Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How do I love Longwood Gardens? Let me count the ways.

My good friend, Kathy Jules, who I rarely get to see despite the fact that she lives a mere ten minutes from house, wrote me last week. You may remember her from the mustard story I posted last summer. She e-mailed me and asked if I wanted to take a drive one day over the weekend and visit Longwood Gardens with her. I’d never say no to a visit to Longwood so I readily agreed.

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An excerpt from their website describes it most aptly:

Exquisite flowers, majestic trees, dazzling fountains, extravagant conservatory, starlit theatre, thunderous organ—all describe the magic of Longwood Gardens, a horticultural showstopper where the gardening arts are encased in classic forms and enhanced by modern technology. Many generations helped create Longwood Gardens, but one individual—Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954), industrialist, conservationist, farmer, designer, impresario, and philanthropist—made the most enduring contribution.

Pierre du Pont was the great-grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont (1771-1834), who arrived from France in 1800 and founded the DuPont chemical company. Pierre turned the family business into a corporate empire in the early 20th century and used his resulting fortune to develop the Longwood property.

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It didn’t matter that the morning had dawned foggy and sodden with rain. By the time we arrived and walked down this main path, the fog had begun to lift a little. We headed to the Conservatory, which is to the right.

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I’ve decided that Sunday morning is the best time to visit the conservatory gardens. When we arrived, around 9:30, it seemed the only people there were photographers with their tripods and equipment.

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I’m sorry this photo above isn’t any better but I had my macro lens on the camera at this point and didn’t want to keep changing back and forth.

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These tulips are for my friend, Lori. I’ll be posting more photos in the days to come. It filled my soul with gladness just to be there this weekend.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Monday, March 30, 2009

Simple Woman’s Daybook, March 30, 2009

simple-woman-daybook-small For Today

Outside my window the skies are growing stormy.
I am thinking that this beer I’m having is really good. It’s Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale, brewed in the next state over, Delaware.
I am thankful for friends.
From the kitchen, we just had Albacore tuna salad sandwiches. I had mine on an English muffin with a slice of Swiss cheese, spring greens and tomato. Unfortunately for my waistline, I had potato chips as well.
I am wearing a pair of jeans, a white t-shirt and an old J.Jill long-sleeve denim shirt in pale blue. I am such a countrybumpkinfashionista.
I am creating a mosaic of orchids to post on Flickr.
I am going on a road trip this month. Want to come along? I’m kidding. We couldn’t all fit in my car.
I am reading something I pulled off the library shelf last night. It’s “To Ocracoke! Boyhood Summers on the Outer Banks” by Fred M. Mallison. I love this book.
I am hoping that I will lose weight just by wishing real hard. Um, yeah.
I am hearing golf on tv. My husband likes to watch golf. He says it’s calming and there are no referees to make a bad call.
Around the house it smells like Vanilla Lime candle scent from Yankee Candles.
One of my favorite things is a visit to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. I went there today with a friend and it was wonderful.
A few plans for the rest of the week include the school auction this Saturday night. My friends from NJ are coming to stay overnight and attend with me. I need to get a new pair of shoes to wear to it as well.

Here is picture thought I am sharing

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This is a blue poppy that I photographed today at Longwood Gardens. I used a texture from Joy St. Claire on it. I posted another flower on my Picture a Day Blog.

When I saw these poppies, it made me very happy. All of Longwood Gardens makes me very happy.

For more of the Simple Woman’s Daybook, visit this site. I rarely post on the Mr. Linky there; I just filling in the sentences every week. It’s a simple thing for me to do. Hope your day is a good one.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Things I love right now

In no particular order, these are some of the things that float my boat right now.

This candle scent. There are very few Yankee candle scents that I actually like but one of them is Vanilla Lime. It’s soothing and gentle and I had to get one for myself after smelling it at a friends house this morning.

This facial moisturizer. Hope in a Jar just feels wonderful. It makes my skin feel soft and I love its subtle scent. Plus I like the name.

This curling gel. I have short, curly hair and have tried many products for curl enhancement, some of which have actually made me break out. But Redken’s Ringlet 07 is my current fave.

Mr. McQuesten. Please don’t visit that link. Unless you have fresh grapefruit juice.

These two guys.

All of you.

I don’t have a link for that last one. But all of you make this little blog of mine worth it. Your comments and e-mails have been so wonderful.

And finally, because I can’t post without the addition of a photo, here’s one I was fooling around with tonight.

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I took it last summer, off the roof of my son’s apartment building in the financial district in NYC, looking towards the Hudson. It’s a little rooftop garden oasis. And if you look really closely, there is a naked gentleman walking through the room with the glass front.

Ok. I’m lying about the naked man. But it’s sorta fun to pretend.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A friend like that

I came home one day this week to find more photos from my husband on the camera storage disk. It’s kind of fun, you know, sharing how someone else sees the day. I like what he did here with the little barn in the background and the red buds beginning to burst forth on the trees. And I actually like that green mold on the barn roof.

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Of course, his best friend looks good, too.

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George is a favorite subject for the camera lens around here.

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This poem sort of reminds me of my husband’s relationship with this wonderful dog of ours.

I talk to him when I'm lonesome like; and I'm sure he understands.

When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands;

then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught threat.

For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that.

~W. Dayton Wedgefarth

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And that’s what I think about that.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Friday, March 27, 2009

A soupcon of this, a soupcon of that

I thought I’d throw in another vocabulary word today that Rich doesn’t know. For those who don’t know, or are new to this blog, Rich is my co-worker and he used to be my biggest fan. I’m not sure he’s my biggest fan anymore, but I’m ok with that. He’s the one who suggested I put a site counter on my blog just over a year ago after I’d been blogging a couple of months. He loves the funny stories about my American flag underwear, me accidentally farting in my handsome chiropractors face, and all the hall of shame posts I’ve done. But I think his favorite is the one where I explained my hatred of flies. And you won’t believe this, but I got an e-mail from a company today who wanted to link their powerful fly killing insecticide to that very post.

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I think it’s hilarious. I also think this industrious little squirrel is hilarious. He thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips just because he’s figured out how to shimmy down the rope to get to the bird seed.

I also think I love my hairdresser. Yes, I do love my hairdresser. And I love the salon I’ve been going to since last December. It’s a fantastic place and they make me feel like I’m somebody. I mean, I already know I’m somebody, but they’re so great there. The wine is also good, and I promise I only had one (large) glass. I also love the shampoo girl. She gives a head massage and I’m always afraid I’m going to start groaning. Sort of.

I also love a nice hot bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup after a long drive home from the hair salon on 95 in the pouring rain. I love Progresso soups, too but we didn’t have any in the cupboard tonight.

Remember my stovetop from 1968? Well, last week another burner went. My husband took it apart but we’re pretty sure they don’t make the parts for this one anymore. So he went out to the WalMart and bought this handy little number for only $35. We can use any pot we want on it and we now have four burners. Life is good.

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Sorry this post was all over the place but it’s a soupcon full of a lot of things. There you go, Rich. A link for you.

Until tomorrow, dear friends . . .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Don’t tread on me

I don’t have anything to say tonight as I write this. It’s been a blech sort of day. Yesterday’s post took it all out of me, I guess. Ha! I’m not trying to elicit sympathy either. God, please don’t think that. I’ve been to so many positive, wonderful blogs where people are doing the best with what life deals them and I’m just another person who’s making the best out of a bad situation.

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I thank you for your kindness and your concern, not only to my regular readers but to all the new faces I keep seeing here. But sometimes I just suck. Today I was just not motivated. I’m sick and tired of things. I sometimes have to force myself to take a walk with George every day and even though today I almost didn’t do it, I was glad I did in the end. A walk just clears your mind sometimes. Shortly after I came back in the house there was a knock on the front door. I wasn’t happy when I looked out the window before opening it only to see a meat delivery truck with a young man sitting inside and another young man standing on my steps and talking to George who was on the lawn.

When I opened the door, young man #2 started exclaiming how beautiful my dog was. I just looked at him. He extended his hand and I looked at him and asked what he wanted. He said he’d just been in the neighborhood next door and thought he’d drop by here to see if I’d be interested in . . . I cut in and told him I wasn’t interested in anything. I can’t afford it either, I told him. And he asks me how I knew that. How I knew that I couldn’t afford it.

Loudly, I said BECAUSE I KNOW. Now, please leave. And I shut the door in his face.

He didn’t look very happy as I looked out the window, but he pretended to be as he bounded back down the front steps. I never smiled once. I’m usually very nice, but I was just so taken aback that people think they can just show up at your front door and give you a sales pitch. And how do I know they’re not scoping the place out to come back some time when we’re not home? I wanted him to think we were poor (which we sort of are) just in case they were thinking of coming back.

Do I sound paranoid?

I don’t trust anyone around here. It’s a long driveway and we’re still somewhat isolated where we are. This Saturday I was out in the yard, raking the leaves from under the bushes and a little car pulled up with a man inside who apologized for intruding but he was just interested in where the road went.

I smiled and told him it went here and he was now on private property and pointed out where he could turn around the car.

He kept apologizing for intruding, telling me he worked for UPS, lived on such and such a street in the nearby town, had 2 little girls and he was a nice guy. He was just interested in history and the old houses in the area. I kept my distance and told him these were all nice things but it was time for him to go.

It’s not that I’m afraid. I’m just really wary. I just don’t feel as safe because my husband isn’t the strong man he used to be. I’ll get used to it I guess. I mean it’s not like I need a man around to protect me or anything, but damn they are nice to have sometimes, aren’t they?

Despite my wariness, it’s a good place to hide out for awhile. And besides, George is happy here.

Until tomorrow, dear friends . . .

PS~Hope you like the little hyacinth. I’m sure I’ll be more cheerful tomorrow. The blech never lasts too long.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why I love daffodils

Five years ago I was in a marriage that was falling apart. I had a husband who was always angry with me and with life, it seemed. Because of what he did for a living, breeding horses, beginning in January of every year, he and the other manager would begin working 7 days per week. This would last until the end of foaling season in early July. I thought then and I still think now that it’s inhuman to ask that of an employee although it provided a decent living and a lovely home. And come July, my husband could work a normal work week. The problem with this lifestyle comes when there is no down time to relax. Throw in the 24 hour on-call nights (3 per week) and it makes for one terribly cranky person. And he was never the happiest person to begin with.

Each January I would begin to notice a change in my husband and it was extremely unpleasant. We argued. We grew apart. There were times that I absolutely dreaded coming home. And finally, in 2004 we decided that we should no longer be together. We’d been planning on waiting until our youngest graduated high school but my husband said he couldn’t take it any longer and wanted out. It was late March of 2004, exactly five years ago this week.

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It was cold that morning when I went out to start my car to warm it up for the drive to school for me and my son. In fact, it was freezing. When I opened the door of my car, I was surprised to find a small bouquet of daffodils waiting for me on the armrest. They were wrapped with a tiny rubber band and the yellow blooms were frozen because of the temperature that morning.

They were exquisite.

But I was very surprised to see them. In fact, I was scared. Who in the world would have left me these flowers? I was positive it wasn’t my husband, for obvious reasons. And then I began to think that it might be some creep who worked on the horse farm. It was a disquieting feeling that I had but I didn’t want to be late for school, so I dismissed it.

I drove to work and put the bouquet of daffodils in a vase, still wondering where they came from. And at break time, when I knew he’d be home, I called my husband and asked him. He told me it was he who had picked them for me, saying, "Who did you think it could have been?"

I was shocked.

I thanked him and later that evening he told me he was driving around feeding all the horses and saw the flowers and that they were frozen and really pretty and he thought to himself, “she would really like these.” And so he picked them for me.

Um, yeah. Where did my husband go and who is this alien talking to me?

In the weeks that followed, he continued to be nice. The funny thing was that because of his kindness, I was being kinder to him. One day I came home to a note with lines from a song that just happened to remind him of me, signing it, “Love, your husband”. Life was beginning to be better when we were together and I was actually thinking that maybe this marriage could actually be salvaged.

I had no idea at the time that his behavior had changed due to a tumor that was growing in his brain. And just over a month later, his boss called me to say that he was at the hospital with my husband who had nearly collapsed at work and they were running tests.

And later that day, on May 3, 2004, I found out that my husband had brain cancer.

I thought then that if he hadn’t suddenly begun to be nice to me, it would have made caring for him extremely difficult. But as it was, and because of his newfound kindness, caring for him came very easy to me.

And so, when I see these spring flowers, I’m reminded of an incident that changed my life. I was falling in love with my husband again. And it began with a small bouquet of frozen daffodils on a cold spring morning.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

PS ~ Thank you all for your wonderful comments on yesterday’s post about George. I welcome all the new faces here and am so glad you stopped by. This blog has been cathartic for me and your support means so much.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An unwilling subject

It was a cool spring day with bright sunny skies here in Maryland. After dinner and before Jeopardy came on (when did we become our parents?) my husband told me that he’d taken lots of photos of George today. I think he wanted to help me with my book project.

When I opened them up, I told him I liked the series that you see here. “Oh,” said my husband, “I couldn’t get him to pose properly.” He went on to tell me that he was talking to George and trying to get him to look at the camera. “George,” he was saying, “look here.” But George wasn’t having any of it. He was too concerned with the small rustlings of what could have been (be still his heart) a squirrel.

George adores chasing squirrels.

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Did I hear a squirrel? There’s another one.

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I thought this one was funny.

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I think he was having the last laugh here at my husband. What do you think?

How was your day today?

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Monday, March 23, 2009

Simple Woman’s Daybook Monday, March 23

For Today

simple-woman-daybook-small Outside my window the light is waning.
I am thinking that dessert would be nice right about now. But it’s probably good we don’t have any.
I am thankful for my quiet life.
From the kitchen comes no dessert. Maybe I’ll make a low fat chocolate pudding.
I am wearing what I’ve had on all afternoon while working in the yard. Black sweatpants, a lime green 3/4 length t-shirt and my dusky forest green Cabi jacket. I do believe in dressing nicely while doing lawn work. Not.
I am creating a children’s book starring George. It’s in its very early stages. My husband is encouraging me and I’m still trying to figure out the program.
I am going to go make that pudding now.
I am reading the Baltimore Sun. But not the depressing parts.
I am hoping that my husband and I can drive to the Gulf Coast over Easter Break to visit a dear friend who will be recuperating from major surgery. We don’t want to fly because we need to take George. Plus, I think a road trip might be fun.
I am hearing a commercial on TV. It’s the one where the 8 year-old boy does a slideshow of his pictures on his TV. “Here comes Mr. T”, he says. I laugh every time I hear him talk.
Around the house it is gleaming. I do like a clean house.
One of my favorite things is when my friends come out to visit. But today they couldn’t because of a family emergency. All is well for now, and I’m grateful for this.
A few plans for the rest of the week include getting new tires for the car.

Here is picture thought I am sharing

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This is a small section of one of the wrought iron patio chairs. I have no idea what it’s about or why I did it. I just liked the heart.

Visit The Simple Woman’s Daybook where you will find many others sharing little bits of their day. I rarely link to the site but I enjoy ending the sentences above.


Have a wonderful week. Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Girly girl, pink sky and a good commercial

I worked hard this morning, cleaning the house. I haven’t done a really good clean in well over a month, so this was a good thing.

After I was done, I treated myself to a lovely drink in the back yard where I took this picture of tree branches. I used Pioneer Woman's 'Seventies' action on it, making the sky a light pink. Then I added a texture I'd purchased from Joy St. Claire.

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I was then visited by Blackie, who I also call Girly Girl. She was on the lookout for George who will chase her unmercifully. But Blackie can run faster and she has sharp claws. Blackie wasn't her original name. I think it was Bitsy or Biddy or something like that. My husband could never remember it and it was easier for him to call her the color she is, so it stayed Blackie.

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Tomorrow we’re having friends out, one who is visiting from New Mexico. It will be good to see them.

The pink sky above reminded me of this VW commercial I saw several years ago. I hadn’t known who Nick Drake was until I heard him singing Pink Moon here.


And in answer to some of your questions about the house:

No, I don’t clean the third floor!  On the third floor there are 3 more bedrooms. It’s mainly used as an attic. We have many of our things, still in boxes, in one of the rooms. And no, the house is not haunted, although a writer who resided here in the early 1900’s wrote a murder mystery while living here. William Edward Haines, who wrote The Black Doll, lived here in the early 1900’s.

Hope your day is a good one. Until later, my friends . . .


Friday, March 20, 2009

Skies of deep blue

I took George out for a walk after work today. I love it that he’s so so happy to see me when I get home. He knows the routine, as I get changed for a walk. In fact, if you say you’re going to get changed for a walk, he’ll race upstairs and lie down in his customary spot to wait.

Let’s try it now. “George, I’m going to get changed for a walk.”

He’s looking at me. I think he knows I’ve already done that today.

I put the laptop down and say it again.

He’s still looking at me. He doesn’t believe me.  And . . . and . . . he’s lying back down now.

Well, that didn’t work.

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So there I was walking on a chilly first day of spring. I’d already taken a few macro shots and had put the camera back in the house. The sun broke through the clouds ahead of me and suddenly it felt warmer. As I walked, I glanced back towards the house and stopped. I couldn’t get over how beautiful the sky behind it looked. Ominous, yet beautiful. So I hiked back to the house to get the camera, wondering why I’d put it back in the house in the first place.

I love how the sky looks against the house, don’t you? There’s our stick pile from the winter, under the hickory tree there. Every time we’d get wind and wicked weather, limbs would come down all over and property and we’d collect the ones from this side of the property here. We’ve got to move them soon, out to the pile by the barn.

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I like the first picture better.

On another note, thanks for your border collie links in the previous post. And sorry, Amy, but your Aussie puppy looks so much like a border collie! Folks, visit the link if puppies make you smile.

Have a great weekend, all . . .

Coming to a theatre near you

It’s a rags to riches story, featuring a border collie from the wrong side of the tracks who finds love, happiness and all the frisbees he can carry when he wins a game show designed for dogs only.

George in the movies

Or maybe it’s just a fake movie poster from Big Huge Labs.

Either way, it sounds fun to me. And no, I am not smoking anything crazy! It’s just good clean fun. Plus, see who it's directed by? Yeah. George Clooney.

Other border collies I’ve seen lately include some cute puppies here and a puppy from Norway. I’ve also made the acquaintance just today, in fact, of this border collie owner. If you know of any more border collies that you’d like to share, let me know in the comment section.

Have a great day, all. Until tomorrow, then . . .

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Giveaway winner announced

Untitled-1 Congratulations to numberonesistah for being the person that was chosen by my new pal, Random Integer Generator. A beautiful mug will be on its way to you soon. I’d like to clarify here that the winner is not related to me, even though she sounds very much like one of my own sisters, who comments as either #1Seestah or NumberOneSeestah. I can’t remember which.

Thanks to all who played this time and welcome to so many new faces, several of which announced the start of their own blogs. Congratulations to you, too in your new venture! Stop back here when you can because you never know when I’m going to give something away. I’m just spontaneous like that.

I’ll leave you now with a photo I took at the same market I found the mug. This is a statue of a little girl with a shell that’s the perfect size for a little birdbath. The photo was pretty blurry but I like it with the texture.

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Have a wonderful evening, all. Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ain’t misbehaving

The house in which we’re living sits on a hill that’s one of the highest points in the county. Although it’s well outside of the city limits, the main road that runs directly through town lies at the end of our 1/3 mile long driveway. Back in the early 1800’s, this home had a command view of the entire valley and on towards the river. But today, everywhere you look from this hill, you can see nothing but suburban sprawl. I am not complaining about the sprawl, because I continue to feel blessed to be able to be living here. And as soon as the leaves fill the trees, it will seem more secluded. But I will complain about things that happen because of our close proximity to all of this sprawl.

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This photo was taken Monday, standing down by the fox dens, which are about 25 yards from the edge of the tree line. I’ll tell you about the x later.

When we first moved here last October, we noticed that people were continually cutting through the property, I guess because it’s a quick route through to the main road. We posted signs on the trees and confronted trespassers, but still would see people walking through. Sometimes they leave us gifts of trash strewn about from whatever fast food restaurant they’ve come from. But really, that’s only happened twice.

Then on Thanksgiving as we were getting ready to sit down to dinner, we noticed over a dozen kids were playing football in the old horse paddock. This was just too much. They were teenagers from the development to the northwest of us. I went outside and yelled at them and they scattered. The next time this happened, I called the police and then went out and took pictures of them with the long lens. I never saw kids run so fast. And I’ve got pretty good mug shots of the little devils.

I haven’t seen them since, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come back. In fact, when the prior caretakers lived here, there was a bit of a skirmish over which gang of hooligans would rule over the old barn and claim it as their club house. The police were called but not until some boards were ripped out of the face of the barn and the contents from inside strewn about.

Yesterday, my husband called me at work to ask me if I’d moved his chair from the fir tree where he sits. He said it wasn’t there anymore. He likes sitting in his chair by the tree (I’ve put an x there), and has fashioned almost a little nook cut out of the branches. The thick needles stop the wind and the cold and he has a perfect sunning spot in which to rest. I assured him I hadn’t moved it.

And today when I came home, he still seemed pretty agitated about what had happened to his chair. He told me he’d looked all around the woods because those rotten kids may have moved it on him. I couldn’t believe someone would come almost up to our door to steal a chair, and was beginning to think maybe he’d moved it to another spot and couldn’t remember having done so.

Because he was upset, I thought I’d take a walk today and see if I could spot the chair, not that I ever thought I would. But sure enough, in the big field to the south of our house, where there lies yet another development, complete with apartment buildings, there sat our chair, along with some others, around a makeshift campfire pit at the edge of a big pile of brush. Those bold brazen articles (can you tell I went to Catholic school?) came right up into our front yard and took my husband’s camp chair.

And to think that someone would walk through the property and come this close to the house to steal something . . . well, frankly it bothers me. I mean, they’re only kids, but they’ve got to understand that it’s wrong.

I brought the chair back, but my husband’s concerned that they’ll just come back for it again. And he’s concerned that if they’re bold enough to come this close, would they come into our garage and take our things? Would they take things from the yard?

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I almost want to go out and talk to them and tell them that my husband has cancer and is sick and he just wants some peace and quiet. But I don’t want to appear as if we are weak in any sense. And that is all I have to say about that for now.

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I don’t know. What do you think, George?

The Giveaway (post below) is going on until Wednesday, 6:30 PM. Get in on it while you can!

Until then, my friends . . .

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another Giveaway! Win this beautiful mug!


When I saw this little mug over the weekend, I fell in love with it. And apparently, many of you did too. So I’ve decided to host a giveaway with it as the prize.

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Here’s what you have to do: Leave a comment telling me how to get in touch with you. Simple, right? But only leave one comment, please.

Pimp this giveaway on your own blog and you get another chance to win. What you have to do is to return here, tell me you’ve done so and leave the link to your post.

Contest will last for 48 HOURS beginning on Monday at 6:30 PM and ending on Wednesday, March 18 at 6:30 PM. I’ll choose a winner using the random integer generator. Winner will be announced around 7 PM Wednesday.

I’m really going to miss this mug.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .