Green thumb-no garden.

My husband and I moved up to Charlotte last year around the same time our youngest left for college. We live in a lovely little town home community just south of the city and have been slowly  remodeling; room by room. It’s been fun, busy and all in all a pretty smooth transition.

But town home living comes with it’s restrictions, and I have already come face to face with the one that’s going to bug me the most. We are not allowed to plant ANYTHING!!!! outside of our own private patio area.

Now trust me, I get it. They want the place to look a certain way and definitely don’t want some homeowner planting an herb garden by their front door only to let it go wild…

I get it, I get it, I get it, I hate it.

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When I was born I’m sure I was all pink with the exception of one of my thumbs. Not to imply that I’m a master gardener by any stretch, I just LOVE gardening and flowers and I miss not having my hands deep in the dirt.

I am a gardener at heart with no garden at home..

..which is exactly how I would describe what it feels like when your last child flies the coop. My entire adult life has been centered on raising our four kids..and when the last one left, well there I was- suddenly standing on a concrete slab with boots on my feet and clippers in my hand but not one weed to pull, one tomato to pluck, one six pack of annuals to plant in freshly tilled soil.

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Not that we haven’t been busy with “other things”..we have.

Not that I’m not happy.. I am.

Not that I feel like shoveling manure today… I really don’t.

But I am a gardener,

and I miss tending my precious roses.

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photocredit:quotesgram.com,www.pinterest.com

 

 

 

Guess what dad forgot to pack?

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That’s the text I sent to my daughter after I finally composed myself.  It was Saturday morning in Savannah and I had just finished leisurely reading the paper and enjoying my second cup of coffee. My sweaty husband was back from the hotel gym and busy rummaging through his duffel bag…

rummaging…and rummaging..

and rummaging.

“Well, this isn’t good” he finally muttered, “I forgot to pack my underwear.”

“WHAAAT?” I gasped, “are you sure?”

He dumped the contents of his bag on the bed and looked up at me like a lost puppy..”yes, I’m sure. The only pair I have are these- and now they are drenched in sweat.”

Now I ask you, who looks at a lost dog and laughs? Who is that darn cruel?

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Me, that’s who..for about a solid three minutes.

And then came the teasing and the texts to alert the kids… Can you believe your dad overlooked THIS? HAHA!!

I know, I know – and again I ask, who does that to someone in their most vulnerable moment?  I’m a beast-it’s true..I loathe this part of me.. (well, kinda.)

After his shower, we discussed our options. There were plenty of serious things to consider, like chafing .. which can ruin a walking tour for sure.. so we had to carefully consider all possible pros and cons.

Wear the sweaty underwear? No- Way too gross and problematical on multiple levels.

Wear my Victoria’s Secret underwear? Umm, no..just no…  Although truth be told,  I think I may have once (long ago) found myself in a similar situation and had to wear his Hanes.

Go commando? Why yes, yes he did.

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I always hate to see chain stores and restaurants in historic districts. I feel it is in such poor taste and not at all in keeping with the purists’ concept of true and authentic  preservation. But let me just say, we were beyond excited to see a GAP store nestled in between the gift shops selling bow ties and canvas belts with shrimp silkscreened on them… and yes, not only did they have underwear, but hey..they were having a sale!

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So all was back in order as he stepped out of the fitting room, and that was good not only for my husband, but for me as well as I was slowly running out of merciless jokes about old men who don’t wear undergarments and other things… We went on to enjoy a comfortable day under white, cotton clouds getting fully ‘briefed’ on the history of the South.

Later that evening I wore my brand new dress out to Noble Fare, another one of our favorite little restaurants in town. I don’t know what it is about vacation, but my fashion choices are always bolder. The dress I wore was brightly colored, cut above the knees (!!) with dramatic sleeves that fluttered with every gesture. This little ditty was fun to wear, especially with my chunky, corky wedges. I really felt like a million bucks, and not the wrinkly, crinkly kind, but a million, crisp, hot off the printing press, YOUNG bucks if you know what I mean!  As my husband and I reached around the single long stemmed rose in the center of the table and gently touched the rims of our wine glasses together for a lovely toast, something white on my ruffled sleeve caught my eye…

Yup, there it was..and there it had been for the last hour or so as I pranced around the hotel and Savannah and the restaurant ..

Yes..there it was dangling for all to see- the price tag for my dress!

How could I have overlooked THIS?

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A sly smile spread across my husband’s face.  Let the old lady jokes begin…

 

 

 

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photocredit:spongebob.wikia.com,www.thesun.co.uk,officialhuskylovers.com

Chicken change-up

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This deliciously different Cooking Light recipe is a great option when you have to prepare chicken – AGAIN – but really want something that tastes unique. You only use one pan, so clean up is easy.. Just follow the simple steps:

Collect ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • carrots (I cut lengthwise, about 4 strips per carrot)
  • small red potatoes cut in half
  • Thyme, Rosemary and Ground jalapeño powder
  • 1 lemon sliced into thin pieces (seeds removed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim, just a bit less)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • parsley

 

 

STEP 1– Preheat oven to 425

STEP 2-Heat large, ovenproof skillet on stove top. Add oil. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper-add to pan.     Fry 5 minutes on one side, flip and cook 2 minutes on other.

STEP 3– Remove chicken and put on plate, cover with foil. Place carrots and potatoes in pan, sprinkle with thyme and rosemary. Put in oven- bake for 10 minutes.

STEP 4– Remove pan from the oven, Place chicken in pan on top of carrots and potatoes  with lemon slices on top of meat-bake for 12 minutes.

STEP 5-Remove pan from oven, place veggies and chicken on plate and cover with foil. In a bowl, mix together the milk, stock, flour, lemon rind and jalapeño powder to taste. Slowly add to pan and whisk until thick, scraping pan to loosen all the yummy bits. Add parsley, chicken and veggies- cook for a minute or until heated through.

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photocredit: Cooking light magazine

I am not a doctor.

Rumors are flying- how did he die?

Was Prince an addict?  Was it the flu? I certainly don’t have any inside scoop, but some things feel oddly familiar.

My sister was a smart and talented person with lots of physical ailments. She had been under the care of a number of specialists over many years for a basketful of issues ranging from Fibromyalgia to allergies to chronic headaches. She had great insurance (remember those days?) and she knew how to work the system to get what she needed for her many maladies…both the real and possibly imagined.

I remember a conversation I had with her shortly after Anna Nicole Smith died. The list of the medications found in the starlet’s system sounded alarmingly similar to the stuff my sister had – or was – taking. In addition to her regular list of meds, Anna Nicole was battling the flu and taking even more over-the-counter stuff for relief in the days prior to her death.

“That girl was an idiot” my sister said, “I actually know what I’m doing.”

My sister was found on the floor in her bathroom where she had been for several days. Her barking dogs finally alerted the neighbor who contacted her estranged husband, who called 911.

My mom did not want an autopsy performed, and I guess that’s OK because I’m pretty sure I know what they would have found. My sister always played doctor and no doubt grossly underestimated the possible ramifications of mixing medications.  The sad fact is she didn’t “actually know what she was doing.”

Is this what happened to Prince? Who knows, but he certainly wouldn’t be the first celebrity to die of an accidental overdose. Which leads me right to your own stash of drugs..you know, the stuff in your home.

Maybe this is a good week to take a tour of your medicine cabinet and evaluate what’s actually in there.  If you are like most people, you have an impressive array of medication (much of it expired) left over from various treatments.

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Why not get rid of the pharmaceuticals you don’t need?

You don’t want to put yourself (or a family member) in a position of self-diagnosing and self medicating…Smarter people than you have tried and died.  A cabinet full of medication doesn’t make you a physician anymore than a pair of tap-shoes makes you a dancer. Don’t be careless with your health or your life.. repeat after me:

“I am not a doctor.”

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TUESDAY TRIVIA-  According to the man who installed our alarm system, the first room a burglar “hits” after gaining access to your home is the bathroom..prescriptions are today’s “valuables.”

photocredit:www.butyoudontlooksick.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Week-End Getaway

Well, we finally made it.  After a few cancelled attempts due to weather, work and stuff going on with the house..we were FINALLY able to escape to Savannah for a relaxing, romantic, week-end get-away.

Savannah lives up to every expectation, every time we go. This city is so many things to so many people;  clearly a destination for weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, artists, musicians, foodies, history buffs and lovers of all ages.

In fact, it’s that palpable love in the air that truly is the magic ingredient.

If you are young, you’re inspired by the older couples whispering and snuggling as they meander through the picturesque squares..if you are older, you can’t help but reminisce as you are surrounded by wedding parties rushing to their respective churches and girlfriends posing with their boyfriends for selfies at most every fountain.

It also just so happened to be prom week-end.

Savannah is a unique stage to be sure,  locals and visitors alike playing  starring roles in maintaining its sultry southern ambiance.

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First things first- A Savannah tea at Rocks on the Rooftop.

 

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A sudden rain shower

There was a chalk festival/competition in the park- The photos below were taken during the day and then again at night as we walked back to the hotel…yes, this is chalk- on the concrete path..and it was all gone the next day.

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You’ve gotta have great walking shoes..

…and be ready to eat !!! One of our favorite restaurants is the Pink House. The room we ate in has the most extraordinary gold and silvery, hand painted wallpaper you have ever seen.  It literally changes color as the sunlight fades in the windows, and has this surreal, three dimensional glow at night.

Love, fun, family, friendship..a celebration of life on every street.

Another moving van..

There’s this strange and hollow feeling when movie stars and musicians we grew up with suddenly die.

It’s like watching a longtime neighbor down the street abruptly move away.

Even if you weren’t that close

you were used to seeing his car in the driveway..

his lights on at night,

the wreath hung on his front door.

Yes, even if you weren’t that close –

he was part of the fabric of your life.

And when that truck filled with his stuff

rumbles out of sight..

you can feel the quiet emptiness

of his darkened home

in yours.

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photocredit:www.vulture.com

Outdoor Space

Small back patios always seem to force us to choose between seating for eating OR lounging- there’s just not enough room to accommodate both.  But after much thought and scribbling on napkins, my husband and I actually came up with an idea that will allow us to do both.

The first thing we did was get rid of the planting area surrounding the actual patio floor. This area receives almost no sun, so our options for greenery were limited anyway. We filled those tracks with small, white stones instead.

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Next my husband made 4-60″ wide X 20″ deep benches. These are long enough to lay down on, especially when configured in a row. Thanks to pillows, you can comfortably lean back against the wall or move them away for a quick afternoon nap.

He also made a 60″ wide table for dining which can also be moved under the window or onto the rocks for a buffet. We stained the table with a traditional, somewhat reddish, color and added black stain along the edges for dimension and to help tie the table in with the black benches. I’m still looking for two small “cubes” which can be used for seating and to put your drinks on- but other than that, we are now finally able to enjoy this outdoor space.

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Cushions are from Walmart.com-solid pillows from Costco-striped from Amazon.com