Ain’t it the truth

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow, what a ride!'”

San Francisco

This quote is taken from a Nissan commercial, but I don’t think they ever made a car quite like this.



We’ve moved our blog from

We moved our blog from to our new website,  Please excuse our mess while we are under construction, I am struggling with designing the new site to be a regular website as well as a blog.

We moved for more accessibility. seemed very restrictive both in using it and in trying to find other blogs we would be interested in following.  It was not that intuitive.  I hope designing this website proves a little easier and offers more options for designing and sharing content.

This is a creative project for Laura and I.  We are trying to challenge ourselves to be more creative.  We are constantly designing projects to help us improve our photography, be more conscious about food selection and creating great menus, and learning to be in the moment.

It would be great to have a ton of followers, but it is the process that I am getting the most out of.


It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

It truly is for me.  I love Christmas for several many reasons.

I begin decorating the inside of our home the weekend of Thanksgiving, while my husband is decorating the outside. We have a very festive home in and out, and I love waking every morning and turning on the tree.  My Santa collection always gives me a happy, holiday feeling. The Poinsettias are on the tables and the holiday stuffed animals are scattered throughout.  It is fun!

I make lists and lots of them.  There are several lists of menus I will cook while the family is together.  Then there is the grocery lists – I have several, shopping lists, cleanings list.  Checking things off my lists shows me I am accomplishing goals as we move closer to the  main event.

My shopping is finished and all the packages that need to be mailed have arrived at their destinations.  Yea! That is a big relief.

This year, right now, our daughter and her family, which includes a granddaughter, are on their way here for the holidays.  It will be a long, eleven hour drive for them, but hey, they are young.  Last year we made the drive and we are not nearly as young as we used to be.

Our son and his family live here, and that includes a granddaughter, so the whole family will be together and that is my most favorite time ever.  I absolutely love it when we have the whole family together.

The Christmas meal will include my mom who is 91, my older sister (no need to mention her age) my nephew and his family which includes a great-niece and our whole family.  Does it get any better than that?  Well, yes, we are missing my other two siblings, including Tricia and Devin and my brother and his two girls.

I like listening to the Christmas carols.  They play in the house and in the car. Some make me feel happy – like Burl Ives and “Holly, Jolly Christmas”.  Some make me feel nostalgic, like “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”, and some give me a feeling of thankfulness and can bring a tear to my eyes, like “O Holy Night”.

I am a spiritual person.  Realizing that the Christ was not really born this time of year, and He would not be impressed with the way we have totally forgotten the real reason for his birth, I still try to keep the remembrance of Him separate from the Christmas hype. “O Holy Night” brings me back and makes me think again about how awesome the occasion was and how awestruck I should be when thinking about that sweet baby, born in a manger, just for me.

So, I guess you could say I love the pagan part of the holiday and the religious part of the holiday. As I said at first, I love Christmas for several reasons.

The holiday began last night with family coming over for some white chili and the best cornbread ever (a recipe from the Baldpate Inn near Estes Park, CO) and the holiday overeating will continue through next Saturday.  There is enough food and goodies to last us for weeks.  So, it will be leftovers for Dale and I after everyone has gone home.

It is the most wonderful time of the year – enjoy!



China and “Gotcha Day.”

17 Years ago I was in China with my sister. Tricia was adopting a precious one-year-old baby girl and we went to bring her home.

Oh, she was so adorable!  All the children were just precious.  We were in a group of several parents, and we all traveled together, so we got to know each other pretty well.  Wonderful parents, wonderful babies. Of course, ours was the cutest.

We spent several days traveling around and doing some sightseeing while all the paperwork was being handled, and it was an unforgettable experience.  The Chinese people are so friendly. They would come up and admire our babies and try to show us how happy they were we were there despite the language barrier.  Another interesting thing about the Chinese women is they feel very strongly about having hats on those babies.  We had one woman stop us and smile and gesture that Devin needed her hat on.

We were not in the metropolitan areas, we were more urban. I was hesitant to go to China because I am not a very adventurous eater and I was not so sure what there was that I would like.  Turns out, nothing. My sister had a different experience with the food and came home and incorporated a lot of the menu into her and Devin’s eating habits.  I lost eight pounds in two weeks while there.  Something about the whole chicken – and I mean after it was cooked – just left me wanting.  Not all their food was bad, but in my opinion, most of it was. I subsided on roasted sweet potatoes, instant oatmeal I brought from home and M&Ms.

That little one-year-old is soon to be 18.  Tricia and I met Devin for the first time on December 8.  We call that “Gotcha Day.”  So, instead of her birthday, I always give her a gift on “Gotcha Day.” It is something only I do as I was the only other family member in China at that time. It is special to Devin and I, and I am so thankful we have that between us. Her mom frets every year that I might forget and she says Devin looks so forward to my card.  But, I would never forget such a special day as December 8.

“Gotcha Day.”  It is a very special day.


The Thanksgiving holiday was great – if only we weren’t all sick

We had eight family members gathered in Missouri for the Thanksgiving feast. It was a wonderful time, and my nephew and his wife went above and beyond to make it memorable.  It was my husband who made the memory we won’t forget.

Dale played golf in freezing weather with a high wind and moisture in the air.  Now, my nephew played in the same weather, but he is much younger. My husband knows better than to play in weather like that – well not really since he will play in the snow if he has a colorful ball.

My husband came down with a cold. And when he gets a cold, I want to ship him off somewhere far away.  He coughs and coughs and coughs and blows his nose and makes sounds I don’t like to hear. A cold always goes to his chest, and he can choke on air, so imagine all that congestion trying to find its way out. To put it bluntly, I hate it when he gets a cold.

As families will do when they get together, we played a lot of games, mostly with cards.  We played poker, ninety-nine and dominoes.  All of those games require us to touch stuff everyone else has touched; I think you get the picture here.  We are all sick. If you did not get sick playing games, you got sick riding in the car where we were spreading germs like in an airplane.

I generally put my Christmas decorations up the weekend of Thanksgiving, but since we were going to be out of town, I put them up early.  Thank goodness! It will be several days before I feel in the festive mood.

So, I am in my chair in the living room, in my sweats, wrapped in a blanket by the fire drinking a hot toddy, watching TV and admiring my Christmas tree.

It could be worse, I could not have a tree up to admire, and then I would be stressing about that.

The other problem with the holiday was, we were missing Tricia and Devin.  I am one of those who thinks all families should live close to one another. But, alas, that is not the way of the world anymore.


Our trip to Napa California wine country

My sister invited me to join her tennis group,eight ladies counting me, on a wonderful girls trip to Napa and San Francisco, California.  We began our journey on a Thursday where we flew into San Francisco and traveled into Napa where our first adventure began at Domain Chandon.  The group, with the exception of me, likes Champagne and this place has some of the best. It was a beautiful setting and while they sipped on the bubbly, I roamed around and took some photos.  After that we made our way to a lovely house we had rented that had a pool and backed up to a vineyard (can I just say really wonderful setting).  My flight was very early and I was on central time, so by the time we made it the house, I was ready for bed.  Since we had a full few days ahead, I did not want to begin sleep deprived.  We had many activities planned including the rental of a limousine where we tasted at four different wineries – we determined driving would not be a good idea since we were all going to imbibe.  Some tennis was played (this was a tennis group after all – I on the other hand don’t play.  Again, some photo taking time for me). We shopped, we ate, a lot, and we drank, a lot. On Sunday we had brunch plans at a french restaurant in Yountville named Bouchon.  While trying to decide on which dish I wanted, the server was telling us about the wine selections.  My favorite wine is a Chardonnay and she described this one as having a buttery flavor and a hint of oak. Great!  My favorite!  I heard her say the wine was $25.00 a carafe.  Wow!  I thought, that sounds great.  That is the perfect blend of flavors I like in a wine so I ordered a glass.  It was so good, I ordered another glass.  The food was a bit expensive, but I could see that on the menu.  It was truly wonderful food.  Then the bill came.  Well, my hearing was off, because it was not $25.00 a carafe, it was $25.00 a glass – and I had two!! That is the most expensive wine I have ever had.  And the worst part is I don’t even know the name of the wine so I can impress someone with casually mentioning I had a couple glasses of ????I Oh well, I was on vacation wasn’t I?  When I got home and was telling my husband the wine story, I mentioned only the one glass.  Sometimes he thinks I don’t listen well, and I saw no need to confirm that thought.  All in all it was a wonderful trip, and I appreciated my sister asking me to tag along.


Our London trip began a journey we have continued.

It is interesting how selfish we are when we are growing up.  I am nine younger than Tricia, and I remember when she came home from the hospital – she cried all the time.  In a fit, I remember asking my mom if she could “keep that baby from disturbing my sleep!” I soon became a teenager and we all know how incorrigible teenagers can be.  If I could go back in time I would handle that differently today.  Younger siblings look up to older siblings, so I would have incorporated her into my life more.  But, alas, we cannot undue the past.  So our present and our future are filled with wonderful times together and a close bond that will not be broken.

The London trip was in 1988.  I know this because it was the first time I applied for a passport.  Since then I have had my passport renewed three times and will have to do it again next year.

We stayed in a tiny apartment that a pilot rented out when he was flying.  It was very near Russell Square and we could hop right on the underground.

It was dreary weather, but that is to be expected in London.  Our photos all seem a bit drab to me.  Of course we were using film cameras and we were amateurs at best.

At Westminster Abby, we came in a side door, and I somehow missed seeing the sign that no photos were allowed.  A Cardinal in long flowing red robes, shoes and hat came and told me in no uncertain terms that I had to leave.  When I tried to explain I did not see the sign, he was unimpressed – and quite rude.  Well, growing up Catholic I was familiar with the hierarchy of the Catholic clergy and knew him to be fairly high up there.  However, I was not intimidated by him and told him I was with my sister and would not leave until I found her.  I (very slowly) looked around for her and he had eagle eyes on me the whole time.  Finally, I had to adjourn to the outdoors and wait.  I am posting two of my forbidden photos.  Before I had these developed I was sure I had a treasure worth lots of money, but you can see they are too dark to see much of anything.

Life is meant to be shared.  It is short and as you age you realize how much time can be lost if you do not grab everything you can from it as it passes in front of of you.  Tricia and I are making the most of our friendship and our sibling relationship.  I love that!

Westminter Abby - Forbidden photoWestminister Abby 1988


Birthday Trips

My sister and I were born 1 day apart, 9 years apart, April 24th and April 25th.  I was basically her 9th birthday present.  One she was not excited about and one she held against me until I was about 15.  Age 8 and age 17 do not go well together.  It wasn’t until she moved away and I was about 15 before we starting building the relationship we have today.

When I worked for an airline between 1982 and 1993, we started making birthday trips together.  This was long before we got interested in photography, long before digital photography, so the photos are not of great quality, even by our amateurish standards.  The ones I post today were from our trip to London.  I don’t even know what year it is, maybe Laura can say.  I really loved our tradition of traveling for our birthdays, but once I no longer worked for the airline and then I was self-employed and Devin came along and it just got harder to commit to annual birthday trips.  Once Devin is in college, maybe we can start up again, this time to work on our photography hobby as well.

We had a great time in London.  This was before they closed Windsor Castle grounds to the public.  You could walk around the grounds and see the castle pretty up close.  I wish we had toured the castle, and I can’t remember why we did not.  Windsor is a quaint little town and it was still when I took my daughter in 2009.

Even back when photography was not a serious interest for both of us, Laura was busy taking photographs and managed to get herself kicked out of Westminster Abbey.  I was wondering around and could not figure out where she had gotten to….she was waiting outside for me to find her.  You know, back when cell phones did not exist.  She couldn’t just text me to say she was outside.  I had to find her.  She should elaborate on how that situation unfolded.  I don’t know if she has any photos from that trip.  I scanned all of my developed photos into digital format a few years ago.

I remember we had a lovely tea service in some small cafe with clotted cream (which I did not know what to do with back then).  When I went back with Devin in 2009, I could not find a little cafe that offered afternoon tea.  I still don’t know why, buy when I spoke to some people about tea time in London, someone told me that most people make their own tea at home or in their office.  Too bad, that afternoon tea at a little bistro table on the sidewalk was very nice.  You would think with the popularity of Starbucks, afternoon tea would have become more popular out of the office than in, but then, I am American, not British, so who knows what they think of the Starbucks stronghold.

I wish I could remember more about my trips with Laura and trips in general, but come to find out, I have a terrible memory.  Thank God for pictures, or I would be really lost.  I don’t remember where we stayed, but I was never real concerned about accommodations, still am not.  I remember visiting Bath, the Tower of London, but not too may real specifics.  Let’s see what Laura can add.