Friday, September 13, 2019

October Roses with a Pretty Fall Backdrop

The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory, so I'll proceed with the pictures and let them do the talking...



This really was the most perfect bouquet of roses I've quite possibly ever had the pleasure of owning. They added such beauty and cheer to my life for over half of the month last October. They were true blessings from nature and from a Father in Heaven who I know is always watching over me. ๐Ÿงก

Roses in Sunlight

Both sunlight and shadow are in this shot. Dark and light, yin and yang. All of it beautiful in this case!

"Illumination!" (to quote the Minions)

I really loved how the sun was shining in on the roses on this particular morning. 

It truly made me think of the love of God, warming us from above and lighting our way, helping us to blossom and grow here in our mortal existence. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

My Extraordinary October Roses

The rest of this week has a very rosy outlook as far as my blog posts are concerned. 
Last October I bought a half-dozen orange roses at the grocery store. They bloomed beautifully and lasted for weeks, exceeding my expectations in every way. They were amazing! I took many pictures to document their beauty, so I'm dividing them up into two or three separate posts so that we don't all suffer from amazing rose overload at once. ๐Ÿ˜

In the beginning, they looked like this. They were quick bloomers!

I loved how the sunlight illuminated the tips of the petals.

What a stellar addition to the kitchen sink area! ๐Ÿ˜„

More illumination...

I was entranced by how swirly they were. I love swirly, full, fragrant roses.

Get lost in the swirliness...

And here are my lovely roses sitting pretty on another day, with no sign of wilting or decay, and further blossoming still to come.

I was obsessed! In terms of the blooms and the longevity (and the beauty!), I think this was the best bouquet of roses I've ever had the pleasure of owning!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Eastern Star Extravaganza

Last October Peter's mom asked me to take pictures at her annual Eastern Star installation of officers. (Eastern Star is a freemasonry-related organization for men and women.) This is a big ceremony that they have every year for their new officers, and she was going to be the leader of her group for the year so it was a special occasion for her. I took a ton of pictures of the ceremony and at the dinner after, but am only posting a few of them here. I was honored to be asked to do the pictures and to have my name in the program too, fledgling photographer that I am!

These two pictures of my guys were for me. ๐Ÿ˜Š I snapped them during the ceremony. 

Peter's mom (Allison) is front and center. His stepfather Larry is on the left end of the second row.

The boys and their cousins.

It was a fun and interesting evening!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Hydrangeas in October

I was surprised last October that there were a couple of fully bloomed hydrangeas still going strong in the yard. I had thought they all died out by summer's end, but apparently not. Just another reason to love hydrangeas!

They provided quite the contrast with the fall foliage baskets that I'd just hung up from the porch ceiling. Summer and fall, my two favorite seasons!

Admittedly, the contrast would be more impressive if the bush were actually covered in hydrangeas like it was a few months earlier, instead of just the few lone holdouts. But still, you get my point!

For these and so many reasons, October really is one of the loveliest months. I'm looking forward to putting together some blog posts about last October for the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Five Things for Friday

1. Seminary started this week. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ I'm a first-time early-morning seminary person, not just mom, but person, because when I was in high school early-morning seminary wasn't an option in my ward yet (thank goodness!) so we did home-study seminary. John, however, gets to do early-morning seminary from 6:00-6:50 in the morning, every morning, before school at someone's house in our ward. Which means he needs to be up by about 5:20, and me by 5:15. It's so early. Too early, I still think, for teenagers (and their parents), but I do hope and believe that the spiritual benefits will outweigh the physical drawbacks and inconveniences.  

Having said that, I've been having a pretty rough time losing an hour of sleep each night, even with trying to go to bed earlier. John is handling it much better than I am. The enviable vigor of youth! He's enjoying seminary, and starting his day out with his church friends is a good way to start his school days. Now my poor tired body and brain just need to get on board! ๐Ÿ˜ช 

2. I got this cute shirt at Talbot's. I like it a lot. I think I'll wear it to the Downtown Abbey Exhibition in Boston next week. Not with white jeans (which I don't even have) but with nice dark blue ones.

3. This week I had our grill professionally cleaned (it was in pretty bad shape), had tree work done in the yard (some trees that got uprooted in the winter/spring were taken down and new ones were planted properly in their places), and I finally got the leaking fridge fixed. Small but significant household victories, all of them! Especially the leaking fridge. No more mopping up big puddles!

4. Yesterday The Wall Street Journal released their annual college rankings for this year. I was happy to see that my alma mater made it to the #4 spot. I've never seen it ranked that high. It's been in the top ten for a long time, and now it's finally cracked the top five! 

Penn ranked well for student outcomes as well. I can attest to that! (Thanks to Peter! ๐Ÿ˜ But I would have done well on my own, too. Probably not as well financially, but still well as I worked my way up in the NYC publishing world. Theoretically.)

5. In related news, something else that happened yesterday was that I became a "Top Fan" for Hallmark Channel on Facebook. Look at what good things I'm doing with my fine Ivy League education! ๐Ÿ˜‚

My weekend plans include helping with a charity fundraiser bake sale for children impacted by the immigration crisis at the border, getting caught up on sleep (hopefully), taking down all the summer things in the house, and decorating for fall. Soon it will be that lovely time of year once again!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Summer Bucket List Evaluation

I did pretty well with my summer bucket list. I didn't do everything I wanted to do, but I came pretty close.

  • Go on a whale watch. ✔ (I went with Peter and the boys. Peter and John had never done one before. We saw one whale several times, an all-black humpback named Diablo. It was cool!)

  • Go on the haunted history walking tour in Barnstable with my sister who's never done it before. ✔ (We did this and had an AMAZING experience with it. It included a ghost-hunting investigation in the historic graveyard that's part of the walking tour. We split up into pairs or small groups and used digital voice recorders in the dark of night. When Elizabeth and I played our recorder back, we discovered that a spirit (of who we believe was a young girl) literally answered one of our questions. It was clear as day! We have the proof. Even the skeptics in our group were impressed. I guess my sixth sense was working pretty well that night!) 

  • Visit a psychic for fun. ✔ (She was very good, and her views aligned well with my religious views. I'll go back to see her again. A good psychic can be a legit secondary source of help in life!)

  • Get a pedicure. ✔ (It made my toenails look pretty in pink for weeks!)

  • Go to the Brewster Ladies Library book sale. ✔ (Brought home a nice big bag of books and a few DVDs.)

  • Go to a National Seashore beach (barring shark sightings). ✘ (This didn't happen and it wasn't because of shark sightings. It was more because of the freak tornado that hit in July, which took up precious days of our time, one of which we probably would have used to go to a National Seashore beach. I think a shark sighting would have been preferable than the tornado. Not a shark encounter, mind you, but a shark sighting way out in the distance would be kind of cool. It would be inconvenient, because then they'd shut down the beach, but I still would have preferred it over a tornado. Somewhere in here there's a sharknado reference swimming around but I'm tired so this will have to suffice. ๐Ÿฆˆ๐ŸŒช)

  • Do yoga on the beach. At least once. ✔ (I did this with my mom and niece and we were led by my yoga-teacher sister Jennifer. It was a very peaceful and soothing way to start the day and I loved it.)

  • Swim in the ocean. Actually swim in the ocean. ✘ (I hung out in the water for longer than I usually do but I didn't break out into a freestyle swim. I wish I had. It's going back on next summer's bucket list.)

  • Spend a day in Chatham shopping and doing an island tour to see the seals. ✔ (They were both delightful!)

  • Find something cool to get from an antique shop. ✔ (I got a set of teacups from Queen Elizabeth's coronation.)

  • Read all of the books that I picked out for my summer reading list. ✘ (I'm disappointed that I didn't get all of my summer books read. I got to all of them except for two. Again, I blame the tornado and a few other things that cut into my precious reading time!)

  • Use my pool more. Especially with the kids. ✔ and ✘ (I did use the pool more than I did last summer, but still not as much as I'd envisioned. I've discovered that most of the time, I prefer being in the pool by myself or in the company of other adults rather than with my boys, who like to splash me, flip my float, etc. I have to be in the right mood for that and the vast majority of the time, I'm not. ๐Ÿ˜†)

P.S. Pictures of many of the above events to come sometime next year, probably in the spring!

Friday, August 30, 2019

My "Exciting" Labor Day Weekend Project of 2018

My mission for Labor Day weekend last year was to get the books organized onto our massive bookshelf in the family room. It was a big project that took all day, but it was so worth it!

When we moved in and unpacked two months earlier, we just stacked books randomly on the shelves so that they were out of the way. So my first step was to remove all of the books from the shelves. As I did that, I grouped them by genre because that's how I organize and shelve our books.

Success! The shelves were empty and the books were stacked in groups all over the floor.

Our non-fiction books and literary classics get shelved on the "fancy bookshelf." Our "fun" fiction books, like my historical fictions and mysteries (among many others) and Peter's fantasy and science fiction, are shelved elsewhere (more on that in a minute).  

Just look at that beautiful clean bookshelf, waiting for its shelves to be filled with knowledge and wisdom and adventure!

The above pictures were taken in the morning. The pictures below were taken in the evening when I had finally finished. This literally took me all day. I was so glad to get it done! The visual effect was very rewarding and pleasing, and my sense of calm and order was restored! At least as far as this bookshelf was concerned. 

I like to mix in various knick-knacks and decorative objects with books.

Two items still on the to-do list after a year: I still need to get the recessed lighting working in the shelf, and I should also get the shelf attached to the wall for safety. 

๐Ÿ˜ Happiness ๐Ÿ˜

This isn't a very good picture because I snapped it quickly with my phone for the purpose of adding to a comment on my Facebook post about this project. But these are our "fun" books in the office. I did this project in July and it took me several days of painstaking methodical work (that I secretly enjoy).
(The fourth shelf down on the right side looks better now than it did in this picture because I've since gotten that nice and organized. It was still kind of a mess at that point.)

Two of our old IKEA bookshelves are in the basement rec room. One of them is filled with more of Peter's books and the other one is half-full of more non-fictions and my blog books.

The good news as far as space goes is that Peter rarely buys actual books anymore. Because he travels so much, he buys the digital version of almost all new books that he now gets.

I'm a traditionalist and am loyal to the actual book, so my collection continues to grow. But I'm using the library more often and giving away books that don't mean very much to me, and instituting periodic book-buying bans until I read more of what I already have (as much as it grieves me to do so!).

My dream has always been to have an actual library room with shelves lining all of the walls that give plenty of space for books galore. But I'm pretty happy with what I've got right now. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ“š