Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Today is my little sister's birthday. I am reprinting here what I wrote last year on her birthday.

The older we get, the closer we get. I wish that you, dear bloggers, could have a relationship like this in your lives with one of your siblings. I can remember when I was a very little girl and Linda was born. I stayed with our Nana while Mom was in the hospital. In those days, people didn't have babies and come home in two days. I remember that Mom had to come home without Linda because my new sister had a life-threatening problem. She was born -Rh factor and had to have blood transfusions. I remember clearly Mom sitting on Nana's sofa crying. I was four years old. Dad was frantically looking for blood donors. I don't remember more details, but the new precious baby in our lives pulled through. I remember being allowed to go to the hospital and see her in her little incubator.

Linda was the one who knew everyone in the neighborhood. She organized backyard fairs, had coffee with the older neighbors (she was then about 7) and loved to perform her dance routines for us in front of the television. Where was I? Mom would say, "Tina get your nose out of that book, and go outside and get some fresh air." As you can see, Linda was the outgoing one and I was the introvert. She was also the one who would cry if Mom or Dad yelled at her. I was the one who refused to shed a tear.

Unfortunately, looking back I remember being a brat to my little sister. I think she forgives me. There were adult years when we had disagreements and didn't see each other often, but thank heavens these always resolved themselves. I could go on and on, but I will end with this: Linda is so precious to me now. I cherish all of our memories and time together. Happy Birthday dear little sister!

Look on my sidebar and you will see a picture of Linda and me.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah

What a crummy day here in coastal Delaware - cold, rainy, yucky. Why couldn't it be snow? My daughter is in Massachusetts and they had a foot of snow on Friday and more expected.

Four days until Christmas and I guess I am ready. Actually, Christmas is very low key this year since I won't be seeing my daughter and the grandchildren (they were here at Thanksgiving and will travel to Tennessee for Christmas). I have lights outside and a little tree and decorations up in the house and it looks pretty festive. The packages have been mailed and we will visit my husband's daughter and grandchildren on Saturday. Since it will only be the two of us for Christmas dinner I thought we would go to a wonderful restaurant in Rehoboth which is very Victorian and oceanfront. They have a big Christmas buffet, but when I called for reservations they were all booked. What a bummer. I guess I will make a small turkey with all the trimmings, but I am disappointed. Christmas Eve we will go to church. We are having friends over for dinner on Tuesday night. I will be making my cherry tomato/capers/shrimp pasta recipe. My husband loves this dish and I hope our friends do also.

I hope all of you have a beautiful Christmas. Today is the first day of winter and also the beginning of Hanukkah. Happy Hanukkah!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


I know I haven't written for awhile. In a nutshell: there was Thanksgiving, a real estate class, several doctor's appointments, a funeral and....and....is that all?? I feel like I have been SO busy.

My daughter and son-in-law and grandsons and my granddog came down from Massachusetts for the holiday. How wonderful it was to spend some time with them. The boys are growing so fast, but are still my little boys -- the same with my daughter. She will always be my little girl. I was in a funk for a few days after they left because I missed them so much. I think the older we get the more we miss our children if they aren't close to us. For those of you who have your family close by, treasure this because you are very, very lucky.

I am now recuperating from something -- the flu, bronchitis - something. I went to the doctor and am on antibiotics. I came down with it on Wednesday and am just now starting to feel better.

We attended a funeral on Saturday for one of my husband's very close friends. He was only 58. It was a graveside service -- very cold. I was bundled up and I hope I don't have a relapse. There was a bagpiper which only added to the sadness of the occasion. We just can't believe the friend is gone.

This is what happened to my Sunday dinner:

Since I haven't had much appetite I had made a beautiful chicken noodle soup and was planning to have it for dinner. I had chunks of chicken in it, along with pastina and some corn. I had a cup of it this afternoon and was really looking forward to it at dinner. My husband wanted stuffed green peppers and he had brought home the peppers and the ground beef last night so for his dinner I went to some bit of trouble and attention to make the stuffed peppers along with some creamed corn. I don't like stuffed peppers or creamed corn. He had been out working on his boat all day and when he came home he was in the kitchen and I called to him that the peppers were in the oven and would be finished in thirty minutes. He didn't answer so I yelled out "THE PEPPERS ARE IN THE OVEN"!!. Did you hear me? Yes, he said. He proceeded to come into the family room with bowl after bowl of chicken soup. I said, "Aren't you going to ruin your dinner with all that soup?" He said, "Isn't this dinner?" To make matters worse, he had dumped the entire pan of creamed corn into the soup and declared, "This is delicious!" So - gone was my chicken noodle soup and after he ate one of the stuffed peppers I asked him how it was. "Uh, so-so." MEN!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Today is the big day. Two years from now I will be eligible for Medicare. Whoopee.

Two of my friends and I celebrate our birthdays together. We have a tiara that we share and we go out to dinner at a nice restaurant and bring our own cake and give the birthday girl presents. I always look forward to these events - good food, girl talk and lots of laughing. The group at one time had five people, but it is now just us three old bags. Ha, ha. We are all the same age which is part of the fun. Here is a picture of the three of us - I am the one with her eyes closed and wearing the tiara.

Friday, November 21, 2008


On Wednesday I took a Realtors' bus trip to New York City to see "Gypsy." I do this almost every year when they offer it. It is a long day (leaving at 6:30 a.m. and arriving home around 10 p.m.).
Unfortunately, the back half of our bus had no heat so that we shivered most of the way up and back. The city was VERY cold - even the theater was cold. But, the show was good. I had seen the movie starring Natalie Wood. I had a chance to run into St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue for a few minutes, stop into Saks and ogle at the prices ($250 for a little winter hat) and then to have lunch at a very good Italian restaurant (mmm, risotta). The tree was up in Rockefeller Center, but not yet decorated.
They showed movies on the bus ride home and I saw "Mama Mia" and "The Devil Wears Prada" which I had never seen. I saw the play "Mama Mia" in New York a few years ago. I love that show.
While I was watching the play I was thinking of how the actors must feel up there with people sitting out there in the dark watching. And to hear the applause and laughter! No wonder movie actors all want to try the stage. I guess if you do a show on Broadway you are REALLY an actor.

Since I now live in a small, laid back town I was interested in watching the people in the city. I guess I am now a country bumpkin!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

How was your weekend? Quiet here and raining part of the time. Today was beautiful, though.

On Saturday I attended a tea given by a local women's club. It was called St. Nicholas' Tea. The club members wore aprons and served us three courses: scones with lemon curd, then tea sandwiches (my very favorite), followed by sweet little desserts. We had two pots of tea on our table and poured ourselves. Around the perimeter of the small room were things for sale, many with a Christmas theme for gifts. There were also two women playing harps. It was really quite lovely. I already plan to go next year.

I just remembered a memory that I will share with you: I was a little girl, eating lunch in John Wanamaker's Department Store's Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia and eating, of course, tea sandwiches. I also remember in one of the large department stores there was a large ladies lounge. Times certainly have changed. Along with the regular bathroom facilities, there was a separate very large room containing lovely sofas and chairs and writing desks (complete with pens and writing paper). This was where the ladies could relax during a shopping break. I remember this in the 1950's and 60's.
John Wanamaker was a wonderful department store. They even had a ladies hatmaker back in the day. Wanamakers was well known for the Christmas Light Show which was accompanied by organ music from a large pipe organ that came from the St. Louis Exposition in 1904. People stopped in their shopping to watch the show, or people made a special visit to the store to see the show with their children. It is still a Philadelphia tradition. Today you can still go there to see it even though John Wanamakers Department Store is out of business and is now Macy's. Thank goodness Macy's has continued the tradition.

Friday, November 07, 2008


I got home from Massachusetts on Sunday. It was a nice trip and a good visit. Those little boys are really growing fast. They both went out on Halloween. I thought the twelve year old would say he was too old, but he did go out and they brought home tons of candy. I took some pictures on my daughter's camera and I am waiting for her to download them and e-mail them to me (hint).

My daughter and I went to our favorite junk/antique shop. Here is a picture of the sign. I came away with a few more things to add to my ever-growing collection of "stuff." I may need to open a store of my own soon.

By the way, here is a picture of my little hutch that I showed you before. I decided to leave it "au natural" and I filled it with more "stuff."

I am happy that the election is over and even though Barack Obama was not my man, I am sure he will do as good a job as he can, considering the mess that he is stepping into. President Bush will probably be glad to get back to his ranch.

I live in Sussex County, one of only three counties in Delaware. We have a history here of celebrating "Returns Day." This dates back over a hundred years and is essentially when they used to get together to count the ballots or returns from the voting. It is a big deal here. Parades, food vendors, music, local officials riding in horse-drawn carriages. They even literally "bury the hatchet." This year Senator Joe Biden (from Delaware) was there. I heard it was a madhouse with Secret Service and extra security. It also rained all day. Violetlady did not attend! Another tidbit: Senator Biden's wife Jill graduated from my (and Lynne's) high school in Pennsylvania.

So that is about it for tonight. Oh - one more thing. If you notice the upper left corner of my blog there is a place where you can click and show that you follow my blog. Blogger has added this feature which is kind of cute.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I am leaving tomorrow morning for a flight to New Hampshire where my daughter will pick me up to go to her home in Massachusetts. I like flying into Manchester instead of Boston and she is almost as close to one as the other. I checked the weather and it is supposed to be rainy and windy. Yuck.

I am looking forward to seeing my grandsons and New England is so pretty now.

I will be back next Sunday -- see you then!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Yesterday I talked my husband into driving me out in the country about 25 miles from home to pick up a small hutch that I had found on-line on Craig's List. It was a beautiful day for a drive. I haven't decided whether to paint the hutch or leave it the natural maple. It will go in the kitchen to display more of my "stuff." Do you think I should paint it all one color, paint only the shelves or leave it the way it is?

One reason Ken was willing to drive me in the truck to pick this thing up was that it was near one of our favorite restaurants. It is called Jimmy's Grill and is a real country locals place. For people who know about it, though, travelers coming from Washington, D.C. to the beaches in Delaware like to stop also. Ken and I love their fried shrimp, although they are known more for their fried chicken. I embarrassed him by taking pictures of our food so I could post them here. I had fried shrimp, cole slaw and corn fritters. He had fried shrimp, limas with slippery dumplings (a local thing) and collard greens. They also have the most wonderful homemade rolls. I know all this sounds pretty ordinary, but I guess you have to be there to experience it. Here are the pictures. Yum!

Monday, October 20, 2008


There is nothing exciting going on here lately. Actually, that is not entirely true. The local Jazz Festival was this past weekend. One of the headliners was Joe Piscipo doing his Frank Sinatra impression show. The convention center hosts several acts a day and many of the local restaurants have free jazz shows. To attend the big shows isn't free, though, and since I am being frugal (maybe an overstatement) these days, I didn't go to anything.

Thursday night will be our annual Realtors' Auction. We raise money for needy children to help give them Christmas presents (each child also gets a warm winter coat) and provide money for worthy causes throughout the year. There will be lots of food and silent and live auctions. It is usually a lot of fun -- local real estate companies compete with each other to create the best "basket" that raises the most money during the live auction.

Next week I leave for Massachusetts to visit my daughter. I am looking forward to it so I can catch up with her and with my grandsons. My oldest grandson recently attended a bar mitzvah - by himself. He was invited by one of his classmates. Beth and Dale delivered him to the temple and then picked him up and took him to the country club for the party. He had a new suit on and wore a yarmulke. He commented to his parents that he would no longer complain about Mass at his church being long - the bar mitzvah service lasted three hours. My youngest grandson is starting to take lessons to play an instrument in school - his choice is the bass fiddle. A beautiful instrument, but so big that he isn't allowed on the school bus with it!

I have been thinking about the various bloggers I have enjoyed who have "retired" from the blogging scene. It is interesting how involved we get with each other and how we miss those who aren't "with us" anymore. Life is so busy these days - sometimes it is hard to include everything in our lives.

I have been remembering my trip to Paris two (?) years ago and wondering if I will ever be fortunate enough to return to my favorite place. In memory, here is a photo I took of the Sacre Coeur.
Bon soir!

P.S. Just remembered something my oldest grandson said. He is taking French in school this year (7th grade). When asked why he chose French he said, "Well, you know it is the best language." That's my boy!

Friday, October 17, 2008


FOR A FEW DAYS there I thought that summer had returned. Yesterday was around 80 degrees. Yes, it was beautiful, but geez, I thought this was autumn. Today should be in the 60's which is fine by me.

I just read the most inspiring post by Barbara at The Clark Homestead. Stop by if you can. It really expresses what so many people are doing these days and for some, what they have always done. Making do. Being frugal. Doing what our grandparents might have done. I can't say that I am one of these people, but I never did have wealth so some of it comes naturally. But - the idea is there. The seed that germinates into something. If I could I would put a windmill up or install solar panels. I would have a goat to cut the grass and a few chickens for eggs. What I can do is plant a better garden next year. I can refrain from buying that handbag that I don't really need. I can be more aware of where my money is being spent. These are tough times for a lot of people and we can learn from this. I have been reading a lot of blogs written by smart, strong women who are tightening their belts and getting on with life and doing their parts (big and small) to make their lives and those of their families good. There is a lot of doom and gloom out there right now, but I don't read it in those blogs. They are truly uplifting.

On a lighter note, here are a few pictures of some decorating I have been doing. I love my Fall "tablescape." We never use the dining room table, but this Thanksgiving we will do it proud because my daughter and son-in-law and grandsons are coming to Grammy's house - driving all the way from Massachusetts. With the dog.

Those glass domes and soup tureens were all bought at thrift stores for a few dollars each. The vintage suitcases the same. Really. See how frugal I can be?

There's a picture of Chloe strolling by. And of course, the king of the palace - Beau the poodle with some of his treasures - a sock and two stuffed animals that are now stuffing-less.

Have a wonderful day, dear bloggers. I love you all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


What wonderful weather we have been having. I just love autumn. I have a pumpkin and mums on my front doorsteps, Indian corn hanging on the door and an "autumn tablescape" on my seldom-used dining room table. My daughter and son-in-law and grandsons are coming down from Massachusetts next month for Thanksgiving. I am going up there at the end of the month to visit over Halloween. Life is good.
Yesterday I drove up to Pennsylvania to meet up with my sister to put flowers on our parents' grave. (Here is a picture of my sister relaxing while waiting for me to arrive at the cemetery - late as always. She has the holes dug all ready and waiting for the flowers.)

On my way back to the turnpike to head home I drove past the house in which I grew up, past my old elementary school and high school, past houses where friends used to live. I stopped into my mother's favorite consignment shop (we used to love to go there together) and I bought a beautiful blue wrap scarf to wear with my blue jeans. Mom would have approved. It was a happy-memory filled day.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 22, 2008

THE SANTA LETTERS by Stacy Gooch-Anderson

Tristi at Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author sent me this book and asked me to join a virtual book review tour.

The author, Stacy Gooch-Anderson lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and four sons. An award winning journalist and public speaker, she began her career at eighteen when she "found her voice" and began to share her ability to tell inspiring stories.

Gooch-Anderson's writing is generally real and crisp, albeit some descriptive elements and dialogue could be tightened. The author tells her story by including anecdotal Bible passages and interpretations which are understandable and inspiring. For those who are not readers of the Bible, The Santa Letters is unintimidating and friendly in its approach.

The story begins with Emma who has been left a widow and mother of four children after the death on Christmas Eve one year ago of her beloved husband William. For a year she has suffered through the grieving process while trying to keep her family afloat, both financially and spiritually. With Christmas looming ahead of the family, Emma wonders how she will ever provide the children with any Christmas gifts or spirit. Surprise, surprise! Letters and packages signed "Santa" begin arriving every day from a mysterious person. With each missive, hope for this family is ever closer.

This little book is elegant in its simplicity. Keep it on your bookshelf to take down during the Christmas season. Its inspiring story is a classic.

Thank you, Tristi, for inviting me to be a part of this virtual book tour. It was fun!


Monday, September 15, 2008


There is nothing in the world I hate more than mushrooms. Fresh, wild, boiled, sauteed, fried, baked, stewed, growing in my yard. They make my skin crawl just to look at them. These are growing in my yard today. Yuck.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I made it to church today - had to sit in the choir loft because I was a little late and the place was packed.

It is 90 degrees today and it feels like the humidity is high as well.

I am in the process of reading three books right now: Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich, R is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton and The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson. I don't usually read more than one book at a time, but two of these are library books and I have to get them read in a timely manner. The Santa Letters is being read for a review which will appear here on September 22. I also have books that are heavier reading and I read them sporadically. I just finished James Lee Burke's latest, Swan Peak, which was (as always) excellent. That man's writing is so beautiful; his prose is like poetry. I have been working my way through Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries from A to T.

I am off to the movies with some friends to see Brad Pitt and George Clooney in Burn After Reading. I'll update my opinion tonight.

UPDATE: Burn After Reading was hilarious!! If you have a chance, go see this movie. The dialog is full of a certain four letter word, so I would not have young people see it, but if you don't mind that it is full of a lot of laughs. It is a Coen Brothers movie if you are familiar with them ("No Country for Old Men.")

That's the news from Beech Drive today.

Thursday, September 11, 2008



Monday, September 08, 2008


I attended a funeral today. A man who worked for my husband died suddenly last week. The sad thing is that he had been estranged from almost all of his family for years. And there they were -- mourning his loss. Why is it that it takes a funeral to bring people out who couldn't have been bothered before? It serves as a reminder to me to cherish my friends and family while we are all together on this earth.

The funeral procession traveled (with a motorcyle escort) to a veterans cemetery for the burial. The deceased was a Marine veteran who served in Vietnam. There was an honor guard with the guns and bugle salute. Although I barely knew him, I was in tears. Something about those lost years that could have been spent with family and the fact that he had served his country and it was finally being honored.

Love each other,

Sunday, September 07, 2008


I am a Realtor and today was my day on the schedule to be on duty. It was dead! No calls, no one stopping in, nothing. The real estate market is definitely in a slump and according to all reports, it may continue for awhile yet. People are buying, though. The market where I work in Delaware is primarily vacation home or retirement home shopping. If you are buying within the resort town proper the prices for a single family home are close to or exceed a million dollars. "Deals" are non-existent anymore.

After I got home I took Beau for his walk, stopping along the way to chat with neighbors and other dogs. For the second time in as many weeks Beau went after (with teeth bared) other much larger dogs. It seems to happen if the dog runs towards him (usually in happy exuberance). Beau believes the dog is being aggressive so Beau defends himself and me. At least this is what Beau told me!

We have been dealing with fleas for the past month. First the Frontline stopped working and then the Advantage stopped working. He is now on Promeris and Capstar and they seem to be working. I still see a flea here and there and he still scratches, but I think it is improving. I bought flea foggers which I haven't used yet. What a pain.

I have a pot roast simmering in the crock pot and I will make mashed potatoes and veggies for dinner. I always use the crock pot for roasts - even a chuck roast can be cut with a fork. I don't use it for other recipes, but I love it for things like soups, roasts, stews.

The storm here didn't turn out to be anything. I hope the same is true for all of you. Hurricane Ike is the next one we need to worry about!

Good health and happiness to you and yours,

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Last week my sister and I traveled to Pittsburgh to visit our Uncle Bud, who is one of three remaining siblings of our mother. He is now eighty-five and still going strong with more vitality than either of us. My fondest memory of Uncle Bud is when I was a little girl and he lived in Texas. He told me I could come out there and be a cowgirl. And he still remembers that! It doesn't matter that the dream never came to fruition -- it was the dream that mattered.

Uncle Bud gave us a wonderful tour of Pittsburgh - driving through the city, looking at it from high outlook points, eating the best fish sandwich I have ever had at a fish market on "The Strip." We took a ride on the Incline which is both a means of transportation and a favorite tourist site. Pittsburgh was voted the most liveable city a few years ago and I can see why.

I came home with a sewing machine (which belonged to my late aunt) and a family scrapbook which I will treasure since apparently I have become the "keeper of the flame."

With all my best,