Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Twilight Time

I awoke in the early pre dawn hours with vague memories of a dream where I was in the midst of an earthquake. Shaking cobwebs from my brain, I reached over the bed to ask Doughboy to turn off the bed massage. Ruffling my fingers through the empty bed, I realized that Doughboy wasn’t there – he is in Pittsburgh. Waking further, I realized we don’t have a bed massage. The shaking was coming from above my head where our pup-sickle Scottie – Dianora – was desperately attempting to bury herself in my pillows to keep warm. Leo, our 4 pound Yorkie was plastered against my back deep under the covers while Kady, our Westie was buried under the covers into my stomach. Brrrrr! If it wasn’t so dark, I swear I could see my breath in the chilly air of our bedroom. Forcing myself out of bed, I raced to the thermostat. It was turned OFF for heavens sake, and the temp was 61 degrees. I prefer sleeping in cooler temps (it helps with the hot flashes)…but our pups were visibly uncomfortable with the too-cold temps. It is a frigid morning in Georgia – 30.9 degrees. This is too cold too early. But daytime temps are supposed to warm back into the 70s this weekend. I am decidedly not ready for winter.

I suppose an explanation is in order for my blogging absence. Even Doughboy complained last evening about my lack of blogging activity. You may recall I told you – actually warned – about my literary obsession with the Twilight series. I plowed through the first book – Twilight – in two days, and the 2nd and 3rd books within a week of beginning the first. I am one-third of the way into the 4th book – Breaking Dawn. I left off on page 290 of 754. I promise that once I am finished with the series my life will return to normal. But seriously, these books are addictive! My daughter called me a loser yesterday. I had just returned from spending my lunch break at Barnes and Noble where I picked up Twilight: The Complete Illustrated Movie Companion. Looking at the cast of characters, I was not disappointed by the selection. All of the actors are exactly as I pictured them when reading the books. I like the way they are virtually unknowns because it will make viewing the movie more enjoyable to me. For example, Stephenie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series, originally pictured Orlando Bloom as the lead male character Edward Cullen. No! It would have ruined my experience – I can’t picture him as anything other than the swashbuckling hero of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Anyway, I promise to focus more on getting my life back to normal after I finish reading Breaking Dawn. Please bear with me a couple days longer. And if you haven’t read the series, you must start – now! – before the movie release November 21st. You won’t be disappointed!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Couple Most Likely To Succeed

Succeed, get it? Awww...c'mon...now THIS is funny!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Twilight Series

Did you know there are entire web sites devoted to obsessive readers? A quick Google search produced hundreds of web sites where people obsess about their addiction to reading. Yes, I would qualify as such a person. Hello...my name is Debra and I'm a bookaholic.

No thanks to my daughter, I am newly hooked on Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. For months Jamie has talked about Edward and Bella as if they were best friends. She was ecstatic when the movie release date of Twilight was moved up to November 21st. She was worried baby Ava’s arrival would interfere with her ability to see Edward, Bella, and all her other “friends” come to life on the big screen. For those who haven’t read Twilight, Edward is a vampire and Bella is his human love interest. You simply MUST read this series! I finished book one of four within a 24-hour period. Yes, I work – and yes, I have a life, thank you very much. Click here for a link to the official Stephenie Meyer web site where you can read excerpts from each of the Twilight books. You can even view the movie trailer (unfortunately I can't link it to my post at the moment).

If you’re familiar with the literary series, certainly you can relate to my obsession and desire to read rather than post on my blog. Tonight I begin book two – New Moon. In the mean time, my laundry pile is growing, there is no food in the house, bills are unpaid, and my canine children sit patiently by their empty food bowls. Okay, so it’s not quite that bad but you get the idea. Shamelessly, I have no self control!!!!

Run...don't walk...to your nearest book store and start reading. I'm interested in hearing from you as you work your way through the four-book series.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kent Falls State Park

On the second day of our Connecticut visit we travelled along picturesque Highway 7 toward our destination - Kent Falls State Park. Along the way we stopped to photograph a covered bridge that we happened upon unexpectedly.

Kent Falls, located in the northeastern section of the town of Kent, is a series of waterfalls on a mountain stream known as Falls Brook. The stream begins in the town of Warren, draining an area of six or seven square miles. It then flows west to the big fall where it plunges approximately 70 feet in a dramatic cascade.

Much of the limestone over which the brook flows has been carved into interesting shapes including numerous potholes of all sizes.

The fall colors were breathtaking! Click here to view a photo slide show of our second day's travels.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Autumn Splendor

Before we moved to Georgia, I had no idea what to expect with regard to weather and seasons. Bordering Florida to the north, I didn't expect the seasons to be similar to northern climes.

Georgia winters can produce unexpected snow and ice; spring appears early; and summers are less humid than Chicago. My favorite season by far is autumn.

I love the rich, earthy scent of changing leaves...

...but it's the colors that fascinate me most...

...against a brilliant cerulean blue sky...

(BTW, the photo above was not altered or enhanced. This was SOOC. The sun was at just the right angle to capture the colors)

What's your favorite season?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You've Been Mooned

There are moments when having my camera close at hand produces a unique photo op. I was backing out of the garage at 7:30 this morning when I noticed the beautiful moon fading into early daylight. I quickly placed the car in park, grabbed my camera from the passenger seat and clicked two photos. I am often humbled by the beauty of nature. But the sight of a bright autumn moon leaves me... moonstruck.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

She's Baaaack!

It's always fun to get away, but it's wonderful to be home! I've been absent for several days while visiting beautiful Connecticut. We left Atlanta early Wednesday - up at 4:00AM - to catch our flight to White Plains NY. Relying upon Gretchen Garmin, our trusty GPS for directions, we headed north on I95 to New Haven. This is the location of prestigious Yale University.

Yale’s roots can be traced back to the 1640s, when colonial clergymen led an effort to establish a college in New Haven to preserve the tradition of European liberal education in the New World. This vision was fulfilled in 1701, when the charter was granted for a school “wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences [and] through the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church and Civil State.” In 1718 the school was renamed “Yale College” in gratitude to the Welsh merchant Elihu Yale, who had donated the proceeds from the sale of nine bales of goods together with 417 books and a portrait of King George I.

Yale’s 260 buildings include contributions from distinguished architects of every period in its history. Styles range from New England Colonial to High Victorian Gothic, from Moorish Revival to contemporary. Yale’s buildings, towers, lawns, courtyards, walkways, gates, and arches comprise what one architecture critic has called “the most beautiful urban campus in America.”

I felt myself growing smarter as if, by osmosis, I channeled years of higher learning. Click on the photo below for a brief slide show of Yale. I would have posted sooner; however duty called. I had a date with our laundry room last night to replenish my diminished pile of clean underwear. A girl has her priorities, you know. Stay tuned for more tales of our east coast adventure...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Farewell, My Friends

By the time you read this post, I and three other companions will have left Atlanta for Connecticut. Judy, Chere, Jamie and I began planning this trip more than a year ago. I can't believe it's here! Our mission is to become better photographers by attending CPR - Creative Photography Retreat. Time will tell...

We're leaving a little time before classes begin to explore the splendor of Connecticut. We'll spend Wednesday touring as many lighthouses as we can visit in one day from Stamford to Mystic (there are 23 in total). Time permitting, we'll stop at the historic ivy league university - Yale - to photograph the stately campus architecture. We plan to spend Thursday capturing the beautiful fall colors before the CPR kickoff event later that evening. Following that, it's two intense days of photography classes before we return home Sunday.

I couldn't leave for Connecticut without toasting my Doughboy.

He is travelling from Denver to Atlanta Wednesday night to take care of our three canine children while I'm away. Thank you, sweetheart!

I've encountered many husbands that don't support their spouse's passions, hobbies, or interests. Doughboy not only supports my creativity, he encourages it. Thanks much for my going-away gifts, honey. I'll see you Sunday {kiss kiss}...

For now, my friends, I will sign off. Be sure to return next week for tales of our wild adventure.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Reality Check

Do you remember when?

Leave It To Beaver, a series both praised for its family-bolstering innocence and panned for its homogenized sappiness, served as a bridge between the waning radio comedy and the blossoming of the television "sitcom." Beaver ran on network television from October 1957 to September 1963; the first season on CBS and the last five on ABC.

This is a family photo of the Cleaver family; Jerry Mathers, as the youngest character, starred as The Beave. As a young girl with budding hormones, I thought older brother Wally was HOT! Mrs. Cleaver, played by Barbera Billingsley, would never be caught without her pearls. Jeez! Gimme a break.

No matter how young you feel, this one still hurts...

Yikes! My eyes! My eyes! Do you recognize them? That's Eddie Haskell on the left, Beave in the middle, and {sniff} Wally on the right. When did they get so freakin' old?????

Monday, October 6, 2008

Baby Girls

Strawberry creams and wonderful dreams,
Ladylike airs and teddy bears,
Fairy tales and wedding veils,
That's what granddaughters are made of.

Both our girls are expecting babies in a couple months.

Jamie and Kelly have grown up together since Doughboy and I
married when they were only 11 years old.
This will be Kelly's fourth child and Jamie's third.

Thank you Jamie and Kelly
for being the wonderful mothers you are!
You constantly amaze us with your
super-woman powers.

And thank you for giving us
two new granddaughters
to love, spoil, and cherish.

We can't wait to meet and hold
Ava Marie and "Ultimette" :)
We're so proud of you!

P.S. Kelly's baby girl isn't really named Ultimette. Her parents prefer to keep Ultimette's name a surprise until after she arrives. Whatever name they choose, it will have a strong Scandanavian influence like her dad Lars and siblings Petra, Soren and Annike. With Engstrom for a last name, what else would you expect? I love family traditions, don't you?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cotton Pickin' Fair

Fall brings the return of many family traditions. One of our annual traditions has been the Cotton Pickin' Fair in Gay, Georgia. This southern arts and crafts festival occurs twice each year - the first weekend in May and October. However, the fall event has been a family favorite for many years. I'm always amazed by how much the boys change from year to year. It seems as though they're growing before my eyes. Click here to see how much they've changed from last year when we visited the fall event of the Cotton Pickin' Fair. I always tease Ayden and tell him I'm going to put a brick on his head to keep him from growing. This always elicits a roll of his eyes and "Oh, Mimi. I'm going to grow anyway". How I wish I could keep them this way for a while.

What favorite family traditions do you enjoy? Happy fall, ya'll!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fall Leaves Fall

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;

Lengthen night and shorten day;

Every leaf speaks bliss to me

Fluttering from the autumn tree.

I shall smile when wreaths of snow

Blossom where the rose should grow;

I shall sing when night's decay

Ushers in a drearier day.

Emily Jane Brontë

Friday, October 3, 2008

Momma's Got A Brand New Bag

Ask anyone in my family, and they will tell you I lack a chromosome when it comes to fashion sense. I don't have it... zip, zero, zilch, nada. According to Wikipedia, the terms "fashionable" and "unfashionable" are employed to describe whether someone or something fits in with the current or even not so current, popular mode of expression. Current isn't a word I'd use to describe my wardrobe (*sigh*)

A woman’s dress sense may be governed by her ovaries according to a new report.The study conducted by UCLA and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire showed that women put more time and effort into their appearance when they're ovulating. Because I'm menopausal and haven't ovulated for quite some time, it might explain my sense of fashion impairment.

This affliction leaves my wardrobe and accessories lackluster. I'm not even a typical female. I hate shopping for clothes. When I find something that fits, I buy it in all of my favorite basic colors: black, brown, navy, and gray. Yes, quite boring. This is true for shoes and purses as it is for attire. I usually shop twice a year in the spring and fall. Doughboy and I can't even recall the last time we visited a mall.

I wear something until it disappears into nothingness. A prime example of this is my purse. Actually it isn't even a purse. I'm not sure what you'd call it.

This purse and I have shared 15 years together. Admittedly I didn’t use it exclusively all this time, but we have been constant companions for a long while. I was ready for a change (truth be told, it started to fall apart) and went on a mission last weekend to find a new handbag. I rate handbags along with sheets and underwear – not very exciting. I was overwhelmed by all the styles, colors and prices. As I wandered past rows and rows of handbags and clutches, I spotted the purse of my dreams. The color is perfect, don’t you agree?

Baby steps...small baby steps…

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Miniature Frog

Tiny little frogs like those in the photos below can be found everywhere in our yard. The first one is grey and looks more like a toad than a frog. Both have little suckers on their feet that allow them to hang on to walls, doors, any where. Aren't they cute? A Google search identifies the species shown in the first photo as a Cope's Grey Treefrog, or simply Grey Treefrog. You can even hear this frog's high-pitched call at this web site. In the middle of winter, you can click on the link and bring a little summer to a cold day :)

As tiny as they are, they are nearly unnoticeable. I almost missed seeing this little one on the door knob of the pool house. At first glance, can you see it?

There it is!

As cute as this frog is, I prefer mine encrusted with diamonds... don't you?