Five Things Friday

Five little things that made my week.

1.  When we found out that our sweet dog Kalie had a huge tumor on her liver we really weren’t sure what we wanted to do.   She is 14 and was showing no signs of it bothering her, but a good candidate for surgery.  It’s been a little over two weeks; she is recovering from said surgery, I’m pretty sure she isn’t holding a grudge and proudly displays her new “belly zipper”.  It was scary and difficult so seeing her in a good mood –  that made my week and then some.

2. We have lots of December birthdays.   I managed to find something unique for one of them and not break the bank.    I would tell you what I got but that spoils the surprise and I love surprises.

3. While running errands yesterday I saw a pair of Clark’s ankle boots that I bought online for $40 priced at $120.  I immediately told my husband that by spending $40 I had actually saved $80.

4. I made, what we affectionately call, street meat for dinner this week and it was awesome.  I personally have never had Halal cart style food but my husband says mine is exceptional, good enough for me.

5.  I talked with my Gram today.  I appreciate her time so much!

Happy 250 (ish)!

You may remember that in practically another time and place I wrote about reaching 200 posts and also included what I hoped to accomplish in the time it would take me to write  201 to 300.   Here I am many years later writing #255.  Sadly life has a way of doing it’s own thing and my writing became debilitated as a result.   I’m getting back into the grove, moving on  and attempting to cultivate the inner me again so I thought I would revisit that list and update not only my readers but myself in many respects.

– Redecorate the bedroom to something that doesn’t have that, contractor poorly picked out the colors charm; Yes I made this happen, and it’s delightfully grey and fluffy, filled with texture and a few accents pieces in orange and blue.   Although I still need one more something something to go over the bed I consider it accomplished.  Here is the board I used for inspiration.

– try dying fabric, perhaps silk or linen; When did I want to do this?  *shrug*

– have someone over for tapas; as a family Tim and I make a meal of tapas pretty often, just this past week in fact, so I’m sure we have had someone over at some point.

– take an online cooking class; Yea never really made this happen, I feel like I still have an interest.  Perhaps I’ll put it on my Christmas list.

– return to Disney; We had a plan in place but sadly we had to cancel.

– return to the Phipps; Many many many times, it has to be one of the most captivating places I have ever visited.  Search my blog if you don’t believe me.

– get a degree in astrophysics; No comment

– become a Dr Who fan, it looks like fun; I did and it is.  Seriously sitting here right now in one of my favorite weeping angel shirts.  Can’t wait to meet the new Dr!

– finish a quilt for me; Done, I have a sweet little lap quilt and started cutting another one that I never finished.  That might be a good goal, finish a second quilt.

– get better at baking cakes; Lets just say I tried and leave it at that.

– reach 300 blog posts; getting there!

– learn to use the grill smoker; meh

– trellis a rose, and hopefully not kill it; Oooo yes I still want to do this but it’s going to need to wait till the spring.

– make something out of old keys, or new keys that look like old keys; Oh I did this, I wonder if I wasn’t stuffing the pipeline a bit with this one.  Anyway here is the post (with terrible photos?) where I made ornaments for my tree.

– run a 5K; I should just delete this one……

– start writing a cookbook with my mom; I forgot about this oh we still need to do this!  We have recently unearthed some of my Grandmother’s old recipes they would be a perfect platform.

– crochet something cool; ugh I’m hanging this one up; forget this mess, no seriously forget I even said anything.

Cake Stands – Cause I wanted to

Cake stands, not sure what it is about them but they are adorable.  I wouldn’t say that I have to have them in my life but there is always a little smile in my heart when I pick one up spin it around and day dream about a big fluffy cakes with buttercream frosting, a pile of scones or a lofty plant stand.

So if anyone is out there wondering what to get the Belle for a present I have a few suggestions.

concreteterrain
Rosalind+Mini+Beaded+Cupcake+Stand
glassWS
JaditeSurLa

Top – Adoring the cool tone and rustic look of concrete.  From Terrain.
Middle Left – Soft blue and very tiny, like cupcake tiny.  From Joss and Main.
Bottom Left – Classic glass, elegant and timeless.  From William and Sonoma.
Far Right – Something with a vintage mid-century flare , Jadeite.  From Sur La Table. 

9 things that totally gross me out

It’s Thursday and I’m feeling a little quirky, okay a lot quirky.  I was looking for new blog ideas and found this gem ‘write a blog about 9 things that totally gross you out’.   I honestly can’t decide if I’m getting grossed out or cracking myself up.

Things that totally gross me out
1. being touched by someones feet
2. runny egg yolks
3. someone dipping toast in runny egg yolks
4. the slobby licking sound the dog makes when she cleans her own butt
5. tuna fish salad
6. when grandma sucks her ‘teeth’
7. olives
8. boiled peanuts, especially when the juice gets flung onto my face
9.  the crunchy sound spiders make when squished 

So imagine what my worst nightmare would be like.  Someone touching me with their feet trying to get me to eat tuna fish salad, with olives topped with boiled peanuts and a soft boiled egg, all while grandma sucks her teeth and the dog licks her butt.  Then suddenly a big juicy spider runs out, the room falls to silence and someone steps on it.

And yes I said boiled peanuts are gross.  So indulge me; what is your grossy gross list?

Be Still

I know the best way for me to refuel and get guidance, whether it’s physically, spiritually or emotionally is to just be still.  I struggle with seeing that through, always feeling like there is something that needs my attention or like I have to find a way to keep busy when I’m not.    I have to make a pointed focused effort to be still, and the best way for me to accomplish this is what I call an analog day.

 

What’s an analog day?  It’s  day where all the digital stuff in my life get’s put on hold.  It’s not an anti social hide from the world day toss responsibilities to the curb experience, but a slow your roll kind of day.

What can an analog day look like?
– listen to records (the evolution of our record collection is a whole different blog)
– go chat with  a neighbor or a friend instead of texting
– read a real book, you know paper glue spine
– skip the online recipes and go for a cookbook, or better yet one of my Gram’s hand scrawled recipes
– send a piece of snail mail, enclose an extra  stamp
– anything that slows the pace, like a cup of tea

If I find myself having a hard time putting down the “busy” sometimes I’ll go where my phone doesn’t get a signal, like the belly of the aquarium.

Just a short list, what do you like to do to slow down?  I would love to hear!

DragonCon 2017, from a newbie

DragonCon, it’s every type of convention rolled into one.

DragonCon, my uncle calls it Nerd Fest,  it is a nerd fest.

DragonCon,  Labor Day weekend in Atlanta –  just go!

Now that I have persuaded you to attend let me tell you what to expect (I would love to say let me prepare you, but there really is no way to prepare.)

There will be Star Wars, Star Trek, SciFi, live action roll play, anime, Harry Potter, epic heroes and villains, celebrities, wackos, geeks, nerds and anything else your mind can conjure.  I guarantee  a huge crowd no matter where you look. Just envision 82 thousand people dressed up as their favorite fictional characters,  that’s what it looks like.   To many activities to pick from, there will be celebrity panels, workshops, photo/autograph sessions, a parade and the most magnificent people watching.  As a newbie I was overwhelmed.

So what did my husband and I end up doing? We saw panels with cast members from Firefly, Battle Star Galactica, Dr Who and ST Next Gen to name a few.  Went to the parade, which people started lining up to see two hours before it started.  By the time the parade got going the route was five people deep on the sidewalks.  Huge shout out to the Atlanta police by the way.  We went to costume night at the Atlanta aquarium dressed as Kaylee and Jayne from Firefly, used  it as an opportunity to catch up with a local friend, she even came dressed as River.

I think my favorite thing was the people watching – it really was monumental.

 

A total eclipse of the sun.

Talk about something you don’t see everyday, well every 20 some years or so, a total solar eclipse.  Although at 97% we weren’t in the path of totality we definitely had the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular site.   Here are a few photos form that day and if you are interested when the next total american eclipse is due check out this neat graphic.

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Top left, terrible photo through the glasses
Top right, getting accidentally photo bombed by mom – I call it angry thumbs up.
Bottom, the marina and that ‘log’ is an alligator

 

Low Budget Find, enamel cast iron skillet

I’m always on the look out for more bang for my buck, who isn’t.  My current obsession is this cast iron skillet from the Target Threshold line.  Yes I know I could probably get a bigger one for the same price but I love the crisp white enamel, it’s easy to clean and won’t scratch my stove, and at 10″ is the perfect size for the two of us.  I’ve done steaks,  stuffed mushrooms,  cheat chicken Parmesan and a myriad of other dishes that have gone from stove top to oven.   What is your current low budget obsession?

Gishwhes 2017

Well, it has been nearly a week since we finished our ‘hunt’ for 2017.  So you might have taken a look at the title and wondered what is Gishwhes , or might know all to well and feel that little twitch only brought on by sleep deprivation and hot glue fumes.  Either way welcome.

So the Greatest International Scavnger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, or GISHWHES is a charity driven scavenger hunt that will have participants saying some of the strangest things.
“Hey can you take a picture of yourself doing yoga with a random animal, but not a goat that’s been done”
Yep actually said that to my friends sister, never got a response either but I also didn’t get any visits from men in white coats, so win?  Anyway –
It was a great personal experience to be part of my team Gishy Rascals! Hunt week bonus; not only was there lots of personal excitement we saved acres of rain forest, changed lives and just had a great time worldwide.  I would say sign me up for next year but, sadly this was the last year.  So here are a few of my pictures from my first and last Gish.

Being goofy for our group collage.

Fireworks made out of veggies and spaghetti, yea it took forever to glue individual pieces of spaghetti onto my cityscape.

Bringing class to the old west with a tea and saucer holster.  

I have yet to cut into the Marx Mellon. 

Planting a tree in my neighbors yard.  

Want to see other teams submissions, may be event the chance to see a school bus get shredded?  Check the Gishwhes  page!

If you are ever in Pittsburgh….

It’s that time on my blog again where I get all gushy mushy about visiting the Phipps.  The current installation titled Super Natural is by artist Jason Gamrath. It consists of huge glass and metal orchids, pitcher plants and venus fly traps intermingled through the greenhouse rooms for a  brilliant display of color and texture.  Disclaimer – lots of photos ahead.

The breathtaking instillation wasted no time getting starting with these 12 foot sculptures.

Flanked by potted white orchids this piece truly was super natural in the main greenhouse.

Giant pitcher plants line the greenhouse leading to the orchid room.

In addition to the feature exhibit the Phipps itself looked spectacular, the ever changing scene lends this feeling of experiencing it for the first time every time.
They even cultivate all their own orchids, cherry picking the very best for the orchid room.

I loved the delicate details on this one.

Pitcher plants tucked in the ferns.  It’s always a toss up when I ask myself which room is my favorite; orchid or fern.   One is bustling with color, the other like some lush oasis.

The butterfly room was all a flutter none of them sitting still for a photo. Yes cheesy, I know – but at least I’m owning it.

My favorite of all the giant orchid sculptures was this orange one nestled in the corner of the butterfly room.  Like a little, or great big, surprise when I walked around the corner.  I hope they get to keep it!

More orchids that speak to the name of the exhibit – Super Natural.

I wish I had a better picture of this one where the deep purple and white flecks were noticeable.

Giant waterlily. Interesting – One of the first exhibits in this very greenhouse, dating back to 1895, featured giant amazonian lily pads.  There is even a picture of a girl in Victorian dress standing on one!

About ten years ago there was another glass sculpture instillation by artist Chihuly, the Phipps managed to acquire some of the pieces.  One of my favorites – the “swirly purples”, as I like to call them, are tucked into a defunct old fountain in the fruit and spice room.

The Dessert Gold Star hangs just inside the entrance to the dessert room.     I always wonder how they clean it, I mean seriously.

 If ever you are in Pittsburgh go visit the Phipps.  As you can see the well maintained Victorian greenhouse and grounds are nothing short of amazing.

Want to learn more about the fascinating history behind this Victorian greenhouse? Even see the picture of the girl standing on the lily pad.   Check here.

Even better, want to take a virtual tour?  Check this page out!

Let me know what you think, I would love to hear if any of you have visited the Phipps yourself!