off to bed then spend half the night wrapping gifts, filling stockings and such. Now that they aren't at home, I can do all that stuff at my leisure and not have to keep everything hidden. I felt lost those first years, with nothing to do on Christmas Eve. From that point on, I have gone to church each year and come home with the real reason for the season in my heart. Each year, just before midnight, the lights are turned out and candlelight spreads through the sanctuary and everyone joins in to sing "Silent Night" as we exit out into the darkness.

This isn't really a traditon, but an obsession of mine. I "Heart" Snowmen. I decorate my entire house with snowmen ... the entire house !! It is much easier now that it is just me. Each year, I buy more - I search out the "unique" ones. It really is getting out of control but I can't help it - I "Heart" Snowmen. And my family knows it, so the collection grows every year. I bought a second Christmas tree last year on clearance so that I would have enough space to display the multitude of snowman ornaments that I own.

They second tree will be for the non-snowman ornaments that I just can't bear not to put out . There is one special ornament that hangs near the top each year. A small Santa (inexpensive flocked dollar store kind) that hung in my oldest son's incubator the year he was born. The nurses in the hospital put it there and it came home with us when he finally gained enough weight to come home. (He was born in October, came home in December). There will be the handmade ornaments (most treasured are the ones made by my children and the ones made by my grandparents who are no longer with us on this earth), themed ornaments, dated ornaments, ornaments that represent my grandchildren, neices and nephews, great neices and good friends. Everything that is near and dear to my heart EXCEPT the snowmen which will get their own tree this year.

Here is a small sampling of my snowmen ....

Blogger isn't being cooperative at the moment, so I will tell you of the newest snowmen I have purchased recently - a snowman shower curtain that matches the bath mat I bought last year and snowman flannel sheets to keep me warm. And to add, I have numerous sweaters and fleece tops adorned with snowmen that I wear most days during the last weeks of December.

Let's try again ...

The tree in all it's glory (I need to find a snowman tree topper)

Yes, that one says it all !

The coffee table

One of my favorites

All around the floor ...

And on the stairs

( I have acquired and put out many more since this picture was taken)

Make sure you go visit Deborah, The Humble Housewife and read about everyone else's holiday traditions. I have visited a few and they definitely don't disappoint.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sometimes It Pays To Give Out Your Name

About a month ago, I was skipping around the Blogosphere and came across a Mother Talk Tour book review at Did You See That? I read the review of "On Borrowed Wings" and felt that it was something I must just want to read. CPA Mom had been given the opportunity to give away TWO (2) autographed copies of this wonderful book. So, I left a comment as instructed and hoped that my name would be picked. Then, I completely forgot about it. (I do that sometimes !!)

Imagine my surprise when a few weeks later, a package was sitting on my doorstep from an address I didn't recognize. I ripped it open and this is what I found!

AND as promised, it is autographed by the author, Chandra Prasad.

I WON !! I WON !! I WON !!

I am anxious to have the chance to read it when I can find a few moments of down time !

Not as anxious as SJ is right now - I am sure - because she gave out her name and ...


I get to sit down and relax with my winning - she has to exert physical energy with hers !!!

I am pleased for both of us - cause we both won !!

( I felt rather silly this afternoon as I was using my little red Dirt Devil Stick Vacuum and dreading every moment. I would have rather been dancing around while using a Pink Dyson!!)

I truly am looking forward to reading my new book, because HOUSEWORK MAKES YOU UGLY!!

Really, there is a sign in my kitchen that says so !!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I am so excited for my youngest sister !!


I didn't ...

It's OK though, at least it's in the family!!

Go visit SJ and share in her giddiness.