My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sharing the Love Award

I’ve been tagged for the Sharing the Love award!!!

The rules of this award are to tag bloggers who make your day, make you laugh and/or smile as you read their blogs, and who leave uplifting comments on your own blog. You also include a link to this post, where the award originated, and ask the people you tag to do the same thing.

Here are the blogs that I read every time they update. I have them in my google reader so I don’t miss anything.

Daily Dwelling by Monica who is a DSP friend and the one who tagged me with this award. Through her, I was reconnected with a friend that I taught with about five years ago. The amazing thing is that Monica is in Germany. When my friend Stephanie, who is now in France, went to visit Monica, my name was brought up and Stephanie knew me! It really is a small world!

Creative Triplet Mom who also does digital scrapbooking and I’m so impressed with all that she does even though she has triplets. I really think she is superwoman.

Ordinary Days by Glynis who is a DSP friend and is one of two others that I share the responsibility for doing the DSP scrapbooking prompts. She always seems so self assured and happy.

Pictures, Prose and (Scrapbook) Pages by Meg. She does awesome scrapbook pages and has the neatest family. Even though her son is autistic, Meg is a very positive person and makes sure that both of her children get their share of attention. I’ve learned a lot as a teacher from reading some of the challenges she faces with her son.

Personalized Creations by Tammy who is another DSP friend. She lives in Florida and has a wonderful husband as well as a wonderful home. She is so in love that you can’t help but smile when she writes about her husband.

Stephani’s Serendipity by Stephani who is another DSP friend. She lives in Wyoming and I love reading about what she is doing there. She has faced some hardships and is so brave about facing her fears and problems that I truly admire her.

Tink’s Tribulations by Tink who is another DSP scrapbooking friend. She is really into astronomy and doing beautiful scrapbook pages of her wonderful family. Glynis, Tink, and I share the responsibilitiy for doing the DSP scrapbooking prompts.

photo credit: A Mother's Love by nailbender

Friday, June 27, 2008

View from my window

DSP Prompt: View from my window (literal or mind)

I have the best view of my backyard from where I sit most of the time that I'm in the house. I have these huge windows that look right on my back deck. Right in front of me is the water garden that is visited every day by doves, cardinals, blue jays, and wrens. It is so much fun to watch them. On the other side of the deck is my blue hydrangea bush and gardenia bushes. I also have a great view of the flower bed on the left of the back yard that is filled with rhododendron and ferns. On the very back is a flower bed full of rose bushes. On the right I am starting a flower bed with a butterfly bush, lots of cannas, nandina bushes, angel trumpet, Russian sage. I have also planted 3 tomato plants and a green pepper plant wherever I found an open spot with lots of sun. Hopefully I will get some vegetables this summer.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Things I Wish I'd Known When I First Got Married

Blog Prompt: Things I wish I had known when (graduated, got first job, married, had first child, etc)

Since it is our 26th wedding anniversary today, I will write about things I wish I had known when I first got married. Keep in mind that the first year we were married, we fought like cats and dogs, so I am so glad that we have made it to 26!

1. How to Compromise – we were both babies of the family and we each wanted our way, all of the time. Over the years we have learned to give in or at least meet half way. When I don’t want to do something he wants to do, I remember all the times that he has done something for me that he really didn’t want to do. It makes it easier for me to compromise then.
2. How to Argue – Growing up my parents didn’t argue in front of the children so I thought a good marriage was one where people didn’t argue. That first year there were many things I wasn’t happy about but I stuck it all in my mental closet. Then when we had a fight, everything from the past 3 months would come tumbling out. Then we started arguing over stuff that happened 3 months ago. I realized how could my husband act differently if he never knew at the time what was bugging me. Now I try to tell him when things bug me and not hold on to them for a long time.
3. How to Communicate – we talk to each other about everything and we are honest with each other. Over the years we have talked a lot about our marriage and what works for us. Things that work for other people might not work for us and that is okay.
4. Arguing isn’t the end of the world – just because you argue doesn’t mean that you hate each other. It is a great way to clear the air. It is one way of communicating your dislikes. Everything can’t be a bed of roses all of the time or you wouldn’t appreciate the good times.
5. Winning isn’t everything – sometimes it doesn’t matter who wins the argument. Marriage shouldn’t be a power struggle to see who the winner is.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Blog prompt: What heirlooms do you have to pass down?

My most treasured heirloom is the Chinese china set that my parents gave me. They got this when they went to China right after they were married in 1946. It is a rose colored set and sits in my glass china cabinet. I won't let anyone eat off of them or really even touch them. I don't have a picture of the set right now but may do a scrapbook picture of them in the future.

We also have a grandfather clock given to us by my mother in law when she had to move in with my sister in law. This clock sat in their livingroom for many years. In fact, before we got married, I did a cross stitch picture of a grandfather clock to give them as a present. It sits in our dining room near the china cabinet.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where I Got My Talent From

Blog Prompt: So where did you get your talent?

I really don't have a lot of talent doing anything because I am more like a "jack of all trades, master at none" kind of person. My parents and sisters were very talented and for some reason it never rubbed off on me. In fact, I think maybe God gave me to the wrong family because I couldn't do anything that any of them could do.

My father can build just about anything with his hands and some tools. Any kind of furniture I wanted when I was growing up, he could make it. When I got married he made each of my daughters their own desk. Any repairs around my house were done whenever he came to visit. When I needed worm boxes, he was here to build them for me.

My mother could sew, knit, crochet, or craft anything. In fact, she didn't even need directions most of the time. She could visualize the final product in her head and make it. She was able to make my wedding dress even though she lived 700 miles away from me. I gave her the picture, bought the material and supplies and away she went with it all. When she came for the wedding about 4 days early, the dress fit me perfectly. Every Christmas she would make my family matching knitted sweaters that fit all of us even though she never took our measurements. If she wanted to make something she saw in the store, she would look it over, decide what materials she needed, and then make it.

My oldest sister was the artist in the family. She would do beautiful paintings and drawings. Since she was 12 years older than me, she always helped me with my school projects and they usually looked pretty good. She was very creative when it came to art. She was also very athletic and played sports in high school.

My middle sister is like my mother and can sew, knit, crochet, and do just about any craft she wants too. She also does a lot of baking and cooking. Every Easter she bakes these neat Easter dough boys holding a dyed Easter egg. And her yeast rolls are to die for! She was also very athletic in high school and was in a bowling league for many many years.

Now me: I can not make anything from anything and using tools usually ends up in disaster. I can not sew, or paint. Just this past year I learned to crochet but right now I can only make things that have square or rectangular shapes because I hadn't figured out the increase and decrease stuff very well. I just taught myself to knit but it isn't a pretty sight to watch me. I am trying to improve my cooking by trying 2 new recipes each week. I'm not really great at this and I get stressed out the day I'm going to try a new recipe but I am building up my repetoire of things we eat for dinner. I'm so tired of eating the same old things each week even though my husband never complains.

So, the bottom line is this, I have no talent but life goes on!

Monday, June 23, 2008

What Makes Me Cry

Blog prompt: Let's start this week's diary entries with: What makes you cry?

I am kind of weird but I hardly ever cry. I usually cry when I am very very angry. In fact, my family knows that when I'm mad and I've started to cry, watch out! One time at work I was furious with a colleague and I left my class alone as I walked rapidly around my portable crying until I calmed down. I could see my students in the window watching me as I walked around and around. Once I walked into my assistant principal's office, shut the door, and said, "I'm mad and I will probably start to cry, but you will just have to ignore the crying and listen." He did.

The only other time I remember crying when I wasn't mad was when my youngest daughter turned 13. I felt old and sad. I didn't want her to grow up because I knew our relationship would change. We had always gotten along and she never gave me a problem but I knew difficult times were coming. If I could only have found a way to stop the clock!

photo credit: crying by world of oddy

Friday, June 20, 2008


Blog Prompt: We are now at the end of another week. Let's round it out by telling favorite memories of your grandparents.

I don't remember my mother's father because he died when he was 100 years old when I was only about 2 years old. My mother's mother was 40 years younger than him, so I remember her much better. This is a picture of her with my mother and two older sisters (I wasn't born yet when this picture was taken). She lived in Chinatown in New York City and when I was young, I used to spend the weekend with her during the summer. We used to sit outside on the steps of her apartment building and visit with people passing by. Sometimes we would go to the roof and she would let me lay down on my stomach and look over the side. I felt like I was on the Empire State Building instead of just 4 stories high. Her apartment was just 2 small rooms with a bathroom where she lived with my uncle. My uncle had the tiny bedroom and my grandmother's bedroom was the livingroom, kitchen, and diningroom. I believe her whole apartment would fit into my livingroom. It's hard to imagine that my grandparent's raised 7 children in that apartment.

My father's mother lived and died in China so I never got to meet her. My father's father lived in New Jersey and once a year during Easter vacation my parents would take me to visit him. I always wore my finest dress and Easter coat. He never really liked my sisters or me because my mother was not full blooded Chinese and he never felt we were good enough for him. As I grew up, I felt his aloofness and really didn't have much feelings towards him.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Our 59th Anniversary Letter (in the future)

Blog Prompt: In this exercise write a letter to your spouse/significant other for your 59th anniversary. You can do this in the past, present or future tense.
(This is definitely for the future because we are about to celebrate our 26th anniversary on the 26th of June!)

Dearest Hubby,

I can’t believe it has been 59 years because it seems like yesterday we just got married. Every year has gotten better and better. I’m so glad we’ve had a wonderful life together and I really am excited about the future.

Living with you has never been boring and each day you always surprised me with something new. Remember the first year we got married and we fought like cats and dogs? I remember the year we retired from work in 2007 and how excited we were about spending retirement together. The next spring we traveled for 3 months straight and I was afraid whether we would get on each other’s nerves, but we didn’t. I loved going to Macchu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, and the Sphinx in 2010 when the depression had ended. We hiked to the top of Macchu Picchu and I don’t think I ever saw anything so beautiful.

Being a frugal husband, you always made sure we took at least 3 cruises each year and now I wonder where you are taking me on our 59th anniversary cruise. We’ve sailed around the world and been on every ship there is so I wonder which one we will go on. I’m glad we stayed healthy all these years and continue to hike and backpack. It makes me sad to see people get older and stop exercising and taking care of themselves. I think our activities are what is keeping us young! Thank you for so many wonderful years together!

I’ll love you forever!
Love, Pat

photo credit: hot love by avdgaag

Monday, June 16, 2008

Room Description

Blog Prompt: Room by room... Pick a house you have lived in during the course of your life and give us a room by room description.

Since I have already told you about my “playroom”, I will tell you about my bedroom in the house that I grew up in on Long Island, New York. After my sister died when I began tenth grade, I moved out of the bedroom that I shared with her and moved into the smaller bedroom that my other sister used to sleep in before she got married. I was allowed to paint it any color or colors that you want so I painted one wall Kelly green and the other 3 walls a contrasting mint green. I couldn’t believe my parents let me do this. My twin size bed was on the right against the wall. There was an end table for my lamp, alarm clock, and a place for my book and glasses. On the opposite wall from my bed was this ceiling high wall to wall wooden bookshelf that my father which had a spot for my black and white TV. There was also a leaf that opened up into a desk beside the TV. This room was my sanctuary when teenage angst got too much for me. I slept in this room until I left for college three years later.

Photo credit: The Sanctuary by Manic Street Preacher

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Shenandoah National Park 6/11/08

What a wonderful day we had in the Shenandoahs! We camped at the Big Meadows campground and woke up too early to get breakfast from the lodge or wayside, so we ate granola bars and Pecan Sandie cookies in the parking lot of Milam Gap. Then we began our hike down the Appalachian Trail about 7:30am. It was a beautiful trail of green as we headed uphill (I really don’t like uphills!). We finally came to the top where we saw a beautiful overlook. From here on out it was pretty much downhill to Rapidan Camp which is also Camp Hoover. When we reached the intersection, we turned left onto Laurel Prong Trail which was a little steep and rocky but at least it was downhill. On both sides of the trail, the mountain laurel bushes were almost in full bloom and it was a wonderful sight to see. We also so flowers like fly poison, beardtongue, and columbine. As we came to sharp curves, or thickets, Don would start singing (using lyrics that he made up) or we would start having loud conversations so we wouldn’t startle any bears. It must have worked because we never came across any.

When we arrived at Rapidan, the park workers were gathered to work on trail maintenance and the caretaker of the camp, who was off duty, offered to open the President’s house for us and gave us a tour of it and the prime minister’s cabin. I was thrilled because we had been here many times and only peaked in the windows. It was amazing how simple The Brown House was. They called it this because they lived in the White House in Washington DC and had a Red House in London so we were told this was a little “Hoover humor.” They couldn’t put down any of the Native American rugs though because the mice would chew them up. There were only 8 original pieces of furniture in the house but the others were either made or bought at flea markets or ebay as replicas of what was shown in pictures. After eating a little lunch of triscuits and cheese, we headed back to our car. Luckily it was only about a 2 mile uphill walk.

When we arrived back to our camp we made a snack of Ramen noodles and rested for about an hour before deciding to do a little more hiking. We ended up doing the Limberlost Trail and the Stony Man Nature Trail which brought our daily mileage to about 12 miles. I was truly ready for our hamburger dinners at the Wayside by 6pm. On the way back to our campsite, we saw a bear on the side of the road. I wondered if it would wander into the campground and noticed that the ranger kept driving through the campground every 15 minutes. It was all I could do to stay away for darkness to hit (I didn’t want to look like an old woman and go to bed while it was still night out!) so we finally went to bed as soon as it got dark. About 3am though, I did hear a barred owl hooting until it finally got an answer from another one. It was kind of magical to fall asleep to that.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Where I Pay My Bills (and do everything else too!)

We have a “play room” that we spend most of our time in when we are in the house. It has a hot tub, pool table, tread mill, big screen TV and table with chairs. We play with all of these things at one time or another. Our table is covered with a printer, scanner, two lap tops, lots of cords, and plenty of paper “stuff.” When it comes time to eat, we just move things over so we have a little table place to put our plates. While I pay bills, correspond with others by paper or email, browse the internet, scrapbook, or just play on the lap top, I usually have the TV going at the same time. We truly love our playroom!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Washington DC

Yesterday we arrived at the Holiday Inn in Arlington about 9:30 am and they had a room ready for us so we checked in, dropped our bags off, and headed to Washington DC. Since this was the only day I had free, Don was willing to go wherever I wanted to go so we bought a day pass for the metro ($7.80) and rode the metro to Chinatown.

I wanted to go to the Portrait Gallery but they didn’t open until 11:30 so we went to the National Building Museum which was awesome. There are huge columns in there and the architecture is astounding. It is a free museum but they have a box posted for a suggested $5 donation.

Then we went to Chinatown and had lunch at my favorite restaurant which is Full Kee right across from the Red Roof Inn. If you come out of the metro at the Chinese Gate, you would take right and walk about 2 blocks on the left. I always get the Hong Kong style noodle soup with roast pork ($5.50) because their roast pork is so tasty and tender. It is always fun to watch people while we are sitting there too so I get free entertainment.

After that is was time to go to the Portrait Gallery which I really enjoy every time we come to town. In one section they were having a scavenger hunt, where you look for the art and then right the acquisition number and answer a question. They were giving prizes too but we didn’t have enough time to do the hunt even though it looked like fun. I watched some other families doing it though and the children were really excited. Since I go there so often, I like to see the new exhibits that are up.

After we left there we went to the National Gallery of Art and that was nice too. I always like to go see the sculpture The Thinker by Rodin. I think it is because I had to do a report on that in school and it always stuck with me. We also went to the new exhibits there.
We left there and walked to the National Botanical Garden to see what flowers were blooming on display. There was also all this neat artwork on huge globes promoting sustainability. I enjoyed looking at them too. The orchid room is always fascinating in addition to the regular rooms. I always feel inspired and can’t wait to get home to do some gardening.

By this time it was almost 5pm when most of the museums close so we went to Union Station for dinner. I like Johnny Rockets because you get waited on and they give free refills on your drinks. The food is pretty good there too.

After dinner we came back to the hotel to go to the bar and visit with our favorite bartender, Roberto. We have been seeing him for years and he treats us like long lost family when we arrive. I love to hear stories about his twin sons and how they have grown up. We also met this other man named Ali who discussed how we could change the world, politics, etc. the whole time he was there. I think he wanted to get us into a heated discussion, but we just couldn’t generate enough energy or interest in it to debate about it. Finally it was time to get some sleep, so we left.

Photo credit: Washington DC: Smithsonian Institute by BernieCB

Friday, June 06, 2008

Front Royal, Virginia

We arrived in Front Royal about 5pm and started to hunt for a place to stay. We had those coupon books that you pick up at the Welcome Centers so at least we knew a price range. The cheapest was about $32and went up to $52. After stopping at three that didn’t have a coupon and they wanted about $50, we decided to try the cheapest one with the coupon which was the Front Royal Motel. It was a cute one level u-shaped motel and the desk clerk was extremely friendly. She was willing to honor the $32 coupon and showed up the room first. After deciding we liked the room, we checked in. Our room had a queen size bed, microwave, refrigerator, color TV with HBO, and free wireless internet. What more could I ask for and for only $32!

For dinner, the clerk suggested that we go to the Royal Oak Tavern which is right down the road from the motel. We had an excellent dinner for $23. I had eggplant parmesan with pasta and Don had a philly cheesesteak sandwich with fries plus our two sodas. We will probably stop here on the way home.

After dinner, since it was still early, we decided to drive down Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. It is so beautiful and different compared to the national parks out west. Our Toyota Prius is so soundless that we actually drove up on twelve deer who didn’t even hear us. In fact, one deer was in the middle of the street licking the road when our car pulled up right beside it. If Don had rolled down his window, he could have touched it. Driving slowly, we got past the deer but we were afraid it would spook and jump on the car so we held our breath until we got past. I think the animals don’t know what to think about us since our car doesn’t make any noise.

It was a wonderful day for traveling and tomorrow we head towards Arlington, VA and Washington DC.

Photo credit: Shenandoah National Park by heartonastick

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Memorable vacation and Following the "Plan"

Traveling for the past 2 months with my husband has been the most memorable vacation I’ve ever had. He has been looking forward to this for years and finally we were able to make his dream come true. Meanwhile, I had doubts about being with him 24/7 for 2 months, not because I don’t love him, but because I was afraid too much togetherness would drive me crazy. Instead the opposite was true. Spending this time together, we were able to talk a lot and reconnect in ways we couldn’t when we were both working. We spent a lot of time together when we were working but this was different. You see, we are very opposite in many ways. Don likes to do things spur of the moment and even though we make plans, they could change at the last minute. I am a planner and I like to know ahead of time what I’m doing and where we are going. Planning makes me feel in control and I don’t like to feel as if I am not in control, which really stresses me out. To compromise, Don would try to plan the night before and stick to the plan as much as he could. Every night we would talk about what we would do the following day or where we would head but I would keep “planning” that our plans might change. This helped me tremendously. I learned that spontaneity is not a bad thing and could lead to lots of fun things. So I guess I learned to loosen up more and see what happens. Here are some examples of how our plans changed and the fun that resulted.

1. When we planned to go to Yosemite and camp for a week in a tent, and then the weather turned bad (down to 9 degrees at night), we cancelled our reservation and went to Joshua Tree National Park, Nixon and Reagan Presidential Libraries.
2. When we realized we were pretty close to Anaheim, we decided to spend a couple of days at Disneyland and was able to find a cheap hotel right down the street from the entrance.
3. When it was too early to stop for the night where we planned, we drove straight into San Francisco and was able to spend another night there instead of killing time someplace there was nothing to do.
4. When we found out the roads we wanted to take to Las Vegas was closed because of snow, we took a different route and was able to spend a couple of days in Yosemite National Park like we had hoped to do, only weeks early.
5. When we got to the top of California and was going to head east like we planned, we decided we were kind of close to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon so we went there. It was neat to see the 10 feet of snow on each side of the road as we drove into the park.

Photo credit: First Floor Plan by smalloy

Monday, June 02, 2008

Smells of My Memory

When my oldest sister, Betsy died in the hospital, there was a peculiar smell of the hospital that I associated with her. While she was in the hospital, we were all at home with relatives trying to comfort us and pray with us, when I smelled the smell in the hallway. Minutes later, we got the phone call that she passed away. My little niece woke up from her nap and told everyone that Aunt Betsy had come and kissed her goodbye. Many times during important events, I would smell this smell. I smelled it at my high school graduation, when I started college 800 miles away in South Carolina, and when I got married. I know that when I smell this, that she is with me and celebrating my happy events.

My mother smoked ever since she was a young girl until she died. She smoked Chesterfield cigarettes with no filter and by the time she died at 59 years old, she was smoking pretty heavily. I had only seen my mother go to the doctor once so I know there was no doctor advice for her to quit. Because she smoked so much, all of her clothes and her skin reeked of this kind of nicotine smell. They even smelled after she washed her clothes and after she bathed herself. I believe these toxins were oozing from her skin pores. It was such a strong smell that I associate it with it as her smell. You know how you can smell a cologne or perfume and associate it with a specific person? Well, this was her smell and I never smelled it from anyone else ever since. After she died in Florida, I would smell this smell every once in awhile around my house and believed that she was there trying to comfort me.

Once time my husband and I was in the car arguing because as usual, I got us lost while trying to read a map (I’m a terrible navigator!). All of a sudden, we both smelled the smell from the back seat. My husband said, “That’s your mother, and she’s in this car with us, isn’t she?” And I said, “I think so,” but we stopped arguing. I was afraid to look in the back seat in case I saw her and I didn’t know how I would react. Once we found our way, the smell went away.

Isn’t it funny how I associated strong, I would even say unpleasant, smells with people. I can think of one for my husband but I hate to think that my memories of him will involve onions and passing gas. LOL!

Photo credit: smelling the flowers by msspider66