Friday, January 30, 2009

An Attempt to Bring Some Color to Winter

One of my missions yesterday was to find a splash of color in the wintry palette of January. This shed has been catching my eye for a while now-not to mention this is one of my favorite shades of blue.

Here's Your Smile Fix.....

The Texas cowpoke and his wife were shopping at their local discount store. The cowboy picked up a case of Budweiser and put it in their shopping cart.

“What do you think you’re doing?” asked the wife.

“It’s on sale, only $12 for 24 cans,” he replied.

“Put it back, we can’t afford that,” demands the wife.

They continue shopping and a few aisles further along the woman picked up a $24 jar of face cream and put it in the cart.

The cowpoke looked at it and said, “What do you think you’re doing?”

“It’s my face cream. It makes me look beautiful,” said the wife.

The cowboy retorted, “So does 24 cans of Budweiser, and it’s half the price.”

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I am in the process of launching my new website, After kicking off my blog in late summer, I realized my vision was not quite being met. While this is a great venue journaling about daily happenings around town featuring myself and my family as the main characters, (and how our experiences have impacted us,) its always been my goal to bring my audience and visitors the most up to date information on living your best life here in Central PA and more specifically, in Adams County, PA. (I know that sounds alot like something Oprah would say.) I believe will fulfill this wish.

Most of you know our story; we moved up here from the Washington DC area to escape the high cost of living and in the search for better schools. We also downsized tremendously by moving to a smaller house, and cutting out alot of the extra expenses. Yes, it took me a while to overcome my Starbuck's daily fix; and weekly trips to Old Navy for the cutest kids' outfits. I also missed those occasional lunches at the Four Seasons Hotel and weekly happy hours at Old Ebbit Grill with my position as a director of special events. We traded in annual vacations at the seashore for day trips to Laurel Lake, (just up the road in Michaux State Forest) and short hikes on Oakside's walking trail. We traded in the late model vehicles for second hand cars, and although sometimes I wish I still had my SUV, I am not really losing any sleep over it.

I am not saying it has been easy. I got pretty sick and then Rick was laid off from his job for almost a year. But, with wonderful supportive family and friends, we got through it. We met people and discovered resources we never would have otherwise. When I look back on the path our lives have taken, I realize we have grown more than we realize. We have learned "Its not about wishing for what you don't have, but wanting what you've got." At least, I think thats what Rick always tells me.

I took on several odd jobs which allowed me to maximize my time with my children. I am now among other things, an administrative assistant, sales clerk, assistant innkeeper, after school daycare provider, horse trail guide wannabe and whatever other opportunities come my way. Thank the Lord that Rick has a pretty stable job as a store manager of a major retail chain; and these days retail is not so promising, but I count my blessings everyday.

We have tried to focus on others who are less fortunate than us-focusing on giving back to the community has been one of the most valuable things we could have ever taught the girls.

And, for a while, when one of our children was diagnosed with a mild learning disability, we researched Homeschooling and met some of the most wonderful families along the way. We have found the generosity and warmth of people in this area is amazing.

I have always wanted to find a way to give back to all those who have been so kind to us in our life's journey; I have always been at a loss as to how to do that. Most of the time when I would whisper to someone after helping me, "How can I ever repay you?" the overwhelming response has been: "Just help someone else out when you are in a position to." I suppose you could call it "Paying It Forward."

So, my friends, I would appreciate all your input and suggestions as I attempt in some small way, say "Thank You." I invite you to visit my new site and help me to make it the very best it can be.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No School

Sorry to confuse you; thats not me, Rick or my two girls. School is out today and this is what my little ones will most likely spend most of their day playing. One of their favorite things to do is come up with an elaborate story line and then take pictures of the events.

For example, a recent episode included Kate and Christie who are sisters. They recently moved into Kate's mansion because Christie's house was too small with her husband and three children, Yasmine, age 14, Kelly, 4 years and Jessie, 5 months old. Christie's husband is Lake, and he is a football coach at the local high school. Both families decided to go to Delaware for the weekend, in Kate's Winnebago, but were caught in the path of a terrible tornado. The trailer flipped over and was destroyed, but thankfully no one was hurt. The two youngest children were back home in the mansion with the nanny. Fortunately, Kate had brought some of her horses along to ride on the beach in Delaware, and everone was able to use them to ride back to the mansion.
During these "sessions" M and E will proceed to take out every piece of their entire Barbie collection which we were graced with from a lovely family of four girls down the street from us.

Your mind won't even be able to comprehend what they have-from hotels and castles right down to the stretch limo complete with hot tub and working radio, its all there. This stuff takes up almost an entire room in our home-our laundry room to be specific; and it isn't that big, so it can often be very challenging getting around.

Poor Rick is often seen early in the morning, ironing his clothes for work (yes, we live in an equal rights household! No ironing for me!) trying to maneuver around piles of Barbie clothes, cars and horses with flowing manes and tails.

Poor guy, everything in our house is girlie; even our two dogs and our horse are girls. He is so outnumbered.

Now, if you know anything about Barbies, bathtime can also be the perfect staging area for a Barbie story to unfold. Usually here it turns to a mermaid theme-after all, there is water! and it usually involves one mermaid stealing the other's boyfriend. I try to stay out of the story lines-they are usually innocent enough and only imitated by the terrible stuff they catch when they are allowed to watch tv. Whatever happened to Andy Griffith or I Love Lucy? I have to censor just about everything that comes over the airwaves-I just can't believe some of it.

Anyway, I digress-the only thing I really wish could change is that there would be as much attention to the clean-up process as there is to the set-up process. I've got to admit it is a little unsettling in the morning to find an audience lined up along the rim of the bathtub watching me as I take a shower. And, its always fun when I am up early in the morning, walking across the kitchen floor, and I step on a Barbie shoe. These aren't ordinary shoes, mind you, but the pointy toe and stiletto-heeled kind. Which brings me to the question, "Who said Barbie was a good role model for young girls, anyway?"

I'm off on another tangent. Stay tuned for the continuing saga of Kate and Christie.

This Was Written For Me....

I came across this lovely piece recently and loved it so much, I had to share:

When I am an old horsewoman...
I shall wear turquoise and diamonds,
and a straw hat that doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my social security on
red wine and carrots,
and sit in the alley-way of my barn
and listen to my horses breathe.
I will sneak out in the middle of a summer
night and ride the old bay gelding
across the moonlit meadow
if my old bones will allow.
And when people come to call, I will
smile and nod
as I walk past the gardens to the
barn and show, instead of the flowers
growing, stalls filled with
fresh straw. I will shovel
and sweat and wear hay in my
hair as if it were a jewel.
And I will be an embarrassment
to all who have not yet found
the peace in being
free to have
a horse as
a best friend,
a friend who waits at
midnight hour
with muzzle and
nicker, and patient eyes
for the kind of
woman I will be
when I am old.

-Author Unknown-

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Winter Blahs

(Taken on one of my daily trips to the barn)

Okay, I admit it; the weather and this time of year are really getting to me. I make no bones about it; I am pretty sure I suffer from that "sunlight deficiency" thing. I just feel "gray".

Its a real problem; the past couple of days its been hard to get motivated. I am usually the one that keeps everyone focused and moving; it seems when I slow down, everyone becomes out of sorts.

I am trying the "fake it until you make it approach", also know as "one step at a time." Usually I have at least a spark of creativity that carries me through the tough times. Right now all I have is the knowledge that "this too shall pass." Boy, am I full of insightful cliches today, or what?

Armed with those useful tidbits of advice, I offer these images for your viewing pleasure: I call this one "Waiting"

I don't know what I call this one but I love the idea of focusing on ordinary things and transforming them into the extraordinary:

One of my many favorite parts of my dog Ella is her sweet nose and her whiskers.......On a sidenote, its not so wonderful when she shoves it in my face in the morning to wake me up at 5 a.m., but I am trying to be positive here.

And, I know I am spoiling the surprise for what we made for my Mom's birthday this year, but I just had to share:

She has been very much into birds lately-maybe because she recently created a beautiful quilt for my sister who is expecting her first child. It has a sweet little blue bird theme:

I guess in retrospect, I have managed to muster up a little creativity. It just hasn't given me that glowing feeling. Here's hoping Spring comes soon. For the time being, I will just focus on trying to appreciate the little things and take it one step at a time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Love Horses? This Is The Shirt For You!

Here's a design I recently created and added to my Cafe Press Shop. I thought it would look cool on a shirt-visit to see all the goods. Don't forget;custom work is always welcome! If you can dream it, I can create it. Thanks for all your support in my endeavors. I am so blessed to have so much encouragement.

I really love how this shirt turned out!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Something Nice to Share

I'm feeling a little stressed today and thought I would devote a post to a man I think was positively brilliant and quite ahead of his time: EE Cummings.

Here is one of my personal favorites of his work:

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart
with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never
without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear;
and whatever is done
by only me is your
doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my
fate,my sweet)i want
no world,my
and it's you are
whatever a moon has
always meant
and whatever a sun
will always sing is you

here is the deepest
secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the
root and the bud of the
and the sky of the sky
of a tree called
life;which grows
higher than the soul
can hope or mind can
and this is the wonder
that's keeping the stars

i carry our heart(i
carry it in my heart)

For those of you not familiar with this amazing soul, Wikipedia sums it up best:
Edward Estlin Cummings (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962), popularly known as E. E. Cummings, was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work encompasses approximately 900 poems, an autobiographical novel, four plays and several essays, as well as numerous drawings and paintings. He is remembered as a preeminent voice of 20th century poetry, as well as one of the most popular. Cummings signed his name in all-lowercase, the poet may have intended it as a gesture of humility, and not as an indication that it was the preferred orthography for others to use for his name.Born into a Unitarian family, Cummings exhibited transcendental leanings his entire life. As he grew in maturity and age, Cummings moved more towards an "I, Thou" relationship with his God. His journals are replete with references to “le bon Dieu” as well as prayers for inspiration in his poetry and artwork (such as “Bon Dieu! may I some day do something truly great. amen.”). Cummings "also prayed for strength to be his essential self ('may I be I is the only prayer--not may I be great or good or beautiful or wise or strong'), and for relief of spirit in times of depression ('almighty God! I thank thee for my soul; & may I never die spiritually into a mere mind through disease of loneliness').

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
-ee cummings

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"What is Our Country Coming To?" Better Know As "NYC Eatery Grants Freedom to Lobster Centenarian"

In this crucial time when our economy is suffering and times are uncertain, its nice to know the media feels it necessary to print pieces like this. Sigh! Yes, we are still searching for a cure for cancer and trying to put a stop to all the violence and suffering in the world, but George will be free! A twist to this story would be that they let him go only to find to their dismay, he was promptly devoured by a giant codfish.

George, the 20-pound supercentenarian crustacean, was freed by City Crab and Seafood in New York City.

"We applaud the folks at City Crab and Seafood for their compassionate decision to allow this noble old-timer to live out his days in freedom and peace," said Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA spokesman Michael McGraw said the group asked City Crab to return George to the Atlantic Ocean after a diner saw him at the restaurant, where steamed Maine lobster sells for $27 per pound. George had been caught off Newfoundland, Canada and lived in the tank for about 10 days before his release.

Some scientists estimate lobsters can live to be more than 100 years old. PETA and the restaurant guessed George's age at about 140, using a rule of thumb based on the creature's weight.

He was to be released Saturday near Kennebunkport, Maine, in an area where lobster trapping is forbidden.

Books I Am Attempting to Read this Week

In the spirit of the New Year, and resolutions and all that stuff, I am striving to be a better person and enrich my horizons. The titles look great-hopefully I will actually find time to get to read these.....(Please note the parent's guide to understanding your pre-teen); my oldest is turning twelve this week and I am scared to death. Its not that she is a bad kid, (quite the contrary!) I am incredibly blessed with my children. I just want so much to do right by M and make being a teenager something that she and I can both look back on and say, "Wow, we had alot of fun!"
As if I wasn't trying to be ambitious enough just trying to survive parenthood, I am also preparing for my new position this Spring as a trail guide (on horseback) on the Gettysburg Battlefield. This is my dream job and I want to be the very best I can be at this. I am pretty confident I won't be able to compete with all those amazing guys who are doing this now, (after all, most of them have made the Civil War their lifelong passion); however, horses are my lifelong passion and this is an incredible opportunity of a lifetime. I figured if I learned about all the little known "obscure" facts of the Civil War here in Gettysburg I could hold a smidgen of credibility and possible respect for the guests even if for only a short time.

Winter Wonderland

Some icy images from around town this week:

I think this poor guy could use a hot cup of coffee......

One little apple that didn't make it to market:

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Domino Effect

(This must be read in a fake english accent for added impact-please indulge me, we just finished watching "Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events")

Once upon a time there was a mom who went out to run her daily errands. It was New Year's Eve, 2008, and she was preoccupied with many things. It was frigid outside; the temperature had dipped into the twenties, and the wind chill made it seem much colder; the whipping wind gusts at thirty miles an hour made her anxious to get things done.

When she arrived back at the house, she noticed with mild concern that she had forgotten to bring in her purse. Annoyed at herself, she rushed back out into the wintry weather to fetch it from her car. With a sickening feeling, she realized it was not there. She ran back inside to check again. No purse. She then frantically decided to retrace her steps everywhere she had been that day.

One after the other each place turned up nothing. She finally returned home and made the necessary calls to cancel things. Angry at herself for being so careless, she contacted the local police department and filed the necessary report. She then proceeded to get her family ready for a night out at a friends' house for dinner, trying to be cheerful and positive and putting the frustrating event behind her.

Everyone piled into the car, and as she climbed in, she remembered she had forgotten something in the house. She ran back up the steps, put her key in the lock, and, as she turned it, IT BROKE OFF! She stood there for a moment, her mind not comprehending what had just happened, while almost simultaneously realizing she had no extra key.

Her husband came up behind her and asked if everything was okay. Needless to say, it wasn't. After a half an hour of botched tries-climbing through the basement window which the husband was able to pry open,and the wife gleefully climbing up the steps with relief only to find there was so much stuff piled on the other side of that door that she couldn't have gotten through it even if she wanted to; futile attempts at jimmying a window open like a real live burglar, and then finally just violently shaking on the door knob screaming hysterically "Why me, Lord?", the husband had to resort to carefully breaking a window pane.

After a quick cleaning up of the scene,the husband gathered the family for a second time into the car and FINALLY motored off to their destination.

In the end, it all had a positive influence, really. The next day, the mom decided to clear out the space behind the door where she couldn't get in the night before, which in turn prompted her to throw out alot of unnecessary things that had just been adding to the clutter, which caused her to go through her filing cabinets and update all important papers which then allowed her and her family to become more organized for the New Year.

So, to quote Lemony Snicket, "Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like."

Happy New Year Everyone! May you have all the right keys to open all the right doors and may they never break in the lock!