Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Doris Day Saved My Life

As I blog hopped the other day, I came across one that really intrigued me....but do I remember whose it was, or how I got there? Of course not. One of the things I liked about this particular blog was that in her Profile, she said she loved Doris Day movies. But it's not because of Doris or any of her leading men. I think it had something to do with the furniture decor in the 60s, and she may have mentioned Doris' costumes, too....but I'm not sure.

(Doris in the 1950s - courtesy Google)

When I first saw the name "Doris Day," I thought, OMG, another Doris Day fan! But it wasn't the case, and that's okay. I won't hold it against her!

(Doris in the 1960s - courtesy Google)

Just last night I read an article about Doris releasing a CD this Friday. What a surprise, because she chose to walk away from the Hollywood lifestyle many years ago.

And as far as Doris saving my life.....I can honestly say that she did, in more ways than one. A chapter in my memoir explains it all.

Welcome to my newest followers, Laura Barnes & Cheryl. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!

Que sera sera
Whatever will be will be
The future's not ours to see
Que sera sera

Sunday, November 27, 2011

* Nostalgic Sundays *

Time for Another Nostalgic Sunday
Since this is the first Sunday after Thanksgiving and the TV weather folks say we may get a few snow flurries today, I'm definitely feeling Christmasy!

Let's take a look at some Christmases past:

I bought this hat Christmas 2008
 when I worked at Barnes & Noble during the holidays.
I sewed the red ribbon on it to tie under my neck,
because it wouldn't stay on.
I couldn't wear it very long at work,
 though, because my head would get too hot!


This goes way Christmas 1977.
That's me on the left and my sister Jo Ann on the right.
I don't know if I've mentioned that she was an artist;
pencil, chalk, oil paintings, sculpture, & wood carving.
This was taken at our mother's apartment in St. Louis.
Jo Ann made the sculpture on her left...probably way back
when she was in college and gave it to mom soon after.
I also lived in St. Louis then, but Jo Ann moved to
 Florida when I was in high school. When she came home for
Christmas, I always hoped she'd get snowed in
and wouldn't be able to fly home until a few days later!
We weren't able to see each other very often for many years,
due to the expense of flying.

* All through December I'll continue to post photos
 of Christmases Past on my Nostalgic Sundays. *

Welcome to my newest follower, Linda Young. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!
"At Christmas, all roads lead home." -- Marjorie Holmes

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wishing You a Blissful Thanksgiving

Although we had our family Thanksgiving last Saturday, I'll be roasting another turkey tomorrow! The past couple of years The Ronald and I have gone to our best friends' home on Thanksgiving Day, but this year, we're the hosts. I've been having fun setting the dining room table, actually using my china and good silverware.

I put the centerpiece together, just stuck the appropriate foliage in the basket.
Can you see the turkey candle stick holders?
There are tiny personal S&P shakers at the top left of each plate, too, which I think are so cute.

In November 2001, I bought this beautiful Norman Rockwell plate. It gave me such comfort to look at, since it was only two months after the horrible events of Sept. 11, 2001.
As the months went by, I bought the other three plates that are part of this collection called:

 The Four Freedoms

Freedom from Want.
Freedom of Speech.
Freedom of Worship.
Freedom from Fear.

FDR delivered his State of the Union Address on Januray 6, 1941,
 stating these four essential human rights.

This is the best picture I could get this evening.

This picture turned out pretty well, I think....but a little dark maybe?

"Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many--not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." -- Charles Dickens

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's Almost Wednesday and I'm Wide Awake

Such a busy, rainy day today. First I went to my "Coffee & Critique" group in the morning. Then I ended up spending way too much time on what was supposed to be a simple, one-stop errand. Don't even ask.

By the time I got back home, poor Vern followed me around and pleaded with his eyes. He loves to go on our walks. Fortunately the rain had stopped and it was only misting. But it was cold outside. (Baby, it's cold outside.... ♪♫ ) I bundled myself up and put his new sweater on him. Have I even mentioned that? I don't think I have. Although I'm a dog lover, I used to scoff at people who dressed their dogs in any kind of clothing. But, I discovered that Vern actually does get voila'!

(photo taken by Becky)
I think he needs a bigger size! I'm not sure since I don't know how a sweater should fit a dog. I do know that I have to giggle because he reminds me of Porky Pig. Remember how he always wore just a shirt and NO PANTS?! What's up with that?

(courtesy: google)
But Vern seems to really like his sweater, and he lets me put it on him with ease. Have I mentioned how much I love this dog?? Every time we go on our walk, I think, We may have saved his life, but he's also saved mine, to an extent. I've mentioned the weight I've lost, mostly due to walking, which should also effect my cholesterol in a very positive way, etc. I expect to live to be 100!

"If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise." -- Unknown

Sunday, November 20, 2011

* Nostalgic Sundays *

Since we had our family Thanksgiving yesterday, I've been trying to think back all those years to my childhood Thanksgivings. At first I found it rather odd that I couldn't seem to remember anything really specific about them. Years ago, though, I heard that the best memories children have aren't those extravagant birthday or Christmas gifts, nor those vacations to Disney World, but they're the ones about snuggling at bedtime and having a book read to them, or the impromptu singing and dancing that their parents did when they heard a certain song on the radio.

I'm fairly certain when I was really young, like four and five years old, my older sisters brought a friend home for Thanksgiving dinner. They were in college at that time and there were always a few students who couldn't go home for the holiday, so they were welcomed at our house.

The only other thing I remember at the moment is that us "kids," my brother Mike and me, were each given one of the turkey legs, the drumsticks. They seemed as big as my arm and I couldn't even finish eating mine.

We didn't live near any other family members, so we never spent Thanksgiving at a relative's home.  But I was perfectly happy with My family and My home, and never felt like I was missing anything.

(As I've mentioned before, these happy memories are from the years before my parents split up.Things changed after that.)

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” –Cynthia Ozick

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winner of "Sort of a Blog Hop"

Good evening everyone! I apologize for being so late in posting the Winner of my Sort of a Blog Hop, but today was our family Thanksgiving and I was a bit tired when everyone left! Whew! We had a great time and thanks for all the well wishes.

(courtesy: Google)

So, without further adeui, the Winner of either the equally beautiful set of note cards or calendar is..............Becky Dunham of Bloglessinutah!

Congratulations to Becky and a heartfelt thanks to the other fabulous seven bloggers who participated. I truly appreciate your kindness for joining me in my first "Hop."  (And I must add a special note to Miss Sparkle Farkle: Your blog post for this was just awesome! Thanks so much for being your usual creative, crazy, wacky self!) The random-number-drawing-thingy chose number four, Branching Out, which was Becky's post title.

And don't forget, these are very reasonably buy some for yourself and for Christmas gifts!

To those of you who don't know what Becky won, she will be choosing from the following: A Robert Brault wall calendar for 2012, with beautiful pictures and quotes of his.
Or a set of 12 note cards with the same beautiful pictures and quotes.

Becky, please e-mail me with your mailing address and I'll get your order placed asap! Congrats, again!

I'll end this post as I always do, with a quote, and obviously it's one of my favorite Mr. Brault quotes!

"Looking back you realize that a very special person passed briefly through your life - and it was you. It is not too late to find that person again." -- Robert Brault

Friday, November 18, 2011


As usual, I've been mixed up about what day it is, but my laptop says it's Friday.
So, that means it's time for another I Wonder!

I wonder: If I'm becoming a real Miss Becky Homecky, because I baked four pies today! That is definitely a World Record for me! I've been making two pumpkin pies for Thanksgivng for many years, but I know that I've never made four, of any kind, in one day.

Now, before you get all impressed with my baking expertise....don't! Because I only use the easiest recipes and use every shortcut I can. Pillsbury rolled crusts, canned pumpkin, (does anybody use fresh pumpkin?) But, I am quite proud of myself for using apples, and not the canned kind!

My two pumpkin pies, ready to go into oven.
I'm not very fancy with the crust edges, either!

Baked, just right, and I only had to slide the knife in it twice.
Some years it looked like Zorro had his way with them!

This is my favorite kitchen gadget in the entire world!
If it wasn't for this, I wouldn't enjoy making apple pies so often.
I bought this at Bed, Bath & Beyond a few years ago and it still works great.

Layers of sliced/peeled apples, with sugar-cinnamon sprinkled on top.

I think y'all remember how much little things give me such joy?!
WELL, my Pampered Chef pastry blender is one of those!
I didn't have one for years and just used a fork, which worked fine,
but having a real one of these makes me feel like a REAL baker!
(this is the flour/sugar/butter mixture that gets sprinkled on top.)

Ready to pop into oven.

Baked, ready to cool, and serve tomorrow. Yummy!

It was 9:00pm when I took these from the oven. I still have things to do for tomorrow, but only simple things, like straightening up the family room, etc. So, all is good and I'm relaxed. Yay!

Welcome to my newest followers: "PJ @ Seens From The Backs Of My Eyelids" and "Cate Pearce." I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!

“America has developed a pie tradition unequivocally and unapologetically at the sweet end of the scale, and at no time is this better demonstrated than at Thanksgiving.” -- Janet Clarkson. Pie: A Global History

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thoughts of Thanksgiving

Such busy times, but I'm trying to remember to take deep breaths, relax, and stay focused on what needs to be, the next day, etc.

Such wise words from a little girl.
(courtesy: google)

Have I mentioned we're having our family Thanksgiving THIS Saturday? Since we're a blended family...Yours, Mine & Ours...there's more than the "usual" parents and in-laws involved, so things can get really hectic. We began celebrating this way quite a few years ago and it works really well. I always say, "How many huge Thanksgiving meals can a person be expected to eat in one day?!"

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, with Christmas a very close second. It's all about family, friends, and food! No commercialism. Every time I think about roasting the turkey, I swear I can actually smell that aroma and it brings such memories.....

(courtesy: google)

 I love to bake pies the day before. This year I'm making my usual two pumpkin pies, plus two apple pies. Oh yeah, and some banana bread with cream cheese frosting. Mmm good!

I make this type of crumble top apple pie and it's so easy.
(courtesy: google)

Welcome to my newest followers: "Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes" and "Deborah Pucci" and "I'm erin!" I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude." -- Denis Waitley

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Sort of Blog Hop & Give Away!

This is my first "sort of" Blog-Hop and it's for my friend, Robert Brault. Please join in to have a chance at winning one of the brand new 2012 Calendars or a Set of 12 Note Cards. (And if you don't win here, you can purchase them at very reasonable prices!)

1)  Visit Robert Brault's blog and read some of his fabulous thoughts and quotes. Don't just read the first page, there are months and months of archives....all full of gems!

2) Then add your blog in Mr. Linky,

3) Post something on your blog about Robert, or his quotes, which one(s) you like the best, etc.
     ** This is not a typical Blog Hop where people are expected to go around and comment on everyone else's. Just write about one of Robert's sayings/quotes on your own blog, and then add your blog in the Linky, and then you are included in the drawing. **

On November 19th, one lucky winner (chosen by random drawing) will receive either Robert's calendar or one of the note card sets. What a neat gift for just reading some inspirational or humorous quotes that will enrich your lives! This Give-Away is available to everyone no matter where you live!
*Or buy some as Christmas gifts for those special people in your lives.

"Looking back, you realize that a very special person passed briefly through your life -- and that person was you. It is not too late to become that person again. "  -- Robert BraultOn November


It's another I Wonder Friday.

There's so much I'm wondering about today, that I have no particular theme. Just thoughts, questions, and information.

First: A HUGE Thank-You to ALL the Veterans of War from our country, and also to the military serving today. Just think how all of our lives have been affected one way or the other by these men and women. Some of us are alive today because our fathers or grandfathers came back from a war. And some of us, like myself, are alive because someone didn't make it back home. Seem impossible??
My mother's first husband did not make it home. For a few years, she was a war widow, and eventually married my dad. So, there began another branch on the Family Tree.

Second: My bloggy friend, Sue over at Sue's News, Views 'n Muse is having the most fabulous Blogaversary Give-Away that I've ever heard of! All you have to do is leave a comment and be her follower. That's it! could be one of the TWO winners of a HANDMADE QUILT! Is she crazy, or what?? And here I was, trying to decide what kind of give-away to have for MY blogaversary. No matter what I decide, nothing could ever live up to hers! So, hop on over there for Pete's sake and leave a comment and become a follower! She's a great gal and wonderful writer, too.

Third:   Here's a couple of reminders about a Writing Call Out and a Contest.
              The Mona Schreiber Prize for Humorous Fiction and Non-Fiction. Every year I tell myself I'm going to enter this contest and I never do. Why, I don't know. The entry fee is only $5.00. And from reading winners of previous years, the wackier the humor, the better! Give it a try! All entries must be post-marked by December 1st, and the winners will be announced on Christmas Eve! *Mona's son, Brad, has kept his mother's memory alive through this contest for quite a few years.

               Silver Boomer Books has a call out for a book about widows. When I first heard about it, I thought, Well, that leaves me out. I'm not a widow, and I never have been. BUT, when Becky Haigler; writer, editor and publisher (of Silver Boomer Books) spoke at our Saturday Writers Workshop last month, I had the opportunity to talk with her about various topics. I found out that the writer of the story doesn't necessarily have to be the widow in the story., that's different! I'm going to submit a story about my mother's life when she suddenly became a young widow, along with thousands of others, during WWII. Submissions accepted from December 1, 2011 until March 30, 2012.

Wishing all of you a Happy, Blissful, Beautiful Friday.

“You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.” -- John Lennon

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Winner - A Blogaversary - And Heartfelt Thanks

The Winner of Melissa Goodwin's children's book is:

Congrats to Septembermom, who was chosen by random drawing. Please e-mail me with your mailing address, so we can send your signed book.


Since recently reading about bloggers' anniversaries here and there, I thought I should look at my first blog post and see when it was, because I honestly did not remember. My blogaversary is tomorrow, November 10th. I began blogging on 11/10/2008. It certainly doesn't feel like I've been doing this for Three Years!

Thanks to all of you who've been with me since the very beginning! And of course to everyone who somehow found me, or I found them, and we became blog buddies. Some of you have become really close friends and live all over this wondrous planet we call our home. This truly is an amazing endeavor and has enriched my life in so many ways.

A huge thank-you to Karrie for helping me get started. I knew nothing and she explained blogspot to me via e-mails from Ohio!

"There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature." -- Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

* Random Thoughts *

As a woman who is forgetful on a daily basis, and semi-confused quite often, I'm happy to announce that I do indeed know that today is a Tuesday and it's November 8th. 

I'd lost track of time for a few days, but I think I've got it straightened out now! With The Ronald having surgery on the 1st day of the month, and it being the day after Halloween, time spun out of control for a while. I'm pretty sure I've got things under control....but don't hold your breath.

Here are my latest random thoughts:

** Why does a Tire Shop give out appointments...say for 4:00pm, and the customer (me) is there until almost 6:00pm? I am grateful that they could fix my flat and didn't tell me I needed a new one. BUT, they also said I needed a new air filter, which I saw, and it was filthy, so I said Yes. Wouldn't you think they'd tell the customer (me) that the filter had to be delivered to them and it would take forever?? Oh well....such is life.

** After I left the Tire Shop, I stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond, (since it was nearby) hoping to find two little plugs or drain stoppers that I wanted so badly. Remember my post from Nostalgic Sunday, sharing my thoughts & photos about the little things in life that make me happy? Well, for the sum total of $5.97, I bought them! I could've danced right out of that store. And my aggravation at the Tire Shop...What aggravation? I'd finally got my two little drain stopper thingys! (I even took pictures, but then changed my mind about posting them!)

** While listening to my car radio during my errands, I was reminded once again that some singers and/or groups should really not sing Christmas Carols. Yikes! Or at least make better song choices. A couple of times I couldn't hit the Off button fast enough. (and yes, we have a local station that began playing all Christmas music recently.)

(photo taken by Becky Povich)

This is a tree in our front yard. Aren't the colors glorious?
I truly believe I've witnessed many more wondrous trees this autumn, then ever before.

** I'll announce the winner of Melissa's book tomorrow, so if anyone wants to still be in the drawing, leave a comment on last Wednesday's post. **

Welcome to my newest follower: Just Stuff from a Boomer! I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!

"There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day." -- Alexander Woollcott

Sunday, November 6, 2011

* Nostalgic Sundays *

It's time for another Nostalgic Sunday.

Today's post isn't technically about nostalgia,
 but it's about little things that make me happy.

Writerly coffee mugs!
(Saturday Writers is the local writing group I've been the president of this year.)

Chocolate covered strawberries - Yum!

Beautiful fall foliage, even on a rainy day.
I took this picture from inside my laundry room.
I purposely wanted to capture the rain drops on the window.
"Cheapie" earrings from Walmart -- $2.88. (no kidding)

Same as above: $2.88

These photos don't do the earrings justice. They are really beautiful. I've never seen such nice ones for such a small price! I just happened to notice different earring displays as I walked down the aisle and couldn't believe my eyes when I looked at the price. 

I've told girlfriends over the years that whenever I'd feel a little down and needed an inexpensive pick-me-up, I'd head to the earrings in various department stores at the mall. I'd usually find a pretty pair on sale for less than $10.00 and I'd be a happy gal! BUT, to find such gorgeous ones for $2.88!...Well, I just had to go crazy and buy TWO pair!

(All photos taken by me except for the Taylor family in Mayberry. That was found in Google.)

Aunt Bee would be so proud of me and my frugality!

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." ~ Robert Brault

*I'm so proud to say that Robert Brault is a friend of mine. He is a genius, yet kind and humble, and so encouraging to others. Click on his name to go to his blog. Read some of his hundreds of quotes and sayings and maybe purchase his new calendar and/or note cards. I have them both and they are delightful.*

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Que Sera Sera

I've been especially happy the past few days. (Those of you who know me personally or read my blog fairly often already know that joy and happiness just come naturally to me.) But, this entire year has been difficult in some crucial areas and I'm now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Oh Happy Day!

And what's truly strange about my new feeling is that some really trying times could still come about, and yet I have a feeling of peace that I haven't experienced in a long time. Have I finally reached that stage where I'm honestly living a "Que Sera Sera" kind of life? Whatever will be, will be?

*Note: The Ronald had surgery this past Tuesday and is doing well. I'm sure his recovery has a role in my grateful disposition.*

Welcome to my newest followers: Jan and Capability: Mom (and also welcome to Becky D. because she said she became a follower, too, but I can't find her!) I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you!

"What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens." ~ Thaddeus Golas

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guest Post from author Melissa Goodwin

GUEST POST by Melissa Ann Goodwin, Author of The Christmas Village
(and a book give-away!)

 Finding Your People
In recent years, actress Shirley MacLaine has become known as much for her unusual beliefs about aliens and spirituality as for her movie roles. She lives here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and when her book came out a few years ago, I went to the book signing. Yes, she has some offbeat ideas, but I discovered that she makes a lot of sense about certain things. The one thing she wrote about that really resonated with me had to do with this idea of “finding your people.”

The gist of her point was that we are born into a particular family, but that we spend most of our life looking for “our people” outside of that birth family. Some of our family members may be “our people” and some may not. I think there are many people who feel so different from their other family members that they wonder if they were adopted, or if they really were abducted by aliens!

So, off we go into the world, seeking out those to whom we feel connected on a deep soul level. In romantic relationships, we call them our Soul Mates. But this idea of soul mates can go beyond just romantic partners – it can apply to all those in our lives whom we truly call Friend. These are the people who see our flaws and still celebrate us; the ones who show up for us; the ones who sincerely root for us; the ones who “get” us.

A few years ago, I became a yoga teacher.  I started teaching at a studio here in Santa Fe, where the teachers have well-established followings. I began by subbing classes. Sometimes no one would show. Sometimes a person would come in, see that there was a sub, turn on her heels and go. Ouch. But then, new people came. And the next time I subbed, they came back. They told people the new teacher was pretty good, and the next time, a few more came. Eventually I had my own classes, and I developed a following. My people had found me and I had found my people – the ones for whom my style of teaching yoga resonated.

I think it’s very much the same for us as writers. Sometimes we want to achieve some concept of “success” so much that we write things that we think will please a certain audience. Are vampires still in? Should I write about vampires? I heard that zombies are the new vampires – shall I write about zombies?

What we need to do is take a deep breath, pause, and ask ourselves: What kind of books do I like? What kind of book have I dreamed of writing? If I love zombies, and have a great idea for a story, I should write it! But only because it’s truly what I love, not just because I think there is an audience for it out there. Because if my heart isn’t in it, then I won’t truly find “my people,”  and my people won’t find me .

So, like the yoga teacher, showing up to share what I know and hoping that students will come, find something of value, and return again, as a writer I write what moves me and hope that among the many readers who try me out, one or two will like my work enough to return. Like yoga students, our readers may not show up in droves, they may show up one by one. But over time, those ones and twos become threes and fours, and eventually, we’ve got a following. By being true to ourselves, we’ve found our people.

Thank you, Melissa for sharing your beautiful thoughts with us. I totally agree with your idea about us searching for others who will "get" us in life. You and I somehow found each other in Blogland and we definitely "found our people!"

I've always found Shirley MacLaine fascinating, too. I loved her book, Out on a Limb, about her spiritual travels, and the movie that was made about it. Whether we believe what Shirley believes doesn't really matter. It's the search for spirituality.

I'm highlighting Melissa on my blog today because, well....she's my people!....But, also because she's just published a fabulous children's book, The Christmas Village. 

** AND One lucky winner will be randomly chosen to receive a signed copy! All that is necessary to be eligible is to leave a comment. That's it. So please get in on this fun, book give-away and tell all your friends, too!**

** The winner will be chosen next Tuesday, November 8th. **

I received my copy last week and it is beautiful. It's not a picture book, or what I would really refer to as a "children's" book. Its size is approx. 5x8 with 189 pages. Melissa said the reading level is ages 9 and up, which is technically middle grade, but younger advanced readers can read it, too. She's also known teens who read and liked it, plus parents and grandparents can read it to the younger ones. So, I'd say it's a book for all ages to enjoy!

Click on the link below to see the incredible book trailer, and then below that is the link to Amazon.

*Note: I've been forgetting to thank my new followers, so I'll catch up right now!
Welcome to my newest followers, Rebecca, Clarissa Draper, Patti and Cheryl. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you! Actually, Patti has been a follower for a long time, but her little picture keeps disappearing! Thanks for noticing, Patti. I wondered why I lost a follower the other day! :)
“I hoped that the trip would be the best of all journeys: a journey into ourselves” -- Shirley MacLaine