Thursday, July 21, 2011


Vacation was wonderful.  No drama - no tension.  We spent the week in Virginia exploring the Shenandoah mountains.  We drove the skyline drive and hiked three different days in the park.  I took a ton of pictures of the wild flowers.  We saw plenty of deer and bear.  Hubby and the kids went horseback riding one day while I went on a ranger led discovery (weed) walk.  

We spent a day exploring Luray caverns and museums.  Another day we headed down to see the natural bridge.  We drove back via the blue ridge parkway.

We ate at little mom and pop places as much as possible.  I enjoyed some delicious fried green tomatoes.  And the beef brisket melted in your mouth. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Count down

One more day and we will be on the road.  Woohoo!!  Vacation!!!

We took the kids to the bike trail on the 4th.  We thought the beaches would be way to crowded.  They loved it.  So much so they have been back every day since.  I missed today as they went while I was at work.  The exercise feels good though.

Tomorrow I work in the morning and pack in the afternoon.  Try to make something for supper.  I've been emptying the fridge because we will be gone so it's slim pickings.  And I don't want any leftovers.

Tonight I baked muffins for the road.  I used my friendship bread starter.  There are chocolate with peanut butter chips and butterscotch muffins. 

And in answer to the map as a back up to my GPS.  My GPS hasn't failed me yet.  It is really helpful at times but, I'm old school.  I like maps.  I like to plot out my route and look at my alternatives.  The GPS makes you stay in the very present moment with only the name of the next turn ahead.  And I'm not one to follow blindly or hell I rarely follow at all.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Today would have been my grandma's 105th birthday.  Perfect day for her to enter the world.  Not only is she the greatest woman to ever walk the face of the earth (in my very biased opinion) but she truly was a firecracker.  I know you are still with me.  Love you!!!

Yesterday was the family picnic.  It was a cool rainy day.  Son had to leave early so he could go to work.  We discussed taking two cars.  But, hubby liked my thought.  We all left early.  Son went to work.  I finished my needlepoint for my cousin's new baby, and he took youngest to see Transformers and then to the book store.  Son wasn't interested in the movie.  Youngest loves the transformer series.

I did my good deeds for the week and talked for a long time with great grandma.  The conversation changed slightly from the past but the essence was the same.  There has not been one good teacher since her mother taught school.  Not only did great great grandma teach school but she was the principal as well.  No one is hiring because they are too busy waiting to see what that awful president of ours is going to do.  And, why are so many cars going down her road - all there is are a couple of farms and the state forest.  These kids must be up to no good.   I nod and smile and let her talk.  There is no point in arguing or even discussing the matter.  It really is rather amusing.

I answered the questions about what do you hear from oldest.  Not much.  She answers her father's weekly e-mails and that is about it. 

I made my rhubarb pie which my father-in-love thinks is the greatest thing ever.  When he tries something new of mine he compares it to my pie.  My crab cakes he said were right up there with the rhubarb pie (best compliment ever).   My rhubarb pie is mixed with sugar and spice and chopped pecans.  It is topped with a crumb topping.  Not a strawberry in sight.

I also made my potato salad.  Youngest asked for that.  Son wanted to but he refused to say he liked the same thing as his sister.

Today we eat leftovers.  We leave on vacation Friday and we need to purge the fridge.  We have ribs and salad, manicotti and eggplant parm, lots of fresh fruit and a few other tid bits.

This morning is the town parade.  Hubby will be driving a fire truck in the half mile parade.  I get to watch one for the first time.  No more girl scout marches.  Yeah!

Hope you enjoy your day and your independence.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


It is early Sunday morning.  The pie is cooling for the family fourth of July picnic.  The potato salad is chilling in the fridge.  Friday morning we leave on vacation.  I can't wait.  I love to travel.  And this area we are headed to is new to me.

Yesterday I printed out packing lists for everyone.  I keep an excel spreadsheet - check off list on file.  I just adjust the number of outfits and hit print.  I make notes on my list and update it when we return.  This really keeps the number of things forgotten to a minimum.  And, I don't have to pack for the kids.

I printed out maps for me.  I like a back up for the GPS.  I looked up coupons and discounts for the area.  Made notes of possible activities and prices.  I checked out restaurants. I updated the address sheet for postcards (oldest will miss her first vacation).  All in the comfort of my p.j.'s. 

The kids pulled out the atlases last night and tried to guess the destination.  The correct guess gets a little extra spending money on the trip.  I limit spending money.  This way I don't hear I want, I want, I want... they really think about it and make pretty good choices.

We don't tell them where we are going.  We made the mistake once early on and after talking to bio she slammed it so bad they didn't want to go.  So, all of our vacations have been a mystery destination.  Their clues this time.  We are driving, we will be gone a week, we do not have passports, they have never been to this city/town before and they will be in the car 16 hours (so it takes 8 hours to get there).  The packing list has the number of hours they must amuse themselves in the car.  I do not have a DVD player or  lap top.  This means MP3 players, books, sketch pads etc.  They also know from the clothing that they will be some place warm and that we will be hiking.

And just in case the stumble across this blog ..... I'll fill you in when I get back.

Friday, July 1, 2011


So many things to blog about, so many things on my mind and in my life but.....

I got the call last night.  My friend Mare who has battled lung cancer and most recently brain cancer passed from this life.

A few months ago I saw her.  We sat on her porch in the sunshine.  Words would form in her brain but could not come out correctly.  She was frustrated.  But, then we just sat.  No words really need to be spoken.  She had greeted me that day with a hug and the few words that she could form and tumble out correctly - I may never see you again.  We parted with hugs and I told her how much I loved her.

I did see her again.  The radiation made her bloated and weak but her words were clear and urgent.  Our last day together she told me of her funeral arrangements that she had made.  She was putting her affairs in order.  We were on a trip to sell our unwanted jewelry.  She walked slowly, a cane in one hand and my hand in her other.  I treated her to lunch and we talked.  Surface talk and deep talk.  Smiles and laughter.  I knew and she knew the time was coming near.

And then the call.  I talked to her husband.  Offered what help and comfort I could through his tears.  I will be at the memorial service next week.  And today I reflected.  I could hear her laugh and see her smile.  I will miss you Marieann Halloran.  Blessings on your journey my sweet friend.  I love you!