I don’t know everything . . .

But I’ve learned that life’s too short for New Year’s resolutions!

So, with that in mind . . .

I wish you a 2013 that’s overflowing with happy possibilities and not one moment of stress.

May your fears melt away and your fondest dreams come true.

May good health, increased wealth, and much love surround you.



P.S. This year I will be posting mid-week instead of on Mondays. I’m planning to mix things up a bit with a new feature or two, and maybe we’ll even get back to having a “weekly question”. Have I told you lately how much I appreciate that you take the time to stop by and visit? Well, I do! 😀

A Culinary Adventure

It was early Saturday evening. We had spent the entire day running around doing errands and then suddenly realized neither of us had enough energy left to cook dinner . . .

But we were STARVING!

So, we headed to a restaurant that had recently opened in our neighborhood. It would be our first visit but we’d heard great things about it. Now, trust me, we do know better than to go to a brand new restaurant – spur of the moment – on a Saturday night – without a reservation!!! We know that’s crazy but what can I say? We were delirious from hunger.

We arrived and the parking lot was packed. The hostess said it would be more than an hour before a table was available. We agreed to wait and scouted out a quiet corner in which to perch – away from the throngs of diners entering, exiting, and waiting, too.

Our stomachs growled, but Sir Beads and I smiled at each other optimistically . . .

“One hour – not too bad! We’re probably down to 55 minutes already!”

Just as we were contemplating whether or not to have a glass of wine to pass the time, someone tapped me on the shoulder from behind.

“Are you just two?” He asked. “I can seat you immediately at the pizza bar!

Huh? We wondered. What’s he talking about? This was a restaurant with a large varied menu but we had no idea there was pizza, much less a “pizza bar”. As I said before, though, we were weak from hunger so the thought of immediate seating food sounded pretty inviting. We nodded “ok” to the gentleman – but as he whisked us through the length and breadth of the dining room, we passed a series of comfortable-looking booths and I felt a pang of regret for agreeing so quickly.

“Please don’t let this be a no-room-for-elbows, sit-on-a-tiny-stool near a swinging kitchen door type of deal.”, I muttered under my breath.

We were brought to a small counter with just 4 stools – 2 of which were already occupied. The seats were actually comfortable but it was the ambiance that surprised us. We were overlooking the food prep area and behind that we could see the main kitchen with its gaggle of bustling chefs.

A waiter appeared with menus, took our order, and left us alone to make sense of the scene. We were amazed at how interesting (entertaining, even!) it was to watch the flurry of activity before us – as meals were prepared for that huge Saturday night crowd of fellow diners!

Oddly enough, located off to one side, there WAS a huge brick pizza oven, where an energetic young man prepared appetizer-size pizzas with great care.

Even more intriguing was a young woman, directly in front of us, who was putting finishing touches on entrees, creating specialty salads and appetizers, and garnishing mouthwatering desserts. She had little cupboards and small refrigerator cases all around her. There were bins with fresh vegetables, and grated cheeses and oh my goodness – dozens of little containers with all sorts of yummy things. She worked with great attention to detail – almost love – as she placed each ingredient on the dishes she made. Then, in the blink of an eye, her creation was gone – a waiter would turn up and carry it off into the crowd behind us and, without missing a beat, she would be on to her next masterpiece.

Our food arrived and it was fantastic but we were even more impressed with our bird’s eye view of the inner workings of this busy restaurant. It was fascinating to see that no matter how hectic the evening became – the focus was on preparing and presenting food with great care – it was almost art!


Moral of the story?

Well, I can say this much . . .

At the end of the evening, I was awfully glad I’d ignored my “second thoughts” and continued to follow that host – even though I wasn’t sure what I’d find at the “pizza bar”.

Sometimes a fun-filled adventure is where you least expect it!



As Rich As Midas

You don’t need me to tell you that, in this life, it’s easy to be complacent. We become very accustomed to all the little comforts that are part of our everyday experience, and for that reason – we hardly notice them.

Instead, our focus is often diverted to the minor annoyances we encounter, such as a traffic light that turns red just as we approach it, or a slow poke in the grocery store check-out line. We can be quick to frown if the take-out pizza is slightly over-done . . . or our favorite team is on a losing streak.

But every once in a while, we are yanked back to the reality of just how lucky we are, and how silly it is to ever be bothered by small stuff.

So it was for Sir Beads and me with Hurricane Sandy this week. Thank you all so very much for your concern. It was a tough few days but there are those who had (and continue to have) it so much worse than we did. My heart aches for them because the taste of trouble we experienced has given me a true understanding of their situation.


We were without power for 3 days. For us, that translates into no cooking, no lights, no water, and no heat. We had prepared as best we could but, believe me, when you are in the middle of a multi-day power outage, preparations can feel very inadequate.

After some dark and chilly days, the power returned. The sound of the heat rising through the pipes was literally music to our ears. We could once again have a steaming cup of tea and a blissfully hot shower. The cold that had settled into every corner of the house was slowly dissipating. Bathroom flushes would again be automatic with just the push of a lever – not accomplished by pouring buckets of water (from our previously filled bathtub) to trigger them. We had power again and were simply elated. As we looked around at the backup of laundry, dishes, and a refrigerator full of food that would have to be discarded – we were unfazed.


In short, going through the experience has left us feeling as rich as Midas.
And, this time, I think it will take a lot longer for us to drift away from fully appreciating our blessings . . .

Hugs for all and special prayers for those who are still in distress,


The Shopping of Yesteryear

It’s no secret that the economy has been in a state of uncertainty for quite a while. Empty shops and going-out-of business signs are no longer just an occasional sight. Now they’re pretty much the norm.

Stores that are still in business have had to cut corners – eliminate the niceties – which is understandable, but somehow a little sad.

We’ve probably all become used to mall shopping trips where our carefully selected purchases are rolled in a ball and absent-mindedly stuffed into a plastic bag, but I’m old enough to remember when shopping was an “event”.

In those days, we couldn’t make purchases willy-nilly; we had to budget for them, so a little extra flourish at the store counter helped to magnify and enhance an experience that didn’t happen all that often.

At that time, clerks in even the moderately priced stores would carefully fold your garment and wrap it in tissue paper. If you were buying a dress or a coat – it might even be placed in a box. Sometimes the box would be tied with string and then a little wooden handle would be attached to make it easy to carry.

Recently, I was shopping at a local mall. The 60% off everything signs in the window of this old-time retailer caught me eye and I ventured inside to browse.

I found something I liked and as I was paying for it . . . I experienced a bit of déjà vu. The clerk handled it very carefully. She wrapped it in tissue paper and sealed it with a sticker carrying the store’s logo.

During those moments at the store counter, it seemed as if my purchase was, well, important. My hard-earned money was appreciated. I bought this multi-colored summer shawl/scarf. It’s a wonderfully generous size (72″ by 40″) and the colors drift into a palette of pastel stripes.

It seems to me there’s a thrill in buying something pretty and then having it presented to you with a little fanfare. As I left the store, I felt a bit nostalgic for the days when a purchase was a big deal.

When you stop and think about it, there are probably many reasons why “event” shopping went the way of the telephone booth . . .

Besides the fact that stores are cutting costs to keep competitive, customers often own and buy more than they really need. The proof? Well, the internet is awash with advice on how to downsize, donate, and recycle. In this climate, I suppose it’s no longer practical nor environmentally friendly to have every purchase wrapped nicely.

But I can’t help thinking that things were more fun when shopping was an experience!

Your thoughts? 🙂



First Tango with Tangerine Tango

I am not exaggerating when I confess that I have never owned an article of clothing in the color orange.

Oh, I’ve had accessories with touches of orange – scarves, jewelry, handbags – but never clothing!

It’s not that I avoid bright colors. If you know me – you know I love purple.

My second fave is red, so this girl is definitely not shy.

I guess I’ve always thought that an entire shirt or dress in orange would just be too much; too “loud”.

Besides, I’m a “winter” and orange is not a good color for “winters”. (Do you know your season?)

Recently, I needed new nightgowns. I love the all cotton, long t-shirt styles from Lands’ End.

There are several colors available but I chose Lavender and Coral (which I’ve had before).

When the package arrived, I literally gasped to see that the coral one was not at all like the previous coral I had purchased (which was a mixture of pink, peach, and orange – the way I picture coral to be!).

This new nightgown was jack-o-lantern orange!

Well, I figured I’d be brave and give it a try. You know – embrace the change.

According to Pantone, the color experts –

“Tangerine Tango” (bright orange) is the color of the year!

Maybe so, but whenever I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror while wearing it, I shake my head and think: “I could direct traffic in this get-up.” 😉