Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy 6th Birthday, Payton!

I can't believe my little grandson--my first grandchild--Payton is 6 years old today.  Words cannot express the love I feel for Payton and his little brother, Josiah.  

If you aren't a grandparent yet, there's no way to describe it.  My mom calls it "a whole new dimension of love," and she is so right.

Here are some pictures from Payton's life...

Hello world! Payton is here, and things will never be the same

One year old

A cute little 2-year-old

A 3-year-old among the Texas bluebonnnets

4 years old--and a big brother now too!

5 years old--spring 2012

A few weeks ago--almost 6!

Happy birthday, Payton!!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Oh How Pinteresting: Charming Castles

I'm a little obsessed with castles right now.  Chalk it up to my  Downton Abbey viewing, my interest in British royalty, and my dreams of visiting the UK/Europe one day...but I quickly re-pin most castle pictures that come my way on Pinterest.

Here are some of the beauties I've found.  Just wish I could see them up close and personal!

Bolsover Castle, Bolsover, Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom

Dromoland Castle, County Clare, Ireland by Pierre Leclerc

Montmuran castle, Brocéliande, France

Lichtenstein Castle

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Cardiff Castle, Wales - photo by Nam Tran on flickr
Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Castle Duurstede, the Netherlands
Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Castle in Scotland
Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Santiago de Compostela, Spain (by rentedochan)

I'm linking up with The Vintage Apple today for Oh, How Pinteresting!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I have a crush on Adam Dalgleish

This is actor Clive Owen. No, he's never played Adam Dalgleish, but this is how I picture him!

(Note: this post was originally published on my book blog on 12/15/10)

Thoughts on "discovering" a "new" author

Don't worry, my affections are still securely directed towards my dear husband. But I have a new literary crush, thanks to the fact that for the first time in my life, I'm reading P.D. James.

How have I reached this advanced age as a passionate reader, and not read any P.D. James mysteries? After all, she's hailed as the natural heir to Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. Her books have been made into numerous British television series (none of which I've seen, either.)

But isn't that the great thing about life? You can go for years reading books, and suddenly find this author that's new to YOU. Suddenly there's this treasure trove to dive into.

The Quintessential Detective Hero

Granted, I'm only on my second Adam Dalgleish book, but he strikes me as the perfect detective hero.

If the British national motto is "Keep Calm and Carry On," Dalgleish definitely fits the bill. He seems to face the most daunting situations with equanimity and cool.

He's the classic strong, quiet type, but he has his sensitive side. After all, he's a published poet as well as a Scotland Yard police officer.

Of course, he has tragedy in his background--the death of his wife while giving birth to their child. But he doesn't dwell on that.

I'm not just guessing that he's handsome; we're actually told that by other characters. "Tall, dark and handsome," in fact. Even alluding to Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice. (Crushing yet?)

My Vocabulary Enriched

And you know what? I thought I had a pretty decent vocabulary. People used to accuse my co-worker Joel Griffith and me of conversing in a different language; no, it was just the language of people who know a lot of big words and like to use them with other people who understand them.

But my vocabulary is practically infantile compared to that of P.D. James. I finally started keeping a pen and notebook next to me while reading her mysteries, so I could jot down words with which I was unfamiliar to look them up later.

Here are some of them:


Granted, I may never use these words, but at least I'll understand them if I ever run across them again.

And it's good to know that at my age, I can still learn something new.

My P.D. James quest continues....

So, I finished The Black Tower and am now in the middle of Shroud for a Nightingale.

I look forward to many more pleasant hours curled up with my latest crush. :)

Come on, movie producers and casting directors. Clive Owen IS Adam Dalgleish! :)

Who is your literary crush? Let me know in my comments section!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What I'm Loving Right Now

Happy Thursday, all! Today I'm linking up with Katherine's Corner and her Thursday Favorite Things blog hop, to tell you about a few of the things I'm loving right now.

When I went to Texas right after Christmas, I knew one of my favorite destinations would be the Round Rock Outlet Mall...specifically a little shop that sells Lancome at outlet prices.  You especially score if you can find things on clearance that you really want/need, and I did!

One of those things was my Kate Winslet Golden Hat powder from the Lancome shop.

I don't use a lot of powder...too much can be aging...but I like a light dusting just to set my foundation.  I manage to grab the VERY LAST powder at a very low clearance price (I'm thinking maybe 8 dollars?), and it happened to be in a light shade just right for my skin.  I'm loving it!

Brooks Brothers "New York"

While at the mall, my sister Beverly popped into the Brooks Brothers outlet to see if they had any of their fragrance that she loves.  It's called "New York" for women.  She had bought some once at a bargain price and loved it, but she didn't have a Brooks Brothers in her area.

Well, she quickly let us know that the outlet store was selling 1 oz bottles of  the fragrance for 15 dollars! My other sister and I both bought one, and I'm loving it! It's a beautiful scent that doesn't smell like any of the    fragrances I currently have.

Temperatures have been VERY frigid here in northwest Illinois, and I have really been loving my quilted jacket from Old Navy.  I have to say, this is probably the warmest jacket I have ever owned! Also, it's shaped so it doesn't look bulky and unflattering.

I dress it up with a bright plaid scarf in shades of pink, with hot pink gloves.  But you could use just about any color of accessories.

By the way, I think I paid around 25 dollars for mine, but I noticed on the Old Navy website that it's now being clearanced for under 18 dollars!
I may have mentioned before how much I'm loving Tetley Orange and Peach Tea.  I first discovered this tea at Olive Garden, and to my dismay, I can't find it at any store.

So I ordered it online...and I'm loving it!  This smooth tea has an amazing flavor.  I usually have a cup at work and in the evening when I'm craving something fattening.  It's so satisfying and feels like such a treat.

Link up with Katherine's Corner!

Thursday Favorite Things

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh, How Pinteresting: Downton Abbey Style

Yep, count me as one who has succumbed to the pleasure of watching the very British PBS TV show, Downton Abbey.  It pretty much appeals to everything in me that loves all things English.

Not only that, but from the Edwardian era in which is begins, to the 1920's in which it is now set, the fashions  worn by the characters are DELECTABLE.

I'm linking up with The Vintage Apple's Oh, How Pinteresting to show you some samples of Downton Abbey style!

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Are you a fan of Downton Abbey? Let me know in my comments section!

Monday, January 21, 2013

5 Ways that Hugging is Good for You

Have you hugged anyone today?

You could be good for your health!

Besides being Martin Luther King Junior Day (a day that  many people across the country are observing as a day of service, by the way), this is National Hugging Day.

Just a bit of googling will turn up doctors and other experts talking about the positive benefits of hugging.

Here are five that I found, according to psychiatrist Dr. Michael Lavin:

1) Hugging shows affection and love It's one of the best ways to physically demonstrate to someone that you care about them.

2)  Hugging may help lower blood pressure.

3)  Hugging may cause the release of the hormone oxytocin, which medical experts think may help people feel better.

4)  Hugging may elevate your mood. Says Dr. Lavin, "Having that physical connection with someone else can make you feel like you're not alone and it offers you a level of support."

5)  Hugging is good for your family.  Family experts say your children and your spouse need your hugs, and studies show that women need them even more than men for a variety of reasons.

So, hug someone today.  But make sure the person doesn't mind being hugged! There are few things more awkward than an unwelcome hug.

Also...and this is just my opinion...make sure if you hug someone of the opposite sex who is not related to you,  that it's appropriate. You may want to stay on the safe side by giving a brief side hug.  Also, the sad fact of sexual abuse means there are many occasions where you should NOT hug or touch children. 

But that's a caveat.  I'm pretty sure you know a lot of people...definitely your children and your spouse...who would love a hug!

This is one of my favorite hugging pictures ever.  I was taking a picture of my husband with our grandson Payton, when our little friend Brielle ran into the picture to hug Payton goodbye.  Payton was a little overwhelmed, but I don't think he minded at all! :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Farewell to Fringe

Tonight is the final episode of one of my favorite television shows of all time...Fringe.

As with many shows, I came late to the party with Fringe.  My son Jonathan introduced us to the show after it had already been airing for some time, and we caught up on DVD.

I was intrigued from the beginning.  Only in recent years have I realized that I am a fan of science fiction (particularly time-travel).

But it wasn't only that aspect that won me over.

As a huge fan of Lost, I tend to gravitate toward shows that have a connection to J.J. Abrams. Rarely has this disappointed me.  Most of the Abrams connected TV shows don't hide the connection, and will sometimes have call-backs to Lost and other Abrams shows.

But again, that wasn't what really won me.

Fringe does have fascinating and intriguing storylines, but it was the characters I fell in love with.

If I am going to continue watching a show on a regular basis, I have to care about the characters.  And the characters on Fringe are wonderful--beautifully drawn, developed, written and acted.

And the humor! Fringe isn't a comedy by any stretch, but just as "Lost" provided comic relief at just the right time and in just the right amounts, Fringe has often given me a reason to chuckle...usually at the brilliant but endearing and more-than-slightly nutty Walter.

Olivia (Anna Torv), Walter (John Noble), Peter (Joshua Jackson), Astrid (Jasika Nicole), Nina (Blair Brown), Broyles (Lance Reddick)...I'm going to miss them. And I think it's pretty high praise when fictional characters are so real that you actually miss their presence in your life!

The actors who play them are deserving of much more recognition than they've ever gotten.  John Noble in particular, as Dr. Walter Bishop, would be awarded an Emmy in a perfect world...but instead the Emmys are    obsessed with cable shows, often ignoring top-notch acting on network television.  (Pardon the mini-rant.)

I'm hoping the series ends on a good note.  This last season has often been more grim, gloomy and dark than previous ones.

But however it ends, I'll miss Fringe.

 Farewell to one of the best TV shows ever.

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