Friday, December 11, 2015

Words Are Important

I am one of those annoying folks who will use move quotes in my daily conversation. Luckily I have a friend or two who also participates in such nonsense and so we run with it as often a we can. I will share some of my faves and how I have used them in a bit, but I just want to explain why words are important.

The obvious is they convey everything we need someone, even ourselves, to know. In some cases, our poor choice of words can get us into hot water or our excellent choice makes us shine. But sometimes we just don't know how to say what we need to say so we do what comes natural . We borrow or steal someone else's words. There is the infamous quote "Good artists copy, great artists steal." attributed to Picasso, but was actually written by T.S. Eliot in his book, The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism. (See paragraph 5 and replace 'artists' with 'poets') I don't steal in my own writing, though I admit certain phrases uttered by an Edith Wharton character or two has made me think of ways to sound refined yet removed from the situation.

Anyway, there are times yelling out "It's good to be the King." works. There are also times speaking as if you were Hudson on the original "Upstairs Downstairs" also fits. At least in my world with my one particular friend who is as big an Anglophile as myself. Without further ado, here are lines written by others in book or in films, I have tossed around in conversations, just used randomly or when the situation calls for it and I am not ashamed one bit.

A Room with a View - "I never venture forth without my mackintosh squares." - Eleanor Lavish

"Here is where the bird sings! Here is where the sky is blue!" You have to point at your heart like Denholm Elliott did as well.

"Did you know you were a Leonardo?" -  Cecil Vyse

"Mr. Beebe, matches!" - Freddie Honeychurch

"Beauty!" - George Emerson

I have yelled out "Helllooo!" like Mrs. Doubtfire on many occasions. No one gets it.

Family Guy - "It's good to have land."

Wings of the Dove - "Look at my view Milly, isn't it wonderful?"  - Lord Mark

30 Rock -  "What the what?"   "I want to go to there." -  Liz Lemon

Sense and Sensibility  "Do sit down."  To be fair this phrase is in every Jane Austen book/film so can be ascribed to more than one character.

"Do be careful girls, the horses have been here."  - Mrs. Jennings.

Rosemary's Baby - I adore the book and the film and the creepiest line for my friend and I is when Roman Castevet says, "To 1966! The year 1!"

The Producers - "That's it baby when you got it flaunt it! Flaunt it!"  

One of the best deliveries of a line ever.

I have tons more, but unfortunately my son with a cold needs my attention so off I go. Have a beautiful weekend.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Query Is Out

Yes. I have sent it off to Mr. Sambuchino for a thrashing. Am I nervous? I would be a big haired liar if I said I was not. To have an actual professional take a gander at what I have struggled with is scary and also giggle inducing. I chalk that up to nerves and my third large cup of tea. Now it is work on synopsis time as well as a the outline of the sequel to Deconstructing Angels. Oh I'm sorry, did I fail to mention there is a second part to this story? Yes there is my dears. Also a touch scary, but if all is a go with the first book, I will be ready to write out part deux.
In the meantime, the next story is all lined up and ready to begin. Problem is, I am not sure if it should be a book or a script? I think it will tell me while I take a few days to catch my breath and prepare myself for more query overhauls. Breathe in and out, in and out...

Dean Winchester makes everything all better. 

When people scoff at those who go into the Arts, they fail to realize just how much time, effort and sanity goes into those fields. Who in their ever-loving right mind wants to work on things for years which may or may not give you a payout? Artists. We are the only human beings who get that art matters. Even to those who don't think they care for art. Your boss may say he can't tell a Miro from a mirror, but he drives a fancy colored sports car with a sleek design and upscale touches throughout. That's art baby, not just technical "put the lever" here stuff.

Arts are not for the weak I tell you, but you all already knew that. My favorite quote in regards to how art burrows itself deep into someone is from the movie Frida. Alfred Molina who is playing the artist Diego Rivera is asked by Frida, played by Salma Hayek, to give his opinion on her work.

"What do you care about my opinion? If you're a real painter, you'll paint because you can't live without painting. You'll paint till you die."

And here is the scene:

Create on my friends, create on.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Social Media, Progress and Amen

When you are a writer, they say you need to have a web presence. Makes sense since your job is pretty much to make sure the entire world knows you are selling wonderful tales of (insert genre here) that they will want to read over and over. If you have fan they will want a way to connect with you and even possibly engage in banter if you allow them. Also, your agent and publisher need to make some bucks from investing in you. Promotions, tours, and maybe one day having you get on NPR or Charlie Rose is what they strive for and they are not wrong.
This means I keep toying with signing back up for Facebook. While I am no fan of what it perpetuates, it really is one of the easier ways to stay in touch with those we love that live near and far. It also allows you to cultivate a nice fan base which is crucial when you chose to embark upon a creative endeavor. Or just want to self promote. Shamelessly of course. :)
While I have this blog, I have been remiss about keeping it up. Part of the reason is the actual novel and the query letter, more on that later, and the other part is I have not had much to say. Even if I did, sometimes I didn't think it is blog worthy. But perhaps I am wrong. Allow me to share such minutiae.
My son now has a thing for navel oranges and tangerines. This was brought about because my husband and I have decided to no longer eat sugary sweets or potato chips. No big deal you think, but in our house Trader Joe's Hawaiian BBQ chips were filed under food group. Oh the shame...I also have high cholesterol that has not seemed to budge with diet or exercise which made food changes necessary. So far, so good. We have a lot more fruits and veggies in our diet and as pescetarians I am embarrassed we were not eating this way all along. I admit my exercise sessions seems sharper and I feel better and less sluggish and not as easily irritated. Inflammation in my body is lowering I gather and that is a very good thing considering heart disease really loves the paternal side of my family. So that is that.

I have been reading a very clever and funny book by Margaret Atwood called The Penelopiad. I don't always enjoy when an author chooses to retell a story, all those damn vampire/zombie/Jane Austen books please just stop already. But this one, from the point of view of Penelope with of Odysseus from The Odyssey is marvelous.
One of the reasons I picked up her book is I had read an author's story about how she could not figure out what was wrong with her own fantasy genre book. After putting it in a drawer, she went and got hold of a bunch of different fantasy novels and read. Just read. To see what was missing in her own book and it was an eye opener.
Now, I follow Neil Gaiman's "rule" of read everything you can because you cannot create worlds if you don't understand how the actual one and the ones created by other authors exist. The one thing I have NOT been reading was fantasy for fear I would end up incorporating someone else's idea in my book or seeing something similar to what I wrote was there and freaking out.
Foolish and silly.
Off I went to the library and looked high and low for many a book, but most of the first in a series was missing so I grabbed me a good 'ol stand-by, Margaret Atwood. I think for my next read, brace yourselves, will be "American Gods". The one novel I have avoided the whole time I have been working on my book. Which leads me to the next thing.

The query letter is done. Yes, done. Yes, I screamed with joy. Pure, unadulterated joy. I am not ashamed to say this has been exhausting and liberating. Yesterday, after much struggle I decided to read the back of a few famous novels for inspiration. It was when I read the second one that the clouds lifted, birds sang and ten thousand pounds of pressure left my brain. Once again, I have Neil Gaiman, along with Terry Pratchett, to thank and their novel Good Omens. The synopsis on the back of the book is probably one of the best I have ever read and I am indebted to those words for breaking me out of my block. The gentleman I have hired to critique my letter may hate it or love it or think I am insane, but for me it is progress. Can I get an Amen???

So there you have it my dears. Though if I was on Facebook you would know all this already without all the filler. :)


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Month Has Passed

And much has gone on my friends.

The day I finished my fantasy novel, "Deconstructing Angels", I whooped so loud I scared my dog. I currently have about four people reading the book to inform me of plot holes, loves and hates so I can revise and send out the best possible novel. Since I need to wait on the feedback, I have decided to forge ahead and get in the process, the serious nail biting process, of writing my query letter and synopsis for "After The Fall". When they are complete I will send them to a professional to be edited.
This means I now have a serious amount of panicky writer's block and low self esteem.

Cue Dickens, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

Even though I am struggling, I will get it done. The challenge is exciting, but man I hate the fact that this is making my brain twist itself into unintelligible knots! I can barely think straight at times and when I do I stumble over my own ideas. It is frustrating and makes one question if they are in the right field.
Thankfully there are tons of blogs written by various writers, agents and editors with all sorts of tips and guidelines which are incredibly informative. From the library I got Chuck Sambuchino's book, Get a Literary Agent, to help me understand better what is required of me and stop fumbling in my head. Truth is, I am hoping osmosis will compel a brilliant query. Ha! If only...
I am certain the genius or the faking of such a thing is in me, I just have to get it out. Extractions of all kinds will be happening and that may not be a pretty picture, but hey this is my small arena.

On the upside, I have been living a life

I went to an actual movie theater, I know, I know, and saw the movie Suffragette and thought it was brilliant. Too many people, women especially, have no idea what our sex went through just to get the right to be heard in a voting booth. The shocking part to me is at the end of the film where they list the countries and dates for when women get to vote. Saudi Arabia just allowed voting. In 2015.

In other earth shattering news, I just finished reading a book. An adult book. Hooray for me! While I have enjoyed many a children's book over the years, if you have not read Max the Brave to your little person, you must! I am happy to read one for me, myself and I.
Through some weird rabbit hole, I found out about this birthed genius named Taylor Wilson. I then found out he had a biography and had to check it out. I must applaud author Tom Clynes for making physics and everything else science-y readable for a lay person. Taylor's parents really had to find ways to feed his passion for nuclear fission as well as make sure their other son, who happens to be a math genius, gets the proper schooling as well. These are problems I am glad I do not have. LOL The public school system does get questioned and battered a little in this book and rightly so. One of my biggest peeves is throwing money at a school district, Newark NJ anyone?, expecting it to be a panacea for all the prior mishaps. We have all been told that poor children, middle class children, rich children, everyone deserves an excellent education. I agree, but right now our schools have the mentality that middle of the road teaching works best. Nope. Nada. No way. Kids get lost when they are in poverty and they get lost when they are bored due to the fact they need more mental stimulation. Some schools are trying to conform lessons around each individual child's needs. That will not be easy, but it is a start. I always felt grammar and middle school should be more like college. You have four core courses; Math, Science, English and History. After that it is up to the student what they want to take. Some may want more math or science, others may request sculpture or auto shop. This would mean a major dismantling of the schools system as it is now and I firmly believe too many people would be aghast at such a suggestion. Also, I am not in education so I would be considered an arty farty writer freak who should go sit down. Though me at a Town Hall meeting would be pretty entertaining for everyone.
Excuse my digression. Bottom line, if you are looking for an interesting read, I highly recommend The Boy Who Played With Fusion.

Have a spectacular day.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Lovely Experience and a Discovery

Yesterday I head off to the arts & crafts store Michael's. They sell glow sticks that can be converted to bracelets and were a real hit last year with the trick or treaters. So I decided to pick some up again for last night. A woman with her two daughters were in front of me making a decent sized purchase. I heard the mother say to the daughter, "You can find it on my phone." I assumed she meant the coupons Michael's sends out every week. Another minute passed then it was my turn at the register. When I was tallied up, I bought 4 things of glow sticks, the same woman leaned over with her phone and handed it to the cashier and said, "Here use this." She had kindly passed her coupon that I guess she did not use onto me. Fortunately I had my wits about me to say thank you and paid 40% less than what my order was. In my wallet was a Michael's coupon I did not pull out. For some inexplicable reason I did not think it would apply to the glow sticks. Brain fart there. I turned around and passed my unused coupon to a young woman who had a hand basket filled with stuff. She was delighted. I had never experienced a true "Pay it Forward" moment and I have to say it feels really good to be the recipient and the giver. Refreshing really. Hooray humanity!

Next topic.

In the last few months I have noticed tiny holes at the bottoms of my shirts. While I allow for the fact that some of these shirts are thin and come from the cheap store Old Navy, I could not for the life of me figure out why on earth these holes were appearing. Did we have moths? Did my seat belt gain an appetite for cloth? Are you ready for this? The thin cotton material rubbing against my jeans button while I lean against the counter doing dishes or cooking is what has caused this destruction of my wardrobe. And there are quite a few blog posts and articles about this phenomenon online. This is a pretty detailed one. Short of wearing skirts all the time, the only other solution would be a nice, yet heavy duty apron. I would prefer a heavier cotton and well made clothes, but I don't think that would matter much. I am vexed by this discovery and...

That is all.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Because It Is Friday

And the day before Halloween.  BOO!

And everyone in mi casa are getting over having wretched colds. Yuck.

Okay, it is serious time here. As a mature woman I understand that there are people who take the Bible word for word. I still think they cherry pick, but let's not get too specific shall we? I am usually pretty okay if while speaking with you I find your views differ than mine, but I do not approve of them if they are akin to sharia law. Allow me to intro you to a hardcore right wing pastor, named Kevin Swanson, who pretty much touts a Christian ideal not dissimilar to some of the intense parts of sharia. Not a big deal  you think? Oh yeah, here are some things he has said:

Kevin Swanson repeated his criticisms of the Girl Scouts, which he previously said to be a "wicked" organization that is "turning young girls into lesbian communists."
Me: The only wicked thing the Girl Scouts has done is made their cookies smaller.

He also stated that Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina were divine punishments of "pro-homosexual cities."
Me: So what is his explanation for the F2 and up tornadoes that routinely whip down the Bible Belt?

Working women hate men and their children and are destroying America.
Me: I see, so single moms and women whose husband's have died and had to go to work have ruined the moral fiber of our Nation? Not the people who rape or commit murder or molest children. Gotcha.

Halloween is a celebration of the victims of Noah's flood.
Me: I got nothing. Well, except that Christianity adopted a lot of Pagan practices, but you need to figure that out for yourself Mr. Swanson.

This shining ray of love and light will be hosting the National Religious Liberties Conference in Des Moines, Iowa next week where he has invited GOP candidates like Mick Huckabee, Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz to speak.
Let's beat the dead horse shall we?
Religion has NO business being mixed with politics. People have different ways that they connect with God, if they even believe, and one way is not the right way or a better way.
I am tired, so tired, of being told I am going to hell because I have gay friends or support education. You Sir want your parishioners uneducated so you can control the masses. I want them educated so they can decide for themselves if Beyonce is a spawn from Satan or just a talented artist who gives a boring interview. Why the fear of an educated parishioner? Scared of them questioning you? Shouldn't that be a good thing?

If you are not an American you need to understand the GOP has a big old hard on for the Founding Fathers. Funny, they only love the quotes or ideas that align with their ideals. Yeah I know, all political parties do this, but the GOP, they always forget an important one like separation of church and state, which is IN OUR CONSTITUTION. Nor do they seem to recall that most of those folks that fled to the Americas because they had enough of their own country's bullshit and decided, hey, maybe religion infringes too much on our personal lives or we want to do our own thing.
Here are some quotes from the Founding Fathers that someone posted in the comments on article about Mr. Kevin Swanson on Gawker. I agree with each one.

“This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.”
-John Adams
“In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.”
-Thomas Jefferson
“Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history”
-James Madison

Granted, if you believe in God, have faith of any kind and practice in an organized way, good on you. I do my own thing and on my own terms. That is the beauty of being allowed to believe or not believe. The one thing that should be a constant is to show mercy and love as Jesus did, but that is so far gone from most hardcore belief systems that it is frightening. We can certainly debate about death penalties, homosexuality, abortions, divorce, why forgiveness should happen and is so damn hard, etc, but at it's most simplest, getting your hate on is not religion. That is more like someone else my dears.

Peace and enjoy your weekend.

Monday, October 26, 2015

When You Grow Out of Things

Not your actual clothes, but the style, books, music movies and other facets of culture.

Some years back a friend of mine decided she wanted to re-read some classics. She had always been a fan of The Great Gatsby. From what I recall, she was not as much of a fan when she returned to all things Nick Carraway. There is something disappointing about something you once loved falling short on the second go around. For me it was "Catcher in the Rye". There seemed something trite about Holden Caufield when I was no longer a rebellious teen/young adult. I am not saying Salinger sucks before someone gets all upset, I am just saying, that book was good for me at a prior point in my life, but not now.

Sex and The City. I hear shrieks across the Universe. On a whim I decided to rewatch it and while I am almost done with Season 2, I have to say, Carrie Bradshaw is one of the more annoying, least empowering women characters ever presented. This is nothing about SJP personally, just the character she played. I found myself rolling my eyes about her ridiculous shoe habit, her smoking habit, her whining and her horrible outfits. I never liked how she dressed and could not for the life of me understand everyone drooling over Patricia Field's "fashion eye". For real??? Explain this mess to me, please? Howdy to my old boss Mr. Bon Jovi.

Ugly outfits aside, each woman on the show had positives and negatives, but Carrie pushed me over the edge numerous times throughout. Also the idiot writers using Suffern, NY for Aidan's cabin and calling it country. Suffern happens to be right over the border from New Jersey and trust me, is not as country as say the Catskills area or Adirondacks. This was just sheer laziness. Yet I continue to watch.

Embracing the 80's look. The latest fashion crazy is wearing leggings and having fringe on everything. Someone get me the aqua net! Yes, I was a tween/teen in the 80's so it is a been there done that and to be honest some of it was ugly the first time. Leggings are not horrible, but how people wear them are.

I can no longer listen to Led Zeppelin really. I blame the old 92.3 in NYC for that. They played them every hour sometimes every half hour. I liked their music, but it has been a long time since I went out of my way to purposely listen to one of their songs. There are other bands I just downright hate, but that's another post.

A list of things that I have semi grown out of recently.

NYC. Have lived next to NYC all my life. It is now this uber expensive place in almost every area. I miss the grittiness, the sex shops, the dirty low down clubs, but I understand change happens. I am all for a better, safer NYC, but with that has come housing price points the average human being will not make as a salary in their lifetime. We still visit, but each time I wait for the bridge to cost close to twenty bucks soon. Damn shame.

Frugal living/Simple Living Blogs. This is an arena where you need to find the ones that suit you best. In my case, I messed that up for awhile and was all over the place. Some blogs are extreme frugal living while others have ti down to a nice science. Parts of living a frugal/simple lifestyle work for me, but not every part. In our house we like to eat out and I like to have my eyebrows done. Does it put us in the poor house? No, so I will not feel guilty when I don't want to cook and prefer to order in sushi.
As an aside, I feel bad for so many readers of these blogs who comment. Some are in real tough economic times and advising someone to just grow tomatoes is not going to pay their electric bill, especially if they already do grow their own food. This is why I pared down my frugal living blogs to those that offer sound advice and I am glad I did. I highly recommend Assortment, Frugal Queen or Down to Earth in case you need someplace to start.

Food Blogs. This is also an area I had to pare down. There are so many good ones out there, but what's the point of me keeping it just for the pretty pictures? Allow me to ask though, what is with the incessant amount of ingredients for simple things like cookies? Scones? Chocolate chip loaves? I love the exotic as much as the next person, but sometimes you just want something you can use. I am happy to browse, but am no longer bookmarking in that category.

So there's my list. Nothing earth shattering or exciting, but it is funny how one has to literally decide what to do with their time on the internet. I even forget I have a Pinterest account sometimes. LOL Good times.

Have a wonderful evening.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015


When anyone has a child you accumulate clothing like a squirrel accumulates food for the winter. Okay, stupid analogy, but the truth is our son has been fortunate enough to get a lot of nice clothes during his three and a half years here on earth. While we have donated quite a bit and passed stuff onto friends, I admit I wanted to get a little bank back for some of the things we have purchased. A friend had recommended consignment, but around our area if it is not high end labels like Jacadi or even Janie and Jack, they will not even look at the items. One place even had Ferragamo shoes for a four year old. No, I am not kidding. So for those of us who chose to dress our kids in Gymboree and not Ralph Lauren cashmere, there is a place called Once Upon A Child. You bring in bags or bins and they go through and see what they will purchase and give you cash on the spot. The two times I used the location in Fairfield, NJ I got $13 and $25 bucks. Not much to write home about, but it is something.
A new location opened about twenty minutes away so I decided to give it a shot. The reviews I read on Google and Yelp were not all that great, but I figured I would take a chance. Now, each place is owned individually so while I am sure there are standards to what they will take, I was hopeful the booster seat, unopened swim floaty and barely worn winter boots would be a hit. My bin and small bag which had lots of nice clothes was probably worth close to $250.
I made $3.70.
They took one pair of Stride Rite shoes and one pair of Carter's pajamas.
The look on my face when the young woman told me there was a stain on the booster seat and that they could not take infant stuff unless it was an actual outfit was incredulous. When she asked if I wanted to "cash out", like it was some big ass win, or take the items back I took the $3.70. I wasted more in gas getting there then they paid me. That was a serious waste of my time. Best part is, I watched them hand other people back full bins of decent stuff and one guy brought in a beautiful hand painted horse that they turned away because Target sells one unpainted for $65 and his was custom. What the what??
Prior to this I did walk around and to be honest, a lot of the items were not in great condition. When I checked clothes for my son, there were pilled/faded sweatshirts and t-shirts. Um, what?
Needless to say, I will make more money donating the clothing and getting a tax write off. Hell, I would get more at a yard sale. As someone pointed out in their review, this place is making a serious profit, which yes is the point of business, but low balling items that have never been worn or making up fake problems with stuff is another.
So if anyone wants a Fisher Price booster seat, that has a stain, let me know :)


Monday, October 19, 2015

Yes, Hello, It's Me

My goodness. I had no idea how long I had been gone from the air waves. Seems September was the last time I had something to say and since then, well, I sort of felt I had nothing. Not that it needed to be all fabulously curated and Pinteresty bullshit, but I wanted to have something of interest. Instead of the usual, cleaning up the gardening still trying to write line.

Anyway, down to business.

Our son is a bug fiend. Not just a normal, "Hey look, a spider" type of kid. He wants to cuddle with a praying mantis and hold black widows. He digs watching Monster Bug Wars and any entomology videos on You Tube. Somehow this year I found that Cornell University does an annual Insectapalooza. Since we have both been to Ithaca before, my hubby attended Cornell, Go Big Red!, we knew we had to take our son to this show. We began to look into places to stay.

Now, we have our handicapped pup so that presents a problem at times when it comes to hotels. Some let you bring your pet, but you cannot leave them unattended in the room. Um, yeah, no. We have come to the conclusion that it is much better for us to rent a house at a decent rate, but Ithaca is not cheap. Luckily I kept looking and found a very cool, underground earth home called Fieldstone Suites available to rent.

Yes, our son found a grasshopper. Cool house though right?

They allowed the dog and they are on 39 acres. Perfect. It is one giant room, but it worked out really well for us. I recommend looking into renting there if you head up to Ithaca. There was a fire pit and grill for use , but since it flurried a few times, yes Upstate NY beats to its own drum, we just ran around the yard throwing a ball and getting our pup and child some serious exercise.

The day of the show our son was very jazzed as only a three year old can be. The event was held at  Comstock Hall and it was pretty choice. Our son got to meet Dr Linda Rayor who started Insectapalooza AND is one the of entomologists on Monster Bug Wars. She took a picture with us which was very kind, but the big plus was she allowed him to help feed the Huntsman Spiders. Yeah, this is our child's Disney World people.

One interesting thing for me was there was a film crew there from Tasmania. They are filming a documentary called Sixteen Legs, about an incredible cave spider that was recently discovered in Tasmania. They had been in the States for three weeks and were going to museums and universities getting people's thoughts, reactions and opinions on spiders. We actually got picked to be interviewed. My son lasted all of three seconds and then it was all me. Yes. I was interviewed and it was funny. I have no idea if they will use any of my footage, but it was a cool experience and the three man team were really nice people.  I chatted for a bit with the biologist/zoologist/all around nice man, Dr Niall Doran, who is involved with this project and he is director of Bookend Trust, a not for profit education initiative that works to inspire young people to make their mark in the world by focusing on a environmental career out of Tasmania. While this is fascinating and fun, allow me to mention the most amazing part. One of their patrons is Neil Gaiman. That's right. The one author I would love to meet and probably pass out when I do, is involved in this project. Thank you Universe. For what I am not sure, but I am getting closer to maybe one day actually shake that man's hand. LOL

We spent two hours at the show, which was divided up among three floors of classrooms. They did a great job and we are  hoping to make this a yearly tradition. I still do not like desert centipedes and I must say that tarantulas are very beautiful in person. Below is a picture of our son holding a walking stick insect from Vietnam. He was in heaven. He also got to hold a spiny leaf insect, a pepper roach and a crayfish. God Bless.

Now for the food. On Friday night we ate at Taste of Thai where I had a delicious Pad See Eew and on Saturday night we did Moosewood. Their baked mac and cheese with tempeh bacon is fantastic.

So to all of you I say make a stop in Ithaca and enjoy yourself. There are tons of places to eat, things to do, I highly recommend the Cornell Plantations, and of course, you can always do a wine tour around the Finger Lakes. Not to sound like a cheesy ad, but there is something for everyone. I am looking forward to going back, in warmer weather, and to Insectapalooza next year.

Have a fabulous day!!


Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Little Recap

While the dark side of life continues, I figured I would go light today because we all need to take a step back sometimes.

Want a delicious dinner, lunch or breakfast? I recommend the Fingerling Potato-Leek Hash with Swiss Chard and Eggs. It was very, very good. In the comments someone suggested dicing the potatoes so it cooks quicker and I did and you should. I also used cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top.

Great article on how to use vintage sewing tables and cabinets on I love the ones turned into an island.

On ZeroWasteHome a student just heading off to college asks how to maintain a Zero Waste life. The answer and comments are pretty interesting and helpful.

I am so looking forward to cooler temps and this Black bean and zucchini chili from Dishing Up the Dirt will be on my list of recipes to make.

Not sure what to have in a stocked pantry? Angie's Frugal House has a pretty solid list of what is needed just in case.

And The Kitchn has this yummy looking recipe for Roasted Sweet Potato Slices with Cilantro Pesto.

Hope you have a beautiful weekend.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

When Do We Say Enough?

I am pretty much at a loss for words.

Drowned Toddler

This story and its main image should be viral and it should mess with our heads. Yes, we want to take out ISIS and blow them sky high, but there are innocent people caught in the crossfire and I just don't know how the hell we get them out without them becoming collateral damage.
There has to be a way for all of us to handle migrants better. There has to be a way to do it legally without them paying smugglers outrageous fees to make dangerous and usually life ending voyages. I don't understand how we cannot get these people whose lives are truly at risk to a safer country and help them get assimilated and set up in a community. I imagine it is not easy, but dammit it all to hell, the alternative is clearly horrifying. I think that is why I cringe at the US politicians and those running for President who bitch about immigrants. Not everyone is here to sell drugs Donald Trump, some want to make an honest living and raise their kids in safer and better areas. Sorry if that infringes on your sense of self righteousness and privilege. Guess it is easier to be so white and right when you are born with a platinum spoon in your mouth. Myself? I cannot imagine what it must be like to be so terrified of living where you are that you would be willing to use all your savings and climb aboard a rickety looking boat and hope to God/Allah, etc that you will make it to some piece of land where you won't get raped or shot at today. Can any of us imagine that?
Fuck, I need a drink. Or two.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Lord of War

Recently I was involved in a sort of discussion on a favorite blog in regards to gun violence here in America. It seems, like a lot of people, some in the UK and Oz believe us to be gun toting fiends, frothing at the mouth about our Second Amendment rights. To me, owning a firearm is not a bad thing if you practice safety and had training, but one cannot regulate stupid and there is a lot of that going on around here. State by state the laws change in regards to concealed weapons, open carry and crossing state lines with ones gun. Truth is it's a convoluted mess and even difficult for some of us to get a full handle on law wise. Plus the NRA is like a backseat driver. Always directing you even though you know what direction you need to go in but they get louder and eventually you default to their demands to stop their incessant blathering and nagging. Keep in mind they also have a lot of power in DC with many a politician in their pockets so that prevents stuff from getting changed as well.
Personally I think it is more important to educate the public about Emergency Preparedness. Sure it is on FEMA and other government websites, but that is more of a CYA. Make it mandatory in school or offer a town wide class. Catastrophes happen and if people refuse to learn how to educate themselves on how to prepare, they are on their own. I mean, people here bitch about BIG government then a hurricane or tornado hits and government can't act fast enough. We need to be ready in case government can't get to us for awhile, but I digress.
Now, while some anti-government folks may be armed to the teeth, and it is their right, a lot of us want stricter background checks and much more rigorous safety training and actual discussion on how to keep guns out of criminals hands. These are just some of the things the NRA fights rational human beings about.
Guns are pretty scary, but America is not the only place with a love for guns nor are we the only ones supplying them. I think it behooves everyone to take a gander at the 2005 film "Lord of War" to understand what I mean.

Nicolas Cage in one of his better roles to date.

I don't mind that some people on a blog voiced their opinions, but blanket statements are dangerous. Don't assume every American has a gun or guns. Don't assume we don't try to change laws that seem so lackluster you might as well just hand someone a firearm when they move to the area. Don't assume we all hate universal healthcare. Don't assume we don't get frustrated with our school systems. Don't assume we are all obese and resemble every single photo on People of WalMart. Don't assume we don't try to do things about any of this. And most of all, don't assume your own country has not had their hands in the dirty arms game.

From Lord of War: An onscreen postscript states that private dealers conduct less business than the five largest arms exporters – the United StatesUnited KingdomRussiaFrance, and China – who are the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Watch the film. Learn. Recoil. Sit in horror. And realize that gun control does not have an easy solution and it should be discussed, but never ever believe your country is not part of the problem. All of our countries have had a hand in arms deals and putting guns on the street. That includes the ones used in a crime in your neighborhood or mine.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Salem, MA

A friend and I spent the past weekend in Salem, MA. A getaway that was long overdue and necessary. I came home feeling recharged and relaxed as well as in awe, still, that the Salem Witch Trials ever happened. Seriously, it boggles the mind, but it is not like we have not seen that history repeat itself in many ways grand and small.

I had gone to college for two years in Massachusetts and had only been to Salem once so this was quite a treat. All I recall from my trip long ago was driving past the museum and going into one store. 

After a very long drive to get there, there was a horrific accident on NY State Thruway so we were diverted to back roads. Then the Merritt Parkway and the Mass Pike had traffic. Believe me when I say we cheered when we got off the Salem exit. Technically the trip should take all of 5 hours from New Jersey, but this time it did not. Made us think we should have flown to Boston. Haha!

We stayed at the lovely Coach House Inn B&B where the owner Pat was an incredibly gracious hostess. Here are some pictures of the place.

 Funky little door on the main floor

 Old chandelier

 Just a little obsessed with this window and how it opens.

Our room

Every morning at 8:30am there is a basket left at your door filled with croissants, muffins, fruit and other goodies. It was a wonderful way to start the day.

One of the bigger surprises was how good the restaurants are in Salem. Granted the town is only about 17 miles from Boston, but they have a lot to offer. We ate at Finz our first night there and had a delicious lobster mac and cheese for our main dish. We also had this very tasty appetizer of warm goat cheese, olives and garlic, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and warm bread. Heaven!

The second day was spent shopping, eating, drinking, repeat. My friend had a spot on reading by a very nice, young witch at The Coven's Cottage. Lovely people and store, they practice Nordic based magic was unusual to me, but very welcoming. The whole store was filled with herbs so the place smelled amazing. 

We ate at our lunch at Rockafella's. Had a nice glass of wine and delicious flatbreads. Mine was all vegetables and pesto, hers was fig and prosciutto.

We decided to pass on the Salem Witch Museum because it is basically a retelling of The Crucible, which we have both read and loved, and it is animatronics. 45 minutes of that is not worth our time so instead we headed to the Old Burying Ground and saw the Witch Trial Memorial. A lot more interesting to read the old tombstones from the 1600's. I was amazed how many people lived longer than what I believed. One guy was 98! The trees were phenomenal in there presence.

He was the only "witch" killed this way. 

That night we went to a place called Opus and sat at the bar. We got a bottle of wine and some appetizers and had a great time. Everyone we met were very nice which is always a plus.

On our last day we went to The House of the Seven Gables. I highly recommend the tour as it was fascinating to learn the history of the house and how it came to play a big part in Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel. There were no inside photographs allowed so I took as much as I could off the house and it's charming grounds. 

 Even though it was a misty day, the flowers smelled divine.

There were all sorts of tours offered day and night, but since we were pressed for time, we did not take advantage of any of them. The offerings are plenty so if you are ever in Boston, take a day trip to Salem, hell stay overnight, and check it out, I promise you will not be disappointed. 


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Quick Yummy Dinner

Our CSA has given us A LOT of zucchini. Instead of substituting it out, I take it because let's face it, it is a very versatile veggie. The other night I made a Creamy Zucchini with Linguine. One of the ingredients it called for was Parmesan cheese which I did not have. On a whim I did a search and came across various vegan cheese recipes. The one I chose and that was fantastic was a Vegan Parmesan Cheese that used just four simple ingredients. Cashews (Or any other nut you choose), nutritional yeast, sea salt and garlic powder. No, it is not cheese, but it has the same bite and flavor required of Parmesan. Hubby liked it, kiddo liked it and so did I. You can store leftovers in the fridge for a month so that is also a nice plus. The meal as a whole was inexpensive and even more delicious the next day. I highly recommend making this recipe.

We have been going through a hear wave here in New Jersey which is no fun. I love summer, but 85F+ with humidity is not my bag. Right now I would kill for 70F and fall. I don't want to hurry fall or winter per se as I love my flowers and the days not being short, but heat like this is awful. I don't know how folks live in the Deep South or Oman. Of course when we get a blizzard this winter I will wish for summer so there it is.

I have been busy with school stuff and hope to have it all mailed out soon. I am amazed at how much one has to do for a little preschool. I am appreciative to be a part of this as I am learning a lot. I also realize I could never work in education. So much red tape and constant budgetary concerns. Not that places like Comcast don't worry about their budget, but they are playing with a helluva lot more cash.

If you are a part of this heatwave, stay hydrated and cool. Thank God there is a breeze today. A hot breeze, but still. If you are in much more pleasant weather enjoy it fully. I am now going to play Star Wars Potato Head with my son. :)


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Delicious Dinner

Ran around today. The little man had a dentist appointment, but lo and behold, we arrived to a dark and locked office. When I called and asked what happened, they stated they were in the Warren office today. I said I was booked for Chester so they asked for my son's name, they began to apologize profusely as we should have never been booked for Warren as we never go there. The woman also remarked the "new person" who started six months ago had made quite a few of these mistakes. Not sure that person is still there, but we rescheduled for next week. I wasn't that upset about it as it was a nice day and had already planned to take our son to the park once we were done. Since we had no appointment we headed right to the playground and he ran around and exhausted himself. As we drove home he fell asleep and I was able to stop at our CSA and pick up the goodies for this week.

I had a Board Meeting at my son's preschool at 6:30 and I wanted to make dinner so using broccoli from our CSA I made a broccoli frittata. I did not have Parmigiano-Reggiano so I used a combo of sharp cheddar and horseradish cheeses.  I also cleaned and chopped the lettuce, dabbed on balsamic vinegar and plated the frittata on the side. Unbelievably Delicious. Thank you Food and Wine for this keeper of a recipe.

Until next time.


Friday, August 7, 2015

It's Friday Night!

And the only excitement I have to share is that the sitter worked out beautifully on Wednesday. At one point our son told me to go away so he can be with his new crush. The big plus is that I got quite a bit done on my book. That was a huge relief and helped to get the creative juices flowing. Of course I am stagnant now since I don;t have a sitter everyday, but that is okay, I am taking it in stride knowing I will have opportunities to expand my hours working on the book again soon.

Most of my week has been taken up with playground visits and paper work that needs to be done for the preschool. Unfortunately not everything is digitized and this frustrates me. I am used to dealing with larger companies and more resources and my last "corporate" job was at an internet company so I expect everyone else to be savvy. Which is incredibly unfair and I know that, but I still get bratty. There are copied that need to be made and mailed out. Sure some documents should still be in paper form, but let's be honest, a lot of things should be digital to cut down on costs and time being used. I am trying to set up a Parent Portal with another on the School Board and I hope we can do it as it would make a world of difference. Fingers Crossed!

I know most people are IKEA haters, but I love the Skogsta Bar Table which is part of their garden to table line. Right now it is only available in the UK which may be a good thing for me...

Excess of zucchini is always proof of summer. I just found a Triple Chocolate Zucchini Cookie recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe' that I may need to try.

So that is it for now. I am off to take my little dude outside to play. Have a great weekend!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Busy Bee

The summer has been a serious whirlwind. Lots of yard work, outside time, day trips, ice cream...the usual.

I agreed to be the Administration Chair for my son's school and all the work that comes with that has begun. Basically, I am an Executive Assistant with voting power. Pretty nice. I get to use and hone skills that are rusty and learn more about what it takes and cost to run a small preschool. Google Docs and I have become friendlier than ever as I create memos and calendars to be distributed. I am hoping to get more stuff up online so I don't have to constantly email. We are also looking into notification systems so again, I am not emailing 28 families about inclement weather or school events.

My three year old does not necessarily enjoy it when Mommy has work to do, it is like having a mini CEO in the house. His demands must be met before I attempt the next task. Again, it pays to be an Executive Assistant as one understand the changing moods and needs of CEO's of all sizes. Though, I admit, it is easier for me to tell my little guy to settle down and hold on then to bark at a someone who runs a massive company. Not that I haven't said things like "Let me get to XYZ first before I start the other thing, then we can talk about your dinner plans." Good times.

Yesterday Master X fell asleep in the car so I took a ride through my town and ended up in area I had never been. I somehow had crossed into Lebanon Township without realizing and wound my ways to parts I did know. I wasn't concerned that I was lost. More amazed that I had no idea where I had ended up and I refuse to use GPS for something like that. I sort of knew where I was area wise, it was more like I could not figure out what town I had strolled into. LOL
As I passed a few farms, I swear I felt like I was in the Midwest somewhere what with the cornfields and old farm houses and barns.

I finally found my county road and made it home. Was a nice drive and would most likely do it again.

Our yard is ever evolving. Behind the garage I had planted a bunch of herbs and echinachea and used bricks for a border. We decided to get rid of bricks and add river rocks. I spent all of Saturday weeding and putting rocks down. I had done some of it a few weekends before, but now it is complete.

I had to use bricks and a lattice to hold the flowers up while I put the rocks underneath. They flop so damn easily, but I read that I am supposed to divide them every 3-4 years so that needs to happen this year. We are going to run the river rocks all the way down the side of the garage which will look nice as well as help with drainage. You really are always working to improve your home.

I am still working on my novel. Surprise right? With such an active kid and a wiped out Mommy by the end of the day, it has been incredibly hard to find time to write. So, I have hired a sitter and she comes this Wednesday. This can be a gift if it works out. We are going to have her for three hours and I hope to get some serious work done in that time. Once he goes back to school it is for three days a week which makes a HUGE difference, but if we can establish a relationship with the sitter, then hopefully I can use her during the school year for stuff too. Maybe, just maybe, my husband and I can go to dinner or lunch sans child. Maybe, we can travel without our dog. Perhaps I am ambitious, but a gal can dream. LOL

That's all  have for now. Everyone is beginning to stir and I was able to write a post uninterrupted. Glorious!


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Links and Things

Howdy Ho! Here are some things for you to gander at over the weekend. I have been doing a lot of yard work. Removed the brick border around the rock garden and added river rocks which look much nicer. For the last three years I have been trying to get rid of those damn yucca plants on the mound near the pear tree without much success. Wretched things belong in Arizona not New Jersey.

Here is what the area looked like the day I went on a ripping out spree. Our son was giddy as I cleared away all the weeds and removed rocks and opened up a world of insects to him. My heart goes out to the families of some pill bugs, millipedes, beetles of various kinds and ants.

That is our son on the bottom right, probably playing with a worm. He did put them back in the dirt at my request.

Sticking with the bug theme. Here is a nice tutorial to make beetle pancakes on The Kid Should See This.

We are slightly obsessed with Wolf Alice and the song "Moaning Lisa Smile".

The Guardian has a series called "Secret Teacher" which I discovered to day by reading this crazy article: "Elizabeth is 12 and homework is stealing her childhood". Why anyone would over schedule their child/children like this is beyond me. The comments on the article were insightful as well.

Made a delicious Basil, Shrimp and Zucchini pasta the other night. I used pennette pasta instead of what they recommended.

Different from the normal all white and glass green houses we see, check out "How to Build a Lean-to Greenhouse" in Backwoods Home magazine.

Fat Free Vegan Kitchen has a "Ridiculously Easy Jalapeno Pickles" recipe.

Have a terrific weekend!


Sunday, July 12, 2015

This Morning's Breakfast

Swiss Chard, Onion and Cheese Frittata.

It is in the oven now and we are so looking forward to it on this sunny Sunday morning.

Have a beautiful day!!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015


We live in a 1920's bungalow. When I first saw it I saw tons of potential. I realize now that I should have been tased by someone because the myriad of problems that have come up with this little house have been staggering. Yes we had an inspection, but things still go wrong. The prior owners of 40+ years did not take care of this house one bit and did all sorts of shoddy repairs which while they looked fine, they eventually revealed themselves to be fire hazards and stupid.
Our recent issue has been those little house ants. They annoy me, but they are not making me squirm.

These sort of are: Psocids

Last night my husband tells me he sees these little spider mites crawling all over the wooden shelves he had made for our hideous pink bathroom. We both thought this was odd because we know they like plants, etc, so we looked it up and found out if there is an abundance, they can crawl through windowsills and hang out on the exterior of homes. Makes sense, but the hanging out on the wooden shelves did not, so this morning I woke up and came down to look. Little grayish bugs that one can barely see were everywhere. My husband is color blind so to him spider mites may be gray instead of red. I immediately grabbed the computer did a search and found the psocids.
Now, the bathroom they are in is not the one we will be redoing yet, though it is the one I have always believed would be done first. Instead we need to get the second floor bathroom done beforehand. The downstairs pink bathroom is a poorly ventilated nightmare and there is mold on our walls and ceiling. My husband is constantly wiping it off and we are always trying to air that bathroom out. All we have is one window and we do not always leave it open. These little psocids like to feed on mold and fungus and we have it in spades for them.
Now we have a big fan set up to help dry the bathroom and I am doing my best not to take a sledgehammer to the whole thing. Good thing we don't have one I guess.
So here it hoping the fan works and I will continue to vacuum the ants and clean away their little chemical trails to prevent others from coming on in,


Monday, July 6, 2015

Back From Vacation

Hello everyone! We just got back yesterday from visiting family and friends in North Caroline and Georgia. Family was in North Carolina and that was great because we got to swim, hang out and went to visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. We also did take out from Patrick Jane's Gourmet Pizza Bar. Thinnest crust ever and it was fabulous! After three days we headed to Cumming, Georgia to see good friends and we had a blast. We swam there as well, ate well, drank, chatted, laughed and went to the Georgia Aquarium. All in all a very necessary vacation and a good one. It takes 9 hours to drive to Raleigh and Delaware and Maryland had a bunch of traffic on the way down. Partner that with monsoon rains and well, it was fun. Atlanta was 5 1/2- 6 hours from Raleigh and we made good time. The three year old boy and 12 year old dog traveled beautifully and never once complained. Now that was a gift.

This morning I was thrilled to see all my flowers blooming like crazy. I also noticed the deer had found the hostas, the bastards, now I have to try and protect what I can. The worst thing I realized this morning was that house sparrows and evicted our bluebirds. :( I kept running outside to chase them away, but unfortunately it seems as if the bluebirds will not be back. To prevent the invasive house sparrow from thinking my yard is a haven, I removed the nesting box and stood it on the ground. Luckily no bluebird carcasses were inside, but now I have to rethink where to hang the bluebird nesting box for next year. Right now 10 of them are hovering by the box on the ground and a deer just strolled through my yard. Wildlife. Gotta work with it. Good times.

On a lighter note, here are some pictures of my blooms.

May you have a wonderful day.


Monday, June 22, 2015

No More Meds For You

So I have to stop the Clindamycin. Why you ask? Well be prepared for TMI kids. I have had persistent diarrhea for 24 hours. There is something odd about waking up at 2am to evacuate your bowels, but that is not even the best part. There was blood in my last few stools/loose poop. I don't mess around with blood being wear it should not so a call went in and I was told to stop the drug immediately.
Thank friggin' God.
There were other less annoying, but still annoying side effects like feeling a little foggy, noisy tummy and a metallic taste in my mouth. Ugh.
Anyway, because of GI issues, I will not be given another antibiotic. I am to start a bland diet and if after two days these issues do not resolve the NP wants me to see my GP and have stool samples done to make sure I did not end up with a secondary intestinal infection. C. Diff and Colitis can happen with this particular drug. Unpleasant isn't it? Oh and I also got my period so my system is just a raging hormonal, unbalanced ball. LOL I get to stay on the prilosec though.
My darling husband was kind enough to get me yogurt this morning to help rebuild, if that is even possible, the good gut flora.
There will be no working out tonight either because if I am bleeding internally, well ab work would pretty much push me into the ER, no?
Life is a comedy my friends and all we can do is laugh.
Or shit our brains out.
And that is that.
Have a beautiful, normal poop day!!


Friday, June 19, 2015

The Doctor Is In

The Nurse Practitioner I saw today was lovely. She listened to my complaints, asked about my health history, sprayed my nostrils with some gross tasting numbing stuff and stuck a scope through my nose and down my throat.


She pulled the scope and once again inquired about my tonsils. I had them removed when I was 6 years old and also had tubes in my ears. Her response to that was as follows, "Well, I am not sure if they did a partial back then, but you have your adenoids and it looks like one of your tonsils has grown back and they are all swollen. You also have acid reflux because your throat is all irritated."  She may have even explained things further and I answered, but I was so stuck on the fact that my stupid tonsil(s) grew back that I think I forgot stuff. I was prescribed Prilosec one a day and a lovely with crazy side effects antibiotic called Clindamycin.
I am going to start the regimen tomorrow and hope all goes well. Truth be told I have never had issues with medications before, but I am older and more wary. I am hopeful the weird throat feeling will go away, especially with the antibiotic. I did ask her if my thyroid was fine and she said it looked good. Anyway, I go back in six weeks and if nothing is better then I guess we go to the next steps. All I can say is, fingers crossed!!

And FYI, my front teeth got numb as well. Weirder than when one get novocaine.

Have a great weekend!!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Just A Moment

Summer always seem to be a whirlwind, no? My son keeps me on my toes, more than I like to be honest, but I enjoy it because let's face it, when he is ten he will not even want people to know I am his mom and how we embarrass him. Yeah, I am so looking forward to the teen years. LOL

Our dog had to go to the vet because she began to drink water like we owned a lake and was peeing so much that she was urinating in her sleep. At first we thought it might have to do with her Lyme disease and that she was having a relapse of symptoms. After all the blood work as done and things like diabetes was ruled out we were told she may have a deficiency of diuretic hormone, say that five times fast. or the beginnings of Cushing's Disease.


Sorry to be so crass, but this blows. When humans get Cushing's, it sucks, but it can be cured if caught early enough. In dogs, it can only be managed. There is no cure for a canine's adrenal glands going haywire.


She can live another 2-3 years, but of course the medicine given for this has pretty nasty side effects. This does not surprise us, what meds are side effect proof, but I always chuckle, perhaps morbidly, when I see "death" as a side effect. I would put that on the bottle or in the pamphlet as a permanent effect, but not everyone has my humor.

So next week the pup goes in for an 8 hour Cushing's test. I can't say I want her to have either one. Listen, I know we all have to die in someway, but I guess I just wasn't prepared for this. Not yet. But then, are we ever ready to lose a pet? I think not.

I also am going to the ENT because I feel like I have had something stuck in my throat for four weeks. The GP was leaning, insisting, I had a GERD. Um, no I am eating and there is no heartburn. She then asked if I was sure I did not have any food stuck? I almost side eyed her. GP's are interesting to me because they are a middle man for so many things. Some I have had took more of an interest and understood other facets of what may be causing your ills. This current one is quick to send you off to a specialist if she is not so sure. That is all well and good, as long as my health insurance covers it all, but there are times one wants their GP a little more engaged. The one I had before this one, left due to her husband's job and we were so unhappy about her leaving, was much more involved and listened to your concerns. You were not just a list to check off, she actually was the one who suggested I may be going through perimenopause after going to her office for palpitations for like the ninth time. So it is hard to get used to someone who after a few quick generic questions, ships you off to the recommended specialist. At least she is good about referring because there are doctors who don't like to do that. Ah the US health care system, it is a pip.
Of course Dr. Google tells me I can have anything from thyroid cancer to nodules on vocal chords to throat cancer. Some cancer has symptoms similar to flu so looking online means you are always dying. I will see what happens tomorrow and keep you updated.

And now, some pretty pictures from my garden.

I may have shared this already, don't care, sharing it again. This is to the left of our front door. I just love how pretty it looks.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Willowwood Arboretum

Let's face it. My home state of New Jersey does not have the best reputation. While I do not deny it's faults, the stereotypes are correct at times, the beauty of the state has never been featured.


Which sort of gets my goat because every state has areas that are deserted, flourishing, struggling and all that hovers in-between. In New Jersey's case, only the crappy areas get highlighted. Constantly.

This needs to stop and no, Housewives of New Jersey does not count as showing a "pretty" side of New Jersey.

My state has a pretty choice parks system throughout the counties. So with a lot of pride, I would like to welcome you to a place in bucolic Far Hills, NJ that is free and beautiful.

Willowwood Arboretum

The history, two brothers who wanted a country place to indulge their horticultural passions, is fascinating. The preservation is no small feat so kudos to all involved there.
My pictures will not do it justice, remember, I have a three year old. While he enjoyed himself by playing with ants and walking through the forest by the stream, we were not there for a very long time. Nevertheless, we shall return because there is more to discover as there are trails all over the place. I need to thank my neighbor who mentioned this place to me as it is a hidden gem in our area.

We did not follow the map, but the grounds have many trails and gardens are by the house. We took a turn and ended up entering by the cottage garden. I so want to do this in our yard. Magnificent.

Here we are looking at the cottage garden from the front of the Tubbs house. I need that gate.

Stag horn Ferns. I love and covet them.

Behind the Tubbs house is is the path to Pan's Garden. My son ran under this pergola made from branches. Everything is marked so you know what it is, but unfortunately I did not get a chance to see what exactly was used to construct this feature.

Very pretty stone bridge off to the side of the house in the forest.

I really want that gate.

So there you have it my friends. If you are ever in New Jersey, perhaps in the Somerset/Morris/Hunterdon Country area, you should stop by and take a gander at this beauty. Look at the maps provided and you will see just how extensive this property is. I would say it is definitely a nice way to spend the day.