29 November 2009


We're all on the road early--after clearing most of the clutter from Gigi's house. She'll miss us, but the quiet will sound great for a while.

28 November 2009


Another wake-up at the hotel to be greeted by the 4 little ones and their mommies and daddies. How fun to have breakfast together while LE snoozes in our room and the room cleaner gets her SECOND day off from cleaning our room.

The bigger little ones are ready for a swim. For some inexplicable reason the spa is foaming--really foaming. The little ones love it and the older ones are just hoping it isn't a residue of cleaning solvent???

27 November 2009


No shopping for us today. We do not contribute to the retailers' hopes of climbing out of the red... Our family gathers at our hotel for a group breakfast before LFW's family heads back to New Orleans. Sad to see them go; sad for them to go. The rest of us adjourn to the pool where the bigger little ones swim and play while LE has a nap in grandma and grandpa's room.

26 November 2009


Much to be thankful for...

The Phillips' family gathers in Eureka at Gigi's for the first time in many years. An over-the-top meal:

homemade noodles
green bean casserole
strawberry pretzel salad (?!)
sweet potatoes
mashed potatoes
dinner rolls
lemon tart
peach crumb pie
apple crumb pie

And then, the non-traditional, new tradition turkey shooters! Oysters/cocktail sauce/squeeze of lemon or lime, topped off with Grey Goose. Or, oysters/V8/hot sauce/squeeze of lemon or lime, and Grey Goose. It's all on video.

We have a houseful--10 adults and 4 little ones. It's been a noisy, raucous, fun-filled day. No casualties.

22 November 2009


Club Mougins

I actually read Sunday's paper on Sunday! Then CA and I spend a good bit of the morning looking at timeshare deals on eBay... Thoughts on that are pending.

21 November 2009


We're just days away from Turkey Day and I must begin to organize our contributions for the big event. We'll be celebrating at my mother-in-law's. I have the easy part--bringing the stuffing ingredients and whatever else I decide. I bring the stuffing, because CA did not grow up with a traditional favorite. In fact, his family didn't much care for it. However, he has grown to love GJ's recipe.

WHINING: Restless Leg Syndrome


No one willingly blogs at 1:48am. About 12:30am I'm reminded of why I rarely have a glass of wine although CA has become quite a oenophile.  Even one glass makes me sleepy and if I succumb, within 2 hours I am awake and my (I've decided to de-personalize this nasty ailment) Restless Leg Syndrome takes charge. Sleep eludes me. The lovely chianti I had at Malnati's no longer seems a good idea.

20 November 2009


A brisk walk at the new Health Bridge in Huntley seems just the ticket for this cold and wet morning. Beautiful facility. I'd forgotten it existed. We cancelled our gym membership as an economy move when I quit working full-time, just over two years ago. I've missed the padded track and I think I will sign up for a couple of months this winter so that I can continue to walk indoors, which is much healthier for my feet...

19 November 2009


Wednesday, Thursday... Catching up on my reading and napping. Every so often I tackle a bit of the stacks of clutter still surviving from the weekend. Catalogs! Give me a break; I've been inundated and I hate to miss scanning most of them.


Three deer were at the edge of my driveway when I returned from the Auto Doctor early this morning. I only successfully captured two because the photo of three had huge glares. Don't know what's going on with the camera--maybe some raindrops on the lense? And, the lighting is very bad. Notice the devil eyes. The red eye adjustment has no affect on deer eyes. I'm thinking some of this is because my batteries are very low.

RvH and I are meeting at Old Orchard tonight for dinner and The Pioneer Woman's book signing. Cool.

17 November 2009


New mom Erika of Urban Grace Interiors is inspiring me toward a new holiday recipe.

Here's the link to the Paula Deen site.

Do I even dare to consider making this for Thankgsiving or Christmas? Paula Deen is SO over-the-top with her recipes. But then, isn't that what feasting is all about?

FLOWERING CHERRY: Life is just a bowl of...

Quiet day... I'm up early and enjoying the morning--making some French Press coffee and a pear salad before 6:15am. Plenty of time to read my latest Elizabeth George novel before CA is up. At 8:00am I call the Auto Doctor to schedule a second opinion on the fate of the Forester. Dr. Auto is very reassuring and encouraging and tells me to bring the car in tomorrow morning. Maybe we can save a few hundred dollars over what the dealer quoted.

16 November 2009


Watermelon for breakfast? Of course! LG sometimes forgets the American word and calls it "lemon." Both little girls love watermelon, and they've been up for hours (two) so LG is ready for a snack. When she asks to cut the melon circles into triangles, I get a quick inspiration (this is after my coffee) and we insert lollipop sticks and share our watermelon suckers.


Twenty years of freedom--kind of. Democracy is still a developing  story.

Demonstrations in Czechoslovakia
(November 16, 1989)
Students demonstrate in Bratislava, and in Prague the following day.
The police react with brutality.
These events sparked nationwide protest, called the Velvet Revolution.
Playwrite and leading dissadent, Vaclav Havel becomes president in December.

Most news coverage just gets it wrong. The fall of communism for Czechoslovakia started in Bratislava, not Prague in Wenceslas Square--that was the next day.

15 November 2009


Friday, Saturday... It's already Sunday?

It was difficult to leave Omaha, even knowing the little girls were waiting at home. JA and I had to make a few more "bridges" and LE got lots of neck nuzzles.

12 November 2009


And, this was before 8:00am when JE left for work!


USS Cole DDG 67

Man the battle stations! Full speed ahead. We're in charge! This morning, anyway. JE is off to work, and MA is on the way back from his 2-day conference in Louisville. We're having fun, and both little ones are cooperating.

11 November 2009


Child's Pose, Resting Poses, Bridge, Warrior, Water Fall, Sun Salutations...The squishy little guy loves practicing yoga, especially Bridge. (Are you kidding me? You thought I would post a photo of this grandma and TSLG practicing? Never!) TSLG was gleeful over Bridge Pose--me doing the pose and him crawling under the bridge. Over and over again, and giggling before pouncing on my abdomen.

The Army-green yoga mat didn't fly--he prefers mommy's blue one. We're going to have fun with yoga... When I get back home I plan to introduce it to LG and KF.


Sweet Magnolia’s scones for breakfast! Fresh blueberry and fresh raspberry scones; wonderful, voluptuous scones! JA and CA bring us a delightful surprise.

10 November 2009


This is not my mother's chili! Not even close. This is a spectacularly meaty, flavorful, definitely Mexican/Southwestern version. (Unfortunately, some wonderful dishes just don't photograph well.) No chili powder comes near the pot. Instead, a perfect combination of oregano, cumin, green chilies, and jalapeños.

09 November 2009


I stay up a bit later than CA to finish After You've Gone by Jeffrey Lent. I can see Henry's future, and I guess at Lydia's... I love this book and it's taken me far longer than usual to finish it because so much life is happening around here. Henry is such a nice, nice man whose life, by choice, is predictable and loving. Lydia is a late surprise, her complexity intriguing to him. I didn't want Henry's story to end. I will miss him, and I will read more Jeffrey Lent.


Long trip on Interstate 80, but we arrive in Omaha around 2:00pm. The squishy little guy is just up from a nap and very excited to see us--only, he's very shy at first until I mention presents. He chooses a piece of trick-or-treat candy and then gets a cowboy hat from Austin. Later after JE arrives home from work, he opens the blue ukulele we got for him in Kaua'i. He is thrilled beyond measure! Dazzled. He LOVES blue, and he LOVES guitars. He knows most of the words to several songs and proceeds to serenade us with The B-I-B-L-E , Davy Crockett, and Clementine.

08 November 2009


This seems familiar--the same cold that I had the week before Kaua'í. Sore throat and back of the head congestion. I spend a good part of the today and most of yesterday resting. CA goes to DM+MK's to watch the Bear's game, but I keep my germs at home.


So... In May while in London, I discovered at Boots (pharmacy) Ibuprofen Gel (Ibuprofen 5%), and before leaving for the U.S. scooped up 4 addtional e50g tubes at Heathrow. I look online for a U.S. source and see that you can buy this exact product for $29.95 plus shipping! I am almost positive I paid £4.49 which currently converts to approximately $7.50 USD.

Well... I shall be shopping at Boots again soon. I have two untouched tubes, which are designated for two of my brothers-in-law who suffer serious joint pain. I've shared two other tubes and am hoarding my own for the time being.

07 November 2009


So, no spell checker in the editor? What's that about? I've found a way around it--I copy my text into Word, spell check and then overcopy into my post... Yes, it is ungainly, but I've been uncomfortable with no spell checker.


Don't think it's the H1N1 virus, but I confer with the doctor to be sure. Thursday night I notice a very sore throat just before bed, and when I awake Friday I am also achy, very achy... Good thing I've no pressing responsibilities. None.

06 November 2009


I ran into a great quote on vacation: We don't skinny dip here, we chunky dunk. I have the perfect photo to illustrate this quote, but I can't find it anywhere! I want to photo shop it a bit and frame it for JL's lake house...

This one will work, if I can't find the one I'm obsessed about.

05 November 2009


Sometimes after reading a library book, I have to buy it. Usually I'm satisfied buying from Amazon Used Books, but I insist on like new or very good condition. Three books in the past few weeks have really moved me...

Seems like I can go months and months without finding an author worth reading and then I find a whole string of them. And, these were just random picks from the shelves of little tiny Woodstock library.

With all the energy I have flowing these days, it's easy to not read but I am so, so glad I decided to crack open a book this afternoon. I am loving After You've Gone. Lent's writing is a bit difficult to read--he's not too big on taking breaths or inserting commas for the dear readers... I've barely started this book and couldn't resist writing about it.

COOKING - Recent recipes

I've decided to recap some of the recipes we've been making lately...

04 November 2009

ENTERTAINING: Both the verb and adjective

KF was here just a split second ago...

I can dress myself...

LG's picture taking...

WHEW! What a great and fun-filled day. I am on the couch, in front of the t.v., and exhausted.

03 November 2009

BLOGGING - cool image

image by Kristina B


I am feeling the need to stop referring to JA as the Squishy Little Guy because he is lately all arms and legs... We will visit next week and can hardly wait to get our arms around JA and his beautiful baby sister.

We have been discussing of late whether it's possible JA has super hearing, as loud noises really, really upset him. Then, on Friday when his Nana was with him he kept asking, "Did you hear that?" and "What was that?" After a bit she told him that she couldn't hear anything and he should point to where the noise was. He got his little stool and drug it to the kitchen window that overlooks the backyard, and looked out. He then said, "The squirrel is locking the door." Sure enough, when Nana looked out there was a squirrel sitting on the back porch railing messing with the doorknob.

Could he really hear the squirrel from inside and on the opposite side of the house? We think so...



John T. McCutcheon
Chicago Tribune
September 30, 1907

I am determined to stay in bed until noon today! Mission accomplished. CA is teaching, but is kind enough to leave behind a 1/2 pot of French Press. I need an I.V.--even at noon!