Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On pajama pants and other matters

Before I begin, I’d just like to state for the record that pajama pants are an article of clothing that should only be worn in the home. Fifty percent of the population near my neck of the woods seems to believe otherwise, however.

I’m sorry but I just had to get that out there. And as long as I’m on the subject of attire, underwear was given its name for a reason. You wear them under your clothes. Pull up your damn pants, guys. Yesterday in our local Lab Corp, I had the extreme privilege of viewing someone’s red underpants while he stood in front of where I was sitting. His pants were way down beyond where no pants should go in public and the others in the waiting room were all looking at each other as if to ask, “why?”

I almost did. But I stayed on my best behavior, although I did note that his girlfriend was wearing (yes, you guessed it) pajama pants. And some lovely flip flops in 32 degree weather. Holy heck – is it just me?

Ok. I’m stopping now.


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My amaryllis plant is beginning to bloom. I posted a photo of it {here} a couple of weeks ago. I love this color.


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My lunch on Saturday. I started the Wheat Belly diet plan last Monday and have already noticed a difference in how I feel (and how my pants fit). I’m not going to harp about dieting here, but this is the first time I haven’t had any cravings on an eating plan. Basically, I’m off anything that contains wheat, although it’s hidden in so many things. I’m not eating breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, cereals, or anything processed. And no more Cream of Wheat, which is a total drag :( I had heard about the plan through a friend, and started on it after reading about it, as I was hoping it would help my arthritic knees. I figured that any subsequent weight loss would just be a great bonus. Ok I’ll stop now, but if you want to read more about it, and/or buy the book, here’s the link:

Wheat Belly


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It was so warm today that I only needed a light sweater for warmth while walking after work. It felt like a spring day in March or April, and although it’s a little freaky and things weed above are beginning to bloom in the earth, I’ll take the warmth. Apparently, the crazy weather has something to do with the jet stream; I heard this tonight on the nightly news.


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I’ve been fooling around with the new color bar trend after seeing it on Pinterest and on a blog whose photos I adore. (Hi, Caroline). I think it could be a fun decorating tool, too. The free template is available as a download for PS/PSE on The CoffeeShop Blog. It’s easy to use and I love playing with it.

CoffeeShop Instant Color Bar


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And look – it even works with sushi.

Sorry. I’m just being silly.

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What  soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.

~ Yiddish Proverb

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Hope your week is full of smiles. I’m hoping for the same thing after the day I had today. Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Camera phone weekend pix

It was beautiful this weekend. Chilly, but quite sunny – and if you sat in the just the right spot – it was wonderful. I think I got some sun on my cheeks.

Here are a few photos I took using my Android phone.


The view from my seat in the backyard. Taken with the camera that came with the phone, then opened with Be Funky, one of the free processing apps I downloaded. I used the Orton effect on this one and called it a day.

A beautiful day.


Looking to my left, into the sun and sitting in the same spot in the yard. I used my Retro Camera for this one. I think.


It was such a sunny day, I poured myself a cocktail. This is my favorite drink: Yukon Jack and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice.

Don’t be all judgy now.

This liqueur is a taste born of hoary nights, when lonely men struggled to keep their fires lit and cabins warm. I didn’t write that – it’s on the bottle and I wrote about it {here}.


Retro Camera again. George brought his squeaky toy outside – the one that makes the loudest squeak and he’s waiting for me to make another toss.


This is him after a half hour of squeaky toy shenanigans.


And this is my new love. I saved it for last.

Yes. I broke down and bought a Miele. I’ve been wanting one for years. Thank you for all your vacuum suggestions from a previous post I wrote. I went to a shop in Wilmington on Saturday morning and they let me test drive several of them. This was more than I wanted to spend, but it was a floor model, so I got a discount. Plus I upgraded the power brush and got a bigger discount on that. It has six different suction modes from low (for draperies) to mid (for Oriental carpets) to high (I love high). And the power brush head has five different levels.

I’ve vacuumed the entire house. Twice. No, I’m kidding. I only did it once. But it was a pleasure to do my housekeeping this weekend – much to my utter delight.

Have a wonderful week, my friends ~

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekly Pinterest finds

I love sharing things that I find interesting on Pinterest. It’s really not a place where I spend all that much time, but I do go several times a week. Sometimes I just want to escape, and it’s an easy way to do so for a small amount of time.

The following photos are from different boards I’ve created on the site. I started a new one this week called ‘Winter White’ because I happen to like snow.

From my ‘Winter White’ board, an avenue in the snow. I would love to take a walk here and with the proper attire, I wouldn’t even feel the cold.

Source: flickr.com via George on Pinterest

A big, beautiful moon from my ‘Paris’ board. Some day, I’m going to get to Paris. My son accepted an internship at an architecture firm there in 2007 when he graduated from college. But right after he came home from the interview, the company he now works for in NYC called him and he chose that job instead. A wise move, to be sure. But I was planning on visiting him in Paris!

Source: pixdaus.com via George on Pinterest

From my ‘Feathered’ board. I can’t tell you how much I love this. It just makes me smile.

I have a board called ‘Photography I Love’ and that is where this photograph resides. I love the pretty bokeh of the raindrops, the somewhat messy but deliciously soft comforter, and the photogenic kitty who has found a good spot to view its world.

These shoes are divine. Love the color, and the bling. They’re from my ‘Attire’ board. I would so wear these.

I mean, if I had anywhere to wear them.

Source: reddit.com via George on Pinterest

From my ‘Coolness’ board, this little ladybug on a flower bud in which both are completely covered with the morning dew. It’s quite an incredible capture and I love the sparklies.

Source: google.com via George on Pinterest

‘Movies I Love’ include Amelie, among others. Sometimes I watch this movie just to cheer up. My son introduced me to it years ago, and when I watch it, I remember watching it with him which makes it feel even better.

One of my favorite portraits of Marilyn Monroe. From the muted colors to her wistful look – everything about it is so beautiful in its simplicity.

There’s nothing to be said here other than I laugh every time I see this. From my ‘You Have a Way With Words’ board.

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And on that note ~ hope your weekend is a good one, my friends. Mine is going to be a short one. We have our annual Open House at school this weekend, and I’m working half the day on Sunday. I’m glad I love my job.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A resurrection of four January days

I’ve recently come to the realization that it has been over four years since I began writing this blog. I’m not going to say that I can’t believe four years has gone by so quickly because I don’t really think it has. It actually seems like I’ve been writing for much longer than that, and January 2008 almost seems like another lifetime.

So I’m going to do something a little bit different today.

I’ve decided to resurrect four posts from the past, all on a day in January as close as I could get it to today. I began writing this blog in December 2007 as a way of sharing my photography with my family and a few friends, who were the only ones reading it at the time.

Will you join me in a trip down memory lane? With the exception of the first post, they’re all fairly short ~


Hobnobbing with the Amish (Jan. 26, 2008)


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The beauty of the morning (Jan. 24, 2009)


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The eagle has landed (Jan. 26, 2010)


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I love (Jan. 27, 2011)


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To those of you who have been with me from the start, all the way to those who have just recently begun to visit here – I want to thank you again for your encouragement, your kind, heartfelt, and often funny comments. I can’t respond to everyone, although I sometimes try. Please know that I appreciate you.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Completely random

The snow has melted completely, and temps a little higher than normal are contributing to a muddy mess on the trails around the property. But at least I can get up and down the driveway again – and out into the world.

It’s been extremely busy at school and for that, I’m grateful. Glad to have a purpose in life, as well as pastimes that keep me content. For me, photography is one of those things that fills my soul. Today, I give you a small collection of things I found interesting this past week.

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Frost on the windows of the spare bedroom on Saturday morning. We keep that part of the house chilly because it’s senseless to waste oil to heat it.

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I love cream of wheat. Always have. We were out of milk over the weekend and stranded here because of the snow and ice, so I used a little half & half and some water. Totally yummy.

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I love the view from my windows.

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I just thought this was beautiful, and took it a couple of weeks ago on a frigid weekend morning.

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I see doggie bokeh. Do you?

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The pastry counter at Di Bruno Bros. on Chestnut Street, in Philadelphia. I loved this place when I visited earlier this month. They have every kind of food imaginable (it seemed) and their cheese section was out of this world. You can buy online, too.

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Tree in the side yard, taken with my camera phone.

And then there’s my little friend . . .

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My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet.  ~Edith Wharton

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.  ~Gilda Radner

Tonight I made another yummy meal and I believe my husband liked it. I still wish he would begin cooking again, or even shopping for groceries for that matter. But you can’t have everything. And I knew a good thing when it was going on all these years, so at least there’s that ~

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend birds

I’ve been stuck here on the property all weekend, and my plans were thwarted when the driveway froze shut Saturday night. We needed a few groceries, but have been getting by just fine with what I have stored in the cupboards.

It was cold here Saturday, and perhaps I could have made it down the driveway and back up again but when we woke this morning, it was a sheet of solid ice and by mid-morning, I knew I wouldn’t be going anywhere. I busied myself with housekeeping, a little knitting, some reading, and some bird watching out my kitchen window with my trusty camera at my side.

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There’s still ice on many of the branches and I’m wondering if we’ll have a 2-hour delay tomorrow. Either way, I’ll be hiking down the driveway in the morning and meeting a co-worker who lives in the development through the woods.

I’ll be careful. And I’ll take the hiking poles with me.

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These were all taken from my seat in the kitchen, though double panes of glass – some of which I noticed are not all that clean. Must address that situation tomorrow when the warmer weather hits. It’s supposed to go up to 50 degrees here!

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I’ve decided to watermark all of my pictures from now on, to avoid theft. I also only upload low-resolution photos to my blog but after hearing what happened to a fellow blogger’s photos (they were stolen by someone who claimed them as his own), I’ve decided to try and combat theft in this small way.

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I processed most of these photos using a vintage soft-toned action from Red Leaf Studios, and some textures from Shadowhouse Creations.

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It was a bit windy on Saturday, and someone’s feathers were blowin’ in it. I think she looks pretty sweet with her crown going sideways like that.

And speaking of sweet ~ I hadn’t even noticed until looking through the photos I’d taken that I had caught a little junco jumping for joy.

That’s a whole lotta j’s in that sentence.

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Hold on there a minute . . . can I see that again?

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My goals for the week include cleaning the window in my kitchen, getting my husband to hang a feeder outside it (he took them all down because of the squirrels), and researching a vacuum to purchase. I’m serious this time – the handle broke on the poor excuse for a vacuum that I’m currently using, and I can’t go on like this much longer. I’m still enamored with the Miele, and have been for years, but they’re confusing me with all the different types they have, and of course – the one I want isn’t available online from Miele (USA) or anywhere else for that matter.

May have to visit a vacuum shop . . . which might be a good idea anyway because if I’m going to be spending that much, I’d like to take a test drive.

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Hope your week is a good one, my friends . . .

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

First snowfall of the year

I was glad this morning to see that we’d actually gotten a little bit of snow. I thought it was just going to be sleet, so this was a nice surprise.

It was a gray morning, and I fell back to sleep because I enjoy the luxury of sleeping past six o'clock on a day where I don’t have to get up to go to work.

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This is what it looked like out my bedroom window. I could hear my husband out there shoveling. But other than that, it was blissfully quiet ~ you know, the kind of quiet you get when there’s a blanket of snow on the earth.

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After coffee, I put on my winter garb and my old Sorel boots, and with the camera around my neck, proceeded to take a walk around the property.

I only brought one lens, the 18-70mm. And I thought I’d try out the snow/beach setting on the auto dial (big mistake because it should be used for a sunny snow day and not a gray one). I’ll learn.

I used Florabellla’s Vintage Summer II on all of these photos to get the dinginess out of the awful SOOC shots.

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I have had these boots since I was 20 years old, which makes them very very old. The D-rings are rusty, and the laces need another replacing, but as far as winter boots go, they were one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.

We only have a couple of inches on the ground, but it makes for a nice change in the landscape of my life here at the old manor house on the hill.

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Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.  ~From the movie An Affair to Remember

Love that movie.

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Everything had a coating of ice.

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And I could hear the crystallized branches of the trees above as the wind gently moved them back and forth.

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Every mile is two in winter. ~George Herbert

I agree with Mr. Herbert, because walking in snow boots is much more difficult than walking in my regular shoes.

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But it’s good to walk on such a morning. It truly is.

And when I came back inside, my cheeks were quite rosy.

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I have no plans for the day other than a little cleaning. And I may not even do that . . .

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
~ Robert Frost

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These photos would look much different if I’d had the macro lens with me, but the close-up mode on the auto dial did just fine on this cold January morning.

So what are your plans for the weekend? Inquiring minds want to know . . .

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