Sunday, October 31, 2010

another Pleasant Valley Sunday...

So, I'm still on my walking program. I think I heard somewhere that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. Tomorrow will be my 21st day and it feels like a habit now to get up, get dressed, walking shoes on, and head out the door. It makes my day so much better.

I'll tell you a secret. This morning I got lost. Our neighborhood has tons of side streets that sort of meander around, some of them ending up nowhere, some of them curving around eventually to another street, and some of them actually forming a sort of grid that you usually think of when you think of city streets. Anyway, I ended up pretty far from my house and what usually is a 30-minute walk ended up being over an hour and a half and almost 4 miles. The good thing is, I can't even imagine being able to do this three weeks ago. So I've come a long way in a short time and I feel really good about that.

Here are a few pictures I've taken the last couple of days. This is our horn of plenty I put on our hearth (can't see the horn, just the flowers).

Here's a better shot of it:

This is my wreath hanging on our front door.

And here's one more shot of it. You will notice Chance had to get in on the shot.

More later --

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Walk the talk

So, I have been walking. Today is the 13th consecutive day I've gotten up, gotten dressed and out the door. When I first started, I could only walk for about 10 minutes and then I was exhausted and ready to collapse. The last couple days I have walked for more than 20 minutes and for a little more than a mile. I think that's a lot of progress for 13 days.

Most days I am ready and even sort of excited to get out and walk. There's only been one really bad day when I just felt like crap and did not want to do it. But I laid in bed, thinking about how much I did not want to get up and walk, and finally decided to "just do it." So I did. And it made my day better.

I hope I can continue to do my walks every day. I even have an inclement weather plan -- if it's not raining much, I will go ahead and walk. If it is, then I will pull out my Leslie Sansone walk in place video (that I'm ashamed to say I've never watched, not once) and put in my time in front of the TV for that day.

More later --

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday nights are the best

I love Friday nights ... always have. The weekend stretches out in front of you and you are full of plans for the weekend. It's like the possibilities are endless.

Snapped a couple pics of Boots a few minutes ago. He's such a photogenic cat, I love taking pictures of him.

More later --

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Boots, the kitteh blanket

My cat loves to spread himself over a piece of furniture like a blanket ... a big ol' cat blanket.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday evening check in

It has been a beautiful weekend here in Memphis. The weather is gloriously cool with no humidity. I've had doors and windows thrown open to let in the fresh air. October is my favorite month of all.

Yesterday was our anniversary and it was as beautiful as it was the day of our wedding. Thinking about our anniversary got me all nostalgic, so I dug out our wedding albums and went for a walk down memory lane.

This was Steve and his best man:

This was the sweet, beautiful church we were married in:

Here's a few more from the wedding and reception:

More later --

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

a few more pics from our beach trip

Just another day in paradise...

Our little piece of paradise

We saw TONS of dolphins on our "Sea Blaster" cruise. Alot of them were really close.

Cool places on the Bay

On the Sea Blaster

Steve looking for shells

A breathtakingly beautiful sunset

Eating dinner at The Back Porch in Destin, Florida (one of my most favorite places on earth)

View from the boat we were on

Our little stretch of the beach

We already miss it and wish we could go back.

More later ---

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Home again, home again

Well, our vacation was as wonderful as we hoped. We could SO be beach bums ... if only real life didn't beckon. But it does, and so tomorrow it's back to work and to the real world.

I took some great pictures on vacation and here's a few.

This is where we stayed on Okaloosa Island:

These are pictures inside the condo:

And this one was our condo from the beach. It was right on the beach and it only took us a minute to get out to the water.

Here's the pool:

I'll add more from our trip later --

Sunday, September 5, 2010

So, how's your summer going?

It has been a long, hot summer here. I heard today that this summer was the 2nd hottest that Memphis ever had. I believe it!

Once again, I have been woefully neglectful of my little blog. I guess the main reason is because I haven't felt well and I didn't want my posts to be negative... Then too, there really hasn't been anything of note going on in our lives this summer. I've worked a LOT and other than that, have stayed in and tried to avoid the heat as much as possible.

The last few days, however, have been absolutely glorious, weather-wise. I've always felt that September felt much more like a "new start" than January, and this year more so that ever. I decided to go back on my low carb eating plan, to hopefully get rid of these extra pounds I have put on.

We're planning a beach vacation later this month and we are so excited about it. We really need a break. We're flying this year instead of driving, and I hope it simplifies and makes for a better, more relaxing week off. It's a direct flight with no connections, so it's as simple as I could make it. Plus, I got a wonderful deal on our beach condo -- 40% off the fall price, plus a $200 debit card, courtesy of BP, to encourage tourism in the Florida panhandle. We're getting a condo on the ground floor this year -- no elevators to deal with.

Here's the view from our rental condo:

More later --

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

This was on my very first post one year ago today:

I am proud of our country and the freedom we enjoy, and I know it's because of those who fought and even died that we are free today. To all who have served our country, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What I'm reading

So, I figured it was time for another edition of what I've been reading recently. I've been really lucky lately to have found some excellent books that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

Lost and Found: A Novel by Carolyn Parkhurst is a story about a mother and her teenage daughter whose relationship is strained, to put it mildly. They end up as contestants in a reality show game (think "Amazing Race") called Lost and Found, along with six other couples. The book moves along at a good pace, and both mother and daughter learn some things about each other. This is a fast and easy read, and I enjoyed it.

Same Kind of Different as Me by Denver Moore and Ron Hall. This is one of the best books I have ever read, truly! Denver Moore grew up a very poor black sharecropper in Alabama and escaped to a "better life" living on the streets of Ft. Worth, TX. Ron Hall and his wife, Debbie (a very affluent white couple) started volunteering at a homeless shelter in Ft. Worth and she and Ron gradually befriended Denver. The results of their friendship are nothing less than miraculous and amazing. Such an excellent book -- I give it five stars.

The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe. As my friend Susan commented while reading this book, "Could it get any more real?" This one is about five very different women going through five very different life situations, bound together by their love of a good book and their commitment and membership in The Book Club. This was a really great read, chick lit, yes, and I enjoyed it wholeheartedly.

The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. Back in the 90s, Amy wrote a monthly newsletter by this same name for about seven years total. This is a compilation of all of those newsletters. Packed with tips and advice on all things frugal, it is a perfect resource for someone trying to save a buck (or a thousand). The layout is such that you can search for what you are interested in, or conversely, pretty much open it up to any page and either learn something you didn't know, or get a great mini-refresher on living a frugal lifestyle.

Miss Julia Renews Her Vows by Ann B. Ross. Can I just say that I love Miss Julia? This is the latest installment in the series about the peppery little church lady who finds family and love in her later years, along with plenty of fun and drama. A cute, fun read.

More later --

Friday, May 28, 2010

Maggie's babies

So, Maggie led her babies away today, in search of a new home with water.

You're a good mama, Maggie. I'll miss you.

Maggie's story

About a month ago, we discovered a female mallard had "moved in" to the flower bed in the front of our office building. We quickly named her Maggie, and she settled right in. Over the next several days she laid eleven eggs and started incubating them.

By the middle of May, the Memphis temps were regularly reaching mid-80s and an occasional 90 degrees. So soon, a water bowl appeared by Maggie.

Then, a couple weeks ago, the building maintenance crew cleaned out the flower bed ... except for the part nearest to Maggie. They were taking care of her too.

Next, a bowl of bird seed appeared next to the water bowl. Then, as the weather got hotter, an umbrella was placed so that Maggie wouldn't have to spend her days in the hot sun.

Yesterday, Maggie's eggs hatched! Ten baby ducks were born!

Then, this afternoon -- she led them away. There are a couple of ponds nearby and she was headed toward one of those.

More later (including pictures of the babies on the move) --

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Garden update

My "garden" (such as it is - two tomato plants and one bell pepper plant) is having mixed results. Because of my neck/back issues, I decided to try a method I saw here, which entails planting right in the bag of garden soil...pretty genius, if you ask me! This allows me to keep plants up at a more reasonable level for me and also pretty much eliminates weeding.

Anyway, the first tomato plant is doing fantastic. I have 17 tomatoes on it! In fact, it is doing so well that I went to Lowe's last weekend and bought another tomato plant to try as well. But...sad to say, my bell pepper plant does not look happy. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. But I'm not seeing a bountiful harvest of red bell peppers in my future... Oh well, maybe it will perk up.

I'm just thrilled with my tomatoes though, and really hopeful that they will ripen and taste wonderful. Time will tell.

Here's some pictures.

The one in the bottom of this shot was my first tomato to pop out. It's pretty big now, and is yellow and turning red!

Here's another shot of my first/biggest one:

This is my new "baby" tomato plant. I hope it will do as well as the first one.

In my front beds, I planted some iris that my friend Kim gave me, oh...about a month ago. This weekend I noticed that one of the iris has bloomed! This is a big surprise to me, since I figured they wouldn't bloom until next Spring. The others don't have any blooms, so maybe this is a little freebie preview I get for next year. Anyway, it's nice.

More later --

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Weekend trip to Mountain View

We just got back from a long-weekend trip to the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. We stayed at a charming bed & breakfast in Mountain View. This was our second visit to the town and the B&B and we loved it.

Going to Mountain View is like taking a trip back in time. It's a picturesque small town with a town square and there's "Music on the Square" every weekend night. We spent a lot of time outside, sitting on the front porch, swinging on the glider in the back yard while reading a book, or just walking through the town. It was a really relaxing get-away and just what we needed.

Here are some photos:

More later --