Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve...

Wherever you are, may you have a safe celebration tonight!

Dick and I will peddle over to Wade & Ginger's patio for a small dinner celebration with friends. I am to bring the dessert, so I asked Dick what he wanted me to fix. First off was creme brulee...that's not gonna happen! Next suggestion was banana pudding, so that is what I'll take. But first, I have to go to visit Publix and leave them a final donation for this year. My shopping list is growing.

As 2008 draws to a close, remember to count your many blessings, give thanks for what you have...and pray for our troops as they defend our precious freedom. May 2009 find you filled with happiness, health and laughter!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Super Tuesday...

YES...they haven't closed yet, so this is where we are having breakfast this morning!!! We are meeting Bill and Vickie...long-time friends from NJ here at John G's. Can't wait to see them and to enjoy eating here.

We arrived at the RV park at 3:30 yesterday, and promptly began setting up. The internet satellite didn't work; the TV satellite didn't work, but Dick, being the whiz that he is, *finally* got everything up and running. Whew.

And Ginger rode her bike over to greet us and to invite us to come over and have dinner with them. What a gift that was, not to have to stop our setting up and think about dinner. It was gonna be ready and waiting for us! And boy was it good, plus it was nice to sit and visit with them and catch up on park stuff. And family stuff. We'll go back over there for New Year's Eve for a small dinner gathering.

Speaking of, what are y'all doing to bring in the New Year? Gosh, it is almost here. Our fave thing is to watch the celebration in Times Square on TV. No way would we go there for real! That is just too much crowd for our tastes.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rolling south, y'all!

Heading to West Palm Beach today...after tomato sausage gravy and biscuits! We'll really be ROLLING if we eat this too often! Sherman was the cook for this. Pat is also a great cook...last night's dinner was delish!

Happy Monday, y'all!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hello from Chiefland!

After a 4a start in the rain, we arrived in Chiefland just after 3. We did stop for a nap at 6a...Dick was ready for a break...then breakfast.

Missy stayed hidden in the bedroom most of the day...then finally ventured out and stayed under a chair. She has to get used to her new home, once again. I missed having Parker in my lap all day...........but I know he is all healed and is happy. And I didn't cry today!

Jeff and Bjarne are here at Sherman and Pat's is great seeing them again (they live in Denmark--Jeff is Dick's nephew--remember we visited them in August?)...and we are about to have a pot roast dinner that smells heavenly. Life is good!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Saturday stuff...

Today will be a busy day. We both have to do our parts to get the moho ready to roll tomorrow morning. Actually, we'll probably move it over to our RV park late this afternoon in order to save time in the morning, since it looks like it's gonna be raining and messy. No cooking tonight, so that's one less thing on my mind.

And the meager Christmas decorations have to be taken down and stored. I'm sure Doodlebug will be a great help...NOT!

Oh yes, the wee girls and I had fun making the toffee, but it took longer than I had anticipated (new recipe), and they lost interest in helping, but not in the eating! I'm not sure I would make it again, since I don't care for super sweet stuff, so we may stick to cookies next year. I like them better anyway!

Enjoy your Saturday! Life is grand!!! (get it? I've got my grands here?! I crack me up!)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Redneck Christmas decorations...

First, we'll check out the outside of Bubba's house...
Then proceed inside and see what Martha Stewart would probably label shabby tacky...Hmmm, do the lights improve this or what?
Instructions to construct can be provided upon request.
Come on over for some toffee later on this afternoon. The wee girls and I are gonna make some! Life is sweet!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry, merry Christmas!

Recipe for Blessings...

~ 1 part of knowing HIM as your Savior
~ 1 part of knowing who you are
~ 1 part of knowing who you aren’t
~ 1 part of knowing what you want
~ 1 part of knowing who you wish to be
~ 1 part of knowing what you already have
~ 1 part of choosing wisely from what you have
~ 1 part of loving
~ 1 part of thanking HIM for ALL you have

~ Combine ingredients together gently and carefully, along with prayer.
~ Mix together with strong faith until finely blended.
~ Use kind thoughts, words, and actions for best results.
~ Bake until blessed.
~ Give thanks again.
Yield: Unlimited servings
Tip of the hat: Judy C.
Update: Click over here to Haley's blog!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve...

Here are the wee girls last Christmas as Angel Gabriel and Mary. They are again going to participate in the Christmas Eve pageant tonight. It is always fun watching the kids grow up, and especially good to see them participate in church services.

All the kids/grands will be here after the service for a big pot of taco soup, then we will open up all the gifts under the tree. This is an annual tradition that we all treasure. In the morning, everyone gathers at Haley's house for brunch so that the kids can show all the grandparents, aunts and uncles what Santa brought them.

Oh yes, when Santa used to visit here, he always left a new ornament in the tree that our three tried to see who be the first one to spy it. Good memories; good times, filled with lots of love. Now it is your turn...tell me about a tradition or two in your family.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday stuff...

Wow, it is good to join the human race again! A tummy bug struck me down and laid me up all day Monday. I missed out on some fun stuff, but that was OK. Fortunately, I am rarely sick, so it was just my time to veg out. Over and done more bugs allowed!

My birthday was great! Thanks for all the good wishes. Amy, Haley and Joyce fixed a joint celebration dinner for Jason and me...yummm...and no, dinner didn't cause my tummy problems. By missing yesterday, I didn't visit Haley's blog until today, when I got a nice surprise. Go over and check out a picture of me when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I was kinda cute back then...and I sure have two pretty daughters! I am blessed...

Today I went food shopping and ran I am doing laundry. What an exciting life I lead! It is very normal. After yesterday, I am happy to be doing these mundane things.

I hope y'all are doing well and are ready for Santa, and for the reason for the season--celebrating the birth of the Christ Child. Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sandy is what???

is another year older today.

Here is a slice of cake for you, my friend! is good!!!

I miss the early morning phone call from my Mother, waking me up singing "Happy Birthday." But my memory replays her voice, and it is indeed sweet music in my head, and is there any time I want to relive those moments. I am blessed. Happy Sunday, y'all. My day will be great; I hope yours is too!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It is Saturday...home alone!

Another rainy day in Georgia, and I am home alone. Alone? What a strange, but good feeling. What am I doing to enjoy this time alone? Well, I SHOULD BE getting presents in bags, but that can wait. This is MY time, at least for a short while, so I am enjoying catching up on my blog reading. I've missed visiting with my cyber friends and am making a few rounds to say howdy!

And I'm scratching and loving up on three kitties. No, we've not added to our household except in the visiting sense. Brian's two girls are still with us while he has gone back to ATL for some social time this weekend. It's been nice having him home along with his girls, even if they do shed white hair like crazy. We've been bringing Missy into the office to visit with the hissy girls, hoping to hone their social graces just a tad. We are gaining, but we don't expect miracles. We still miss our Parker boy, and give thanks for our time together.

If you, like us, can't have sunshine outside, at least let it bloom in your hearts this day. Life is good!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Slow Cooker Chicken w/rosemary, apples & onions

So JC asked about my rosemary chicken it is:

Slow Cooker Chicken w/Rosemary, Apples and Onions

2 cups sliced onions 2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I don't peel)
2 pounds cut up chicken pieces (with bone), with or without skin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I used dried)
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup cream of celery soup
2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)

Arrange onion and apple slices in bottom of slow cooker. Place chicken pieces on top and season all over with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle rosemary over chicken.

In a medium bowl, whisk together chicken broth and soup. Pour mixture over chicken.
Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. Serve chicken, sauce, apples, and onions over rice.

I served this with steamed broccoli, salad and French bread with dipping oil. Rave reviews! Let me know if you make it!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's a zoo around here!

Yesterday, there was a bobcat that walked across our driveway; the day before, a reddish fox ran from the lake across the driveway and on up into the woods! We've seen foxes before, but the bobcat was a first, and I was glad that Dick was here to see him/her...whatever! It must have had a sticker in its paw, cuz he sure had a wee limp.

We are frequently treated to deer sightings...eight crossed the upper driveway just the other day; two crossed there just now. And we see the occasional turkey in the yard, and woodpeckers in the trees. It is fun seeing nature right outside our window. All these critter sightings are a relief from the view of the barren,leafless trees. Wintering in South Florida is looking mighty appealing right now! And our hearts are healing a bit more each day.

I am finishing up my Christmas cards today...finally...while rosemary chicken is cooking in the crockpot. What are you doing today? Life is good!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thanks for the love...

Thanks to everyone for the sympathy, cyber hugs and sweet words from everyone about our sweet Parker boy.

He brought such joy to our lives, and leaves behind a great big hole in our hearts. Missy and even Brian's hissy biatches seem to know that we need some extra love right now and they have been providing that. Amazing!

Parker was also known as the computer kitty. His fave spot lately was the warm exhaust next to Dick's puter. He NEVER got up on the kitchen counter, but in his declining health, I couldn't fuss at him for jumping up and posing here atop the kitchen computer.

Our next big hurdle will be when we load up the moho after Christmas to head south, and our travel buddy will not be going with us. That'll be hard.

Happy Sunday, y'all. Gotta get ready for church...then work on my Christmas cards. Life is still good!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In loving memory of Parker...

Parker’s health had been declining the past few months...the kids had to have an emergency powwow (unknown to us) while we were on our cruise to decide if it was time to put Parker down. They decided a trip to the vet to prolong his life till we got home would be in order, which gave us a little time after we got back to let him know how special and loved he was and to try to prepare for his death, which happened yesterday.
Parker showed up at our RV park back about 1995 and adopted the whole park as his domain, and all guests were just more folks to love him. He and friend Minnie were good ‘mousers’ for the park, until Parker decided his specialty was to hold down the daily paper on top of a picnic table. He was dubbed "Parker Paperweight," and Minnie was left to do mouse duty alone. This boy never met a stranger, and thought everyone loved him......and most folks did, since he was really a dog housed in cat fur. He welcomed Missy into our household, and instructed her well in how to love and behave in our family.

Friend Judy said it so well when I emailed that Parker had gone to kitty heaven:
Never has a cat had such adventures. To think he started out as just a working cat and worked his way up to fame, travel and the fortune of having you both love him so....why he was one rich cat.
I can't believe in a God that would put creatures in one place and people somewhere else, so while I know he is seeing his kitty friends and relatives, he is curled comfortably in Marge's lap and now they speak the same language so they can catch each other up on all the doin's.

I’m sure Parker has found not only Marj (Dick’s sister), but Pepper, Maggy and Callie, and is quickly rounding up more folks and critters to love and adore him. He is in Good Hands. We’ll always treasure the love and trust he shared with us. He enriched our lives, and we miss him terribly.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cooktown, AUS - Skywatch...

We saw beautiful cloud formations while "Down Under." Can't beat the combination of beach, boats and sunshine! I've just uploaded pics from this city, for those who want to see them: There are several photos from the inside of Cook Museum.

Our rain moved out last night, so there was no snowfall and that is OK. Today is sunny, chilly, and beautiful. Just another day in paradise, or it would be if my desk was cleaned off, our Christmas cards done...yikes, I've got to write our Christmas letter! Whose idea was it to be gone for a month this close to Christmas?!!!

Happy Friday, y'all! Mine will be...I'm picking up the wee girls after school this afternoon...and we got to see our little guys last night. Life is good!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

World's steepest street...

Baldwin Street, in Dunedin, NZ. Boy, is that sucker steep!

Check out the train station with beautiful stained glass windows and mosaic floors--, and the botanical garden, small but pretty.
We finally got rain here in Mayberry, which was so needed. Some say we'll get snow tonight. We'll see. It is 45 now. Life is good!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday evening already...

Whew...everything is washed, but not all put away. Almost unpacked, then suitcases can go back in storage. My desk is still loaded with unfinished business, but I'm leaving it all, heading out to meet Joy and Carlene to ride over to Jennie's house. Tonight is our Beta Sigma Phi annual Christmas party and secret sister gift swap. Everybody brings a dessert or salad. You know when a group of gals get together, there'll be food galore. And fun. That is what our sisterhood is all about.

I did take time to upload my pictures from Wellington, NZ, so click over at and check them out if you want. This yellow rose was at the botanical gardens there.

Later y'all. Have a peachy evening! I plan to make time to do my blogging rounds tomorrow. I've missed everyone. Life is good!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The wait is over! Home again, home again...

Parker and Missy have been watching and waiting...OK, Parker slept just a little while he waited, but they were both mighty happy to have us back home. Of course the leaves have mostly disappeared, now that winter is officially here, ,so everything looks so different than it did when we left a month ago. The temps are in the mid-30s, so there is none of that 'white stuff' left on the ground.

It was a looong flight home. We slept just a bit on each of the two flights. Brian met us at the train station, and we stayed at his house last night, since it was late, and drove home this morning. Unpacking is mostly done, and washing has begun. The snail mail has at least been sorted. Last week a queen, this week a slave. Welcome home, right? Life is good!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Time to fly home!!!

Our bags are packed; we’re ready to go! I hate to think of the long flight home, but it will be so worth it to get there, see our kids/kitties/friends, sleep in our own bed, eat on our own schedule, have my own laundry facilities. Oh no...wait a minute...that’ll also mean making my own bed, cooking our dinner. What am I thinking??? Oh well, despite that, we’re ready. It’s been a fabulous adventure, but there is still no place like home, where we are bringing back with us many fond memories.

Enjoy the view we had when we took off from Sydney two weeks ago, heading to Auckland. Goodbye New Zealand...goodbye Australia.......and helllloo Georgia! Life is good!!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 13 - final sea day...

Hello from our final day at sea. Sounds good to us. We have realized that we don’t like our sea days to be at the end of the cruise; it is better to have it at the beginning, when we walk around and familiarize ourselves with the ship and enjoy the ‘newness’ of the experience. But we’ll suffer and get through it.

We were treated to a dolphin jumping contest while we had our coffee this morning...quite a beautiful sight to see. There is a brunch offered today beginning at 10a in the dining room, so we’ll go enjoy that, and whatever else strikes our fancy. Tonight is our third and final formal night. I’ve used up my package internet (cheaper) minutes, so it is a good thing this cruise is winding down! Y’all don’t get a photo uploaded today...but I’ll set up a special one for Saturday.......

A little cruise snafu info...a group of about 40 folks paid the big bucks…$655…to bus down from Dunedin to Milford Sound, spend the night in Queenstown, then be picked up in Milford Sound. That was the plan. Well, due to the rough seas, we couldn’t dock in Milford Sound. Oops…all those folks stranded…with no extra clothes, some w/o needed meds. They had to be wined/dined/flown to Melbourne, so darn, they missed a sea day. Apparently they had a blast! Rumor has it this cost the company about $40K. Hmm, wonder if Celebrity will offer this particular tour again? They probably will, as this is simply the price of doing business.

In preparation for our early departure, Dick went to the purser’s desk to inquire about disembarkation for us. We are using our ‘funny money’ for our gratuities, so mathematician Dick has the job of figuring out what goes in each of the envelopes that we’ll give out tonight. We actually have to carry our own bags off the ship (welcome to the real world), and we have to do this between 8a and 10a as that is the only time that customs is available for processing. They say we can leave our bags there (somewhere) and then go back to the public areas of the ship (lunch) if we want to (we do). We need to be at the airport about 12:30 for our 3:30p flight, so this will all be easily accomplished.

So, that is our final day at sea. How is your day? Life is good on the sea!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 12 - Melbourne tour guide Luke!

Luke picked us up from the pier this morning and showed off his lovely city, which is always better with a native. We got to see the CBD (central business district), St. Paul’s Church, the beach on the river where the rowing team practiced from, the tallest building, etc....we took the tram over to see the parliament building, St. Peter’s Church, the Hotel Windsor...lots of beautiful buildings to see here. Lunch was on the beach, followed by a drive along the beach to go pick up 8 yr. old Henry after school. He was the photographer for this picture and what a cutie pie he is! I’ll upload pics when I get home to prove just how cute he is. No surprise there, since he looks just like his dad. Luke now works for the soccer team as their physical therapist, so he goes wherever they go, all over the world, but he travels less than he did with the rowing team. Hopefully he and his family will make it to the US next year, with a visit to Mayberry included so that we can meet Jade and daughter Alex (4). We were sorry to miss them.

It was a great day, and we are now underway, heading toward Sydney. Friday is a sea day, and the time for us to pack for our trip home on Saturday. We are so looking forward to that, getting home, that is...not the long flight! Yuck!!!

A big happy birthday today to Dick’s brother Bob, way up in cold NH! Hopefully we’ll see you and Lynne in FL in about a month. Life is good on the ship!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 11 - Welcome to Melbourne!!!

Sheesh. We were 69 kilometers to Melbourne at noon...and docking at 8p. Can you say S-L-O-W? What’s up with that??? Must be some kind of docking conflict, as we were originally scheduled to dock at 8a, and then they changed it to 8p. Now we only have ONE day in Melbourne. Drat. After three days at sea, we’re both ready to get on dry land.
Prince Will is six months old today and I’m missing seeing his new trick of sitting up all by himself. And missing the good sugar from all the wee ones. Drat again.
So now I am back...we ate dinner early so that we could watch the docking. Woohoo...we are here in Melbourne, and plan to get off the ship and walk around a bit whenever we are cleared to leave! I just spoke with Luke, and he will pick us up in the morning.
Well and 1,500 other folks decided they wanted to go we said the heck with that and went and listened to the Elan Strings. That was more fun than standing in line. The end. Life is very good!!! I hope y’all have a great day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 10 - Sea day

Auckland Harbour...

Sort of good news from home today...our thief has been caught! We don’t know the details of how it happened, but some items have been recovered. It was a neighbor down the road from us, who did the concrete paving for our driveway. He and his wife, both young, are in jail. Very sad, but hopefully they will get their lives straightened out.

Amy emailed two snowy pictures from home...and I am not referring to the quality of the pictures! It was snowing in Mayberry this morning...just a little, and it won’t last long...and can certainly be GONE for our Saturday night arrival back in Atlanta! Amy and Jason are bailing out and heading to warmer temps, so they’ll deliver our vehicle to Brian’s house and leave it. Our kids take very good care of us.

We changed our clocks back last night an hour, and will do the same again tonight to bring us up to Melbourne time. We dock there Wednesday night, and meet Luke on Thursday. We are really looking forward to seeing him.

This morning our dinner table got a special galley tour. We learned that the wait staff on each side of the ship has to pick up food from the kitchen from their side only. Great care is given for dietary needs and no cross cooking with items that are a no-no. Everything is made from scratch. There are even pictures of the completed plates that the waiters have to look at to make sure everything is literally picture perfect before taking them to the tables. Our waiter is very good, as is our room steward. We lucked out in getting a concierge class room...who knew? We have fresh freesias in our room here on the desk, as well as a rose in our bathroom. A free bottle of champagne and bowl of fruit awaited us upon arrival (we gave away the champagne), and the fruit is replenished when needed. And a plate of canapes is brought to our door at 4ish each day. I can get used to that! But, we haven’t had any towel animals. Suffer, we must. Life is still good!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Day 9 - Millennium sea day

It is already the first of December Down Under. This year has flown by, but that seems to be the case each year now. I guess that is a sign of being busy...and cruising is a great way to stay busy.
Hello from the Celebrity Millennium on another sea day, heading to Melbourne. We had to miss Milford Sound yesterday as the seas were too rough. We had a bumpy ride last night, but that didn’t bother us at all, except when the bathroom door slammed and woke me up at 3a! So our view today is water, water everywhere! At least the seas have calmed down a bit and the sun is mostly shining through the overcast.

We had an impersonator last night who was pretty good...sang, played the guitar, and threw in some humor...oops, humour, playing folks from Willy Nelson and Pavarotti to Sean Connery. Tonight is our second formal night, and we have the music and comedy of "String Fever," a husband-wife violinist and cello player. Should be interesting.

I have uploaded pics from Hamilton Island and Port Douglas to and will hopefully get some more pics uploaded before we go home...Saturday! Woohoo!!!

Enjoy your day, whatever you are doing. Life is good!