Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Not Our Typical Holiday

By this time before every Thanksgiving I can remember, I've been up to my schnutz in turkey brining, pie-making, stuffing chopping, and all  requisite  pre-Thanksgiving acts.  Not this year.  Not one pie; not an ounce of turkey, not a morsel of sage stuffing...

Not sure why this was important to me this is year, but it is.  Maybe I just needed a break from what has always been my most favorite holiday of the year.

The kids are all busy:  The youngest has to work; horses don't take care of themselves, the eldest and daughter-in-law have an infant, and the middle child wanted to get together with friends.  And this is good.

Tomorrow, Richard and I will ride up to PA to see my mom and have a Thanksgiving brunch with her, and then return to an evening of football, my crab dip, and a chopped salad.  And above all our profound thanks for all that we have.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Excuse me, Is there something wrong with your food, you haven't photographed it...

We are, I confess, "Foodies" -- those yuppies who eat out frequently, take photos of their food and post them, and who use phrases such as "off the charts" to describe an eating experience.  We have even flown across the country to visit San Diego for Restaurant Week!

Yes, we really enjoy eating out and appreciate well prepared food. 

A friend of my mother refuses to eat at any restaurant that is a 'chain', saying that the food isn't worth it.   We happen to find many regional and national chains provide wonderful service, beautifully prepared and excellent food.  Longhorn, for instance, has scrumptious broiled trout, and one of the best grilled chicken cobb salads I've ever had has been at TGIFriday.  And frankly, every meal we've had at Red Lobster has been excellent, featuring fresh fish, great salads, and those addicting  bay biscuits.  And the pasta -- particularly the fettucine Alfredo -- at Olive Garden is light and rich at the same time.

Some of our regional favorites include The Great American Restaurant Group's Coastal Flats where the service is impeccable, the menu varied, and the food itself is worth going back for again and again.  Our favorites:  shrimp and grits,the grilled snapper, the green beans prepared with pepper jelly, and ALL of their starters.  And you've got to try The Oldtown Pourhouse in Gaithersburg, where the beer and fried cheese curds aren't the only excellent offerings. And then there's....Excuse me, I've got to get some lunch...

Thursday, May 28, 2015

♫"It's May, it's May; the lusty month of May...♫"

I finished planting on Monday.  Now I just walk the yard checking, weeding, sometimes re-arranging, and waiting for the plantings to 'fill out'.  I water about once a week, but the Moisture Control Potting Soil really helps retain needed moisture.

Planted are mixed zinnias and cosmos.

The Missouri primrose on the close end will bloom (yellow), shortly.

We lost all but two of our potted roses and if the damn rabbits don't leave it alone, we'll lose one of the climbers.  The roses are in full flush and smell heavenly.  Periodically, one gets a 'whiff'.  I love that fragrance! 

Soon, dusk will bring the smell of wild honeysuckle.  I love that, too.  Come to think of it, there's not much about the garden that I don't like -- well maybe slugs and fungi...

Winter has its beauty, but there is nothing like the textures and verdancy of Maryland in May.

This is a side view of my bicycle garden.  There are three 'bikes' in this garden; not sure one can spot them.

Pink and white astilbe in forefront.  Day lilies and monarda as well as stachys (around blue pot) on left and far right.

And the front of the house.

I hope you all are enjoying nature in your yards and areas.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

WHEW, I'm glad that's over with!

Because my annual gardens are in pots,  I have a lot of planning and counting to do.  If I shop without a list, I am totally overwhelmed and wind up making way too many trips back to the nursery.  Even with the planning, I usually have to go back once or twice.

So, here's the list for this year.  ♫I'm so excited; and I just can't hid it; I'm about to lose my mind, and I think I like it! ♫

I think you all know where I'll be this week.  :)

Market Packs of Six
        2 coral
        2 red
        2 orange
        2 purple
 2   Cosmos – orange
16  Zinnia – tall growing
4    Lobelia – blue
4    Miniature zinnia/gold
2    Mixed miniature zinnia
2    (9) Coleus
1    red scarlet sage
1    purple scarlet sage

Globe basil
Italian parsley
Pineapple sage

1      Pink angelonia
9      Purple angelonia
25     Orange/red geraniums
10     Coral geraniums
5      Red tuberous begonias
2      Coral New Guinea Imp
6      Red New Guinea
7      Orange New Guinea
3      Purple New Guinea
6      Gerbera daisies
3      Scaevola
3      Diascia – orange
3      Lantana
4      Red spikes
1      Coral verbena
1      Pink verbena
1      Red verbena
2      Green sweet potato vine
2      Black sweet potato vine
6      Scarlet/wine million bells
2      Purple million bells
1      Red mandevilla

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Looks Like We Made It!

It was a dreary winter, not quite as cold as last year, but dreary and wet.  And we made it unscathed.  Of course we did.

And now in the circle of things, I'm planning my pots -- about 40 of them will be filled with annuals.  So I'm up to my schnutz in alstromeria to zinnias, and into my spring/summer vocabulary.  Yes, I speak "flowers" as our good friends David and Marge say.

Yesterday, I sat outside with my planning book and enjoyed this...

until a spring storm chased me inside.  I'll go back out today.

And as my high school buddy Steve Bell sweetly said, "Behind every good woman is a ... cat.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

♫♫Where are you going, my little one...♫♫

I sang this to my babies as I rocked them, never able to get through the whole song.  A quarter of the way through, I would choke up and begin to cry because I knew where they were going -- each milestone, each step, each smile, represented a step away from us.  And that's the way it should be.  But it happens too fast.

Today, our youngest child turns 35.  Amazing that I haven't yet lost that baby weight...but that's another issue.  This morning I awoke reflecting on how we celebrate the announcement "We're having a baby!" and not "We're having a toddler" or scarier still, " a teenager"!  I think that  somewhere in the recesses of our hearts, we hope to hold onto that baby, that cherub, for just a while longer and be able to rock them, protect them, and hold them close.

From left to right:  Robyn, Michael, and Melissa.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Finding Our Joy

Right about now, 43 years ago Richard Anderson and I were married.  We gave no thought, at least I didn't, to how long we would be married, even though we both said 'Until death do us part."  It seems like yesterday, and yet it doesn't.  

Three wonderful, grown children and three sweet grandchildren later here we are.  Our secret?  We don't have one -- except maybe not having expectations and in having an uncanny ability to adjust and re-adjust.  Has it been an easy ride?  Hell, no.  We've had our share of 'knock down/drag-outs',  in-law difficulties (his parents; not mine), of many, many joys, some tempered with sadness, of  irritations, of crises, and with all the beauty and glory of raising three teenagers.  And actually, our middle child could easily have counted for two.  Luckily, I didn't kill her when she was 15 as she's a wonderful daughter, friend, and mother of her own little character.

We had made plans to have lunch today at Thames Oyster House in Baltimore, but as in  our life together, fate has intervened.  As I write this, Richard's 90-year old father lies in the hospital.  He has been there for a week, has pneumonia, and has refused food and medication.  He will be discharged from the hospital into the care of hospice in his home tomorrow, where in his lucid moments, he insists he be taken.  And so we acquiesce. And so we adjust.  We will celebrate our milestone tonight at dinner.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

And Then It Was Done...Or Not...

The difference is marked and the changes never cease to amaze me.  Even the next day, the lights seem less bright, less promising.  After all the anticipation and preparation, it's over, and my emphasis in the next few days will be to get it down and put away.  And I'm thinking...always thinking...

So to what do I have to look forward?  Beautiful winter days with pristine blue skies and crisp cold; gray clouds and air with the metallic smell and promise of snow; slow awakenings of perennials and the planning of this year's gardens; expressions of love to and by my husband, brothers, children, and grand children; surprise contact with friends from my past; travels and experiences yet to be planned; a new book by Harlan Coban or David Baldacci; laughing so hard I can't catch my breath; comments left by readers; and so very much more.  Not so bad after all.

Monday, December 1, 2014


We've started our Christmas rituals:  the decorating of the outside of the house; the family's going together to the tree farm to chop down the tree; the finding of said tree on the farthest corner of the farm and down the steepest hill (which, of course, means dragging it back up the hill).  When Poppy lay down on the ground to cut the tree, two-year old Tyler plopped down on top of him declaring, "I help Poppy."  I couldn't tell if Poppy was laughing or gasping for breath.

We don't have many plans for the holidays.  In the past we'd been invited to cocktail parties -- even at a few of the embassies -- and parties that friends have had.  Seems there aren't many parties being had this year.  (Of course there's always the possibility that there ARE, and we've not been invited.  You dance once with a lampshade on your head...)  I wonder if F. Scott and Zelda were aware they had become pariahs??))  Richard and I have talked about cocktail parties and while we love getting together with friends, neither of us enjoy attending large functions where we know no one.  Making small talk   is just not fun to me anymore.

I'm not planning on throwing anything grand, either.  So far, it's just the two of us.  We'll take the grands to the Middleburg, VA parade, to the Hampden neighborhood in Baltimore to see the lights, Richard and I will go to Mt. Vernon for a Christmas tour and dinner, but no extravaganzas.

So why decorate and why write Christmas cards, even to folks we don't hear from or with whom we have lost touch ?  We don't expect cards in return.  This is our way of letting folks know we are thinking of them:  the joy is in us.  The tree, the lights, the candles, the cards are our joy.  

Furthermore, what a perfect time to remind ourselves that there is magic in the goodness and kindness we all show one another.   And in this troubled world, where we have all learned too well not to look for sadness or controversy, the season is a welcome excuse for joy, for quiet altruism, for love.  Even for just a short time.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How Quickly He Fell

I haven't had any real need to express myself until today and I'm sure that what I have to say will not curry favor.  But, this is my blog; my circus.

Some of you may enjoy football.  For those of you who don't follow it, this blog may mean nothing.  On the other hand, one would have to be a hanging salami to not have heard anything about our beloved Ravens' player, Ray Rice, and the trouble he is in because of his battering his wife, Janay, in an Atlantic City casino elevator.  After this was made known, Rice was fined and suspended from two games; this by the NFL.  The outcry over the laxity of the punishment was immediate as was pressure to NFL Commissioner Robert Goodal to do more.

Ray Rice was a favorite player of mine and a hero to many.  To say that I was chagrined by the attack is a gross understatement.  His attack on Janay was brutal as the allegedly 'recently' released tape shows.  The Ravens' decision to release him from his contract quickly followed.  So did the NFL's banning him from football for life.

Did Rice deserve some kind of punishment?  Absolutely.  Is the one he got just?  I'm really not sure that banning him from football for life is.

Now before some of you light torches and march on my home, remember I am not denying how serious battering another person  is.  But I get the distinct feeling that Rice is suffering the results of all the actions sadly NOT taken by the NFL on past egregious actions of its players.   I also believe that we all deserve a second chance.  To take away this man's livelihood forever seems wrong.  Rice and his wife are in counseling.  They need to work out their problems without the help of the public.  (And yes, I realize that they were the ones who took their problems out in public.)  He is already a pariah.  On Friday and Saturday of next week, fans will line up At M & T Stadium to return their Ray Rice jerseys.  This has to be horribly painful for his family.

Also, football is a brutal sport.  Players have ingrained in them the knee-jerk, vicious re-actions that are appropriate only in war and on the football field.  Once a part of a man's fabric, this becomes second nature and hard to turn off.  Again, I am not excusing Ray Rice.  There are consequences for every action we take -- a hard-to-learn lesson for all of us.  I am not sure, however, that these consequences for his actions are totally appropriate.