Recently…November 2017

Ah, NOVEMBER…a month filled with birthday celebration…falling leaves…falling temps…shorter days…moments of thanksgiving…pivoting towards advent…in the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my November days…

Recapping the month through a few snapshots…

Time in Texas…I hadn’t seen my girlies since February so it was wonderful to start the month with a long weekend back with them all. As per normal, we had a jam packed weekend. Pedicures to start the weekend. Homemade pizza on Friday night. A Saturday morning soccer game. A Saturday afternoon high school honor choir concert. An early birthday dinner celebration for me at Tupelo Honey at The Star , the new Cowboys Frisco complex. Church. A bit of shopping. A quick Christmas Card photo session in the blazing heat. All in all, a delightful time with some of my favorite people!

A birthday at home in the Ville…When I left Texas, I detoured to the Ville to actually be at home with Mom & Rebecca on my birthday. While there are no pictures from the day, it was a sweet time. Several sweet friends from church joined us for dinner at a favorite Vietnamese restaurant and then back home for Mom’s wonderful chocolate cake (with the fudge-like icing).

Cider Roasted Veggies…after roasting a pan for the office Thanksgiving luncheon, I made a batch at home in the Ville that were incorporated into several quick meals throughout the week

Thanksgiving Week at home in the Ville…a lovely and low-key week at home with Mom & Rebecca. My goal of reading lots of books didn’t happen but it was still a relaxing week. The church Thanksgiving on Sunday started the week – I didn’t have it in me to make my traditional Nantucket Cranberry Pie so we went with Mom’s gingersnaps instead. A massage restored me from months of stress and more. Two salt room visits helped all of us. Thanksgiving dinner was hosted by friends and the weather was such that we enjoyed extended time out in their pavilion in the back enjoying the gorgeous afternoon.

Sipping Joy…whether iced or hot, the Peppermint Mocha Swirl is “just right” from Dunkin. And, their JOY cups are the best holiday cups around.

Looking ahead…who knows how December will unfold…but I’m definitely looking forward to extended time at home in the Ville, figuring out how we celebrate the season, spending time planning for 2018 with Powersheets and one word, reconnecting with high school friends at our now annual Christmas week gathering…and turning the calendar to a new year…

What filled your NOVEMBER days?

Once again linking up with Leigh for What I’m Into.

Recently…October 2017

Ah, OCTOBER…a month filled with fall flavors…fall and falling leaves…the flavors of autumn…beautiful autumn skies…shortening days…a bit of travel…a return to blogging…and more…in the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my October days…

Arranging…succulents in a pumpkin! A Saturday morning class at my favorite garden center yielded this beauty for the mantel. When I signed up for the class, I thought it might involve scooping out a pumpkin to create a planter – no pumpkins were carved in the making of these. Rather, succulents were potted into the divot at the top of the pumpkin and then moss was arranged over the dirt. A simple design with endless possibilities – next year I will be doing this on my own, for sure.

Traveling…just one work trip to start the month. A quick overnight to Milwaukee for a one day meeting. As I arrived to my hotel room on the Monday evening, I was getting the 24 hour flight check-in notice for my return flight.

Adventuring…while home in Georgia for a long weekend, a Friday was a perfect day for some autumn adventuring with Mom & Rebecca. It was a gorgeous day to head north to the mountains. First, we stopped at the Georgia National Cemetery to visit Dad – it was our first time there since the headstone had been installed. After a quick lunch at a roadside stand, we continued north towards Blue Ridge. We braved the crowds & chaos of Mercier Orchards for apples (of course), fried pies, cider donuts and hard cider. Once back home in the Ville, we enjoyed dinner at a new to us Vietnamese restaurant that is fast becoming a family favorite.

Decorating…with Modge Podge and glitter! The office activities committee once again provided a pumpkin decorating station that was overflowing with possibilities in paint, stickers, glitter, pipe cleaners, ribbons and more. I went for simply and sparkly with the gold glitter topped pumpkin to decorate my desk.

DabbingAltitude Oil to keep my head clear …this was recommended by a seatmate on a flight to Milwaukee – she is touring as Mimi in the 20th anniversary RENT tour…she said it was a favorite for staying well with all the travel, so of course I had to track it down & order it. In addition to being a great energizer while up on the air, it has also been helpful in stopping rapid fire sneeze attacks and sinus headaches and keeping the start of a cold at bay.

Cooking…minimally but simply and healthy…my favorite Chocolate Chili was made and “stocked” in the fridge for most of the month and paired with all sorts of things for quick lunches & suppers – I see this being a common occurrence for the foreseeable future.  On a Sunday afternoon, local apples simmered on the stove for a simple batch of chunky applesauce – looking at my produce tower, another pot is on the horizon.

Enjoying…one final sweet bouquet from my local farmstand. These $5 arrangements bring joy, for sure. Early in the season, I go for the cut-your-own option. But I just love when the farmer’s mother begins offering these sweet “cup holder bouquets” of zinnias and other flowers and fresh herbs. As the season ended, it was fitting that it was a more autumnal bouquet of flowers paired with purple basil.

Wearing…a Life was Good shirt for Halloween. As I shared on Facebook, navigating life without Dad is filled with all the emotions – some days, all seemingly at once. While tears & sadness creep in, we also have plenty of smiles & laughter along the way. To some, this year’s Life is Good Halloween shirt might seem an unlikely choice for us. But, since Dad loved a clever pun…this was an obvious choice for Rebecca & me. I’m pretty sure Dad would say “well played, girls” with a twinkle in his eyes & a smile.

Lunching…a Saturday day trip over to Lancaster County included lunch with a dear friend from Chicago who lives in the area. It had been 10 years since we’d seen each other and as we each enjoyed our Halloween themed Eggs Benedict at Gracie’s on West Main we caught up on life.

Looking Ahead…November is always a favorite month with my birthday and Thanksgiving…I know it will be more bittersweet without Dad to celebrate with us…

What filled your OCTOBER days?

After way too long, once again linking up with Leigh for What I’m Into.

Recently…April 2017

Ah APRIL..a month filled with planned travel for work and fun and unplanned delays…spring blooms and pollen…Easter…time with family and friends…and more…in the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my April days…

Reading…while only finishing 3 books in the month (Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny; The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan; And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East by Richard Engel), I also had major start-itis & have several other books in active reading rotation…

Wearing…my Tieks more often than not…I’ve added Pewter to my line-up this spring…I can see that those shoes might be the only shoes I need to pack for spring & summer business trips…

Arranging…on a Sunday afternoon I went to my local garden center for a fun floral arranging class and came home with a bright arrangement to bring cheer to my mantel…

Traveling…for work twice during the month…the first trip included 2 extra days in Milwaukee because of the Delta meltdown after severe spring weather hit Atlanta one week..

Exploring…the Milwaukee Art Museum on my unplanned Saturday in town while waiting to get back home…when you end up being the only one for a docent led tour, you end up with an hour long private tour of the collection highlights…

Battling…a spring cold that included completely losing my voice 4 days before facilitating a 2 day training session…recovery was fueled by a salt room session, non-stop throat drops under my tongue, plenty of hot tea, rest and soldiering on…

Celebrating…Easter at home with the family in the ‘Ville…it was great to be home for a bit and just hang out…

Cooking…not too much but trying to do some simple food prep along the way to have clean and simple options available at home…

Listening…to the sounds outside as I enjoy having my patio door open whenever possible…early mornings are filled with a chorus of bird songs…early evenings are filled with neighborhood kids playing in our collective backyard…

Knitting…a simple shawlette is on the needles to showcase a beautiful skein of yarn dyed by Vicki.

Looking ahead…May is filled with work travel (hello Florida, Ohio, Mexico)…a quick visit to the Jersey Shore to celebrate a friend’s wedding…a visit to the WI-fam to celebrate the newest member of the family…and more…

What filled your April days?

Belatedly linking up with Leigh’s What I’m Into Round-Up.

 

 

Recently…March 2017

Ah, MARCH…a month filled with more and more sunshine and the adjustment to the time change…some lion-ish weather and some lamb-ish weather…more business travel…sea breezes and snow…friends and family…and more…In the midst of it all, these are the things that filled my MARCH days…

Watching…glad for the return of Designated Survivor…trying to stay semi-current on my DVR…the recent Natalie Portman movie “Jackie” was an enjoyable view while on a flight one Monday morning…
Reading…an assortment of books throughout travel time: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum; The Balance Project by Susie Orman Schnall; Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal; Invincible Summer by Alice Adams…this year’s Lenten reading routine isn’t as regular as I’d hoped…

A few business travel views

Traveling (work)…11 nights on the road…the month started & ended with trips to Boca and also included 2 trips to Milwaukee…across those trips was the full gamut of weather from summer tropics to full-on winter snowstorm…the last evening I was in Boca, I made the effort to get down to Deerfield Beach for dinner at one of my favorite seafood spots and then enjoyed 2 scoops of rapidly melting gelato whilst sitting on a bench looking at the water as the sun was setting behind me…

Florida Welcome Center pit stop

Traveling (fun)…in early March the family had the privilege to attend another partner briefing for The Jesus Film Project – this time in Orlando. For this briefing, it was a family road trip. I flew into Atlanta late on a Wednesday evening. At 6:05 AM on Thursday we were pulling out of the driveway and after a Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee stop we were on our way. Two other families from church were joining us at the briefing and got on the road after us – there was a CB lingo text ring among the 3 vehicles the entire way down there. In true road trip fashion, lunch was a picnic at a rest area while enjoying the gorgeous weather. It was a delightful weekend hearing of the work being done around the world through this simple and powerful film and media and app. On Sunday, we were on the road back to Georgia by 11:45 AM – a late Sunday evening flight to Milwaukee for me had us focused on getting home in a timely manner…

Simple Sheet Pan Supper

Cooking…not too much with all the travel…craving clean and simple foods when I’m home…a simple Sheet Pan meal creation was the perfect thing for a Sunday supper and assorted meals during the following week…

Snow is no obstacle for Wonder Woman

MacGyvering…one business trip had me landing in Milwaukee at midnight on Sunday as a decent snowstorm was kicking in. I picked up my rental (a minivan?!?!) & slowly made my way to the hotel on streets that were disappearing under the snow. I dropped the van with the valet in on Monday morning had a white knuckle drive to the office on roads that still hadn’t been properly attended. On Monday afternoon as I left the office, I discovered that the rental didn’t have a snow scraper/brush in it & I had about 5” of snow on the front windshield. As I looked at the options I had, I sacrificed a Wonder Woman notebook to act as my brush & had the windshield cleared in no time – and then went to a “city” rental counter to get a scraper/brush which of course I didn’t need the rest of the week…

The Saturday afternoon view from our hotel room in Orlando

Sipping…Tazo Wild Sweet Orange came back in rotation & was added to my travel kit – sipping a cup in the evenings in the hotel provides a way to unwind…

Celebrating…a delightful Bridal Shower brunch on a Saturday was the perfect way to celebrate a friend who is getting married in May. Because of travel fun the day before, I didn’t get home till midnight and so my plans to get gift wrap on Friday morphed into turning the back of the Edge into a wrapping station in the CVS parking lot on Saturday morning before picking up a friend & heading towards the event.

Middle school besties

Lunching…whilst in Orlando, we met up with friends for a Friday lunch. Julia was my best friend in 8th & 9th grade back in our Kansas City days…we reconnected on Facebook years ago. It was a treat to meet her delightful family & also see her parents – we hadn’t seen them since early 1989 before the family moved to Belgium. As Julia & I were catching up at one end of the table, Rebecca was engaged with her boys and Mom & Dad were deep in reconnecting with Steve & Debbie at the other end of the table – truly one of those “pick up where you left off” sort of times with dear ones…

Catching up on decades!

Looking aheadHello, April…April includes business travel – although it seems like the number of trips is changing…Easter at home in the ‘Ville…who knows what spring adventures are to be had?

What filled your March days?

Belatedly linking up with Leigh’s What I’m Into Round-Up.

 

 

Recently…January and February 2017

Ah, JANUARY & FEBRUARY…the fact that January didn’t get posted here should be an indicator of how 2017 has been…these months have been filled with some winter weather, a bit more daylight each day, a whole lot of travel, some attempts at saying Hello to all the months had to offer, and more…among it all, these are the things that filled my January & February days…

Watching (on the small screen)…the return of Sherlock on Masterpiece was a good start to the year…Victoria on Masterpiece is an enjoyable addition…the DVR is getting plenty of use with all my travel…

Reading…after a slow start,  the “books complete” list if filling up – 10 books in these months – thanks to the time on airplane…three  trips to Three Pines with The Cruelest Month and A Rule Against Murder and The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny…a journey through the dawn of the space program and the hidden women that supported it with Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly…a quick read of hygge in The Cozy Life…a tale of a Pennsylvania town impacted by fracking in Heat & LightMicro-Resilience by Bonnie St. John was a good business read as I move into a new role…A Portrait of Emily Price was another fun escape by Katherine Reay…Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron was an insightful story that also had me longing for a return trip to Assissi…once again, a Charles Martin story pulled me in from the start in Thunder and Rain

Watching (on the big screen)…A Saturday afternoon at Movie Tavern was time well spent with a friend and her daughters as we enjoyed the Hidden Figures movie – yay for celebrating women…La-La Land was a delightful Sunday afternoon with a friend…on a flight I enjoyed watching The First Monday in May

Listening…the La-La Land soundtrack is on frequent play as well as the recent Toby Mac Live album…

Tidying…a slower start to my 2017 Kon Mari…but I did manage to have a small Green Drop pick-up on the calendar… another pick-up pile is gathering in my spare room…

Organizing…my pantry with new labels for the mason jar containers…now, to just be home enough to be using them…

Growing…even while I was gone, my winter bulbs seemed to thrive at home…the paper white bloomed & tipped off the plant stand while I was on the road…I was giddy that the majestic red amaryllis yielded 4 blooms that waited until I was home for a full week to bloom when I could enjoy them…

Traveling (for work)…since the calendar turned to 2017, I have been on the road for work for portions of 7 weeks – currently my airline app shows 24 flight segments so far…6 in Milwaukee and 1 in Boca Raton…since several flights were at less popular business travel times, I lucked into some upgrades along the way…

Dining…while on the road doing my best to stay healthy…in the absence of dinner plans with colleagues, my go to is soup and salad from Panera Bread…some favorite Milwaukee restaurants have been enjoyed – a spot on French onion soup one night and delicious sushi and sake another night

Cooking…early in January I had a “glorious” weekend of all sorts of food prep which was a lifesaver for the days I was actually home and felt like a great way to be starting off the new year. In addition to some of my favorite ways to prep, I enjoyed  making the  Pork Medallions with Blackberry Compote & Cauliflower Puree (from “Well Fed Weeknights”)…with this ongoing travel, I’m thankful for roasted veggies and eggs in the fridge to ensure hodge podge hash and eggs is an “at the ready” meal when I’m home – I need to do another muffin madness type of food prep weekend as the travel continues…

Sipping…coffee in the morning…tea in the evening…weekend mornings mean coffee in my fun new panda mug from my girlies…loving my new HydroFlask from my favorite Marinette coffee spot – it is quickly becoming a travel essential…

Traveling (for fun – Jan)…one weekend I decided to stay in Wisconsin and trekked north to Marinette to hang with the WI-family. On Saturday morning, I picked up coffee from my go-to spot and enjoyed a peaceful breakfast time along the shore. I finally met the newest addition to the family, Bebe A, and spent lots of time with her in my arms. Saturday evening was for cooking – Sunday evening was for grilling burgers in the snow. Just hanging out and catching up on life.

Battling…winter colds and crud…of course, “the” week that I was home in February included a head cold flaring up – as the weekend approached, I went full force on all the remedies and by the time I got on a plane early Monday morning the cold was history…without a doubt, seeking out a “near to me” Salt Cave on the Saturday afternoon was the extra oomph needed to ensure that I was ready to go for 2 days of facilitating training…

Traveling (for fun – Feb)…one weekend in February was blocked for a trip over to see my girlies in State College…at the end of the month, the family relocated back to Texas…so I was grateful for one last time to hang out with the girls in PA…our homemade pizza evening…plenty of games…just hanging out…making terrariums…on the wonderfully warm and sunny Saturday afternoon the girls & I left their parents packing at the house and enjoyed some adventure time – including sipping coffee on the patio at the coffee shop and a bit of shopping that included helping M pick out foundation (when did she get old enough to wear makeup?!?)…driving away from their house was bittersweet – but I’m so thankful for the months when they were “just down the road” from me…

Looking Ahead…as I say Hello to March, I see a fair share of business travel…a weekend with the family…daily Lenten readings…signs of spring…and more…

What has been filling your winter days?

Linking up with Leigh’s What I’m Into round-up.