Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I’ve missed you

I can’t believe I haven’t written since Sunday. Have you missed me? (Because I’ve missed you). I hadn’t taken any photos at all since this weekend when my friends were visiting, so today I made myself pick up the camera and I walked around the house and took 34 photos, most of which were trash.

I’m just being honest here. This is about as exciting as it gets here on the hill.

These are the ones I’ll share with you today.

DSC_3299 copy 2

Some little flowers I put in a vase in the upstairs bathroom for my guests.

I think you should have fresh flowers when guests come to spend the night.

Well, that and plenty of good food, some wine, fresh sheets . . .

DSC_3304 copy 2

It’s raining but it’s not pouring. I took this photo standing in the upstairs hallway.

DSC_3308 copy 2

Then I walked a few steps over to the staircase, and I see that someone is waiting for me at the bottom.

Flashback ~

Here he is at the top of the stairs, taken almost two years ago . . .

I want a perfect soul

DSC_3320 copy 2

Flowers in the kitchen.

Which reminds me . . .

Earlier this month, a person introducing herself as Ree Drummond’s assistant e-mailed me to tell me that Ree wanted to send me one of her new cookbooks. She wondered if I’d like it autographed, as well.

I was pretty surprised, and terribly flattered, and told her I would absolutely love a copy. I have Ree’s first cookbook, which is beautiful, and when this one came in the mail last week, I was even more impressed than I was with the first.

DSC_3324 copy 2

This is a gorgeous cookbook. The recipes are simple, delicious-looking, and so easy to follow with their step-by-step pictures (all taken by Ree). What a huge project this must have been for her to complete.

DSC_3325 copy 2

And I love the autograph.

: : :

On another note, I was saddened to hear about the death of Davy Jones today and have just finished watching the tribute on the nightly news. I was 10 years old and living in Margate, NJ when the Monkees first aired in 1966. I absolutely loved that show and had a bit of a crush on Micky Dolenz (when all my other friends were in the Davy Jones’ camp).  I hadn’t realized that in 1967, the Monkees sold more albums than the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined.

They were huge back then.

Here’s the intro from the first season of the TV show. This is a blast from the past.


Thanks for stopping by today. Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

123 Signature[5]

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hope is the thing with feathers

It’s been a peaceful weekend here at the Casa de George in beautiful Maryland. It began Friday evening with excellent food and company at the annual Trustees Dinner that’s held for the faculty at our school. I think it’s wonderful that they do this for us.

A full morning of cleaning followed on Saturday, as I readied our house for guests. Two of my girlfriends that I’ve known since high school came to stay. It was much fun. And my husband actually enjoys their company.

On Sunday morning we had brunch, then sat outside on the patio in the sunshine. I snapped a few photos while we talked and laughed.

DSC_3270 copy 2

I kept looking at this spot in the tree and realized that it was a feather delicately clinging onto a leaf blown into the twigs of the doogwood.

DSC_3270 copy 0 copy

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

DSC_3231 copy 2

My friend, Peg, brought a gift for my husband and when we awoke Sunday morning, we found that he’d hung it up in the dogwood tree.

DSC_3252 copy 2

It was a good day for a snooze in the sun for George.

DSC_3282 copy 2

And for Miss Blackie, as well.

DSC_3286 copy 2

And the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees and the moon up above.

I don’t know where that came from.

And now I’m off to watch the Academy Awards. It’ll be good to see it being hosted again by Billy Crystal. Enjoy your week, my friends ~ and thanks for stopping by my little corner of the universe.

123 Signature[5]

Thursday, February 23, 2012

For what it’s worth

I was so depressed when I looked at the photos after getting home from my trip to NYC on Monday. I had thought they would be much better than they were, and have been putting off sharing them because I thought they were just so darn uninspired.

And then I told myself to get over myself. For heaven’s sake, they’re just pictures and this blog is for sharing them with you.

So for what it’s worth, some photos of my trip to the other end of Manhattan down by Canal Street (the East section, by Little Italy and Chinatown).

DSC_3138 copy 2

Most of these shots were taken while walking along Canal Street. I wasn’t prepared for the seediness of it all but some things I found quite cool, like the bushes growing along the rooftop above.

DSC_3092 copy 2

We had lunch in Little Italy and then hit the shops along Canal Street where I got to observe my friend, Peg, in action. With the street vendors, the girl’s haggling skills astounded me.

DSC_3109 copy 2

Trying to be artsy. And failing.

* snort *

DSC_3140 copy 2

I liked the streetlights along this pretty section of Little Italy.

DSC_3162 copy 2

Peg’s two friends came along and all three of them work together for the postal service in NJ. So we thought it would be fitting to take a photo of them in front of the huge post office on Canal Street.

DSC_3158 copy 2

Hi there!

DSC_3169 copy 2

Small film crew here, but it was the shutters that caught my eye.

DSC_3165 copy 2

Love love me do.

DSC_3215 copy 2

And finally, I have no idea what happened here. I was trying to capture the lights of the city as we were driving away and boy, did I have the settings wrong. So wrong that the shutter opened and stayed open. I turned the camera around to see what was up, which created all the craziness.

I am just such an amazing photographer sometimes.

But at least I can laugh about it.

: : :

Thanks for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to see you here ~

123 Signature[5]

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Of titmice and men

Disclaimer: There are no men in this post. There are only some tufted titmice and a few other birds. So if you’re looking for men, I apologize for that in advance.

And now, on to the titmice.

DSC_2999 copy 2

They sure are cute.

DSC_2991 copy 2

And feisty.

DSC_2983 copy 2

And they’re quick.

DSC_2988 copy 2

Really quick.

DSC_2919 copy 2

I so enjoy sitting outside in our yard on a sunny day and capturing the bird life with my 70-300mm lens. Above is a female downy woodpecker. Not to be confused with the hairy woodpecker, which is similar but a little bit bigger in the body (and with a longer beak).

DSC_2926 copy 2

A sweet little chickadee.

DSC_2896 copy 2

A female cardinal in all her burnished glory.

DSC_2894 copy 2

And her mate watching her from above.

I love this lens – it really lets me lock on the birds for sharp images. I take all of my bird photos hand-held so it’s important to me to have vibration reduction in a lens. All of these shots were taken with my Nikon D7000 on the P mode with the ISO set to 100. Images were edited using TRA’s prettyizer action and Kim Klassen’s shine texture, soft light blend mode, brushing off the bird image.

I hope that makes sense.

DSC_2931 copy 2

And finally, a nuthatch seems to pose at the suet feeder.

: : :

I did take a quick trip yesterday with some friends. We went to (of all places) New York City. Good grief, what is coming over me? My friend told me she was going up there to the Little Italy area, specifically to look for scarves for sale, so I jumped on that bandwagon figuring I’d never seen that area of the city, so why not? I’ll share some photos tomorrow. Got home late, and these pictures were already set up in a post I had ready for this evening.

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

123 Signature[5]

Sunday, February 19, 2012

To sit in the sun on a fine day

Note: This post was written yesterday afternoon and I thought I had published it.

It’s Saturday afternoon and I am loving this weekend so far. It’s not as if anything super exciting is happening, but rather several small factors that are making it quite pleasant.

For one, my husband seems to be in a decent mood. For another, it’s a bright, sunny day and although it’s way too warm for February, I realize I can’t do anything about the weather so am just going to enjoy it. Also, my house smells divine because I have a chicken and some vegetables roasting in the oven. The upstairs smells wonderful too because I cleaned the bathroom late this morning and I love the smell.

I use a product from Melaleuca that I swear by and frankly, it’s one of the few reasons I have an account with the company. It’s a cleanser called Solumel in the lemon scent. It’s not for everyone, I’m sure. But it cleans wonderfully, and I love the scent it leaves afterward. End of story.


DSC_2905 copy 2

My day began early, awaking around 6 am in order to leave by 7 for an appointment at the Honda dealer to get the car serviced. I drive an hour to the best Honda service place around, and it’s worth it. I’ve said before that I have one that’s 20 minutes away, but I don’t like them, I don’t trust them, and after two chances at having me as a customer, they had an epic fail and I was done with them.

So I drive an hour to a place I trust. End of story.

I have no idea what’s with this end of story stuff. It’s just how I’m rolling today.


DSC_2898 copy 2

I did the grocery shopping, then made guacamole for lunch and had it outside in the sunshine with some gluten-free rice tortilla chips. Have I told you lately how much I love cilantro? I sniffed it in the grocery store and stood there and smiled because the scent of it makes me so darn happy.

I know that people either love cilantro or they hate it, and I’m glad to say I’m in the love club.

Ha. The love club.


DSC_2841 copy 2

I sat outside this afternoon and read for awhile, listening to some of my favorite sounds. I love the sound of chirping birds, a train whistle in the distance, and the trees creaking in the gentle breeze. A dog barks in the nearby development, children are laughing, and far away, someone’s chainsaw is at work. These are the sounds that say home and normal to me.

I am still reading your wonderful fill-in-the-blank answers from my previous post. I’ve written many of you telling you how much I enjoy this small peek into your lives. And I thank you for that.

Tonight I’m going to watch a movie on Netflix that arrived in the mail yesterday. And Monday, you are not going to believe this, but I’m taking another short trip. I seem to be doing this a lot lately but I guess I’m making up for not being able to do much of anything last fall.

For those who are interested, the birds in the photos above are (from top to bottom):  Mourning Dove, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse. If you visit the links which will take you to Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, you can listen to the sounds that they make. I actually heard the mourning dove fly over before I saw it, although I didn’t know what it was at the time.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend as well . . .

123 Signature[5]

To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.  ~Jane Austen

Friday, February 17, 2012


Apologies for not having posted since Tuesday. Sometimes I really just don’t have anything to say. And hey, I still don’t - but I missed you too much to stay away any longer.

Two weekends ago, I picked up some white tulips from the florist and they’re still doing quite well. I took these photos last weekend when we had that small bit of snow for a few hours.


DSC_2776 copy 2

I actually miss winter.


Wait a minute now.


Did I just hear some of you boo and hiss?


DSC_2777 copy 2

But I honestly find winter beautiful. And spring is always worth the wait.


DSC_2771 copy 2

One of the tulips had a little bit of pink going on. She must think she’s pretty special.


And she is.


DSC_2769 copy 2

Well, it’s Friday and I love Friday evenings. It’s especially nice because we have a three-day weekend from school. Heavenly ~

: : :

Want to play along with a few questions to answer? These questions were taken from an old meme I used to participate in called The Simple Woman’s Daybook. Please fill in the blanks and I’ll meet you in the comment section.

Outside my window _______________________________________ .

I am thinking ____________________________________________ .

I am thankful ____________________________________________ .

I am hearing ____________________________________________ .

One of my favorite things __________________________________ .


Enjoy your weekend, my friends . . .

123 Signature[5]

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mini getaway

You know that I like to get away whenever I can, and for some crazy reason nowadays, I’ve been enjoying visiting NYC. It’s really not so crazy when you come to think about it, but if you knew me in my prior life, you’d know that the Big City always frightened me a bit. I mean, there are so many people and tall buildings, and confusing streets, and numbers of reasons to stay as far away as possible. But these days, one of our sons lives there, and I have a friend I met blogging who lives there. Other friends I’ve met through blogging live close enough that it’s just a quick trip in.

We were invited by Daryl for lunch and she had made reservations at the Atlantic Grill on West 64th St. just off Broadway at Lincoln Center.


DSC_2795 copy 2

This place has great food, and it’s less than a block from Central Park which is straight ahead in the photo above. Lincoln Center is behind and across the street from where I am standing.


DSC_2796 copy 2

Happy Valentine’s Day ~

Inside, at the bar, we met our friends who had driven down from CT as well as Daryl’s sister. The place was packed but the wait was worth it.


DSC_2803 copy 2

Apologies to non-sushi lovers.

But it was so good.


DSC_2807 copy 2

It was dark inside and I had to turn my ISO up way high, hence the noise (grain) in the inside photos.

After lunch, Reena and I headed back to Penn Station to catch the train home. I shot a few pictures through the window of the cab but other than that, my camera wasn’t out much. Traffic got so congested that the driver dropped us off about a block away from the train station because the cab wasn’t even moving at that point. Luckily we weren’t in any hurry.


DSC_2820 copy 2

B&H Photo on 9th between 33rd & 34th Sts. Some day I’m going to visit this place. I have a couple of gift cards that I’ve never used.


DSC_2822 copy 2

I love sconces.


DSC_2818 copy 2



That’s Daryl, Jules, and Reena in the back row. In the front are Lauren, me, and Annie. I’m looking forward to getting together again soon. So fun ~

Hope you enjoyed my quick jaunt to the city. Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

123 Signature[5]