grateful, haPPY, thankful

counting our happy

When our boys were little, we had a long and involved bed time ritual.

You know the drill; bath time, choose action hero jammies (once older, torn ripped, Twizzler t-shirt and faded shorts) brush teeth, jump around like monkeys to get the wiggle bugs out.

Next, choose three books each, okay four, alright, this one time five.

Try to settle down.  Quiet time, soft lighting, night lights on, one last drink of water out of those tiny Dixie paper cups.

The question:  What was your favorite part of the day?

Sometimes the answers was long and drawn out and came with many sentences that started with “and then”.  Some days, it was tough to think of just one little thing that was good or happy or fun.  We waited patiently until they figured it out.

Prayer time and then a million good nights.  one last knock, knock joke.

every night.  honestly.

Our favorite part of the day was usually hearing what they liked best about the day.  What made them happy or laugh.

Last year in December I challenged myself and all of you kind readers to make a Happiness Jar.  Set aside a jar, fill with things/moments that made you happy.  Didn’t have to be fancy.  Just do it.

20141222_151834Did you do it?  I filled mine pretty full.  Actually, I was feeling all puffed up and excited about how full of HAPPY my jar is.  I can’t wait until tonight when we dump it out and read and relive all the happy events that happened over the past year.  Makes me giddy just looking at the jar.  It isn’t fancy, I didn’t decorate it like I thought I would.  I grabbed any paper on any given day and jotted down the HAPPY for that day.

A trip to Florida.  A NEW GRAND.  A brother-in-law SUCCESSFUL eye surgery.  Walking in high heels on date night.  Sewing a bib for a new baby to be.  Collecting egg number 460.  A trip to California.  Some small, some monumental.

happiness jarThen I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s blog this morning.  She showed a picture of her jar.  Her BIG ASS jar.  Seriously.  She could hardly lift it.  She puts something happy or good inside the jar every single day!  I adore this idea. 

One of her readers shared that they have the jar in the middle of the dining room table.  Her and her kids put something happy into the jar daily.  One person, decorated their Christmas tree with all the Happy slips of paper.  happiness tree

Oh my stars.  I need to think bigger!  Choose a HUGE jar that is empty.  That way the universe will see the need to fill up that size jar with happy.

Elizabeth also said, on the days when there didn’t seem to be anything happy………..she would plunge her hand into the jar of all those slips and grab a handful and read those.  Then she would figure out the least unhappy thing of the day and write that down.

Oh sure, I make resolutions.  I am 95% great at keeping them.  Resolving to do better is a good thing.  However, resolving to notice and seek out the happy in each and every single day, is the whole point. Isn’t it?

Just think how many ridiculously happy things and moments are waiting for us in 2015?

We are in this together, here’s to our health, wellness and of course Happy!happy new year

great marriage secrets, haPPY

lighten up people!

candy canesYou know those two-inch candy canes that are individually wrapped in clear plastic?  We have had two of them in our glove box since the beginning of December.

waiting.

waiting.

Each year, for 32 years (we missed one year, the Army had invited Mr. Right to be somewhere else) we have gone out, one night in December, in search for lights.   Each of us gets to have a candy cane.  I wait for it all year-long.  I am not sure it is my all time favorite, the idea of the cool peppermint just builds and builds in my mind.

For a few years, we had cozy blankets, hot cocoa in a thermos and Alvin and the Chipmunks singing their tunes.  The two short people in the back, loved, loved that music.

No matter what state or country we lived in, we made the date.  As the people in the back of the van grew taller and had different musical tastes our listening tunes leaned more towards Dr. Demento, and  his kooky take on the holiday.  Hey!  you have to do what you have to do to keep the teenagers coming along.  There just happened to be snacks and candy canes and we got to stop to purchase hot cocoa at Starbucks.  Way Cooler than cocoa from a thermos from home.  ha

Some years, we went to certain neighborhoods that asked for a food bank donation and the whole neighborhood was decorated.

Other years we drove though a county display and paid a fee.

Some years, Mr. Right would find the list of top ten house in a 25 mile radius and the boys and him would plot out our evening trip.  You would think they were plotting a military invasion.  They figured out the shortest routes, best roads, which side of the street the house would be on, etc.  They worked on it for a couple of hours. Did you catch that?  They worked together, yep, teenage boys, brothers, worked together figuring out the best route to go see the best lit up houses.

house christmas lights, 2The people in the back of our van, grew up, got married and had kiddos of their own.  One year, we gave them a gift.  We made sure it arrived the beginning of December. We sent each family a red plaid blanket, a CD of Dr. Demento, a great thermos, hot cocoa and candy canes.   Good News, they have continued and added their own twist on driving around one night looking at lights.

Last night was the first time, ever that we went after Christmas.  I don’t really know what happened?  We were not that filled up with activities.  I guess we just didn’t make it a priority.  Then something amazing happened.

Last night was the first time ever that I just sat there and enjoyed the lights.  NOT ONE TIME, did I think, okay when this is done, I can wrap a few more gifts.  Okay, when we get home, I will have time to roll out one more batch of cookies.  Once home, I can lay out my festive sweater to wear tomorrow.

We just sat there and enjoyed the moment.

To be honest, last night, Mr. Right invited me out for date night.  Yes, a real Friday night date.  A new restaurant we had been wanting to try.  Amazing.  Sumptuous food, excellent service, wonderful atmosphere.  We became clean plate members,  (yes, they give you more than enough).  Um, we were just a bit piggy and over indulged and enjoyed every morsel.

The waitress came over and asked how everything was & asked if we had saved room for dessert.

I said no.  Then Mr. Right interrupted and said, could you please tell us what you have to offer?  She listed many delicious sounding items.

I always say no thank you.  I can’t have sugar.

Wait, he said yes.  He said we will share.  He chose one of my old-time favorites.  Tiramisu.

The dessert was amazing and wonderful and slightly sweet. It was presented on a pure white plate and was set between two European sized forks.  It was so good.  Really, I wanted to lick the plate, it was so good.

Reluctantly, we left the ambiance & amazing aromas of the wonderful family owned restaurant.

Oh, then I remembered he said we were off to look at lights. house christmas lights

Both of us were completely satiated with food and drink and merriment and dessert.

For the first time in 33 years, we chose to leave the little 2 inch candy canes in the glove box.

I highly recommend date night.  Yes, Virginia, it is that good.

 

grace, grandchildren, grateful, haPPY, Uncategorized

Merry Christmas to all!

20141218_091307I am sitting here, listening to Glen Campbell belt something out about pretty paper, a full glass of green juice and a bowl that is overflowing with fresh made popcorn. 20141218_113959 (1)

Mr. Right is sequestered in the sewing room.  (I took the sewing machine down from the table, hid my sewing scissors and rotary cutter.)  I put a pair of paper cutting scissors, a pen, tape, his knife to cut paper, a hat box full of bows and ribbons and what not and wrapping paper, yards and yards of wrapping paper.  The tags and a pen are there.

Hey, a girl has to offer all the comforts of a pleasant wrapping gift station.

The door is closed.  I sort of think when he was 9 years old, he was the kind of boy who wrote a sign and taped it to the door.  Stay OUT!  No girls.  Important stuff going on.  haha

Our delicious amazing Seafood Christmas Eve supper is in the history books & dishes are done.  Oh good heavens, some King Crab from Alaska gave his life for us to enjoy such a sumptuous meal.  True Alaskan Royalty. The prawns were cooked perfectly.  Oh, good news, we were able to set aside a bit of crab and shrimp for our morning Seafood crepes.  The crepe batter is chilling as I type.

We are watching the clock.  We get to Skype with one of the grands in less than one hour!

A couple of updates:

The Salvation Army charity money is all gone.  It was a successful project.

The gingerbread house was built and smells heavenly. 20141219_210404

20141219_222249The trees are lit and every window has a candle.

All the gifts are wrapped.

Zucchini “cheese” is chilling.  (good news, I took a sample, and I am so pleased).

The Rosemary Infused Pear Sorbet was heavenly after our heavy supper.  Simply divine.

We had a holiday dinner at our very, very favorite Buddhist restaurant.  I LOVE that the owner told the family beside us Happy Hanukkah.  Then he turn and told us Merry Christamas!  I love that he adds an extra a (and syllable)  in the word Christmas.  I LOVE that he appreciates all our different quirks and religions and celebrations.  A true gentleman. 20141208_153352

Last Saturday, date night was amazing.  I loved wearing a fancy girlie dress.  I adored the heaviness of the necklace around my neck.  Oh yes, I am still elevating my knee and babying it back to health. I gotta tell you, walking up a flight of stairs, in high heels, with good posture, in a fancy dress with my hand on Mr. Right’s arm was worth every single step.  I have worked hard to be able to do just that.  I was so pleased with myself.  I don’t say that too often.  Ah, a sneak peek into the new year and goals…………..

One thing I fell in love with at the symphony, besides the well-behaved children, oodles of red clothing, the stunning conductor, the three young sisters having their picture taken by the beautiful Christmas tree……………….my all time favorite thing………………. during intermission, we came back to our amazing seats, stood, looking at the other guests…………and there I spotted her.  A diamond so big on her ring finger, I could see it from a balcony away.  Her white hair, perfectly in place.  Not a hair out-of-order.  Her jaunty red sweater and stunning long black skirt.  It was her hands that caught my eyes.  She held a …………….wait for it…………….cell phone.  She was madly texting away.  Who was she texting?  Her granddaughter?  Her neighbor at the assisted living home?  Her girlfriend who could not attend?  Her sister in Vermont?  If a 90-year-old lady can text her friend, by George, so can I!  I hope she was a bit silly.  I hope she was texting someone back at the home………..how is your bread pudding?  I am having an amazing time at the Seattle Symphony and here is a selfie to prove it.  haha  made me giggle.

I must say, I thought this season I would be a Debbie Downer.  The three grands live in other states and we miss them.  However, the parents have been extra good about sharing pictures almost daily.  We get to see them and laugh and giggle when we Skype.  It was so much easier on our hearts to count how lucky we are than to bemoan the fact that they don’t live in our town.  Actually, it turned out okay.

Everything seems in order.  We wait for midnight.  Quietly.  Peacefully.

I want to take a moment to extend my heartfelt and warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas to all of you & yours.  Please let all the drama and craziness fall away.

 

May each of us be bathed in the Grace of the moment.  No matter what you celebrate, may you find joy and happy in how you do just that.

Thank you kindly for following my blog.  Thank you for leaving uplifting messages.   You have most certainly added a sparkle to my celebration this month.  I appreciate that you let me know you are out there.  I appreciate your kind spirit.

We are in this together, makes it way easier to walk in high heels up those stairs when you have someone’s hand to hold.

20141218_084037Thanks for holding my hand this year.

Merry Christmas to each of you.

From my heart to yours.

…………..fingers crossed Santa brings me a new glass measuring cup & maybe the earrings I am wishing for and left oodles of hints about……………………   I will let you know how it turns out!

 

 

 

 

gift giving, good behavior, grace, haPPY, pure goodness, thankful

do you hear what I hear?

Do you hear that sound?  It is a droning, whirling sound in the background.

I am smiling.  That is our ice cream maker.  It is helping me to make Rosemary infused Pear Sorbet for dessert tonight!

When the electricity goes out, don’t you just praise heaven when you hear that distinctive sound of the refrigerator.  You miss it when it is not humming away. At this moment in time, there is molasses, gluten-free cookie dough chilling in our refrigerator.   You can’t decorate a gingerbread house without having something to nibble on?  gee whiz.

I love the sound of my kitchen aid.   Good things always happen in that machine.

20141219_082618Here’s is the behind the scenes magic of said gingerbread house.  Been like this since last night.  The “glue” read that as royal icing is hardening.  Tonight it will be ready for us to decorate it up, real fancy.  ha ha

I have dog cookies cooling on the counter.  I adore how I can get the dog to bark on command.  Oh, and Mr. Right taught her how to whisper bark, too.  It is adorable and worthy of a fresh cookie.

The hum of the dryer is on going in the background.  Even the sound of the vacuum.  We have a real tree on the deck and artificial trees indoors.  Yep, you even have to vacuum up artificial pine needles.  How’s that for realistic?  ha

Is it me, or does everyone just love listening to the movie “Elf”?  I just sort of fell in love with Buddy and he makes me feel better about life.  No, we don’t own movies.  I just love catching it on television when I flip through now and then.

20141218_113959I love plotting and planning and gift giving.  I am trying out a gift wrapping idea for next year.  Instead of making to: and from: tags, I want to use initials.  I like it.  I think everyone knows  who they are.   When Mr. Right wraps gifts he uses a knife to cut the paper exactly.  That tearing sound gives me the shivers.

Hang on…… okay, that is better, Muppet’s Christmas music is blaring from Spotify.  Gee, don’t you kind of wish you invented Spotify?.  Oh, if you did and you are one of my followers, tip of the Santa hat to ya!  Love Spotify.

I adore the sound of the letter opener, slicing open the envelopes that arrive each day.  I just know there is a happy greeting card or picture inside those colorful, sometimes glittery envelopes.

I am knitting.  What was a Christmas gift has gently morphed into a Happy New Year gift.  Read that as knitting is not my forte.  I can still remember the sound of my mother in law’s knitting needles.  She was an accomplished knitter and boy could those needles fly.  click, click, click, click.

I am madly in love with the sound of a full dishwasher, swishing away.  Not having to wash all those Christmas dishes is a dream.  I hope it was a woman who invented the dishwasher.  Geesh, love that thing.  I fancy my Christmas dishes.  I think every single new bride should choose Christmas dishes.  That way everyone can give the happy couple a piece to use every single year.  One month of happy, cheerful, delightful dishes.  Yep, if I was in charge of the world, I would gently suggest everyone have a couple of Christmas dishes.  No, not paper.  Something nice and happy and uplifting.  Look at me, changing the world one dish at a time.  hachristmas dishes

When I am done typing, yes, I can hear the keys tapping out a rhythm, I am headed over to plug-in the iron.

20141206_164813 (1)Date night is tomorrow!!!  I am ironing my dress today.  I am laying out my jewelry, stockings, shoes, beautiful black velvet shawl.    We have been plotting and planning and looking at the tickets for some time now.  The Messiah concert production at the breathtaking Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle, will indeed be full of sounds.  Such a treat and we are so looking forward to it.

My all time favorite  sound of the season is……….. the rustling of dresses, shoes hitting the floor, ladies and gents uncrossing their legs, people using the hand rests to push themselves out of the seats, men readjusting their belts and ties, the sound of an entire room full of people getting from a sitting position to a standing position.   The standing for the Hallelujah chorus.

Hallelujah!

 

books, grandchildren, haPPY

my book

The door bell rang.
I went to the door.
A box.
20141217_110624I opened it gently and peeked inside.
Books, a stack of books.
Real hard covered books.  Books that you can buy.  They smell like books.
The pages feel slippery and real.
There is a dust jacket with words about me, the author.  For heaven’s sake, there is an ISBN number!20141217_110641
20141217_111026My book.  The back cover even has a picture of me!
I wrote a book for my grands.
I have a good lump in my throat.
I can’t believe it.
If we still filled out IRS forms and you had to write what you do…………………………..
instead of housewife, mom, grandma and business owner…
I would write: author20141217_111807
Amazingly happy author. 
fresh, grace, great marriage secrets, haPPY, thankful

crabby can be a good thing

I had to share………just had to.

Right smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the busy month of December, we took a time out.  Yes, you read that correctly.  We  gave ourselves a mini vacation.  Did you know, you can find Peace on Earth, right on the Oregon Coast?  We have steeled away in the month of December, years past.  It is truly magical.   The roar of the ocean somehow managed to quiet our souls. If all the stars align, I highly recommend taking a December time out.  Replenished what we are in need of, fills our empty pitchers and is time well spent.

I am one thankful girl.  Vacation in December is decadent.  It feels lovely.  Here’s a secret:  we save and roll our loose change all year-long…………. that pays for our December vacation get away, like this one.  So right smack in the middle of what is usually a very cash depleting month, we pay cash for everything, yep even gas and spending money and enjoy a vacation.  GOD BLESS the coin jar.  Yes, Virginia it does add up.

One of the things about vacation that I adore, is getting to be a little “loose” with our eating habits.   While pizza used to be one of my top 5 food choices of all time, the last time we chose to have pizza was back in August.  That was a long time ago, in pizza years.  sigh.   So we have been talking about, planning, talking some more, dreaming, drooling for a few weeks now about what else……………… pizza.  Okay, and all the other fun stuff you get to do on vacation.  Pizza seems so easy to dream about.  Is it me, or do other human beans dream of pizza?

We chose to indulge in our dreams by way of Pizza a Fetta in Canon Beach, Oregon, one of the top 50 pizza places in America. The best little place ever. The aroma was mouth-watering. We even walked by the place early in the day and read the outdoor posted menu.  (Don’t you wish every restaurant in America would post their menu?  We really appreciate that.) You could smell the pizza from outdoors.  swoon.  SWOON.  Yes, that amazing. We made our choice. We talked about it all afternoon.

When you conscientiously decide to have pizza, you make it an event.  No, you don’t call it in, drive by, grab it to go and bake at home and eat off a paper plate.

This is food that is worthy of your being.  We are so worth amazing food that is well thought out and prepared.  I want to say it tasted like it was made with love, however that might be stretching it a bit.

This pizza is worthy of sit down at a table, have real conversation (cell phones were left in the hotel) while waiting, red checkered table cloths, real plates and the table set with flatware.  This is the real thing.  Real ingredients, thoughtfully chosen, each pie crafted with heart and soul. The wait staff was friendly and welcoming.  They made each diner feel as though their choice was the perfect choice.  The small restaurant was spotlessly clean and decorated for the season with a snow scene in the window and cedar garland with lights hung outdoors.

crab pizza 2014The time had finally arrived.  We walked in, were seated at a perfect small table. We could see the chef tossing dough for a crust, stretching, gently forming. We placed our order.

The wait……………..

All at once it was placed in front of us, about 8 inches off the table, on a little stand. Eye level, who am I kidding, nose level. A FEAST for the senses. We both looked at it and memorized it. The HUGE chunks of fresh crab. Yes, that’s right. We ordered Crab Pizza. That first bite was an amazing sensation. Hot, chewy, wood fired toasted crust, seasoned perfectly, The cheese, oh the cheese.

 

Actually, two kinds of cheese, mozzarella & Asiago were nestled atop a beautiful Montrachet sauce.  Thinly sliced Roma tomatoes were dancing with green onions, parsley and cracked pepper. …..wait for it…………..the crowning glory of this amazing pizza was generous amounts of fresh Dungeness crab.  There was not one slice on the pan that you didn’t want as your first choice.  Each had more than enough huge chunks of crab to make it the perfect slice.

We indulged.  We left no pizza behind.  ha…………..read that as this girl was glad to have on stretchy polka dot pixie pants.

I follow this one blogger who says she writes to experience life twice.

Writing about this pizza was as close to eating and enjoying every single bite of the actual pizza.  A good thing to do, while the laundry swishes away on the first day home from vacation.

ps.  I “borrowed” this picture off of Google images.  No, we did not have cell phones at our table.  Gasp, we were actually in the moment.  And oh boy, did we enjoy those moments.

 

 

great marriage secrets, haPPY, thankful, wellness

Mr. Right

As you may have surmised, Mr. Right doesn’t like to talk about Mr. Right.  He doesn’t actually like me to talk about Mr. Right.

special day plateWhen you write a blog, some 840+ posting later, you feel as though you should mention that it is your better half’s birthday.

So instead of talking about him, I think I will talk a bit about me.

I have been plotting and planning for a few weeks, now.  You know the perfect gifts?  Thoughtful gifts he won’t buy for himself, yet will be so tickled to receive.  (no, I can’t spill the beans, he reads this blog, duh)  I found his birthday card in FEBRUARY.  Glory bee, I still remembered where I hid it.  yippee.

So, my guy woke up to fresh home-made Apple turnovers and the perfect pun, birthday card.

Yesterday, I fluffed and puffed, me.  Hair cut, dyed, highlighted.  facial.  manicure & pedicure (sassy Dorothy Red Shoes, sparkle red!).  Yes, every year the day or two before his special day, I make an effort.    I polish the apple.  Here is the deal, we have been on this ride for 33 years.  I want to remind him that he made a good choice.  When he walks through that door tonight, I want to be calm, dressed (no, not in leopard print yoga pants), lipstick on, garnished appetizer plate out and dinner ready to go.  (que his favorite country music CD)

Today, I am baking homemade crackers to go with some olives, cheese & smoked salmon for an appealing appetizer plate.

Also, one of his yearly gifts is baking as I type and is another homemade treat of goodness.  I will tell you tomorrow.  Don’t want to foil the surprise.  ha

Today, I am finishing wrapping some gifts, hanging balloons, getting out the special day plate and making a sumptuous dinner of his choosing.

The dog will be brushed and the table will be set with all the best we have.

I am making an effort.

Yes, indeed.  You see kids, that’s how marriages/friendships thrive.  They are a LIVING thing.  You’ve got to feed it now and then.   You have to make an effort.

No, I don’t wait until the day before, “oh yeah, what do you want on your birthday”?  His birthday dessert choice is homemade.   He is of value to me.  I make plans.  I make the effort. I want him to know without a doubt that he is the that important.

Every single year, without fail.

No, I don’t make plans to celebrate next weekend.  We change our world around so the special day IS the special day.  

When the boys lived at home, I included them in the secret plans.  Each year they made cards and we wrapped presents and helped with the dessert choice of the birthday person.  I was teaching them to be thoughtful and think ahead.  Birthday’s are not a last-minute thing.  You know when they are just around the corner.  Get out there people, buy some napkins, get a special day plate, hang a few balloons………..yes, it is that important.

Now, I will say that December birthday’s can be tricky.  However, in all my years of budgeting and planning, I figured out to make all those things happen a month or two before the budget crushing month of December rolls around.

DSCN0650He is the best husband a girl could wish for.  He makes my world “work”.  He holds my hand when I need it and even for “no apparent” reason.

A while back, someone said to me, “I started reading your blog, and I thought you were always talking about your boyfriend.  I didn’t realize you were married.”  One of the nicest compliments I have ever received.  I try my darnedest, to treat him with respect and giddy school girl love, just as I would a boyfriend.

He doesn’t complain too loudly at glitter in decorations.  He doesn’t complain too much about twigs in decor around the house.  He finishes (and likes) “honey-dew, lists”.  He wipes down the car door jamb on my side.  That way, I have never gotten slush or dirt or grim on my pant leg or dress.  How’s that for thoughtful?  Oh sure, he stands before I sit at the table, he opens all the doors for me, he offers his handkerchief when I am in need.  However, he does the boyfriend stuff, too.  He hangs out in girl stores (jewelry or gift shops) even when he is the only boy.  He plans trips and finds interesting restaurants to try.  He sends me funny texts and calls me during the day.  He makes sure there are no stupid appointments planned on Valentine’s day.   He tells me my hair looks nice (even when we both know it is a little more “joyful” than usual). DSCN5339 - Copy

He is an amazing Dad and if you can believe this, an even more amazing Papa.

He is the best boyfriend in all the land.  I wish there was a contest.  He would love to win a lifetime supply of double-bladed razors or Rice A Roni!

He makes our family better.  He makes my world twirl.  He makes me a better version of me.  How could I offer any less to him?

So, if you run into Mr. Right today, quietly without fanfare, whisper a very Happy Birthday to him.  He will pretend like it doesn’t matter.

It does matter.

He matters to me.

20140802_142253Man, I love that guy.