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!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Aaannnnddddd... DOUBLE DONE.

{If y’all haven’t read Aaannnnddddd… DONE—on August 20th—you might appreciate this post more if you check that one out first. Just a suggestion.}

Background: The first five years of our marriage I was fairly small-ish. I didn’t contract a weight issue until I knew I was pregnant with TLC. Then all hell broke loose and I became obsessed with food. More specifically--with tacos. (So much so, that my husband’s sons all thought we should name a boy Taco. They were serious. And is it a coincidence that TLC was eating and loving hot sauce at 18 months old? Is that wrong?)

You might remember I’ve been buying diet books since I started college—that’s approximately 39 years. Sad. Yes, quite sad. (See The Next To The Last Diet Book in January.) I've also, apparently, tried to pass myself off as The Queen of Nutrition to My Cute Husband (MCH) for about 25 years. Despite the fact I’ve seldom had success with any significant weight loss (until recently and, alas, I am not—I repeat NOT—anywhere near my goal), I’ve always tried to encourage myself—and my family—to eat healthy. I recently told TLC I seriously could not remember the last time I’d had a donut. Maybe five years? Yet, I look like I eat three big donuts for breakfast every morning. Sheesh.

For about twenty years, MCH and TLC have received lectures by moi about what they should be eating/ordering—particularly at burger joints. They’ve had to listen to me whine and moan and groan about the unfairness of weight problems. Through it all, they’ve both maintained their ever-present and charming senses of humor. Yep—I’m stickin’ with that. Hubby has (mostly) agreed to eat at Subway when that’s my demand. I mean request. It’s the healthier choice. (Please note I did not add TLC to this one. Evidently, she’d rather go without any food at all than eat at a Subway. I apologize, Jared.)

Last Wednesday Evening: Hubby was sitting at our kitchen bar, watching me heat up my supper (chicken and spinach—sans donuts—sigh). I’d left my November 17th Woman’s Day magazine on the counter. It has a picture of a FABULOUS looking apple pie. (Remember—MCH is an AMAZING cook.) I don’t think I’ve ever, in over 34 years together, seen MCH pick up even one of my “ladies’” magazines. Heaven forbid. So I was getting quite tickled that he was looking through this one. I knew why. He was huntin’ that pie recipe. Still… it made me giggle.

Then this conversation began:

MCH: Would you like to know how to stop gaining weight?

ELC: Why, yes. As a matter of fact, I’d love to know how.

MCH:  “… one of these bad eating habits might be the problem. You drink a lot of soda. People who drink even one diet soda a day have larger waist circumferences compared with non-soda drinkers.”

(Naturally. Blame the diet drinks. I am tres sick of this frustrating “finding.” Especially since MCH has been telling me, every other day for fourteen years, to give them up. Completely and forever. I hate when diet sodas get blamed, by so many “experts,” for sabotaging diets. Plus, I hate the word “circumference.”)

ELC: Okay, move on to the next habit. The diet drink discussion is DONE.

MCH: “You use a small fork. The size of your utensil could affect how much you eat. People who used a small fork ate 12% more.”

ELC: Huh? What? This article is beginning to annoy me, MCH. My problem has never been the size of my fork. If only. Next.

MCH: “You eat potatoes. Every day.”

Then he stopped. I looked over at him to see why. He was still reading. Just no longer out loud. (Uh-oh. Did that say eating potatoes every day could cause weight problems? Surely they jest.) 

ELC: Keep going, Mr. French Fry/Potato Chip King.

MCH: I forgot. I’ve got to go over to the Barn.

He quickly shut the magazine and walked out the back door. Déjà vu. I've been here before. Did he quickly disappear because he LOVES potatoes—ALL forms of potatoes—as much as or more than I love Diet Mountain Dews? Yes, yes I believe that could have been the reason he suddenly vanished. 

Aaannnnddddd… done. Again. Double Done, actually.

Bless his sweet heart.

And now I'm LMDDADO. (Diet Drinks And Donuts)

Friday, November 11, 2011

ELC’s Whiskey and Chocolate Tour—Part Two

And The Rhode Trip Goes On and On and On…

We woke up on the third day of our Driving Adventure with happy jitters! We were getting closer to our Final Destination. Approximately thirty-two more hours. We left WV and headed through a tiny part of Maryland (it was dangerously foggy and we didn’t see much—lovely mountains and trees that reminded me of Arkansas) to Pennsylvania. We’d be in Pennsylvania all day and planned to spend the night in Allentown.

We’d only had one previous experience in Pennsylvania (other than flying into Philadelphia about twelve years ago and renting a car to drive to New Jersey for a wedding—I don’t feel that really qualifies):

Hubby and I were chaperones on TLC’s 7th and 8th Grade Trip to Washington, D. C. She was a 7th grader. It was a trip we will never forget—no matter how hard we try. A trip that almost did us both in—and that might have caused us to think about putting TLC up for adoption. J/K. (Or am I?)


Circa 1997
Where's TLC and ELC? 

We were headed to Gettysburg (there were three buses full of our Texas kids and fourteen chaperones) to see the Battlegrounds on our third day. I remember I kept begging Hubby to wake me up as we drove away from our hotel in Virginia. I wanted to SEE Pennsylvania. He tried—desperately. It was futile. For those two hours—goin’and returnin’—I couldn’t keep my eyes open—no matter how hard Hubby shook me. My eight (well-behaved though they were and none were TLC!) girls and the endless days and nights touring everything historical in and around D.C, not to mention the required and very late-night meetings for “Chaperone Updates,” took a huge toll on my sleep opportunities. I’m happy to report I did stay awake as we walked around the Battlegrounds. It became very emotional for me and Hubby. We were never quite sure the kids could even remotely grasp the significance of where we were or the deep sadness that surrounded that hallowed ground.

When we boarded the bus? Bam. I was out like a light. Almost instantly. The eerie stillness of the incredibly beautiful fields of Gettysburg? Locked in my memory. Like the picture of TLC at thirteen.

Back to 2011. As Hubby and I breezed through Pennsylvania, we decided to veer off course to have lunch in Hershey. It’s called “The Sweetest Place on Earth." Awww. Did y’all know their lampposts are chocolate kisses? And their main street is named Chocolate Avenue? How precious is that?

I was thrilled at the chance to take the Hershey Company’s Chocolate World Tour. A chocolate addict’s dream-come-true. It’s kind of like a ride—at Six Flags—that all ages can go on (no height—or weight—thank goodness!—requirements). But it’s not just fun—it’s educational and downright fascinating.  You see how Kisses are made—from the cocoa beans and where they’re grown, harvested and shipped, to the final placement of the little Kiss “flag.” We walked around the biggest Gift Shop I believe I’ve ever been in and bought the requisite souvenirs, then reluctantly headed to Allentown. Trust me: It’s hard to leave The Sweetest Place on Earth.


ELC and Hubby went to Hershey, PA,
and all TLC's Hubby got was this candy dish.
LOL.

Would so love to return to Hershey and stay a little longer. (Hubby? Not so much. But he did have a great time! He, by the way, is the Hershey Kiss King—a title I bestowed upon him several years ago. He has five kisses—Hershey, Sillies—nearly every night of his life. It’s also my understanding he’s been known to be the Hershey Candy Culprit at work. If he knows someone has Hershey candy in their office? It’s simply not safe.)

We weren’t going to have too many hours left to drive the next day, so we allowed ourselves to “sleep in” that Saturday morn—6:30. Instead of the usual (How many of y’all are now just praying you can sign up to take a driving trip/tour somewhere with ELC and Her Hubby? I’ll start my Waiting List.)

Coming up—soon—my observations about Newport, Rhode Island

Gotta scoot… all this talk about Kisses has me needin’ to make a pass by Hubby’s Candy Dish!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hurricane Henry

Whew! ELC and I are still recovering from our whirlwind weekend with Duke TBBB and the newly anointed "Hurricane Henry." AKA Prince Henry. AKA Peter, Peter, The Pumpkin Eater.

To put it mildly, my pup is BANANAS. He kept us on our toes the entire 48 hours I was home. Teddy was such a doll. So patient. He let Hurricane Henry crawl all over him. He took his role as "Older Cousin" very seriously.

Here are a few fun pictures we snapped of our boys:



The calm before the storm.

Henry in his "Time Out Jail."
(Despite the forlorn look, he actually loves his "bedroom.")

This is Teddy Buddy Boo Bear's "Office Window."
Wonder what they're thinking?
(We're thinking:  Puppy Dog Noses = Window Smudges!)

Pooches Smooches.

TBBB needed a nice, long nap after the Hurricane blew through.
Don't worry, ELC is in the process of getting him a properly sized bed.

Though it truly was a lovely weekend, we've agreed we'll be putting any future "play dates" on hold. At least until after the holidays. I seriously believe we'll need that long to forget our trauma. I mean restore ourselves to normal. Okay. We've never been normal. Let's go with until we've become rejuvenated.

I love My Sweet Hank. The Little Angel just needs to work on his social skills and graces. Bless his heart.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Yumhaw for Y’all!

Yep. A combination of TLC’s Yummies and ELC’s Yeehaws. We crack ourselves up.

{Sorry. We’ve got Teddy Buddy Boo Bear and Henry together, at ELC’s casa, for the first time in three months—while Our Guys are away for the weekend on different adventures—and we think we might be losing our minds. Completely. So far it doesn’t seem to be working out the way we hoped. We’re exhausted. They’re both used to being “only children,” you know. Henry, the Puppy, has enough energy for six other dogs and five humans.}

Background: ELC loves all things Real Simple. A friend put her onto this FABULOUS magazine about seven years ago. She hasn’t been without a subscription since. ELC got TLC hooked. We both get those email/online/newsletter thingys from Real Simple—but we’ve chosen different "departments," of course. ELC doesn’t get anything about recipes. TLC doesn’t get the Daily Thought. Evidently ELC likes to think and TLC likes to cook.

A little over a year ago: ELC got a Real Simple email with some of their favourite necklaces that could be ordered with a name or monogram. Of the eight-ish that were shown, the necklace that completely captured ELC’s heart was one called The Jessica (click!) from Three Sisters Jewelry.  ELC knew three of her four granddaughters and her Goddaughter would all love one of these unique necklaces for Christmas (the Littlest Angel isn't quite old enough for one yet!). Unfortunately, because ELC is so ahead of the shopping game each year, she’d already purchased the girls’ gifts for Christmas 2010. She made Zoë’s website a Favourite and programmed this brilliant idea in her brain for Christmas 2011.

About five weeks ago: ELC reminded TLC she was going to order the necklaces as soon as she returned from her Rhode Trip. While checking out all of Zoë’s designs, ELC clicked on her Blog (click!) and discovered she loved that, too!

The four necklaces arrived and they are whimsically magnificent! ELC has picked out a bracelet she’d adore (for her birthday in March—hint, hint.)  TLC has found several pieces she, too, believes she must own. ASAP. What a shocker.

Zoë is an amazing artist. And another California Girl!  (We heart our California Piggy Gals!) Check out Zoë’s website (click!) STAT. Maybe it’s not too late to order that special friend or family member one of her treasures for Christmas!

Chow (Puppy, that is—we got a million of ‘em) for now . . .

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ELC's Whiskey and Chocolate Tour

This is Part One of Two Parts of the Second Part of Rhode Trip. Don’t try to keep up—just go with it.

The majority of our driving occurred on Interstates. Not always great Interstates, but Interstates. The trip from Central and East Texas to Arkansas? Fairly uneventful. Okay. I’m just guessing on that statement. I was asleep. We stopped in Texarkana for lunch at a Subway. Can’t go wrong with Subway, right? Well, this one was freezing cold. Even hot-natured Hubby was shivering. We ate fast.

We do love Arkansas. Hot Springs. Little Rock (where Hubby was born and lived for the first six years of his life). Lake Catherine State Park. All superb. Eureka Springs—an amazing little Town in the Arkansas Hills full of charming shops and scrumptious restaurants. My favourite shop? Wilson & Wilson Folk Art Co. Delightful! Find Blakeley Wilson at http://www.wilsonandwilsonfolkartshoponline.com/. Our favourite restaurant? Gaskins Cabin Steakhouse. Mouth-watering incredible. Arkansas = Awesome.

We basically flew (just a word—there was no actual speeding going on, Sillies) through Little Rock and headed to Memphis—another fantastic town in a magnificent state we’ve had the joy of visiting in years gone by. I was actually the “Official Driver” through Memphis. I was a Rock Star. Yes, yes I was. In traffic. As Hubby checked maps and consulted Nina and gave me unsolicited “tips.” He was supposed to nap, but, naturally, didn’t have time. We agreed we liked the idea of staying in Jackson, Tennessee. Nashville was now out of The Plan—too far away.

We were tres impressed with Jackson. We had a comfortable night at a pretty Holiday Inn Express. The next morning, we decided to throw caution to the wind and go north to Kentucky (instead of east to Virginia—we’d see Virginia when heading home). This would mean we could take a tour of the Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whisky (how they spell it because they have chutzpah and don't need that unnecessary "e") Distillery, located in Loretto, Kentucky.

Hubby has been a Maker’s Mark aficionado for several years. A good friend enrolled him in their “Ambassador” program—a brilliant marketing tool. And when I say brilliant, what I really mean is GENIUS. Hubby’d been considering a tour since he began planning our trip. Check them out at http://www.makersmark.com/. It’s a clever and entertaining website. And, hey, apply to be an Ambassador—what a hoot!

Even though I only have a glass of wine occasionally—like once a month—pinky swear, I knew a tour could be memorable. OMGosh. Was it ever. And who knew there’s a “Kentucky Bourbon Trail,” featuring six distilleries in the stunning Bluegrass hills? Not us. As we toured Maker’s Mark, Hubby and I made a goal to come back some day to check out all the distilleries. (However, in the event we never get that accomplished, a sweet couple on our tour, who had seen the other five, said Maker’s Mark was, hands down, The Best.)

Hubby hand-dipped this bottle himself!

Who also knew I’d be game when given a “sample” of Maker’s 46 at the end of the tour? It’s a fairly new and smoother, sweeter whiskey. I’m typically not a “straight shot” Drinker Kind O’ Gal. Nope. Not interested. I think it all tastes suspiciously like rubbing alcohol or cough medicine. And I gag. I not only belted that tablespoon, in a tiny shotglass, of 46 down the proverbial hatch, I liked it. I was, frankly, shocked at how much I liked it. They then gave us a sample of their Maker’s Mark Bourbon Chocolates. Thank you—thank you very much. You're a beautiful whisky distillery. They are not just delicious chocolates. They are DIVINE. ALL CAPS.

I can’t imagine why anyone would ever leave Kentucky. Driving to Clarksburg, West Virginia, where we'd decided to stay our second night, my lips were in a permanent “Wow” configuration for hundreds of miles through the Kentucky hills. Although we didn’t have time to go see The Derby grounds (something I’m hellbent on doing—attending The Kentucky Derby itself—not just visiting Churchill Downs), we couldn’t stop commenting on the breathtaking views we were encountering. My idea of Kentucky had developed from watching The Derby for forty years and from the movie Something To Talk About, with Julia Roberts, Dennis Quade, Gena Rowlands, one of Hubby’s, TLC’s and my all-time favourite actors—Robert Duvall, and, of course, one of TLC’s and my all-time favourite actresses—Kyra Sedgwick.

West Virginia? Their sign welcoming visitors, as you cross the border from Kentucky, says: “Wild and Wonderful.” Hmmm. Yes, I can definitely understand the “Wild,” right, Autumn? Unfortunately, Hubby and I only saw WV at dusk and then, gradually, in complete and total darkness. Those lights all over the West Virginia hills were “Wonderful.” Absolutely magical. (At this point, I’d be happy to share I could have some West Virginia in my DNA. It’s a long story I shan't go into now, but it might provide an explanation as to why I’m addicted to Diet Mountain Dews.) One of the most influential people West Virginia has given to Our World? Brad Paisley. I adore him.

The only thing that sticks in my mind about Clarksburg (not that it isn’t a precious town) was seeing a truck in the parking lot of our hotel with a bumper sticker that read:

Yes, As a Matter of Fact, I DO Own the Road.  

I’d love to have one hundred thousand of those stickers. I’d somehow figure out how to pass them out to the cRaZy drivers on the Dallas North Tollway. I also learned this attitude could apply to many, many, many Truckers on our American Roads (not just Ice Road Truckers). Let me assure y’all, if you had any doubts, the trucking industry seems to be healthy and thriving. Hubby and I have never seen so many trucks (especially those “double combos”—mostly UPS and FedEx) in our combined 124 years. (See my upcoming Soapbox on this subject in a couple of weeks.)

Hope y’all will humor me and stay tuned for ELC's Whiskey and Chocolate Tour—Part Two. Coming soon to a website near you...

Faretheewell, Friends...