Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Fall started out beautifully.  It stayed warm well into October and the trees all started their magical transformations into explosions of color.  Then Sandy passed by and brought...winter. Cold nights and mornings and lots of rain, so that we only got to enjoy the beautiful leaves for a short time before the rain and wind tore most of them from the branches and left them on the ground. And the acorns! Millions - maybe billions - of them everywhere.  I've been told that the older, wiser, locals say that lots of acorns in the fall mean a cold winter.  *Sigh* I'm glad I got a new pair of boots!

We'll be enjoying Thanksgiving a new way this year.  Both girls work in retail, so both have only the one day - Thursday - off (and the way things seem to be going, next year they might not even get that.  People: don't shop on Thanksgiving Day!).  That means the one in Brooklyn can't come home at all.  The other one is in Raleigh, 2 hours away, and since we have four days off and she only has the one, we decided to go to Raleigh for Thanksgiving, and go out for dinner.  This will be a new experience for all of us.  While I will miss the cooking, (honestly! I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner) I am so profoundly grateful that I have so much good and happiness in my life, starting with two beautiful daughters and a bf who cherishes me and I him. And I can't forget Jack, Louise, Thelma, and my wonderful family in California (all of whom I miss more than usual on the holidays).  

I wish you all good cheer and I hope the holidays find you happy and healthy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

flowers in the house time!

Once again it's time for Jane's (smallbutcharming.blogspot.com) Flowers In The House party!

This past Thursday I had a work related party to attend, and I brought this home with me:

A wooden box filled with Hydrangeas, beautiful red Roses, orange & red Gerber Daisies, mini Mums, and even an artichoke!

On a different note, I also did this last week:

Have you voted yet?  It's something I take very seriously.  I take the time to research who and what I vote for.  Sometimes that's time consuming, but very worth it, I think.  I used to take the girls with me, when they were little.  They loved it and they are now committed, responsible voters, too.

So, if you haven't already, GO VOTE.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Thelma apparently can now jump up to the top of the washing machine.  She is honing her dryer ball killing skills.  Nothing is safe.

Friday, September 28, 2012

How to be a hipster in 5 easy lessons...

My oldest daughter and I spent a few days in Brooklyn, New York, last week, visiting my younger daughter.  I think, if she were to read this (and I don't think she ever does), she might not like my identifying her as a "hipster".  She  has always tried and succeeded at being an individual, and doesn't like being lumped into a "group".  But you've got to admit, this girl is way cool.  Like a hipster.

So, as promised, here's how you do it:

1.  Live in Brooklyn.  More specifically, the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn:

Schlyer, the Brooklynite, on the left, Kendra on the right with the Williamsburg Bridge in the background.

Bedford Avenue - a pretty happenin' place.  Schyler lives right around the  corner from this spot, just a block from  the East River.

2.  Make your living room look like this, making sure you use "irony" (like old "90210" posters):

The five girls who live here are nothing if not creative.  And beautiful.

The large upstairs loft has been turned into - what else? - a ginormous closet  that all five girls share!
I love this cabinet!

And the rug! And the pretty girl!

3.  It helps if your kitchen looks like an Anthropologie catalog layout:

4.  Go to vegan restaurants that look like this:

The ceiling of one of the restaurants we went to, where I discovered I  am much too old for this kind of place .  It was so loud I don't think I heard a word of the conversation at our table!

5.  Be cute beyond belief - and have a cute "friend", too.

Man.  That is one sweet child.

Kendra and I had a great time in Brooklyn, thanks to Schyler and all her awesome friends.  They were great tour guides. Can't wait to go back!
Thank you, everybody!

For anyone who hasn't been to New York, all I can say is GO. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


We went to the beach yesterday evening to enjoy a glass of wine, some cheese, crackers, and fruit, and just to breath.  We were rewarded with temps in the mid 70's, a little breeze, and a beautiful sunset.  A nice thing about sunset on an East Coast beach is that while the sun doesn't set over the water, it IS reflected in it.  Every white cap was glistening pink and coral, reflected from the sunset behind us. Gorgeous. 

The view toward the east.  Hard to see in these photos, but every wave had a pink lip on it.

And obviously the view to the west wasn't bad either.

Have a great week ahead and don't forget to breathe.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

As Thelma grows up...

I don't think I have posted any photos of Thelma since she first found her way into our home, so I thought I might update anyone who's interested.  Louise still (what's it been - 10 or 12 weeks now?) wants nothing to do with Thelma.  Louise hisses and growls and generally freaks out completely whenever she sees her, although they are stuck in the same room all night and we usually don't hear so much as a whisper between them.  I'm not sure what they do in there, but it's quiet.  Do you think Louise is just putting on a show for my benefit, when she does all that hissing and growling nonsense?  For her part, Thelma, while crazy and a complete pain, is worming her way into the rest of our hearts and continues to try and win Louise over.  Jack treats her just like a little sister.  He finds her annoying but he watches out for her and they often lay, in the sun spots around the house, together.

So here are the photos:

As she's relaxing on the front porch, Thelma spies Louise on the sidewalk!

She does her best to sneak up quietly.

"I just want to get closer..."

"Mom! You are blowing my cover!"

She makes her move!

The unsuspecting Louise.

Once again Thelma is rebuffed and hissed at by Louise.  Jack comes to her aid and tells Louise to "knock it off!"

Thelma decides to climb a tree instead.  Remember that "hang in there baby" poster that so many people had way back in the day?  Doesn't Thelma look like that kitten?

Friday, July 20, 2012

why I love him...

Here's one good reason I love the bf.  The other day, after spending some time babysitting one of the cutest, wiggly-est, most fun little 19 month old boys I've ever had the pleasure to know, the bf and I were discussing the possibility of being grandparents one day.  Although neither of his children are showing any interest in having children (and they're getting to the point of now or never - the bf started VERY young), mine are still young enough that - who knows?  Anyway, I asked him what he though he might want to be called - Grandpa? Grand Dad? Papa?  He hesitated for only a second and then answered "Batman".  Perfect.  That's what he'll be called.  I'm not going to tell my girls until they actually get pregnant, though.  That alone might make them want to stay childless.

The idea that no one is perfect is a view most commonly held by people with no grandchildren. ~Doug Larson

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A weekend in Charleston + Bare Naked Ladies = awesome

We spent this last weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, home to this:

Battery Park

And many of these:

Beautiful, historic, side porch homes

Many of them with one of these:

Lovely, shady little enclosed courtyards - many of them with fountains and statuary

We ate a superb meal here:

Best Oyster Po-Boys ever - even better than I  had  in New Orleans! (sorry NOLA)

Where they have these:

Chandeliers made from oyster shells!

But the best part of the trip was the reason we went in the first place.  These guys:

Barenaked Ladies!!

I know.  Go ahead.  Call me crazy.  But I'm not the only one.  Not the only Barenaked Ladies fan, that's for sure.  And now, the bf is one as well. He went along to see the other bands that were opening for BNL, but he was hooked as soon as they all came out onstage wearing tennis whites (remember when all tennis players wore only white?), including 1980's style headbands and wristbands because the stadium they were playing in was for tennis!  (That's SO Charleston, by the way.  Other cities have football or baseball stadiums.  Not Charleston.  They have tennis stadiums.)  BNL puts on a great show - not just the music, but the interaction with the crowd is so fun, too. Such fun!

**All the above images are from google.  I forgot my camera.  I've been resisting getting a smart phone (that's right people - I do not have a smart phone), but sometimes I think I should get one just for the camera...

***And Jack really enjoyed his first trip since becoming blind.  He went everywhere except the concert with us and was loved by all!  I was a little worried about leaving him in the hotel room while we were gone, but the management said no one heard a peep out of him.  Probably because of the giant size rawhide bone the bf got him before we left!

Friday, June 29, 2012

On Joy. And being Grateful.

In a recent yoga class we were asked to think about something we did each day to remember how much joy we have in our lives and be grateful.  My immediate thought was that I look at the sky. Every day.

The sky outside my front door last night at about 8:15pm.


Thank you Mother Nature.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thelma & Louise

We've had our cat, Louise, for about 6 years now.  She started following us when we would take the dogs out for their morning and evening walks.  She would show up from underneath a parked car and walk along behind us, but wouldn't let us too close.  After a while, she started showing up at the door unannounced and I figured out that she had been left behind by someone who had moved away.  Although I had no intentions of getting a cat, I started feeding her.  What else could I do? She was hungry and had no home any more. Before long she came into the house and started to occupy our hearts as well as our home. 

I don't write about her much, because she is one of those very independent types.  Many of my friends have never even seen her.  The other day my neighbor of four years asked me if I knew who she belonged to.  When I said "us" he was astounded.  He never knew we had a cat!  She's not unfriendly, she just doesn't have much use for us.  She doesn't spend a lot of time in the house, especially in the summer. She's an excellent hunter and often brings us gifts, or as the bf calls them, "threats".  Because we have a dog that needs a lot of attention (and up until recently we had two that needed a lot of attention), Louise is the perfect cat for us.  She is great at taking care of herself, comes in a few times a day to eat and she sleeps on the bed when we're not in it.  We rub her belly for a little while, and she's good. Ready to go back out and reign over her queendom.

Well, as the title of this post implies, this story is not all about Louise.  Two weeks ago, I was walking to my car from my office, across a very busy street downtown, to get my yoga mat out of the car and go to class down the street. It was a rainy Tuesday evening.  Up ahead I noticed a small group of people standing around talking and as I passed them I heard them saying "Is that a bird?"  "Is that a car alarm?" "Maybe it's a cat?" (I didn't say they were very smart people, did I?) As I walked by I definitely heard a cat.  A little tiny "meow".  I looked in the car that was parked there.  No cat. I listened at the trunk. Nope. I looked under the car.  Still couldn't find a cat.  Until I started to get up off the street. There, inside one of the openings in the car's wheel rim, was a tiny, tiny, soaking wet kitten.  All the people on the sidewalk clapped and then walked away quickly so they wouldn't have to deal with a found cat.

  Once again I found myself having no intention whatsoever of getting another cat, but what could I do? I sure as hell couldn't leave her there.  

So...meet Thelma:

Unfortunately, while Thelma is anxious to become friends, Louise wants nothing to do with her.  I hope they will eventually tolerate each other, or maybe even become friends.  Jack, as you can see, loves her, and even better than that, he loves her Kitten Chow.  Man! That stuff is yummy. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

flowers in the house!

No time to write, but I wanted to share a picture of flowers in my house for Jane at her Small But Charming (very charming) blog:

Beautiful Hot Pink Peonies from the florist and Orange Asiatic Lilies from the garden.  I think they made a good pair, especially in my red dining room!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Meet Mr. B.

We consider ourselves so lucky to count among all of our wonderful friends one that is also a wildly talented sculptor.  Last fall we went to one of his gallery showings and saw some of his newest works, all done in wire. It's incredible how much personality he can convey using wire. He'd used some other people we know as models, and we could tell immediately who they were.

We decided we just had to have one of Micheal's pieces, but wanted something a little more personal.  A little more "us".  So we commissioned a piece.  Michael said he'd never tried anything like it, so he was excited. It took a while, but a few weeks ago he brought it over and now it's been installed in our living room:

Our wire sculpture Buddha, also known as Mr. B. I hear that Michael has received some requests for more Buddhas, but I know none of them will be the same as mine. 
The pictures shown above are from Michael's FB page (Michael Van Hout/Wilmington NC - apparently he doesn't have a website yet)  and you can see them there without having to "friend" him, if you're interested.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

good eats...

Last Friday night the bf and I went out to one of our favorite fresh fish places here in town.  They had a special listed on the blackboard; grouper with a lobster sauce.  Mouthwatering, right? Unfortunately they ran out of it just as we were ordering.  We made other choices, but apparently bf couldn't get the grouper off his mind. 

On Saturday he found some freshly caught grouper at our local market, along with some lobster.  He brought it home with the question "do you know how to make lobster sauce?" 

We went online to get some ideas and this is what we came up with after a few "improvements" to the recipes we found online:

a salad of mixed greens, fresh NC strawberries, avocado and almonds with a vidalia onion vinagarette to start

blackened grouper with lobster sauce
we made a lot of lobster sauce and didn't want to waste a drop of it

the after

It would be an understatement to say it was a hit. Later that night, as I got into bed and was almost asleep I heard the bf whisper in the dark "don't you think that lobster sauce would be good with quiche?"

Monday, June 11, 2012

Color combos...

Some random color combos in the garden, over the weekend:

red and orange

green and black

lavender and lime green - really wish this picture had turned out better, this is such a pretty combo

peach and green

grey, black and green?

came home from a bike ride yesterday and as we were putting the bike in the back yard we came across this, just outside our gate - the neighbor's cat (we call her "the terrorist" because she terrorizes our little cat, Louise) taking a nap in a planter hung on our fence - she looks comfortable, doesn't she?

I had several other pictures, but I have decided I either need a new camera or I need lessons on taking better pictures, and actually it is probably both of those!

Happy Monday (man, that was a quick weekend!) and I wish you a great week!