The Road Taken

The very definition of day to day existence is making choices. Every one of us has been faced at least once, if not many times with a choice of roads. Often one path is obviously the happier, healthier choice but other times, each has it’s own appeal.

I was reminded of this while scrolling through some photos my daughter had taken during a trip we made earlier this week. Miss Dee has a clever eye and a fancy camera with lots of gadgets so she captures things in a way I don’t always stop to see. These two photos are an example of this.

Each image shows a straight path, dappled in sunshine, inviting and fresh but, they are also very different. One is clean and straight, the other bushy and cluttered. I truly can’t decide which I like the most. Truth be told, as it is with many choices we make every day, each one would probably lead somewhere interesting. You just have to decide which journey is right for you.

Which path would you chose?


If We Were Having Coffee…Fireworks, Films and Felines

Morning friends!

If we were having coffee I would invite you inside the house for coffee and apple cider donuts because this…

definitely says it’s way too humid to sit on the porch! The soupy New Jersey air is actually attempting to infiltrate the house but we’re keeping it at bay thanks to the air conditioning. The cat’s kinda annoyed because she can’t keep a proper eye on the squirrels. I’m just happy I don’t need to leave the house. D-Man left an hour ago to mow his mom’s lawn before it got too bad but I’m hoping he’ll stay in after that.

If we were having coffee…I would tell you we went out with friends last night to see the film “Yesterday.” I quite enjoyed it. It certainly helps if you are a Beatles fan since so much of the movie centers around their music but, it was a sweet story anyway. Absolutely no CGI, explosions or aliens which was a nice change from most of the other films we usually go to see. (Which reminds me, Spider-Man Far From Homeis definitely on next weekend to-do list!)

If we were having coffee…I would ask those of you here in the United States if you enjoyed any special Independence Day celebrations? We have a lot of traditions for that holiday.

Miss Dee and I always attend the town “Miss” pageant the evening before. The winner this year was a former student at the elementary school where I work so that always makes it fun. The newly crowned “Miss” then rides in the town Fourth of July parade the next morning. After the parade (which was a rather hot and humid event this year), we head to my father-in-law’s home for a BBQ.

My in-laws have a lovely house and a large yard in a very wooded area. We always make sure to cover ourselves in bug spray since they also have zillions of insects! My FIL ends the day by setting off fireworks, a tradition that has made me nervous since my children were wee. It makes me even more nervous now since Mr D is old enough to help light them!!! Happily we made it through another year with no casualties although one box fell on it’s side and started shooting out stars in random directions. That was exciting.

We usually end the night by attending our town fireworks. Traditionally, this is a nice way to end the day but this year Miss Dee and I were both wiped out. I suspect it was mostly because of the heat, so we decided to opt out. We both took long cold showers and then watched the first episode of Stranger Things 3! For us, this was every bit as exciting as the fireworks!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we acquired a new kitty this week. He was abandoned in front of an animal hospital where one of my son’s friends work. She told him that if they didn’t find a home they would have to take him to the shelter. We have been looking for a friend for Darby since we lost our sweet senior cat Chrissy earlier this year so we thought we’d give him a try. He’s all dark gray and quiet the charmer, always rubbing against you and purring, very dashing so we’ve took to calling him Dash. The vet said he seems to be about 3 years old and well cared for. He is currently living in the laundry room and we’ve been introducing him to Darby slowly. There’s been a bit of hissing but I think they’ll work it out in time. Stay tuned!

Miss Darby is still considering whether or not a new brother is a good idea?

Well, if we were having coffee, we would probably agree that Ive been monopolizing the conversation! Time for you to tell me what you’ve been up to. Let me refill you cup. Have you done any traveling? Seen any movies? Read any good books?

I’m so glad you stopped by. Don’t forget to visit our host Eclectic Ali, see what she’s been up to and visit the rest of the Coffee Share Gang.

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.

Home Sweet Homes

Last weekend I went to see Mr D’s soon-to-be off campus housing. The best I can say is it’s safe and sort of clean. Decor wise, think ’70s basement rec-room: drop ceilings, vinyl floors and lots of wood paneling. It’s pretty much perfect for a bunch of 20 year old boys.

A new home is an exciting adventure. This will be Mr D’s third residence and I’m sure it’s not going to be his last. I started counting and realized that I’ve lived in seven different places so far. Some I liked better than others, but they each served their purpose and for better or worse they were the settings for all the life events that made me…me.

House number one was the home of my childhood; 1950s rancher; 6 people-1 bathroom; red carpet in the living room; paneling everywhere (dad hated to paint). This was the home of Barbie dolls and sleepovers and getting caught necking on the sofa with my first boyfriend when I thought mom was fast asleep.


House number two was the home where I first set up housekeeping; 22 years old; newly married (the rehearsal husband); one bedroom ground floor apartment ten minutes from mom and dad’s; brand new blue striped sofa and love seat; new towels, new sheets, new everything; learning to do laundry and shop for groceries. This was the home I shared with my first cat (sweet Maggie); cooked my first meal (breaded pork chops and scalloped potatoes), and decorated my first, very own Christmas tree.

House number three meant a mortgage and grown up responsibility; pretty yellow cape cod two blocks from my sister’s house; weird paneling in the master bedroom featuring deer filled wooded scenes; above ground pool; cricket infestation in the basement (Maggie liked to catch them and bring them upstairs!) This was the home where I learned how to stencil and wallpaper, where I fed my maternal instinct by caring for my infant nephew and where I became a divorcee at 26.

House number four represented my independence, reconfigured second floor apartment in an older house; noisey downstairs neighbors; green paneling and sloping floors in the kitchen; big and plentiful windows, perfect for Maggie to perch. Here was a home that was truly my own, paid for and cared for by me alone. Here was where I lived the life of a single woman, late nights, dates; lugging my laundry to my parents every Tuesday night and coming home with a bag of leftovers. Here is where I was living when I met my forever guy.

House number five, the home for new beginningstop floor end apartment, red brick building in a complex with an in-ground pool; sharing a home with the man of my dreams; “shacking -up” as my mom put it; olive green appliances in the kitchen; stackable washer and dryer in the bathroom; moved in in June; engaged by December. This was the home where I was living when I lost my dad, the home where I turned 30, the home where I planned a wedding and, once again, became a wife.


House number sixtwo story townhouse; another mortgage; three months pregnant at closing; fenced in yard with a luscious thick lawn and morning glories growing in the back; hosting Thanksgiving dinners and Mom’s surprise 70th birthday party (we flew my brother in from Oklahoma to surprise her even more). This was the home where we said a sad goodbye to sweet Maggie and welcomed Jack and Chrissy into our family.  It was also where I welcomed my babies, where I became “mom” and embarked on the biggest adventure of all.


Finally, House number seven, the worst house in the best neighborhood, 25 years old custom built, original and unique; loved by its first owners; trashed by its second; months of tearing out carpets and flooring; adding walls and my beloved porch; sanding, scraping, planting, painting, making it our own. This is the home where we have raised our children, where I returned to the work force and where I said goodbye my wonderful mom. This is the home where I’ve come into middle age and settled into my life.

Is this my dream house? Not even close. My dream house would be at least a hundred years old and would have a wrap around porch with a swing. It would have pocket doors, crown molding and a fireplace or two. Someday, maybe, I’ll live in a house like that but for now, even if this isn’t my dream house, it is definitely my dream home because it’s where the people I love are and after all, that’s what make a house a home.

Growing Pains


When my son was young, maybe around 11 or 12 years of age, he would wake in the middle of the night with aches in his legs. The doctor called them growing pains and told us it was quite common and would pass as he got older. They sometimes bothered him at night, right before bed, so I would rub his calves and try to make them feel better so he could sleep.

Day one...

Day one…

Eventually he “out grew” his growing pains and now is a fine young man of 20, half way through his college education. The university he attends is only a few miles away so, for the past two years, he’s  been living at home and commuting to campus. However, he informed us this week that he and some friends have been looking into renting a house near campus. They found one they like and he wants us to go look at it with him on Sunday.

I can’t say this comes as a big surprise. I knew, eventually, he would want to be on his own. If he had gone away to college, we would have packed him up two years ago, like many of his classmates and, let’s face it, you raise children with the idea that they will grow to be strong and independent enough to want to go  out on their own. That the point, really.

I also can’t say that he hasn’t thought it through and done his homework. He’s worked part time since he was 17 and has a checking and savings account that he adds to regularly. The boy is not frivolous with his money! The four of them have figured out how much each of them would have to pay per month and what exactly is on their list of “must haves.” Mr D has enough in his saving account to cover most of the year’s expenses and he will be adding to it before the lease starts on June first.


…and twenty years later.

Upon hearing the news, my Hubby, who is much more practical than sentimental, pointed out that at least no one will be coming in at 2am and banging around cooking food in the microwave (our bedroom is very close to the kitchen). It also means that  the kitchen sink won’t be constantly filled with dirty dishes, or the bathroom filled with dirty clothes. I also know that, according to statistics, the chances are pretty good that he will be moving back here, at least for a while, after he finishes his degree.

Doesn’t make it any easier.

I guess it’s time for me to have my own growing pains. Even if his moving out isn’t permanent right now, it still feels like his tenure in this house is coming to an end. The parental umbilical cord is going to have to stretch to the next town over and I’ll have to resist the urge to text him each morning to make sure he’s still breathing. Just another in a long line of growing pains that are all part of being a mom. I’ve weathered them so far, and to be honest, it’s worth it just to see how great he and his sister have turned out.

The Weekly Smile #4….Snow Day

imageMy smile this week comes courtesy of the snow, which is rather surprising because I didn’t find it a bit funny when it was coming down!

Saturday’s blizzard covered our area in about a foot of the white stuff. That, of course, meant that my husband and I spent most of Sunday morning digging out our cars. Anyone who has done this knows that it is not a fun way to spend your time. I was exhausted and cranky.

imageAs we were finishing up, though, my inner child took over and I couldn’t resist pitching a snowball straight at my Hubby’s back. Unfortunately, my inner child’s aim is as bad as my outer adult’s so I missed by at least two feet. Naturally, he felt he needed to retaliate. His aim is spot on. Things escalated quickly from there and snow started flying everywhere.  Soon we were both covered and I had fallen backwards into a five foot drift! Hubby tried to pull me out, but I slipped backward again taking him down with me. We were both laughing so hard, I had tears running down my frozen cheeks!

imageThe neighbor’s probably thought we were crazy but I didn’t care. I didn’t even mind the frozen toes or the wet bottom because it felt really good to remember what it was like back when snow days were actually fun, back before we had to worry about stuff like digging out the cars and shoveling the walks.

Next time, maybe we should try building a snowman.😊☃

Don’t forget to visit Trent’s World so you can check out the rest of the Weekly Smiles!

My Middle-aged Closet


A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 53 birthday.

Life looks different on this side of fifty, I can’t deny that, and all of us over on this side know that there are lots of negatives to growing older. We could talk about hot flashes and achey knees, or about needing to have reading glasses in every room in the house, but I’d rather look for some good things about middle age. There are some…really…if you take the time to recognize them.

In fact, the other day, while cleaning out my clothes closet, I had an epiphany about this very thing. You may think this is a rather strange place for a self realization, but I often do my best thinking while organizing.😊

Anyway, what I realized is that the contents of my closet have begun to represent what I want out of life In my middle years.

Stay with me here.

There have always been clothes that have ended up in my closet for the wrong reasons. Maybe I bought it because I was under a deadline to find something and had to settle, or maybe there was a really great sale and I couldn’t pass up a bargain. There are things I own because I  caved to the opinion of a fellow shopper even though I knew the item wasn’t quite me. I will also admit that my frugal (cheap) nature occasionally  causes me to buy something less flattering, rather that pay for a more expensive version. What I’m getting at is that there is a lot of crap in my closet that I simply don’t like. I used to just hang on to it all thinking that someday it might become more appealing.

Not anymore. All those ruffled blouses that are so not me (I’m more of a jeans and tee shirt girl), are out the door as well as all those scratchy, uncomfortable clothes that I bought because they were in style at some point.  There will be no high heels, or big colorful jewelry for me no matter how cute they look on other people.

I will no longer wear anything that doesn’t feel like me. You know what I mean. We all have clothes that we put on and instantly feel at home. Clothes that make you happy. Clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable in your own skin.

What does this have to do with life over fifty?

Simple. At this age I feel much more comfortable with who I am and what I like or dislike. I don’t care so much about fitting in now. My younger self was notorious for altering opinions and views just to maintain the status quo.  I wasn’t secure enough to just be ME.

Basically, I’ve been trying to do the same thing in my life as I’ve done in my closet- just keeping the things that I really love and that represent who I am these days. Gone are the friends I never really had anything in common with. Enter all those people who make me feel like me and whose company I really enjoy. I want to do things that I actually enjoy doing and not stuff that I feel like I should be doing. I’m going to ask the questions, whether they sound silly or not and, I’m going to try new stuff whether I look silly or not. I’ve found that being embarrassed isn’t such a big deal anymore.

It’s a very liberating feeling- this streamed down life. Clean and clutter free.

Just like my closet.

The Weekly Smile #3….Joking Around

This week’s smile comes from one of my favorite comedians, Elayne Boosler.  It’s an oldie but a goodie!

“I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three.”

– See more at:

Don’t forget to stop by Trent’s World for even more smiles!!

Spirit Animal Award


One of my favorite “blog-buddies” over at  Spence’s Girl  kindly nominated me for the Spirit Animal Award!  In order to accept this award, I’m to share who I am, what my blog means to me and what animal I would want to be.

First, before I get into that, I want to give a big THANKS to Spence’s Girl and tell you a bit about her and her site. Not only does she grow beautiful flowers and cook some amazing looking dishes,  she and Spence also share some of their travel adventures as well, but I think my favorite part of her blog is just the happy, content feeling that comes through in her posts. She is someone who genuinely enjoys life and lives it to the fullest. I always feel refreshed and positive after visiting her blog! Oh, and she loves cats too! 😊

Now to the task at hand.

Who I am…

Wow, this is actually pretty hard. How about if I just list ten word or phrases that I feel describe me? Here goes…

  1. Spouse
  2. Mom
  3. Artist
  4. Book lover
  5. Educator
  6. Yoga practicer
  7. Small town Jersey girl
  8. Middle class
  9. Old film buff
  10. Obsessively neat and organized 😊

What my blog means to me…

For this one I feel like I need to go back to 2011 when this blog had what I’m calling a “false start.” I can’t remember what made me think of blogging back then but I found WordPress, set up a site and named it “4 Walls and a Roof” intending for it to be a blog about my home and raising my kids. After about a half dozen post, I lost interest. Obviously, the time, or my motivation wasn’t right, so I put the idea aside.

Then, in March of 2015, I was four years older and on the other side of fifty. Maybe it was the entrance into middle age or the struggles of the intervening years, which included battles with some anxiety based health issues, and my Mother’s difficult last few years, but I suddenly felt the need to get stuff down on paper. I was thinking about starting a journal. I had alway kept one when I was younger but then I remembered the dormant WordPress site.

The original purpose of my renamed site was a chance to tell some stories about my family, especially with both of my parents gone, and to get out some of the junk that was circling around in my head.  Being a bit of an introvert, I tend to avoid phone conversations and big social gatherings. This seemed like a good alternative.

In reality, what it has become, and what it means to me is being accepted into a community of people that I can be honest with and share all the crazy stuff that pops into my head! I also love getting to know other bloggers and hearing about the stuff that goes on in theirs!  Blogging has broadened my horizons by introducing me to people from all over the world and given me a chance to learn about so many exciting new ideas and interesting places.

What animal would I like to be….

While I would have to admit that my two cats have a pretty great life, I think that I would want to be an eagle. I have always wanted to be able to fly and often dream about it (I’m sure that means something. If you know please clue me in). Eagles are such beautiful, powerful birds and I can’t imagine anything cooler than being able to soar hundreds of feet above the ground and having the freedom to go anywhere you chose.

Paying it forward

I nominate the following bloggers for this award. By doing so, I am just saying that I really love your blog and enjoy reading it. If you wish to accept the award and take part that’s great but if you don’t, no worries!

A Texan’s View of Upstate New York…a young military wife setting up house keeping and learning about her new surroundings.

Traveling the World Solo?…A courageous  young woman working as a midwife and living a life of endless adventures

Daisy Smiley Face….freelance writer offering smiles, life lessons and just a bit of nonsense!



Me and My Filthy Forehead

imageTrue story…

Yesterday I went to the mall. I had several gift cards burning a hole in my pocket so I thought I would treat myself to a few things I’d been wanting. Leisurely, I strolled around my favorite department store making purchases here and there. After a few hours I was ready to head home.

On my way through the store I decided to make a quick stop in the ladies room, because…you know. Anyway, as I was at the sink washing my hands I glanced up at the mirror and noticed a large black smear across my forehead.

“Hmm?” thought I, “How odd.” I wiped off the offensive spot, dried my hands and continued through to store and out to my car.

But, here’s the thing that kept going through my head the whole way home…

How long had I been walking around with this smudge on my face and why had no one I’d interacted with mentioned it?

This was not a small mark. Think “Ash Wednesday” kind of smudge only maybe the Father sneezed and smeared sideways. I started replaying the previous few hours in my head.

“Did the sales woman at the ladies wear counter avoid eye contact as she rang up my scarf because she didn’t want to stare at my filthy forehead?”

“Were the two women, in the housewares department, who complimented my hair and asking if I had highlights, really just trying to find a nice way to tell my my forehead was covered in dirt?”

“Did I accidentally get black gunk on my hand from the sole of the black boots I was trying on and then wipe it on my head?  Did the sales lady that fetched the boots in my size notice the soot when I paid for them?”

 You can bet that if I had been at work instead of the mall, one of the students would have told me. They like to let me know if something needs my attention. (“Mrs D your socks are two different colors.”  or “Did you know you have a really big pimple on your chin?” or “Your hair looks kind of funny today.”) They’re very helpful that way.

Maybe the people at the mall don’t have the same moral code as my second graders but still you would have thought that someone, at some point, would have said something, for crying out loud!

I would have.

Rest assured, if I ever see you in public with a black smear on your face, a price tag hanging from your clothes or something stuck in your hair I will, without a doubt, quietly and politely let you know. Promise you will do the same for me, okay?

Thanks. 😊