Saturday, December 1, 2018

Fall is Gone: Winter Is Here

What Was Our First Hint?

      Our first clue that autumn was gone and winter was here was our earlier-than-usual snowfall in October. Beautiful and short lived snow; it melted away quickly. Since then we have had the normal back and forth play between frigid, windy, grey, wet weather and increasingly sporadic bouts of sunny days up into the 50's. I plan my errands for the prettiest weather days and hibernate cozily on the less comfortable ones. How fortunate I am to have a wonderful husband who braves the weather no matter how awful to go to work so I can stay home! Sweetface had a birthday during Thanksgiving week, and I can't express how thankful I am to have him in my every day life! 

      One person who I won't see for the next five years is our dear neighbor and friend Rossanne, wearing the pretty flowered top above, who has moved to mainland China with her husband who has been transferred there by his employer. The good news is that they plan to return to their home here, so we can look forward to that. Our little group of neighborhood friends had a farewell luncheon at Diane's house before she left. Diane, Joy, Janine, Karen and I all signed a photos of us card and wished her well. We miss her so much already!

      One family member who knows how to chill out in front of the fire on a cold winter's night is Callie. She loves her movie time for watching birdie videos. She thinks winter is just fine.  

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Goodbye Autumn 2018

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

 ~ Anne of Green Gables

       Autumn is my very favorite time of year. I look forward to it coming; I mourn it's going. In between, I thoroughly relish it's beauty, it's fragrances, and it's peace while it is here. I hang onto it and wring everything I can out of it before it goes. Fall is never wasted on me. I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. I hope there will be Octobers in heaven!
        Here in the middle of the heart of America we do get four very real seasons. During autumn I return to making soups and baking things that make the house smell good. I redecorate and make pumpkins out of old sweaters ruined by holes. I gather brilliant leaves and press them in books. And I begin cleaning out and finishing projects in the garage and reorganizing and straightening the house like a squirrel in the woods, preparing for the coming freeze. I cut down the beautiful morning glory vine on the front porch and re-pot some plants to bring indoors. Only the autumn wreath remains on the front door until it is replaced with winter greenery.
       Sweetface turns off the inside basement water faucets leading to the outside spigots and puts the garden hoses away. We pretty much batten down the hatches as we "fall backwards" with the clocks. And autumn turned winter early this year. We had our first real snow this week, with several inches falling overnight. Too soon! I long for just one more blissful week! But now it's time to accept and move on to enjoying early darkness by the fireplace while cuddling the cats. Winter has crept in and Autumn is gone. Farewell, farewell cherished season--until we meet again next year. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

2018 Trip to Alaska Railroad Trip from Anchorage to Seward



      The last trip of the summer was our meet-up with our son and his family for an Alaska Railroad trip from Anchorage to Seward, Alaska. This was our second time to take this trip because we enjoyed it so much the first time that we decided to take the overnight trip and stayed at a hotel in Seward to enjoy more of the sights and shops in the town as well as the wonderful aquarium.  
      The train is fabulous, having upgraded seating on the top domed level which allows you to see both sides and the sky above you with an unobstructed view.  Along the way we saw all sorts of birds, antelopes and even porpoises in the waters. Even though part of the trip was cloudy the views were still spectacular. When you take the upgraded first class trip you are even treated to meals in the dining room during car, as well as a bar with drinks and snacks whenever you want them. The trip takes about 4 hours each way.
      Before the railroad trip we also enjoyed a couple of days at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, as well as plenty of shopping in Anchorage. The best part of the trip was being with our wonderful family, of course. How precious are the memories!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Paris Trip 2018

      I finally got around to going through our September Paris trip photos.  I'm beginning to think the job of sorting and editing is not my favorite part of traveling. I kept hoping Sweetface would get in the mood to take care of the photos, but he is busier than I am apparently. Hopefully we will get around to making a photo book before the year is over.
      Paris was uncharacteristically warm for the end of September, but it was still cooler than our home in the Midwest, so we were fine with that. Our travel agent put us up in his favorite hotel, and we loved it. It was right on the corner by the Arc de Triomphe, overlooking a couple of lovely French bistros with the outdoor tables across the street--so very romantic. I especially liked our little balcony with the classic French black wrought iron railing, and sitting there eating a treat from L'Occitane, just a short walk up the Champs-Elyse'es.  I went in L'Occitane because they have my very favorite soaps and toiletries, and was stunned to see the Paris store had a fabulous bakery replete with tables and chairs right there in the store! The stores and restaurants were all pretty amazing, as well as the historical sites of course. So we walked a lot, as well as rode the red Hop On-Hop Off bus, and still managed to enjoy our cozy little room in the evenings. 
      The narrow little side streets near the Notre Dame cathedral were my favorites--so colorful and unique. That is always more interesting to me than all the large chain stores, even in that famous venue. Tiny stores with a shop cat in the doorway are such an adventure. Sweetface and I found small treasures to squeeze into our luggage as souvenirs for our friends, family and ourselves.  He selected a tiny colorful Melamine tray with a street map of Paris to sit on his desk. He keeps his cup of coffee on it now.  I found little square tin boxes of scented soaps with colorful pictures on the lids to bring home and kept one for myself. But my favorite find was a large silver plated ladle inscribed with my husband's monogram, discovered at a corner street brocanteur's wares. I use it now every time I make soup, making me savor sweet memories of Paris as well as our meal.  

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