Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wuthering Heights

I wish I could say that I took these photos. I really do.

My husband told me last night after dinner that it was going to be an interesting sunset.  And then he grabbed the camera and headed outside.

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Did you know that wuthering is a Yorkshire word that refers to turbulent weather?

We had some turbulent weather before this sunset. It began to rain as I was pulling into our driveway and by the time I got into the house, it was a downpour. Turbulent. And we do live on a hill, hence the heights.

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I can’t believe how beautiful it was last night and I love how the setting sun is playing off those dark clouds, and the deep blue of the sky.

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Oh my, oh my, oh my.

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There’s where I was sitting, right there in the living room in my favorite spot. I was probably writing yesterday’s post. Or playing in Photoshop.

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I am so glad he took the camera outside. What a surprise to see these beautiful photos on the memory card just now. I love all the dramatic colors.

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These last two are my favorites.

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On another note, I loved reading your comments on yesterday’s post about Ken Burns’ national parks film that’s airing all this week. My husband and I would love to see some of the parks in the west. It’s something to aspire to, anyway.

Thanks to everyone who comes by here to visit. You make it worth the effort and I’m glad to have you as my guests. Until tomorrow, then . . .

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is anyone watching “America’s National Parks”?

Ken Burns’ week-long documentary about our national park system aired last night on PBS and the cinematography alone is worth watching it for. The six-episode series airs nightly at 8 on PBS this week and concludes Friday. Directed by Ken Burns and written and co-produced by Dayton Duncan, the project took six years in the making.

The film traces the birth of our national park system from a single idea that began in the 1800’s and follows it through to its current state. With the use of archival photographs, personal memories, and the kind of storytelling that kept me intrigued, I’m looking forward to tonight’s offering. The USA has some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery and each one of its states (with the exception of Delaware) boasts a national park within their boundaries.

So in honor of the series, and because I feel like it and I can do what I want, I’ve decided to post a few postcards of some of the national parks I’ve been to lately.

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My husband and I visited Acadia National Park this summer. I took this photo standing above Sand Beach, just outside of Bar Harbor.

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The beautiful Shenandoah National Park boasts the Skyline Drive, a road that runs north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. The photo above was taken in April 2009, standing on Mary’s Rock and overlooking the Thornton Gap Entrance.

I took this photo with my old Sony Cybershot in November 2006 on Ocracoke Island. That’s how long it’s been since I was in North Carolina and I miss it terribly. The Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach was chosen ‘America’s Best Beach’ in 2007 by Dr. Stephen Leatherman (also known as Dr. Beach).

And that concludes my postcard greetings for today. You all know where I’ll be at 8 tonight.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Monday, September 28, 2009

A look into my house

This morning I sat in this, our living room here in the manor house that my husband and I are caretaking. And I came to a decision after looking around me and realizing how dusty and dirty this room had become.

It was time to clean this room, really clean it. And so began a mini marathon cleaning session that left these couple of rooms gleaming and me very tired.

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A psychologist would have a field day with me and my cleaning issues, but I don’t care. We’re all crazy, is what I figure. Some more than others, for sure.

After I was done and showered, I decided to take some photos of my now-clean digs. The photo above looks towards the front door by my favorite seat, the loveseat. That’s my laptop on the right edge. And a toy at the top of George’s toy box that sits at the other edge.

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Look closely at this picture. Do you see anything amiss? Look again.

Can’t see it?

It’s the arm of the couch that’s missing. This is half of a sectional that no matter how we arranged the furniture, would not fit in this room attached to each other.

George thinks this is his jumping couch, and it is I guess. It’s why I keep that cover on it.

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I like the letter K. It’s kool. And kooky. But it looks like it means business. It’s also the first letter of my name. That’s the top of a bottle of Kendall chardonnay on the left there that my husband and I shared this afternoon.

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I cleaned the foyer, too. This is an Agraria reed diffuser in mission fig scent. I like how it smells and I bought it here [link].

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I keep the diffuser in here because the kitty litter box is down by the back stairs there. But you’d never know it.

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The dingy front door that I swear some day I am going to paint. When we moved here, there was no storm glass in this door, so the weather beat in on it unmercifully. The sun did a number of on it as well.

I created a mosaic using some of these photos for Mosaic Monday, hosted by my friend, Mary. It’s on my other blog, A Picture A Day.

Have a beautiful week, my friends . . .

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Drizzly day

It’s a grey day in my part of Maryland and it’s been raining off and on all night, tapering down to a steady drizzle at the moment.

George is wet and has been out walking this morning with my husband, who walks in all weather. Sometimes I wish I could be more like him.

But then I get over it.

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I’m nice and dry inside, in my favorite jeans, listening to The Coffeehouse on the XM Radio, channel 848 for those of you who have DirecTV, like I do.

Around me, George’s doggie toys lie strewn about, and the peeling paint above the fireplace is beginning to drive me mad. The couch in my living room has seen better days and is badly needing to be replaced.

Let’s turn this whole thing around.

Around me, it’s nice to see doggie toys strewn about. There’s a beautiful, faithful dog who lives here and he makes us happy. The paint is peeling on the fireplace and today, I’m just going to look the other way. Our couch has seen better days but I’m glad to have something to sit on.

There. That’s much better. Enjoy your Sunday, my friends. I have some toys to pick up.

Until tomorrrow . . .

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stinkbugs and lollipops

From scary dreams to pixie cuts and reminiscing about the good old days, I love reading your answers to the questions I pose here once a week. Some of them make me laugh out loud, and some are so sweet. Thanks again for playing along.

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Today was another lazy day after work and there was no walking of any kind going on by me. I was tired, which is a bad excuse, and just wanted to sit on the little back porch with the tea my husband brought me, and the Ocracoke Island Vacation Rental catalogue.

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Today, my husband served me tea in my second favorite cup, which is this one. I got it at Starbucks several years ago.

Also today, my husband killed a whole bunch of those ugly stink bug things that were hanging out in one of the curtains in the living room. He left them there, he told me, as a warning to the other bugs.

After I realized he was kidding, it really made me laugh.

And then the cat started playing with them.

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Today on PW’s photography site, Miz Booshay issued a Fall Landscape Bokeh Assignment. I submitted the photo above, as well as the one below.

Bokeh is pronounced bow-kay or bow-keh and it refers to that lovely out-of-focus light and all the different shapes and colors you see in the background of photos taken with a digital camera. It is created by light and and the glass in your lens and distance and wind and focus. It's a Japanese term for the subjective aesthetic quality of out-of-focus areas of a photographic image.

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I called this one grape leaves with border collie bokeh.

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I found this caterpillar while having my tea this afternoon. Can you see how it’s changed colors already? You can still see some green on its side, but that will change soon. Some people think that the more black the wooly worm has, the more harsh the winter will be.

On another note, Survivor is making me mad. Ben’s an ass, Russell continues to be the devil incarnate and Betsy, the police officer, gets voted out. Gah!

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Oh, and the post title? Well, I’m all out of lollipops.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Missing my followers, among other things

I didn’t feel like taking a big walk with George today. For the past several weeks, since the weather got nice, I’ve been walking around the property and have gotten up to four times around, twice in each direction. I’m using my husband’s adjustable hiking poles that came in the mail from REI.

I’m sure I look like a freak. I don’t care. Those suckers really help!

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Today I decided to just take the camera, leaving the hiking poles behind. It was warm and quite humid here today, but thank God we haven’t had some of the weather that others are having in this country. Bless you all.

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Today, after the car line at our school, I tripped outside when my heel got caught between the edge of the pavement and the grass. Unfortunately, it was in front of about 30 people.

Good times.

Looking at the bright side, I’m none too worse for the wear after the spill. I am a bit of a klutz sometimes.

Another positive today was that all my followers have reappeared on my sidebar. They’ve been missing for a couple of days, and it’s good to have everyone home again. I feel surrounded by my friends, now. Connected with the universe.

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This is not the Appalachian Trail you see here. This is our backyard along the property line. Between my husband and I walking (mostly my husband), there’s now a definite trail all around the grounds.

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Long shadows in the backyard this evening.

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These wildflowers are growing along the edge of the woods.

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And now for some pressing questions.

Because inquiring minds just need to know.

  1. What was your most dramatic haircut like?
  2. Among items in your line of sight right now, what should probably be put in the trash?
  3. What aspect of life in the good old days would you love to see a return to?
  4. What was the last dream you remember?
  5. What was the last thing you purchased from a vending machine?

See you in the comments.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dressing room vignette

I noticed another little vignette today. This is the top of my bureau in the dressing room area of the master bedroom. We don’t own this house, we are merely its caretakers. But still, it’s quite wonderful to live in even though it’s in sort of a grand-old-dame condition.

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The dressing room area is sort of like a hallway that leads into the master bedroom. Adjacent to the hallway area are two double-door closets. There’s a window that you can see on the right, and space for this bureau. As I was walking by it the other day, this scene caught my eye. I lit the candle because it looked nicer that way.

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Other than that, I left everything cluttered like it was.

Left to right is a large beaded glass tealight from Pottery Barn; One of my rose prints in a little white frame; A print I won in a contest on someone’s blog; A framed photo of Ralph, the beloved border collie we owned before George came along; a lamp from Strasburg Pottery in PA; and my Oakley sunglasses that I’ve been searching high and low for.

So this is where they were all along! It’s funny what you see when you open up your picture files and really look.

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I remember buying this tealight at the holidays for one of my nieces, who was a college sophomore at the time. I changed my mind when I began thinking it would look better in my own place. Besides, I was sure she’d have rather had that Sephora gift certificate I ended up giving her.

Is there a spot in your home that you’d like to share? A little something that catches your eye whenever you walk by? If so, post a photo of it and tell us why you like it. Come back and leave a comment with your link and we can come by and visit. It will be fun.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kitchen vignette

Yesterday, while washing my hands at the kitchen sink, I noticed this little vignette and I’m sharing it with you because I just like the colors.

It probably would have looked nicer if I had arranged things, but lah-de-dah.

I love my hand soap from Kiehl’s because it smells like pears. The yellow mums had broken off from one of the plants as I tried to transplant it, so I popped it into one of my favorite little vases. I bought this one in Ocracoke a few years ago. The wine bottle is empty, but it was very tasty and is one of my husband’s favorites. The vegetables are from the garden which is still producing cherry tomatoes and red peppers. And the bowl of tomatoes is something I fixed real quick as a side for our dinner last night.

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Tomatoes on the Side

Sliced Roma tomatoes

Toasted Pine Nuts, about 1/8 cup

Fresh Basil, about 1 Tbsp.

Olive Oil, about 1 Tbsp.

Salt & Pepper & some Mrs. Dash’s

Just mix it all together. It’s really light and refreshing.

Have a beautiful day, all . . .

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Iced coffee that’s good for you, too

The wonderful Molly from POM Wonderful has sent me another sample to try and it came in the mail yesterday.

This is a new product from POM that’s now available in your local supermarket and I LOVE it. I’ve made no secret of the fact that every now and then (and especially on cleaning days), I enjoy a little pick-me-up of a Starbucks Doubleshot and I’m here to tell you that this stuff is better tasting and more healthy. It’s a potent antioxidant rich extract from POM Wonderful pomegranates (it does NOT taste like a pomegranate, however), is all natural, fat- or low-fat free, with no preservatives.

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POM did not ask me to do a review on this product. Their company representative wrote me a few months ago and asked if I’d like to receive a sampling of their products. I wrote about it [here]. The representative said that they were looking for blogs that promoted a healthy lifestyle and mine came up as a possibility. I guess it’s a good thing she didn’t see the ode to Yukon Jack that I wrote last winter.

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After I drank this last night, I felt energized, revived, and ready to run a marathon in my backyard. Ok, not really. But I did feel more awake, and not revved up on caffeine which is how I feel after drinking the Starbucks.

It comes in three flavors: Cafe au Lait, Chocolate, and Vanilla.

So there you go. And Molly, if you’re reading this, thanks. Love it~

Until later, my friends . . .

It’s a beautiful autumn day here in Maryland and I, for one, and psyched!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sometimes I’m just not too sure about things

Last night at this time, I sat at my computer and wrote a quick post about a favorite tea cup of mine and coming home on a rainy day to someone I love. I finished the post, hit publish and then headed upstairs to put my pajamas on.

While I was up there, I began to go over in my head what I’d just written and came to the conclusion that it was a bunch of romantic nonsense and I’d better get downstairs quick and either delete it or edit the hell out of it. I could just imagine my sister-in-law reading it and rolling her eyes. I’ve always wanted to be practical like her. But instead, I’m a hopeless romantic.

But when I got back downstairs, I saw that I already had several comments on the post, so now I wasn’t going to delete it. And as was reading them, more showed up. What the ding dang diddly??

Mosaic: Stripes

You all continue to surprise me. Honestly. When I mentioned that I wasn’t able to find that beautiful cup online to show you, you found it for me. And Gaelen, who was the first to discover the pattern name, even wrote back to say she’d seen a matching plate over on my friend, Mary’s Little Red House decorating blog. Thanks to everyone who supplied links. It was nice finding out where to get other pieces to match that beautiful pattern.

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My husband’s in a good mood because the season premier of Survivor is on. The real Survivor. Not what he calls ‘the Survivor Dancing Show’ (Dancing with the Stars) or ‘the Survivor Singing Show’ (American Idol) but the real mccoy. And something evil this way comes on the show this season. Unlike my post title, one thing I am very sure of is how much I seriously dislike Russell H. He’s a sick little bulldog of a man who even Jeff Probst says is the most evil character ever to appear on the show. A couple of people are already beginning to mistrust him and he was instrumental in getting the first one off the show tonight.

And that’s all I have to say about that. Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

The photo was made using the mosaic maker at Big Huge Labs. I think I’ll call it ‘Stripes’.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sometimes, I am a hopeless romantic

The only thing on my mind while driving home from work today was how tired I felt and how badly I needed a cup of tea to wake me up. I yawned most of the way and nearly fell asleep while waiting for a light to turn.

Nah, there’s nothing wrong with me. It’s just that sometimes I feel so beat at the end of the school day and to help wake myself up, I have a cup of tea around 3 in the afternoon.

Today, I forgot to have my tea.

I was really feeling it on the ride home, and the gently falling rain wasn’t helping matters any. Pulling into the driveway, I saw George come bounding from the backyard to greet me. And when I went inside, the first thing I noticed was how wonderful the place smelled. As I entered the kitchen, I saw my husband pulling a tray of just-baked cookies from the oven, and the kettle on the stove was beginning a slow whistle and I said out loud “it’s so good to be home”.

I went upstairs to get changed, and when I came back down, this is what was waiting for me.

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I hugged my husband and told him I loved him and he laughed and told me that I only love him for his coffee and tea making skills.

It’s not always like this at my house. Sometimes my husband is in a bad mood, or he doesn’t feel well, or he’s mad at me for God only knows what, but today he was just what I needed: A cookie-making, dishwashing, dinner making, laundry folding, tea brewing man.

And that’s how I like him.

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And this is how I like my tea. Apologies to those who have read this before, but I really enjoy the simple pleasure of taking my tea in this cup. It just feels special. And although I’ve searched high and low for it online to share it with you, I can’t find it. I do know that it’s Burton & Burton and was made in China.

I love all the little embellishments like the gold edging and the hand-painted gold highlighting on the dragonflies.

And with that, my friends, I think I’ll leave you now and tell you “until tomorrow, then . . . “

Do you have a favorite cup?

UPDATE: Thank you to Gaelen, who has miraculously found this tea cup online, in a teapot-for-one version. It's called 'Morning Meadow'. [link] What a nice surprise.