Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas All Around

I just wanted to drop by and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Brit Boy and I went to London to the theatre yesterday and it was great. I'll share a full report in a few days. I'm going to be taking a mini blogging break for a few days, but I just wanted to share a few sights from Christmas around the Yellow House.

We had a bit of snow here in Wiltshire over the past few days, but now it's all gone. Here's the snow resting on the heads of our little gnome and cat in the garden.

And this is a view out front with the snow dusting everything. You can see a bit of our decorations. They are multi-colored lanterns that we have draped across the window.

Here's my latest creation in the kitchen. It's sort of a Victoria Sponge/Strawberry Shortcake/Strawberry Cheesecake hybrid that I came up with and I'll probably never be able to make it again. LOL. It's a vanilla layer cake with a bit of strawberry juice drizzled into the pores and then I globbed on the cream cheese icing and put strawberries in the center. It's reminiscent of a cake I did before, but it's one better. We had some today and it was delicious. I think I'll try this one again for Valentine's Day or something :-)

And here are a couple of photos in London of Covent Garden. It was bustling with pre-Christmas traffic. We walked from here to the theatre. It was a wonderful afternoon :-)

Have a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Creations

 I wanted to share this post from Brit Boy's blog about our little project that we did for this Christmas. We are hoping to make this a regular tradition :-) I think we have a knack for it. This was really fun and it brought an extra layer of enjoyment to the season for us. I hope you enjoy taking a look at our finished product. So without further delay, here's Brit Boy!!!! ;-)

Christmas is so very nearly upon us now. Amazingly, we are all but ready for the festivities with still 6 days to go until the Big Day. We have all the presents bought and wrapped, the Yellow House is also fully decorated and the tree has been up in place for 2 weeks now.

We have also written and sent most of our Christmas cards. When we went over to the States for Thanksgiving, we took the presents and cards for our family and friends over there. Both the gifts and the cards were manufactured by ourselves and we thought that you would like to see what we have made. Dori will be talking about the gifts in a future post, but here are some pictures of a few of the cards that we made.

We obtained all the various materials from different sources and then had a small assembly line going to get all the cards made. We used small sticky pads to make some of the elements on the cards stand out, and give a 3D effect to them. The envelopes were not lined when we bought them – Dori lined them all herself using some patterned paper. And then when the cards were all complete, we put them in envelopes and then sealed the envelopes with a wax seal. This involved melting some wax onto the envelopes and then pressing the wax with a metal stamp.

Don’t worry that I am spoiling any surprises here – we handed out the cards when we were in Georgia and everyone was very pleased to receive them. Sometimes something that is handmade can be so much more personal, and shows that some real thought has gone into it, as time rather than just money has been spent on it.

It was an enjoyable process, and we definitely got better at it as time went on! This may well be the way of the future. I can definitely see us producing more homemade products in the upcoming years. If we do, then I know we will share it all with you here.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

And The Winner Is....LOL

I got some great news! As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a photo that was shortlisted to be in the Schmap travel guide. Well, I got included in the guide!!! :-) I was so thrilled to get this news. Here's the photo of the hour in my world :-) It's of St. Paul’s Cathedral's Great West Door.

This has truly been a great gift to me. So I just wanted to share my great news with you all!

I’ll be sharing more of my photo efforts in the New Year. So watch this space :-)

Also, I was reading some comments here and judging from the comments, I realized that a few of you may have missed my posts about going home to Georgia. Let me warn you, they’re lengthy, but I hope you enjoy them :-) Also, if you’re interested, you can see what I look like in the first post here, and the other posts for your reading pleasure ;-) are here and here.

Have a great weekend everybody and I’ll talk to you later!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Nomination and Three Awards

I wanted to share some great news with everyone and also say thank you for some awards that I have received recently.

First, my good news is that I have a photograph that has been shortlisted by Schmap guides for inclusion in their travel guide. I told Brit Boy that even if I don't ultimately get included in the guide, I'm pleased beyond belief to have been considered :-) There's no pay for being included, but I don't mind at all. This truly spurs me on to get better and better and to learn more. I do love photography. This was a great surprise to me since I didn't submit it myself. When we returned home from our trip back to Georgia, I had an email from the editor of an ezine that I contribute to. She said that they'd seen my photo in the magazine's Flickr stream and wanted to possibly use it. Who knew :-) It truly made my day and week! I'll keep you all posted. I can understand now what actresses mean when they say it's a thrill just to be nominated...LOL. Here's my photo. It's an alternative view of St Paul's Cathedral. This is the Great West Door of this lovely place.

Also, I wanted to thank two bloggy friends for passing some awards along to me. I'm so grateful to both of them for thinking of me and my little blog :-) Both of these ladies have great blogs that I love to read on a regular basis, so if you'd like to have a couple of great reads, please stop by and visit both of them.

Judy at Sixty Is Just The Beginning gave me the My Comments Rock Award and the Dragon Loyalty Award. I love both of them because they remind me of the community aspect of blogging that I adore. I would like to pass both of them along to all of you my wonderful readers and commenters. So please take these two awards with you if you'd like.

And Patricia at Subjective Soup passed along the Superior Scribbler Award to me. I have enjoyed writing my whole life so I really love this award too. I'm so glad that she likes what I write here, because I love her writing too :-) I'd like to pass this one along to everyone also, because I love so many of your blogs and I think that they're all quite superior.

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone. Talk to you later!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Home to Georgia - Part Three

Today I want to finish telling you all about our trip home to Georgia for Thanksgiving. At this point I’m up to the day before Thanksgiving. So Wednesday, Brit Boy and I hung out with my sister and my other niece. We went to the mall in Lithonia to see what was new around there. We mostly did window shopping, but it was fun. Then we went to have lunch. Brit Boy and I were on a bit of a culinary tour…LOL. Now it’s time for a food photo….here’s my lunch from that day.

I had Memphis dry rubbed ribs, potatoes with onions, bacon, and cheese and washed it down with blackberry tea. As you can probably imagine, I quickly put down my camera and got back to my lunch very quickly…LOL. They had a deal going where two people could eat for $20. So Brit Boy and I shared an appetizer and then I had what I mentioned above and Brit Boy had a fancy cheeseburger and fries. Then we shared a truly delicious dessert called molten cake. The molten cake was a volcano-shaped chocolate cake/cupcake type thing with hot fudge drizzling down it like lava and it was served with vanilla ice cream. Sorry I didn’t get a photo of it. The camera battery died. But believe me, it was good!!!!! :-)

After this we headed back home. My niece had to go to school to take an exam, so we tagged along as my sister gave her a ride to school. She had had the morning off. My niece is in her second year of college. It’s wild! I remember when she was born :-) She is living at home while she attends college nearby…smart girl. We really enjoyed the ride to her campus. It’s a beautiful drive to take…all leafy and autumnal. We dropped her off and then we went back home after taking the scenic route :-)

Brit Boy and I got dropped off at my other sister’s house that we were staying with. She was doing a bit of baking for Thanksgiving. We hung out with her for a while. Then Brit Boy and I went to our room to get our coats so that we could go on the nature trail. Hey, here’s a photo of our bed for the week. I really wanted to take this comfy bed home with us :-)

So Brit Boy and I headed out to meet up with two of my sisters for our trip along the nature trail. It was so glorious. Years ago when I was a kid, I used to run and play in those woods without a way mapped out for me. But now, the woods have trails laid out for walkers and joggers to follow and there are two foot bridges with a stream underneath. There are tiny fish living in the stream too. There is one serene spot that I absolutely love. There are about six large elm trees in a zigzag pattern in this clearing. It looks like a place to just contemplate and center yourself. What I really love is that this beautiful place is basically across the street from where I grew up and it will always be kept there in its full on natural beauty. Here are a couple of photos. I didn’t take too many photos actually because I was too busy running around and enjoying it. I was trying to soak it all in. At that moment I felt pure happiness :-)

I had forgotten how good it felt to just let the imagination wander. A breeze blew through at one point and leaves were falling all around us and I did something I loved to do as a child. I said to the others, “I wonder if I can still chase one down?” No sooner had I said that than I started to skip forward and I caught a leaf the first time :-) Who knew I was still that agile ;-) Here’s my catch.

The next day was Thanksgiving. Brit Boy and I got up early so that we could see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I have been loving this parade my whole life because it brings the holiday season in for sure. I love the balloons, the bands, and especially the Broadway performances. I love myself some theatre ;-) Brit Boy loves the parade too. We'd love to go to New York City to see it in person one of these days. Later, the family came together at my sister’s house. It wasn’t everybody, but there were about fifteen or sixteen of us. We had fun talking and laughing and the food was great. It was a nice holiday :-)

The next day, we went out early with two nieces and one of my sisters. We didn’t go to shop for Black Friday, we went to the movies at 11am to see “This Is It”. Apparently they decided to extend the run. We enjoyed it. It was great that while everybody else was winding down at home from shopping, we were able to see the movie and it wasn’t crowded.

We got out of the movies a bit after 1pm and then headed home. My brother and his new wife were coming to see me and Brit Boy. Also my cousin was going to drop by. It was great to see them all. Later we just hung out with my nieces and watched television and laughed. We are easily amused :-)

The next day, Saturday, came way too soon. By this point Brit Boy and I couldn’t believe that we were having to head back to England already :-) The week went like a whirlwind. Brit Boy and I did a few errands. I called Colette and we talked for a while. Then Brit Boy, me, and the sisters headed off for a victory lap of the nature trail ;-) It was just so peaceful. And it was just important to take it all in again and now I keep it with me in my mind’s eye :-) Memory is a beautiful thing.

When we came back, my sisters offered to make us a last bite to eat in Georgia. They made us tilapia, roasted potatoes, and a cauliflower/carrot/broccoli mix. Yum! I told Brit Boy, the whole week had felt like a week at a spa. We all shared good food and just relaxed. I find that now my siblings and I are closer than we’ve ever been. I guess we relish time together now much more since we live thousands of miles apart and we realize that quality time is just as good as quantity. Whatever it is…I’m glad that it is this way :-)

In return for everybody’s kindness, we came bearing gifts. We designed calendars for everyone and also gave them handmade cards that Brit Boy and I made. We’ll share some photos of the calendars and things in another post.

We had a glorious time and it was just what we needed :-) I hope you enjoyed coming along on our journey and if you read this far...thank you indeed :-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Home to Georgia - Part Two

Today I want to continue with my story of going home to Georgia. As I said in my last post, we really enjoyed our time :-) The next day, on Monday, we decided to go over to the storage unit where I have a lot of my things and some family things stored.

Behind this door is a great chunk of the history of my life. I know that this storage unit is very plain and generic, but it does the job :-) Brit Boy and I went over to retrieve some documents that I wanted to get. I had stored away family trees for both sides of my family and I wanted to get them and enter them into a family tree program on my computer. They got left behind when I came over to England. I had stored them away safely in a trunk and then in the confusion of moving here, I left them behind. So over the last three years, I’ve been itching to get back there and retrieve them. I’ve always been the one interested in genealogy in my family (every family has one :-)) ,so I want to get it all copied over before the paper disintegrates. One of the family trees is written out on a big piece of paper that is well over thirty years old. My cousin and I put this one together when I was a kid and got the names from my aunts who remembered the names by heart. Both of my aunts have passed on now, so I feel even more strongly about keeping this history alive :-)

On our first visit to open the storage unit, Brit Boy and I couldn’t get it open, so we left it and decided to come back with my sister who regularly goes to check on things. The locks were very tricky. The next day we did go back and we got inside. I’ll tell you, it was like truly stepping back in time. I got the most interesting sensation of being home again and yet looking at another me if that makes any sense. When I laid my hands on the family trees, I was relieved that they were still okay and that I would be able to finally get them organized all together and saved :)

Anyway, back to Monday for a minute. After Brit Boy and I couldn’t get into the storage unit, I wanted to go and buy flowers to put on my parents, brother, and grandparents’ graves. We bought the flowers and then headed to the neighboring town where my maternal grandmother is buried. I never knew her, but my mom told me a lot about her especially in the last year of my mother’s life. So I feel like I know her. I’m glad that I could bring Brit Boy along and tell him about her :-) Then we headed back home and went to the cemetery in town there. This is where my father’s side of the family is buried. I never knew any of my grandparents but I’ve heard so many stories of them that I feel like I know them. It used to make me sad that I never knew any of my grandparents, or knew what the love of a grandparent felt like. But then my mom told me that my maternal grandmother used to hold me for her when I was a baby and she had a chore to tend to. She knew that I was safe in Nanny’s arms. Nanny died when I was just three months old. So since my mom told me that, I’m comforted because even though I couldn’t talk to Nanny, I figure that she probably talked to me. And there is the connection that will always be there :-)

On the next day, Tuesday, Brit Boy and I spent a lot of the day with my sister and my niece who came in from California to hang out with us. We went to look around a few stores. Brit Boy got two new shirts. Then we decided to go have some lunch. This was my favorite part of Tuesday. LOL. We went to Red Lobster and took advantage for their very reasonably priced lunches. Love those bargains! ;-) I had been craving some sweet tea forever so I had to get some to go with my lunch. You know I love sharing photos of food, so here’s a shot of my glass when it was in need of a refill which I got soon after this photo :-)

For lunch I had garlic shrimp on skewers served on a bed of wild rice, with broccoli on the side. It was DELICIOUS! The food was simple, straightforward and good. Brit Boy had jambalaya.

We had such a great time and once again the conversation was good :-) It was great to just be able to let go and laugh and reminisce. There was a laid back vibe to the whole trip and it was just what we needed. Brit Boy and I kept joking that the whole week seemed like we were at a spa because we had good food, both bought and homemade, and we got a chance to get out in nature and just relax. I’ll tell more about our walks on the nature trail in my next post.

If you're like me, you know that storage units can be a great place to store all of your memories and treasures. I certainly treasure mine. Self storage with Lok'nStore is a great way to keep all of your memories safe.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Home to Georgia - Part One

Well, I’m finally able to get here to blog about my trip home with Brit Boy. Sorry it has taken me a few days, but alas, offline life has needed my attention quite a bit lately :-) As I wrote in my last post, our washing machine was making some strange sounds that day and the sounds just got a thousand times worse. Since we are renters, we’ve had to do a lot of phone tag with the landlord’s liaison in order to get the washing machine fixed. It has been maddening because it seems that their phones don’t work to call us back or something (rolling eyes)…LOL. They operate like this every time. So we’re steadily working on getting them to send a repair person out or just tell us something. We’re still waiting :-) In the meantime; I’ve been trying to keep ahead of the mounting laundry and other things. So that’s where I’ve been :-)

Anyway, on to much better things and my story about what we got up to back home in Georgia. We had a WONDERFUL time! It was so relaxing and just what we both needed. Brit Boy and I needed a vacation and we got that and I just simply needed to go home and feel that feeling for a while :-)

We headed out from Heathrow on Friday, November 20th and flew across the Atlantic. It was exciting because I hadn’t been home in over three years :-) We arrived in Atlanta and my sister and niece were there to pick us up. It was dark when we arrived so it was hard to see how much things had changed. Still some changes were evident and it made me realize how much things can change in three years and how some things don’t change and stay there as a comfort :-) I was tired but happy when we turned onto the street where I grew up. We got to my other sister’s house, had a bite to eat and then headed to bed a while after.

The next day, Saturday, we got up and took a walk around outside. The weather was great and so we walked around the corner to where I grew up. My sisters and their families all live in various houses on the land that my family has owned for over a hundred years. So it’s easy to walk from house to house. It’s fun :-) Brit Boy and I reveled in the mild weather and calm scenery. Here’s a photo of the huge magnolia tree that I loved to climb when I was a little girl. It was there long before I was born and was always a favorite place to play :-)

I’ll share more photos of our walks that we took in my next posts. I figure that I’ll spread the story of our trip home over three more posts so they won’t go too long, like this post will probably go :-)

In the afternoon, we went to meet up with my best friend Colette. We met in downtown Decatur, which is in the metro Atlanta area. Downtown Decatur is an interesting and eclectic area. There are several shops, restaurants, and artsy places. It’s cool. We went to Nathalie’s. It’s a neat Key West-inspired restaurant.

It was so good to see Colette. We met a few years ago at work and we found that we have a lot in common. She likes to write and so do I so we vibe a lot over things like this. Brit Boy and I gave her a desk calendar that we designed and a handmade card. I’ll share more about our calendars on another post. She loved both. She gave me some gifts too…a teapot and candles. It was a great time.

The best part was the conversation. As you all know, there’s nothing like connecting with an old friend :-) It was a great way to spend an afternoon into evening as the sun went down. I needed to talk to her and there she was. What could be better…my best girlfriend and my best guy friend, Brit Boy, there with me sharing fun times! The rest of our visit, we spent all of the time with family since we haven’t been there in so long, but I had to connect with Colette because she’s like a sister to me :-) I’m hoping that next time I can see more of my other friends too.

As I mentioned earlier, Colette writes too and has a blog called Coco Thoughts. Coco is her nickname. She’s new to blogging. I hope that you will check her place out :-) She has a wonderful way about her and she has a kind spirit.

This is a mini milestone I guess because this will be the first time that I show my face on my blog. No time like the present huh? :-) So here I am! This is ME! :-)

Well that’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed a peek into the beginning of our trip. I’ll definitely share more stories and photos in a couple of days. Talk to you later! :-) Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Back In England

Hello everybody :-) We're back in England!!! We arrived back home on Sunday evening, but I was too exhausted to post and besides I didn't have my laptop. We left our electronic goodies with Brit Boy's mom for safekeeping while we were away. We dropped by yesterday and picked our laptops up, but alas there was still a roadblock in the way. Our anti-virus software expired while we were away. We were aware it was going to expire then, but we didn't have time to sort it out before we left. So last night we got everything set up again so we can get back into cyberspace. Yay! :-)

I just wanted to check in and tell you all that Brit Boy and I had a WONDERFUL time back home in Georgia!!!! :-) The time just went entirely too fast, but that's what happens when you are having fun :-) I'm gathering my thoughts and recollections today so that I can write a proper account of our time away later this week. I'll definitely share. I have so much to tell :-) It was such a whirlwind and so now I'm trying to settle back down again. LOL. I got to see so much of my family and it was a joy after three long years. It was just what the doctor ordered :-)

Today I'm doing our laundry and the machine is making weird noises, so I can see a service call in my future ;-) I've been getting the suitcases stowed away again, while trying to get back into my normal groove around here.

Well, that's all for now. I just wanted to check in and say hello and to let you know that Brit Boy and I are fine and we had a great time :-) I'll be back to tell you all about our transatlantic adventure.

Yikes! The washing machine is making sounds like a wounded animal...wish me luck with this one! LOL. Talk to you later!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Checking In

Hey everybody! :-) I just wanted to check in and say bye for a few days. As many of you know, I'm going home to Georgia for a visit. I'm all packed and so is Brit Boy. I did my best to travel light ;-)

We're headed for the airport early tomorrow morning. The forecast isn't great for our drive up, but we're gonna leave early and take our time.

Take care everyone and if you celebrate Thanksgiving, have a wonderful holiday next week! And if you don't celebrate it, have a great week anyway :-) I'll post after we get back on the 28th, and tell you all about our trip.

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Going Home To Run

I have some interesting news to share. I’ve been working so much on school work that I haven’t been able to blog a lot and bring this up, but….I’m going home!!! :-) Well, not to stay, but Brit Boy and I are going to Georgia for Thanksgiving week. I’m so excited! I haven’t been able to go home in over three years, so I’m really overjoyed…so is Brit Boy :-)

This is a photo that I keep looking at. It’s a photo of one corner of the fields that I used to run around and play in when I was a kid. Hey, I played there when I was a grown up too. LOL. I love that spot…I always have. At certain times of the year it’s dotted with purple and white violets. So in a few short days, I'll be going to that spot and running til my heart's content.

The structure in the distance is the red tin roof of the shed/barn that’s been there for decades…long before I was born. I used to love looking around in there when I was a kid. There were lots of old, cool things in there :-)

It will be really great to touch base back home again. It’s been so long and I’m so ready :-)I’ll get to see my four sisters, one brother, several of the thirteen nieces and nephews, and several cousins. My niece is even coming in from California to hang out, so it’s gonna be fun. A few of my nieces and nephews are rather close to me in age, so we have a shared growing up experience. I always laugh and tell Brit Boy that some of the nieces and nephews seem more like cousins to me. It will be so fun to hang out again :-)

Brit Boy and I are flying out this Friday…in just three days! We’ll be in Georgia for eight days. We want to visit with the family as much as we can since we haven’t seen them in so long. The rest of the time, we’re gonna just take a breather and enjoy :-)

I’ll do a short post on Thursday to check in. I’ll probably be bouncing up and down by then. LOL. I’ll post again when we get back and tell you all about our adventures. Have a great week everybody!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Charter for Compassion

One night last week, Brit Boy and I were channel surfing and stopped to watch Christiane Amanpour’s new show on CNN International called Amanpour. I've loved her reporting from all over the world over the years, and now she has this where she does work from the studio. Anyway, the discussion on this episode was about the Charter for Compassion that was unveiled this past Thursday. The discussion was very intriguing. Here’s a video to explain what the charter is about.

We have a lot of problems in our world today and some days I just shake my head at how things are. We are continually told how dark things are and they are in some ways, but there is also light still in our world. I’ve had to remind myself of this a lot lately :-) So when I heard about this, I took a look at their site and I have to say, it has lifted my spirits.

When you go to the site, you can read about the acts of compassion that others have committed, like this one and many others. Then it gets you to think about what we all can do. Some may ask, why do I need a website or charter to make me do something that I already do or something that we should do anyway? Well the answer is, we don’t need this site or a charter…compassion is free and available to all of us every day :-) But I’ll tell ya, personally, I’ve been a bit down lately and seeing this space where you can go and find people showing their true hearts and then sharing it is powerful for me. We get fed such nonsense and negativity every day, so it’s nice to read something that lets us see the true beauty of human beings. I think sometimes we forget :-)

This is what has me smiling today. I hope you enjoy checking it out. Have a great rest of the weekend!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Sesame Street

I want to say Happy Birthday to Sesame Street today!!!! :-) Today marks the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street premiering on our television screens.

Photo credit: Richard Termine/Sesame Workshop

I, like many others who grew up in the 70s, have fond memories of Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Ernie & Bert, Grover, The Count, and all of the other great characters who live on that wonderful street. I used to want to live there so much when I was in elementary school :-) But getting to visit them each day in TV land was great too. That show opened up a great deal of my imagination and taught me so much. I remember songs from that show to this day, and when I hear them and hum along, I get the same happiness that I had as a kid. What would I and so many others have done without Sesame Street? :)

The beauty of this show is that I enjoyed it when I was a kid and then my nieces and nephews enjoyed it and then it just goes on and on over the years. It has stood the test of time for my family and countless other families and I’m so glad that it’s still around. It is a part of the cultural DNA now :-)

So here’s to Sesame Street and what it has brought to all of us kids and kids-at-heart! May it go on and on :-)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fountain Friends

I’ve written before about my love of pens and fountain pens in particular. Well, I’ve been using my Parker pen exclusively for a while now, since I love how it feels in my hand. However, the other day I was cleaning around the Yellow House and came upon my other favorite fountain pen, my Levenger. I haven’t been using it for a long while. The Levenger is at the top of the photo and the Parker is the one below.

Here’s the story of my reunion with an old friend. When I put my Levenger aside a good while back, it needed cleaning, therefore it got put aside for what I thought would be a day. Well, life intervened and that day got lost in the shuffle as I prepared to change gears and countries at that point. My Levenger got packed away in its case…got carried across the Atlantic Ocean with me…and it’s been living in its case since I moved here to England over three and a half years ago :-) It’s had a long nap. It got lost in the shuffle with my transatlantic move. It’s a strange life sometimes…I feel like I’m still unpacking sometimes :-)

So I let out a squeal when I laid my eyes upon its simple little case. I know this may sound corny, but it was like seeing an old friend after this long time. It’s funny how the little things from home can just make your day when you live a life like mine :-) I love the adventure of living here, but as I’m only human, I get homesick sometimes too. Finding my pen was like a tiny snapshot of who I was before I came here. I’m still me…the same sense of humor, etc., and that'll never change, but a lot has happened to me since I closed that pen case those years ago. And like any other person, my experiences have shaped me and it's revealing to take stock sometimes. So it was cool to have a think backwards. It’s intriguing how certain objects or certain songs can take you back so much. Life's an interesting trip :-)

I had to do a thorough cleaning on my Levenger, and now it’s back in action. Long live both of my fountain pens! Now I’ve got to go and see what else I can find! :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Simply Good Weekend

Over the weekend, Brit Boy and I went down to the market town of Devizes and did some errands. We like it down there. It’s a nice little town with cozy little walkways between the shops. As we did our errands we picked up some food at the supermarket for our lunch. Then we walked back to our car. We sat in the car underneath a beautiful canopy of trees and listened to the radio as we ate our lunch. We shared a pasta salad and had sandwiches…we hadn’t had breakfast so we were hungry ;-) It was really good! I think that the combination of good food, good music and the scenery were just the right way to spend our day. I love days like that. It just reminds me that the simple things in life are indeed the beauty of life. Here are a couple of photos I took from the car after we finished eating. The trees were beautiful. Here’s a bit of our view.

On Sunday, I was in a baking mood and autumn always makes me muffin crazy, so this was my snack on Sunday afternoon and it was so good :-)

I made apple cinnamon muffins. The house smelled great as they were baking. I just love those apple cinnamon aromas during this time of the year. Don’t you? :-) It just smells like autumn.

Brit Boy has been having a couple for breakfast every morning and I’ve been having them too, so we’re starting to run low. So now I’m off to replenish the supply. Talk to you later!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Circle of Friends

Today I'm going to post the other award I received. I posted the inspiration award a couple of days ago and today I want to pass along the Circle of Friends Award. I received this from a great new friend at WAHM Resource Site. Please check it out over there :-)

This award is a great one. I like this award because to me, reaching out to new friends is one of the best things about blogging. I'd like to pass this one along to:

Health Nut Wannabee Mom
Mama Asid's Entrepod
Theresa's Treasures
WillOaks Studio
Regina's Family Seasons
From Ohio With Love

And also, I'd like to pass it along to all who visit my blog. This one should be really passed around, so take it and enjoy! :-)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Yesterday I turned in my latest assignment for my course. I have a few more to go and then I’ll be done. It’s been interesting and I’ve certainly learned a lot about article and feature writing. It has been an eye opener. My next assignment is to write a package for a tv or radio show and a treatment for a half hour television documentary or feature on a particular topic. I have to outline the packages and write out a portion of the actual shows, not the whole thing. This is the part of the course that I’ve been looking forward to most. It will be a challenge, but it will totally take me out of my comfort zone, so this will be a good learning experience. Wish me luck! :-)

In other news, recently I’ve been given two awards from bloggy friends and I wanted to finally highlight them. I was so grateful to receive them, but haven’t had the chance to mention them with all my school work. Well today I have that chance :-) I’ll do one award today and the other one tomorrow.

The first one is the Most Inspirational Blog Award that I received from June at Cen’s Loft. Let me just say, she inspires me with her creativity. She has a great blog on scrapbooking and crafts mixed with stories from her everyday life. Please check her out!

It was hard to decide who to pass this award on to because there are so many blogs that I read that inspire me. Here are my picks, even though the list could have been twenty or more blogs long :-) This is why they inspire me....

Getting Busy Living – because this is my Brit Boy’s blog and the title of his blog is our shared philosophy in life. My husband inspires me every day!

People You Need To Know – because this blog highlights inspiring people who inspire me to do more

Necessary Room – because her blog simply exudes calm whenever I visit...that’s inspiring

Writing To Survive – because her truly creative writing inspires me to look deeper

Operation You – because she celebrates self-love and love for the world around us...truly inspiring

Red Pine Mountain – because her words inspire beauty and her photos do the same

I hope that you enjoy visiting them all. They are truly great. Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween at the Yellow House

Just wanted to check in and say Hello! :-) I've been working on a couple of school work assignments this week and it's going okay. The leaves are finally changing color more around where we live so I'm happy about that. I do love autumn/fall best of all :-)

We were out the other day and picked up a new decoration for the season...we love our decorations. We don't have a whole lot of them for Halloween, but we figure we will add them as the years go by. Anyway, we found this little jack-o-lantern figure and he's rather cute...don't you think? :-)

He's made out of metal and kind of bounces around when you poke him. He's kind of like a bobblehead. Let me tell you, I enjoy making him bounce way too much. LOL. We're all set for Halloween.

Hope you all have a great weekend! :-)

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Sunset and A Viewing Sunday

We had a nice quiet weekend around the Yellow House and sometimes that’s just what you need :-) Brit Boy did his Saturday cooking and I just loved that ;-) On Saturday evening we worked on a little project that we’ve been working on…more about that in the future :-) And then on Sunday we just took it easy on the couch. We also enjoyed a beautiful scene like this as the sun went down.

We usually have our DVD time on Sundays. We will sometimes watch a movie, but usually we watch a couple of TV shows we like on DVD. This started out as our West Wing DVD Sundays, but now they are The Waltons and West Wing Sundays :-)

Brit Boy is a full-on West Wing fan and has all the seasons on DVD. We’ve had the final season for a while, but have only recently started to watch it. Brit Boy wanted to savor it so we’ve delayed it a bit and watched the previous season again. This was good because in the past I was an in and out West Wing fan before, but now I’m all in :-) So this way I can catch up and follow the stories better.

I mentioned The Waltons. Well, Brit Boy bought me the first season DVD set of this a couple of Christmases ago. I’ve always been a fan of this show since I saw it as a little kid. Some people make jokes about this show, but I don’t mind. I love it. I love it because it reminds me in many ways of my own growing up and I loved that John Boy was a writer. The Walton family had seven kids and I was one of seven kids and their gently simple rural life reflected parts of my own. So whenever I watch this show it instantly takes me back to a time and place that is long gone now, but through this show I hear echoes of my life as a child with my parents :-) This way, how I grew up is never far away. I grew up decades after the times that this show is set in, but the story of family goes on forever.

Interestingly enough, Brit Boy likes watching too and I was a bit surprised by that in the beginning. However, I realized that even though he grew up across the ocean from me, the ties of family and tradition and nostalgia are universal. It’s like they say, we are often more alike than we are different.

So we watched an episode of The Waltons and then we watched an episode of The West Wing and it was great. We had a snack and I kept wishing that we still had a couple of slices of that cake that I made last week :-)

We had every kind of weather yesterday...we had rain, wind, and then a glorious blue sky in the afternoon. And that gave way to some amazing clouds that were lit up orange by the setting sun. Brit Boy and I just stood at the window and watched the show :-) We were mesmerized.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My 200th & Some Cake As A Bonus

This is my 200th post and I’m very excited to have made it to this milestone. I know that many people have more, but I wanted to mark this day because it reminds me of what blogging has taught me…the value of sticking with something :-) Continually showing up here at the computer has definitely helped my discipline. Also this whole wonderful foray into blogging has given me a great creative outlet that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. And best of all, I’ve made some great friends. Who knew 199 posts ago that so much of my world would open up :-)

I look forward to many, many more posts in the future and they will certainly become more frequent again once I finish my course in a couple of weeks. Brit Boy and I are planning more outings coming up, so I’ll have lots of stories and photos to share about our adventures :-) Thanks everyone for continuing to visit me.

In other news, I made a cake this weekend and Brit Boy and I have been enjoying it over the past few days. It started out as an ordinary box cake mix and then I decided to rev it up a bit. So I ended up making a cake from scratch with cake mix incorporated into it, if that makes any sense :-) It was wild. It was like science in the kitchen. It ended up tasting very good and I’ll probably never be able to duplicate it again. Sometimes the sublime comes from the totally farcical. LOL.

Here’s my culinary invention. It’s a vanilla flavored cake with vanilla frosting, served with a dollop of ice cream and strawberries. It was so GOOD! It kind of ended up tasting very strawberry shortcake-esque. Now, I think I’ll go and see if Brit Boy is ready for round three of cake at the yellow house ;-) Talk to ya later!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2009

As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I've written before about my dedication to this cause and I wanted to highlight it once again. Together we can all do so much to help each other, every month of the year.

Here are some links if you'd like to know more:

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Cancer Research UK

I've also moved my button from right to the top of my page. This button is great because by clicking through to their site, you can find out about all kinds of ways to help and you are helping fund free mammograms for women in need. So please take a minute to click through :-)

Thanks for taking a moment to read this! Have a great weekend everyone!

And hey, my next post will be number 200...Woo Hoo! :-)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Calming Evening

This is going to be a short photo post, but I just wanted to share one of the photos I took yesterday evening. It was a beautiful evening with a beautiful sky :-)

This photo just makes me feel so calm. I love evenings like this. Enjoy! :-)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What's On My Bedside Table?

I love blogging. It’s a great way to connect with people from all over the world and also it’s a great way to step back and look at yourself a bit. I’ve been blogging for about eighteen months now and my 200th post is approaching fast. Who would’ve thunk it? (smile) I wonder if I can make it to 300???? (laugh) That’s a thought for a day almost a hundred posts away.

So anyway, I was having a think over the last few days. I was thinking of how I could share more about myself…not that I’m any more interesting than everyone else…cause I am so not. LOL. But, I think the joy of blogging is sharing bits of ourselves with others and then enjoying it when they share things back. I’ve connected with some amazing people over the past eighteen months and I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t started blogging.

So I got inspired and I had my camera handy and here’s what I came up with. I’m gonna let you see what my messy (smile) little bedside table looks like right now. (smile) Well it’s how it looked last night when I took this photo. So here’s how my bedside table normally looks. I hope you enjoy peeking into my world for a minute.

As you see, I love my books and that stack changes periodically. There’s usually a novel or two there, along with some kind of writer’s reference book or something about writing. And you see here on top of the stack is a little brown book. Well that’s my date book from 2008 and yet I still have it. I usually make notes of things during the day, so it’s kind of a resource now. I probably need to transfer the notes elsewhere into a newer book, but hey, I figured that once I got past the midpoint of this year I figured I may as well keep it. It’s part of my history now. (smile)

Of course there’s my handy dandy red lamp. It doesn’t look like it gives off much light here in this photo, but it is quite a spotlight when you move it around. It’s very adjustable. Plus, this way, if I want to read on my side of the bed, I won’t disturb Brit Boy. So it works out very well and was only £5. Gotta love a bargain. (smile)

Towards the front I have my moisturizing centre. As I’ve written before, I have a hard time with the cold weather here and what it does to my “used to Georgia weather skin”. I’ve acclimated a lot, but I still get dried out like you wouldn’t believe. So this year I’m getting a head start. I’m starting to use this big jar of moisturizer on my hands before the true cold sets in and they start to crack and get raw. And I’m using this little tin of lip balm too. I usually moisturize anyway, but I’ve found that I need a bit more here. But it’s all good…I’m hopefully just laying the groundwork to have glorious skin when I’m 80. (wink)

You can also see I’m a fan of pens. I usually have a pen and a pad of paper so that I can write down stuff. As I’ve written before, my mind usually comes alive overtime at 11am and 11pm, so when this strikes at night, I write what I don’t want to forget on a pad so that I CAN forget it and go to sleep. I’m a big fan of fountain pens, so my fave one is always nearby along with my regular ball points.

Also you have my earrings here…they usually just get dropped where they land if I’m really tired. But mostly I put them away. Last night I guess I was tired. (smile) And then there’s my pink glasses case. I see fine, but I wear glasses when I’m on the computer…it helps my eye strain when I'm in computer land.

Lastly, standing tall and elegant is my little lady figurine that I named Azalea that I bought for very little at a store here. Don’t ask me why I named her Azalea. LOL. She looked like she would have a flower name. She’s lovely and art deco-like and her skirt reminds me of a vase we had back home when I was growing up. I guess I like her just for that reason…she reminds me of home. (smile) And that thought of home back when my parents were alive, gives me a restful way to go off to sleep. It lets me know that things are gonna be fine and more often than not gives me sweet dreams :-)

So what's on your bedside table?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Learning the Law and Liking It

It’s been a good weekend around here. We’ve had nice weather and we’re just enjoying the last bits of sun for a while :-) I’ve got some great news. I got my latest assignment back from my teacher and I did very well. For those of you who may be new here, I had to do an assignment for my freelance and feature writing course and it covered the law and how it applies to journalism and writing as a whole. The assignment involved answering several essay questions about different scenarios. I’m by nature more of a creative type, so it was really good to get outside my comfort zone and work my analytical muscles :-) In the end I enjoyed it a lot. It is good information to have.

As I wrote in a previous post, it made me tap into that other side of my brain…the non-creative part. But the good news is…drum roll please….both sides work ;-) … lol.

I really loved these two lines of my teacher’s feedback. It made my day. He wrote,

“Thank you for your latest assignment, which was a challenging one! However, you were very equal to it, with some very solid research.”

I love that! (smile) It's a beautifully simple comment, and it meant so much to me.

So I’m one happy woman right about now. Next, it’s on to more article writing lessons. I’ll keep you all posted on how I’m doing with my course. I just had to share my great news! :-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Trip Through No Man's Land

I just wanted to share a few photos so you can see what I saw today :-) I went along with Brit Boy to see a client and I snapped these photos as we drove by.

We were down around The New Forest and I caught sight of these beautiful horses that were grazing along the edge.

In The New Forest they are allowed to roam free like this and they are so beautiful and tranquil looking. I love going through there. We were going to a place called Nomansland. It's a real place and I think it's cool that I can say I've been to "no man's land" :-) I wrote about going through there before in a previous post here. Nomansland is within the boundaries of The New Forest. It's a lovely place.

And on the way home, we had to drive by Stonehenge. I know I've shared photos of it before, but one of my favorite games I play is trying to get a photo of it as we drive by at the speed limit. I'm easily amused. LOL. Here's my latest effort.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Bit of This...A Bit of That

Well, it’s Monday again…time for a new week, but before I go ahead, I figured I’d rehash a few things from around here :-) So this will be a hodgepodge post…a bit of this…a bit of that.

Saturday morning, I finally turned in my latest bit of work for my freelance and feature writing course and I was glad to hit that send button to carry it on its way to my teacher. I love completion :-) It had been a heavy assignment since it was all about the law and I am no law student ;-) But it was interesting. It was all about libel and slander and defamation…all that stuff which is a no-no. It also covered reporting restrictions if you’re covering a court case. I imagine I won’t be wading into this arena, but it was still helpful. Good stuff for a freelancer to know.

There was a lot of reading and I had to reread certain bits of it again in order to wade through the legal stuff that my artsy mind has a tough time with :-) But I think I did a good job on my assignment. This time I didn’t have to write an article or anything, I just had to write lengthy essay type answers to questions about scenarios they gave me. Fingers crossed that I’ll get good feedback.

I’m not that far from finishing the course and it has definitely helped me to feel more confident in article writing since I was more of a creative writer before. So it has definitely been time well spent :-)

I took this photo this morning.

It’s what remains of the gorgeous flowers that Brit Boy gave me on our engagement anniversary three weeks ago today. I’m amazed that there are any left after all this time. There was such a big variety of blooms and they slowly died away bit by bit, but as I told Brit Boy, the love never dies :-) I love that the last ones standing are these sunny little yellow ones. I mean really…what else would be left in a place called the Yellow House. LOL. I imagine that they will fade away this week finally too, but I’ve definitely enjoyed having them around :-) Life’s simple pleasures are the best.

Have a great day everyone! :-)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Saturday Eats and Deals

We had a quiet weekend around the Yellow House. I did some studying and Brit Boy watched his football (soccer). A while back Brit Boy and I came up with a compromise on cooking. He will do the cooking on Saturdays, for two reasons…to give me a day away from the stove and so that he can get some practice in the kitchen. (smile) It’s been working out fine so far. I tell you though, I’m so used to being the primary cook that it has been hard to just relax and forget about meal planning for one day. (smile) I’ve developed this autopilot of running menus through my head for today, the next day, and the day after that. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m getting better at letting that go. I’m really learning to love it ;-) So this past Saturday, for lunch we had potato and leek soup from a can along with a salad and some crackers. It was really tasty. I’ve found that the secret to this soup is mixing the store brand and a name brand and it fleshes it out, so Brit Boy did this when he made it too. Very satisfying. Here’s a photo of Brit Boy’s lovely lunchtime place setting :-) soup and salad We usually have a very basic setup and just have a regular tiny bowl and have the crackers serve-yourself-style and there's no salad usually. But we were excited about our new cheap plates and saucers. LOL. We love a bargain and we're easily amused! So Brit Boy set our table with a couple of our new saucers and nice wide soup bowls. We felt all swanky and stuff ;-) Here’s the thing…we got four pieces each of saucer, bowl, and plate for….wait for it….£3.00!!!!!! We were in the store just buying a few groceries the other day and weren’t looking for dishes at all and we saw these ridiculously cheap plates and things. We figured why not. They aren’t grand dishes, but they are surprisingly sturdy. So we have extras now…can’t be a bad thing. :-)Gotta love those bargains!

Friday, September 04, 2009

A Windy Day

It definitely feels like fall/autumn around here. Even though we didn’t have a particularly hot summer here, the air still feels like it has taken a turn. Autumn is my favorite season, with spring coming second, so I’m loving the change in the air. It always feels like a new beginning, but maybe this comes from memories of school days :-)

Yesterday I went out for a while and got caught up in a bit of a gusty wind. It was both thrilling and startling. The winds are legendary around here sometimes, such as the time when the winds blew down our fence :-) If only I had had a kite yesterday.

When I came inside, I decided to do a bit of moviemaking. So here we have my fourth entry in my mini cam moments series. I didn’t get the impressive wind gust on video...of course ;-) Isn't that always the way? However, you can still see the trees dancing around outside.

The sound on the video is the washing machine chugging along :-) And our yellow rose bush is doing its last bit of blooming. Something has gotten to the leaves in the last couple of days though. All is well though.

It’s rather calm outside today. Think I’ll go outside ;-)

Have a great weekend everyone and to all of you in the USA, Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer Fun

We had a good weekend around the Yellow House. And our weekend still goes on. Today is a bank holiday here, a public holiday, similar to Labor Day back home and to me, it’s the unofficial end of summer. It is making my mind turn to autumn and what lies ahead :-)

But this weekend, Brit Boy and I have been enjoying our end of summer and end of his vacation from work. So in honor of that, yesterday I made us a couple of brownie and ice cream sundaes and soon after I took this picture, I promptly plowed in with my spoon :-)

I had a great time making these and we had a good time eating them :-) A treat is a wonderful thing every now and then and a summer treat is even better!

I've been looking around recently and there seems to be some really great value holidays to Benidorm out there. Having a trip to sunny Spain along with this summer treat above is my idea of paradise! Here's to holidays, food, and fun!