Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

2007 is almost over -- just a very few hours. It has been a very different year for us. It surely has been a year of transition. We have spent most of the year getting to know our new surroundings. I prepared this little video to show you a synopsis of our past year.

Our wishes to all for a joyous and fulfilling 2008. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Dave!!

Our great old friend Dave is having a special birthday today! Dave is a retired member of the US Forest Service. He loves puttering around outside and is a devoted spouse to Robin and father to Nathan and Rachel and their spouses. He newest loves are his grandson Luke and new granddaughter Lily. Dave is a wonderful friend and we a blessed to have him in our lives. Today is his Medicare birthday. Congratulations, you made it old man.

Christmas 2008

I was so very late in getting all the details for Christmas completed this year. But, it came with very few snags and was a great holiday for us. Erica, Geoff and Frankie spent the long weekend with us and we enjoyed their being with us very much. Here are a few pictures as evidence of the excellent holiday.

The tree is all decorated and there are lots of presents beneath it.

Our trees do not have an angel on top but there is always an angel on the tree. This angel has adorned our trees or mantels for many years now. Erica made it, as I remember, while she was in pre-school.

It's Christmas Eve and everyone is ready.

Geoff, Erica, Bentley and Frankie opening presents on Christmas morning.

We always get up early on Christmas morning (5:00 a.m.). Here you can see that most of the presents have been opened and it is still dark outside.

A trip to the beach was in order. Here we have Erica, Geoff and the dogs enjoying the outing.

Bentley usually doesn't enjoy the beach that much, but he enjoys running with Erica.

Bentley love Erica especially when she plays with him.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Carols

Saturday Bill, Bentley and I headed back to Arlington. There we joined Erica and Geoff at the annual Christmas party hosted by Erica's very good friend Alexandra's mother, Anca. Whenever one goes to Anca's you first of all do not eat before you go there and you never leave there hungry. How she does it I will never know. It is wonderful and so good to be included in that family fun.

This party had lots of conversation, laughs and music. One of Anca's friends brought his keyboard and another friend brought sheet music for the masses. We all sang Christmas carols for well over an hour. The three little girls there were like angels completely wrapped up in the music. What a warm feeling we all got by participating in the singing.

A lot of pictures were taken but this one of Alexandra and Katrina shows the spirit and magic of the evening.

Thank you Anca and Alexandra. It a special evening.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Well, we made it! Another year! Today is our anniversary. Bill and I have been married for 32 years. I know that it is often said that it seems like only yesterday that we were married. Well, that is mostly true except on those days when it feels like we have always been married. Through all these years Bill continues to be my friend, my companion and my lover. He is my sounding board and all too often he is my verbal punching bag. As we grow older we grow more comfortable together. Sure, there are those moments when there is pebble in the shoe but those are removed and we are comfortable once again. What a wonderful feeling know that there is someone in my life who is and continues to be the holder of the key to my heart. I love you Bill.

Any who follow this blog know that Bentley joined our family in March. He is such fun and frustration. He and Bill are great pals. This picture was taken last weekend when we went to D.C. for a concert of the band Erica plays in. (Since I do not like my picture taken there are no recent ones of me really worth printing.)

Today is also the birthday of my friend Kathleen. Just wanted to say, "Have a Great Day!" I sure miss you.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


There's an ad for the Maryland Lottery that must run 50-60 times a day. It goes something like this, "All time bad gifts -- nose hair trimmers. . ." So, now what am I supposed to do for a stocking stuffer for Bill? That was what I was going to get him and since that stupid ad just keeps running and running I got the nose hair mower (that's what I call it) as a "you really need it" item and gave it to him with the razor blades we picked up at the same time.

Now, I know that personal care items are not always the best gifts. But, I ask you to compare them with the "Chia Pet" for example. That is what I call a bad gift. Besides which a Chia Pet does not come with a fancy box or name like say Sharper Image. The question for me is what do I get for a stocking stuffer? A Chia Pet, the Clapper or refills for his electronic toothbrush.

Refills for the toothbrush are sound pretty good right now.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Time for the Season

With the arrival of these roses and a lovely bouquet of lilies and tulips, we can officially start Christmas holiday season at our house. The flowers arrived on Friday for my birthday. The roses are from Bill. He has given me roses on my birthday every year for 32 years. That is very special to me.

It seems that everyone decorates for the holidays earlier and earlier each year. But, tradition is strong and these are among some of our early season traditions. The Christmas tree does not go up until after my birthday. But, it is selected and reserved Thanksgiving weekend. Outside decorations start going up after Thanksgiving. Inside decorations are completed the week of December 10.

This year our tree went up on Sunday. There are a few finishing touches to be made (photos will follow). The rest of the inside decorations will also be completed today and tomorrow. We are a little anxious about some of the decorations this year since this is Bentley's first Christmas with us. He loves to play with almost anything within his reach. Already he has been caught taking a ball from the tree. This should be an adventure.

More of our holiday fun to come later in the week and next week.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Snow -- Christmas Parade Cancelled

Yesterday it snowed here. Not very much at all but enough to cancel the Christmas parade. I can honestly say that I really wanted to go to it. Besides that, there was a run on milk, bread and other necessities at the grocery store. I was amazed because there was so very little snow and it was so much nicer outside yesterday and last night than it had been the previous two days when the wind blew hard and constantly. Things around here pretty much button-up with just a little snow. The schools all had a early release, classes and events canceled. It was hard for us to understand because it seemed liked nothing. But, I understand the concern about icing and the lack of equipment for that type of condition. The Goshen UM Chicken and Dumpling did go on and we went and then enjoyed the lights in downtown Milton.

The above picture was taken earlier today when I stepped out the back to take a couple of photos. I was rudely interrupted by a naughty dog who sneaked out right behind me and then proceeded to prance about in the white stuff. He would not come in when I called. Bill came home and got him in and so Bentley is in trouble today. Here is Bentley out on his adventure.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

"Good" Saturday Night Viewing?

Weekend television is not very good if you ask me. Here, there has to be at least 50 (maybe a little inflated) football games starting around 11:00 a.m. on Saturday and running until 11:30 p.m. on Sunday. Enough already!! Yeah, yeah we did watch the Army-Navy game when we were not out and about.

I was flipping through the channels trying to find something other than college football in the early evening. Well, there was the standard offering of celebrity watching channels, rebroadcasts of design shows I already seen, shopping channels, rehashed and spinning news shows and finally I chanced on one of the ESPN stations broadcasting the Gonzaga-UConn basketball game. Considering ourselves former Spokanites, it is hard not to be fans of Gonzaga basketball. We used to watch almost every game. Now, we consider it a rarity to be able to see a game. It was a special treat since the game was close and Gonzaga won. GO ZAGS!!

Well, we kept the TV tuned to that channel as they next broadcast the Oregon-Oregon State football game. I know, a football game. But, for some reason it was nice visit to the Pacific Northwest. Besides, the Oregon State Beavers won in OT. That's OK.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Something Going On in Annapolis

There is a multi-nation meeting (summit) going on today in Annapolis. Middle East peace is again the subject. One can only hope that even a modicum of progress can be achieved. Why, you might ask, am I writing about this event? It is because of an observation the skies here in southern Delaware. Where ever we have lived it was possible to see air traffic -- a mixture of private, commercial and military. In the 12 months we have been here I have not seen a commercial airliner overhead here in Milton. Here we see an occasional crop duster or infrequently a giant military transport and sometimes a helicopter directly overhead. Mostly, if we look to the eastern sky we can see the contrails of military airplanes making their way up and down the eastern seaboard or out over the Atlantic to foreign landings. The day the "Surge" started in Iraq there seemed to be dozens of planes flying out and back in that eastern sky leaving line after line of parallel contrails. We are very close to that security no fly zone they speak so often of.

Today, it was different. There were many contrails overhead and evidence of planes heading in a westerly direction. My guess, securing the airspace over and around Annapolis. Annapolis is only 80 roads miles away so it only makes sense that we can see evidence of the security just by looking up here. This photo was taken from the steps outside our sun room and directly overhead.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Like we have for so many years,today we went to select our Christmas tree. This year we purchased a farm tree at the Milton Historical Society auction in September. We found the farm and wandered around looking for just the right tree. We should have gone last week but we did not know that people tag their trees as early as the weekend before Thanksgiving. After much consternation we found one that should work perfectly. We tagged it and will pick it up the weekend of December 8. That is, if we can squeeze in the time what with the Milton Holly Festival and a demonstration on holly wreath making happening on the same day.

It promises to be a busy few weeks around here. I have never lived where there is so much town activity the first week of December. We have tickets for the chicken 'n dumpling dinner host by the Goshen United Methodist Church. Then there is the John Milton Poetry Festival, the parade and holly festival. Oh, and my birthday falls that week. It actually should be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Morning Calls

This morning I opened one eye slowly and then started to bury my head further in the pillows but there was a noise outside that just kept going on and on. It is not unusual to hear this but this morning it was much more intense and lasted much longer than normal For you see, there were literally hundreds if not thousands of ducks in a clearing by the pond this morning. Since they were flying in a direction away from our house I could not see their shadows across the lawn and they did not seem to darken my sky but they certainly let us know they were here.

By the time I got the camera and hobbled to an open door then were almost all gone. I was able to capture a few shots I would like to to share with you.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Woof to Geoff

Geoff is still away on his extended business trip. Erica and Frankie just wanted to give him a big woof out. They are anxious for his return next week.

Autumn Color Continued

The primary purpose of our trip to Lancaster County last weekend was to view the leaves one more time. Many have fallen but many were still very vivid in golds and reds. It was, as I mentioned in the last post, a very gray day so the contrasts are not as evident in the photos. Even so, it was a pretty drive.

Bentley, loves to go places with us. His favorite spot is in the back on the load cover. It is just the right size for him to relax and enjoy the view.

This photo was taken a few miles from where we live. I have mentioned previously about the agriculture of this part of Delaware. The fields are rarely at rest as can be seen in this picture. On clear, bright days the contrast is amazing -- green of new crop against the blazing colors of autumn.

I love the drive through the Lancaster County countryside.

Passing a horse drawn cart. The dog just about went bonkers.

We love to stop at a farm to get homemade root beer. It is amazing. To get there you have to take a narrow road to the farm house and then drive to the stand where the root beer is then picked up. The drive circles around between the house and the barn and then back to the highway. This picture was taken when we picked up our root beer.

Saturday must be wash day in Lancaster County. It seems that the clothes are hung on the line regardless of the weather.

Just to prove we did see some beautiful color.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rest Stop

When traveling through the country on major roadways, roadside rest stops are usually found every 35 to 60 miles along the way. When we drove across country last year we were taken by the differences in these facilities in the different states. There were ones of note as in noteworthy and ones of note as in not(e) so good. Perhaps the most noteworthy of these very needed places is right here in Delaware. First of all, Delaware is just long enough for one rest stop on Highway 1/13 (the main north/south route). There is one service area on I-95 as it passes through the northern most part of Delaware but it is not nearly as noteworthy as the one in Smyrna, Delaware.

For starters, the Chauncey O. Simpson Memorial Rest Stop is not just off the road. You have to take an exit and drive a mile or so before you get there and if you are not careful you end up in the town of Smyrna. Once there you are taken by the size of the facility and the meticulous grounds. What a surprise right in the center of Delaware! It is almost perfectly placed as far as distance is concerned for trips north. On returns to home sometimes the placement is not quite right (it is closer to Wilmington than to Milton).

Saturday we ventured out for another try at autumn color. We decided to drive to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The day was overcast so the brilliance of the color was not as great as if the day had been clearer but it was beautiful nonetheless. Here are some photos of the wonderful rest stop that show some good shots the foliage.

When Erica was a little girl she called a rest stop a "potty house." I say viva la potty house.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Taking Frankie Home

Wednesday, I took Frankie back home. Erica was home from her trip and they missed each other. On the way over I marveled at the colors as I passed field after field lined with beautiful trees all changing colors. The above photo is of an area here in Delaware just before crossing into Maryland. Coming back yesterday I was able to see the trees in the morning light. They were even more beautiful.

Before I left yesterday Frankie was on the bed for his early morning rest. The first photo is of him just pondering (Erica had gone to work). The second is one I caught when I came back to bedroom to get dressed. There he was all snuggled down and hiding in the covers.

Hope you like the pictures Geoff.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Frankie Is Visiting

Since Erica and Geoff are both on business trips this week, Frankie came to stay with us for a few days. That's okay except he and Bentley both just sit in the living room waiting for Erica. The hardest part is trying to get they each outside at appropriate times. Both have selective hearing -- Frankie, the older and somewhat stubborn; and Bentley, the younger and still preferring to ignore some commands. Right now Frankie is woofing at the holiday flag waving outside the living room window. When he is finished I am sure Bentley will start.

They have been pretty good especially when the giant container of Tide liquid sailed off the the dryer and went crashing to floor leaving blue oozing liquid all over the utility room and hall. Each went running to their appropriate spot and did not move for a couple of hours.

Here are a couple of pictures for Geoff and Erica to enjoy while they are away.

Frankie in the living room.

Bentley pouting in his corner.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Good Morning

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning
by Maya Angelou

Just a few minutes ago I decided to take a break and check the Weather Channel. While cruising with the remote I paused on the Martha Stewart Show. Her guest was Dr. Maya Angelou who read the above passage from "On the Pulse of Morning." I thought it would fit the above photo taken Wednesday morning. I was also reminded of a day several years ago when I was so fortunate to attend a luncheon where Dr. Angelou was the speaker. I loved her work before then and ever since I have been in awe of her. Never before or since have I seen so many people so captivated for so many minutes. Imagine if you can a large convention area, concrete floors and all; hard seats; tables needing to be cleared; 2,000+ women; and not a sound except those coming from the lips of the speaker. I came from there believing that when Maya Angelou says, "Good Morning" she means it from the heart.

So, Good Morning.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Think I Will Keep the Title

Several months ago I posted about my friend Terry and how she was the first in my circle of friends to turn 60 in 2006. In that post I used Terry's birthday to close out the year on all of us who had turned 60 in those 12 months. It is pretty amazing how the time has flown past and now I 60 with 61 rapidly approaching. I have considered the title of my blog again and have once again decided that it will remain 59 and Holding (Don't I Wish?). It is, after all, a state of mind.

When I did that post in April I included in the named achievers my friend Mary. I don't think she realized she was there because as I was to find out later she had not turned 60. Good for me she didn't notice. Last week Mary turned 60. I will never forget riding in the trunk of her Metropolitan (I had the shortest legs and was the most flexible) that was stuffed with other sorority sisters. Mary had a car and we would take a ride any way we could. I prayed we would not crash because no would find me. Crazy Ole Mary was what we called her. She with the heart full of love. When she married and headed off to exotic and remote locations it was her Christmas letters we all anticipated. Around our house it wasn't Christmas until we had received out latest update of her and Bob's adventures from the desert. Mary and Bob have each faced tremendous health issues the last few years. They have done this with grace and strength. Happy belated birthday, Mary!!

Here's to all who are 59 and Holding.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bentley is 1

On a much happier note for us, yesterday Bentley turned one year old. For this special occasion we went to the local doggie cafe. However, because they were remodeling the kitchen he could not have his favorite lunch. Another time for that. Instead, we bought him a raincoat because his coat mats so when it gets wet. He is long enough and certainly heavy enough to wear a larger size. But, his legs are short, much like mine, and we had to opt for the smaller size. I think that this coat is only a "temporary." He also got a new squeaky toy and some special decorated treats.

Yep, we are pretty silly about this pooch. He is a whole lot of fun and frustration. Mostly, though, he brings us true unconditional love.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


For all who visited our last posting, we have removed it. The Pokey Little Puppy will return another day. We will wait for another time for our first grandchild. We love you Erica and Geoff. Know that all of our hugs are for you right now. It will be better.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sugar Maple

Driving from here north to Wilmington last Saturday we came upon this huge, beautiful tree. We have driven past it numerous times since it is not too far here. For some reason it has not stood out as much on our previous travels. It is possibly because it was not dressed as nicely as it was on Saturday and again on Monday when I had reason to go to Dover. The tree is a Sugar Maple. It stands on the edge of a newer subdivision called appropriately enough Sugar Maple Farms. I have better photos of the tree but this one shows the solitary strength and presence of this lone tree. When I look at the photos it is hard to believe that until now we had not noticed this beautiful specimen. Perhaps it is because we have always been speeding down the highway, being overwhelmed by the number of new subdivisions, or more probably not seeing the tree because of the forest. For whatever reason, we will always see this tree from now on when we pass it.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Several posts back I said that there would be more on beer at a later date. That later date is today. As it turns out, today might just be the perfect day to tell about beer. So, Bill was tiring of retirement very early on in the process. I am not sure if it was because of the pushed forwardness of the retirement, he was not ready or that I was driving him crazy. I think it was some of all but mostly I was driving him crazy. Well, in early July he went to work again but in a whole new industry for him. And, for all who know him, it is just two miles from home -- no major commute! What industry you ask? Brewing. Yep, there is a wonderful craft brewery right here in Milton, Delaware.

He went to work for Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. If you look closely at the carton you can see the words "Off-Centered Ales for Off-Centered People." Perfect fit, right? Right!

Bill has never been a real beer drinker. When he would go out and was asked what he would like to drink he say, "Bring a beer." To which a server in frustration always responded, "We have yada, yada." He would answer, "Yada" until he found Alaskan Amber but would still mostly just ask for a beer. That is until he discovered Dogfish. He loves the beer and now that he is working there, he loves it even more. Do visit the website (linked above) for a fun look at the place.

Now, why was today the right day to talk about this beer? Well, let's look at this "off-centered" person Bill who now orders his drinks specifically like, "I'll have the 60 Minute" or "Make it the IPA." This morning was classic. He wore four shirts before he went to work. The first when he got up and took the dog outside was one from last night and went into the laundry hamper when he headed for the shower. The second one he put on after he showered. Then a little later he took Bentley for a walk. As they were walking past the neighbors house a sprinkler came on a got him full force -- shirt drenched. The third shirt ended up with a big splotch of something on it. The fourth shirt I hope will make it through the day.

Next he tried to check on the status of an insurance claim only to find out that the delay was because he used his full name one place and his shortened name has always been the one of record. Funny how things work that way.

The next occurence of the day he does not know about yet because it happened after he headed for his day at the brewery. Late yesterday I asked him to make sure the towels from the master bath were in the laundry. I was speaking of the towels I had left on the floor when I put clean ones in the bathroom. Fast forward to this morning. I have just completed a nice warm shower, reach for my towel and no towel to be seen. So, I put my skimpy nightshirt back on, grab my crutches and go to the other end of the house to retrieve a towel from the linen closet. I had to put on the nightshirt because I am sure the neighbors would not have appreciated a public display of my nakedness. I know I should have checked, but it is more fun to blame him.

He'll come home with a new case of his favorite ale tonight and all will be well.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Day Trip to the Poconos

Saturday we set off for a leisurely day trip to the Poconos. I have been moaning lately about not seeing mountains for sometime. You know that the highest point in Sussex County is 44 feet and that is a landfill. I was in need of some altitude and wanted to see mountains in fall color. It is about three hours from here to Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. That's on a good day with no traffic. But we made to see hills and leaves after four hours or so.

Before embarking on this little trip I checked to see when the leaves would be at the best color point. We had planned to go a week ago and indications were that "peak color" would be this past weekend. It seems that the extended drought has impacted all things in the region including the "peak color." There was also an unexpected warmer than normal period earlier this month which obviously had some impact. So, we were too early for "peak color," but only by a couple of days or so.

The last time we were in this area was 23 or 24 years ago. At the time I remember being very concerned about acid rain and I kept looking for signs of it. There were signs but not what I was expecting. There were areas where trees were dying but not to the extent I had envisioned. Instead I was overwhelmed by the hills and hills of trees. It was then that I resolved we should return someday in the fall to see the leaves as they are changing.

That's what we saw this past weekend -- hills and hills of trees that were changing colors as the season wears on. Perhaps if I were more of an artist I would have realized that the colors we see are really influenced by the light of the day. Saturday was partly cloudy and at one moment I would see a beautiful hillside in reds and golds and then in the next moment I would see the same hillside in shades of green.

The next time we visit, and we will for sure, we will make it a two or three day trip so that we can enjoy some of the recreational areas like the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area. The day was much too short to get it all in. We kept looking for look-outs and vistas to view but on these busy roads there were none to be seen. So, we must go back and see more. We will catch the colors in morning, midday, afternoon and early evening light.

We did stop for a "linner" (late lunch/early dinner) of tappas in Stroudsburg. The place was was called Everybody's Cafe and it was very good. The picture below was taken just outside their door.

All in all it was a good day.