Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Happy New Year's Eve YEEHAW for Y'all!

Can we even wrap our heads around the fact that 2012 is tomorrow? Seriously?

A year ago this past September, I discovered the book Glynis Has Your Number, by Glynis McCants (see She’s Got Your Number, Babe-y! in June). I shared my thoughts on Numerology and Astrology in that post. I love getting Glynis’ monthly email newsletters and, in one of those, learned about “The Glynis Has Your Number Numerology Calendar.” I ordered TLC and I both one for 2011.


This would be the PERFECT time to pick up her book—so you can figure out your Life Path Number. This is the number you’d use to order a 2012 calendar. You can also visit Glynis’ website and order an Individual Reading.

The calendar tells you what the numbers look like for each day of the year—in  regard to your specific Life Path Number. I’m a 6. TLC and Her Hubby are both 5s. My Hubby is a 4 (although he keeps trying to make himself a 7!) I didn’t get the Hubbies a calendar. I had/have an intuition they’d never consult them. But each day, TLC and I check to see if we’re going to have an “Extra Sunny” Day, “Great” Day, “Good” Day or “Challenge” Day. Glynis suggests you use this information to help you make some decisions in your life, like setting up important appointments, including surgeries.

If you know, in the morning, that the day you’re about to face is a “Challenge” Day, you can remind yourself to be extra-cautious. To slow down. To focus. To think twice. Or three times—before making critical assumptions or choices.

To me, as a Christian, it’s about using every possible philosophy and ancient theory/science to enhance my life experience. Consulting Glynis’ calendar each day reminds me I’ve been given an opportunity to be a valuable member of our World. It helps me remember to be patient, hopeful, cautious and, most of all, grateful.

To find out more about Glynis, her books, her readings and this FUN calendar, go to http://www.numberslady.com/.

Have a Safe, Happy, and Fabulous New Year’s Eve!

PLEASE… DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!

Champagne Hugs and Caviar Smooches...
ELC

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

B is for...

Bacon (duh)Bakeshop (double duh)…

Ballerina… Basketball…

Balloons… Banjos…

Beaches… Bears...

Bedazzling… Belonging…

Bicycles…Biscuits…

Blessings… Bliss…

Blocks… Books…

Bouncing... British…

Bubbles… Bumblebees (buzz buzz)

Busy… Butter...

Buttons…

and...

B is for…

B A B Y!!!!!

TLC and Her Sweet Hubby are having their
FIRST BABY!!!

(Grammy ELC and Pa-Daddy are BEYOND BONKERS...)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Behold

Christmas waves a magic wand

over this world, and behold,

everything is softer and

more beautiful.

Norman Vincent Peale



MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS,

To All Y’all…

EVERYWHERE!


Love,

The Leightons

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time...

Y’all know by now this is my FAVOURITE time of the year!

Please allow me to count down The Top 25 Things I Love, Love, LOVE About Christmas (they're in no particular order, with the exception of the first five!):

25. Snow. We don’t see a lot of it in Texas, of course. But when we do, it’s magical.
24. Christmas carols and songs, especially:  Silver Bells and We Wish You A Merry Christmas. I had a Sesame Street Christmas cassette tape when I was a little girl. I distinctly remember their version of We Wish You A Merry Christmas being major fun.
23. Santa. (I Believe!)
22. Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies. Fifteen years ago, Mom and I decided it would be our “tradition” to bake these yummies every year. You know ‘em—they’re the cookies that have a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle!
21. Decorating my tree.

This year, I put our tree in the dining room.
We had Hubby's family over last night to Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

20. Hot cocoa. With a peppermint stick to keep it stirred.
19. Chick-fil-a’s Peppermint Shake.
18. Blue Bell Peppermint Ice Cream.
17. Dairy Queen’s Candy Cane Blizzard.
16. Giving gifts. I love that shopping part.
15. Getting our first Christmas card in the mail! And then being excited, every day after that, to go to our box to gather the others. I truly enjoy the cards that have pictures of cutie-patootie babes, kids and sweet families.
14. MC’s Strawberry Bread. She’s been making it for her family and friends for years and years. When I moved away after college, she was kind enough to start making me my own little loaf every year! It is HEAVENLY. (Poor ELC and Dad. They have to share one. NOT MOI! I admit it: I sometimes don’t tell Hubby we have it. I want it all to myself. That’s bad. I know. I’m sorry.)
13. Christmas Vacation.  It’s a classic.
12. All things reindeer! From the cute ones at Pottery Barn—on plates, napkins, etc.—to the precious ones at Hobby Lobby. I adore reindeer!
11. Christmas lights. Specifically the little, white, twinkle ones. They always seem to have an extra “sparkle!” Dad used to wrap the trees at our old house with strings and strings of those tiny white lights—the house I lived in (and that "Built Me") for the first sixteen years of my life. I learned, about ten years ago, that My Sweet Dad would DREAD the Sunday after Thanksgiving. That was THE day to hang the lights. He’d usually do it by himself, as Mom would be inside, decorating our tree. Although he would have rather skipped a year—or five—he did it for me. Because that process, to me, meant Christmastime was here!
10. Thinking about past, treasured (or humorous!) gifts. From Santa. From my parents. From family. From friends. Most especially, from My Darling Hubby.
9. Anticipating this year’s gifts! LOL. J/K. No, sorry, again. I'm not.
8. The adorable Christmas doormats at Target. I love splurging on a new one every other year.
7. Did I mention MC’s Strawberry Bread?
6. Etsy! For those one-of-a-kind gifts!
5. Christmas Eve with my Hubby’s family.
4. Christmas Day with ELC and Dad.
3. Traditions. My Family’s. Hubby's Family’s. Ours. The ones we’ve made together and the ones we’ll continue to make—every year for the rest of our lives.
2. Stockings! Especially Henry’s. (We cherish our Prince Henry!)
1. The Celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ. The Reason for this Glorious Season.

May God bless each of you with peace, joy, happiness, warmth, and, most of all, love.

I wish you a Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Duck… Duck…

You thought I might be heading toward “Goose.” Right?

No. Duck… Duck… SIXTY DUCKS. On our tank. Last week.

Monday, December 5th, there were about 25. Then they told some friends and on Tuesday, December 6th, there were approximately 50. Then they told a few more friends and on Wednesday, December 7th (Pearl Harbor Day—I don’t think there was any connection), there were at least SIXTY (60).

See the polka dots on the tank?
Those are The Ducks!
This picture was taken from our front porch.

Y’all remember how much we wanted ducks to land on our tank—when we first moved to the country? And I thought three duck decoys were real ducks—because I’d forgotten Hubby had put them out there? (See Fake? On April 26th.) Ever since that time, we’ve patiently watched, year after year, for ducks to appear. Usually we’ll see three to six ducks. And we’ve been deeply grateful for those sightings!

Hubby first spotted The Ducks. He came in the back door from work that quiet Monday afternoon, hollering:

“Go look out the front windows!”

“For what?” I came runnin’, a little worried and, to be honest, slightly scared.

“Just go look at the Big Tank!” he excitedly shouted. (Our Big Tank is actually not big at all, but it’s bigger than our Front Tank and that’s how we distinguish the two when talking about them. Sometimes the Big Tank is also the Catfish Tank. We have lots o’ big fish in that thar tank.)

So I looked. There they were. Ducks—and lots of them. I counted at least 25. Swimming happily around the Big Tank.

On Tuesday, I raced down in Hubby’s Jeep to try to get pictures. That was cRaZy. As I approached the tank, the majority of the ducks flew off. Even with my camera ready and me trying to stealthily surprise them, they couldn’t be tricked. (Well, except for a few small “stragglers.”) They’d fly off. That, in and of itself, was magnificent! TLC, my photo editor, said those pictures were not usable. Darnitall.

I do realize this event might not seem exciting to many of you. Maybe most of you? Especially you Younguns. When you’ve lived on this Earth for getting closer to sixty years than you want to accept, there’s not much you can think of that you really want or need. If someone gave me a diamond Rolex with a lapis face? I’d take it. Of course. Or a Lexus GX460? Uh, duh. I’m not a fool. I simply don’t obsess over material items. Seeing new, different and wonderful places and things? Experiencing the fun of travel and/or meeting fabulous new friends? Those things thrill me. Hearing, with my one ear that works, the laughter of My Hubby or TLC or a grandchild, or the sound of a great Country song, or the birds singing outside my home office window? What I live for and all exquisitely DIVINE. They are Gifts from God that I gratefully receive with a humble heart.

So I’ve already “opened” two early Christmas presents:

The first one came from our wonderful Veterinarian—Dr. Noah. She saved our 11-year-old cat, Cobbler, from a possibly terminal fate. This is the third time in four years she’s been determined to keep him alive and healthy. On Thanksgiving Day, I was certain he’d have to be put to sleep. Six days later, he was on the road to being healed. As was my heart—and soul.

The second gift came on Monday, December 5th—when Hubby saw The Ducks.

These pictures just don't do the experience justice!

Thank you, God, for all Blessings. Great and Small. For husbands and daughters and family and friends and cats and dogs and ducks and Texas and America and this BEAUTIFUL World.

Amen.

p.s. They were completely gone by Thursday morn. Without a trace. Like they were never there. Oh...oh...oh...how I wish they could’ve told me where they’d come from and where they were going. Well, South. Yes, yes I know. But where exactly South? I'll pray they come back next year. I'll be waiting. Anxiously!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Words With... TLC

I’m not saying TLC and I have had “words.” Although we do. Sometimes. In a completely positive and healthy way. Of course.

I’m talking Words With Friends. And TLC is my “friend.” My only “friend.” At this time.

With my new iPhone 4s came my determination to be a part of the Apps phenomenon. Peggy, Sunny’s Sweet Hubby (Have I ever told y’all the reason I call him “Peggy?” It’s a good story. I’ll check. If I haven’t, I will—soon!), has been playing this game for a long time. I knew he LOVED it. I shouldn’t even admit this: It took Alec Baldwin’s unfortunate incident on the airplane last week to make me remember I hadn’t asked TLC when she thought I would be “ready” to start WWF.

We officially began our first “free” game Monday evening. Well, actually, because I got confused with some of her instructions/suggestions, we started two games Monday evening. Oh, my.

As of Tuesday evening, I was ahead—in both games. Then, out of nowhere, TLC came on like Gangbusters and beat me—BAM. Just like that. Before Central Standard Time. Her bedtime. I won’t lie—I was somewhat shocked. Okay. VERY shocked. I decided to make this defeat light a fire in the deep dark Scrabble recesses of my brain/belly/bothbrainandbelly.

This evening we were playing our second set of two games when she put this word on one of the grids:

galop

? ? ?

When I saw it, I KNEW IT WAS WRONG. Immediately. Instinctively. ABSOLUTELY. Still, I ran for my Oxford American Dictionary. That stupid free Words With Friends App had given her 22 points FOR A MISSPELLED WORD.

You would not even BELIEVE the other points she has made—for words, if you could call them “words”—that are very/beyond questionable. Yet, when I try to use some of her techniques, I get this:

“Sorry, that is not a word.”

That may not be the message exactly. I see “Sorry” and I immediately go cRaZy. I must stop reading the obnoxious little message so I can galop to my front door and throw my precious 4s down our hill.

At this moment, as TLC sleeps, I’m looking at our second set of games. She has 135 points on one—I have 74. She has 130 points on the second game—I have 127.

And she’s sooo SMUG. She had the nerve, after I pointed out to her that, despite what these WWF Peeps said, “galop” was NOT a word, to offer this advice to me:

“You need to use more DW and TW. Lots o’ points that way.”

ELC: I don’t even know what you’re talking about.

TLC: DW=Double Word Points; TW=Triple Word Points

Cruddy-dud. I temporarily had a brain freeze. I’ve known those "terms" for about 49 years. And, hey, TLC, FYourI, I DO look for all DW and TW opportunities. Because I want to win. Fair and square.

I don’t think I like this phone version of Scrabble. But I can’t, for the life of me, figure out that Angry Birds game yet.

Let me ask y’all this:

If I pay for a Words With Friends App, will it SPELL better?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Raindrops On Roses

And whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with string. These are a few of My Favourite Things.

Are y'all picturing me singing this? Just so you know, I sound VERY similar to the lovely Julie Andrews. I do!

On this sweet Sunday, here is a short little list of a few of my current favourite things.

Favourite Snack: Nature Valley's Dark Chocolate Granola Thins. I have ELC officially hooked.  You will be, too.

Favourite Salad Dressing: Giada's Raspberry Vinaigrette. You can purchase this at Target. It's extra tangy.

Favourite Book: Bossypants. By the HI-larious Tina Fey. ELC let me borrow this while I was sick two weeks ago. I could not put it down. Miss Tina is a riot and a half.

Favourite Toothpaste: Crest Complete Cinnamon. It's tres zesty and makes my teeth feel festive!

Favourite Christmas Decor Piece: Henry's new stocking from My Adobe Cottage. As always, Tobey did a fabulous job! I adore it.



Did you notice the glitter around his name?
And the Mother of Pearl button?
OMGosh.

What are some of your favourite things?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Google Schmoogle

In addition to the email address I've had on my home computer for eons, I’ve also had a gmail address for a couple of years. When I first bought a Sprint Hero phone for my business, a nice Best Buy Guy set that account up for me. When I got my new iPhone, I wanted to use my gmail as the default for my email. Problem: I couldn’t remember my password. Shocking, I know. TLC suggested I contact Google. Easy Schmeasy. If only.

I promise I really tried. It wasn’t like most websites. You know—where you click on the box that says you can’t remember your password and they email it to you? Nope. I was forced to fill out, on-line, a form that had tons o’ questions. Most of which I had no clue as to what the answers were or should be. Biggest problem? The security question was my “favorite food.” Piece of cake. That should have been it. CAKE. It wasn’t. Okay. Lasagna. Not that, either. REALLY? Must be pizza. No? Burgers? SERIOUSLY? That Best Buy Guy must have put something like sushi or beets. I’m not kiddin’. It had to be cake or lasagna or pizza or burgers. In that order. Alas, it tweren’t.

I guess y’all know you can’t call someone at Google. If you’ve never read the on-line forums about this problem, you should. You wouldn’t BELIEVE how mad some people are that you can’t talk to a human being. I read the most smart-alecky response from a person on the “Google Team” to someone who had written a long complaint about this issue (not moi, BTW—truly). It was downright rude. So then the Complainer wrote another email. About the rude reply. To which the Google Team Peep apologized and feigned total confusion as to why his answer was perceived as snippish.

I did my best to fill out their cRaZy form. I realized I clearly had no other choice. Before you hit “Submit,” they make sure you understand they have twenty-four (24) hours to reply to your question.

When I heard back from them, almost exactly to-the-minute 24 hours later, they said they didn’t have enough information to help me. I suspect that’s the first response everyone gets, no matter what their question or issue. Kind of like insurance companies that automatically stamp “DENIED” on a first-time claim—knowing a lot of people won’t bother to appeal it. It’s worth a shot, right? To see if they can make you give up that fast? There was no place, on that detailed form, for me to write this:

“I am 57. I am not trying to scam information out of you about my Google account. I don’t think in terms of scamming anyone. I just need my dadgum password so I don’t have to open a new account. Which, by the way, I can do ALL DAY LONG. Right? I can open up a new account. I just wanted to keep my gmail address. I liked it. It was easy to remember. Unlike my ‘favorite food.’”

(Okay. So I’m fudging a little. I didn’t remember my gmail address. I had to ask my Hubby and he had to look it up on his phone. But, given a few weeks, I might have come up with it—or found the piece of paper I wrote all that info on—including the password.)

Not only did they re-send the same detailed form to me, this time they added a nice surprise that it would cost me .30 when returning said form. That is Thirty Cents. Cents. I should have stopped there. I don’t know why I didn’t. Instead, I tried even harder to answer their ridiculous questions and then, having complete faith and trust in their “system,” typed in my American Express number. To pay the thirty cents.

FEAR took over. Because it acted WEIRD when I hit Submit. It showed my AE number as letters and numbers—not all numbers—and said Texas was not a state. HUH? WHAT? Wow. This was news to me. For a moment, I thought perhaps I’d missed that we had, indeed, seceded.

I didn’t hit Submit. But I got another email from them—the next day. Same form. Nothing else. I hit Reply and tried this approach:

“I’ve attempted to give you more information and pay you the requisite .30. It didn’t work. You also said Texas is “not a state.” I’m fairly certain that’s not correct. But I could be wrong. You might try Googling it. I officially give up.”

They replied to this by sending me, once again… wait for it... yes, the same form.

Aaannnnddddd… done.

Hey, Google, here’s a thought:

Since you make BILLIONS of dollars every year, why don’t you put in a Customer Service Call Center—in the U.S. of A. You’d not only create some much needed jobs, but also HELP us when we have problems. You could even divide this service up into “age” groups. When someone calls with an issue, the Rep could say: “Are you under 30? Between 30 and 50? Or over 50?” Then you could direct the caller to “specialists” that know how to assist that particular age group. For example, someone over 50 might need a new password—for various reasons. You could have a kindly Senior Citizen Rep patiently walk them through the process, giving them several shots at their “favorite food.”

Consider it. I’m pretty sure I’d pay Sixty Cents.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

(For questions, comments or suggestions, please email me at lolwiththeleightons@gmail.com. Tee Hee Hee.)

Monday, December 5, 2011

iPhone...uPhone...weallPhone

I’ve been thinking about technology the past couple of weeks. I have my first iPhone! The 4s. This was big for me. HUGE. Remember, I’ve had many cellphones that were TLC’s old ones. (See Hand-Me-Downs on January 20th.) I was near the end of my contract for my business cell and decided I was ready for the iPhone challenge. But I’m faced with the fact that I don’t feel like I’m completely capable of using all the stuff this amazing phone has to offer. Cut. Paste. Apps. Siri. Yikes.

I’ve also been trying to accept that I’m now considered a “Senior Citizen.” YUCK. Those two words make me shiver. (I always forget to ask for my Senior Discount. Hubby does, too. And he’s ten years older. Why don't all those peeps remind us? Probably because we look sooo young. Yes. Yes, that's it.)

Technology often frustrates me. For many reasons. On so many levels. Let me give you some background and maybe you’ll understand the “block” that happens to my brain when faced with too much new information.

My Hubby has always, for as long as I’ve known him, loved keeping up with new gadgets/technology. Not just because he must for his profession. It’s that curiosity and, I think, competitiveness, for which I believe most men have from the time they’re born. (I’m not saying girls/women don’t have these attributes. They do. I’m curious. Always have been. I simply don’t have a competitive bone in my chubby little body and I know a lot of women who feel the same. It's so "unMotherly," right?) Among our family members and friends, Hubby bought one of the first video cameras. He purchased it right before TLC turned a year old. It was huge and bulky. Although I was, at the beginning, against investing in it, I ended up being the one who video-ed EVERYTHING. We have VHS tapes crammed with what you Younguns would certainly consider mundane, boring and ridiculous silliness. If you’re 40 or older, you probably have many of these same types of VHS tapes on your shelves or in a closet. I wouldn’t take one billion dollars for them if you said I could have the money, but I’d have to give up the tapes, and those memories, forever. Nope. No way.

Then came the time Hubby bought me a new typewriter. Yes. Typewriter. Not computer. (That came five years later.) TLC was probably . It was the latest “memory” model. I spent years volunteering for many school and community organizations. Often I was “Secretary” (I’d actually have to read minutes at meetings). I was constantly borrowing his assistant’s typewriter. This one wasn’t expensive, but Hubby was proud he had “gifted” it to me and even spent time setting it up for me in our home office. TLC’s bedroom was on the other side of the wall of that room. The night Hubby brought it home, he suggested I come in, after putting TLC to bed, in order to "school" me on all its “bells and whistles.”

I remember being tired and wishing we could do this “lesson” another night. He was clearly pumped. Out of gratitude, I agreed. He told me to sit down at the desk. He was standing beside me—explaining how to turn it on, how to use the “correction” feature. Etc. Then he said, “I’ve been saving the best part about this as a surprise.” Hmmm. “Surprise?” I asked, sweetly. “Yep,” he said. “You can talk to this typewriter and it types for you!”

HUH? I looked at him with… major suspicion. Have I ever mentioned what a Practical Joker he is? Yep. And a good one, when he puts his mind to it. I don’t exaggerate. His acting is often Oscar-worthy.

“How ridiculous. I’ve never heard of that. That's cRaZy. I’m tired. Let’s get the basics out of the way so I can go to bed,” I stated, possibly a little haughtily.

“I’m not kidding! Just say a sentence. Any sentence. See what happens,” Hubby quickly suggested. Too quickly, actually.

I squinted my eyes at him, beyond skeptical. “Where’s the microphone?” I asked.

“Right there. Right in there. Just talk in there,” he said, pointing to the bottom left side of the typewriter. I saw nothing that looked like it could be a microphone. But he seemed seriously convincing.

“Now is the time for all good men . . .” I began.

Nothing.

“I knew it. You are so full of it, Mr. Goofball.” I was now getting truly annoyed.

“You’re not talking loud enough. Talk a little louder,” he encouraged.

“I don’t want to wake TLC.” This might have come out sounding like a threat.

“Well, you’ve got to be a little louder than that or it won’t work,” he urged.

“Now is the time for all good men . . .” I almost screamed.

Nothing.

I waited a few more seconds. Then turned around to find him laying face-down on the floor, laughing so hard his shoulders were shaking, tears streaming from his eyes, as he desperately tried to muffle his hysteria. BAM. Got me. Again.

“I can’t believe you thought it would type if you talked to it!” he said, between gasps.

He has continued, year after year, to genuinely and innocently wonder why I am never excited about the new technology he wants to buy. Satellite TV. Video recorders. DVRs. Cameras. Cellphones. Endless. Always needing major and detailed “instructions” for me to even begin to understand how to use these things. And my patience. My often-not-really-there patience.

I thought about this story as I “talked” to “Siri” the other day. He and I laughed as we recalled his (only one of hundreds) joke on me. I guess we knew, deep down, even all those many years ago, we’d be able to talk to some kind of device, some day in the future. And it’d type for us. The day is here. Yippee. And WOW.

This phone could be my greatest nemesis. I want to be successful. I truly do. TLC and Autumn have agreed to be “on-call” for my questions. (Hubby has a Blackberry. I'm glad.) Autumn should be most valuable to me, since we’re the same age, we think a LOT alike, and she’s had an iPhone for quite some time. TLC, also having had the iPhone for many years, sometimes gets that young person “edge” to her voice when she realizes I’m about to ask a “phone” question. Or, really, any question, now that I think about it. Just a tidbit of an edge. It’s okay, TLC. I completely understand how hard it is to try to explain things you already know to someone who doesn’t have a clue. Yes. Yes, I do know that feeling, Sweetie-Pie.

If I call you—and we get disconnected—HELP ME OUT. I give you my word I’m doing the best iCan!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Peppermint Yummies for Y’all

As ELC and I have both mentioned in the past, Christmas is my most favourite time of the year. For lots o’ reasons: Christmas trees, twinkle lights, chilly weather, cozy fires, Silent Nights and, most especially, all things PEPPERMINT.

Here is a list of my current seasonal obsessions (in no particular order). Before you judge, they are ALL food/drink related. But calories don't really count at Christmastime. Yep. It’s true. (Please do NOT ask Dr. Dukan about this. He may not have gotten the memo over there in France.)

1. Chick-fil-A's Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake.
I’ve already consumed two this holiday season. And when I say “holiday season,” I’m beginning with Thanksgiving, of course. Oops. That was just a week-ish ago? Hmmm. Well, whatever. I have no intention of stopping at two. Hubby brought me my second one on Tuesday. I’ve been super sick all week. He knew how much the surprise would help my spirits. If not my seemingly expanding waistline. Everyone knows, however, calories don't count when you're sick, right? Because who can ever remember: Is it starve a cold, feed a fever? Feed a cold, starve a fever? I say don’t spend another second trying to figure it out. Don’t even Google it. Have a CFAPCCM. My sweet buddy, January, introduced me to these shakes last year. I'll be forever grateful. Or, I’ll forever blame her for not being able to button my pants. Maybe both! (J/K)

2. Dairy Queen's Candy Cane Chill Blizzard. It's currently the "Blizzard of the Month." ELC and I treated ourselves each to a "mini" last weekend. (P.S. The Mini Blizzard is pure brilliance. The perfect size.) Since it was tres tiny, the calories don't really count. This new flavor technically wasn't being "released" until December 1st, but the nice man at my local DQ let us sample it early. Y'all, it is mini-ly-sinfully scrumptious! Get thee to the nearest DQ. STAT.

3. Coffee-mate's Peppermint Mocha Creamer. I have ELC officially hooked. It's such a delish and invigorating way to sass up your morning coffee. At 35 calories per tablespoon, it’s not horribly hurtful. Anyway, everyone knows calories consumed between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. don’t count. Seriously. Try this yummo delight. Trust me. You won’t be disappointed.




Nothing makes me feel more festive than a little extra PEP-permint in my step during the holidays. Let's all CHEERS to a calorie-free Christmas!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Destination: DECEMBER!

We’ve made the DECISION to DENOTE the DEPTH of this DELIGHTFUL month!

Be DIGNIFIED. Doodle. DONATE. Doze. DREAM. Decaffeinate! Be DAINTY (occasionally). Decorate! DEFY (the odds)! Be Distinctive. DOUBLECHECK. Be Dynamic! DABBLE (in lots o’ fun things)! Defend (yourself—and others). DETOXIFY! Discourage (meanness, among other bad behaviors!). DISCUSS. Be Dutiful. DECOMPRESS.

DON'T be: Dramatic. DELIRIOUS. Devilish, Decadent or Deceiptful. DANGEROUS. Don’t Drink and Drive. Don’t DAWDLE. Or Demand. Or DISRUPT. Don’t be Despicable (that’s DIPPY). Don’t be DISAGREEABLE. Don’t be a DIVA (but you can pretend to be a DUCHESS, if you'd like!). Don’t Doublepark. Or be a DAMSEL in DISTRESS.

Eat DESSERT First! Have a Daiquiri! Develop a Diligent Diplomacy. Discipline your Diet (well, 75% of the time). Disguise Devious and Deceptive Demeanor (hey—just don’t even be either one of those things, okay?).

DEDICATE and DEVOTE your life to being DARLING, Demure (in a strong/tough way!), DIVINE, Down-to-earth, Delicate, and DEPENDABLE.

Don’t you just adore: DAFFODILS, dachshunds, DOLPHINS, doughnuts, DAISIES (one of our most favourite flowers!), and DALMATIONS (ooohhhhhh—Cruella DeVILLE—Dark and Diabolic and Dictatorial and Dishonest); DENIM (ELC’s favourite and signature fashion necessity!), DIAMONDS (they are a girl’s best friend!), and Dancing With the Stars; DEBONAIR Dandies, Apple DANISHES, Demitasse cups, DOLLY Parton; Divinity, DISCOS, Dimples, and Déjà vu?

This is the time of year: for all Dads to have Duets with their Daughters; to Delve Daily into Deep Devotionals; to be DIZZY with excitement; to Dismiss and Desolve Debate; to Declare Dear Domestic Deer Deserving of a Distinguished and Dashing Dynasty; for Holiday Dinners, Dishes and Dips that Drizzle Dazzle!

DECK THE HALLS, Y’ALL!!!

xoxxooxxxooo

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fredericksburg, Texas

Due to an unexpected change in circumstances two weeks ago, Mom and I had an opportunity to spend a Mother/Daughter Weekend in Fredericksburg, Texas. We realized it’d been quite some time since we’d gotten “away” together—just the two of us. In fact, the last adventure could have been a trip we made to St. Thomas five years ago!

If you’ve never been to (or heard of) Fredericksburg, it’s a charming and historic little Texas Hill Country town, with German heritage, conveniently located near Austin and San Antonio. It’s known for its “Sunday Houses.” In the early pioneer days, ranchers would come, from miles and miles away, in wagons and on horses, to town on Saturdays, with their families. They’d want to be able to stay for church on Sunday, so they’d build small-ish houses in order to do this.

Some of the houses that can be “rented” for a night, weekend or longer, are these “original” homes. Many are on historic “registers”—either national or Texas registers. They’ve been restored, of course—authentically. Other little cottages or even large homes that can accommodate lots o’ peeps have been built more recently. Most are right in town and within walking distance of the FUN Fredericksburg shops and restaurants. A few are places you can rent if you’d like to be “out in the country.” Mom, Dad and I (and friends—like our sweethearts, Sunny and Nelly—who've joined us for a memorable Girls’ Only Weekend in the past) have been coming and renting out different homes for at least twelve years.

At the risk of making this seem as though our blog has become a Travel Diary, I’d love to share our wonderful experience!

While in Fredericksburg, we stayed at the most delightful little house called “Second Home.”  Mom and I agreed this is probably our most favourite—ever. Out of about the eight we’ve rented in the past. Doesn’t it look like a precious gingerbread house?



Here we are modeling our Piggy PJ’s on the front porch!


We also ate like Royalty. Seriously.  If you visit Fredericksburg, you must try to stop at these extraordinary places:

Fredericksburg Herb Farm.  We had dinner here on Friday night.  It was positively scrumptious.  Their focaccia bread will knock your socks off.  They also have a Spa on the premises and several little cottages that can be rented.  They look adorable.  We would highly recommend this place for an extra special dinner and hope we can try out the rest of their amenities soon!

Fredericksburg Pie Company.  Three words:  Coconut Cream Pie.  HEAVENLY!  Y’all, their selection is phenomenal.  We were major bummed they’d run out of the Chocolate Ancho Pie when we stopped in after lunch on Saturday. Lesson learned—GO EARLY. I can only imagine how amazing a piece (or two or three) of that would have been.  They also have a sweet little shop with great goodies/tcotchzes to tempt you.

The Peach Tree.  We had lunch at this famous tea room on Saturday. We had a super-duper hard time trying to decide what to order—everything looked superb. (Suggestions: make reservations! We didn’t, but got lucky.) They have two wonderful gift shops you should take time to browse, too! 

The Auslander.  You cannot make a trip to Fredericksburg without sampling some of their authentic and tasty German fare.  Wienerschnitzel, in particular. Wow. The Auslander is a great “biergarten” to satisfy all kinds o’ cravings.

The Old German Bakery.  We stopped here Sunday morn, on our way home, and decided to split one of their cheese and sausage rolls.  It was  wickedly exquisite. Truly.  Although we only got one—because that looked to be a generous enough portion for two (or so ELC, aka Semi-Annoying Dukan Girl, suggested)—I immediately wished I’d ordered one all to myself.  It was that fabulous.

We always try to make sure we enjoy fantastic food from The Old German Bakery, The Auslander and The Peach Tree when we’re in town.

We’ve made it official: We intend to reinstate Mother/Daughter Trips ASAP.  Fredericksburg holds a special place in our hearts.  We can’t wait to plan our next getaway!

P.S.  Can you find ELC in this picture?  Tee hee hee.  This was a ginormous nutcracker display in a park on Main Street.

Friday, November 25, 2011

November Impatiens

At first glance, one might think I spelled impatience wrong. And that what I’m doing is trying to express a deep desire for Santa to be here. Both of those assumptions would be wrong, Sillies. Not only do I pay attention to spell-check (Ha! I got the red-line to spellcheck spell-check!), but I also won’t hesitate to use my Oxford Dictionary—when in doubt. The actual book (albeit paperback). With these two exceptions: when I’m totally making up new ways to spell words or when I'm making up completely new words. Then I don’t need no stinkin’ dictionary. Tee Hee-Haw.

Today is not a case of me making up a new word—or misspelling an old one. Also, it’s TLC that is the “Ms. All Things Christmas/Santa.” Not moi. Please don’t get me wrong: I definitely adore Christmas. I’m just not as obsessed with it as My Sweet Daughter.

I’m talking about the flowers—impatiens! I took this picture yesterday. November 24th. 2011. This pot o’ impatiens is on our front porch. Look at those precious little red jewels! How psychic was I when I planted them in May? Red—for Christmas!


I worked and worked all Summer (yes, I know “summer” really shouldn’t be capitalized—however, I must capitalize all Four Seasons—they’re too important) long to keep them alive. I quit trying at the end of September. I was exhausted. It had seemed so hopeless.They were never watered again until we put in two new shrubby-trees (not sure of their scientific name), three weeks ago, in close proximity to said impatiens. Hubby has watered the new shrubs every couple of days since then—so he’s watered the impatiens. The shrubs get two minutes each. The impatiens about ten seconds. Seriously.

These white impatiens are about three feet from the red ones. They’re in a firepit (also near the shrubs) I use as a planter. They get about as much water as the red ones. They're low priority to My Cute Hubby.


Then we have our lantana—which I've pictured in the past (see Sweet September on September 3rd). Look at them going strong! Usually the little orangy-yellow flowers have vanished by the middle-ish of October. Still here. Stubborn, aren't they? Wow.


November—in Texas(not California, Florida or Hawaii, but TEXAS)

GOTTA LOVE IT…

t.g.i.f.!smooches,

ELC

p.s. Five more days ‘til December, TLC! 30 more days until Christmas! Yikes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Get Your Gratitude On!

We know. We’ve done a “gratitude” post before. To be exact: September 17th. “From Deep in the Grateful Heart of Texas.” But ELC had rules for that one. This time, there are NO RULES. Eleven (ish—since some contain several within a number) feelings/thoughts/ideas. In honor of the month of November.

And, yes, some are eerily similar. How could they not be? We’ve become more psychically in sync, remember. Tee Hee Hee. Many of ours will surely be exactly what each of you could/would say. Isn’t that AWESOME???

What TLC is grateful for at this very moment:

  1. The Grace and Forgiveness of God. The Love of Jesus. Answered (and some unanswered) prayers.
  2. My husband, whom I adore. My parents (I have no idea what I did to deserve them). My brothers; sisters-in-law; nieces; nephews; my new, extended family via my husband; my dear friends; and everyone’s good health.
  3. My precious, little, wild man, Henry. TBBB. Cobbler. Morty. The smiles and giggles these wacky animals bring to me are priceless.
  4. My warm home. My parents’ pretty/cozy/country home on top of their hill.
  5. All five of my senses. I admit I take these for granted. They are truly gifts. I can’t imagine not being able to smell coffee brewing on a Saturday morning. Or not seeing a magnificent rainbow.
  6. Freedom. As Martina McBride sings: Let Freedom Ring!
  7. Food. Most especially: pumpkin cheesecake; ELC’s lasagna; ANYTHING my Dad makes/bakes/grills/creates (especially his Thanksgiving dressing); In-n-Out burgers; Sonic tater tots; and last, but never least, Hubby’s homemade ice cream.
  8. Twinkle lights. Candy canes. My “Rat Pack” holiday CD. Christmas Vacation. The Spirit of this amazingly wonderful time of the year.
  9. Clothes. My most cherished and adored? Yoga pants and UGGs. Oh, and a sweater two sizes too big!
  10. My excitement for the upcoming 2012! Isn’t it incredible (First—that it’s moments away. Really?) what the Promise and Hope a New Year brings?
  11. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Wow. What CAN’T they do?
What ELC is grateful for at this very moment:

  1. The Love and Grace of Our Lord God Almighty and His Son, Jesus Christ.
  2. God’s Creation of This Spectacular World!
  3. My husband, our children and their spouses, our grandchildren, family and precious friends.
  4. The Freedom given to us by our Forefathers and every single military woman and man that has served (or is serving now) The United States of America, especially those who have given their lives or who were injured and/or changed forever, from the time America was born until the very second you are reading this. And beyond.
  5. My health and safety—my eyes (to take in Nature and all of its splendor), ears (well, one good ear!), arms and legs. And all of the general good health for which our family has been blessed.
  6. Our comfortable casa on our beautiful hill in our Terrific Texas!
  7. Our cats—Cobbler and Morty; our new and tres special dog, Teddy Buddy Boo Bear—and, of course, Hurricane Henry; our cows and their calves—Sugar Mama and her son, Gobble, Little Mama and her son, Buffalo, and Sugar Baby and her son, Cinco.
  8. The food we have—and have always had—to eat; our clothes we’ve always had to wear—especially warm coats and gloves; vehicles to drive us to where we need/want to go and the ridiculously high-priced gas to put in those vehicles.
  9. Amazing music (most especially Country and Christmas!), television (and DVRs!), movies, books, and exquisite art.
  10. Cell phones and computers (so I can keep in touch with My TLC, family and friends).
  11. Laughter. Hope. Peace.
With our Love and Hugs, we wish each of you a Happy, Safe, Healthy, and Yummy Turkey Day!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Drum Roll... FINALLY... Newport!

There are no pictures of Newport. I had my camera. I had my phone. But I did what I always do. I forgot to take pictures. I’m also not going to recommend a hotel or any restaurants. Not because we didn’t think our hotel was nice—or that the restaurants we discovered weren’t wonderful. They were! (Lots o’ FUN shops, too!) I feel we only scratched the surface and that there are dozens and dozens of great hotels and restaurants recommended by thousands of more knowledgeable peeps than me on Trip Advisor.

Actually, our hotel was a decision made for us—by virtue of my husband’s meetings. One night we attended a “group” dinner at a fun restaurant on the water/pier. The name escapes me now. The rest of our dining experiences were decided, literally, at the last minute. As we walked by a place and read the menu. (On Monday, I actually ate at a Panera! Not very “local,” or adventurous, I realize. However, I heart Panera. Yum.)

My preconceived ideas of Newport, Rhode Island, could be described by these words: wealth, quaint, lots o’ wealth, romantic, historic, more money that most of us could ever comprehend, charming, beautiful, Old Money, relaxing, fabulous ocean air, and different. Tres different—from Texas.

We left Allentown that Saturday morning beyond ready to be in Newport. Traffic wasn’t too horrid and the time and distance seemed to go by fast. (All right. I give. That could be because I might have been asleep.)

When I saw the highway sign for Mystic, Connecticut, I asked Hubby if we could veer off course, a bit, and have an early lunch there. The name alone is uber intriguing. I got the “Please, Dear Lord, you’re not really asking me to do that, are you?” look. I decided we’d surely be able to go back on Sunday—no worries. I sweetly cancelled my request. Promise it was sweet.

Because we’d been driving, virtually non-stop, for four days, we kept forgetting it was a holiday weekend. Columbus Day. In fact, we also kept forgetting what day of the week it was. (We still don’t know. J/K. Today we know it’s Friday. YIPPEE!) As we arrived in Newport and headed to our hotel on Goat Island, we encountered traffic we didn’t expect. We soon agreed we probably weren’t going to want to drive anywhere else, once we parked the car. Not to Mystic. Not to nowhere—no how. The streets in the main area of town are only two lanes and some are very narrow. Not conducive to Clueless Tourists from Texas.

We checked in, unpacked, and made a visit to the Concierge. We confirmed that hanging out in Newport was going to be all we needed to try to do during our four-day visit. Hubby was going to be in meetings for two days, so he really only had a day and half to sightsee. Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard became out of the question. Something about a ferry and much farther away than I thought—requiring almost an entire day for each place. Perhaps I should have done my homework? Sheesh. I’ve never claimed to be good at geography. I rarely get those Trivial Pursuit questions right.

We opted for an afternoon City Tour of Newport on Sunday—with a visit to the Vanderbilt mansion—The Breakers. We were now ready to board the hotel shuttle to “town.” We quickly learned it was only about a quarter of a mile or so from the lobby of the hotel to the other side of the bridge, i.e. “town.” When we were shown where we’d have to be to catch the shuttle back to the hotel, we decided it would usually make more sense to walk. Walking = Always a Good Choice.

I must have journeyed over that Goat Island Bridge—not sure that’s it’s official name—about 16 times in four days. Hubby was with me for 8 of those strolls. I (we) got to oogle some pretty fancy-schmancy yachts each trip. Another World and life from ours. Entirely. Of course, I’d be happy to sit on one of those yachts, sipping some Maker’s 46, while it was docked. I’d have little interest in going out to the ocean. Sharks, you know. Shivers.

The weather was perfection—making our/my explorations that much more enjoyable and memorable. We’d expected to need coats at night. They weren’t ever necessary. Light jackets and sweaters were all that were ever required. Lovely.

The City Tour we took Sunday was conducted on a little red trolley. The Tour Guide, a man about Hubby’s age, had grown up in Newport—so he knew good stuff! I’d forgotten Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy had spent her summers in Newport. Had married Jack Kennedy at St. Mary’s Church. Their reception was held at her step-father’s seaside estate—Hammersmith Farm. The Press called Hammersmith Farm the Summer White House when John F. Kennedy was President. We could really only see the roof of the gigantic home, but the property was gorgeous. They had Oreo cows! Belted Galloways. If you don’t know what these are, Google—STAT! TLC, Lauren and I have seen them on a ranch between Dallas and Waco. They are darling! Someone please tell me how that was genetically engineered.

The Breakers? Unbelievable. Amazing. Incredible. 24-carat gold on the walls. In the bathrooms. Opulence, decadence, luxury beyond imagination. Everywhere. Check it out at http://www.newportmansions.org/. It was a little over-the-top for moi. My favorite places in the mansion were the simply decorated bedrooms, the terraces and the humongous “backyard.” Well, the massive “lawn” to the sea. I’d get a book and grab a sweater (if necessary) and sit on an Adirondack chair for hours—reading, snoozing and looking at and listening to the ocean. Awww—contentment and peace. When I see unbelievable homes (that was probably the most unbelievablest—if not a word, should be—I’ve seen to date)—I’m seriously grateful to go back to my humble abode. Cross my heart. Not that I wouldn’t adore having someone gift me a small-ish mansion somewhere—like Maui. If I could have a “Staff”. A Staff that included a housekeeper, or six, a full-time Chef and a chauffeur. Oh, wait. I think that’s Oprah’s life I’ve jumped into for A Few Seconds of Delusion. Oops.

On Monday and Tuesday, while Hubby was in his meetings. I roamed more streets of Newport. I sat in George Washington’s “box pew” at Trinity Church. I took Hubby back there late Tuesday afternoon. While I tried to “channel” George, Hubby sat quietly. Clearly in utter and complete awe. We whispered how incredible it was to think General George Washington had occupied that box pew many times. Inspired isn't a big enough word for our feelings.

ELC—Travel Agent— gives Newport, Rhode Island, TWO THUMBS UP! Visit if you ever have the chance.

Next up in a week or two: A quick run-down on the FAST and FURIOUS trip home and my unsolicited observations about people and places. You’ll read about my Convenience Store Restroom Award of Merit—there were only two given out in 3600 miles—YIKES—and the Don’t Tailgate signs on the New Jersey and New York interstates we need in Texas—especially Dallas and Houston. Tomorrow, please.).

Have a Wonderful Weekend, Everyone Everywhere!

ta-ta for now . . .

p.s. CeeCee will soon be traveling with her Gang to New York City! We wish her a safe and FUN trip! We’ll watch for you at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!!!