Thursday, November 29, 2012

I want a perfect soul

I have little to say and my heart is hanging a kind of heavy right now. I have a lot going on I guess, and I hesitate mentioning any of it. Some things are just private and should remain so. It gets me sometimes how much people say online.

Sigh. I haven’t taken any new photos to share with you either, which is a drag. The ones I’ll be using in this post today are actually from my files. No wait, they’re not really from my files as those images have all been lost due to a crashed external hard drive. These two have been salvaged from old blog posts. They’re not the original sized images, but they’re fine enough to use for re-posting.

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I took this one back in 2008 shortly after we had moved to this manor house on the hill. Reading the post took me back to that time. My husband had just had his second brain surgery and had lost his job and subsequently, our house that went with the job. We were lucky to have stumbled on this place and I was counting my blessings daily.

Still am.

Here is the actual post from back then. Sad thing is that I don’t even remember falling and hurting my ankle. I guess so much has happened since then that it’s all just a blur.

The best laid plans . . .

I remember taking this one, as well. Back then I wasn’t into shallow depth of field at all and I remember being upset that everything wasn’t in focus.

Silly me.


My heart was warmed by this story that I heard while watching the national news tonight, a story that has become a Facebook sensation:

Officer gives boots to homeless man in Times Square – warms hearts online

And I am still smiling just thinking about it.

I’ll be back to my happier self tomorrow ~ I promise, ok?

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Thought this was an interesting scene. It’s from a French film called “Ils se marièrent et eurent beaucoup d'enfants” (which means they married and had many children). This scene features Johnny Depp and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Radiohead is playing in the background, an acoustic version of Creep. I just thought it was kind of cool.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday card indecision

It’s the Sunday after Thanksgiving as I write this and it sure feels like winter today. It’s even snowing out there right now, tiny little flakes ~ but nothing’s coming of it, really.

On this cold day, the day before I return to reality and my job, I’m doing some laundry and working on some images I’ve taken lately. I also pulled up a few that could be used for our holiday card this year. I used only photos that I’ve taken in the past year and although I’m no expert in digital graphics, I think I’ve pieced together at least one that would be worthy of using for my holiday mailing list this year.

And although I like some of these a lot, and it was a fun way to pass a few hours today, I think I need to go back to the drawing board.


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This male cardinal is festive-looking. But it doesn’t scream holiday card. Then again, I prefer a quiet card to begin with.


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I had trouble with this one as a card. But I wouldn’t mind having a print of it for my wall.


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I made these last year, getting the idea from Pinterest. They would make a different kind of card now, wouldn’t they?


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I like this one a lot for many reasons. It was taken in the upstairs foyer here at the manor house on an early evening during the holidays last year and it had just begun snowing. Maybe it would work if the words were ‘Silent Night’.


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I was given this amaryllis bulb as a gift last year and was rewarded with blooms that kept me and my macro lens entertained for weeks following the holidays.


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Just making sure you’re still paying attention here and haven’t nodded off.

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Obviously, I wrote this yesterday and never posted it until now (Monday).

But you get the drift.

I really want a simple holiday season this year, without the hype and the ensuing debt caused by careless spending. That would be nice now, wouldn’t it?

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Sunday, November 25, 2012


I had every intention of sleeping in this morning. I really did. But my husband gets up early, and his stirrings woke me. Looking out the east-facing window from under my covers, I could see the beginnings of the sunrise but like I said, I was planning on sleeping in. So I burrowed back into the warmth of the flannel sheets, planning a quick return to the land of my dreams.

I was awoken shortly after by the glow in the bedroom. The window revealed a gorgeous sunrise. And there was no way I was going to sleep through this kind of beauty.

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The entire sky was lit from the rising sun, and I was outside in my pajamas and sweater taking photos of it before you could say Jiminy Cricket.

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It’s been a long and wonderful weekend that began with good news in my husband's prognosis. (The radiation worked). And this glorious sunrise just tops it off for me.

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I don’t even want to think about the upcoming holidays. My mind isn’t there yet and there’s no sense in forcing it. I did do a little online shopping yesterday but my heart just wasn’t in it.

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He came outside with me and kept me company.

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But it was too chilly to stay outside in just my pajamas and sweater.

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday, all ~

I think I’ll get dressed and take a certain someone for a walk.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sunshine and ravioli

I had a beautiful Thanksgiving. If you live in the states, I hope yours was too ~  full of family, laughter, and plenty of good food. We travel to NJ on Thanksgiving, to the home of my husband’s sister and there are usually anywhere from 15 to 30 people there. This year, it was a small gathering of 15 which was nice and quiet. My husband likes the quiet.

I took a couple of dishes, a pie for dessert, and some homemade cranberry sauce for my offerings. This year, I tried something new: Sweet-roasted acorn squash wedges with rosemary and I baked them in my new stoneware baker.

I loved ‘em. (I hope everybody else did, too).


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Got the recipe here:

Sweet-Roasted Rosemary Acorn Squash Wedges


I didn’t take many pictures, and am now wishing I had gotten everyone together for a group shot. But I did manage to get a photo of my brother-in-law, Bob, smiling.

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It’s not that Bob never smiles. It’s just that over the years, it’s been difficult to get a photo of him. He hates having a camera shoved in his face, so I’ve tried to be very respectful of his wishes.

Lately though, and maybe due to his daughter’s wedding and the subsequent photographers, maybe he’s gotten a little more comfortable in front of the camera. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to have me going on about him here on this blog, so I’ll quit now while I’m ahead.

Santa Claus showed up for dinner.


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Meredith’s mom with her Uncle Jimmy (Bob’s brother).


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I woke up early on the day after Thanksgiving to bright sunshine. But after awhile, a fog rolled in, creating ghostly scenes around the manor house on the hill. It stayed for a couple of hours and then was burned off by the sun.


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I love fog photos.


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We took a trip to nearby Baltimore to visit Kim & Pete (the newlyweds). I love their street, and it was covered in fallen leaves. So beautiful.


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We took a walk to the park at the top of Federal Hill. Here we are resting half-way up. There’s a lot of steps that lead to the top of this giant hill and I should have gotten a shot from the bottom looking up.

It will be there the next time I go ~


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I’ve never been here before and the views of the Inner Harbor were fantastic.


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Panoramic shot.


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Seamus and El, who are visiting from Spain. They moved there over a year ago after deciding it was where they wanted to retire. Maybe I’ll have to visit some day.


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And after a sweet sunset, we walked a little further and had a meal at a local pub.

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Today, our eldest son returns to NYC and I’ll drive him into Philly to catch his bus. We saw Skyfall this week and I could do with another movie, maybe tonight.

Hope all is well in your world. Thanks so much for coming by today ~

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If every time it rains, it rains, pennies from heaven
Don’t you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven
You’ll find your fortune falling all over town
Each red and yella umbrella is up up up up upside down and...
Trade them all for a pack of a gum, sunshine and ravioli
If you want the thing you love, you must have a pizzioli baby
And when you hear thunder don’t run under a tree
It be pennies from heaven, for you and for me

~excerpt, Pennies from Heaven

(Char ~ I am loving the Louis Prima CD)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving comfort

It’s early Wednesday morning as I write this, and I am on my second cup of coffee. I have things to do today that will keep me busy and my sons are both here, which makes me very happy. Yesterday after work, I went out to do the Thanksgiving food shopping, and decided to pick up supplies to make a homemade dinner, as well. I wanted comfort, so I made a meatloaf, macaroni & cheese, and accompanied them with stewed tomatoes.

Ah, the calories.

But, oh what comfort.

The mac & cheese was the best I’ve ever made, and I used the new stoneware baker from Le Creuset that I’d recently bought for myself as a gift. I was in need of one, and this one was on sale. Here are the recipes, in case you’re interested.

Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

Meatloaf Recipe


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And these images are yesterday morning’s sky.


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These were taken just before I left for work, around 7 am.

I was sitting in the living room, ready to go, and reading my mail when I happened to notice the glow coming from the living room windows. So I grabbed the camera and stood on the front steps to take these shots.


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Of all the holidays in the year, Thanksgiving is my favorite.

Hands down.

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For those of you who live in the States, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Until later then, my friends ~

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Some pretty birds, a catchy tune, and maybe a little fun

It’s late in the afternoon of a beautiful Saturday here in Maryland. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the squirrels are running from George each time I let him outside. All week long, I’ve been fighting some sort of throat/cold thing, culminating in nearly losing my voice. I can still talk, but I sound very raspy and I look like I could use a good nap.

I went to the grocery store this afternoon without makeup on and after doing my housekeeping chores, which left me even more tired. I saw people I knew and actually hid from them. Gah! There’s one of my former co-workers over at the seafood counter (so I went the other way), a family from school who didn’t see me but were checking out so it was easy to continue on my way. I wasn’t being rude. I just don’t like scaring people.


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Trees in the yard, taken earlier this week.

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I cleaned a bit this morning, getting the guest room ready for our son who arrives on Monday evening from NYC. I love when he comes because he’s pretty much up for anything. And we always do a movie or two over the Thanksgiving holiday.

I’d like to see Argo, Lincoln, Skyfall, Flight. Odd that they each are one word titles, isn’t it?
I received a text on my phone from one of the parents at school that I love hanging out with. It said:

WHAT: Girls Night Out
WHEN: Sat., Nov. 17
WHERE: Dianna’s
WHY: Screening of Magic Mike
BRING: A munchie befitting of Matthew McConaughey

Even though I felt like I was getting sick, I so wanted to be able to go to this. I mean, just to laugh with a bunch of friends is priceless, you know? So I am going and taking Pesto & Grilled Shrimp Pizza (because McConaughey is a bit of a pest as far as I’m concerned). He’s also a bit of a stoner, so I’m making special brownies too.

Don’t get any ideas. They’re special because they have homemade chocolate icing.

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Pretty bird, this fella is – isn’t he?

got the frame {here}

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Downy woodpecker in the dogwood tree.

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This young female house sparrow looks like she’s ready to party with that pretty bokeh there. Got it {here}, btw.

ps ~ the bokeh was already happening back there. i just added a little oomph to it is all.

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I took this shot a couple of months ago. Sometimes I have this as a snack. Sliced avocadoes sprinkled with sea salt & cracked pepper on Carr’s crackers. Simple and yummy.

While I was out this afternoon, I came across this tune on my favorite radio station, WXPN in Philadelphia.

There’s an official video of it, but I was not a fan. The tune is catchy, though ~


Thanks for coming by today. Hope your weekend is rolling along smoothly. And now to make that icing . . .

Until next time, my friends.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012


A few photos that I wanted to share with you this evening, taken through the window of the car while driving through Amish country last weekend. I edited them two ways, one using color and the other a b&w.


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Dairy cows.

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Amish homesteads.

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Amish children at recess.

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These were all taken last Friday, which will explain why children were at school. All their scooters were lined up against the building and it was a sunny day with a chill in the air.


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Amish schoolhouse.

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I called my husband on the way home from work today to say I was stopping at the store for milk. He told me there was no dinner planned, so if I wanted to pick something up, feel free. I was tired, and wished there were a drive through milk store, like the Brew Thru’s they have down along the Outer Banks in NC. I ended up picking up some frozen pizzas for dinner, and my husband put them in the oven.  While they were baking, I got changed, then went online and checked my mail and at a few minutes to six, my husband asked me, “so how are the pizzas doing?”

What? I was to keep track of the pizzas? I ran out to the kitchen to discover the cheese pizza completely burnt and the other, the spinach one, was still ok and had some time on it yet. Someone was mad, someone was trying not to laugh when he came down to dinner (our son), and I was just bewildered.

I ate the spinach pizza – the others had leftovers from previous dinners.

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What? You don’t find this terribly intriguing?

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On Saturday night I watched a movie I’d seen before and liked well enough to watch again. If you enjoy Downton Abbey, and a little bit of a ghost story, you might like this ‘watch instantly’ family selection from Netflix. Although it’s nothing like the story line in Downton Abbey, there are similarities. In fact, three of the characters and an estate that looks very much like the manor house appear in this film. I just love Maggie Smith, too.

When 13-year-old Tolly returns to his family's ancestral home to spend Christmas with his grandmother, he becomes so entranced by the history of the mansion and its inhabitants that he manages to travel through time to uncover their secrets.

From Time to Time is the name of the film.

It is not going to win any awards. It’s just an easy film to watch.

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My new favorite make-up addition which came as a free sample from Sephora:

Nars Velvet Lip Gloss Pencil

Me likey.

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I wish my husband would stop buying double stuff Oreos. And that’s all I have to say about that.

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I’ve sold several of my Female Cardinal in snow prints, all in the past couple of days. I’m not sure if it’s due to its appearance on one of the etsy treasuries it’s been featured in, or the Pinterest pin it’s on, or what ~ but it’s nice that people like it enough to buy.

Female Cardinal in snow

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This is what I should be eating, rather than double stuff oreos.


Thanks for stopping by, my friends.

Until next time, then ~

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