Showing posts with label Rambles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rambles. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

We are back from Europe!

For the last month those busy times I mentioned have been a month long trip to Europe.  At first we were in France, landing in Paris.  This is the first time I have been in this beautiful and exciting city.  

 (Even on a non-sunny day, this scene was amazing.  Photo was taken from the rooftop of our hotel).


From Paris we drove to Normandy to be with my Father-in-Law when he attended the 70th D-Day Commemorations.  There were 19 family members and friends with us.  An incredible event I felt very honored to be part of.  

(This is the house in Normandy that we rented, from an English couple who live in the area.  Truly, one of the nicest couples we have ever met.  Their generosity of spirit towards my Father-in-law, to all of us really, was incredible.  More of which I will tell you about in another post.)


(Gregg and I with Big Ben behind us.  Thank you Celia for taking such a nice photo of us.)



From Normandy we headed to London. We had already said our goodbyes to our son and daughter-in-law in Normandy but Gregg and I, along with my in-laws and one of Gregg's cousins from North Dakota and her family, caught the train to London where we had a great time seeing the sights. We eventually said our goodbyes to them but Gregg, along with my In-laws and I, continued our journey down to Devon.  I was very happy to show them the area I lived in when I met Gregg all those years ago.  It was so very enjoyable for me and for them, and we were able to spend the evening with some very dear old friends of ours.  

(This thatched cottage is in the village of Cockington, near my home town.)


From England we flew to Norway where we were able to find the churches my Father-in-Law's family attended five generations ago.  He is fourth generation American-Norwegian and very proud of his Norwegian roots. We met many wonderful people all throughout our trip, which included (in Norway) a very sweet town historian and a retired minister who gave us an exciting history of one of the churches, and made it come alive to all of us.  

(This photo was taken at the Norwegian Folk Museum.  We enjoyed it so much we visited again, and would have a third if time allowed.)

Yesterday morning we woke up in our hotel in Oslo, and last night we put our heads down on our very own pillows, in our very own beds.  No matter how far we travel, how tremendous a time we had, we all agreed how marvelous it was to be in our own beds last night, and back home.  Over the next few weeks, maybe several, I will be sharing stories and photos of our trip.  In the meantime here are a few to start off with.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Our Daughter-in-Law, a Turtle-rescuing Hero!

I thought I would share a little of what I have been doing over the last few days.  I haven't done a ramble in a while.

But first of all let me tell you about our daughter-in-law's great love for turtles, especially when she sees them in danger.  If she comes across one in the middle of the road she always tries to rescue them,  and that's why she is my hero.   

She and our son were meeting up for a family event and they spotted a snapping turtle in danger of being run over.  They stopped in a safe spot and daughter-in-law immediately jumped out of the car and picked up the snapping turtle.  He wasn't too happy, he didn't know he was being rescued, that long neck swiveled out of its shell and he took a swipe at her.  But, she's a total expert on reptilians, has been for years.  She knows the deal as she avoided its beak, took it over the road in the direction it was heading, and deposited it near a pond.  And I'm sure if the snapper could, he would have thanked her for having such a kind heart.  Yes, she is definitely my hero, for this and for the many other kind things she has done.

For those of you who want to see a great article on turtles, check out Michelle's Nature Notes here.  Coincidentally her report on turtles came two days after our daughter-in-law's experience.  Michelle's blog, Rambling Woods, is a wonderful nature blog.

On Mother's Day our son came over.  I also had two friends staying the night as they had traveled some distance to go to the opera the day before.  The last time they had a chance to visit with son was at his wedding, almost five years ago.  It was lovely to hear him chatting with them and it made the day extra special.  After they had left we had a few more hours with son, and eventually it was time for him to pick up our daughter-in-law who had spent the time with her mother.  All in all a very wonderful Mother's Day for both us moms.

That was on the Sunday but the day before these two friends I have mentioned and two other friends, we all met up at our local movie theater to see the live televised performance of the New York Met's "La Cenerentola", Rossini's version of the Cinderella story.   I thoroughly enjoyed this version, but it was a far cry from the one I have been used to since childhood.  For instance, there is no wicked stepmother but there is a wicked stepfather.  There are still the two stepsisters who are so mean to their half-sibling, but the Prince comes along to save the day.  Juan Diego Flórez played the Prince and Joyce DiDonato took on the roll of Cinderella.  All the performers did an incredible job, it was very light hearted and listening to them sing was a joy.

Instead of going to our usual restaurant everyone came to our house for dinner.  I had prepared a very non-fussy crockpot meal and all I had to do was cook some rice.  One friend had transported a delicious appetizer in her ice chest, which I took note of for when I have company, and our other friends had brought wine.  It made for a great evening!

And that was my weekend .

~~~~~~~

We make patterns, we share moments."
~Jenny Downham~

 
At the beginning of May, we were staying with my In-Law's for a few days.  They have this lovely sun room looking out towards their back garden, and we always spend a lot of time in there chatting.  

We will watch the birds visit the feeders, a pair of ducks get their cracked corn on the ground underneath, the occasional four legged friend stops by for a meal or two.  My In-Laws take good care of both feathered and four-legged friends who might wander by.  They take excellent care of their wildlife.  The fact that their garden is surrounded by very tall pine trees makes it an even more idyllic place to sit for a spell, a long spell.

On one such occasion my gaze went down to the pretty tiling and the edge of the area rug.  Following Gregg's example - he is always looking for patterns not only in nature but elsewhere - I took a photo, and then went back to chatting and looking at the birds.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Vistor Center at Frying Pan Park


Today I am sharing photos taken at the visitor center.  Not too far from the entrance were several men playing local folk music. It was lovely hearing such sweet harmony, and they were excellent musicians.


There was a small museum inside showing what life was like in the early days of the farm.


An old door complete with names and markings where the children's heights had been measured......


and this information hanging on the door telling what chores were expected from the ages of five to fifteen.  You can enlarge the pictures to read this info.


I enjoyed looking at all the old photos and this one was my favorite.


Another great photo.


And more.





A dairy equipment display.


An old milk can....


and an old milking machine.


I was surprised to see a face on the milk bottle......


and wasn't really sure what I thought of it.  From my childhood, I remember the sound of the milkman's van as he made his way up the street in the wee hours of the morning long before the sun had risen, followed by the clinking of the bottles as he deposited our order on the doorstep.  When my mother opened the bottle it was a race to see who would get the cream that had risen to the top of the milk for breakfast.  This was often mixed with a teaspoon of sugar as a special treat. 


As we walked away from the center a sudden gust of wind arose, but disappeared as quickly as it appeared.  I turned my back to the wind and took a quick photo.  It doesn't really show up that well but I noticed the people behind us were having fun with this sudden unexpected 'dust storm'.





The following information I found online at the Friends of Frying Pan Farm park Facebook page here

"All those pretty yellow plants are called Yellow Rocket.  It is an edible weed that grows in the pasture at Frying Pan, and is a relative of the wild mustard plant, you can cook its stems like broccoli or eat its early spring leaves in a fresh salad."

This is the pasture they are talking about.  However, I don't know if this is the Yellow Rocket or the wild mustard plant.  I wished I had an expert around to tell me.


I still haven't finished sharing all the photos I took, and they will be shown at a later date.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Food post - Slow Cooker Butter Chicken


A lot of the time when we sit down for a meal,  I don't follow a recipe and fix our old favorite standbys.  However, when I do have the extra time, and more to the point, the inclination, I enjoy browsing through food blogs on line, for those times when we want something a little bit different.  Gregg loves trying ethnic foods, he actually started me on that path, but it took a while as I grew up in a very plain cooking household.  

My Mother was an exceptional cook and her meals were always ones to look forward to (her Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding will never be surpassed in my eyes).  However, after my marriage and with all Gregg's traveling from his navy days, he developed a taste for more exotic cuisine, and introduced me to it.  His Mother also was a great cook and used more seasonings and I had never been used to anything other than salt and pepper, but she taught me about such things and I took note.

I always remember a conversation with my Mum after I had lived in the States for a few years, and at the risk of repeating myself here because I have been writing this blog for a long time now, Mum and Dad were visiting and had been with us for about a week. Mum and I were in the kitchen, chatting over a cup of tea after she had watched me prepare another meal.  I remember going all out with the menu plan, trying to make my Mum proud of my developing cooking skills.  





After looking at all the ingredients I had on my counter, Mum said, with this kind of quizzical, very thoughtful look on her face, "You don't cook English any more do you Neesie?"  

It kind of took me aback because I hadn't thought about it up until that point.  I actually think I was making a spaghetti sauce and now it makes me smile because spaghetti and meatballs was an exotic dish to my Mum and Dad. You didn't get pasta unless you went to Italy.   

If they could have bought all their English groceries with them they would have but obviously would never have gotten it through the customs, not that they would have tried in the first place.  They were allowed to bring tea -  I think - and as we couldn't get English tea here back in those days, they always came with a suitcase full to the gills with PG Tips.  This was all gone by the time they went back and their empty suitcase was filled with all kinds of souvenirs to take home to family and friends.  

I love thinking back to that conversation Mum and I had in the kitchen all those years ago.  She would have been proud of the fact that Yorkshire Pudding was still on the menu.

At heart I am still a plain cook but I always find several recipes to browse through, and I asked Gregg to choose tonight.   His choice was Slow Cooker Butter Chicken by Chung-Ah at DamnDelicious.   You can visit the original recipe here.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
6 Servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 hours 5 minutes
total time: 5 hours 15 minutes.

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high high.  Add garlic and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in coconut milk, tomato paste, flour, garam masala, curry powder, chili powder and ginger powder until well combined and slightly thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place chicken into a slow cooker.  Add sauce mixture and gently toss to combine.  Cover and cook on low heat for 5 hours.

Serve immediately.



What did we think of this meal?  It was another hit.  I won't share anything that we haven't enjoyed.  The main reason I put recipes on here is that it is another way to save those that we enjoy, and can easily look up when we are in the mood to try it again.

I love getting the slow-cooker out.  Fixing things early in the day is a big plus, and by the time you sit down you can relax enough to enjoy the meal. Everything is in the pot before noon, and this leaves the afternoon for other things. 

Gregg asked if I could cook chicken thighs instead of breast and that was the only thing I altered. It cooked in the same amount of time.

This is the first Indian dish I have prepared.  It wasn't hot at all and if you do enjoy a little more heat, you can add extra chili to taste.  I offered to add more chili the next time but Gregg said no, he wouldn't change a thing.  

We are not eating out as much and it is one of the reasons I am making more ethnic dishes at home.  It stops the craving for meals we only found in restaurants before.

Thank you Chung-Ah for sharing this delicious Slow Cooker Butter Chicken.   Please check out DamnDelicious.  Her meals are varied and they look excellent.  I will definitely be going back to find more yummy meals.  You can find her blog here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A follow on of the theme from yesterday, sort of.....from the Southwest to the East Coast.


I liked this sign, when I read all of it, it made me laugh.  We visited Sebastian several years ago.  Back then we remember it as a lovely, quiet little town. 

As you can see by the sign it is the home of Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge (link here), home to over 100 species of birds.  On March 14th, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt designated it as the Nation's first National Wildlife Refuge. This was the first time the federal government set aside land for the sake of wildlife.  Now there are more than 530 refuges on nearly 95 million acres of the nation's most important wildlife habitats.  

When we drove through the town making our way north, we didn't take a ride over to the island.  On this part of our road trip we were mostly intent on looking at places we had never seen before, and there have been many other beautiful habitats to explore.  To protect the birds you are not allowed to get off the boat, and the boat isn't allowed to get too close to the island - binoculars would be a good idea.  It's a pleasant ride over and it's fun to see the pelicans and other birds overtaking the boat as they make their way home to roost at the end of the day, often with nesting material in their beaks. The town seemed busier and more built up than when we were there all those years ago, like everywhere else it is growing.  I daresay there will be another ride over to Pelican Island in our future, maybe on our next trip south.

As for the sign, not exactly like the old west theme from yesterday but I envisaged those six old grouches wearing their long-johns, if they were born out west that is.  They wouldn't exactly need them in the Floridian climate.  I am glad Sebastian is still full of friendly people but I would love to know who those six old grouches are.  I bet they have quite a few tales to tell.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Monday Ramble....



This Saturday my friends and I got together again for the live televised opera from the NY Met.  This time it was Massenet’s "Werther" with Jonas Kaufmann in the starring role and Sophie Koch as Charlotte.  It was wonderful though when you see these televised performances you sometimes lose the satellite connection and right at the end the sound went out, but fortunately there were subtitles.  We could at least read the words.  The opera ended and that’s when the sound came back, when the performers took their bows on stage.   Surprisingly the audience in our theater didn’t react negatively, it was just accepted and I suppose most of us had been going long enough to realize there was nothing that one could do, it was out of everyone’s hands.  This happened all around the world, theaters all over America and in 66 countries.  Amazing!  However, we had seen most of the opera and it was superb!

The seven of us headed to a restaurant we always go to afterwards and enjoyed a delicious meal.  Mine was Pecan-encrusted Tilapia with Asparagus.  



Because people had to travel some distance home, the evening ended relatively early.  There were no hints from the staff whose body language can speak volumes.  This restaurant gets very, very crowded.  Fortunately we arrived early enough that we didn't have to wait for a table, but when we left there were many people in the foyer waiting for theirs.  One friend stayed the night at our place.  When we got home Gregg greeted us and the three of us settled down to a lovely evening of conversation, finishing off with a glass of port and some English Stilton and Cheddar Cheese.  

The next morning after only toast for breakfast, the three of us headed out to our favorite British Pasty shop and bought some goodies, our prize was the Chocolate Easter Eggs because we knew they would sell out quickly and last year we left it too late.  My friend bought two for her grandchildren. Traditionally my family Easter always had these confections and I remember them as far into my childhood as I can go. Once we got back to the house we had lunch, and my friend headed home shortly afterwards.  

In the afternoon I fell off to sleep for a couple of hours, not realizing I was in for a long nap but I didn't go to bed until 2.00 a.m. the night before and we got up pretty early.



On Friday I finished my latest novel, Louise Penny's "How The Light Gets In".  I have read all her novels in this series, the main character being Chief Inspector Armand Gamache who works at the Surete du Quebec.  If you enjoy a really excellent detective story I can highly recommend these.  This is the tenth book in the series, I have read them all and  I didn't drift once.  All her characters come to life as each page is turned, and many are repeated in subsequent reads.  The first in the series is "Still Life", and in my humble opinion I would start from the beginning.  I eagerly await her next book, "The Long Way Home".

I am setting this up to appear at midnight and as I write (at 8.00 p.m.) it is snowing, again!  Looking on the band on the weather map not long ago, we are in the 2 to 5 inch range.  It will be interesting to see what we wake up to in the morning.

The photo at the top shows my friend and me in the pasty shop.  I'm the one with the pony tail and my friend is in the orange jacket. I'm thinking I need to get a good hair cut as I haven't had it this long for many years.  I didn't realize Gregg had taken a photo until he sent it in an e-mail and I opened it when I got home.  He enjoys taking candid shots and likes to surprise me.  He also keeps telling me he likes my hair just the way it is, to which I say just like the beard he grew a couple of months ago, I will have to get it cut eventually.

That's about it for this weekend.  Hope you all have had a good one and will have a great week ahead.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A few bird photos and a Monday Ramble


The weekend was a busy one.  On Saturday I met up with my friends.  We went to see another televised live performance from the New York Met at our local movie theater.  It was Dmitri Tcherniakov's opera, Prince Igor and Ildar Abdrazakov starred in the title role and Oksana Dyka played his wife.  The whole production was absolutely marvelous and the time went swiftly.  I especially loved the poppy field scene, a splendid visual.  It would be super to see an actual performance in New York, but what I enjoy about these televised versions is that not only are several performers interviewed but you can also see what goes on behind the scenes.  It amazes me how quickly the sets can be taken apart.  To us out in the audience they do it with such ease.  Always impressive to see how well people can work together to perform monumental tasks.


A last minute decision had us all coming back to our place for the evening.  I suggested that it might be nice just to order Chinese food, and then we could settle down to a fun evening of conversation, without feeling rushed out of a restaurant.   We had a super time and everyone left at around 11.00 p.m. One of my friends stayed the night and she and I chatted until almost 1.00 p.m.  We were up again early and the next morning it was almost noon before she left for home.  What a great time we had.  


At around 2.30 p.m. our son arrived.  We were all getting together to watch the Oscars that evening. Our daughter-in-law and an old school friend of hers joined us a few hours later.  I'm not sure whether Gregg and I would have stayed up to watch if we hadn't had our family here, but it has become a tradition and the third year in a row that we have done this.  We all settled down to enjoy another evening of good conversation, while watching the TV and the events surrounding the Oscars.  It was a whole lot of fun and they didn't leave until midnight.   Fortunately the snow didn't start until the wee hours of the morning and they were all safely tucked up in their beds by that time.  It is nice that the weather co-operated and didn't spoil our evening tradition.  


This morning we slept in and woke up to a completely covered neighborhood with about five inches of snow.  Not so bad really. Gregg has already shoveled the driveway.  He said there wasn't as much moisture and it seemed a lot lighter than the last time.   The snowplow has been through the neighborhood, so thank you for helping to keep our roads clear when the snow is still falling. In fact, all the people who have to be out in all kinds of weather to keep us safe need a good pat on the back and our gratitude.  



We had lots of birds visiting the feeders and I see they need to be filled again.  


The new feeder is working out well.  The squirrels tried their best to get at the seed but it's proven too difficult for them, they can't quite get a good grasp and they rely on the peanuts I throw out first thing.


 I am sure the birds are happy that they don't have to compete. 


 So that's what's been going on this weekend.  I hope you've all had a good one and that you're week ahead will be great.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Visiting my old haunts virtual style.

Gregg came across this video on YouTube and knew I would enjoy it.  I spent a very happy few minutes seeing some of the old sights I knew so well.  We didn't actually move down to South Devon until I was 15 years of age in 1965, but many years before that, twice a year, we would spend a holiday not too far away from Torquay (pronounced 'Torkee' for those who don't know the area), and visited the town frequently before I actually worked there in the mid 70s.


In those years before our move we would often take my Grandmother on holiday with us.  She was my Mother's Mum.  One year we stayed in a small hole-in-the-wall hotel (not in Torquay but I did spot it on the video) and I remember my grandmother complaining that the bed was so damp she couldn't sleep in it.  It indeed was.  It was early in the year, we were by the ocean and everywhere was damp, there was no lovely central heating back in those days.  My Dad took Nanny's room and she slept with my Mum.  Did they complain about the damp bed?  Probably not, they would not want to make a fuss.  It was March or April and the place didn't get many holiday makers at that time of the year, we were out of season. The climate was still cold and damp, and if this small hotel was a bit damp you just made do until it became tolerable.  Besides, to us at that age it was another adventure.  Funny what you think of when you look back.  

Our twice-yearly holidays were spent in caravans (campers) on the side of a hill.  There's a scene in the video where you can see caravans in much the same setting as ours was and Gregg said, "Is that your place?"  "Well," I said, "those caravans are a lot posher than the ones we stayed in, all painted smartly like that, and besides that, they are miniatures from the model village nearby."  I may have had a bit of a twinkle in the eye when I said it.  He didn't realize they weren't the real thing.  I had to smile.  To be fair, Gregg didn't know about the miniature village and they were very good models, even though the people were looking a bit 'wooden'. 

If you would like to take a look at Babbacombe Model Village, you can click on the link here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

THANK YOU GENIE!

I had a lovely surprise just before Christmas, a very special package arrived from blogging friend  Genie of Climbing the Digital Mountain One Step at a Time.  Genie's blog can be found here.  I enjoy visiting and saw here the super ornaments on her Christmas tree.  If you follow that link you'll see why.  Genie you have the most marvelous and best display of English ornaments that I have ever seen.  I spotted one that I have (the Bobbie) and left a comment telling Genie of it.  Also the telephone bank with the little girl making a call?  I have that too.  However, the one she sent I did not have and it was a lovely surprise.  Isn't she darling?



Genie wrote to me and said she had one she would like to send me.  I was thrilled!  You can see it above.  She also sent me a beautiful quilted Christmas Tree Decoration.....



along with the prettiest hand-made tag I have ever had with the sweetest sentiments on front and back, and do you see the Bobbie pin?  



It had a lovely story behind it which she shared in a letter, and it came all the way from England from when Genie visited with her students.  Thank you Genie!  If I thanked you a thousand times it wouldn't be enough for the joy these gifts brought me this Christmas.

And so another Christmas is past and I will be putting our decorations away soon.  It's always a little sad as I tuck each treasure safely back in its box for next time.  Here are a few of mine for you to see.  My Bobbie ornament that I also saw on Genie's tree. 



Here is a butterfly ornament that I bought while in Germany.  I gave my niece one so that we could think of each other and be connected at Christmastime.  I will be hanging this out all year but I thought it made a nice ornament also.



I think I have shared this one before.  She's actually a sun-catcher I picked up in Hawaii several years ago, but I love to hang her on the tree.  



Santa with an armful of bunnies.



This one came home with us after we visited Mount Rushmore last September.



Now for the larger decorations.  Genie's quilted Christmas Tree was placed on the mantle with Santa. 



And this is how I usually decorate the hearth each year, but I didn't put out nearly as much as I usually do.  There were still lots of teddies that didn't make it down, and also two large unopened boxes of goodies not touched.  They will have to wait until next time.



You may have read before but if you are new to this blog I have been an avid teddy bear collector, and this is the one that started it all.  My parents gave Teddy to me on my first birthday, so it is 62 years old.  As far back as I can remember he has had one eye and hardly any fur, but I love him dearly.  



The standing Santa was a gift from Gregg's sister several years ago.  It's my favorite Santa of all the ones I have.  I love the fact that he is ready for the wilderness with his snow shoes and thick blanket coat and heavy boots.  And there is a little bird nesting in the tree he carries.  



I thought I had stopped buying Teddy Bears until I walked into our hotel room in Medora, North Dakota, and saw Teddy Roosevelt propped up on the pillows on the bed.  Yes I thought I had stopped adding to my collection finally but how could I not bring him home with me?  He is on the right hand side of the photo.And then when we were in Germany at my niece's wedding, I spotted the two little teddies in a shop in Gengenbach.  They are the ones on each side of the white teddy.  They came home with me too.  My sister gave me the one in the red gingham shirt, and also the little white teddy in front of it.  All very special to me.  In fact, most all of the teddies I have are of sentimental value and it would be nigh on impossible for me to part with them.  Many were given to me from family and friends, some who have now passed on, and each one is a connection to them so no, I couldn't ever give them away, not until the time is right and that will be a very long time from now.





This little chap came back with me on a whim, a little bobble head Mountain Sheep when we visited Glacier National Park.  No, I didn't see any of the live sheep but I was happy to bring him back home with me.


And that's it for my collection but I'm still going, so keep the coffee/tea hot, or if you've had enough maybe you can come back later and read the rest.

Our Christmas this year was very quiet but enjoyable.  It was just the two of us and our son and daughter-in-law came over for a few hours where we enjoyed a typical Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding Dinner with all the fixings.  When growing up in England my Mum would always cook turkey but as we have turkey at Thanksgiving over here, and none of us are big on too much turkey so soon after, I asked 'my boys' years ago what they would like me to cook.  Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pud won hands down, so that's been our traditional Christmas Day Dinner ever since.

We had a great time, chatting and laughing, enjoying dinner and opening up gifts afterwards.  We always appreciate when they come over as afterwards they join my daughter-in-law's family and do the same thing all over again.   It all went by far too quickly and about an hour later when Gregg and I are still talking about their visit, we realized that we had taken not one blessed photo the whole time they were here.  To tell you the truth we were shocked.  But there you go.  

The same thing happened when days earlier we had several friends over for a pre-Christmas brunch/get-together and the same thing happened there, no photos!  We all had cameras and we all forgot to use them.   For goodness sake!  I'll need to post a big notice on the fridge door next time, "DO NOT FORGET TO TAKE PHOTOS!"

A great time was had by all and we will just have to remember it fondly in our head.  

We also spent the New Year quietly and managed to stay up until twelve and welcomed 2014.  It was also very quiet in our neighborhood as there was no sound of fireworks anywhere, not even a sparkler to light up the night.  I checked, I looked out the window and listened. but nothing.  Fine by us, and not to sound too fuddy or bah-humbug-ish, we were ready for sleep.

Gregg and I popped over to Middleburg for lunch a few days after, and here are a couple of pictures we took there.



Decorations at The Common Grounds, our favorite sandwich shop.



Last Friday we decided to see the movie "Walter Mitty" with Ben Stiller.  An added twist on the original tale, and the scenery was gorgeous as Walter went traveling.  Not saying anything more in case you intend to see it, but I thought it was a delightful movie and one I highly recommend.  Comical, sweet, uplifting and we came out with a smile.  Also the music was super, I'm going to treat us to the soundtrack and probably the movie when it comes out on a DVD.



They still had the Christmas Tree across the street and so the cameras came out this time!



But first we woke up to snow.  We haven't had nearly the amount that other blogging friends have had and a lot of it has melted now but it looked real pretty when I poked my head out the back.  This is looking towards my neighbor's house.



Our deck a little later.



Back to across the street at the movie theater where we had fun taking photos of the Christmas Tree.  Here's Gregg taking a picture of me taking a picture of him.






Thank goodness for cell phones.






And company's coming so I have to get off here and sort a few things out.  We had one of our nephews staying overnight a few days ago.  Lucky guy was off to the California sunshine for a week to meet up with some old college buddies and watch a football game.  

We are expecting to get it a lot chillier tonight.  Again, not as bad as some parts and I hope those of you who are having to deal with harsher weather stay safe and warm.

This is our forecast for today and for the next few days.



I will finish up as I started, thanking my blogging friend Genie for helping to make it an extra special Christmas this year, and I just read her blog where she said she has had to put up with a nasty stomach virus.  Maybe you can go over there - link here - and wish her well.    Feel better soon Genie!