Showing posts with label 'lilhoohaa writing challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 'lilhoohaa writing challenge. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tuesday Wines, Wednesday Chores

This is Day 13 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is The day after last night. Please visit the other participants for more stories.

This topic could conjure up all sorts of tales from the truly bizarre to the painfully mundane. Last night was fun but definitely not bizarre, and today leans more toward the mundane.



The third Tuesday of each month is our wine club meeting (American Wine Society). We are currently meeting in a private room in a downtown restaurant, where many of us have dinner first. 

After dinner, we began with a half hour social where we chatted with friends, talking about our cats, the weather and the dreadful parking situation. 

During the meeting, Sara Gutterbock, from Mutual Distributing Co., gave a delightful and educational presentation of Ancient Wines for Modern Times, and we tasted two whites and three reds, all from Italy, as she talked in detail about the varietals, history, locations, and ideal growing conditions for each. 

These were not your run-of-the-mill grocery store wines, not that there is anything wrong with that. That's where most of mine come from, but many of these varietals are rarely found outside their region. For the whites we had a blend of 25% Pinot Blanco, 25% Pinot Grigio and 60% Tocai Friulano (now called Tai) and a 100% Garganega Soave Classico. For the reds, the first was a blend of  90% Monica, 5% Carigano, and 5% Bovale Sardo, followed by two single-grape wines, Nerello Cappuccio and Uva di Troia.

We sampled the wines with a variety of cheese, crackers and salami that complemented the wines, which were all available for order. We enjoyed them all, and ordered some for ourselves.

As for the day after, it begins with watching Netflix and writing this post while hubby has breakfast with a group of amateur radio enthusiasts. Then comes the more mundane task of hand-washing all the tasting glasses from last night, unloading the dishwasher and a host of other daily chores. 

Rumble, rumble, thump -there goes the garbage truck. The recycle truck will be along later -then we'll haul the bins back to the house. The neighbors across the street have a large piece of trench-digging equipment at work in their yard. It is 26 degrees, and I don't envy those working outside as we anticipate the onset of snow showers this afternoon.

Yep, just another Wednesday...the day after Tuesday night.



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Friday, January 30, 2015

Spotlight on Sophie

This is the final day of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we wrap up a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is And then there was one.

And then there was one...and she thinks she's the queen of the house.

For over 20 years we have had two or more cats, but after the passing Rosie and Dood within a year of each other, Sophie now has the spotlight.


She loves boxes


One man's trash is another man's treasure.  Sophie had been waiting a long time for a home when we found her.  She's been with us for over seven years.



What cat doesn't love a basket of fresh laundry?



When we first met her, she was called Paris. It looks like she loves to pose for the camera, but really she does this just because she wants to.




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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Steamed

This is day 19 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Steamed.

Image Source: Bkt Tinggi BBQ
Steamed seafood is a favorite of mine.  There was a place on the beach in Florida that we used to go to for their steamed mussels. It was across the street from the Gulf, perched on the bank of the intracoastal. The view was fantastic and the mussels were equally as good.

We would sit by the window and order a bowl of mussels and a couple glasses of chardonnay.  This was accompanied by their delicious bread and butter. Yum! 

Sadly they closed, and even though they reopened a few years later in another location, it was not the same. I continue to order mussels but I haven't found any to compare to those.

On another note, I was a little steamed yesterday when a bottle of olive oil slipped through an opening in my cart and broke at my feet, dousing my shoes and jeans.  Ugh!



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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Imagine That!

This is day 18 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Imagine that...

Originally published November 15, 2009, I tweaked it for today's challenge post.

Image Source: Pixabay
Imagine that we could vacation on the moon. I heard recently that there is water on the moon.  Now why it has taken NASA and a whole host of scientists 40 years to discover this, I'm not sure.  But what a breakthrough.  This could be the resort of the future, the Lunar Riveria.

Let's think about this.  We need transportation, shuttle pilots, flight attendants, gourmet food service and in-flight movies, which means more shuttles, larger accommodations, more pilots (read astronauts) and flight attendants. To build the resort, we need engineers, architects and plumbers trained in minimal gravity design...think toilets.   We don't want that stuff flowing upstream now do we?

As for electricity, how would we produce that in space.  Burn coal?  Can't.  Fire won't burn without oxygen.  Besides we've already polluted one planet.  Let's hope we've learned something.  As far as I know, there is no wind on the moon, so wind-generated power is not an option.  I know, how about giant solar panels so we can capture solar energy and store it.  If you can store solar-heated water, and power lights and radios, there should be a way to power other things.  This is not new technology.  The concept of solar energy has been around for many years.  As a child I had a solar powered radio - actually I still have it, and it still works.  However, the methods of collecting it, storing it and using it have surely improved over the years.

All of these measures are of little consequence, if we cannot breathe.  This brings us to greatest obstacle - how do we get oxygen in adequate supply for survival?  Possibly large tanks of oxygen and a distribution system?  Too bad we can't pipe it in like natural gas. Picture that pipeline!  To go outside one would need to don a space suit in order to survive the lack of air pressure.  Otherwise all the liquid in your body would boil, and what happens next would not be pretty.  There is an up side to this.  The fashion designers would all be competing to come up with the hottest new line of space apparel. Good-bye itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini.  I guess space age swim suits would kinda take the fun out of things - at least for the guys!  That's a argument for indoor swimming pools - heated with the solar panels, especially given that there is an approximate 500 degree swing in temperatures on the moon's surface.  Bottom line is step foot outside without protective gear and you're dead!


At this point I am thinking we need a much larger shuttle system involving cargo transports for the building materials, oxygen tanks, solar panels and storage units, contractors, etc. and that is just to provide life-sustaining structures.  


Speaking of life-sustaining measures, what about food? In such extreme conditions, crops can't be grown or or livestock raised, so all food would have to be transported from earth until we can figure out climate controlled farming.  This would definitely require more transports and create more jobs.

This is just the beginning... Financially speaking, your Lunar Riveria getaway will make a Hawaiian vacation seem like a trip to Walmart, and cause your credit cards to expire on the spot.  So, who's paying for this adventure?  There are many questions unanswered...after all we just discovered that there is water on the moon.


Also see A Lunar Vacation, Part 2.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

That's Awkward!

This is day 17 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is That awkward dinner party.


We've all had that awkward moment..."uh, sorry,
am I interrupting something?"

Image Source: zhengman

Hmmm, it looks like things are about to get
awkward at the Queen's table!


Image Source: Yamino



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Monday, January 26, 2015

Quote of the Week

This is day 16 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is 10 Years Ago, I was probably ___.

A friend may be waiting behind a stranger's face.
 
― Maya AngelouLetter to My Daughter



The year was 2005, we had just gotten through 15 months of insanity where hubby traveled on business 2-3 weeks at a time.

I happened to read a small ad in the newspaper about a new wine shop that had opened up near us. We weren't all that much into wine at the time, due mostly to lack of knowledge and places that held tastings.

That was about to change...but that's not all that changed. We started going to the wine tastings on Saturday afternoons, and it was not only educational, it was a social thing. The owners formed a chapter of the American Wine Society which we joined.

There were wine dinners, live music and later Friday night get togethers at the wine shop. Unfortunately the local business was not enough to sustain them, and they had to close the shop. On the last of these gatherings we decided that we wanted to keep this going, so now we get together about once a month, bringing food and wine to share. We've been doing this for nearly 8 years. We have had dinners, taken trips, had parties, gone to weddings and rang in the New Year. 

A number of us even attend the same church now.  All because I saw this one little ad in the newspaper. Was it fate, karma? I don't know, but I don't think it was just chance. Whatever the reason, I'm grateful for and value all these friendships tremendously.
 

So what was I doing 10 years ago?  A lot less.  Cheers!


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Friday, January 23, 2015

Seven Shades of Frosty

This is day 15 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Frosty.


Image Source: rocor
Most words have more than one meaning or definition.  The record of 464 definitions is held by the little 3-letter word, set.  Usually when we see a word, one meaning comes to mind first. For example, when I first saw today's prompt, I thought of Frosty the Snowman.  Below are the ones that popped up most frequently, although the first three aren't technically definitions.
  1. Frosty the Snowman, the song, written and recorded in 1950.
  2. Frosty the Snowman, the TV show, first aired on December 7, 1969.
  3. Wendy's Frosty was introduced in 1969 when the first Wendy's was opened.
  4. Weather related.  Very cold with frost forming on surfaces.
  5. Demeanor.  Cold, unfriendly manner; giving someone a frosty look.
  6. Color.  Silvery-white, as in frosty hair.
  7. Military term.  To be on edge or to be ready.

What do you think of when you see Frosty?




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    Thursday, January 22, 2015

    Bears, Beans and Beer

    This is day 14 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Bears, Beans and Beer.

    Having no critical case for the first time in months, Charlie decided his team deserved some time off, so a long weekend was in order.  He and Alex and some of the other guys decided to go camping, get in a little fishing and enjoy some real down time. These were all single guys whose lives were, for the most part, dominated by their demanding jobs, leaving little time for a social life. Alex was the exception, but he was between relationships at the moment, although Jenna did cross his mind now and then.


    "Let's set up camp here," Charlie suggested.  "It is close to the lake with plenty of trees for wood and a clearing for building our campfire. It looks like there is enough light left to put up the tents, build the fire pit and catch ourselves some dinner."

    "Hey Alex," called Bobby, "You want to tell us what it was like  for you and that pretty little gal to be rescued by SWAT?"

    Alex glared at his friend, "I've already explained what happened. You try being kidnapped, drugged, blindfolded and locked up.  Not funny."

    "Let it go," said Charlie, "we're here to relax - no shop talk, no cases.  Kyle, you ready to go see what we can pull out of the lake, while these young 'uns finish setting up camp." Kyle grinned.  He and Charlie were only a few years older than Alex and Bobby, but sometimes they exaggerated the span, just to get under their skin...good naturedly, of course.

    As the last of the light faded, they still hadn't caught any fish so they headed back to camp. Alex had the campfire going, anticipating some tasty grilled fish.  Seeing the glum faces approaching him, He shouted "I guess it'll be beans tonight," reaching for the frying pan.  He popped open a couple cans of beans and tossed in some vienna sausage.

    "Where's the beer?" called Kyle. "After two hours of sitting there feeding the fish...I swear one even broke the surface and thanked me for his dinner...I sure could use a cold one - or three."

    "Over by the log," replied Bobby, "wanna toss me one, too?"

    With plates filled with beans, sausage and the bread Charlie had grabbed at the bakery on the way out of town, they sat around the campfire eating and swapping stories, the tales growing taller with each beer. Camaraderie at its finest, taking in all that mother nature had to offer, and tomorrow was a brand new day.

    The fire put safely out - it wouldn't do for FBI agents to start a forest fire - the men turned in. Charlie and Alex were sharing a tent as were Kyle and Bobby.  The tents were set up with the entrances facing one another.

    It was peaceful with the crickets and tree frogs rhythmically chirping their nightly chorus.

    As dawn broke, the men stirred and started digging through the fire pit for coals to get the fire going for breakfast.  Soon bacon was sizzling, the aroma wafting on the morning breeze. 
    "Charlie that's some mighty fine coffee.  It'd curl my hair if I had any left," laughed Kyle.

    Bobby went to fetch the rest of the bread for toast, and came racing back pale and empty handed. "I saw bear tracks behind your tent," looking at Charlie.

    "Did you leave any food out last night?" asked Charlie calmly.

    "I don't think so...I don't know, maybe.  Uh oh." Bobby groaned.

    As they stood there debating whether to pack up and leave or hoist their food from a branch and just go fishing, they heard a rustle  and all four heads turned. 

    More rustling, twigs snapping, imaginations soaring.  Four FBI agents straining to see into the woods. Bobby spots something moving, "BEARS!" Three FBI agents draw their guns, staring, waiting. "Bobby" shouted Kyle, "WHERE ARE YOU?"  

    "Up here, b-be-bears." Bobby was perched 20 feet up a tree.

    About that time out of the underbrush walked the biggest.....wild...Turkey.




    For more adventures of Charlie and Alex:

    Aliens, Really?
    The Colombians
    The Key
    Stranded
    The Last Laugh
    The Morning After




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    Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    Ten Tips for Surviving Clutter

    This is day 13 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Organizing.

    Are you an "a place for everything and everything in it's place" kind of person, or do things just fall where they may and you walk around stuff for days (or weeks) and then realizing that what takes hours to sort through would have only take minutes a day to put away?


    Do you say, "but I don't have enough storage"?  Do you find that getting organized is easy but staying that way is harder?

    Here are a few tips to get you organized and help you stay that way.
    1. As suggested above, the first step in organization is finding a place for everything.  For example if your shoes are scattered from the back door to the bedroom, try getting some plastic shoe boxes with lids and storing them on a shelf in your closet. If you still have the original boxes just use those.

    2. Trying to find a receipt for the appliance you bought six months ago can be challenging.  Get a file box or accordion file folder and staple the receipt to the instruction manual and file it under the appropriate letter such as C for camera, instead of N for Nikon.

    3. Does tax time role around and have you scrambling to gather all the pertinent information you have saved throughout the year?  At the beginning of each year, make up a folder labeled 2015 Tax Information.  When you get receipts, pay taxes, make donations, etc., place the documents in the folder and you're good to at tax time.

    4. Don't be a collector unless you are into Art.  Freebies are fine, but a dozen coffee mugs or T-shirts that you don't use or wear just take up valuable space and add to the clutter.  A good rule of thumb is when something comes in - something else goes out.

    5. Eliminating duplicates is another way of decluttering.  If you have already collected those 12 coffee mug or T-shirts, try winnowing it down to your two favorites and donate the rest.

    6. If lack of space is an issue, try and find interesting and decorative ways of adding more storage. Invest in a closet organizer, or put up shelves in the bathroom to hold towels and other toiletries. If you have room consider adding a baker's rack in the kitchen.

    7. Is your closet bulging with clothes that no longer fit or that you haven't worn since Reagan was in office? On the whole, we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time and the rest just hang there collecting dust, so cull out the overlooked, unloved clothes from decades past and donate them. They are now called vintage clothing and there is a market for them.

    8. Are you constantly misplacing things or making laps around the house to find your keys?  Try installing a hook by the door for your keys. Add a shelf for your sunglasses or other miscellaneous items you grab on the way out the door.

    9. Do you find your spend more time searching for supplies for a task than it takes to complete the task itself?  Plastic school boxes or shoe boxes will help organize such things as your manicure tools, kid's crafts or school projects, art supplies, or letter writing (pens, note paper, stamps).

    10. Don't wait until clutter overtakes you.  Remember it takes longer to dig your way out than to deal with it on an ongoing basis. You may want to tackle your kitchen weekly, and your closet twice a year, perhaps Spring and Fall.

    What are some of your organizing tips or solutions?



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    Tuesday, January 20, 2015

    I Was A Newbie

    This is day 12 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Newbies.


    Image Source: Bloglovin.com
    No matter where we are now one thing is for certain, we have all been a "newbie" at least once in our lives. A new kid in school, a new job, the new player on the team, and a graduate entering the workforce are all examples of a newbie.

    A recently licensed driver is also a newbie.  Remember the day you got your drivers license? Things are different now, but when I was learning to drive, I took the drivers ed classes and got my permit at 15.  The day I turned 16, Daddy drove me to the DMV, where I proceeded to take the written test, and then the dreaded road test.  That road test nearly did me in.  I turned the three point turn into four points and a few other minor infractions, but I passed. Afterward...Daddy drove me back home, or to school, I don't remember which.

    At that point, I thought I had learned to drive.  I hadn't really driven a lot with my permit, so even though I had the license to prove it, my lack of experience meant I was still a newbie.

    Shortly after I got my license, I convinced my Mom to let me drive to school one day.  So cool was I.  After school a friend and I drove the few blocks to Mayberry's for ice cream.  Ms. Cool had left her purse on the chair at school.  No license, no money and driving my Mom's car. Fortunately, we made it back to the school, I collected my purse and drove home with no one being the wiser.  Some things are best left unsaid.

    What are some of your early driving experiences?




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    Monday, January 19, 2015

    Quote of the Week

    This is day 11 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Word for the year.


    Words have no power... which you do not give them. - Bruce McAllister The Village Sang to the Sea: A Memoir of Magic

    Words are just an assembly of letters.  Once we assemble the letters into words, we give them a definition. Now that the words have meaning, we use them to communicate. This is where it gets tricky. You know the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"?  

    I see two ways of looking at this. False, of course words can hurt me. Just think of all the cruel things that are said that diminish our self-esteem, leave us feeling isolated, even humiliated. This happens when we allow the words to have that power.  


    Or it's true, and words cannot hurt me... if I don't let them.  If we can put aside the hurtful words, we take away their power.  This is not an easy thing to do and many people suffer from careless, thoughtless or malicious remarks.


    For this challenge, we were supposed to focus on a word for the year.  Since we're just getting started I don't know which words will be trendy this year.  Last year these ten words made the short list:  Culture, Nostalgia, Insidious, Legacy, Feminism, Je ne sais quoi, Innovation, Surreptitious, Autonomy, Morbidity.

    This is my list.


    What is your word (or words) for the year?

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    Friday, January 16, 2015

    The Morning After

    This is day 10 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is The morning after.

    "Hey Alex, you don't look so good," observed Charlie, "where were you yesterday?"  Not much got past Charlie.

    Image Source: Wikipedia
    "I guess you haven't heard.  Well, in a nutshell, I was having coffee with an angel, and the next thing I know I had been manipulated into staking out her lunch date who turned out to be a member of the mob, as was her ex-boyfriend, and she was involved.  They kidnapped us, blindfolded us and took us to an abandoned building.  Since we were outnumbered and to protect the girl, I went along thinking I could gain an advantage but they jabbed us with a needle and it was lights out. While we were out, they took the flash drive and were probably going to come back and finish us off after they verified what was on the flash drive."

    "After we regained our senses, it took us an hour to get the blindfolds off.  They took my gun, badge and Jenna's purse. Fortunately for us they neglected to take my phone so I dialed 911. The police traced the call and sent officers, but they were ambushed when they arrived and were pinned down in the alley.  Jenna was freaked out by the gunfire and was screaming like a crazy person."

    "The officers called for reinforcements and in the meantime, I tinkered with the A/C vent to see if I could crawl out and free Jenna.  Once up there I saw that it was barely wide enough to crawl through...dang near got stuck a couple times.  I came out in a hallway about the time that SWAT arrived. Nothing like the FBI being rescued by SWAT."

    "They thought I was one of the mob at first since they had taken my gun and badge.  After we got that cleared up, we were questioned, and the henchmen were carted off to await their attorneys. Did I mention my head is still throbbing?"

    "Well," said Charlie, "you lived to see another day."

    "You know what they say...there's got to be a morning after," Alex quipped.

    "So, are you going to see her again?" grinned Charlie.




    For more adventures of Charlie and Alex:

    Aliens, Really?
    The Colombians
    The Key
    Stranded
    The Last Laugh


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    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    The Gossips

    This is day nine of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Dishing the Dirt.


    This painting is titled The Gossips and was painted by Norman Rockwell in 1948.
    Image Source: Gandalf's Gallery
    Norman Rockwell paints the perfect example of dishing the dirt, and it is my expectation that the first lady in the painting said something about the gentlemen in the green hat on the last row that made him a laughing stock. He seems mighty displeased with her.

    Who is the woman and what is her relationship with him? And in the interest of continuing to dish the dirt, what did she say?


    There is more about The Gossips here including some answers.

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    Wednesday, January 14, 2015

    Got Boots?

    This is day eight of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Favorite article of clothing for winter.



    In many areas winter means frigid temperatures, shivering, cold feet, wind-blown watery eyes and runny noses. In other places the seasons meld one into the other with barely a flicker of the thermometer. Whether it's parkas or bikinis, there is a staple in your wardrobe without which the season would be incomplete.

    Here in North Carolina our winters vary broadly from year to year. Some are mild with only the merest dusting of snow, gone before lunch time. Every so often, however, we get a good (or bad) one, depending on your point of view.

    That is when I pull out my favorite article of winter clothing, my snow boots. Not just any snow boots, but the same pair that have kept my feet warm and dry through several decades. I've even featured my old faithful boots here before.

    Now I have coats and jackets, hoodies, and scarves and a multitude of gloves, but going out in anything except my trusty snow boots, would be like going out in bunny slippers.

    What keeps you warm in the chill of winter?

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    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    55 Hotdogs

    This is day seven of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Ten hotdogs.

    Do you remember the nursery rhyme about 10 little indians?  If not, it goes like this:




    If for some crazy reason you can't see the video, click here.

    Vienna has claimed the wiener for over 500 years, and Germany is likely be the first to put their dachshund sausages in a bun.  Whether you call them wieners or frankfurters, dogs or pigs in blankets, almost everyone likes a good hot dog. Whether they are fried, steamed or grilled, there are a multitude of different ways to dress them. You can get them from the diner, the ballgame or a hot dog stand or your own back yard.  There are even eating contests to see how many you can eat in a specified number of minutes.  So how do you like your dogs?


    Let's see how many you can eat!

    One little 
    Image Source: Wikipedia
    Two little 
    Image Source: Joseph Devon
    Three little hot dogs
    Image Source: Wikipedia
    Four little 
    Image Source: Freestockphotos.biz
    Five little 
    Image Source: Modified from Sh4rp_i
    Six little hot dogs
    Image Source: Arnold Gatilao
    Seven little 
    Image Source: Freestockphotos.biz
    Eight little 
    Image Source: Irish Fireside
    Nine little hot dogs
    Image Source: Wikimedia
    Wow, ten little hot dogs - Boy, that's a lot of wieners!
    Image Source: Wikipedia

      Fifty-five to be exact!


    Monday, January 12, 2015

    Quote of the Week

    This is day six of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is What is "chill" and how do 
    I do it?
    There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.  
    - Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes


    Image Source: nickster99
    The definition of "chill" is to relax or hang out. Relax means to spend time resting or doing something enjoyable, especially after you have been doing work.

    How you do it depends on you.  The concept of relaxing is different for each person. Maybe you like to listen to classical music, curl up with a good book and/or cat, take a walk, or head to the beach.


    Chilling doesn't necessarily mean doing nothing. Some people relax by working.  Not working at their everyday jobs, or doing chores, but by working at their hobbies like painting, scrapbooking, or gardening (not to be confused with toiling in the hot sun).


    In today's world sometimes relaxing doesn't come easy.  We feel guilty if we're not being productive or if we aren't marking off all the items on our never-ending "to do" list. Stress can be a 24/7 problem, interfering with our rest.  That makes it all the more important to add "relax" to our list of things to accomplish.  Yes, sometimes it is necessary to schedule down time.

    Here are some of the health benefits* of relaxation:
    1. Helps protect your heart.
    2. Helps protect you against getting colds.
    3. Helps boost your memory.
    4. Helps protect you against depression.
    5. Helps you make better decisions.
    These are just five of the many reasons to add some rest and relaxation to your day planner.

    So whether it's taking in an afternoon matinee or lying on your back watching the clouds, take some time to just chill - it's good for you!


    *Read more here. 

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    Thursday, January 8, 2015

    Small Town Travel

    This is day four of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery.  Today's topic is Travel.

    Take a trip with me through Amish Country in Lancaster County.  It seems there are cornfields everywhere. One moment you are in town and you turn right, and left and you are in the middle of someone's farm. Some would say it's the best of both worlds.


    Amish cornfield

    Small towns often have interesting names, as seen on this sign. Thank you for calling Bank of Bird-in-Hand. My name is Robin.  How may I help you?

    Are there two in the bush?
    We spent the afternoon in Strasburg, and I got my first ever ride on a honest-to-goodness steam-powered train. It was a short 45-minute tour through Amish Country, and yes, more cornfields.

    Choo-choo
    Here we have some local artwork on display on an old railroad car.  Beauty takes many forms.

    Local art
     On another day we visited the Town of Lititz. The heart of Lititz consists of two intersecting streets.  There are many restaurants and shops, including their very own chocolate factory (move over Willy Wonka). They also have a Wall of Remembrance to honor those who paid the supreme price for freedom.

    Honoring their heroes
    One thing you can always be sure of seeing in Lititz is ducks.  Below we have Duck Island. This is in beautiful Lititz Springs Park, which is over 200 years old.  Can you imagine how many ducks have lived here over the years?

    Duck Island in Lititz Springs Park

    This beautiful old building is located in Ambler, PA.  We were on our way from Ephrata to Horsham, Actually we were on our way to Philly, but reasonably-priced accommodations were not to be found, so we settled on the little town of Horsham, about a half hour outside the city and took the train.

    Beautiful patterns in architecture
    A newer building houses CVS, but I give them credit for styling the store to fit in with the small town surroundings, rather than the standard red brick of the ones in larger cities.

    New fitting in with the old
    Back in Ephrata, we visit the Green Dragon.  There is something there for everyone from fresh foods from local vendors, many of whom are Amish or Mennonite, to beautiful beeswax candles. Pretty and healthy too.

    Local products
    Look at all the colorful fashions. Want sunglasses, got 'em.  Need wind chimes, bird feeders, funny signs, just look around. You're sure to find something that strikes your fancy.

    All the colors of the rainbow
    Thanks for joining me on my journey through some quaint little towns. Every time I visit Ashley, I get to see another slice of the American pie - Pennsylvania style.










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