Wednesday, October 31, 2012


 oh my sweetie,


only if you dare.

I'll be waiting!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend Guest

We were blessed with our favorite weekend guests. 

the diva, Raven
When these two appear so do their people,
our daughter and son.

the jester, Waldi 
I've spent the last few weeks playing in the kitchen.

pumpkin scones

So good with tea.

apple pie
What would I serve for dessert?

Final answer...pecan pie!

I played around with putting together the perfect table.

 I added and


Then changed my direction...

a little less complicated perhaps.

The moments didn't last nearly long enough.  
Before I blinked it was time to for a final group photograph.

Oh it is just so hard to get everyone's attention when there is
a treat bag involved.

And it was time to wave good-bye.

It was good to see my children...our time together was way too short.

Mom, I miss them already!

Me too Willie!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What a Wonderful World!

I have been fortunate these last twelve months to travel a bit.  No matter where I found myself,  across an ocean,  in a city a thousand miles away or just outside my own back door I found something wonderful.  

Here are the lyrics of one of my favorite songs.
May you always find something wonderful in your world.

"I see trees of green

Red roses too
I see em bloom for me and for you

And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue
clouds of white

Bright blessed days

dark sacred nights

And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky

via pinterest
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, sayin

How do you do
They're really sayin
I love you.

I hear babies cry
I watch them grow

They'll learn so much more
Than I'll never know

a page from "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"

And I think to myself....

What a wonderful world."

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Autumn Book Chatter

I've often heard it said, "if you don't like to read,  you haven't found the right book".  I would love to give someone credit for coming up with this thought, but in researching I have found more than a few taking credit.

Do you agree?
Is there a book for everyone?

On my way home from school this afternoon I heard the beginning of a 2011 interview with Sue Grafton about her then new release V is for Vengeance .  My thoughts ran to a friend who many years ago quietly confessed these "alphabet" crime novels were a guilty pleasure.  I am always agreeable to a "guilty pleasure", but have never picked up one of Ms. Gafton's crime novels.  This is not meant to be a judgement, just a statement.

Several years later I ran into the same person, told her about a book I had just read hoping to chat about it for a bit and maybe hear what she was reading.   She stopped what she was doing, looked at me and stated rather loudly she would never read that book.  Being an avid reader you could say my feelings were hurt.. a little.

With the interview continuing in the background and remembering the sting of what I thought to be a criticism,  I began thinking about how we choose the books we read; why we are drawn to certain books while others are just not exciting.

So often a friend will ask me for a book suggestion.   I always ask about their favorite books, and what they have read recently.  I can almost always match a friend with a book.   It is when I impose my own favorites without regard to their likes and dislikes I mess up terribly.

This year, 2012, by November 26th one hundred eight books will have been published.  This includes only what is categorized as literature, crime/mystery and short stories.  The authors I recognize are far fewer than those I know nothing of.

In 1912, forty-eight fiction books and nine non-fiction debuted.  You might recognize a few of the authors:  L. Frank Baum, Edgar Rice Burroroughs, Willa Cather, Sir Author Conon Doyle, Lucy Maud Montgomery and Beatrix Potter.

The year before Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was published, 1812 sixteen books of fiction and six non-fiction were offered to those who enjoyed reading.  It was the year we were given volume one of Grimm's Fairy Tales, as well as Swiss Family Robinson.

One of my greatest pleasures is sharing the joy of a good book.   Are all of them great literature?   How many will become classics enjoyed by generations.  Will they be books critics have touted or they will be the ones who are declared soft without substance.  I am certainly not qualified to make a guess  I will be happy to tell you what I love, what I simply enjoy and what is just not my "cup of tea";  I will want to tell you why.  How fortunate we are to have so many books published each year from which to make our selection.  

My guilty pleasure?  Books!
My favorites are as eclectic as the rest of my life...

Autumn is the perfect time to sit outside among the falling leaves or curled up in your favorite chair with a good book.

Three books I recently finished:

An American Childhood.  An autobiography by Annie Dillard.  This book spoke to me...loved it!
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn.  A best-selling, critically acclaimed,  page turner.  Didn't love it.
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier.  A reread I found as enjoyable if not more so than when we first met.

I would love to hear about you guilty pleasure reads....


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Tale of Two Husbands

Life can get busy.  Everyone in a family has "duties" which enable the family to run smoothly.  Unfortunately, things happen, sometimes a stone gets thrown under the wheels of day to day living and everything is turned topsy turvy.  Although these situations are not funny when they are occurring,  they are the fiber when woven through a lifetime make up our memories.   We retell the stories with drama and is not only the reality of how we live and it is how we survive.

A few weeks ago Roger was going through papers on his desk and his to do list in preparation to leave town on a business trip.  We had been juggling schedules to meet the contractor, the plasterer and the painter for a few days; a few things were beginning to fall through the cracks.

I was sitting on the sofa, with Willie curled up about as close as he could possibly be, reading.  Roger came in with an envelope in his hand and announced my license plate tags were expired.  He said the notice must have come in while we were in Ireland.   I told him it was impossible because my car is not yet a year old.  (I am sure you remember a buck hit me this time last year totaling my Volvo.)  He continued to explain he had transferred the old tags, so yes, they were in fact expired. 

I ask him to put all the papers in my bag and I would go to the tax office the next day after school to renew the tags.  Placing the envelope in my purse, he said, " I am sorry, this was my job".  I assured him, although it was not how I had planned to use my free afternoon, it really was no big deal.

 The next morning a friend called to ask if I would be working that afternoon.   I said no, "I get to go sit and wait in line to renew my overdue car tags.  Not the way I had hoped to spend the day." 

She said, "Oh let me tell you what happened to me."

While running her children to their respective after-school activities and trying to get errands completed in-between the taking and the picking up she was stopped by the police.  She said she knew she was not speeding and had no clue why she was pulled over.

When the Officer approached her window he ask her if she knew her license plate had expired.  She responded, "No it isn't.  My husband took care of that."

"Ma'am, not only is your license plate expired, it has been expired for two years."

She continued to argue, telling him he was dead wrong.  She ask if she could call her husband.

"Ma'am this is your car, you are responsible for the tags"

"No, I am not.  It is my husband's job, and I know he did it.  I put the notice on his desk.  I'm calling my husband right now."  Which she did.

She explained to her husband she had been pulled over and the Officer was telling her the license plate tags were two years overdue.  "I told him you wouldn't let that happen.  You had just renewed my license."

I suspect there might have been a bit of silence on the other end of the line, although it was not part of her story.  

"No, that was my tags I renewed."

"You didn't renew my tags?"

"The notice must have come in when we were out of the country."

She replied, "We were not out of the country for two years.  We will talk about this later"and hung up.

Turning her attention back to the policeman, she tried to explain.  The Officer told her because the tags were two years over due he would have to ticket her and tow her car.  He ask if there was someone who could come to get her.

Understandably, a tad upset, she explained her husband and her parents were out of town.  "You can't tow my car, this is not my fault.  It is my husband's job."

"Ma'am it is your car, you are responsible."

"No, I am not.  We each have our jobs.  This is not mine."

"Ma'am  I am going to have to ticket you and tow your car."

At this point I am desperately trying not to drop the phone for laughing.  I was not laughing at her, but because this is something I could see happening to me.

The policeman goes back to his car and makes a phone call and returns,
"Ma'am it is the law I have to ticket you and have the car towed.  I have called it in.  If I ticket you my boss will see it;  if I don't have the car towed I will get in trouble."

She told me she was resolved and just wanted him to write the ticket and get it over with; he stepped back and stood looking at her as she sat in the car.

"Ma'am,  I'm not going to ticket you today.  I'm giving you a warning."

Looking up at him she thanked him profusely and said, 
"I'm getting a divorce are you married?"
(no fears, she remains happily married)

As I left the school parking lot and headed toward the revenue office I thought about my friend's story.  You may be assured I drove slowly and safely to not draw any undue attention to my car.

When I got out of my car I stopped to checked my tags.  One read Aug., the other 13.  I sort of thought it seemed a little odd I would have a 13 on my license plate if my tags were, in fact, overdue.  I looked around at other car's license's plates.   They all had a "13" on them.  I did stop to wonder how all of these plates were going unnoticed, if my own were outdated.   Oh well, I knew Roger  kept track of when the tags needed to be renewed.  It crossed my mind maybe the 13 was a code.  After all, it is his job!

With a book in hand I entered the tax assessors office and took a number, resolved to spend a little time waiting.  They called my number and I approached the desk.  I handed the clerk the papers and explained my tags were overdue.

Without looking up she ask if I would be paying with cash, by check or bankcard.  I replied I would be writing a check (there is a fine for everyday you are overdue plus the cost of the tags).  

"Who do I make the check out to?"

She pointed to the sign and began keying in information into her computer.

"Ma'am your tags were renewed in August."

"You are kidding me?  Are you sure?  My husband was certain he had forgotten to renew them."

"Is your car a silver Outback?"


"Yes ma'am, they have already been renewed", she said giggling

It was my second good laugh of the day. just gotta love 'em.

I called my friend to tell her my experience with the expired license plate tags.   And to ask permission to share her story here at Living Life.  She said yes and that she would like to read it.  I hope I have not strayed too far from her adventure.  I truly wish you could hear her tell it.  Thank you dear friend for allowing my muse to run with the story of
"The Tale of Two Husbands".

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cold and Rainy Changing to Sunshine

It has been the autumn weekend I've longed for,
giving me a taste of everything she has to offer.

She showed up cold and rainy Saturday morning
 making it perfect for finding a quiet spot 
to settle in with a cup of tea and an old
friend who has been patiently waiting to be revisited.

There were new arrivals eager for perusal,
promising dreams for perfect holidays.

She waved away the rain with Sunday
dawning crisp and sunny, 
giving me reason to putter around outside
planting  pansies and violas in a border garden.

I finally gave in and cut the last of the hydrangea.
It was time.

Preparing the gardens for their winter rest,  (oh, I
am hoping for a winter this year),
Roger helped me rearrange a shade garden

moving and adding perennials from 
the last of the summer pots.

There was plenty of clean up after this perfect weekend.

Yes, Autumn introduced herself this weekend.  I hope
she returns soon with plans for a longer stay. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Let's Walk to Town

Oh it's not far,  just a kilometer or so down the road.

After a hearty Irish breakfast looking out over what was now called "our view" we decided to don the walking shoes and head down to the village of Enniskerry (Ford of the Stones).  The walk wasn't long and there were so many wonderful things to see along the way.

I am an explorer...
an adventurer.  
I cannot travel thinking only of the destination.

I am always a little nosy and not afraid to stop

to peer inside dwellings along the way.

I often venture off the charted path,

and I always stop to chat with the locals.

I breathe in what nature places in my path

The clock tower presented St. Patrick's Day 1843

knowing just around the turn I will come to where I belong.

   Beside a stony ford on the Cookstown River I found the charming village of Enniskerry.  A place described as a typical Irish village was first established in 1841 .   

And every cottage has a name.

Do matter what door we approached we were openly invited to enter. 
 Each question was eagarly answered.

I spent the day looking at buildings built so many years ago and still in use.

A place to read.

The Carnegie Library established by the Carnegie Trust in 1911.  It is still in use as a branch of the Wicklow County Library.

A place to gather.

Powerscourt Parochial Hall built in 1855 (a hundred years before I was born) is used for community activities.

A place to worship.

St. Mary's Parish Church.  Designed by Patrick Byrne, built on land donated by the 7th Viscount Powerscourt and consecrated 1860.

A place to purchase what is needed.

 just in case you need a bit of refreshment.

A very nice wine shop if you desire something to take with you, and we did.

But if the need for something cool is immediate there is the town


And you know the saying...

"When in Rome...."

We had such fun talking with the owner,  bartender and  waitress we were invited to return later in the evening to hear a "popular Irish band".  I said to the owner, " I do love Irish music".

"This is not you typical Irish music.  There are no fiddles.  There will be a bit of rebel music played", he replied.

I looked at him and smiled, "Oh I have a bit of the rebel in me".

We left and turned to walk back up to Powerscourt where we were expected for tea.

There was one place left to stop and explore,  St. Patrick's Parish Church.

Built of Wicklow granite with a copper spire, the Protestant Church built by the 7th Viscount was consecrated in 1863.

There is always time for walking around the cemetery.

"Pass on all's well"

We made it back to the hotel just in time to freshen up and join everyone for tea.

This was overflowing with savory bites.
Sweets to be delivered moments later.

Did we go back to the Pub, you ask?