If We Were Having Coffee….BRRRR!

If we were having coffee today you would want it extra hot, extra large and with a side of thick socks! Here in the Northeastern U.S. we are in the middle of a record breaking cold front.  Anyone remember that movie “The Day After Tomorrow” with Jake Gyllenhaal?  Well, if New York Harbor freezes solid, I’m moving to Mexico.

Any-hoo, if we were having coffee, I would whisk you on in out of the frozen tundra and offer you a seat.  Santa brought me a new Keurig machine and the Elves threw in a few dozen coffee and hot chocolate pods so I’m confident we can find something to warm you up. I’ll be having a nice strong French roast served in the nifty Hollywood mug I got on vacation.  Sorry, you’ll have to use a less cool mug but I promise to fill it all the way to the top while you fill me in on your week.

So tell me, are you happy with 2018 so far?  Planning on watching the Golden Globes tonight? Read any good books or seen any good films? Going on an interesting vacation? Enjoying temperatures above freezing in your end of the world?

Sorry, I’ll stop harping on the crappy weather.  It’s just that I’m a summer girl at heart and all this ice and snow is seriously messing with my mood.  Good thing I wrote my “January To-Do List” last week.  It’s the only thing that’s been keeping me going.  Ive gotten a good start on it thanks to the weird week we’ve had work wise.  After being off for Christmas break, we had school on Tuesday and Wednesday and then were closed on Thursday and Friday due to the snow and ice.  Now, I could certainly get used to working two days then having a four day weekend but I don’t think we can managed the required 180 school days per year that way!

Well, my plan today is to start packing away my Christmas decorations so I suppose I should get started.   You’re lucky that we aren’t really having coffee because I might enlist your help.  Although, in this house we’ll be going from green and red decoration to green and silver thanks to all the Philadelphia Eagles signs and flags my hubby had spread all over the house!  I’m not complaining though because we’ve been devoted fans forever and have routed for the Eagles through out some pretty crappy seasons so the fact that they had such a great season and made the playoffs is a pretty big deal around here.  Plus, even if he is injured and will be unable to play, Miss Dee had a serious crush on Carson Wentz. 🙂

Before I get to work though,  I wanted to mention something very sad that happened while I was away from the blogosphere. This September we lost our handsome boy Jack. We rushed him to the emergency vet after he started having trouble breathing and a tumor was found growing next to his heart, pressing on it. We were fortunate to have had a chance to say goodbye and tell him how much we loved him before the doctor sent him off to sleep.  He was our friend for 13 years and all of us, including his sister Chrissy who now walks around meowing, in search of him, miss him terribly. Jack continues to be a presence all over my blog but in remembrance, I’d like to close this post with some of my favorite moments with him…

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope you have a great week!

Many thanks to “Eclectic Allie” for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share. Stop by and check out the rest of the posts.

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First Line Fridays

https://hoardingbooksblog.wordpress.com/

This week’s first line is from…

Life of Pi

by Yann Martel

 “My suffering left me sad and gloomy.

Academic study and the steady, mindful practice of religion slowly brought me back to life.”

 

This book was the January pick for my book club but is one I have wanted to read for a while anyway. So far, I’m finding it quite enjoyable.

Share Your World -Week 1

This is the first time I’ve taken part in Cee’s Share Your World Challenge  but it looked like fun so I thought I’d give it a try.  Here goes…

What one word describes you best? 

⭐️me·thod·i·cal : A person orderly or systematic in thought or behavior. (Yep, that’s me.)

What is set as the background on your computer?

My daughter took this after the last snow fall and I just think it’s so pretty.  It’s also my blog header for the moment.

If you have been to a foreign country name those you have been too?

My husband and I took a cruise to Canada a few years ago. I’ve also been to Bermuda, the Bahamas and the US Virgin Islands but I’m not sure they count.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week

Nikki from A Texan’s View of Upstate New York inspired me to try this challenge!

Saying Goodbye to Sue

Posted on writer Sue Grafton’s Facebook page Friday December 29th…

“Hello Dear Readers. This is Sue’s daughter, Jamie. I am sorry to tell you all that Sue passed away last night after a two year battle with cancer. She was surrounded by family, including her devoted and adoring husband Steve. Although we knew this was coming, it was unexpected and fast. She had been fine up until just a few days ago, and then things moved quickly. Sue always said that she would continue writing as long as she had the juice. Many of you also know that she was adamant that her books would never be turned into movies or TV shows, and in that same vein, she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name. Because of all of those things, and out of the deep abiding love and respect for our dear sweet Sue, as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.”

The first Sue Grafton novel I read was “D is for Deadbeat.”  It was around 1989 and the book came as part of my new book club offering.  For those who are unfamiliar (or are too young to remember books before the internet), mail order book clubs would gain new members by offering a number of books for a dollar if you committed to joining the club and purchasing 3 or 4 other books at regular price within the next year.  I was always part of at least one book club then and often surfed from one to another collecting my discount novels.  Usually they were books that were left from previous years.

It didn’t take me long to get hooked on Sue and her character Kinsey Millhone.  I went through letter “D” pretty fast and then immediately fulfilled my membership agreement by ordering “A” “B” and “C”! I was 27 years old in 1989 and reaching the end of my first marriage. My life was in a place where Kinsey’s independence and moxie appealed to me.  I wanted to live in a converted one car garage and run my own private detective agency.  I wanted to make all my own choices (good or bad), drink wine and eat peanut butter and pickle sandwiches instead of figuring out a grocery list and doing laundry. Kinsey rocked, even if people did occasionally shoot at her.

Over the next twenty something years, my life included some big changes but Sue and Kinsey remained a constant.  Every year I looked forward to the next letter, the next novel, to see what they were up to.  Surprisingly, even after so many books, Sue was able to keep the character and the stories fresh and interesting.  In some of the more recent novels she began writing entire chapters from a different characters point of view, or taking the reader back in time to the original crime and then switching back to Kinsey’s take on the situation. Another quirk about Kinsey’s world that appealed to me was that she was still still living and detecting in the 1980s, each of her stories moving just months beyond the one before.  This meant she didn’t have cell phones or the internet and had to solve her mysteries using good old fashioned brain power aided only by library cross reference books, microfiche, and what ever info she could get out of the witnesseses.  She also had a habit of keeping notes on 5×7 index cards that she could shuffle and rearrange to see if a pattern appeared.

I was already a dedicated fan and quite in love with Sue Grafton by the time “X” came out in 2015.  We had a relationship dating back years and I had my favorite books and characters already but this novel quickly became the most favorite because on the beginning page of a chapter half way through, quite by happenstance, Sue used my son’s full name for a minor character.  Seeing his name in print was pretty cool and then when I glanced up at the number of the chapter, I realized it was also my son’s favorite number, the number he wore on every sports jersey through out high school because he considered it lucky! It was a weird enough coincidence that I was compelled to send  a note to her Facebook page. I explained what a big fan I was and how she had simply made my day with this happy accident.  Two days later I received this reply:

“What a lovely surprise for you. Can’t remember where I came up with the name. Maybe a spirit visit in the dead of night. Tell him he’s now been immortalized and not even as one of the criminal element. Thanks for your note. What a hoot.”

I regulary go through my Messenger account and delete messages so the fact that this note is still on my feed should tell you what a big deal it is to me!

Now, sadly, there will be no more Kinsey.  Her story and the stories of all the other characters  Ms Grafton so lovingly brought into existence are now in limbo.  I suppose that its up to each of us, those readers,  who have invested so much in Sue’s world to finish their stories as we see fit.  It will never live up to the endings she would have chosen but I’m just happy I was along for the ride.  For me, personally,  my thoughts and sympathies go out to Sue’s family with love and appreciation for all the enjoyment Sue Grafton brought to me and to all the other countless fans of Kinsey Millhone.   For us, as her daughter so perfectly stated , “the alphabet now ends in Y.”

–Respectfully submitted,

A Fan

If We Were Having Coffee…Plans For January

If we were having coffee today you would notice that the “view from the porch” is a snowy and fridge one.  I think temperature today here in south Jersey will top out at 21 degrees (brrr!). A story in the paper this morning said that they may even postpone the Philadelphia Mummers Parade tomorrow because the brass instruments keep freezing up.  Hard to play “Golden Slippers” when you have to keep breaking icicles off your  trombone!

Anyway, if we were having coffee today you might also say to me “Where the heck you been, Lady?!”  According to my WordPress dashboard, its been five months since my last post.  I could blame this on my iPad which kept freezing up and crashing every time I tried to post or I could blame it on a lack of time, motivation and ideas.  All of these would be true.  However, thanks to Santa, I now have a new IPad and a nifty Bluetooth keyboard that will make posting less technically challenging and since  the holidays have passed, or at least our hosting responsibilities which wrapped up with a gathering of friends last night, I have gobs more time.

So this morning I noticed that every January I find myself in this same weird state of mind.  For months before (since we also hosted Thanksgiving this year as well as Christmas) my mind is full of details and plans, a nonstop whirlwind of things to do and remember.  Then the week after Christmas when all the gifts are given, all the food is cooked and serving dishes stowed away once more my brain says, “Hey, what’s with all this room in here? Where are all the things we need to arrange and acccomplish?  What am I suppose to do with my time now?!” Although its nice to let my poor tired brain rest for a bit, I also know we will both go bonkers without some kind of plans for the cold months to come so I am dedicating this “Coffee Share Post” to listing the things my brain (and body) can acccomplish now that things have slowed down.  This blog post is the first thing on my list as will be (hopefully) more regular ones in the future.

Number two on my January “To Do” list is creating a scrapbook from the pile of 112 (yes, 112) photos stacked on my desk.  In November my sister and I took a trip to Hollywood to visit my nephew.  It was quite an adventure, which I plan on doing a series of posts about, but documenting it in paper form is also a goal.  I’m one of those weird people who actually still prints out photos and puts them in books.  I love being able to leaf back though the memories.

So there’s that to accomplish.

Next, D-man’s stepmom has been asking me to paint a portrait of her son’s dog.  Poor Oscar passed away a few months back and she wanted a portrait to give her son in memory.  This is a lovely idea and even though animals aren’t my best thing, I will give it a try.  I’ll keep you updated on that.

Another plan is to start an indoor herb garden.  I have a box that will fit in my kitchen window sill.  Now to work out the logistics.

I also need to work on getting my feet fixed.  To explain, thanks to family genetics, I have incredibly flat feet.  No arch what so ever. Nada.  This translates, with age, into bunions, the result of the bones in your feet pushing apart to compensate for their flatness. Ouch, right?  I have orthopedic insole that I have worn for years that help with the pain but they are in need of replacement and even with them, I am going to have to break down and have surgery eventually. Six weeks in a boot is not my idea of fun and also even less fun,  here in the U.S with our wonderfully inefficient healthcare  system, the first step in all of this is dealing with the insurance company. Ugh. That’s why I’ve put it off as long as I have but January is the end of procrastination!

Well, my brain feels much happier now.  I’m sorry I’ve run on so long but now that I have a plan I no longer see the cold months ahead looming like a black hole!  Thanks for listening.   Let’s warm up your coffee and you can fill me in on what’s been going on with your brain!

Many thanks to “Eclectic Allie” for hosting the Coffee Share.  Stop by and check out the rest of the posts.

If We Were Having Coffee…7/16/17

Good morning!

If we were having coffee today you would find me lounging at the kitchen table still in my jammies, hair all askew and my coffee cup within reach. Hope you’re okay with that because I am now in full summer mode. For we school employees, that means that “run-around-and-get-all-your-errands-done-Sunday” becomes “stay-in-your-pajamas-and-have-some-more-coffee-Sunday,”

School officially ended on June 16th so it’s taken me a month to finally get to this point. For two weeks, at the end of June and the second week in July, I was preparing for and working at STEAM camp. Whew! What a lot of work, but it went really well and the kids had a great time. Here is Miss Dee and a “friend” modeling one of the photo boards I made….

In between camp weeks, I was preparing and finishing up art work and projects for the second week and celebrating July fourth so now, this weekend is what feels like my first real weekend off. The first few days my brain was in relaxation heaven! Ahh!  Just not having anything nagging at the back of my brain was wonderful. Welcome to the mind of an obsessive, over thinker!

So…

If we were (finally) having coffee this morning I would pour you a cup, offer a donut and ask, “How the heck have you been?” I would ask about books you might be reading, movies you might have seen and activities you might be involved in? I would also inquire about your work or projects and any challenges you might be having there or with life in general? I hope they are few and far between.

My last coffee share highlighted my first whirlwind week of summer break. That was fun, but crazy! My biggest highlight since then was this Wednesday night. Miss Dee and I went to see Ed Sheeran in concert! Her birthday (number 19) is tomorrow so the tickets were a present from her dad and I. The D-man was kind enough to act as our chauffeur since I don’t drive in the city (it’s better for everyone, believe me) but I got to enjoy the concert with her. What a great show! She has been a huge fan of  his for years but I was only familiar with a few of his songs. Now I’m a huge fan too. This was Miss Dee’s first ever concert and it couldn’t have been a better experience. She is not a big fan of crowds and noise but Ed seems to have a very eclectic fan base, both young and old, so we were surrounded by a pretty tame crowd and since it is only him and his guitar on stage, the noise level wasn’t the same as most other concerts I’ve attended! We really had a blast dancing and singing along and I’m so glad she chose to share this memory with me!

In other news, Mr D was down for the count with strep throat last week. His temp reached 103! I know it’s just the bodies way of getting rid of an infection, but high temperatures  freak me out! He missed almost a full week of work and spent most of his time curled up on the couch while I tried to force food and juice on him! Even at 21 years old, he is still my baby when he gets sick! Thankfully, he is back to normal and actually just got home from the beach himself last night.

He and Miss Dee are enjoying having all their friends home on college break. I love having the crowd back around too (except when they come and go in the wee hours and hubby and I are trying to sleep)!

Okay, If we were having coffee, I would probably feel the need to get on with my day by now. The first few weeks of summer have been too crazy to even bother looking at my Bucket List, all though I’ve checked off a few things without even trying. So maybe I’ll take a look at that today….or tomorrow. Mostly I guess, I should put on some clothes, brush my teeth and try to be productive!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope your weeks is awesome! Don’t forget to visit either  Nerd in the Brain or Part Time Monster (the ladies are co-hosting this week) so you can check out the rest of the Coffee Share Posts! 

If We Were Having Coffee…6/24/17

Whew!

If we were having coffee…I would hurry you in and start off by appologizing for my slightly disheveled appearance. At 6:30 this morning we were awaken to beeping cell phones issuing a tornado warning! Not the most relaxing way to start the day. Luckily, though the conditions were favorable, no tornados actually formed. Miss Dee and I sat in the basement family room watching the news untill the warning expired. The D-Man, who is much more of a thrill seeker, watched from the den window. Mr D never even made it out of bed. Pretty sure he could sleep through most anything.

Anyway, at this point in time, hours later, as I fill your cup with some nice strong French roast and offer you a donut, the skies have cleared. Young Mr D has left for work, D-Man has headed back to bed and Miss Dee having just climbed back out of bed herself, is watching YouTube videos. She will be off to work in a few hours herself. I really kind of love this time of year when hubby and I stay home and the kids go off to make a living. Ahhh, good times….

A cloudy view of the Freedom Tower as seen from Hoboken

If we were having coffee…we could catch up with each other’s past few weeks. I don’t know about you but mine have been quite busy! We finished up the school year (hooray) on the 16th, then spent the next day visiting D-man’s step-sister in Hoboken celebrating my father-in-law’s 75th birthday. Torrential downpours made the  drive a bit of a challenge but eventually the family was able to gather for a very nice lunch, wishing him well and fussing over new baby Asher, just two months old.

Beach selfie!

Sunday was a day of rest as well as laundry and packing because on Monday Miss Dee and I headed for the shore.  For the past three summers we have kicked off our break by having a Mother/daughter get-away at the beach. The weather this year was perfect. Sunshine, sand, lounging outdoors by the sea! Totally rejuvenating.  Mr D and his lady friend came to visit one day and we all went out for a lovely seafood dinner.

Full STEAM ahead!

On Thursday we found ourselves back home, unpacking and, again, doing laundry!  Then on Friday, AKA yesterday, I was up early finishing up my STEAM Camp props so that I could deliver them for set up. The airplane board just barely fit in my car but made it to the site unscathed. I spent an hour or so aiding in the set up then rushed off to do the grocery shopping. D-Man and I finished up the day enjoying the perfect weather while watching the team of middle schoolers that Mr D coaches play baseball.

That brings us full circle…back to this morning’s 6:30AM tornado warning…

Like I said….Whew!!!!

So if we were having coffee…I would now lean back and ask “How was your week?” I hope it was fun and eventful, low on stress and high on comfort. The day here is shaping up to be sunny and warm so stay a while. Let’s chat. Oh, and don’t forget to stop by Nerd in the Brain so you can check out the rest of the Weekend Coffee Share!

The 2017 Summer Bucket List

Woo-hoo! It’s that time again….

For the past eleven years I have worked at a job that allows me to have the summers off. This is a treat, of course, but it can also seem daunting to someone like me, who thrives on routine. I found that instead of being productive with my time, I was wandering around half-doing a lot of stuff with no direction or plan. A few years ago, I decided to try a little experiment. I called it my “Summer Bucket List” and you know what? It really worked! I wasn’t able to finish everything on the list but it did keep me motivated and focused and when September rolled around, I was able to see exactly what I did with my time off.

Naturally, I was ready to make another handy dandy bucket list this summer!* Several of the items on my 2017 list are repeats from other summers, either because they were not accomplished that year or, they were so much fun, I wanted to do them again! Anything marked with a (c) is something that makes me a bit nervous or is something I tend to procrastinate about and will therefore be more of a challenge to accomplish. My last day of school is this Friday, June 16th so that means that on June 17th I’ll be off and running! Wish me luck!

BEHOLD THE 2017 SUMMER BUCKET LIST!!

1. Take at least six day trips (parks, beach, etc)⭐️
2. Clean out and organize the household file cabinet⭐️
3. Repaint the living room walls
4. Travel some where by train
5. Ride a train into the city (c)
6. Create at least six art projects⭐️⭐️
7. Visit at least 2 museums
8. Take care of some “self maintenance” by catching up on yearly physicals.⭐️
9. Clean out and update the kitchen pantry. ⭐️
10. Go canoeing or kayaking
11. Have at least six lunch dates with friends or family⭐️⭐️
12. Go zip-lining (c)
13. Walk on the beach⭐️
14. Have a picnic somewhere next to the water
15. Have a romantic weekend away with my Hubby
16. Join a book club and attend meetings monthly⭐️
17. Maintain my newly planted herb garden and use the herbs often (c)
18. Attend the theater at least three times (films or plays)⭐️⭐️
19. Try to awaken my inner “chef” by researching and attempting some new recipes. (c)⭐️
20. Experience a ride in a hot air balloon (c)
21. Finish organizing and labeling our family tree and photos
22. Visit a local winery and enjoy a wine tasting.
23. Listen to some live music, preferably outdoors
24. Go dancing with my Hubby
25. Catch up on a full season of the “Once Upon a Time” TV show with Miss Dee (we got a little behind!)

*BTW It would be super awesome to have some company on this adventure so feel free to make your own list if you’re so inclined.

We can compare notes and cheer each other on! 😊

If We Were Having Coffee…6/3/17

Good afternoon!

If we were having coffee you would find me perky and pleasant today because, finally, finally, finally we could enjoy our visit out on the porch! The weather here in Jersey, following a rainy morning, is sunny and mild and yesterday, the D-Man liberated all the outdoor furniture from the garage. I was so happy to see my Adirondack chair I would have kissed it, had it not been covered with spider webs! Don’t worry though, everything now is clean and fresh and quite sit-able! So let’s fill up your cup, put our feet up on the porch rail and do some catching up.

For me, the last week or so has mostly been about staying motivated while the school year winds down. Two weeks to go. The students have checked out mentally and the daily routine has been one interruption after another. We’ve had some end of year testing, spring concerts, visiting bands from the high school and mifddle school as well as field trips and picnics. Next week is even busier. At least it will make the days move quickly. The end of the school year can’t come soon enough because we are in the midst of a severe pencil shortage! I swear the kids must be eating them or selling them on the black market because everytime you turn around, the supply cups are empty and no one has any in their desks or back packs. I’m thinking perhaps a black hole of some kind?! Anyway, we need to finish up the year before other items start being sucked in, staplers, notebooks, the laminator! Yikes!

If we were having coffeeI would tell you a bit about one of my favorite students, Willa. She’s a sweet, shy 9 year old with a quirky sense of humor that she shares only with those she feels most comfortable. We’ve been friends since herfirst grade year, so I’m lucky enough to be one of those people. Lately Willa’s thing has been telling riddles. Periodically she appears  in front of me with another. Here are a few “Willa-isms”…

  • A cowboy rode into town on Friday. He stayed in townfor three nights then rode out on Friday. How is that possible?
  • Mr Pink lives in the pink house, Mr Blues lives in the blue house, Mr Green lives in the green house. Who lives in the white house?
  • A rancher has 198 cattle but when he rounds them up he has 200. Why is that?
  • What belongs to you but is used most often by others?

I will put the answers at the bottom so you can ponder a bit…😊

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that today is a busy one in our family.  Mr D was up at 7:00 and off to work (it’s a big time of year in the NJ produce world- fresh strawberries are in!) Then he had a baseball game followed by his girlfriend’s college graduation party this evening. I spent the morning on cleaning, laundry and a little online shopping for STEAM Camp while D-man did some baking and cleared out his old desk so he could organize the new one. Boy that man loves to save stuff!! You wouldn’t believe the flotsam hidden in those desk drawers. It was like a time capsule of his last thirty years!

As for this afternoon, we will be heading over to my father-in-laws in a bit to have a meet and greet with baby Asher who has come down from NYC to visit (he brought his mom and dad with him! 😉) and then,we too, will head over to the graduation party. The only family member with a quiet day so far is Miss Dee. No work for her today so she slept till 11:00 and is now sitting here painting her nails in preparation for the party later. What a life, huh!?

Having said all that, I must get myself moving now. Thanks for stopping by. I hope all is well with you. What have you been up to this week? Please share! Oh, and don’t forget to stop by Nerd in the Brain so you can check out the rest of the Weekend Coffee Share!

{Willa’s answers: His horse was named Friday; the President, of course; It’s a math joke, he “rounds them up to 200” -get it? and; Your name😊}

If We Were Having Coffee….5/20/17

If we were having coffee…I would ask you to come in, sit down, relax, move those empty grocery bags out of you way. I had to run to the supermarket this morning, not my favorite thing on a Saturday but my family was bellyaching about the lack of food around here. Yeash! So demanding!!😊

Anyway, shopping done, bathroom clean, laundry later. Time to chat. What’s up with you? How is the weather in your area?  It’s been mighty hot here. I thought I was melting at school yesterday. Not good for student (or teacher) concentration. The classroom I work in is air conditioned but the halls and the lunchroom are not so all day long it was like… cool-hot-cool-hot! My menopausal system can’t take temperature changes like that!

If we were having coffee… I might tell you that hubby and I are heading out to dinner tonight to celebrate our anniversary (23 years!) and that he also has another stop in mind for us afterward but he won’t tell me what. Hmm?  That man likes his surprises. I will let you know next week, unless, of course, it’s not a “G” rated trip then I will keep it to myself. 😉It’s hard to believe we’ve been married that long but then it’s also hard to remember a time before he was about.  Since we still seem to like each other quite a bit, I guess I’ll keep him around a while longer.

Tomorrow, we will have a BBQ with the kids and hang out around here. This will be our first BBQ of the season so I’m looking forward to it.

Also, tomorrow, my brother-in-law is dropping off  this lovely secretary desk that originally belonged to my husband’s grandmother.

He and his wife are moving to a smaller home in June so this family heirloom is coming to live with us now. I’m very excited to have it.  I think it’s pieces like this with so much sentiment value that help a house feel more like a home. We already have a lovely old hutch in our kitchen that my in-laws bought over 50 years ago when they were first married. It feels important to keep these item in the family and I think my mother-in-law appreciates it too.

Well, it’s time to go do some “stuff!” Hope your weekend is great and thanks for stopping by. Hop on over to visit Emily at Nerd in the Brain too so you can check out the rest of the Weekend Coffee Share.