Sunday, February 21, 2010


What a difference a week makes! Last Sunday we were recovering from a snow storm; today the forecast has temps escalating to near 70 degrees. Woo hoo!

Doughboy is still asleep; therefore, I am looking for ways to quietly amuse myself. I like to take opportunities like this to check in with my favorite blog friends and see what they're doing. While visiting Kate I read her blog post about Wordle.

You can create your own word art using favorite words, or you can link to your blog as I did and let Wordle create a work of art derived from words commonly found in your blog. This is too much fun (I am easily amused). You can take it further by randomizing your word art to let Wordle change the layout, colors, etc. like my example below.

Wordle creates Applets; therefore, if you want to display your Wordle art in your blog as I did, you will need to save it as an acceptable photo type. The first step is to take a screen print; next, copy/paste into your photo editing software, then crop. I saved my image as JPEG using PSE 7.0.

However you spend your day I hope it is enjoyable!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

How to Beat the Winter Doldrums

Today's temps were in the mid 50's making the fresh snow that fell Friday a mere memory. More snow is predicted for tomorrow, but that is likely to be short lived too. If you don't like the weather in Georgia, wait a day.

In spite of the somewhat balmy temps today, I have the winter blues. To keep my spirits until spring arrives, I plan vacations. In fact, I live for vacations. Doughboy and I had a fun-filled vacation schedule in 2009. It began with a Caribbean cruise in January, followed by a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands over Thanksgiving, and a week at Disneyworld for Christmas.

You may be surprised to know that our vacations are planned for the next two years. It's what keeps me going. We are excited to return to the BVI's for another sailing vacation in spring 2011. It is such fun setting our own schedule and charting a course to any number of islands. We are excited have our daughter and son-in-law join us, thereby giving them a break from their three lively children. Our SIL has never been out of the United States. He is in for a real treat!

This will be our 4th sailing vacation with the Moorings; a charter company with bases world-wide. With another couple on board, we decided to charter a larger sailboat - a 43.3 monohull (click here for photos).

The BVI's offer a large variety of destinations within line-of-site sailing. Most islands may be reached within a single day sail, making island hopping fun and relaxing. Speaking of relaxing, who wouldn't feel the tension float away with views like this...

Kids? What kids??

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Almost 2 years and 8 months ago we made an offer to purchase our existing home and put our previous home up for sale. Never in our wildest imagination did we anticipate the sudden decline in the housing market nor did we believe our beautiful home of 8 years would prove such a challenge to sell. The housing market, particularly in Georgia, came to a screeching halt. Foreclosures escalated with each passing month and the market became saturated with existing home sales. Sadly, our new community felt the pinch and new homes, selling previously in the high $900's, began selling for less than half their original list price.

Our lovely home was shown to prospective buyers sporadically during the first year on the market. We received one low-ball offer in early fall 2009, then prospects dried up altogether afterward. Just when we had almost given up, an offer came through - a serious offer. But there was one snag after another, 8 contract extensions in all, before the closing occurred.

Doughboy was hoping for a closing in time for his birthday. However, his birthday came and went without a closing date. Two weeks ago the long journey of carrying double mortgages, double utilities, and double maintenance came to an end. At long last! Hooray!

With a nice check in the bank we may now proceed with plans to finish the terrace level. There are plans to build a pub and wall unit that will showcase Doughboy's magnificent antique slot machine collection. We've already contracted with Classic Bars of Atlanta. Click on the link here to see a photo of how our pub will look; it is the bar and details you see on their home page.

Other plans include removing our existing deck (poorly constructed and a safety hazard) and replacing it with a multi-level, low-maintenance composite deck. A lower deck level will house a salt system Hot Springs spa that was purchased two weeks ago. All I can say is I hope our children aren't counting on an inheritance after our demise. We intend to have fun while we're still able to enjoy life.

Mean while, decorating the boys' bedroom (started over a year ago) and Ava's bedroom (started last August) is nearing an end. The boys' room is a western theme complete with faux cowhide bean bag chairs, 60" flat screen TV, and rustic bunk beds. Ava's room is an explosion of pink and lime green; a canopy hangs above a king-sized bed, a Pottery Barn vanity sits in one corner, and a large over-stuffed chair rounds out the opposite corner. Yes, our grandchildren are quite spoiled and we love their weekend sleepovers.

Join us on our decorating journey and stay tuned for photos as our plans unfold.

By Dawn's Early Light

Doughboy's flight arrived late into Atlanta due to our weather, but all that mattered is he was home safe and sound. As typical on Friday evenings, we like to dine at one of our favorite local restaurants (usually The Downtown Grille) but every one had closed early. We eventually found an open restaurant that had only 4 tables full; very untypical for Outback which has lines of waiting people out the door on any given evening. The food was great and the service even better.

I was anxious to wake this morning and see the snow. The pups woke me for the second time around 6:15am. With camera in hand, I waited until the first signs of dawn. What I saw was spectacular beauty all around. There is nothing like fresh fallen snow to make the world around you look clean and bright.

The photo below is of our back yard, looking at the pool and pool house from our deck. It was so strangely quiet. As much as I long for hot summer days and the sound of our grandchildren playing in the pool, the wintry quiet is peaceful.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Snow in the deep south? It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's magical!

I spent the better part of my life living in the upper Midwestern states of Wisconsin and Illinois. I'm quite accustomed to winter weather but the rarity of a Georgia snow storm is incomparable. It is nothing short of gorgeous!

There's nothing like cold temps and snow to make you head for the cozy indoors. Hmmm...perfect timing for a long winter's nap. Zzzzzzzzzz...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Where Are Your Manners?

Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree. Marian Wright Edelma

What happened to the art of being considerate to other people? I think I'm fairly tolerant but lately my patience has worn thin. If you're reading this, I should warn you that you may be offended by my opinions. But it's my blog. I don't write to please every one.

People have become quite rude. Gone are the days when writing a thank you note was not only appreciated, but expected. The simple gesture of holding open the door for some one has gone the way of the dinosaur - extinct. Saying thank you and please is almost non-existent. Manners and etiquette? Gone with the wind.

My grandmother taught me many valuable lessons but the one that stays with me every day is, What goes around comes around. From an early age she preached about values and making good choices. She was a wise woman and I respected her opinion more than anyone else. She passed away a few years ago at the age of 102 but I still hear her ask, "Did you remember to send your mother a birthday card?"

When someone cut in front of me at the grocery store - in the line that has a sign "15 items or less - with a cart that held at least 50 items, I didn't say anything. Why? Because it wasn't important enough to make an asshole of myself. I calmly stood in line and waited my turn. Yes, I was seething inside but I didn't want to be the jerk. I left that up to the inconsiderate woman ahead of me.

Whether or not you want my advice, here are a few words of wisdom (in no particular order)...
  • If you receive a gift, acknowledge the giver. Don't leave the giver guessing "Did you receive it? Did it get lost in the mail?" Send a thank you note in the mail; the post office will appreciate your business.
  • Merging in traffic is like the teeth in a zipper. Take turns. It's not worth causing an accident (or road rage) by cutting everyone off to be first in line.
  • When going to the movie theater, be considerate by not talking, answering your cell phone or crunching on popcorn with your mouth open. But most importantly please, please keep your kid from kicking the back of my seat.
  • Do you like to be remembered on your birthday? I don't have the best relationship with my mother, but I never fail to send a card for Mother's Day, her birthday, and Christmas. The emphasis is on "send a card" as in send via the U.S. Postal Service; not e-mail.
  • Do not litter! I can't say enough about this so I'll stop while I'm ahead.
  • When driving on the expressway and you come to a complete stop, there is a reason. Usually that reason is a serious accident that requires emergency vehicles. Do not drive in the emergency lane in an effort to get two car lengths ahead. Keeping emergency lanes clear could make the difference between life and death.
I could keep going but I think you get the point. If you don't, there is no hope for you. If you have your own words of wisdom please feel free to leave a comment. Thank you!