Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Solution

Patients in my office say they would rather "give birth than be in the dental chair."
Well, that pretty much describes  how I feel about shopping for clothes.  Madonna may be a Material Girl. Good for her. Me? ...not  so much.

 Walking in to  the nearest Kohl's or Macy's department store makes me break out in hives--literally.    The fluorescent lights, the abundance of choices...way too overwhelming for me.  And the mirrors in the fitting rooms? They remind me of being at the circus.  Remember those? The  reflection looking back is  actually quite frightening!   Don't you just love  the sign fastened to the mirror stating:  ROOMS ARE BEING MONITORED.   Who's looking? And  for how long?   Are they right behind the mirror laughing at my muffin top?  Ummmm...No thanks.

Enter= MY SOLUTION.  Call it my New Year's resolution ( I really don't believe in those, but it is New Years!)

I've heard about stitch fix from reading a few different blogs and  women in general. I decided to check it out. I went online and filled in a little survey about what kinds of styles I liked and didn't. I completed my address and waited for my box to arrive.

It's here!
Came right to my doorstep.  Didn't have to step into a store OR a fitting room!  
What is under the wrapping?
5 items... and they all fit!  First box! A pair of jeans, a dress, 2 sweaters and a pair of earrings.   I am impressed!  I have 3 days to decide if I will keep them. If not, I just send them back in the postage paid bag.  Win Win!
I think I'm going to like this new way of shopping!

I'll keep you updated periodically on my keepers and returns.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 28, 2015

English joys

Known as the Queen's speech, the Queen of England speaks each Christmas Day. She is eloquent and wise.  One classy lady.  Have you heard it? If not, click the link below. The speech lasts about nine minutes. Well worth your time.

Want to see a few gifts I received for Christmas?  I will show you anyway!
New mug! In this photo, I filled it to the brim with hot cocoa! Topped it off with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a candy cane to stir! It will be my tea mug! Sketches of Big Ben, a Double Decker bus, High Tea, Hyde park, and fish and chips will take me to my happy place on a daily basis!

Received this box from my daughter's special guy in her life. He gave me 4 different kinds of tea, also.  The white chocolate peppermint is my favorite.  If he is trying to make brownie points, it's working!
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Downton Abbey starts its last season here in America on Sunday the 3rd. I found this quiz in our Sunday paper. So much for thinking I knew so much about the show. I got 4 wrong! Here's a sample question:

            What is the title of the magazine that Lady Edith inherits from Michael Gregson?
             a) The Illustrated London News
             b) Country Life
              c) The Sketch

I said A...which is WRONG!!!
The correct answer is C.

Will you be watching?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Prince of Peace

                               Isaiah 9:6

              "...For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace...."

Peace and Happy Christmas

Monday, December 21, 2015

Choir of Angels

There is something serene about a choir singing at Christmastime. All is bright and calm in the world.

I encourage you to click on the below link and listen to the entire carol.

Happy Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Would you believe...

Remember this one?

I loved this commercial when it came out years ago.  This is about as crazy over Star Wars I will ever get!

A lot of  hype over the new Star Wars movie coming out on the 18th.

Guess what?  Shhhhhhhhhh.....I have NOT seen one Star Wars movie--NOT ONE!!!  NOT EVER!!!
Can you believe that?  I think I may be the only person in the world that hasn't!

Have you?  Are you excited about the new movie?

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Room at the Inn

This past weekend, we traveled by car to Missouri for a family wedding.
Driving gave us some options, and one was to take our time getting to our destination.  The wedding wasn't until Saturday evening, and so we decided to split the drive time and stay at a bed and breakfast halfway.  

Hotels are so generic. I much prefer to stay at B and B's. We have met some very gracious innkeepers and stayed in lovely, unique homes.  I can't help but think of my beloved England while staying at such Inns.
We stayed here at
A cozy Victorian in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

This is the carriage house where we stayed in the Heisel Room.
You have to admit...this is  much more cozy than a hotel room!
   Yes, that is a King size bed, and yes, those are chocolates on our pillows!
Breakfast is always a treat at an Inn.  The table was set with fine Christmas china, water goblets, candles, and the smell of gingerbread entranced us as we floated to our seats.  We dined with a professor and his wife, and learned more about the painting,  American Gothic (famous in these parts and now in the Art Institute of Chicago--- you must go and see if you never have).
                                            Fruit with yogurt,
                                             TEA--of course!
                              And---french toast and sausage.  YUM!
The innkeepers paid close attention to every detail during our stay.  The room, chocolates, heater for our towels, books on the desk (one I happen to be reading at the moment---that just made me smile when I saw it there on the desk)...

 their tree decorated  brilliantly, twinkling so bright while we ate our delicious breakfast, conversation with some new acquaintances.  Staying here was a great way to stop and be thankful for the simple things in life...a nice warm bed, a good book, scrumptious food and lively conversation.

Have you ever stayed in a bed and breakfast?  Where? What did you like most about your stay?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Favorite Tradition

What will the story be this year?

Each holiday season, the department store (Daytons, Marshall Fields, Macys---the name changed a few times!) came out with a new display.  The magic took place on the 8th floor and kids and adults alike gazed in pure wonder at the twinkle lights and the magnificent costumes and props.

I remember the first year we went.  The lines were crazy to get in.  The kids were small, but we were determined.  It must be good if people stood in line for literally hours!  And that is exactly what we did.  For two hours, we made our way from one floor to the next,wondering if it would all be worth it. Indeed, it was.  So very worth it.  The tradition had begun.  We were treated to a Dickens Christmas.  We were hooked.

Think of it like opening a book, only you get to walk through it instead of turning the pages.  Below are a few examples of stories we have seen throughout the years.  

Sadly, the past few years the story has stayed the same.  A Day In The Life of an Elf.  The above photo shows the elves at work in one of a dozen or so vignettes.  It really is a sight to behold.  The artists work hard to bring the story  to life.    Even if it is the same one!  Honestly though, we are bummed! We have seen such classics as The Wind in the Willows, The Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Carol...the list is endless.  We very much  looked forward to the surprise of which story it would be that year.  But, all  good things must come to an end.  Yes, it is the same one again this year, but we will go,  regardless.  It's tradition!  
My kids are still looking forward to going.  

Do you have any traditions that you must do each year?  

Monday, December 7, 2015

World famous

Do you have a piece of Wedgwood tea ware?  Me neither.  But, after learning just a bit about the history of Wedgwood, I think it is about time I acquire a set...maybe even two!

Josiah Wedgwood started it all a very long time ago. 1759 to be exact. Josiah (I love that name by the way) was born July 12,  1730  in Staffordshire.  At the young age of 9, he was working with clay and well on his way to becoming  great potter.

Enter smallpox.

He no longer had the use of his leg. For some, that would end it.  Done. No more creating at the wheel.

I have the utmost respect for those who didn't quit when they very well could have.

Josiah turned to designing.  And with the help of others, he, indeed, made a few wares.  In 1759, he founded Wedgwood. I think his "break" came when England's Queen Charlotte ordered a few sets. He was on his way!

The company sells plenty of  tea wares, and know lots about tea.

The World of Wedgwood opened a museum in July of this year in Barlaston, Staffordshire.  In it, there are plenty of artifacts from the 250 years of history.

I can't think of a better way to spend a day walking their landscaped grounds, touring the factory, watching artists at work, buying a piece or two in the retail store, AND topping it off spending the afternoon having tea in the Wedgwood Tea Room.

Want to learn more?
Click on the website.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The two days  a year where the giving comes easy.  What about the other 363 days?

Hubby and I are in a small group at church.  (Loving it!)  We were together a few days ago brainstorming ideas of how we can give. A charity came up. Never heard of it.

Check out the video. Our group is excited about helping out on an "ordinary" day.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


It's quiet in the house this morning.
But, not for long.

I'm hosting  Thanksgiving.
As I sit here in front of my computer, I started a list of all the things I am thankful for.
It's getting long.

Do I deserve it all?  Me, worthy? Hardly.

My house smells of blueberry pie and there is a candle burning on my desk.

Last night I got to welcome home my grown son. I squeezed and hugged him lots. Daughter beware. Your turn awaits when  you arrive this morning!

Soon, my taste buds will salivate with all the bounty that will pass through my lips. I will try not to binge.

I look around at the table I've set.  I can already hear the laughter.  


5 gifts I take for granted on a daily basis.

5 senses that I got when I took my first breath.

Today I will reflect on these undeserving gifts, and just be thankful.  

Happy Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 23, 2015

"Finding Myself in Britain"

If you look in the dictionary for the definition of ANGLOPHILE, you just might see a photo of me on the page.

Anglophile:  A person who admires England, its people, and its culture.

Any book  with a reference to England lands on my bookshelf.  I found this one  quite entertaining.   The cover  screams, "pick me, pick me" with the silhouette about to land in a cuppa.
One click, and the book was mine.  I just had to wait for it to cross the pond.

It was worth the Royal mail wait.

I am now friends with the author. She is from Minnesota, USA.  Like the cover states, she has found herself in Britain.  She lives there with her family.

This book is full of England! If you've ever pondered the differences between America and England, this book answers  those questions in great detail. Parts of this book made me laugh so hard I thought I would pee my pants!  Yep--that funny!  (Read Chapter 11 first!)

Amy writes about the day Diana died, Rain, Rain, Go Away... School Days, Queuing and other British Sports, just to name a few chapters.

Even if you are not an anglophile, I highly recommend this book.

With my writer friend snapping a photo with Amy's book.

Click here to learn more about Amy.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

On Holiday

Somewhere, I read a list of  countries that maximize leisure time.
Brazil, United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Spain. They all made the poll.
No surprise, the United States did not.

Americans work way too much. Sad really.  There is much to see and do.

Last week, I had the privilege of making deposits in the memory bank.

Any guesses where we went?
 Yep. Cancun, Mexico.  Check out the water.  Yes, it really is that blue. And the sand...aah, the sugar like sand. I was reminded that time, like the sand sifting through my fingers, slips away. Moments like these don't last forever. They are here, and then they are gone.  The week flew by. Here is a glimpse of what we experienced.
 Isn't he cute?  A baby sea turtle. We came at the right time of year. Around 400 turtles hatched and we got to help them find their way to the sea! Keep on swimming,  Flipper!
Here is a big group of us letting our turtles go!
Tulum.  There is an incredible amount of history in Mexico.
We took a Mexican cooking class!  Mexican coffee and churros greeted us when we arrived. YUM!
Hubby and our dear friend Yvonne making salsa.  Turned out pretty good!


And yes, I really did eat a few!
One day we took the ferry across to an island. Here we are having lunch with our dear friends, John and Yvonne. Well, the three of them had lunch.  I had my cake and ate it too!  Delicious! We rented a golf cart and tootled around the island.

This view waited for us at the end of the island.  WOW!

I have one word that I focus on each year.  This year it is BELIEVE.  Found my word  this day!

I read 4 books on the trip!

I was walking through a small museum.  Found these  words.

I know I am blessed beyond measure.  I am grateful for every breath I take. Life. It's a beautiful thing. Don't waste a day. Enjoy all that God has so lavishly given.

I love the group One Republic.
Especially their song, I LIVED.

Click and really listen to the lyrics.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Stories are pouring in.  Man helping fellow man  during the horrific events in Paris.

One in particular caught my eye.  The scene takes place in a bookstore.  Read on.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

50,000 words


What's that, you ask?

National Novel Writing Month.

Yep. One month. To write 50,000 words. That's the ultimate goal. Many have done it. Not me, but I'm trying.

Below  is a great blog describing NaNoWriMo.

Maybe you will want to give this novel writing thing  a try.  It's only the 5th day. Plenty of time to catch up.

Note: I am taking a bit of time off from writing my blog.
I will return Monday, November 16.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Bonfire night

Traveling a distance by car this past weekend gave me some time to thumb through some magazines.  (No worries.  I wasn't driving!)

This one is a favorite.
Inside, an article spoke of celebrations around the world.
Great Britain's Bonfire Night jumped from the page.
Bonfire night?  Never heard of it.

November 5 is the day.  It all started in 1605 when King James I survived an assassination attempt.  Whew!  1605 was a long time ago, so the king's survival is not the main focus of all the festivities. But still, that's worth repeating.
Above is an interesting article about Bonfire Night.  I found it fascinating.

Fireworks, bonfires, and general happy gatherings of friends and family is what Bonfire Night is  all about!
A toffee apple recipe was inside the article too.

Here it is if you care to give the treat a try.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Hubby and I reminisced last evening about costumes our kids donned on Halloween night.

We laughed as we thought of our son all decked out as a bunch of grapes.  Not the best costume for getting in and out of a vehicle.  You see, the grapes were balloons pinned to a green shirt.  A stem grew from his little head!  In and out of the car four times,  and he had had enough!  "No more mommy.  I want to be done!"

One year they were Arthur and DW.  I loved those costumes.  Still love those Arthur books.
There was a knight, a bumble bee, Addey (from the American Girl dolls), a princess, Robin Hood, and a dalmatian.

For many years, the prize at my door was a toothbrush and toothpaste!  I thought it was a great treat! The kiddos thought otherwise.  To them, it was a trick!   We literally have not had kids at our door now for the past three years.  I can't imagine why.
Just in case we get some ghosts and goblins this year, we have treats.  Good ones.
Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 26, 2015


Birds in my yard are pigging out at their new feeder.  Isn't it great! My dear friend Yvonne gave it to me the other day...just because she loves me!  I'm so lucky! We love to watch the birds flitting around, fighting for a seed or two!  I wait for my tea to brew while watching the action from my kitchen window.   Its the little things in life.
Even birds know an England icon when they see one!  What's that saying? "Birds of a feather flock together?"

Thank you so much for this gift that keeps on giving to our winged friends, Yvonne!

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Looks rather innocent wouldn't you say?

Pest,  public nuisance, pain in the butt, irritant.  That is what these Asian lady beetles really  are.  Funny how they were "brought" over to the states to control pest populations eating at alfalfa, pecan and citrus trees.  Now look at them.  They're the pests!    They infest homes in droves.  I freak out when I feel them crawling on me at night while I sleep.  They fly into my food while I eat, and bite me any chance they get!  The nerve! PLUS, they stink really bad!  Vacuuming them up relieves some temporary pent up anger, but then the vacuum bag starts to reek!  I can't win!

I can't stand them!  They are driving me crazy!  They're like a pesky fly that buzzes around your head, daring  you to swat it dead.  Believe me, I swat at these nasty bugs, but they get away!

I just read that they tend to choose light colored homes nestled in wooded areas.  Guess where I live?
We need a good, hard frost to kill them all!
Okay--I feel better.  For now.

Monday, October 19, 2015

More for my collection

This gem arrived this week.

Great for researching my novel in progress.
Of course, much information is written  between the covers of this atlas about Queen Victoria. She writes about her beloved Albert in her diary..."He is perfection in every way-in beauty, in everything...broad in the shoulders and a fine waist..."  Queen Victoria was devastated by his unexpected death.
Pages telling of the House of Windsor, and many pages written about Sir Winston Churchill.
I did not know he was the son of an American heiress.   He studied in Dublin, Ireland.  "His father died when he was 20, and Winston wrote to his mother to urge her to come visit him, which she rarely did."  Hmmmm, great information for my book!   I love reading about the history of England.

I also put up this poster in my writing room.  More inspiration.
I love England.  Can you tell?!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Okay, I will!

I met a huge writing goal this week.  One I still can't believe I actually achieved.

Last night I unwrapped some chocolate and the message inside made me laugh out loud.
I'm taking a few days off from writing, and like the candy wrapper says...I'm going to the bookstore!

Hope you are setting goals for yourself AND achieving them also.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Our Little Library

Little libraries are popping up all over the country.
I've wanted one for quite some time.
Sometimes, all you have to do is ask!

 Squeee!  This weekend, hubby introduced our little library to the neighborhood.  Is this not the coolest London telephone booth you've ever seen?  Hubby can do anything!  Our dear friend, John, helped too.  
  He made the crown and the LIBRARY signs.  Used a laser cutter.  He's a genius.  Just wouldn't look complete without them.
I'm still smiling.  What a lucky gal I am.
Thank you for the efforts to make this Anglophile one happy little library owner.
If you're in the area, come and grab a book.  Where else would you get a free book from a phone booth?  

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Perfect days

1000 Places to See Before You Die

Have you heard of this book?  Need a bucket list?  Look no further.  One can't possibly venture everywhere , but the book offers a plethora of ideas.  

I have to admit.  It sure is fun checking off restaurants, towns, states, and even famous spas to pamper yourself.  There are endless possibilities in this guide.

Flying to far off lands is definitely an experience I hope you have done.  
When we landed in England, I was giddy.  We're talking running around in circles, jumping up and down like  a crazed dog, pure joy, giddy.   I waited for years to arrive in this enchanted land.   The holiday was everything I dreamed  it would be, plus much more.  A perfect day, every day I was there.

We can't travel every day, although I wish I could!

When that doesn't happen, there are ordinary, perfect  days . Take yesterday for instance.
I started my day like most.  Got up, showered, made my tea.   I got in my car, drove to work. Ordinary day.

Until he showed up at my place of work.
This is my dear friend John.  Smartest man I think I know.  Really.  He's smart. I'm not.  Seriously! I am in awe we are friends with him and Yvonne.  Miracle.  I love how we met.  Anyway...

So, John comes to my office to deliver these...
He made them on his laser cutter.  Yes, I wrote MADE.  I can't even comprehend how he did it, and I saw the cutter myself!  What did he make these for?  Stay tuned.  My Monday blog will reveal!

THEN, he asked me to lunch AND I got to hitch a ride with him in his sports car.  I took a picture, but it did not turn out---BUMMER.  We went to a nice restaurant and had a lovely conversation.  A real talk with a real friend.  BONUS- I took part of my meal home with me and finished it for dinner!  I loved our time together and hated to leave, but had to get back to work.

In short, he's the best!

After work, I needed to walk off that meal, so I headed here.
Stillwater, MN.  The leaves are starting to change.  A breathtaking view.
I made it up and down these steps on this perfect day.  Up 8 times, down 8 times!  A woman on the steps cheered me on saying, "Way to go!"  AND an elderly woman stood at the top of the stairs and said, "You will live," to all of us stupid enough to climb those uneven steps!   I thought she was pretty hilarious!

I never tire of looking at the leaves.  This time of year, its as if the trees got splattered with a paintbrush. The colors are spectacular.
My reward for climbing all those steps!  Chai tea from my favorite cafe.
Excellent food, and yes, a cycle shop too!

Sometimes a perfect day means being with dear friends, sharing in meaningful conversation over a lovely meal.  Look around at this lovely world we live in, and drink in all that it has to offer.

I hope you enjoy a perfect day today.