Monday, November 20, 2017

A long time

On this date, they were married in Westminster Abbey at 10:30 a.m.

70 years. 70

That's a mighty long time to spend with the same person. And for the Duke, she's not just any person. She's the Queen of England. I'm sure it hasn't been easy to step behind your wife and let her lead one of the strongest countries in the world. What a legacy this royal family has.

I found some interesting facts about their wedding day.

These two met at a wedding! I didn't know that.

Did you know the very first wedding in Westminster Abbey was held on 11 Nov 1100? King Henry I married Princess Matilda of Scotland. I love that name. Matilda.

Queen Elizabeth had 8 bridesmaids. My daughter had 7!

2000 guests were invited. Whew! Good thing we didn't have that many. I can't imagine the bill!

Here's an interesting fact. The Queen used clothing rations to help pay for her dress! Rationing measures were still in place following WWII. Many across the UK sent her their coupons to help. She couldn't use them. That would be illegal.

She wore two pearl necklaces. I love pearls. SIGH.

A sprig of myrtle was placed in her bouquet. A tradition that started with Queen Victoria when she was given myrtle from Prince Albert's grandmother. Wish I would have known that. I would have placed some in my daughter's wedding bouquet. Shoot!

Queen Elizabeth's bouquet was placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. A royal tradition.

The cake was nine feet high! Yikes! That's a lot of cake! I still love our cake the best!

Happy Anniversary to the Royal couple.












Thursday, November 16, 2017

impressed

Have you seen the ads for those meal delivery services?

Companies such as Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Plated, all would like to make it easier on you to prepare a decent meal.

I vowed I'd never do it. Seemed lazy somehow. I mean, really. How hard is it to find a parking spot near the grocery door,  run in, breeze past the dessert aisle without buying the tiramisu, and finding yourself in the longest line to check out?

Apparently, it's difficult on any given day and the masses have chosen Dinner in a Box! Who can resist gourmet recipes, super fresh ingredients, AND never have to leave your house!

The half off coupon enticed me. No. More like intrigued me. So off I was to my computer ordering my first box from Hello Fresh.

I assure you, everything is fresh.
I received three meals. Each one in their own bag full of ingredients.
You are given the perfect amount for each recipe. The portions are generous. No waste.
Who would have ever thought groceries could be delivered to your doorstep. It's like we have come full circle. There used to be such a thing as milk being delivered to your front step! History indeed repeats itself!

Just the right amount of cheese!
In just about 30 minutes, dinner is served.

A great alternative to fast food!



      







Monday, November 13, 2017

Dreams come true

Christmas time is here.
The holiday movies are beginning on the Hallmark Channel here in the states.

I can only imagine what it must be like to see your name on the screen.
My favorite author, Robin Jones Gunn, is likely pinching herself. Over and over again. Her dream has come true. Her books have been turned into movies!

Finding Father Christmas premiered last holiday season, and just yesterday Engaging Father Christmas was shown for the first time on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel.

How exciting.

The books shine the light on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  

"Come in! Come in, and know me better."
                                                    -Spirit of Christmas Present

The setting for these books takes place in the fictional town of Carlton Heath, London, England.
A place that is simply enchanting.

Robin Jones Gunn is a brilliant storyteller. She knows how to pen a novel.
There is mystery. And love. And forgiveness.
A lovely story you won't want to miss.




  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Success

Wondering about the sleepover?
Success I say. Success!
Indeed an understatement. We had a blast. 

Stayed up much too late. We ate and talked and laughed.  Not much has changed between us.
Being real with someone dear brings such peace and joy. 

As Thanksgiving nears, I am so very grateful for this friendship. It's one of the biggest blessings in my world.

Onward to next month's gathering. We're making plans for a Christmas tour. Let the merrymaking begin.



 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Website


Fast becoming one of my favorite websites...
Enter the contest to win a copy of the Crown!

https://www.anglotopia.net/

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sleepovers

Meet Alicia.
My forever pal since the 5th grade.

We haven't spent much time together since our junior year in high school, but we've managed to stay in touch.
We were bridesmaids for each other in our weddings,  and always send Christmas letters. 

My daughter just got married and I wanted to be sure Alicia was there.
We literally screamed and danced around when we saw each other. Giddy. That's how we roll. We thoroughly enjoy each other's company and can pick up where we left off when last seeing each other.

While at the wedding, we decided enough was enough. We must plan to spend time together at least once a month. 

And so it has begun. We've been through a lot in our lives. The tales are crazy unbelievable. It has made life more meaningful for both of us.

Sleepovers were our thing growing up. I spent many many nights at her house. I loved her parents and had a secret crush on her brother, Ed. What girl didn't? He was a babe! I say was because sadly, he has passed away. A story for another time.

Alicia and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning giggling and having facials with those masks that would harden on our face until we could peel them off! Funny the things we remember.
Footloose was our go to movie and we ate way too much chocolate.

Alicia texted me this week and asked if I wanted to come over for a sleepover at her house. Would I?
Took me about two seconds to say YES!
I can't wait!
We are going to have a sleepover! THIS WEEKEND!
Complete with jammies and wine and Hallmark movies!
Did I say I can't wait?
I am so looking forward to spending time together with her.
This was us at LOLO's restaurant in Stillwater last week. We are committed to our time together. 

I do hope you have the joy of having an Alicia in your life. I am so very grateful I have been gifted such a dear friend from the early parts of my childhood.

Our hubbys are the best as they understand our deep need to be together. I would do anything for my sweet friend.




Monday, October 30, 2017

Icon

When planning my first visit to London, I was advised to take a black taxi to our hotel upon arriving at Heathrow.
"It will cost you a bit, but not having to deal with the tube is so worth it."

I'm so glad I took that advice. I  was tired from the flight and didn't need the hassle of trying to be alert in a city I didn't yet understand. Besides, black taxis are an icon. An experience. My first adventure in London!
Black taxis are the cleanest ride ever. Not a speck of dirt inside. I was giddy when I slipped into my seat. The cabbie was professional and quite patient with this American anglophile. He asked me why I was so fascinated with England. He truly wanted an answer! I simply replied, "This is where Diana lived. And the best authors in the history of the world came from here." I gazed out the window enjoying my first views of this idyllic place. I was here. In my happy place. I was home.

Did you know that all cabbies go through rigorous training to drive us around the streets of London?
The training is called The Knowledge.

It takes drivers nearly three years...yep three...to learn how to navigate the confusing roads.
The drivers have to memorize streets and hotels and attractions. MEMORIZE.  No GPS for these cabbies. Isn't that impressive? I think so.

I will only use black taxis in England. It's all part of the experience of taking a holiday across the pond. Ubers and mini cab drivers exist, but  I know how hard it was for the cabbies to get their license. They know the way and will never get lost.

Oh, and the sound of the diesel engine in the black taxi still echos in my mind. It's a beautiful kind of rumble. One I will never forget. 
  As if I have time to read another blog...I find this one. I love it. It's written by a black cabbie! The stories are fascinating. Worth the read!
http://www.cabbieblog.com/


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Candy

Craving nostalgia in the form of candy?
Jordan, MN is the place to be.

You can't miss it. A yellow building longer than a football field begs entrance just off the freeway.
The skies treated us to quite a show before we wandered inside. Breathtaking.
  Welcome to the boondocks!
Remember these?!!
Snap crackle pop in your mouth!
Quite simply, this place is filled to the brim with sugar.  A child's dream.

Licorice, peanuts in chocolate, taffy, chewy this chewy that, gum drops...its all in there. The challenge is to walk away and not buy everything in sight. 

I ran to this!
Others found relief here!

Such a fun field trip. Guaranteed sugar highs will likely result in tooth decay! But the trip down nostalgia lane was worth it.




Monday, October 23, 2017

A Date

Let the good times roll!
We have a date for a holiday across the pond!

July 27.

I'm a bit over the moon right now.

As you can imagine, the research begins as to what I'd like to see and do.

I'm not excited at all, said NO ONE EVER who begins making plans for an international holiday.
(smiling big here!)   



Thursday, October 19, 2017

Next year

Next year is an important one for me.

Like it or not, I'm going to be fifty. 

I've decided I need to embrace the age.

I want to like it. Actually, I want to LOVE it.

So, I'm working on 50 things I'd like to do next year. Some are big, some small.

As you can see, in both 2008 and 2011, I succeeded in finishing a walking marathon.

I HATE running. Loathe, detest, abhor. They all fit. Running is for horses.
I decided a long while ago that running was not for me.

Walking, on the other hand. Now there's a sport I can wrap my brain around.

Months ago now, my husband's uncle passed away at the age of 98. He walked 2 miles every single day. I believe that was significant to his health and longevity. 

I sat in the pew and pondered his life while we waited for the funeral to start. I had this epiphany while I sat.
Uncle George was 98. I am 49. Exactly half his age.
It really was something to consider.

What haven't I done that I'd like to? Do I have any regrets yet? Because if I do, I'm still around to fix it.

Not everyone is gifted fifty years. I want to make the most of every single hour of every single day. No regrets.

I'm starting my list, and this marathon is on it.
Yes, I've done it before, but never at 50! I just want to do it again.

It's a fun marathon.
http://www.activeportagecounty.com/index.cfm?action=walking.walk

There are food breaks every 3 miles, along with water and potty facilities! That's a plus right there.

I'm excited just thinking about entering and finishing next year.

 
  

Monday, October 16, 2017

My reward

Look what just arrived.
The latest copy of Anglotopia appeared in my mailbox this weekend. Great timing, as I made my writing deadline. You can bet that today I will be wrapped in my blanket, reading.

Look at a few of the articles inside.

Foyles bookstore!
Can't wait to read this article about the post boxes in the UK. I love writing letters!
Wordsworth. I love his famous quote..."To Begin, Begin."
Easy, right? Just begin.
On my list of places to visit. Twinings Tea.

Want your own copy?
Visit Anglotopia's website.
https://www.anglotopia.net/



Thursday, October 12, 2017

Deadline

Think of me these next few days.
I'm feverishly trying to finish an entry for a writing contest.

I will have to hit SEND by Sunday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siwpn14IE7E

For some reason, the Top Gun theme song keeps me awake!



Monday, October 9, 2017

Getting closer

Remember this?
Miss the theme song? Click the site below.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7ULKKJ5UpI
Don't you just love the music?

Hubby and I are starting to think about when we can actually visit Downton Abbey. (Highclere Castle is the real name!)
I  get so excited just thinking about actually going. I would love to walk through the town and go to the farm where Lady Edith would visit Marigold.

Oh how I miss The Dowager and Isobel, Anna and Thomas.
The characters are not real and yet look how popular the show was. A story is all about the characters and how much we relate to them.

I'll keep you posted as to when we land tickets.  Keeping my fingers crossed.   

Thursday, October 5, 2017

My dad

On October 9, my dad would have celebrated his 73rd birthday.

John Lennon was born on October 9 too. My dad always used to tell us, "Did you know John Lennon shared my birthday?!"   Every year we could count on him saying he wished he was as famous as John!

Oh, but dad, to us you were memorable. 

My siblings and I have strong work ethics. All thanks to our dad. He made us work our butts off. Lazy would never do. We are grateful to him for instilling this very important value. He showed us by example what it meant to work hard.
Here's a picture of my dad chillin' with my daughter.
Here he is as a young lad with the family dog, Shep. My Aunt Lil and my dad were inseparable.
I love this photo of my dad. It sits on my desk. It was taken in Germany. He was so thrilled to be able to be there when my twin nephews were born.

Life stinks sometimes. Really stinks. I remember everything about the day my dad died. It was so not fair. He was just 54 years old. I cried for months. Maybe even years. It all was such a shock. I think about him a lot. I can't help it. What if he would have lived? I hit the replay button in my mind because I don't want to forget the last time I saw him.
My sister and I were going to an event and we happened to stop by our family home. Dad was there and we laughed and talked. Before we left I remember distinctively telling him I loved him. I'm so grateful I did. It would be the last time I would see him alive.

I have no regrets. Such peace in that.

My heart aches for all those suffering from the unimaginable acts of evil displayed by one very sick individual this past week.

It seems so surreal.
I know for sure that  those families grieving just want their loved ones back. There are no words.

I don't know what to do except to pray for peace. My heart continues to be with those hurting in Las Vegas.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Actor


My writer friend, Julie Klassen, just returned from a tour of England. She is a regency fiction author who decided it would be fun to plan a trip to England for her readers and her literary agent. She quickly found many who jumped at the chance to go. Spaces filled up quickly.  It was worth every penny they spent.   I  would have gone in a heartbeat, but my daughter was walking down the aisle the day they left!

Below is a recap of the adventure on her blog.

http://inspiredbylifeandfiction.com/england-tour-recap-the-trip-of-a-lifetime/

While there, she was blessed to meet actor Benjamin Witrow. He played Mr. Bennet in the 1995 movie version of Pride and Prejudice. Sadly, he passed away on September 28. I'm sure Julie was shocked as she just saw him a few weeks ago. Such a talented individual. May his soul rest in peace.

Have you seen the 1995 movie? Which adaptation is your favorite? 


Thursday, September 28, 2017

A resounding no

Sometimes the answer is no.

Oh how we want it to be a resounding YES.

I'm taking some advice from Winnie the Pooh...

Just remember
you are BRAVER
than you believe,
STRONGER than
you seem and
SMARTER than
you think.



Monday, September 25, 2017

Michelle Griep

Meet my BFF, Michelle Griep.
We met a few years back now while attending a writing group. We hit it off right away because we both LOVE England. I think she may love it more than me. GASP!

I got to know her even better while spending the weekend together at a writing retreat.

I asked her if she would look over my writing and tell me how to improve it. She let me know all right...GULP!

I'm so thankful for her honest critique. She has made me a better writer. She told me I was "teachable," which apparently isn't always the case among writers.

Michelle is zany and super fun to hang around. She is a gifted writer.
This book...died laughing reading every page. Hysterical.

Michelle was in Texas this weekend and won a huge award. A Carol Award. It's the equivalent of winning an Emmy in Hollywood! So very thrilled for her. 
This is her latest project. Dickens! I can't wait to read.  Thursday evening of this week she is having her book launch at the Barnes and Noble in Edina at the Galleria. I'm excited to celebrate with her. 




Thursday, September 21, 2017

My forever friend

Weddings are a preview of what heaven must be like.

How wonderful to have family and friends gathered in one place.

At our daughter's wedding, we were blessed to spend time with  loved ones we haven't seen in a long while.

One in particular I couldn't wait to see was my childhood friend, Alicia.

I was beyond excited when her reply came back stating she would be attending.
We have been friends since the 5th grade. Sleepovers happened frequently.  Mostly at her house.  We would stay up all night  talking about boys and laughing until our bellies hurt.  I have the fondest memories of those days.
They were the best of times and yet they were the worst.

You see, life sometimes isn't fair.  I will never forget the day when a boy on a bicycle peddled at breakneck speed up my driveway notifying me I need to get to Alicia  immediately.  "She needs you RIGHT NOW." That's all I remember him saying.

Oh the heartache that ensued.

I love our friendship with all my heart. She is one of my dearest friends. We always said we would be in each other's wedding. A promise kept.
We both married really great guys. She has four girls who are lovely beyond words, and
 I just married off my beautiful daughter and danced the night away with my son.

Alicia and I reminisced as much as we could. I made sure her and Joe were seated at my table at the wedding! We decided to try our hardest to meet at least once a month from now on. I can't wait to see her again.

I hope you have a friend like Alicia in your inner circle. A friend like this is rare. I know how blessed I am.  

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sigh

News of the subway attack in the UK makes my heart ache. Thank goodness there were no deaths, but to be sure, many many have been injured.

Why? We can ask that question continually and never get answers.

I chose to go back in time and remember some moments of complete bliss.  It's a fairy tale land over there across the pond. If you've ever thought of travel to England-GO!

Need a push? Maybe a few of these photos will assist in your decision.
Wells Cathedral. Magnificent place. Warning: You will cry upon entering. Takes your breath away.
I'm speechless.