Tuesday, August 30, 2011

There's a Giraffe in my Car !

I had a dream.

I had a dream that I was driving around town in a red, mini Cooper.  

And, there was a young giraffe sitting in the back seat;
     his long neck and head extending out of the sun roof, 
up toward the periwinkle sky.  


Though I can hear my father saying,

     "It's just a dream",

this one definitely caught my attention,
     so I asked my trusted Facebook friends what they thought. 

          "You really know how to party?"

                    "You have a lot of tall friends that like to party!"

               AND, my personal favorite -

     "You really stick your neck out for people...in fashion!!!"

While that was fun, and made me evaluate how much my friends and I like to "party", 
    I decided to do some research. 

Who’s driving?  

"Who is actually at the wheel in your dream? 

This often indicates who or what is controlling your ego or conscious mind. 

               Is it you?  

Then you are probably making conscious decisions about your life."

       ( http://thedreamwell.wordpress.com/2008/08/18/dream-symbols-driving-the-car/ )

That is GOOD. 

But, what about the giraffe?


To see a giraffe in your dream, suggests that you need to consider the overall picture. 
Take a broader view on your life and where it is headed. 
The dream may serve to indicate how you are "sticking your neck out" for someone.


But, what about the color RED ? 


Red is an indication of raw energy, force, vigor, intense passion, aggression, power, courage, impulsiveness and passion. 

So, what does it all MEAN?

I am driving the car, which means I am in control.

As a MOM, I am always sticking my neck out for my kids.

As a DIVORCED mom,

I am forced to "take a broader view of life and where it is headed".   

As for the color red?

It could mean any of the above mentioned words,

     the fact that I have nothing RED in my closet 

to wear to my son's Red Hawk soccer games.  


As for the mini cooper? 

I have always wanted to drive one. 

And, though I have always liked giraffes, 

I would prefer not to have one in the back seat of my car. 


Monday, August 29, 2011

My Night With Irene

 6:00 p.m.

Immediately after I clicked "post blog" for "Soccer Tournament Irene", the electricity went out.

     "Did I do that???"

This was right around 6:00, and the winds had not even picked up.
My boys and I drove the mile into Fairfax City to eat dinner at
     Hard Times (much needed comfort food), and part of the road was closed, due to a fallen tree.
We hoped that was the source of the outage,
     as it looked like the power company was on top of the job.
By the time we ate dinner and returned home, the power was back on.

Observations of neighbors, this evening?

Young children outside, splashing in the puddles.

They, for sure, will remember Irene.

11:39 p.m. 

There seems to be less time in between the strong wind gusts.
Roadways,  covered in wet leaves, and mostly small, fallen branches can be seen throughout the neighborhood.
The crickets seem unaffected, as I can still hear their steady chirping sounds.
I am going to bed, hoping to wake to no damage and a coffee pot that will turn on.

12:40 a.m.

It's really beginning to sound like a hurricane out there!
Wind and rain whipping against the side of the house at a pretty regular pace.
Feeling a bit uneasy about going to sleep.
Concerned about some of the trees in my yard.

1:00 a.m.

Apparently, my neighbors across the street are uneasy, as well. 
I see lights on in several windows . . . in several houses.

2:00 a.m.  

Sleeping not going well.
At least there are some good movies on TBS -
     "Must Love Dogs", followed by "Music and Lyrics".
If I watch too much news, it will make me insane.

Every so often, I hear an unidentifiable moaning-like sound.
Trying to figure out what that might be.


The entire house just rattled.

The strength of the wind is amazing.
And, this is just a category 1. 
As I can hear small branches hitting my roof, I fear the sound of a large tree.

2:40 a.m.

Electricity keeps flickering.
I have a feeling I will not have power long.
My teenage son (also, not sleeping) said he saw the sky turn blue outside his window.
The wind does not seem to be letting up.
The occasional branch on the roof, or against a window makes me jump.
Sirens can be heard in the distance.  
My adrenaline is pumping, and nerves are on edge.
Don't recall a storm ever having this effect on me before.
I have a feeling the moaning sounds could have been from transformers blowing?

Possibly . . . . . .

10 a.m.

The worst of the storm has passed.
Electricity and trees intact.  
Rolling clouds with peeks of sunlight, in between.
The air feels invigorating - like a blustery day at the beach.
I am so surprised by how things look outside.
I would have expected to see tree branches all over the yards and streets,
     but it is mostly leaves, plastered to cars and roadways, and small twigs scattered everywhere.
I have seen worse debris left by a summer storm.   

Not that I'm complaining . . . . . .

And, in case you were wondering, there were no soccer games today,
     but a valid source told me that the sprinklers were still on at the field.

And, speaking of "valid source", that reminds me of the highlight of my night -  

     a glass of red wine and a great conversation with a wonderful friend,
which, probably would not have happened . . . . . . 

                                              if it weren't for Irene. 


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Soccer Tournament "Irene"

Even with the "IMPENDING IRENE", the soccer games were ON.

 We made it more than halfway through the game before Irene began to show signs of herself.

Up until that moment, she was just a threat, hovering over us - disguised in her blanket of gray clouds.

She began to rain down, and like a choreographed dance,
     the soccer umbrellas went up.

It's unfortunate that she did not show up sooner.

The boys began to step up their game, as if she were an extra player.

Unfortunately, it was not enough to dig them out of a 4-1 loss ( ouch ).

Moving into game #2, she teased us, and the choreographed dance of the umbrellas continued.

Up and down.  

Up and down.    

In the end, the boys pulled out a tie.

Ironically, the nuisance on the field was not so much from Irene,
     but from the sprinklers that were on during the entire day.

What a waste. 

Sources say that Irene is supposed to show her worst side tonight.

Tomorrow, the sun is supposed to be shining.

We'll see what Day 2 of the tournament holds, if there is one.

More importantly, we'll see if someone finally turned the damn sprinklers off.   


Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene 2011 Preparation Report

My dog, Charlie, is behaving very anxious and erratic.
Either post traumatic stress from the earthquake, or pre-hurricane jitters?
He keeps barking at me, like he is trying to tell me something, and wanting me to pick him up.  

Yesterday, I went to the grocery store,
     and at the risk of being stared at like I am behaving in a hysterical manner,
I bought all of the items necessary to prepare for Irene:  

T.P., Bottled water, Milk, Ice, Bleach, Batteries, Junk Food, and Alcohol.

And, a mop.

Because, I needed a mop.   

Today, I actually went to The Home Depot to buy a shovel.

Did you know that "Home Depot" has a "The" in front of it?

Sadly, I did not.

And, sandbags.

I bought sandbags.

My lower level patio fills up quickly when it rains.

Then, I went to buy school supplies for my 15 year old, who starts school on Monday.

Strange, shopping for school supplies and hurricane supplies in the same day.

On a positive note, the hurricane is a distraction from the many stresses associated
     with getting one's kids ready for school.


My child starts school on TUESDAY. 

I just received an e-mail that they canceled school for Monday. 

My 12 year-old's soccer tournament this weekend, however, is still a "go"!

THAT could be interesting.  

Stay tuned . . . . . . 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"This is a Test. This is Only a Test."

I had a 3:00 appointment scheduled with an academic advisor
     at the local college.  

I am 42 years old, and with my youngest child now in middle school,
     I am finally taking the steps towards finishing my degree.
Now, I say "finally", but the fact is that I have been making attempts on and off,
     for many years.   

But, something is different this time.

Could be my age, could be the divorce . . . . . . could be that I am just finally READY.

I have spent the last year (or so) gathering information. 
Last week, I attended a meeting at George Mason University about a degree program designed
     specifically for "adult learners" like myself. 
And, Tuesday, I was scheduled to sit down with an academic advisor to come up with a "plan".

As I mentioned, my appointment was scheduled for 3:00.

Who KNEW that an EARTHQUAKE would happen shortly after the 2:00 hour.  

I was bound and determined, though.

"I will NOT take this as a  sign!" I said.

Instead, from the words of the Emergency Broadcasting System - 

"This is a test.  This is only a test."

The University is only two minutes from my house, and I made the drive over.

When I turned the corner towards the parking garage, everything was blocked off,
     and there were students and teachers everywhere.

The buildings had all been evacuated.


It was just an earthquake!  


Sadly, I turned around, accepting the fact that I had no control over the situation. 

My advisor called me the next day to reschedule the appointment.

     "I can't imagine there will be another earthquake," I told her.

In the meantime, Hurricane Irene is on its way.   

"This is a test.  This is only a test".  


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Doesn't Happen Here

I was sitting at my desk, in my usual spot.
My eyes, gazed towards the computer.
My son, Sam, who was taking a break from mowing ( and wishing the lawn away),  
     was sitting in a chair next to me.
He was chatting to me about this, and that,
     and everything that came to his twelve-year old mind.

I tried to make a conscious attempt to listen to everything that he was telling me,
     but was admittedly distracted by my work.

As usual, Charlie, the dog, was nearby.
He began to bark, and at the same time, I felt the house begin to rattle.

Just a large truck driving by, I thought.  

Only . . . . .  with each second, the rattle began to feel stronger.

 As Sam's eyes met mine, I thought, maybe NOT a truck.  
     "What IS that?" asked Sam.    

In this area, I have experienced a few small earthquakes,
     and I was expecting the rattling to subside at any moment.

But, it didn't.  

The rattling turned to shaking.
 The floor, the walls, the furniture - everything shaking,
     like the spin cycle on a washing machine.   

This doesn't happen . . . . . . HERE, I thought.  

     "An earthquake," I said.

I picked up my trembling, barking dog,
     and the three of us headed towards the bathroom.
 The bathroom, because . . . . . .  that's what my brain knew to do.
 My brain knows where to go for a tornado.

     "Is this the best place for us to be?" asked my son.

We could hear the sound of glass breaking in the other room.

My brain quickly switched gears.

     "Outside," I said.

But, the shaking began to slow to a rattle, and the rattling began to feel like we were on a train ride,
     slowly pulling up to the station, and rolling to a stop.

We slowly exited the bathroom.

I put Charlie down, but he was still uneasy, and wanting me to pick him up.

We walked back to the room where we had stood, and saw the broken glass.  

Framed kids' artwork that had been sitting on the top of the bookshelves,
     had fallen and shattered to the floor.

I was suddenly aware of my rapidly beating pulse.   

On the one hand ( as I looked at the mess ), I thought, nothing worse than a clumsy "me" day.  

On the other hand, I thought, WOW.

This doesn't happen . . . . . . HERE.  


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Graduation Ceremony That Wasn't

It used to be
that there were only two graduation ceremonies:

                  high school and college.

Now, there are graduation ceremonies for preschool,
   6th grade, 8th grade, dance class, art class, chess club, 
tying your shoes, and wiping one's ass! 

My youngest son recently graduated from the 6th grade.

When I was in the sixth grade, 
we had a party in the school cafeteria,
and there was a D.J.,
and it was cool.

As for my son's graduation ceremony,
   there seemed to be a lot of confusion over the details.

Coat and tie? or, not?

Relatives invited?  or, not? 

Short and sweet? or, not?

It ended up being LONG AND BORING, 
   which is a dangerous situation.  

My family members and I share the unfortunate trait of laughing during inappropriate times.  

That is not to say that our laughing is . . . inappropriate.  

It began when 
each child walked in ONE AT A TIME -
     photos and words BOLDLY displayed on the GIANT MONITOR
at the front of the room.

Most had horrified looks on their faces, that seemed to say:

 "This is the LONGEST WALK E-VER!"


             TAKE OFF MY TIE ? ? ? "

My Mom mumbled over her shoulder. . . 
something about feeling like she was caught in the middle of a Saturday Night Live Skit.

I find myself in those situations a lot.  

Anyways . . . . . .

The graduation ceremony was more of an AWARDS ceremony.

The teachers would stand at the podium,
     giving a short (sometimes, NOT) description of the award,
then call up EACH INDIVIDUAL,
ONE - AT - A - TIME,
and the parents would clap, after

Then, the parents would take photos,
   after EVERY AWARD.

At one point, my Dad leaned over and said,

   "We have been here an hour, and they just finished page one."

There were three more pages in the program. 

Fortunately, when it was time for the orchestra and band awards,
     things began to move along more efficiently.

Which was no surprise to my parents (both music teachers).

Conductors, after all, are accustomed to putting on programs
   in an efficient manner.  

   "Please stand where you are when I call out your name, and parents,
          please hold your applause until I have finished."


After ALL THE AWARDS had been handed out for reading, math, art, band, orchestra,
     spelling, science, physical fitness, wiping one's ass, and teacher's pets. . . . . .

               I assumed it was time for the actual "graduation " part of the ceremony.

                          I ASSUMED WRONG.   

     "Ladies and Gentlemen, this ends our ceremony.  Please pick up your
          child's report cards and graduation certificate in the lobby,
        as you are exiting the building."

Then, we watched the "now 7th graders"  march out of the gym.

When my son walked by, his jacket and tie were off,
     and his long sleeves were rolled up above his elbows.

So much for capturing him in a photo, wearing something other than a sports t-shirt.  

Although, I can't say as I blame him.

My son, who is an excellent athlete, good student, and a great kid, did not receive any awards.

Not EVEN for wiping his ass.  

Afterward, he said,

     "See!  I TOLD you. You did not need to come."

But, I wasn't there for the awards ceremony.

I was there to watch my son graduate.

Apparently, I could have just met him in the lobby, two hours later.   

     Oh well.

He did look awfully handsome in his jacket and tie : )


Monday, August 8, 2011

Cooking on a Sunday Afternoon

After discussing fried green tomato recipes with Martha, at the farmers market,
     and bringing home her beautiful organic tomatoes,
I felt inspired to try to replicate the awesome BLT that I had,
weeks before,
     at the Smithfield Inn.
I, also, found the PERFECT recipe to use up some of that corn,
     as well as Martha's red tomatoes and peppers! 
With my sister's Mumford & Sons c.d. playing,
     and the kitchen to myself,
I was feeling inspired,  and ready to create a wonderful meal.     
The Corn

First thing I did was pull back the husks of the corn, and remove the silk.

I replaced the husks over the corn, and soaked them in water.

When the preheated oven reached 350 degrees,
     I placed the corn directly on the oven rack, and set the timer for 35 minutes.

While the corn was roasting in the oven, I started working on my green tomatoes.

The Tomatoes

I sliced them to a medium thickness, coated them with flour, dipped them in egg,
     then finished them off with a coating of Panko breadcrumbs.  

I placed them in a canola oil drizzled pan, set on medium-high heat,
     allowing the tomatoes to gradually turn nice and golden brown on both sides.  

Once the juices of the tomatoes began to escape, I scooped them out of the pan,
     and placed them on on a paper towel.

During this time, while the corn was in the oven, and the tomatoes were in the pan,
     I put the bacon in the microwave, following the directions on the package.

The Bacon

I used Trader Joe's Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon.

While the corn was roasting, the tomatoes were frying,
                                               and the bacon was in the microwave,
I prepared my ingredients for the salad.

The Salad

I sliced up two juicy red tomatoes into bite-sized pieces,
     as well as a small, sweet onion that I had purchased at a farmers market, the week before.

Like things spicy?  I DO.   

I diced up one of Martha's small, green jalapeno peppers,
     and added it to the tomatoes and onion.

Time for the corn.  

 My timer went off, and I pulled the corn out of the oven,
     allowing them to cool for about 5 minutes, or so.

Once cool, I used a sharp knife to cut the kernels off of two cobs,
     adding the corn to the bowl full of vegetables.

Adding my own twist to the recipe, I threw in a handful of cilantro,
     which I happened to have in the fridge. 

I LOVE cilantro, and will use it any opportunity that I can.
I sprinkled the veggies with salt, squeezed the juice from half of a lime, and half of a lemon,
     and tossed the ingredients together with my hands.     

The Sandwich

I heated two store bought artisan rolls in the oven.

I pulled them out, sliced them in half, and began to create "the sandwich". 

I placed a fried green tomato on the roll,
     two to three slices of bacon (broken in half),
then another fried green tomato.

At the Smithfield Inn, they used some type of pimiento spread, which I did not have,
     so I used the homemade honey mint dressing that I also purchased at the farmer's market.  

I plated the sandwiches, adding a few spoonfuls of the salad to each,
     poured myself a glass of red wine, and . . . . . . VOILA!

The Meal

And, I will be honest, the sandwich, while not as good as Smithfield Inn's,
I think if I had used their homemade yeast rolls, it would have been awfully close.

And, the salad?


I LOVE recipes that use very simple and fresh ingredients that come together so wonderfully.




Saturday, August 6, 2011

Another Day, Another Farmers Market

Today, we visited the local farmers market of Fairfax City.

I normally try to search out organic vegetables,
     and there was just one organic vegetable stand.

That's where we met Martha.

Martha was the spitting image of Sandra Bullock.  

Aside from her looks, we were immediately drawn in by her charm and personality.

She told us all about her farm in Paris, Va, and we talked recipes for fried green tomatoes.
     "You have to come out for a visit!" she said.

And we will.

We bought tomatoes (red and green),
     cucumbers, and peppers ( she threw those in for free ).

Not to mention, the complimentary oatmeal raisin cookies,
     made with all organic ingredients, and they were QUITE good.  

Next to Martha,
     was a very nice man selling delicious honey mint dressing.

He only had five bottles left.

We bought two.  

In search of corn, we found a stand that had a small assortment.   

     "How many do you want?" asked a voice, from behind.
     "Only about six," I responded.

     "You can have the entire bunch for three dollars," he said.

It was almost 1:00 - near closing time.  

         "We'll take it!"  I said. 

We, also, bought some juicy yellow plums (yes, yellow),  
     and two succulent white nectarines (yes, succulent),
which we snacked on during our walk back to the car.

As we walked, I thought to myself . . . . . .
       maybe a few years from now, I'll have my own organic garden in the backyard,
and I'll set up my own little tent at the market, and sell my produce.   

Maybe . . .  

For dinner tonight,  we had warm, crusty rolls with sliced fresh mozzarella,
     farm grown red, organic tomatoes,
and basil (picked from our basil plant).

Oh, and corn.  

Two down, thirteen (or so) to go. 

I have a feeling I will be dropping some off at friends' houses tomorrow.   

Don't be surprised if you find a few ears of corn at your door,
      along with your morning paper.   

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Day (off of ) My Life in the Doctor's Office

I appreciate the fact that I have health insurance.

                   Let me say that again.

I appreciate the fact that I have health insurance.

The thing is . . . . . .

For YEARS, my health insurance was Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

GREAT health insurance company,
     and I don't believe I ever ran into any situation where people turned me down
or grimaced at the sound of those words coming out of my mouth.

Then, one day . . . . . .
     my ex-husband informed me that his company would be switching to
(Kaiser).   I say that with a whisper.

I had heard about (Kaiser), over the years.

People either seemed to LOVE them, or HATE them.

Fortunately, the plan that we were on,
     my kids were able to continue seeing the same pediatrician and allergist -
our two most frequented doctors, and they are both WONDERFUL.

     If I had to give them up, I think I would cry.

Yes.  They are that good.  

     My first lesson about (Kaiser) is that if there is a prescription to be filled,
          one must only go to the (Kaiser Building) to get the prescription filled.

     Should one DARE go to the local and convenient drugstore for prescriptions
           (as one is accustomed to doing),
     and should one DARE mutter the word (Kaiser)
          when asked what insurance company one has, one will get the "look".

And, don't even try to hand the insurance card to the person who gave you the look.

It's like trying to hand over poison.

One will get the "look", and then a second "look",
and sometimes even a "snicker",
then a flat out . . . . . .



My first experience with a (Kaiser doctor) in the (Kaiser building ) was not the most pleasant.

It was an eye appointment for my daughter, who needed new contacts and glasses.

Now, keep in mind, that when one calls to make an appointment for a (Kaiser doctor),
     the person on the other end of the phone is nowhere within reach
by an arm, 
a spitball, 
a slingshot . . . . . . 
 or even a human cannonball.

As I mentioned, my daughter needed an appointment for renewed contacts AND glasses.

Which, by the way, is what I told the "appointment person" over the phone.  

HOWEVER, apparently we were entered in the "system" as only needing new contacts.

They would not even LOOK at her as an "eyeglass patient".   

We would have to make a NEW and SEPARATE appointment for that. 

My next experience with Kaiser was even worse.

I called the "appointment person"  . . . . . . 

  . . . . . . and though he could not schedule me an appointment with my "assigned doctor",
     he had an opening with another doctor at 3:50.

My sinuses were pounding from what I was sure was a sinus infection, so I said,

     "I'll take it!"

I had never actually seen my "assigned doctor", anyways,
     so it did not really make any difference to me. 

I showed up at 3:40, and when I signed in,
     the receptionist informed me that the doctor was running about 30 minutes late.

This was not shocking news, having been an experienced "doctors office frequenter", over the years.

I found a good gossip magazine, and a comfortable place to sit.

After sometime, a nurse called me back to take my temperature, weight, and blood pressure,
     then sent me back to my magazine, in the waiting room.

There was no warmth, personality, or sense of humor in the process.

Like a factory worker, the nurse was pulling the patients in, and shoving them out.    

The good news was that I had lost two pounds!     


  By the time I had read my magazine front and back,
and was engrossed in a show on the Home & Garden Channel,
     another nurse called me back to a room, where I sat to wait for the doctor. 

I sat, and sat, and sat, and sat, and sat, and sat  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and sat.  

By the time I peeked my head out of the door, it was 5:13.

I had to be somewhere at 5:30, and could no longer wait.

When I walked out into the hallway, I could hear the muffled voices of a doctor with a patient
     nearby, but there were no nurses in sight.

Just an hour before, there were nurses and patients bustling around,

and now it was like a ghost town.

When I walked out into the waiting room,

     the light was turned off in the reception area,

and the receptionist was . . . . . . gone.

 A frail looking woman (the only patient remaining) said,

     "She left.  She's gone."
     "I have been waiting to see a doctor since 3:50," I told her.
     "I hope you have not been waiting that long."

There was no response.

As I walked away angry and frustrated,
     I felt like I had just been trapped in an episode of The Twilight Zone. 

The next day, I needed to make a routine cardiology appointment for my teenage son.

The pediatrician had given me a list of recommendations.

I dreaded making the calls to ask about insurance.  

I was prepared to go through the entire list,
     having to repeat the sound of the word (Kaiser) again and again,
only to be rejected . . . . . .  over and over.

BUT, it was my lucky day, apparently, because on the very first call. . . . . .

     "Do you take . . . . . . gulp . . . . . . (Kaiser) ?"  I asked.

"Yes we do!" the voice responded.


I felt like I had just won the jackpot.  



Monday, August 1, 2011


We chose the roads, less traveled - my partner, and I.
Winding, narrow lanes with invisible lines,
     where painted numbers on metal signs passed by unnoticed,
and no red colored lights, only trees and fields of green . . . . . .  up ahead.

We left on the eve. of Friday, stopping over in a small town,
     at an Inn on a quaint, shop-lined street.
Shops of Christmas and coffee, gifts and ice-cream,
     a charming two-story pet shop, and one just for . . . . . . ham.
Inside, the Inn was filled with friendly chatter and the warmth of laughter.
People were gathered at the tavern for a nice meal or just drinks.

We pulled up to the bar, and ordered two drinks.

     "And may we please have a menu, " we asked, as we took a seat.    

Around us, all locals - young and old.

Everybody knows everybody, down to the last bar stool.
We ordered our meals, and enjoyed our drinks,
     sharing nice conversations with the local folks,
who unfolded their stories of life in Smithfield.

Our meals were delivered, and OH, were they . . . . . . good!

Mine started with the Inn House Salad -
mixed mesclun greens with spicy, diced Smithfield Ham
candied pecans, bourbon-soaked dried cherries,
croutons, served with buttermilk dressing.
My partner's - a sliced Smithfield Ham Roll
served on Mozell’s yeast.

     I will tell you about Mozell, in a minute.    

On to the main course.
Mine, a fried green tomato blt, with delicately fried green
tomatoes, thick cut Smithfield peppered bacon, lettuce,
& pimiento cheese spread, on a crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, homemade roll.
My partner's - an order of fish  & chips.  A large fillet of haddock, moist and flaky,
perfectly battered, with a side of pineapple coleslaw.

     "Some people come from miles, just to eat our fish & chips," said the waitress.

And, I could see why.  I had a taste (of course).
The meal did not stop there, as we could not resist an opportunity to try Mozell's bread pudding,
served warm with some sort of wonderfully thin and delicate, caramel colored ( possibly bourbon?) sauce.

About Mozell . . . . . . 

Mozell Brown has been baking rolls and bread pudding for the Smithfield Inn EVERY morning
     for the past 47 years.
I can just taste the love and the time that she puts into them. . . . . . in every bite.

At the end of the night, our stomachs were full, and our spirits were light. 
We said good-bye to our friends, and took the short, walking path over to the Garden House,

where our room was waiting for us,
      just off the front porch.
 And, where we slept in what might possibly have been
     the most comfortable mattress
 that I have ever slept on.