Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A winter’s night

It was a good day. I’m sitting here under my warm quilt, the one that some of the parents at school made for me last fall. I’m having a cup of peppermint chocolate tea for dessert and hey, it actually tastes good without adding sweetener.

It’s been nearly three weeks since I went off sugar. I’ve had no cookies, candy, jarred pasta sauce, ketchup . . . you get the picture. I also cut way back on bread although I do have some every now and then.

I didn’t have any photos planned for this post, so I took these with my cell phone using the Retro Camera app.



My tea.



My cereal cabinet.

Please try to control your laughter. I mean, who takes pictures of their cereal cabinet?




Or their cupboard filled with plates and bowls.

You would think I had a family of ten living in this house with all these plates and bowls, wouldn’t you? It’s just me. And my son.

I was just looking for images to share. And for the record, that box of frosted mini wheats you saw up there needs to go. It used to be my favorite and then I switched to Weetabix, a cereal from the UK that my husband used to like. It’s really good, although it does tend to get mushy in milk pretty quickly. Oh, and those potato chips are my son’s. I don’t even buy them anymore.

Today I found a top hanging in my closet that I didn’t know was there. Then I remembered buying it last October before I went back to work. It was on sale at Ann Taylor for a great price and I remember trying it on when it came in the mail but I couldn’t get it to lay right because of my hips so I set it aside, hoping to fit into it one day. Amazingly, today was the day. Win!

It’s still bitter cold here but I have good winter gear and am really not feeling it. I hope that wherever you are, you are safe and warm. Unless you live in Australia where it’s summertime! Then I hope you’re nice and cool ~


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What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. ~Author Unknown

Winter is not a season, it's an occupation. ~Sinclair Lewis

Sunday, January 26, 2014

In the midst of winter

Hello, all, from the frigid land where I live. Normally, our winters are a little more mild here in Maryland, which is technically a southern state. But I have no complaints at all. I own an excellent car that can get up and down the snow-covered 1/3 mile-long driveway, and if you dress properly for the weather, it’s really not a problem. I’m thankful for the power and the oil, and I keep the house at a slight chill. When it’s too cold, I add another sweater and maybe a scarf.

I worked today for a half-day because we held our annual Open House for our school. Saturday, however, was a mixed bag of interesting weather. In the morning, between chores, I took some photos through my kitchen window of the birds at the feeders. It was pretty gray and the images reflect that fact.

(some of you have already seen these on FB)


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I love the bright red of the male cardinals at this time of the year. So beautiful.


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Late morning, I happened to glance out the window to see a wild mass of snow flurries. All-told, we had about two more inches that fell and it looked beautiful on top of the snow that’s already on the ground.

I decided to capture some images during the snowfall, which I have below.


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It’s so much brighter because of all the white in the sky.


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Hello, little lady.


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This one is my favorite.

I keep a chair by the kitchen window and the camera is right there with the long lens on. Sometimes I just sit there and wait. Sometimes I’ll walk by and notice a lot of activity, so I sit down for a bit and wait.


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And then the little tufted titmouse took to the wing. Lucky shot!


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I took this image earlier in the day of a white-throated sparrow who was hanging out at the bottom of the bush that’s right in front of the window. He was there for quite some time, napping and resting. He looks a little sleepy here, doesn’t he? Actually I’m not sure if it’s a he or a she.


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Tonight I’m having leftovers for dinner. Last night, I made Fried Lemon Parmesan Chicken Paillard, a recipe I found on Pinterest, which is one that’s become a regular here at the old manor house on the hill. I made enough for leftovers tonight and as a salad topping for part of the week.

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I served it with roasted butternut squash & carrots, and a salad topped with feta cheese.

I went off sugar about two weeks ago and all my clothes are fitting better. I also cut way back on the bread (although I love me some bread, I really do). I also cut way down on the salt and caffeine and have tried to up the exercise routine which mainly consists of walking. Someone asked me if shivering counted as exercise and I told them to put on a heavier sweater and suck it up. Ha ~

Hope your week is a good one. I really do.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting today ~

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"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
-Albert Camus

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fun in the snow with George

I was trying to think of a clever way to share some of my snow photos with you as there were too many to upload to a single post. I thought maybe a Flickr slideshow so I uploaded all 18 of them to Flickr, watched the slideshow, and thought, “meh”.


So I made a movie. I haven’t done that in a while and forgot little things. So, for what it’s worth, here’s a movie with photos taken during yesterday’s snow day with my favorite buddy. Hope you like.



To view more movies I’ve made over the years, just scroll to the bottom of the page. That’s where I keep ‘em.


Until next time, my friends ~

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hunkering down

Hello, friends. It’s Tuesday night as I write this and my 3-day weekend has turned into a 5-day one. All the schools were closed today due to a massive snowstorm and we just got word that everything will be closed again tomorrow. I’m thankful that I work at a place where I don’t have to go in when it’s closed. It’s been a-snowing and a-blowing since 9 this morning and it’s slated to continue until nearly midnight. Temperatures are supposed to plummet tomorrow and they say the winds will pick up even more. I’m watching the national news and it looks like the whole mid-Atlantic area is being hit right now.

My son did the shoveling today and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that his efforts were futile. He’ll learn on his own. The wind blew all his work closed each time. But hey, he tried. I took him early today to orientation for a new job. I don’t like to talk too much about anything too personal in regards to my children, but he quit his job over the holidays and it kind of threw me for a loop. Shortly after that, he got into a wreck with our Honda Element on icy roads while going to care for a friend’s pets early one morning. He is fine and I don’t even know why I’m mentioning it because it’s something I’d rather not talk about. I think that losing the Element was like losing another link to my husband and our past. We took that car everywhere. One redeeming thing is that I can’t believe how much we’re getting for it from the insurance company. We took good very good care of that car and it’s paying off.

Another redeeming thing is that my son seems to understand how upsetting it was for me to lose the vehicle but a friend put it into perspective for me when he said that the old Element died saving my son’s life. And for that, I was grateful.

On to other things . . .


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Leftover Roast Chicken Soup with Roasted Vegetables

This is the soup I was gushing about yesterday. I made another batch today because I still had leftover roast chicken. This is such a simple dish to make and paired with some rustic bread, is perfect for a winter meal.

I’ve had my nose in a book all day and can’t believe how many pages I’ve burned through. I think I told you I’m reading The Goldfinch. Loving it.

I also took a few shots out the windows. I didn’t go outside today and am feeling a little guilty about that, but I’ll get over it. These images are crazy bad because the snow was sticking to the windows and the wind was going nuts out there.



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I made sure the feeders were filled and also sprinkled seed on the bird baths.



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At times, the birds seemed to be hanging on for dear life.



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I shot a quick video from the front door this afternoon:

Winter storm from Kate Young on Vimeo.




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So how are things in your neck of the woods? Inquiring minds and all . . .

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Beautiful day

I woke up Sunday morning and decided to take a little trip. I wanted to take George somewhere where we could walk, see some pretty scenery, and have a picnic lunch. Yes, you can have a picnic lunch in January.

I decided to head south to a wildlife refuge in Delaware that my husband and I used to frequent. I tried to remember the last time we were there but sadly, could not. I knew the way though, and packed my lunch, some dog yummies for my buddy, water, a camp chair, and a bird book. Oh, and the camera of course.


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When we left the house, it was 30 degrees and the thermometer in the car kept climbing the further south we went. It actually got up to 46 down there today! First stop is a viewing tower along Rte. 9. That’s my car parked there just to the left of center in the photo above.


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Along the path heading toward the car.


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George was a little shaky going up the steps to the tower back there

but he made it just fine.



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He wasn’t quite comfortable up there, however.


We continued south on Rte. 9 and eventually arrived at our destination: Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. I planned on taking a couple of small hikes, seeing some birds, and hopefully finding a place to have a picnic in the sunshine and out of the wind.



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This was taken from the first viewing tower along the road that runs through the park.

Looking east toward the Delaware Bay here.



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A flock of Canada geese flies above my head.



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View from my picnic spot. The wind was blowing from the west so I sat on the east side of the car, using it as a wind block. I ate my lunch and listened to the calls of the birds and the wind as it rustled through the reeds.

January day from Kate Young on Vimeo.

Exciting, isn’t it?


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Suddenly, a huge flock of snow geese took to the sky. There were thousands of them and all the photographers there turned to take photos. I had the zoom lens on at the time and didn’t have time to change out lenses.


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They all landed opposite from where I was sitting. If you look closely, you can see them in the sky and as they land on the water. They really do look like snow, don’t they?



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I continued to drive around the ponds, stopping every now and then to take photos. I took a lot today and these are just a few that I’m sharing.



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Today, I’m heading to NJ to visit an old friend. I am taking soup and some rustic bread. I’ll write more about the soup because it is awesome. I used some of the leftover roasted chicken from the other night. Fantastic.


Hope you have a good day. Very gray here but hey, it’s a day off.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Today: January 18, 2014

I used to do this meme once a week several years ago. It was called The Simple Woman’s Daybook and although I rarely ever linked to the site, I still enjoyed filling in the blanks. I felt like doing it today.

Outside my window the sun is waning.
I am thinking that being alone is not so bad after all.
I am thankful for just about everything right now.
From the kitchen I can smell the roasted chicken I have in the oven. I’m making {Roasted Herbs de Provence Chicken}, a recipe I found on Pinterest last year.
I am wearing a pair of black jeans, a dark gray v-neck cashmere-blend sweater, a rust-colored scarf from Anthropologie because I like it chilly in here, and a thick pair of socks.
I am creating some pictures to share with you on this post.
I am going to go check on the chicken in a minute. And maybe pour another cocktail. I just said that out loud, didn’t I?
I am reading {The Goldfinch}, by Donna Tartt. I should correct myself and say that I’m STILL reading The Goldfinch. I put it down for a week or so and just picked it up the other day. Really enjoying it. It’s a huge book, too.
I am hoping for another good day tomorrow.
I am hearing {this song} by Aoife O’Donovan on Coffeehouse Rock, channel 848 DirecTV. She reminds me a little of Alison Krauss. I keep a pad of paper and a pen in the living room so that while I have this station on, I can jot down songs I like and then download them and make a CD to listen to in the car. I just realized how old-fashioned this sounds.
Around the house it’s looking pretty cozy.
One of my favorite things is a 3-day weekend. I just remembered that this is one of them. That was a nice surprise.
A few plans for the rest of the week are still in the works. I’ll keep you posted, though.

Here are a few picture thoughts I’m sharing today.



Had a 2-hour delay one morning this week due to thick fog. I couldn’t see 10-feet in front of me at its worst. This is when it began clearing and I headed down the driveway for school. Shot with the cell phone.


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You probably can’t tell by this photo but it was snapped this afternoon from my car window with my cell phone. We were having a snow shower. In the sunshine. It was so pretty.


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I love getting letters in the mail.



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And I love the way the sun comes in the windows at the end of the day.



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And birds on the wing.




And a tired pup who has played too much fetch.


Thanks for coming by ~

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Early morning in January

It’s early Sunday morning as I write this, and I am enjoying my second cup of coffee. Current temperature here in Maryland is a balmy 39 degrees and after I woke, I sat outside, wrapped in a blanket, while I drank my first cup of coffee. The dampness is making it feel kind of raw, but it was pleasant just being on my porch and listening to the sounds of the morning here on our hill.

I could hear flocks of migrating birds above, a lone car on the highway, a pileated woodpecker coming from one of the big trees at the edge of the property, and all sorts of different birds calling to each other. They all sound happy because the deep freeze has passed.


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George had been let out much earlier by my son, who was the first up today. The dog seemed to want to play frisbee but he wouldn’t bring it to me (and I am not going to get up from under my warm blanket to go fetch it).

His antics sliding back and forth on the frisbee were making me laugh out loud. So I went inside to get the camera and record some of them, and am posting it further down.


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This is the quilt that some of the parents at our school made for me after my husband died. I love it. It makes me feel happy.


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I tried to capture one of the flocks of migrating birds zooming by. I love the sound of their many tiny flapping wings. It sounds like things are as they should be. I don’t know how else to explain it.


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A lone shore bird soars high above me.

And now, here’s the video I’ve been waiting to upload at Vimeo. George’s silly antics have me cracking up and I tried to suppress my laughter while I was filming him. And this wasn’t even one of his funniest trips on the frisbee slider.


January morning from Kate Young on Vimeo.


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I love this dog.


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Today I plan to get a lot of things done. I was away at a friend’s house Friday evening and all of yesterday and last night watched a video from Netflix that I thought was going to be a sweet and touching movie. The Lightkeepers was billed as a period piece and a love story. It stars Richard Dreyfuss, who isn’t my favorite actor by a long stretch, but Blythe Danner, who I just love, and Meryl Streep’s daughter, Mamie Gummer. Unfortunately, it was predictable and kind of cheesy, mostly due to Dreyfuss’ overacting in his role. I don’t recommend it, although the scenery was lovely and it introduced me to Tom Wisdom, an English actor I’d never heard of before. He was perfect, as were Danner and Gummer. I should mention Bruce Dern, who played the n’er do well, but I won’t.

I am almost ashamed to say that I still haven’t taken down my Christmas decorations. This is number one on my list of priorities today. So I’d better get crackin’.

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Enjoy your Sunday, my friends. And thanks so much for stopping by ~

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby, it’s c-c-c-c-cold out there

The county schools were closed today and our private school follows suit when it comes to weather-related closings. From as far back as I can remember, our school has never been closed due to extremely cold conditions. But when it comes to children waiting at bus stops in 2 degree weather with wind chills making it feel like –15, I understood the county’s reasoning.

I headed in around 9:30 just to get some work done in the quiet and turned around after my car began to make this horrible metal-grinding noise that scared me half to death. It sounded like it was coming from the rear brakes and I placed a phone call to the Subaru service center right away (had to leave a message).

By the time I got home, the noise had stopped but I’m still planning on taking it in to have them check it out and have an appointment for later this week. I decided to stay home and get some things done around here. Then I bundled up this afternoon and took my best buddy for a walk around the property.

I also took several photos with my cell phone, all of which I’m sharing here today.



Snapped this one looking through the front storm door.

I was really quite warm in my good jacket. You can wear it alone or with the thick down shell that comes with it. I wore the shell underneath today, that’s for sure!

But my hand sure got cold while I was taking the picture.



When I woke, it was 2 degrees. It appears to have warmed up considerably by 10 AM.




I just started reading this. I bought it for myself for Christmas.




I bought a pair of pillow covers too.

They were on a super sale at Pottery Barn.




This was George’s gift from Santa.

It’s a dog yummy jar from Fishs Eddy that I filled with treats for him.

He loves it.




I made a nice lunch, then did the dishes.





I kept the curtains closed in the living room to keep out the drafts.





When it’s a sunny day like it was today, I open the front door to let the sun pour through the storm window. Sometimes I pull the rocking chair there and sit with the sun warming me. Feels so good.





George would like a toy tossed to him now.

Guess that’s my cue to say ta ta for now.



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